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Should I Repair My Roof or Replace It?

October 23rd, 2023 | 7 min. read

Should I Repair My Roof or Replace It?

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A roof leak is one of the most stressful experiences a homeowner has to go through. Not only do you have to worry about the damage, but you also have to find the solution to the problem. 

This takes us to one of the most common questions asked when anyone is experiencing a roof leak or another problem. Does the roof simply need repairs? Or does it need a full roof replacement?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided honest and transparent roofing information to homeowners going through the stress of a roof leak. Because of this, I’ll help you determine if the solution is roof repairs or a roof replacement. 

This article starts with the things to consider that help you determine which path to go down. After that, I’ll answer whether you should repair or replace your roof based on specific scenarios and cases. 

What to consider when deciding if you should repair or replace your roof

The first puzzle piece when deciding whether to repair or replace your roof is asking yourself some simple questions. This helps you determine if one is better than the other based on your current roof and situation. 

You’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How old is my roof?
  • How long do I plan on staying in my home?
  • What’s my current financial situation?

How old is my roof? 

The first thing you need to consider is the age of your roof. Once a roof reaches the end of its lifespan, the only thing left to do is replace it. 

3 tab asphalt shingle roof that has reached the end of its life(Roof that has reached the end of its life)

Let’s use architectural asphalt shingles (the most common roofing material) as an example. As long as it’s properly installed and your attic is properly ventilated, an architectural asphalt shingle roof should last around 25 years.

Once it gets around the 22-year mark, you need to start budgeting and considering a roof replacement. I understand it’s hard to keep track of its age, but your roof shows clear signs when it’s time for a replacement. 

Some signs of an old asphalt shingle roof that needs replacing are:

  • Continuous roof leaks
  • Cracked, curled, or missing asphalt shingles
  • Finding loose granules on the ground or gutters
  • Moss and other vegetation growing on your roof
  • Dark spots on the bottom of your roof decking

If your asphalt shingle roof shows any of the signs above, it’s most likely time for a roof replacement. However, you won’t truly know the condition of your roof until after an inspection. 

How long do I plan on staying in my home?

Next, you need to consider how long you plan on living in your current home. If you’re not in your forever home and the roof is in decent condition, you can get by with repairs if you experience smaller problems while living there.

However, a problematic roof with multiple repairs can make it hard to sell your home when putting it on the market. If this is the case, getting a roof replacement before selling is probably the best option. 

The good thing is that it’ll increase your home’s value and boost its curb appeal, which makes it more appealing to potential buyers. On the other hand, replacing your roof on your forever home really plays into the last section. 

If your roof is around 20 years old and has had multiple repairs, you should consider a replacement. But at the end of the day, it's your forever home. 

So, you can continue limping along with repairs if you’re not ready to pay for a new roof. However, this opens the door for costly problems that won’t go away until you replace it.

What’s my current financial situation? 

The last thing you need to consider is your current financial situation. There’s no way around the fact that a roof replacement is an expensive investment

A quality architectural asphalt shingle roof on a middle-class home will cost around $15,000-$20,000. For some, this just isn’t possible on their current budget without planning. 

If you’re tight on money, you may be able to limp along with some repairs until you’re financially ready. But remember, all that’s left to do when a roof reaches the end of its life is to replace it. 

So, this will always be a temporary band-aid with the potential for even more costly problems. Just know that most roofing companies offer financing on a new roof, so options are available if you’re concerned about a roof replacement’s cost. 

So, should I repair my roof or replace it?

After considering the questions above, you’re ready to determine whether you should repair or replace your roof. Unfortunately, I can’t say which one is right for your roof without physically looking at it. 

However, there are specific scenarios where each one is the best option. And with the questions you asked yourself, you can apply it to your current situation. 

When should I repair my roof?

Let’s say your roof is only 10 years old but is experiencing a roof leak. If the leak is caused by nail pops, a cracked pipe boot, a maintenance issue, or something like a small hole, a roof repair is the way to go.

roof leak repairs example on a pipe boot, nail pop, and small hole(Examples of the above leaks)

Now, this is assuming all or most of your roof is in good condition. If your roof requires a bigger repair, you must consider the cost. 

LargeRoofRepair(Large roof repair)

If it’s more than 30% of the cost of a new roof, just get a replacement to avoid spending even more money down the road when it leaks again. Just know that if you’re experiencing multiple leaks in different roof sections, this is a sign of a bigger problem, like improper installation.

And remember, once an improperly installed roof starts to fail, the only thing left to do is replace it. 

When should I replace my roof?

In most cases, a roof replacement isn’t required until the roofing materials have reached the end of their lifespan and begin to fail. If it made it this far, your roof did its job, and it’s just time for a new one. 

improperly installed architectural asphalt shingle roof(Improperly installed asphalt shingle roof)

Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where a roof fails prematurely because of improper installation or other issues. You can put as many band-aids on as you want, but the only real solution is to replace it.

There’s also a chance for wind or hail to damage your roof during strong storms. If enough damage is done, you’ll have a viable insurance claim that leads to a replacement. 

example of hail damage and wind damage to architectural asphalt shingle roof(Left: hail damage; Right: wind damage)

However, your specific policy determines if the insurance company covers the full cost. Just know that you must pay your deductible if you go through with the claim, no matter what. 

How do you find a reputable roofing contractor for an inspection? 

After reading this article, you should have a good idea if you need repairs or a roof replacement. But as I said, you won't truly know what your roof needs until you get an inspection. 

That’s why finding a great local roofing contractor who will give you an honest assessment is crucial. Unfortunately, this is harder than you might think. 

Some roofing companies' only goal when coming out for an inspection is to sell a roof. This dishonest tactic is one of the biggest reasons the roofing industry has a bad reputation.

So, before reaching out to a company, you need to know how to differentiate between a reputable roofer and a bad one. That’s why I wrote another article with tips for hiring a great roofing contractor in your area. 

Check out 7 Tips to Find a Great Roofing Contractor to ensure you don’t get taken advantage of when meeting with potential roofers. 

repair or replacement quiz

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