Deciding which to go for between roof repairs vs. roof replacement isn’t an easy decision to make.
In most cases, you will need the guidance of an expert roofer to assist you with making a decision.
In my 25 years of experience in roof repairs and roof replacement, there are two ways I have always assisted my clients in making that decision.
Many clients do not have the time to participate in the assessment process, so they entrust the inspection, the decision, and the actual work to me.
However, I may not always be there at all times, so I prefer to teach my clients all they need to know about roof repairs or roof replacement.
That is why I will be talking about everything you need to know about roof repair and replacement in this guide.
So let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Roof repairs and roof replacement, what is it?
Before we discuss roof repair vs roof replacement, let’s talk about the main part of the roof – the shingles.
Understanding what shingles are would help us stay on the same page throughout this guide.
We are focusing on shingles because as of 2022, 90% of homes in the US use shingle roofs.
This comes as no surprise as these roofs are more affordable, the installation is easy, and they have top-notch durability.
Shingle roofs could last anywhere from 20-30 years before needing replacement, and we can recycle them for other construction use.
So what is a Shingle Roof? A shingle roof is a roof made by installing stacks of shingles.
And shingles are the flat rectangular roofing material made of composites, slates, metal, etc, that we install on the roof from the base to the top via overlapping, resulting in the full coverage of the house called the roof.
What Is Roof Repair?
Roof repair involves changing part of the whole roof – usually, some broken or missing shingles – with new shingles.
The goal of a roof repair is preservation, whereby you change any damaged part of the roof to fix the current issues it’s generating while preventing further damage.
However, aside from replacing damaged shingles, there are other types of roof repairs such as fixing leaks – that is, locating any hole in the roof and patching with a roof sealant.
Then we have flash repairing, which involves sealing the broken joints that connect the root with the building structure such as the chimney and walls.
Overall, a successful roof repair happens by restoring the damaged part of the roof to its original condition, which means there’ll no longer be leakage, light penetration, sagging, etc.
What Is Roof Replacement?
Roof replacement involves ripping off the existing roof materials – all the shingles – and installing new roofing substrates and shingles.
In most roof replacement cases, we check the roof frames, also called roof decking, to see if it’s in good or poor condition – which affects the performance of the roof.
If the roof decking is in poor condition, we’ll reap it off and replace it with brand-new framing.
Unlike roof repair, roof replacement is when the homeowner can decide to change the type of roofing shingle materials used.
The different types of roofing shingles materials used for roofings include wood, slate, flagstone, metals, and composite materials such as fiber cement, and Asphalt.
The roof decking, also called roof sheathing, comes in various materials such as plywood, wood plank, metal, Oriented Strand Boards (OSB), or tongue-and-groove boards.
Finally, the goal and biggest benefit of a successful roof replacement are that there would never have to be another replacement in the next 20 – 30 years.
Roof Repair and Replacement: What To Consider Before Deciding
While working with homeowners, there are various factors to consider before choosing either a roof repair or replacement.
Here we’ll talk about the top 4 factors you should consider before deciding between roof repair or roof replacement;
- The Age of the Roof
- How Long They Are Planning To Leave In The Apartment
- The Maintenance Construction Budget
- The Level Of Damage
Let’s dive into the details of each of these factors;
The Age Of The Roof Used
The first factor that will determine whether you repair or replace your roof is age. Here’s why;
The types of shingle materials used for roofing determine the longevity and durability of the roof.
All shingles are not equal. For instance, shingle materials made of wood shakes, asphalt, and metal can last anywhere between 10 – 20 years, which looks long. Right?
That’s until you learn that shingles made of clay, concrete, or slate can last up to 30 – 50 years or more.
If your Asphalt roof, for instance, is over 20 – 25 years, we’ll recommend a replacement over a repair.
We’ve seen cases where new homeowners want to replace the roof of their home – out of panic – but a quick review will either justify or discourage that.
If you are not sure how old your roof is? A local roofing contractor can help you determine the current lifespan of a roof, and how long it can still last.
How Long They Plan To Keep Living In The Apartment.
If you are not planning to stay in the property forever – if it’s a few years and you’re out – changing the roof completely might not be a good idea.
Instead, we’ll recommend you hire a roofer on a semi-annual or annual basis to inspect your roof for damage correction and prevention.
