Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof?
Certified Home Improvement Expert Scott Lamacchia discusses whether it’s better to repair or replace your roof.
When I talk with a homeowner about their roof, I often use the analogy of a car’s tires. We don’t pay much attention to our car’s tires.
We jump into our vehicle and expect to get from point A to B with no problems. And our tires usually work well – until they don’t. When we do have a flat or a blowout, it’s aggravating. No one wants the hassle or expense of buying new tires.
Your home’s roof is much the same. No one pays much attention to their roof until there is a problem. And no one wants to spend money fixing their roof when they could be spending it on vacations or fun home improvements.
But you may not realize that the roof is your home’s first line of defense against weather, wind and ice.
That protection is worth the investment.
So, if your roof has been damaged, or you want to be prepared in case of damage, here’s what you need to know.
Three reasons roofs leak
There are three things that lead to a damaged roof — storms, age and subpar installation.
1) Roof damage can be caused by storms.
Storms are the leading cause of roof damage. Different areas of the country are prone to different weather, but high winds, hail and lightning are common in many regions. Whenever there is a severe storm, there is a possibility that falling trees and other debris could damage your roof.
2) Roof damage can be caused by age.
The average lifespan of a roof is 20 years, but it can be less depending on where you live and the quality of the roof and installation. Homes in the Midwest and Upper Midwest lean more toward the 15-year roof lifespan.
3) Roof damage can be caused by subpar installation.
Even a new home with good-quality shingles can experience a leak if the roof was not installed correctly.
Some contractors in the roofing industry take shortcuts and make short-term fixes that will save you money in the present but lead to larger problems in the future.
These problems can be prevented by choosing a reputable installer that thoroughly inspects all layers of the roof for damage. Installers should also have a responsive service team that homeowners can contact if anything is missed.
After the cause of the roof’s damage has been identified and a roof replacement expert has checked your roof thoroughly down to the wood foundation, it is time to consider different solutions for repairing your roof.
How to fix a leaky roof
If you research roof replacement or roof repair online, you’ll find a lot of opinions on ways you can fix your roof. The problem with most internet research is that, unless you are a roofing professional, you won’t know which solutions are sound and which are inadvisable.
So, let’s discuss a few of those solutions here from least to most recommended.
When should I re-roof or cover-up my roof?
A cover-up, also known as a re-roof, is when a company attempts to fix a leak by covering the affected part of the roof with another layer of shingles. The biggest problem with a cover-up is that the materials underneath the shingles, such as the wood foundation and underlayment, aren’t addressed.
Although you only see the shingles, your roof has many layers that must work together to provide your home maximum protection and longevity.
If you only replace the outermost layer, the shingles, and there is any damage to the layers beneath, your leak will continue.
When should I get a partial roof replacement?
To understand a partial roof replacement, let’s go back to the tire analogy. If you run over a nail with one of your tires, you may be able to replace only the affected tire. But having one new tire and three older tires will affect the driving performance of the car.
The same concept applies to your roof. If you replace one area of your roof where the leak occurred, the performance of your roof as a whole may suffer. When considering a partial roof replacement, keep the following factors in mind:
- The cause of the damage.
What caused the leak and does that problem exist anywhere else on your roof? You don’t want to replace one area of the roof only for another area to be damaged in a few months or a year.
- The age of your roof.
If you replace one section of the roof and the rest of your roof is 10 years old, then in the next five to 10 years, you will likely need to replace most of your roof. It can create confusion to have different parts of your roof on different timelines.
It is rarely a good idea to do a partial roof replacement. You may lessen the cost in the present, but there is typically a greater cost and headache in the future.
When should I have my roof repaired?
Naturally, we all want to repair something that is damaged if we can rather than replace it. And there are things on a roof that can be repaired. Things that fall into that category include roof parts such as venting, flashing and ridge caps.
However, if roof components like shingles, underlayment or wood are impacted, or if the roof is more than 10 years old, a roof replacement is the best choice.
When should I have my roof replaced?
The roof’s age is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your roof.
If a roof’s shingles, underlayment or wood foundation are approaching the 15- to 20-year timeframe, we will inspect the roof closely. Accurately judging the condition of a roof is difficult for the average homeowner. There can be complicated situations in which the shingles look ok, but the attic insulation and wood have completely worn away. Or a leak may have occurred in one spot and the problem is 20 feet away.
A reputable and trustworthy company such as 1-800-HANSONS will be able to quickly and correctly assess your roof and recommend whether repair or replacement is best for your home.
Scott Lamacchia is the General Manager of the Lansing and Saginaw offices. He has been with 1-800-HANSONS for 10 years and has worked in the home improvement industry for 20 years. In that time, Scott has been a part of 5,000 to 10,000 roofing projects.
Contact us today to schedule a free estimate from one of our roofing experts.
When deciding whether to have your damaged roof repaired or replaced, first enlist the help of a reputable roofing company. The best choice for your roof depends on the amount and type of damage, as well as the age of your roof.
Over the past 30+ years, 1-800-HANSONS has provided over 200,000 customers with replacement windows, roofing, siding, gutters and baths. We offer the products you need with a Lifetime Guarantee that is unmatched in the industry.
More info on determining if you need to replace or repair your roof
In the world of overbooked schedules, missed gym practices, endless carpooling, lack of sleep and one too many burnt toasts; who on Earth has time to think about the roof! Unfortunately, we have to – especially if there have been indications that the roof might soon start leaking or if it has already!
The roof is the most extensive surface on your house. From heavy snow to extreme heat to pouring rain, the roof is the first one to take the hit of natural elements, so you need to take good care of it if you want it to last. But, if you are not a roofing professional, how can you be sure that your roof needs repair or replacement?
Check out the following cues we’ve put together to make this easier for you:
One of the typically most apparent signals your roof needs repair is a leaky roof; the moment you notice a wet spot on your ceiling, water drippage, or a puddle forming on the floor, it’s time you called someone to check the roof out. The sooner you react the better because otherwise, you are looking at potentially having water damage within your home. Leaks happen for a lot of reasons, the two primary ones been ice buildup and rain damage. Additionally, there are extreme weather conditions, old age, mislaid shingles, and plenty of other factors.
Wear and tear
Not a big shocker but a thing worth reminding you of is that – no matter what the quality – no roof will last forever. The same applies to roof shingles. The sooner you identify old, loose shingles, the less there is to worry about The first signs you may be in need of a new roof are shingles with dark spots (it means they’ve lost granules which give them texture and protect from sunlight), curled or cracked shingles, or even missing ones. Change the roof before any more damage occurs.
Peeling of interior / exterior paint / blistering
Heat and humidity are also known factors of roof damage. As the temperature rises, you may see the peeling of interior or exterior paint and the overall exterior decay. Find additional signs for concern in interior stains, as well as mold and mildew. Why do these problems occur? Typically, inadequate shingle underlayment is to blame which then leads to an attic with poor ventilation.
Roof ventilation matters more than you know
If, upon inspection of the roof, you or the professional you hired couldn’t see any physical damage to the house or roof, check your electric bill. Chances are your energy for heating and cooling will increase as the first indicator that your roof ventilation is failing. A durable roof keeps out hot and cold temperatures, moisture, and furry critters making sure your house is protected and your energy bill on point, and when the roof isn’t creating sufficient ventilation through the attic, that’s when trouble happens.
Roof leakage isn’t always noticeable; so, the best measure of prevention would be to have a professional check on your roof from time to time and eliminate the problem, if there is one. If you need a roofing professional, click here for a free estimate from 1-800-HANSONS.
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