4 min read

How to Decide Between a Roof Repair or Replacement

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If you’ve received some roof damage, you’ll likely get in touch with a roofing company and have them inspect the roof. They should present you with their findings, and a recommendation for the work that needs to be done to get your roof back functioning as it should.

If you’re concerned about someone trying to upsell you, or exaggerate the damage on your roof, there are things that you can look for yourself to help you better understand any proposal of work, and how much you should expect to pay for it. Some of those include the condition and age of your shingles, your flashing, and your roof’s decking.

Once you’ve received the proposal for the repair and/or replacement, it will be up to you to decide the type of work you’re going to get done. If you’re struggling to figure out the answer to that question yourself, that’s what we’re here to help you with.

In this blog, we’re going to go over:

Alright, let’s get started!

Things to consider when deciding

The age of your roof

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The age of your roof is going to be one of the biggest factors you’ll have to consider as you’re deciding between a roof repair or a roof replacement. If your roof received some damage, but it has only been on your home for 5 years, there is a good chance that it will continue to function properly for several years to come after a successful repair is completed.

If your roof is reaching the end of its life, say, 20 years or so, then damage will be much more likely to occur, and more and more repairs will be necessary. Those costs, and headaches, will add up, so if your roof is reaching that advanced age, it may be worth it to spring for a full replacement, instead of leaving it more vulnerable to damage.

We’ll talk some more about the signs of an aging roof later, but you should be looking for things like heavy granule loss on your shingles, or worn out roof flashing to help you see if your roof is old enough to warrant a replacement.

Your budget

Regardless of what a roofer says your roof needs, or what it actually requires, you’ll only be able to get the work done that you can pay for. Luckily, most homeowners insurance policies will cover damage that your roof receives from a storm, and may even cover the cost of a full roof replacement if the damage is extensive.

But that being said, without insurance, roof replacements are very expensive, with asphalt shingle replacements costing anywhere between $8,000 and $20,000, most often around $12,000. That’s a lot of money for something you don’t get to use everyday.

Roof repairs can vary greatly in cost, as the reasons for them can be so different as well. We’ve got a blog all about the costs of different roof repairs, but in most cases you will be expecting to drop a couple thousand dollars to get a more significant repair done.

The future of your house

Depending on what you plan to do with your house in the future, that could also affect how you want to approach the task at hand.

For instance, if your roof is nearing the end of its life and sustains some damage, but you’re looking to sell your house in the next year or so, it’s not really your problem, right?


Having a damaged or old roof on your house will severely lower your home’s value and may lead to a buyer asking for the money to replace it as a part of the deal.

Additionally, having a new, properly installed roof can make your property much more attractive to good buyers, as it will be one less major project that they will have to do shortly after moving into the house.

How to find out what your roof needs

Surveying your shingles

On your roof’s shingles, you can look for a couple of common signs of age, and damage, which will help guide you on finding the right path forward for your roofing project.

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The main thing you’ll want to look for is any areas of shingle damage, or excessive wear. The spread and total area affected will be the determining factor for what project you need to have done. If the damage is confined to a pretty small area that can be addressed without needing to replace too large a portion of shingles, a repair will most likely be the option you need. If the whole side of the house has been damaged, though, a replacement is going to be a much more appealing option.

Another sign that you’d need a roof replacement, is if you’re seeing a large amount of shingle granules in your gutters. Granules are a mixture of rocks that make up the top layer of any asphalt shingle, providing protection against the elements for the interior layers of the shingle that hold it all together. As your roof ages, the granules will run off in increasing quantities, and you will likely be able to see it collect in your gutters. Some granule loss is normal, but once your roof starts to lose its grip, they will start to really run off in droves.

Checking on the decking

Weather Watch Installation Clean Roof Decking


Your roof’s shingles are attached to the frame of your house by multiple sheets of wood, which is what we call roof decking. The decking, under a solid, well maintained roof system, should stay dry and damage free. However, very often when a leak occurs on a roof, the first place it causes damage is in the roof decking.


This is problematic because once it becomes water damaged and weak, it will struggle to support the weight of your roof.

You can see the condition of your roof decking by getting in the attic and looking for dark, damp spots throughout. If there is a significant portion of your decking that has this kind of water damage, you’ll need to have a full roof replacement done to address the issue at it’s source.

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Picking out your penetrations

The last, but potentially most common area where roof leaks occur, is at your roof penetrations. "Penetration" is a catch-all term for anything that comes through your roof, be it a chimney, pipe, or attic vent.

Around these areas, roofers use metal flashing to cover the gap between the penetration and the roof. When the flashing becomes damaged however, they become a prime leak point for roofs. Typically, when damage occurs at these places, a repair is all that’s required to solve the issue, especially when it is only one point.

Looking to learn more about replacing your roof?

After reading this blog, hopefully you’ve been able to get a better idea of what your roof needs, and how to go about deciding if you need a roof replacement or repair!

If you want to learn more about roof replacements, check out our blog on that topic!

On Tops Roofing has been replacing and repairing roofs for Raleigh homeowners since 1991! Whatever your project requires, we’ve got the experience to handle it!

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