But in a situation where your family has no plan of leaving the home in the distant future, you can go for a roof replacement rather than a roof repair.
But, hey, I have to warn you, if you’re planning to sell the house, a new shiny roof would make it easier to sell and lead to higher bids than a house with an old and faulty roof that needs fixing.
The Maintenance Construction Budget
You might need to replace the roof, but if the cost of replacement is not within your budget, hiring an expert roofer to use the best fixing material to repair your roof might work.
We’ve worked with some homeowners who could afford to change not only the roof but the design and aesthetics every 10 years.
Roof replacement is expensive compared to roof repair, so it’s best to decide on whichever your budget can afford.
The Level Of Damage Done On The Roof
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, cyclones, storms, and tornadoes are notorious for destroying homes and properties – which include roofs.
Even though some tough roof shingles like clay or slate can resist wind speeds of up to 130 MPH, we’ve seen hurricanes that scrape off the shingles of a roof, and extreme winds that pull the entire roof off.
If a natural disaster causes damage to your roof, in most cases, you might have to commission an entire roof replacement.
The good news is that you can leverage your home insurance policy to pay for both your emergency board-up service and roof replacement.
How To Know When To Repair Your Roof
While there are factors we consider before choosing either a roof repair or replacement, there are also other signs we look out for on our roof before we conclude it’s damaged and needs repair ASAP.
Some of these signs include;
- The Root is Sagging
- The Roof Leaks Water
- There is Penetration Of Light
- There are Growing Fungus On The Roof
- The Roof Gutter is Blocked
- Your Energy Bill Suddenly Increases
The Roof is Sagging
If your roof becomes curvy or wavy in appearance, rather than its standard straight look, then you’re experiencing a sagging roof.
There are several reasons why your roof is sagging right now: it could be a result of low-quality materials or poor installation.
Other reasons could include imbalanced weight, age-worn, and the biggest culprit of all, water damage.
Whatever the cause, call for the service of a good repairer immediately.
Sagging roofs are dangerous, as they could collapse at any moment. A sagging roof is a big sign your roof needs repair.
The Roof Leaks Water
If your roof leaks during rain or snowfall, two things have led to that:
- Some shingles on the roof are broken and out of place
- Your attic insulation which gives the interior of your home full coverage is damaged
Regardless, water leakage on the roof calls for repair. And if not done immediately, the damage can increase quickly and cause more problems.
One of the biggest problems a leaking roof can cause is fire hazards.
If your water seeping in comes in contact with electricity, it could lead to a fire outbreak.
And that’s not all, leaking roofs are a major cause of cracks in the wall, and could be the reason why your attic insulation has come off.
There is Penetration Of Light
Light is allowed to penetrate through the window, but not through the roof.
So if you notice light penetrating through your root, that not only means some roof shingles are damaged, but also, the roof deck might be broken too.
Sometimes, plumbing work, like pipe installation on the roof, might have left a hole in the roof, leading to light penetration.
Whatever the case, this is a sign that your roof needs fixing immediately.
Fungus Are Growing On The Roof Shingles
A good roof should be clean and free from any form of fungus or rusting – if it’s a metal roof.
So if you see that mold, moss, or mildew ( some of the most common home fungi) are growing on your roof, then it means your rooftop is storing excess water – which is not supposed to be.
And we recommend you fix this immediately.
Mold – or whatever fungi – on the roof has been linked to severe health issues such as allergies and asthma.
They are disgusting to look at, and they could bring down the value of your property.
So don’t keep them; fix them.
The Roof Gutter is Blocked
Blocked gutters, also called clogged gutters, do not necessarily mean your roof is damaged.
But if left unfixed, this could lead to bigger problems such as roof leaks, fungus growth, building structure damage, sagging roof, and more.
A clogged gutter makes it difficult for water to flow through your roof, leading to excess – stagnant – water on the roof, then sure damage.
Also, a blocked gutter could lead to unflushed leaves and debris on the rooftop, which is unhygienic and could attract fungus.
So don’t take blocked gutters lightly, it’s a big sign that your roof is in danger, and needs repair immediately.
Your Energy Bill Suddenly Increases
A damaged roof not only causes water leakage, fungus growth, or sagging roof, but it can also lead to a sharp increase in energy bills.
