Trying to decide between getting a roof repair or a roof replacement can get pretty tricky, especially if you’re close to needing a full roof replacement at some point in the near future. While that will ultimately be a decision that you’ll have to make, your roofing company will help advise you on what they think your roof needs to get the most life out of it, and best protection moving forward.
We’ve helped homeowners in the Raleigh, NC area through this process since we opened in 1991, so we’ve heard every question there is as far as how best to make the decision between getting a roof repair or a replacement. Very frequently, we’re asked about how much a given roof repair will help extend the life of the roof. In some cases, it’s a lot, but in others, not so much.
In this blog, we’re going to be going over:
Let’s get started!
Common Areas of Roof Damage
When we are called out to inspect and repair a roof leak, there are a couple of areas where, more often than not, the leak is coming from. These areas are: on your shingles, at your pipe boots, or at your flashing around a penetration.
Your shingles are the outermost part of your roof system, and as such, they are the first and strongest line of defense that your roof has to protect your home from debris and water. Unfortunately, this also leads to them taking a lot of damage from those elements, and becoming worn and torn over time.
The kinds of issues that we see on roof shingles usually stems from the roof having aged past a certain point. As asphalt roofs age, they will lose their protective layer of granules, and the sealant keeping them attached to the roof will become weaker. The rate at which this happens will depend upon your environment, as well as the kind of shingles installed on the roof. Three-tab asphalt shingles will probably get around 15 years depending on the conditions, while architectural shingles will usually get 25 years of solid life.
When harsh weather hits an area, we see a lot of older shingles blown off of the roof by high speed winds, or cracked by the impact of hail and debris.
Pipe boots are also a common spot for roof leaks to develop, as they are built to cover a hole in the roof where a ventilation pipe comes through the roof decking. These boots are usually made of metal, plastic, or rubber, and if they are damaged, it will allow water to easily slip through your roof. The rubber pipe boots are often what we see damaged these days, as they can dry out and crack open as a result of heavy sun exposure.
Flashing, which is a soft metal used to prevent water from slipping into the gap between the roof and a penetration or wall. This kind of material can be damaged by hail and debris, or rust and tear open, and is one of the more common places to find leaks.
How do Repairs prevent further damage?
If you can get your roof inspected and repaired quickly, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to avoid the major extent of the damage that you might have received otherwise. When one of the kinds of damage that we talked about earlier happens to your roof, a hole is opened up for water to get into your roof decking, which is where serious damage can occur.
Your roof decking consists of the wooden boards that attach your shingles to the structure of the house, and if this starts to get wet and rot, its ability to hold the weight of your roof will be severely weakened. This may make portions of your roof sag, and will increase the chance of a roof collapse, especially during storms where additional weight is added.
So, by getting your roof repaired quickly after damage occurs, you can really save yourself some trouble, and money, later on. The more your decking get’s damaged as well, the greater your chance of needing a full roof replacement. Decking can’t be replaced without tearing off the materials above it, and if you have to do that in large portions, the cost will be similar to that of a roof replacement, and that’s the option that will likely be recommended to you at that point.
By repairing your roof as damage occurs, your roof will be able to last the full extent of its lifespan, and potentially even longer if you take the right steps to maintain it.
Roof Maintenance tips to extend its life
So what are some of the things that you can do to make sure your roof gets that full life it deserves? Some of the biggest include: cleaning out your gutters frequently, keeping your roof clear of debris and any overhanging branches, and ensuring that your attic is properly ventilated.
For most homes, you should clean out your gutters twice a year, preferably after the fall season, once the leaves have dropped, and at some point during the spring, or early summer, when rains start becoming more frequent and heavier. Of course, this is all dependent on what climate you live in, and how many trees you have around your house. If your house is surrounded by foliage, you’ll need to clean them out much more frequently than someone who lives in the desert.
In that same vein, keeping your roof clear from leaves and debris will also help prolong its life. Debris often builds up in valleys and other intersections, and can trap water underneath it, wearing away at your shingles and potentially causing damage to the materials underneath that area.
You can limit the amount of stuff that gets on your roof, and in your gutters, by ensuring that you keep your branches trimmed short of hanging over your roof. This can also limit the risk of damage occurring if a branch were to fall onto your roof during a storm.
One area that may not be considered “roof maintenance,” but can drastically affect the lifespan of your roof, is your attic’s ventilation. If your attic doesn’t have the right amount of ventilation, then your roof will retain heat, which causes problems in a variety of ways. In the summer, that heat will wear down the sealant that attaches the shingles to the roof, and in the winter, the heat will cause condensation inside, which can create water damage in your roof decking.
Looking to Learn More about roof maintenance?
If your roof isn’t actively damaged, but what we’ve been talking about regarding maintenance interests you, check out our 7 Steps to Maintain Your Roof!
There you’ll see some of what we talking about here, but then some additional tips that will help you get the most out of the roof on your home!
On Tops Roofing has been helping Raleigh homeowners maintain and repair their roofs since 1991. With more than 15,000 On Tops Roofs in the area, we’ve got the experience to handle whatever roofing project you need!