No roof lasts forever. If you’re a homeowner, the time will come when you’ll have to ask yourself whether or not your roof is due for replacement. This is a question where time is of the essence: replace too soon and you’ll waste money and a perfectly fine roof; replace too late and you’ll risk the structural integrity of more than just your roof.
So when should you choose roof repair over replacement, and vice versa? Asking yourself these four questions should make the decision easier:
Question #1: How old is your roof?
Most roofs are rated to last at least 25 years. That’s a decent length of time for something exposed to so much abuse, and you can stretch a roof’s service life even further with routine maintenance. Still, deterioration is inevitable. Routine care slows down the effects of age, but will not save your roof from ever needing replacement.
Here are the average lifespans of some of the most popular roofing materials:
If your roof is nearing or is past the end of its service life, be extra critical of visible signs of damage. Generally speaking, you can get away with repairs if the damage is localized. But if you start to notice leaks, water stains, or missing, cracked, or curling shingles in more than a handful of spots, it may be time to replace your roof.
Question #2: How much can you afford to spend?
Let’s be honest: for the average American homeowner, budget is a big factor when it comes to home improvement decisions. There are times when roofs in urgent need of replacement only get repaired because there just isn’t enough money for a new roof. But consider this: even if it costs more upfront, replacing a roof at the right time is always the wiser choice as it offers more long-term value for money.
Here are the numbers to prove that you save more money on a full roof replacement than on piecemeal repairs: repairing one side of a four-sided hip roof will cost you around $2,800, while replacing the entire roof will cost roughly $9,000, or just $2,250 per side. Fixing one side at a time will end up costing you $2,200 more than if you were to spring for a complete reroofing when it’s called for.
Question #3: Are mismatched roof materials a deal-breaker for you?
Your roof is the crowning glory of your home. It’s easily the first thing people notice on most houses. Because of this, inconsistencies on roofs—the unfortunate result of some repairs—are fairly easy to spot. Just how big a difference there will be on your roof post-repair will depend on the materials used.
While this issue is mostly aesthetic, it can really hurt curb appeal and your home’s resale value. If this is a deal-breaker for you, then a replacement may be the best solution.
Question #4: Is it really beyond repair?
Bad weather can still get the best of even the most sturdily built roof. Sometimes you can patch things up, sometimes you can’t. This is a case where a thorough roof inspection is non-negotiable. You may actually end up surprised at the extent of roof damage that can be resolved without replacement.
Every roof is different. You might think that a visual inspection would be enough to tell you whether your roof is done for, but a closer inspection by a reliable and experienced roofing contractor, like Chase Construction North West, would give you a more accurate assessment of its current condition. Don’t hesitate to ask your roofer about your options. Be honest about your concerns, whether it be financial, aesthetic, or functional. At the end of the day, what matters is that you get to choose what’s truly best for you and your roof.
Gary Powers is the man behind Up and Above Contractors, LLC, a home improvement company that has been serving residents and businesses in New Jersey, Sussex, Warren, and Morris Counties since 1993. He uses his 20 years of experience in the home improvement and construction industry to deliver reliable and professional service to his clients.