Repair or Replace Your Roof? Here's How to Decide

damaged roof in need of repair or replacement

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As a barrier that keeps us protected from the sun, rain, wind, snow, and extreme temperatures, roofs are an integral part of any building. Without this structure on top of your home, the interior of any residential or commercial space will deteriorate in no time. 

Plus, if the roof is not in good condition, you have to deal with leaks, pest infestations, mold and mildew, higher heating and cooling bills, and even problems with resale.

Fortunately, roofs are created to last for many years. But, what should you do when unexpected disasters and normal wear-and-tear inflicts damages on your roof? It may be impossible to tell whether you need to repair or replace the roof, especially without the proper knowledge about roofing. 

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll discuss the decision-making process behind repairing or replacing your roof from an expert’s perspective.  

To ensure that you’re getting proper advice for your specific situation, we can also provide you with a free roof inspection. There’s no obligation and no cost to you and we’ll be able to advise you correctly once we’ve inspected your roof.

With that said, here are a few things to consider to help you decide whether to get a roof repair or roof replacement.

What's Involved in Roof Repair?

professional roofer fixing a roof

For minor or moderate damage, a roof repair may suffice to resolve your problems. This home improvement process can restore your roofing system and even extend the life of an older roof. 

It’s a project that nearly every homeowner deals with at some point in their life. However, even if the damages seem easy enough to DIY, it’s always better to hire a qualified roofing company like RoofClaim.com to ensure it’s properly fixed.

Instead of tearing down the whole roof to replace it, roof repair involves working on a small, isolated portion of your roof. Depending on the type of damage you’re facing, the repair process may include patching up holes and small gaps or replacing damaged or missing shingles and other materials. Of course, you or a qualified contractor will have to spot and determine your roofing problem first before repairing it.

When inspecting a roof, you can take a pair of binoculars and scan the structure for any problems from the ground. If you see any broken or missing shingles, punctures or holes, nail pops, cracked flashing, or granule loss, then you have roofing issues that certainly need to be addressed. 

If you want to ensure every nook and corner of your roof is examined thoroughly, consider getting a free, professional roof inspection from RoofClaim.com.  We offer traditional inspections, drone-based inspections, and a full assessment report and review. We can also provide guidance with an insurance claim should you need to involve your homeowner’s insurance.

Once the roof inspector determines the extent of the issues, here are some things you should expect:

  • A smooth insurance claim process: At Roofclaim.com, our team works with, and not against, insurance companies. If you carry insurance that covers roof damage, we guide you through the entire inspection and insurance claim process.
  • A detailed contract: After the insurance company gives the green light, we provide you with a contract detailing the work it will involve, including the scope of work, a timeline, and contact information, and pricing. 
  • A building permit: Next, we’ll acquire the necessary building permit to start the project. Permits can also include HOA approvals.
  • Home preparation: Before we begin work, we take the necessary steps to protect your property. We put tarps on the ground for the dump zone and cover your landscape for protection.
  • Actual roof repair: Once everything is safe and ready, we begin fixing your roof.
  • Clean-up: Repairing a roof is a messy job. After the work is done, we remove any debris from your property.  

What's Involved in Roof Replacement?

a roof being replaced

When you’re repairing a roof, you’re only fixing a small part of the structure. But if you’re replacing it, you’re replacing the entire visible area. This home improvement process requires you to strip off everything to expose the deck before installing the new roof and may involve repairs to sheathing, rafters, and trusses. 

Since it’s a lot more work, a roof replacement is usually more expensive upfront than a repair service. However, there are instances where a new roof may be able to help you save money in the long run.

Also, you’ll want to get insurance involved when your roof is damaged by extreme weather, including tornadoes, hail, and straight-line winds as coverage will play a role in determining whether your roof gets repaired or replaced. 

You must also consider getting a new roof when you notice it starting to sag. It’s a severe problem and a warning sign that your roof is at risk of collapsing.

