Should You Repair or Replace that Roof

Deciding to repair or replace a roof isn’t easy. Many factors play a role in this process. The end goal is the same — to choose the option that is the most cost-effective and does not expose the structure to any additional risks. That is, when repairs are no longer good enough to protect your home, it’s time to consider replacing that roof instead.

Consider Common Roof Damages and Your Options

The type of damage done plays a role in the need for repair or replacement. Most often, roofing contractors look at the individual areas of deterioration as well as the entire roof’s overall condition to make this decision. Here are a few examples to consider.

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Missing Shingles

After a storm comes through, a few shingles may blow off. It is common to see this happen as a roof ages. Replacing a few shingles is easy to do and should be all that is necessary if the roof’s structure is in good condition. Torn and damaged shingles need removal, and new ones put in place, in this situation.

It’s a different situation if there are numerous missing shingles, or the roof deck, the surface the shingles adhere to, is not in good condition. When the damage is more significant in just one area, an option would be to re-roof that area, reducing costs and ensuring the best possible structural integrity for the roof.

Shingle Deterioration

Another common problem with roofing is simple wear and tear. Deterioration happens to all roofs over time. And while proper maintenance will keep it in the best shape possible, there are times when repairs are not enough.

As noted by Paramount Exteriors, “Missing shingles curled edges on the shingles, or splits in them are signs of deterioration. The shingles no longer have any granules on them, tiles are cracked or missing is another sign of decay.” When extensive decay is present and spread over most of the roof, replacement of the structure tends to be the better option.

Shingles can deteriorate at different rates. In some areas, the amount of deterioration may be more extensive, requiring re-roofing of that area, according to However, if shingles are no longer in good condition in one area, they will all begin to fail over the coming years, making replacement the better option.

Metal Roofing Damage

Metal roofs have a much longer lifespan than traditional wood or shingled roofs, which means they don’t need to be replaced as often. Yet, metal damage can occur, primarily due to impacts on the surface. If the roof has been in place for decades, this type of damage is more likely to create a need for replacement.

If the metal roof is under 15 years of age and has had proper maintenance, repair is often the solution. Repairs should be handled right away, however, to minimize the extent and cost of the repair.

Leaks in Roofing Materials

Leaks can create a unique situation in many cases. A single missing shingle can cause a roof leak to happen. Yet, this leak can create extensive damage that spans throughout the roof deck and into the attic of the home. Mold can result as well.

In these situations, it may be necessary to remove and replace the existing roof. Also, more extensive work may be needed, such as replacing the roof deck or boards, replacing attic insulation, and mold remediation. Though more expensive, these efforts become necessary to protect the structure as a whole.

Most leaks do not require this level of damage repair, though. Patching the offending area and repairing any damaged shingles tends to be the most common solution. A thorough roof inspection is the best way to determine if a whole-roof replacement is necessary for this situation.

Is a New Roof Less Expensive in the Long Term?

While damage to the roof needs to be repaired right away in all cases, there are other factors to consider as well. In some cases, replacing an existing roof now can provide long-term benefits, including fewer repairs later and more energy efficiency.

For example, a roof may have damage in one area, but the roof is older and no longer providing the highest level of efficiency. In this case, replacing the entire roof now can help to minimize the need for additional repairs down the road. To determine if it is less expensive to replace the roof in the long term, seek out an estimate and compare the costs carefully.

Is the Current Roof Aesthetically Appealing?

Although not a factor in terms of structural soundness, many property owners also need to consider if an existing roof is as aesthetically appealing as they would like. For homeowners who want a new roof to improve the color, style, or material to match the rest of the structure, it can be worth replacing the roof in total.

New products may also provide new opportunities for improvements, such as the ability to add solar panels. You may also want to consider the value of adding features like skylights at this time.

What Will Insurance Pay?

For many people, the decision to repair or replace a roof comes down to what the insurance company will cover. If you have damage that could fall within the parameters of an insurance claim, such as from a fallen tree branch, allow an insurance adjuster to review what work is necessary.

In some situations, this will come down to how wide-spread the damage is, the type of insurance coverage you have, and the continual maintenance you have performed on the roof. Insurance companies do not pay for roof replacement due to normal wear and tear.

Where Do You Get Started?

The first step is always to have a roofing contractor provide a comprehensive inspection of the existing roof. Their review will determine just how much damage exists and how deep that damage goes. Armed with their facts, you can then decide on whether to repair or replace that roof with confidence.