How does that happen? When there are broken shingles on your roof, they allow excess water into the ceiling, which in turn damages the attic insulation.
Now, the attic insulation is responsible for reducing the airflow that leaves your home.
This would ensure that your home temperature stays the same all year round, reducing the cost of energy bills.
But if your attic insulation is damaged, your home’s HVAC System will have to work twice as hard, consuming more energy, which increases the cost of your energy bill.
So if you notice that your energy bill suddenly increases, you should call a roofer to inspect your roof. That could be a sign that your roof is damaged and needs repair.
When To Consider Roof Replacement Over Roof Repair
While noticing signs that indicate your roof needs fixing, in some cases, replacement may be the better option than repairing.
In this section, we’ll be looking at some cases when you should consider a roof replacement over a roof repair.
Quickly here are some of these factors;
- There is no urgency to rush the fixing
- The Roof is worn-out because of age
- The area affected on the roof is over 30%
- You have commercial reasons
- You have the budget for a roof replacement project
- Your home insurance policy will pay for it
1. There is No Urgency to Rush The Fixing
Sometimes your roof might be severely damaged and needs a replacement rather than a repair.
However, due to some emergencies such as a coming windstorm, hurricane, or tsunami, you might want to quickly repair the roof than repair it.
But in a situation where there is no real urgency and the roof is badly damaged, you can commission an entire roof replacement.
The fact is that roof replacement takes more time than roof repair.
For instance, a Flat roof replacement project could take anywhere from 2 – 3 days, and in some cases of weather challenges, we could be talking about a week.
This is unlike roof repairing which could be done in less than 6 hours. So go ahead with the roof replacement if there’s no way to rush the fixing project.
The Roof is Worn-out Because of Age
The best way to flush money down the drain is to keep repairing a roof that needs to be replaced as it has worn out over the years.
Not all shingles can last very long. While some shingle materials like slate, clay, or concrete can last up to 50 – 100 years, composite shingle materials like asphalt or cement can only last up to 20 years.
And according to research, 80% of homes in the United States use Asphalt roofing.
it’s more likely that the roof on your home is expired. So instead of repairing it over, and over again, it’s best to replace it at once.
The Area Affected is Over 30%
As a general rule of thumb – and according to industry standards – if more than 30% of the roof has suffered damage, then a replacement should be chosen over a repair.
Several events can lead to severe damage on the roof that could affect more than 30% of the shingles.
This could include
- An extreme windstorm pulling the shingles off the roof
- A big tree falling on your home thereby destroying a large part of the roof
- Or a lightning bolt that destroys the roof, blasts the chimney and attacks the roof decking
Events like this can destroy over 30% of the roof’s square foot, which will require nothing but a total replacement.
You Have Commercial Reasons
No home bidder will buy a house with a faulty roof unless they are getting it for a price way below the market price.
Sometimes, repairing the roof might not cut it.
If the buyer knows that the roof was repaired, they might think it’s going to need repairs again, so they’ll keep beating the price until they can cover the estimated cost of the roof replacement.
If you’re good with any deal, then you can sell your home for any price – low or high – and move on.
But if you want to sell the property for a fortune, and make huge profits, then you’ll have to consider replacing the roof over repairing it.
A new shiny roof – amongst other things – can increase the value of your property. So this is a crucial factor to consider roof replacement over a roof repair.
You Have The Budget For A Roof Replacement Project
Budget is a major factor people consider when choosing between a roof replacement or repair.
Roof replacement is not as cheap as roof repair. It is way more expensive.
For homeowners that have the budget for a roof replacement project, they’ll decide to go for it over a roof repair.
However, if a roof is truly due for replacement rather than repair, but the owners cannot effort it, the best alternative would be a roof overlay.
A roof overlay, as the name implies, is the process of overlaying another set of roofing materials on an existing roof.
Note of caution, you must first fix any broken shingles on the first layer before adding another layer.
The bottom line, if you have the budget, replace the entire roof. But if you don’t, consider a roofing overlay – it’s better than just repairing the roof, and it’s cheaper than replacing the whole roof.
Your Home Insurance Policy Can Pay For It
Your home insurance policy covers the cost of roof replacement if the damage was caused by nature or an uncontrollable accident such as a hurricane, windstorm, tree fall, etc.
