To repair or replace — for many homeowners, the decision isn’t easy. On one hand, opting for short term repairs might allow you to extend your roof’s lifespan and give you more time to financially prepare for a full roof replacement. After all, making such a large investment before you need to can actually cost you more. On the other hand, repair costs can add up quickly, and depending on the age and condition of your roof, you may be delaying the inevitable and risking damage to the rest of your home. Structural damage caused by a failing roof can be more expensive than the roof replacement itself.
While the answer isn’t always straightforward, making smart choices about the timing of roof repairs and roof replacements is the key to saving money and increasing your home’s value. Below are six factors to consider if you’re trying to decide between short term repairs or a full roof replacement:
1. The Condition Of Your Roof
Your roof’s overall condition is the first thing to consider when deciding if a full roof replacement is necessary. Visual signs of structural problems can indicate potentially dangerous issues, and these will need resolved immediately. If your roof is drooping or appears wavy, or if the peak of the roof is no longer following a straight line around the ridge, a roof replacement is needed as soon as possible.
Additionally, below are some less obvious signs that your roof may not be in great shape. If these issues are confined, then you may be able to get by with repairs in the short term. If they’re widespread, a roof replacement is likely necessary.
- Curling, buckling, or warped shingles
- Missing shingles
- Areas of moss
- Granules in the gutter
- Water isn’t draining
- Loose nailheads
2. The Age Of Your Roof
Your roof’s age and materials can be a good indicator as to whether it’s time for a roof replacement. Asphalt shingles typically last between 20 and 30 years, depending on the type and quality. More durable materials, such as slate or concrete tiles, or metal roofing can last well over 50 years. If your materials are reaching the end of their lifespan, then it may be time to upgrade your roofing system.
3. The Cost Of The Repair
Oftentimes, getting a quote or estimate on repair costs will help make the decision for you. If the repair costs are comparable to the cost of a full roof replacement, or if you’ve had to pay repair costs several times over the last few years, then a roof replacement is a no-brainer. While a full roof replacement may cost you more upfront, it might be cheaper than ongoing repairs.
4. How Long You’re Planning To Live In The House
If you’re not planning to move anytime soon, it might make sense to spring for a full roof replacement as this will save you from ongoing repair costs over the next several years. New roofing materials will last longer, perform better, and prevent a lot of headaches over the next several years. A new roof will also help prevent cooler air from escaping your home during hot summers, which will ultimately reduce your cooling costs.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to sell, you most likely won’t be able to recover your entire roof replacement investment in the sale price. In this case, it may make sense to simply repair any damaged areas, so long as the rest of your roof is in good shape.
5. The Size And Location Of The Leak
The size, location, and severity of a leak can be a good indication as to whether it’s time for a full roof replacement. If a leak is small, and damage is isolated to a specific area of the leak, then you can likely get by with short term repairs. However, if leaking is frequent and widespread, it may be time for a roof replacement.
6. Your Neighbors Are Getting Roof Replacements
Your neighbor’s roofing activity could be a sign that your roof needs work as well. If you notice reroofing taking place on other neighborhood homes of similar age, this could signal that your roof is due to be replaced in the near future. If your neighbors are seeking roof replacements or repairs following a severe storm with large hail, chances are your roof may have some issues too, and you should call a contractor to come check it out.
Partial Reroofing May Be An Option
In some cases your roof may have significant damage, but the issue may be confined to a particular area. If this is the case, partial reroofing may be an option as well; however, this strategy comes with downsides. While a partial reroofing may save you thousands compared to a full replacement, it actually costs more on a per square basis. Additionally, if you have multiple layers of roofing materials, a partial reroofing may create unevenness.
If your roof is old, you may just want to elect for a full replacement rather than attempting to piecemeal the repairs overtime.
An Experienced Contractor Can Help You Decide
While the guidelines above can serve as guidance as to whether your home is due for a roof replacement, only an experienced, certified roofing contractor can tell you for sure. Your roofing contractor should be able to estimate your roof’s remaining lifespan, and tell you whether your roof’s issues can be resolved with repairs or if a full replacement is needed. Always work with a contractor who is patient, takes the time to explain the situation, and thoroughly answers all of your questions.
Finding a contractor that you trust is key to determining the best time to reroof. If you don’t have a good contractor, the best way to find one is to ask friends, family, and neighbors for referrals. Also check online reviews, and be sure to conduct a face to face interview before hiring a contractor to do any work. Don’t forget to ask about insurance and certifications. Remember, the cost of a bad roof replacement can be much greater than the cost of a good roofer.
At the end of the day, determining when to replace your roof isn’t an exact science. Keep in mind, roofing repairs are more affordable, but they are only a short term solution. As your roof ages and the need for repairs increases, a good replacement will ultimately save you in the long run. Depending on the type of materials you choose, a new roof can last decades.
If you’re trying to decide whether to repair or reroof in the Oviedo area, contract us at Native Building Services today. Our five step process will help you make the best decision for your home.