Roof Repair or Replacement?
Roof Repair or Replacement – How to Choose For a Healthy and Worry-Free Roof
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW WHEN DECIDING BETWEEN ROOF REPAIR OR ROOF REPLACEMENT?
Whether to totally replace a roof or just repair it might be one of the most difficult decisions a homeowner may face when it comes to their house. Some homeowners will postpone any necessary maintenance and repairs on their roofs until there is evidence of interior water damage or external dry-rot deterioration caused by roof leaks. Other homeowners will demand a new roof even if the life expectancy of the existing roof can be extended after remedying its condition.
The length of your roof’s life expectancy is contingent on various data points – like age, amount of sunlight it’s exposed to, and potential for leaks. Making small targeted repairs can oftentimes extend a roof’s lifespan; however, if any one (or more) of these associated factors becomes increasingly severe, then opting for a full replacement may be the best solution.
WHAT TO CONSIDER FOR REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT:
WHAT IS THE AGE OF THE CURRENT ROOFING MATERIAL?
The lifespan of a roof depends on the materials used. If you’re not sure how old your current roof is, checking your city or county’s building department records for the last time a permit was issued for roof installation will give you an accurate answer.
The manufacturer’s life of their product is only a barometer and should not be considered an exact science, because many roofs will exceed and go beyond their estimated life with some maintenance and repairs. The following are some examples, in general:
- 3-Tab Composition (20 Years)
- Dimensional Composition (25-40 Years)
- Presidential Composition (40-50 Years)
- Tile (40-50 Years)
- Wood Shake (20-30 Years)
- Steel (40-50 Years)
You can compare the last roof replacement date with the average lifespan of roofs to see if you’re due for some roof repair or a complete roof replacement.
WHAT DOES THE ROOF WITH THE SOUTHERNMOST EXPOSURE LOOK LIKE?
Typically the south side of the house is exposed to the most direct sunlight all day as the sun moves from east to west across the sky. The north side of the home is typically shaded throughout the day and will see little light. Many of California’s rainstorms and winds come from the south. Because of continuous sunshine and wind exposure, the portion of the roof with southern exposure will likely get the most wear.
Over time, this sun-based damage usually causes shifts in your roofing material. If your shingles have dislodged, missing, or broken tiles, the protective layer beneath them will begin to dry and crack. Rainwater that pours into this layer during the rainy season immediately seeps into your attic. If you notice any visible damage to the southernmost section of your roof, there is likely significant damage, and large repairs or replacements may be necessary.
WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF THE GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS?
Gutters and downspouts are installed to remove rainwater from the roof. When they are not kept clean, leaves and debris will clog them and prevent water from draining properly. This will cause water to back up under the shingles and seep into the house, leading to water damage in the attic, ceilings, walls, and insulation.
If your gutters and downspouts are in poor condition, it’s more likely that your roof will be damaged.
WHAT IS THE PITCH OF THE ROOF?
The pitch of the roof is the angle at which the roof slopes. A steep-pitched roof will shed water more effectively than a shallow-pitched roof. A shallower-pitched roof is more susceptible to leaks because water will pool on the surface instead of draining off.
If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, it is important to make sure your roof has a pitch that will allow water to drain off quickly. Otherwise, you may experience leaks and can expect to see a reduced lifespan of your roof.
DOES THE ROOF HAVE ANY OTHER PROBLEMS?
In addition to the factors listed above, other problems can occur with a roof that will need to be considered when deciding whether to repair or replace it. Some of these problems include:
- Known Leaks: If your roof is actively leaking, it may have already caused significant damage. If too extensive, it will be more effective to completely replace the roof.
- Extensive Damaged or Missing Shingles: If too many of the shingles on your roof are damaged or missing, it may be economical to replace your roof. Typically this is only seen on roofs that are already beyond their recommended lifespan.
- Roof Ventilation: Proper roof ventilation is essential for the longevity of your roof. If your roof is not properly ventilated, it will lead to premature aging and deterioration.
Several things go into a roof inspection and only a portion of what your inspector will examine. Before you choose between roof repair and roof replacement, it’s critical to understand the condition of your roof and get multiple professional opinions.
ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION
Remember that not every roofing company is the same, and they will not assess your roof with an identical perspective. A lot of times, roof inspections are subjective. Some companies avoid repairing roofs to get out of certifying a future repair. They would rather sell you an entirely new roof and convince you that it’s necessary, even when it might not be. We have found that many roofing companies will tell homeowners they need a new roof long before the current one needs to be replaced. For example, we often see 3-tab composition roofs that are only 12-15 years old but are being called by roofing contractors for a re-roof.
In some cases, however, you will need an entirely new roof. It’s always beneficial to get a second (or third) opinion from other roofing companies to make sure you’re making the best decision for your home.
NEXT STEPS? SCHEDULE YOUR FREE ROOFING INSPECTION WITH ROOF DOCTORS TODAY!
If you have any questions or concerns about your roof, please do not hesitate to contact Roof Doctors. We offer FREE roofing inspections and can help you determine if your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Contact us today to schedule your free roof inspection!