This policy does not cover man-made damage such as faulty roof installation, age-related wear & tear, or rapid fungus growth.
Although, some special weather events like floods or earthquakes will require you to purchase additional home insurance coverage.
The bottom line homeowners without the current budget can consider a roof replacement over a roof repair because their insurance policy can afford it.
Home Does Roof Repair Affect Home Value
Many factors can affect the value of your home property negatively or positively, and one such is the status of the roof.
One of the many features home buyers strictly inspect when purchasing a new property is the roof.
First, they check for faults like leakage around the pipe boots, blocked gutter, missing shingles, holes in the roof, poor installation, shrinkage, poor maintenance, leakage around the system, and more.
Most home buyers love to buy homes during the rainy season, because that way, they’ll better understand the quality and flaws of the roof in real time.
If your home passes this stage, congrats you can sell your home for a good price.
The next thing home buyers inspect on a roof is how attractive it is.
Here they check for the design, growing fungus, debris, and first, and most importantly, whether it’s new or old.
If the roof looks old, unhealthy, and unattractive, they’ll price it for less. But if it’s attractive, new, and shiny, they’ll pay a better price for the home.
How To Increase The Value Of Your Home
If repairing your roof won’t give it that new and glorious appeal, and you’re planning on selling the home, we recommend you replace the roof instead.
A new roof can increase the curb appeal of your home by 40%, thereby increasing the market value as well.
Curb appeal refers to how attractive a property is when viewed by a potential buyer from the sidewalk.
And according to remodeling statistics, a new roof replacement of Asphalt shingles can boost the resale value of your home up to $15,000.
With that said, here are some proven roof redesign, that can greatly increase the value of your home;
Install A Solar Panel On The Roof
The adoption of eco-friendly technology has increased the curb appeal of homes with solar panels installed on the roof.
Not only does it make it look attractive and modern, but it also reduces the energy bill for occupants.
A 2022 Zillow research showed that for every dollar a solar panel saves on the energy bill, the value of the home increases by $20.
This research also proved that installing solar panels on the roof would increase your home resale value by up to $5,911 – and that’s for each kilowatt of solar panel you install.
Install A Roof Ventilation System
A roof vent is a device that is fixed at the top of a roof to protect your home’s roof system from damaging heat and moisture.
If you install a roof vent on the roof, it not only improves the home’s ventilation but also the added value making your home unique and increasing its real estate value.
Install A Cool Roof
A cool roof is a roofing system that helps the home maintain a lower temperature even though the sun outside is hot.
This helps the home become cool automatically, thereby saving energy bills in the long run.
And if the type of roof you install can help the incoming occupant save money on energy bills, you can sell the property at a higher price than an ordinary home.
Overall, you can increase the value of your homeboy by either repairing the roof, replacing the roof, or installing the latest roofing solutions such as solar roofs, roof vents, and cool roofs.
Benefits Of Roof Repair Over Roof Replacement
In this section, we will discuss some benefits of repairing your roof instead of replacing it.
Although you might enjoy some of these benefits with a roof replacement, the majority of them are unique to roof repair.
So let’s dive in;
Roof Repair Projects Are Cost Effective
With roof repair, you don’t have to spend lots of money remodeling your roof.
For a few hundred dollars, you can hire roof contractors to inspect your roof, look for hidden damages, and fix the issues.
This goes from fixing leakage around the chimney or pipe boot or replacing damaged and missing shingles to sealing holes in the roof, fixing broken joins, correcting poor installations, and improving ventilation problems.
This is unlike roof replacement which will require spending thousands of dollars on a single project.
Roof Repair is Environmental Friendly
Since roof repairs involve replacing a few things rather than total reaping off – like a roof replacement – there will be less waste lying around, and harmful objects will be easily cleaned up.
This reduces and prevents land pollution, unlike roof replacement where tons of shingles, nail guns, and substrate will be flying around.
Roof replacement makes it difficult to track all the debris, but after a roof repair cleaning up the mess is easier.
Roof Repairs Increases Home Value
As we’ve said before, repairing your room is capable of increasing the curb appeal of your home by 40%, which directly affects the value of your home.
Now, both roof repair and roof replacement can increase the value of your home.