The roof replacement process is complex and involves more steps than a roof repair. It takes many roofing contractors three to four days or longer to finish a moderately-sized roofing project. At RoofClaim.com, we’ve been able to cut that down to one day in most cases, especially if you’re choosing shingle roofing.

Just like roof repair, a replacement also involves a comprehensive inspection. A roofer will carefully examine the extent of damage to see if a repair is sufficient or full-on replacement is the ideal choice.

After the contractor notes all the issues on your roof, they will proceed with the steps of replacing a roof, including: 

  • Removing the old roofing: Once your property is protected, we will remove all the old shingles or roofing material to inspect the wood decking.
  • Roof inspection: Next, we’ll inspect the deck for any weakened wood, rot, or mold that may not be obvious upon the first inspection.
  • Preparing the deck: After the inspection, we will lay down drip edges along the eaves, ice, and water shield around the chimney, vents, and roof valleys, and install heavy-duty roofing felt on the roof deck.
  • Installing the new roof:  Next, we’ll start laying out new roofing materials, starting from the bottom up to overlap the materials properly. We will then install the roof covering, including ridge cap, flashing, and ridge vents.
  • Cleanup and final inspection: Our job isn’t complete until we remove all waste and debris from the site. We will also perform a final inspection to ensure everything meets your complete satisfaction.

Roof Replacement vs. Re-Roofing

Some homeowners confuse roof replacement with re-roofing. While both home improvement projects restore your roofing system and give it new shingles, the two have distinct differences. 

Any severe damage on the roof and decking under the roof, such as mold growth, massive gaps, missing shingles, soggy shingles, or serious leaks, will usually require a full roof replacement. However, if your roof only has one layer of shingles and has minor damages or leaks, then it may be a candidate for re-roofing.

When it comes to roofing projects, re-roofing is the simplest and cheapest way to restore a roof’s appearance. Unlike roof replacement, it doesn’t involve extensive time, labor, or materials. That’s because this home improvement project doesn’t require you to dismantle any parts of the roof. You only have to place the new shingle overlay or roofing material on top of the old, worn ones, as long as you are able to match the old with the new.

But since you’re just covering up the damages, re-roofing doesn’t last as long as a roof replacement. It only offers a temporary barrier to prevent leaks. Moreover, since you won’t be able to examine the deck, there’s no way for you to know if any damages exist underneath.

How to Decide Between Roof Repair or Replacement

Unlike giving your room a fresh coat of paint or your cabinets a new finish, repairing or replacing your roof are both large home improvement projects that should be carefully considered. You must choose the appropriate process to ensure your roof is in optimum condition while getting your money’s worth.

No one wants to fill those damaged spots with new shingles only to find out the problem runs deeper. There is no point in tearing down the whole roof and spending a chunk of money from your savings if minor repairs would do the trick. Before you decide which is the best way to solve your roof dilemma, there are various factors to keep in mind.

Roof Age

older roof with discolored spots

While roofs are durable and built to protect you against the elements and extreme weather, nothing lasts forever. Every roofing material has its lifespan or sell-by date, which you can use to indicate when to replace a roof. For example, asphalt roofing shingles typically only last for two decades.

Meanwhile, clay roof tiles and metal roofing materials can take much longer to wear down. Once your roof’s lifespan is almost over, it will start to deteriorate and show signs of aging. Replacing the whole roof rather than repeatedly paying for repairs is usually a better investment.

Pro-tip: Want to learn more about the different types of roofing materials and how long they last? Check out our articles about tile roofing and shingle roofing to learn more. 

Roof Condition

The next thing to consider is the condition of your roof or the extent of its damage. It might have simply deteriorated in appearance or suffered extreme physical damage. In some cases, the damage to your roof may be too overwhelming for a repair to work. For example, a tree might have fallen on your roof, causing several large holes that a repair can’t fix. 

