Roof Replacement or Repair? Here’s How to Decide
The roof is a barrier that protects your home from extreme temperatures, rain, snow, sun, and wind. Without it, the interior would deteriorate in no time.
When a roof performs as expected, it's not something you think about much. But when it's not in good condition, you may be bombarded with higher utility bills, leaks, mold/mildew, pest infestations, or resale problems.
Fortunately, most roofs last for years, but what should you do after an unexpected disaster or normal wear and tear damage? Proper knowledge makes it easier to tell whether your roof needs repair or replacement.
This article will discuss the decision-making process behind roof replacement or repair from an expert's perspective.
What's a Roof Repair?
A roof repair may suffice for minor or moderate damage. Repairs can restore your roofing system and even extend its life.
Instead of tearing down the whole roof, repair works on a small, isolated portion. Depending on the roof's damage, the repair process may replace damaged/missing shingles or patch small holes.
Roof repair is sometimes the superior choice. It has advantages and disadvantages, listed below.
Roof Repair Advantages:
Affordability (repair is more affordable than replacement)
Lifespan (repair extends a roof's condition)
Time (repair projects are shorter than replacements)
Roof Repair Disadvantages:
Aesthetic (it's not easy to match colors with original pieces)
Masking (repair can hide underlying problems within the roof's structure)
Workmanship (if done by an inexperienced contractor, poor patches cause additional problems)
What's a Roof Replacement?
Repairing a roof fixes a small part of the structure while replacing it exposes the deck before installation. Because of the additional labor, a roof replacement tends to be more expensive upfront than a repair.
However, a replacement requires a comprehensive inspection, just like a repair. A professional roofer examines the extent of damage to determine if repair is sufficient or if replacement is the ideal choice. Below are the common advantages and disadvantages of a total roof replacement.
Roof Replacement Advantages:
Appeal (home value and energy efficiency are improved)
Longevity (a new roof lasts longer than a repair)
Solutions (replacement addresses all problems, even those hidden underneath the shingles)
Roof Replacement Disadvantages:
Expense (an entire renovation requires more labor, material, and time)
Livability (construction debris and noises during replacement can be annoying to occupants and pets)
Time (replacements take several days longer for completion than a repair)
Roof Replacement vs. Recover Terminology
Most homeowners confuse "roof replacement" and "roof recover." Both home improvement projects restore your roofing system but have distinguishable differences.
Severe roof damage typically includes massive gaps, mold growth, missing shingles, soggy shingles, or serious leaks. Any severe damage to the roof or decking under it usually requires a roof replacement. A roof replacement removes the old covering, repairs damage, and installs a new one.
However, if your roof only has one layer of shingles or minor damage, it may be a candidate for a recover. Roof recover is the most simple and inexpensive way to restore your roof's appearance. It installs a new covering over an existing one without its removal.
Unlike a total replacement or repair, recover doesn't involve extensive labor, materials, or time because you're not dismantling any part of the roof. Recover places new shingle overlay or material over the old, preventing leaks with a more temporary barrier. Because it's just covering wear and tear, roof recovery systems last for a shorter time than roof replacement or repair would.
How do I Decide Between Roof Repair or Replacement?
A roof recovery system is like giving your room or cabinets a new coat of paint or finish. Roof repair or replacement, on the other hand, are large home improvement projects. You must carefully consider the process to ensure your roof stays in optimum condition and within your budget.
There's no point in tearing down and replacing the entire roof if minor repairs would solve the problem. Likewise, it would be pointless to spend the time and money repairing damaged shingles only to discover damage to the roof deck. Roofing professionals consider the following factors when determining if the roof requires repair or replacement.
Roofs are durable and built to last against the elements, but they don't last forever. All the material used to create a leak-proof system has a set lifespan, which indicates when replacement is needed. Asphalt shingles, for example, only last twenty years, while clay or metal last much longer.
Once a material's lifespan is almost over, it begins to show signs of aging and deterioration. If your roofing material is near the end of its recommended lifespan (or warranty), a total replacement is a better investment than years of repairs.
The next thing to consider is your roof's current condition. What is the extent of its damage? Has the roof simply declined in appearance, or did it suffer extreme physical damage?
Perhaps a tree fell over part of it during a particularly nasty storm, or the roof leaks heavily during every monsoon season. In these cases, the damage to your roof may be too extensive for a repair option.
If the damage is minor to moderate and covers less than 30% of your house, a roof repair may be best. The extent of damage isn't always apparent to the naked eye, so utilize an experienced roofing company to provide a thorough inspection and the best decision.
Many homeowners invest in home improvement projects to increase property value. A roof repair or replacement is a great way to add value and aesthetics to your home and may be necessary before listing it. You'll have to consider the timeline if you plan to purchase a home, increase its value, and resell it.
A complete roof replacement may not be ideal for home flips because it takes time. Depending on the roof's size, the complexity of damage, current weather conditions, and other factors, your contractor may take 3-5 days to complete the replacement.
Consider a roofing upgrade if you want to invest in your home's longevity but don't have strict time constraints. Filing claims, pulling permits, and obtaining HOA approvals can take up to a month. Sometimes a roof repair is all you need to ensure everything stays in good condition.
The costs associated with roof repair or replacement can be staggering. Of course, the final price entirely depends on your location, roof size, and damage extent. Most homeowners carry insurance to cover unexpected costs.
While every home insurance policy is different, most cover roofing claims. However, the insurance company may only cover damages resulting from acts of nature or accidents. Few pay for roof repair or replacement due to negligence or natural wear and tear.
Legacy Roofing is available to guide you through the insurance claim process. We provide comprehensive inspections and professional assessments to ensure you get the best coverage.
Deciding to Repair or Replace Your Roof?
Now that you understand the differences between roof repair and replacement, you may realize how important it is to assess the situation with a professional roof inspection. We encourage you to schedule an inspection with us so that we can suggest the best approach for your needs.
At no cost to you, an inspection from Legacy Roofing is a win-win situation. We’ve got you covered (literally and figuratively). With decades of experience in roof replacement and repair, Prescott's best roofing company is happy to help you through the process. Contact us today!