However, if you can restore the new shiny look of your roof by repairing it, why should you take the harder journey of roof replacement?
The goal is to increase the curb appeal of the home, thereby increasing the value of the property
And if you can achieve this with a roof repair, you’ll make much more money in return than after spending a fortune on replacing the entire shingles.
Roof Repairs Has Faster Completion Time
The best thing about roof repair is that with just some little fixes, you can add more years to the lifespan of your roof.
When a roof repair is professionally done, it restores the roof to its original condition, making it stronger, better, and ready for more years.
Although a roof replacement will give your roof a new lifespan of over 20 years – way more than a roof repair can – it’s not worth it if you are planning to live in that apartment for only a few years.
For homeowners that plan on living on their property for less than 5 or 10 years, roof repairing helps them keep increasing the roof’s lifespan until they move out.
Roof Repairs Ensures Improved Safety
There are many ways roof repair can help keep you and your family safe.
Firstly, repairing your roof will surely involve cleaning all forms of fungus – mold, moss, or mildew – growing on it.
This protects your family against severe health issues such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems.
Secondly, repairing your roof can control the temperature of your home by keeping everyone cool – and safe from cold or heat – inside while outside is extremely cold or hot.
Disadvantages Of Roof Repair Over Roof Replacement
Roof repairs might offer a sound solution, but when compared to roof replacement, it comes with tons of downsides.
In this section, we’ll discuss the disadvantages of roof repair with roof replacement in mind.
Let’s dive in.
Roof Repairs Offers Limits The Scope Of Fixing
Since roof repairs focus on a particular portion of the roof – less than 30% of the entire roof’s square foot – it’s easy to ignore other subtle damages on other sides of the roof.
The shingles might be broken at the front of the roof, while there might be an ignored puncture somewhere at the back of the roof.
This unattended portion is now vulnerable to more damage. However, with roof replacement, it’s not the same case.
A roof replacement touches every nook and cranny of the roof leading to one hundred percent coverage.
Roof Repairs Require Frequent Fixing
Since various problems might occur on a damaged roof, you’ll have to keep fixing them as they come.
And if it’s a roof that has worn out with age, expect new issues to arise every quarter of the year – and this can be frustrating.
The worst part is some roof repairs are just temporary fixes, but with a roof replacement, all issues will be solved once and for all, and the solution would last for at least another 20+ years.
Roof Repairs Only Guarantees A Shorter Lifespan
No matter how good a roof repair is, you can’t extend the lifespan for more than 1 – 5 years and this is because roof repairs were never meant to create a permanent solution.
With roof replacement, you are not just extending the lifespan, but also, you are giving it an entirely new lifespan that could last anywhere from 20 – 50 years.
Roof Repair Leads To Inconsistent Appearance
Due to the multiple types of repair usually done with different materials, and by different roofing contractors, the appearance of a roof could become inconsistent and change over time.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to find the particular model of shingles used for a particular roof, so another type of shingle may be used which does not match the surrounding shingles.
Little issues like this, and more, would lead to an inconsistent roof appearance over time.
However, with roof replacement, everything will be replaced using the same material and there will be a uniform appearance.
Roof Repair May Lead To Loss Of Warranty Coverage
The moment you make the first repair on your roof, you would forfeit the warranty it covers.
A new roof warranty could last anywhere from 10 – 25 years, but if you make any repairs on the roof, which includes piercing of any form, your roof warranty will no longer be valid.
Surprisingly, this also means installing satellite dishes or a skylight, will make you lose your roof warranty.
Roof Repairs Might Cost More In The Long Run
One sad downside about roof repairs is that a few hundred dollars spent on small fixes over the years will add up and might end up costing more than a roof replacement.
So if your roof keeps coming up with new issues now and then, it would be best to replace it at once.
How To Go About Your Roof Replacement And Repairs
Now it’s time to repair or replace your roof, and there are various processes we must go through to make that happen.
In this section, we’ll show you how to go about your roof repair or replacement step-by-step.
Step1: Inspecting Your Roof
The first step when it comes to either repairing or replacing your roof is getting a contractor to come and inspect it.
This stage is part of what this article is about. You’ll discuss with your roofing contractor to check the problem on your roof and decide whether it’s going to be repaired or replaced.
