How to Decide to Repair or Replace Your Roof

Home maintenance versus home improvement is the primary question when it comes to maintaining with roof repairs or deciding to invest in a new roof. There are a few things to consider before choosing whether to repair your existing roof or to replace it with a new roof. Factors in this decision will include the age of your current roof, the type of damage, and if there are already water leaks coming thru the roof.

Aging Roofs May Need to be Replaced instead of Repaired.

Different types of roofs have different life expectancy, so the type of roof you have, and when it was installed will play a major roll in the decision to repair or replace. For this part of the decision process, you will need to know what kind of roof materials were used and the life expectancy of the materials when they were installed. Slate roofs, for example, can last up to 100 years, and this has been true for quite some time. Older shingle roofs had a typical life expectancy of 30 years, whereas many newer shingle roofs can be expected to last up to 50 years. Spanish tile, a popular roofing choice in Florida, can be expected to last 50 years as well.

If you are not sure when your roof was installed, checking for previous roofing permits at your property address is a good place to start. In Florida, these permits can be found on file with your County’s Permitting office. Usually, you will have been informed as to the age of the existing roof when you purchased your home, but if you are not sure, the information should be there to be found.

When to Repair Instead of Replace

If your roof is at it’s typical life expectancy age, it is often a good investment to choose the home improvement option instead of the maintenance option. One reason to replace an old roof for home improvement purposes is simply to increase the resale value of your home. Another reason is that repairs may not be efficient and could become a trend. Patching up shingles here and there while risking the possibility of leaks which could cause major damage to your home, is not likely the best decision when your roof has already held up thru its expected age. Finally, an older roof is going to have some fading, and other normal wear and tear even if there is no major damage, so matching up the shingles for style and color will be very difficult.

Basically, if your roof is old and has lasted thru it’s expected time, it is often best to replace the roof even if you have no leaks. Just because there are no leaks yet does not mean that the next major storm won’t be the one that finally put enough strain on your old shingles to cause leaks. Older shingles also do not hold up to wind as well, because the sun, rain, and harsh Florida weather conditions do eventually make your shingles become brittle and more easily broken during storms.

If your roof is not too old, but has been damaged

If you have a somewhat new roof, or one that is still within it’s expected roof lifetime, and you are trying to decide if you should repair or replace, then you must examine the damage. It is always best to have a roofing professional come out to inspect your roof, even if you can see the damage yourself. This is because roof damage can sometimes be minor and require only a repair. Before deciding to “patch” or repair your roof, it is important to make sure the damage does not penetrate the layers beneath your shingles or tiles. Often, if the extent of damage has penetrated layers, you will have already noticed leaks making their way down to your interior ceiling. When this is the case, especially if there are several leaks along with water damaged wood and drywall, it is likely that you will need to have your roof replaced.

Certainly, you can opt for repairing a few patches of roof where leaks have sprung. But realistically, the patch/repair option is best suited for roof damage which is new, hasn’t broken thru the lower layers of roof, and has not yet been exposed to excessive rain which has penetrated and caused leaks. That is why it is very important, the moment you suspect roof damage, to call a Licensed Roofing Contractor to have the damage inspected. If it can be repaired, then it is often able to be repaired the same week you call, and thereby saving you thousands of dollars versus the full replacement cost.

Have a licensed roofing contractor check your roof

Having to replace a roof due to damage before the life expectancy of the roof has been reached can be a little upsetting. We get that. Nobody wants to spend money on replacements before they are supposed to need them. That is why our roof inspectors will always be honest and upfront with you in regards the damage, or lack of extensive damage to your roof. If repairs can be made, you will get a fair quote. Additionally, if you have a warranty on your existing roof, we will be able to help you determine if the damage is within the coverage of your warranty.

Again, it is important to consult with an experienced, licensed roofing contractor when trying to decide if you should repair or replace your roof. Most contractors have additional crews and workmen who specialize in doing small roofing repairs, so there is no need to risk trying to “do-it-yourself” since you don’t have to. If you decide you want your roof replaced, then make 100% sure you hire a licensed roofing contractor. If your last roof didn’t last as long as you had hoped, you may want to consider the lifetime roof warranty available for ATLAS/Pinnacle roofs as you make this decision.