When to Replace a Roof vs When to Repair It
Updated: Feb 24
Your roof protects you from the elements, keeping your home comfortable and its contents safe. And yet somehow, despite all of this, we forget to maintain our roof until it starts to leak. Pooled water from a roof leak is detrimental to your home, but so is moisture from a damaged or faulty roof, weakening insulation, and ill-fitting ventilation.
Choosing between roof repair versus a roof replacement should be a decision based on reliable information provided by a reputable roofing contractor. This information is key to saving money when it comes to home improvement matters, like roof repair or replacement. When faced with an old or damaged roof, you will ultimately have to decide whether to patch it or replace part or all of your roof.
Calling roof repair and replacement professionals will help you to determine the extent of roof damage and together you can assess whether or not you need to repair or replace your roof.
So, what warrants a roof repair? And when should you prepare for a roof replacement?
How often do I need a new roof?
The life span of your roof depends on the material used but, in general, a roof can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years. For instance, the most commonly used roofing material, asphalt shingles, typically last 10 to 20 years. Other materials may last longer, and consideration must be made for your home’s environment, ventilation, and climate. If you live in an area without many trees, you are probably exposed to more wind which can shorten the lifespan of asphalt shingles.
A good way to keep track of the age of your roof is to maintain a home improvement record book. Take time to review your home improvement record periodically to keep on top of when maintenance, assessments, or repairs were completed, and estimated timelines for when required maintenance is due.
If you purchased your home without knowledge in regard to the age of the roof, it may be useful to hire a roofing contractor or home inspector to inspect it and make an age assessment based on its current quality and construction. An inspector can identify the age of your roof, as well as any issues that are in need of attention.
Repairing My Roof
If your roof has suddenly been damaged by a storm, animals, or your relatively new roof has suddenly sprung a leak, you may be a candidate for roof repair. In fact, your homeowner’s insurance may cover the repair cost. This is because most all-peril home insurance policies will cover roof repair or replacement when the damage is caused by an accident or act of nature.
Wind-torn or damaged shingles can be easily replaced. New shingles slip easily into places where damaged shingles were removed as long as there is no structural damage to the roof or home. Structural damage is damage that affects the integrity of your home- visibly noted by a sagging roof, bowed ceilings, and tilted door frames or windows.
A patch repair requires great care to match the color of the patched shingles to the existing roof. The color difference may not mean anything to you if you will be living in your house for a long period of time, but it may impact the value of your home if you are planning to sell in the new future.
Prevention is critical to the health of your roof. Regular maintenance like cleaning the gutters, trimming potentially threatening tree branches (tree branches that are hanging over parts of your house or likely to fall), flashing inspection, and moss removal will pinpoint possible structural and roof-related issues that will warrant repair or the total or partial replacement of your roof.
Should you miss a hidden leak in your roof, there are telltale signs in your home that indicate a problem. Watch for watermarks on the ceilings and walls, peeling paint, sagging roof, and missing or broken roof tiles.
In an emergency situation, we are able to put a tarp or patch on a roof. Most homeowners' insurances will cover it.
How do I know if I need to replace my roof?
There are a number of signs that indicate that your roof is in need of replacement.
When your roof has presented any of the following signs, leaks are imminent and it is time to call a roofing contractor.
Shingles are curling: If your shingles are curling at the edges or the middle shingles are pulling away from the roof, you have signs of disintegration. Your shingles will eventually become brittle and vulnerable to the wind, encouraging potential leaks (if you aren’t already experiencing leaks or other issues).
Shingles are missing granules: From a distance, shingles that have lost a significant amount of granules will look as though they have dark patches on them. Your shingles should remain waterproof up to this point, but UV rays will begin to damage the affected shingles. If your roof is aging, and your shingles look like this, it is time for a roof replacement. It is important to note that asphalt shingles will lose granules from normal wear and tear, and a little granule loss (even on a newly installed roof) is normal. If you find what looks like a full pot worth of coffee grounds in your gutters, this is a sign of premature granule loss, and it is time to call a roofing company.
Shingles have blown off your roof: Once you start to see shingles littering your yard it means that your shingles are curling, dried, and cracked and your roof is in bad shape.
Moss has grown on the shingles: A little bit of moss growth in a localized area of your roof is not always an indicator of needing a new roof, but moss all over the roof for a long period of time indicates that your shingles are damaged and the moss is most likely growing underneath the shingles and weakening their structure.
Obvious major damage to the roof: After a storm with high winds or destructive hail or lightning, you may have too much damage to your roof, no matter the age, and require a new roof.
A good rule of thumb to determine whether or not you need a total roof replacement is assessing if more than 10 percent of the total square footage of the roof is damaged, we replace it.
If you find one or more of the above signs on your roof, it is time to call a roofing contractor for a new roof. You can also consider repairing the roof yourself, but hiring a professional contractor will ensure that the job is done right.
What is a partial roof replacement?
Partial re-roofing is one option that you can explore if your roof is only damaged in a confined area. This is most likely the case if your roof damage stems from storm damage.
Partial roof replacement can cost less than a full roof replacement, but that is not always the case. A partial roof replacement costs more per square foot, and in order to re-create a roof that looks smooth and cohesive, your roofing contractor may have to take costly measures to assure this happens.
Additionally, if your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, a partial replacement is cost-prohibitive when you consider that you will have to pay labor and materials again when the rest of the roof needs to be replaced.
How do I know if I need a new roof?
If you are unsure about replacing or repairing your roof, it is a good idea to bring in a professional roofing contractor to assess the extent of the damage and make a recommendation.
A professional roofing company will have the expertise and experience to determine the next step for your roof. Of course, if your roof is brand new and relatively damage-free, you will want to consult the roofing company to see if the roof can be salvaged.
When looking for an experienced roofing contractor to determine whether you are a candidate for roof repair or in need of a full replacement, call Champion Exteriors.
Champion Exteriors has over 80 years of experience in roofing and exteriors, providing South Jersey with quality workmanship and superior knowledge of the roofing industry.
The cost of a new roof for your home can seem overwhelming, but proper maintenance and hiring a knowledgeable roofing contractor like Champion Exteriors to provide repairs will prolong the life of your roof.
If you have any questions or want to discuss your roof, contact Champion Exteriors today!