If you’ve followed this article so far, it would be easy for you to make that decision.
Step 2 (I): Repairing The Roof
If you end up deciding to repair your roof, you’ll fix a date with your contractor for the roof repair project.
On that day, the contractor will arrive with their tools and required roofing materials which include the pallet of shingles, scrub & chemical spray for clearing the fungus, roof sealant for patching holes and leaks, etc.
Roof repair should take about 1 – 5 hours maximum.
Step 2 (II) Purchasing The Roofing Materials
However, if you’ve decided to replace your roof, this stage will require purchasing the roof material needed for the replacement.
Typically, your roofing contractor will deliver all the required materials to your home a day before or the morning scheduled for the roof replacement.
But be careful not to let your contractor deliver the materials a day before replacement, as you might be at risk of being killed by the heavy pallets of shingles sitting on the grass.
Step 3: Moving Everything Around The Premises Away
Mostly this refers to your car. On the day of replacement, you’ll be required to move your car out of the driveway or garage.
This is so you can have access to your car when you need it without being blocked by piles of removed shingles outside the garage or without interrupting the replacement project.
Step 4: Tarping Your Property
Before tearing off your roof, the contractor will have to tarp every corner of your property using heavy-duty tarpaulin.
This is to ensure that the windows, doors, and other delicate properties that are along the exterior walls of your home.
Step 5: The Old Roof Will Be Scraped Off
This is the stage where the contractor starts tearing off your roof.
There will be a dump trailer placed at a good spot – mostly further away from the driveway – and that’s the direction the roof shingles will be torn towards.
That way, the majority of the removed shingles will end up in the dump trailer rather than be littered around the home.
Step 6: Cleaning The Gutters
After removing every shingle on the roof, the next thing the roofers will do is clean every shingle piece or debris in the gutter.
This process will include removing any blockage in the gutter.
But note that your gutter must be scheduled for cleaning at least once a year, not only during a roof replacement.
Step 7: The New Shingles Will Be Installed
After the old shingles have been removed, the gutters have been cleaned out and the deck has been swept clean, your contractors will start laying and nailing each shingle on the deck starting from the edge of the roof – this is the installation process.
The shingles will be installed using either air gun nailing or hand nail. You’ll have to discuss with your contractors to decide which installation method works best for you.
Step 8: Cleaning Up The Roof And Apartment After The Replacement
Once the roof installation is finished, the next major part is to clean up every nook and cranny of your property’s exterior.
Every debris on the roof will be blown-off, the gutter and the downspout will be cleaned again, and everything will be flushed down the dump trailer.
Once the contractors are done cleaning the roof, they’ll have to spend some hours on the ground cleaning up every leftover debris, rolling off the tarps, and picking the tools
This process must be professionally done, as a poorly done clean-up risks leaving hazardous objects lying somewhere on the lawn.
Step 9: Inspecting The Roof Replacement
Congrats, your roof has been successfully replaced. Now you can enjoy peace of mind for many years to come.
But the next, and most important step is inspecting the roof replacement and double-checking for leakage, penetration, skylight, and chimneys, and making sure they’ve followed the local code.
What Is The Cost Of Root Repair
Most roof repairs cost around $150 to $1000, although some major roof repairs could cost up to $2000.
Minor repairs like leak sealing and shingles replacement could cost from $50 – $500.
If the repair includes fixing the roof deck, you would be paying from $500 up to $1500.
And some major repairs such as fixing a sagging roof would cost over $2000.
However, note that the price will depend on your contractor, and roof projects are usually priced at cost per square foot.
Roof Replacement vs Roof Repair: Which is Cheaper
Roof repair is way cheaper than roof replacement. The most critical roof repair cannot be more than $5000, but the least replacement project starts from $8000 up to $15,000.
However, if you keep spending hundreds to a few thousand dollars on a roof repair over the years, it could cost more than paying for a roof replacement.
Choosing between roof repair or replacement depends on multiple factors, from the age and level of damage to your budget.
Regardless, contacting a roofing expert is the best way to thoroughly inspect your roof’s problem and decide which solution is best.
With that said, know that delaying repairs or replacement may lead to further roof damage, which could cost you more.
So schedule an inspection now to ensure your roof’s safety and longevity.