How to know when to replace a roof

To repair or replace, that is the question 

It’s a perennial question roofers are asked about all the time. How do I know when to replace a roof and when to repair it? After all, when it comes to roof repair jobs the answer can be several thousand dollars apart. 

Part of the answer can be found in your roof’s age. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your roof. 

Ask a roofing contractor and though some people have better luck than others and some had their initial roof built to greater specifications but the answer is generally between 25 and 30 years. 

Naturally, a typical roofing company would clean up at the bank if every roofing job called for a replacement but then they would lose a lot of business to a more honest roofer.

The plain fact is that if your roof is significantly under its sell-by date, and the damage is confined to a small area, generally a repair rather than a replacement is in order.

Compliance to current building codes 

Another reason for getting a replacement is compliance with current building codes. The plain fact is that some houses have out-of-code roofs with multiple layers of shingles for example, and though you may not be tagged by the local building inspector, should you decide to sell your home expect to pony up for a new roof first or make major selling concessions.

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Damage beyond mere repair 

If a house has roofing problems beyond 30 percent of the roof, say a tree came crashing down on your house, then 9 times out of 10 it will be more economical and practical to get a roof replacement rather than to attempt to repair it. 

Your home went through a natural disaster 

If mother nature brought a hurricane or a tornado to your neighborhood, chances are great that there is structural damage deeper than mere cosmetic repair of shingles.

A professional roofing contractor is your best reference point but after a hurricane or tornado, most will recommend a roof replacement.

The good thing though is many people have a degree of insurance to cover it. 

The difference between repair and replacement are negligible 

There are many situations where the costs between repair and roof replacement are negligible. In this case, you will always want to go for a roof replacement. 

A new roof with a new look 

Sometimes a roof can be repaired but homeowners elect to go with a replacement roof both because they get the peace of mind of having a new roof, with a guarantee to boot, but they also get a chance to modernize the look of their home. 

Both these elements come into play when a homeowner decides to sell their house.

Reasons to go with repair rather than a replacement 

There are a number of reasons why a repair makes more sense. As already stated, if the defects in your roof are minor there is no necessity of going with a full-blown replacement. 

Another reason to go with a repair rather than a replacement is if money is tight. A replacement may just not be in the cards for the family budget right now, so no need to feel ashamed about it.

Still another reason for a repair rather than a replacement is maintaining the architectural integrity of the home. Some classic houses are designed with a unique and classic intensity that is hard to replace with a new roof. Assuming the damage is not too bad, homeowners with such houses are better off getting them repaired.

In addition, there may be extremely short deadlines to work with and decide whether to repair or replace. Believe it or not, depending upon the season, your typical roofing firm may be scheduled out 4 to 6 weeks in advance to do a complete roof replacement.

If you need workmen to come out tomorrow or the day after to your house to start working, then you will usually need to go with a repair job. 

Another consideration is when your roof was recently replaced, and by recently we mean in the last three years. Chances are you have a substantial investment in that roof along with a guarantee as well.

For the short term, however, until the roofing company can get out there and make good on your guarantee, you have important things in the home to protect.

Get a contractor out there to minimal repairs until the roof can be completely looked at by the original contractor.

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