Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof? Consider These Factors First
A good friend of mine was recently faced with a tough decision about the condition of her roof and whether she should repair or place it. That got me thinking as to how to decide whether to repair or replace your roof. It’s a decision you need to research well before making. If you are faced with this question, here are some possibilities you need to consider first.
There is no denying the fact that replacing a roof is a huge expense for any homeowner, especially if it isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance. But when you stop to consider that it is the first line of defense between you and the exterior elements, maintaining a roof is an essential part of keeping your home safe.
There are times when repairs can extend the life of your roof, and others when it might just be throwing good money after bad. Before you make the decision to hire a roofing company to either put a bandage on the problem or rip off the bandage and start over, there are things that you have to consider in order to make the right choice.
The things that cause roof damage
There are a lot of things that add stress to your roofing material and can lead to gradual damage that may ruin your roof’s integrity. Things that can take their toll are:
- Wind – Wind can be incredibly destructive when it is really blowing. It can lead to shingles being lifted, which allows water to get underneath and to seep into the boards beneath the shingles, which can lead to rot of the underlayment. Once started, rot can do a whole lot of damage, and unfortunately, since it is on the roof, it isn’t easy to spot.
- Condensation – If your roof doesn’t have sufficient ventilation in the attic, it can cause a large discrepancy between the attic temperature and the roofing material, which can lead to condensation and moisture problems.
- Sun – Over time sun exposure can also affect your roofing material. It leads to gradual degradation in the strength and resilience of the roof.
- Snow and ice – If you live in a region where you experience snow and ice, it can lead to a freeze-and-unfreeze situation. That can put a whole lot of wear and tear on your roofing material, especially if you don’t have the proper gutter system to accommodate it.
- Rain – If you have shingles that are already damaged and you don’t know it, that can lead to water getting into your home via the attic, the walls, electrical system or insulation.
- Debris – If you have large trees that hang over your home, leaves and other seeds can get stuck on your roof and cause rotting, or damaged limbs can fall, leading to injury and damage to the roofing material.
When to replace
The biggest determination for whether you should repair or replace is going to be the extent of the damage and whether it is something that can be fixed, or if it is like a snag in a sweater that continues to unravel. These are some things that you should consider that might tell you it is time to start over anew:
- Water damage or moisture issues – Moisture and water are two of the most destructive forces to construction. If repairing the roof will do nothing to stop water and moisture issues, then it is time to just tear it off and start again. Changing out a shingle or two isn’t going to change the fact that you are going to end up with water damage and the potential for rot and mold.
- Damaged or missing shingles – If you just have a missing shingle or two, then it is okay to replace them; you probably don’t need to replace the entire roof. But if more than 30% of your roofing shingles are missing, then it is time to replace.
- Was there a recent storm or catastrophe? – If there was recently a storm in your area that caused a significant amount of damage, then you might be able to get your homeowners insurance to pay for your roof. It is much better to replace when you have the help and means to do so.
- Age – Even if you fix the roof, if it is nearing the end of its lifespan, then it is smarter just to redo it than to continue to throw money into repairs, knowing the inevitable is right around the corner. If it is a newer roof, you might want to see if repairs are under warranty.
Like many homeowners, we are always repairing, replacing, and improving our home. We even took out an insurance policy on all of our appliances to ensure we wouldn’t get hit with a huge repair bill when something broke – which things often do. It seems like something breaks on a monthly basis around here! And when faced with a huge decision like whether or not to repair or replace your roof you can’t take things lightly.
During hurricane Sandy, we had a few shingles blow off of our roof and it was a scary feeling. Thankfully, we were able to have them repaired easily, and the damage could have been far worse! Thankfully, we don’t have any large trees surrounding our home as they are planted in safe distances from our home. I know so many folks who have lost either part of their roof or all of it to a bad storm!
There’s also some good info on Bob Vila’s website too about whether or not you should repair or replace your roof that’s good reading as well. Remember, arming yourself with information is key when making this decision.
My friend is going to end up repairing her roof, which is good – or at least for now as they were advised they will have to replace it soon. She researched her options and was armed with good information before she made her decision. It really got me thinking about my roof and my siding too. In addition to losing some roof tiles, we lost some siding during Sandy, and any bad storm can give us a repeat performance!
No one wants to spend money if they don’t have to. When it comes to a roof, however, ignoring the need for a new one might end up costing you a whole lot more. To make the best decision about replacing or repairing consider all the above factors.
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