If it’s minor to moderate damage isolated in a small part or covers 30 percent of your roof, you may be able to remedy it with a roof repair. However, the extent of some damages might not be obvious, especially if the problem is underneath. Working with an experienced and professional roofing company like RoofClaim.com can give a thorough inspection and is the best decision.

Roof Area Affected

The affected area can also help you determine whether it's better to repair or replace the roof. If the damage is isolated or limited to a small area, a roofing company may be able to repair it. For example, if you notice a leak over your bedroom or dining room, there’s a chance you have a minor hole on top of that area.

Any type of damage confined to a small space can usually be repaired and patched up, so there’s no need to invest in a new roof. But if the damage affects more than 30 percent of your roof, it is better to replace the whole roof. 

How Long You Plan to Stay in Your Home

home for sale

Many homeowners decide to invest in several home improvement projects to increase the value of their property. One of the most popular choices is a roofing system improvement. However, if you plan to sell your home and bump up its value, you will have to consider the timeline. Some situations call for an immediate roofing upgrade.

If you’re starting a job in another city, then you will likely have to move immediately. A full roof replacement might not be the ideal choice since this project often takes time. Depending on the size of your roof, how complex it is, the weather, and other factors, roofing companies might take three to five days to finish it. 

While Roofclaim.com typically finishes most roof replacements in a day, filing claims, pulling permits, and obtaining other approvals can take up to 20-30 days. If you have strict time constraints, a roof repair might be sufficient to ensure everything is in good condition.

Do You Have a Viable Insurance Claim?

insurance claim

The cost of replacing or repairing your roof can reach a staggering price that can go up to thousands of dollars. Of course, this will depend on the size of your roof, the extent of damage, and your location. That’s why people carry homeowners’ insurance that can cover the cost of various home problems.

Each home insurance policy is different, but it usually includes your roof and the cost it takes to replace or repair it. However, the payment may only cover damages that result from acts of nature or sudden accidents. Most insurance companies won’t pay to repair or replace roofs that deteriorated due to neglect or natural wear-and-tear.  

When you work with RoofClaim.com, you get the added benefit of working with experts with years of experience and knowledge dealing with insurance claims. We are available to guide you through the whole process and communicate with the insurance company to ensure everyone is on the same page. To help you get the best possible outcome and coverage, we also provide comprehensive, free roof inspections backed by professional assessment reports.

Pros and Cons of Roof Repair

A roof repair project isn’t always the ideal choice in some situations. To help you weigh your options properly, let’s take a look at their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of roof repair:

Pros:

  • Roof repairs are more affordable.
  • It doesn’t take long to finish repair projects.
  • They can help extend the lifespan of your roof.

Cons:

  • When replacing a few shingles, it may be difficult to match their colors with the original pieces. These repairs may affect the aesthetic value of your roof and lead to a less desired curb appeal.
  • Poor patches and workmanship can lead to more problems.
  • It can mask underlying problems.

Pros and Cons of Roof Replacement

Compared to a roof repair project, replacing a roof is an even bigger home improvement investment. To give you a balanced opinion, here are the pros and cons of roof replacement:

Pros:

  • It addresses all roofing problems, even the ones hidden underneath the shingles.
  • A new roof can help you save money in the long run.
  • It can increase curb appeal.
  • It can improve energy efficiency and reduce utility bills.
  • A new roof will last longer than a repair.

Cons:

  • Renovating your whole roof will require more materials, time, and labor.
  • It’s a more expensive project.
  • A roof replacement project can take longer to finish than a repair.

The Bottom Line: Deciding to Repair or Replace Your Roof

Now that you have the scoop on roof repair vs roof replacement, you probably realize how important an inspection is to assess your individual roof situation. We encourage you to schedule a free inspection with us so we can inspect your roof, identify its true condition, and suggest and offer the best approach to solve your individual roofing issues. 

It’s easier to let a professional make this decision for you and there’s no cost to you, so it’s a win-win. If you have questions prior to scheduling an inspection, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help!

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