How to Know Whether your Roof Needs Repair or Replacement

How to Know Whether your Roof Needs Repair or Replacement

“I can’t wait to take off the roof and install a brand new one,” said no one, ever. For most homeowners, the thought of total roof replacement is overwhelming. Replacing asphalt roofs can cost between $5 and $6.30 per square foot. Wood shingles on average cost between about $5 and $8 per square foot.

Luckily, with proper and regular inspections, nearly all fiberglass and asphalt roofs can last up to 40 years. 20-25 years is the regular lifespan without inspections. Wood shingles may last up to 30 years, and other types of roofing materials may last over 50. Good roof maintenance, including yearly inspections and repairs, can help prevent expensive structural problems like insulation damage, mold, and rot.

Here are some things to consider when making the decision to either repair or replace your roof.

  1. Age of the Roof

If your roof is still somewhat new and has been properly taken care of, the gutters have been kept clear of debris, leaks have been sealed around flashing, and kept up on minor repairs like replacing the occasionally damaged shingle, your roof will be in great shape for many years. However, if your roof is reaching the end of it’s expected life, repairs won’t keep it in operation much longer.

2. Cost

Considering that a complete roof replacement costs about $15,000, it would not be a good move to spend $5,000 on a repair that may only last you a couple of years. If the probable lifespan of a new roof is 20 years, that is a cost of $750 per year for a new roof. A repair at $5,000 that only buys you a couple of years brings you to a yearly roofing cost of $2,500 for those two years and will significantly increase your average cost. Nonetheless, if your annual roof inspection shows a need for some repairs, you will be able to extend the lifespan of your roof for just a few hundred dollars.

3. Scope the Issues

If you’re uncertain on what to do, scoping the issues may help clarify which path to take. Critical issues can include:

  • Generalized Shingle Deterioration: Blistering, missing, or widespread curling shingles are definitely a bad sign. However, deterioration of a roof can also be very subtle. Look at your gutters to check for a build-up of asphalt particles. If you see large piles of granules washed away from your shingles, it’s sign that your roof is wearing out. To be sure, go up to your attic while the sun is out. It may be time to think about roof replacement if you can see daylight peeking in from multiple seams.
  • Multiple Leaks: You should probably consider roof replacement rather than spot repair if you have several different areas of your home with interior leaks.
  • Valley Issues: A valley is an area where two roofing sections join to create a “v.” If your home includes dormers or has several wings, your roof probably contains a number of valleys. These valleys are more prone to leakages and can be challenging to repair without stripping large sections of shingles.

4. Layers of Shingles

According to roofing regulations, homeowners can install up to two layers of shingles on their roof. This can help save the cost of removing the first layer of shingles during a roof replacement. However, if you currently have two layers of shingles on your roof, replacing or repairing damaged sections can be more costly and difficult than a single layer repair would be.

5. Aesthetics

Color matching can be difficult because shingles tend to develop a patina as they age over the years. Any patching you do will probably be obvious. A shingle here or a shingle there might not make a huge visual impact, but if you were to replace a good-sized section, it most definitely will be noticeable.

6. Relocation Plans

If you’re planning to move within a few years, keep in mind that replacing the roof on your home will help your house get sold. Even if you don’t recoup the entire cost of your roof, the possibility of a roof in need of replacement is far more expensive. Buyers might overestimate the costs for a roof replacement while making offers. There could be a lack of interest from buyers which may result in you having to reduce the price of your listing.

While it’s not the most exciting topic when it comes to home renovation, roof repair and replacement is a critical part of being a homeowner. If you budget wisely and stay up to date with roof inspections, you’ll avoid surprise problems and protect your home from damage.


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