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Should I Get a Roof Repair or Replacement?

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One of the biggest decisions homeowners have to make regarding their roof is whether or not they want to get a roof repair, or a roof replacement.

It’s a difficult choice! A roof repair is typically much cheaper than a replacement, but for an older roof, or one that is more heavily damaged, it might be more economical to get a full replacement that prevents more repairs in the future.

So, in an effort to help homeowners like you figure out what will be the best move for your own home, we are going to go over everything you need to consider when making this decision.

Please note that every case is completely different, and the best way to know what’s best for your roof is to sit down with an experienced roofing company that you trust, and discuss your specific situation.

Alright, let’s get started!

Things to Consider When Deciding Between a Roof Repair or Roof Replacement

How Old is Your Roof?

old asphalt roof

One of the first things you should be considering when it comes to a new roof replacement, is the age of your current roof, and how much of its lifespan it has left. Three-tab asphalt shingles, for example, will likely last around 15-20 years, while architectural shingles will last around 30 years in good conditions.

If your roof is getting towards the end of its lifespan, a roofing company will likely suggest you look into getting a full roof replacement. If you choose to repair an older roof, you’ll likely need to keep getting repairs until your shingles are completely worn down and will need to be replaced anyway.

Older roofs are also harder to repair. As your shingles age, they lose the oils that make them pliable and resistant to tearing. When repairs are made to an old roof it is likely additional damage will be caused when trying to bend shingles up to remove nails. 

But if the home is relatively new, there’s a much smaller chance that the damage will be enough to warrant a full new replacement, and instead could be repaired more easily.

Is There any Extensive Roof Damage? or Structural Problem?

Another deciding factor between a repair or replacement is the extent of any damage that you are dealing with.

If you only have a small section of damaged shingles, and no damage to your roof decking, which is the layer of wood board that attaches your material to your roof, then you will likely be able to get away with replacing only the damaged shingles.

Rotted, and damaged roof decking

Once that decking underneath has water damage, however, now you’re talking about damage to your roof’s structure, and will require a much more intensive process. Those boards will need to be replaced as well as the material above them. This doesn’t mean a replacement is 100% necessary but raises the cost of a repair to the point you might consider a reroof. You might need a replacement if the decking damage is bad enough from multiple leaks, though.

Do You Plan to Sell the Home?

House for sale

If you’re planning on selling your home, there are a couple of other things you need to take into consideration while deciding between a roof repair or a roof replacement.

Chief among these is how the damage you are facing, and the fixes for it, will affect your home’s value. Leaving some roof damage not taken care of can cause your home’s value to suffer, as it is just more work for the potential buyer.

Roof Replacements can increase your home’s value by a pretty substantial amount, in a similar way to renovating your kitchen, or redoing your floors would. A roof replacement solves a problem that the buyer would not want to deal with after buying a new home, and provide them with the security of knowing that the roof won’t be a problem..

Roof repairs can definitely help minimize the impact that damage will have on your home’s value, but depending on the roof’s condition, it might not increase it by much.

How Does the Project Fit into Your Budget?

Last, but certainly not least, you need to consider your current budget, and how much you can reasonably afford. If you have homeowner’s insurance, the storm damage could be covered by your insurance, even up to the point of having the entire roof replaced.

Even still, if you aren’t ready and able to cover the cost of a roof replacement, a repair might be a good option for you. To help you figure out an estimate for your repair, check out our blog on the Most Common Roof Repairs in Raleigh.

As for how much those roof replacements cost, it can vary a lot, depending on the material you use, and how large, complex, and steep your roof is. We’ve also written a blog to help you estimate your own roof replacement! Though the range is pretty wide, we find that most roof replacements that we do fall around the $10,000 range.

Many homeowners who need a roof repair but cannot afford it use home improvement financing. Most reputable contractors offer some type of financing program that allows you to get the replacement you need even if you need some more time to pay for it. 

Reasons to Get a Roof Repair

A roof Repair

Now, for the main reasons you would want to get a roof repair:

  • They are less expensive
  • There isn’t enough damage to warrant a replacement
  • It’s quicker, and less disruptive to your daily life.
  • The problem isn't related to your shingles themselves.

You Need a Less Expensive Option

If you’re not able to, or don’t want to spend several thousand dollars for a roof replacement right now, I don’t blame you.

Roof replacements are expensive, and though they are usually worth it in the long run, that doesn’t mean that getting a repair is a bad decision for your situation, especially if the damage isn’t widespread, which we’ll talk about in the next section.

The Damage is Not Widespread, or Structural

We typically recommend roof repairs instead of replacements to homeowners whose roofs are only damaged in a smaller area, that hasn’t become a bigger deal across the roof, or caused damage to the roof’s structure.

If one of your roof’s penetrations becomes damaged, but the rest of the roof is in good shape, then you should be looking at repairing that part, but not replacing the whole roof.

It's a Quicker, Less Disruptive Fix

If a replacement isn’t absolutely necessary, and you are concerned about how much the project would disrupt your daily life, a repair might be the route for you. Repairs are typically much more simple, can be completed in a day, and don’t produce much debris.

If your roof is newer and is leaking from a pipe boot or other penetration, it’s likely you need only need a repair. 

Reasons to Get a Roof Replacement

A Roof Replacement

And finally, the main reasons you should opt for a roof replacement:

  • If your roof is at the end of its lifespan, or has sustained structural damage
  • It would provide security for years to come
  • If you are looking for a way to raise your home’s value

The Roof is Old, or the Decking is Damaged

Like we talked about toward the top of this article, if your roof is at the end of its life, then you should already be thinking about getting it replaced. Once that lifespan has passed, roofs will only have more wear during each storm that comes, further increasing the risk it leaks badly during a storm.

Similarly, if the decking is rotted or damaged, a roof replacement will likely be what is recommended to you by your roofing contractor. Decking can't be replaced without removing a decent section of the roof, and letting it sit with that damage can be dangerous to your home's structure.

You Want a Worry-Free Roof for Years to Come

Though repairs are a great way to fix the problems at hand, they won’t act as a preventative measure for future issues. As your roof ages, damage will occur more frequently, so you may need to continue getting it repaired as time passes. But, repairs are also much cheaper and usually a better option if your roof has plenty of life left.

However, if you decide to go for a replacement, you will greatly reduce the chance that you have to have more repairs in the next couple years. If your roofing contractor is certified by the manufacturer, they will also be able to offer strong warranties.

You Need a Boost to Your Home’s Curb Appeal and Value

As we talked about earlier in this blog, a roof replacement can do a lot more for increasing your home’s value than a roof repair can. Because of this, if you’re feeling like your house needs a new color or texture to finish its look, a roof replacement gives you the chance to do that.

Modern day asphalt and metal roofs come in a wide range of colors, and different textures that allow you to find the best fit for your personality and home. There’s also always the option of a slate, ceramic, or wood shake roof if you have a house that can hold them, and live in an area where they make sense.

Want to Talk With a Roofing Company?

Hopefully after reading through this blog, you are starting to feel more comfortable and confident in what you need from your roofing project.

Like we said at the beginning though, the best way to know what’s right for your home is to talk with an experienced, and trustworthy roofing company.

If you live in the Triangle region of North Carolina, reach out to us at On Tops Roofing using the “Contact Us” button below. We’ve been replacing and repairing roofs in the greater Raleigh area since 1991, and with over 15,000 roofs worked on, we are more than prepared for whatever your project throws our way.

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