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How Do I Decide If I Should Repair or Replace My Roof?

December 14th, 2022 | 10 min. read

How Do I Decide If I Should Repair or Replace My Roof?

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Have you noticed leaks in your attic or home? What about damaged or missing shingles?

Whether you said yes to one or both, you need a solution before it causes too much damage. This leads to one of the most common questions homeowners ask: "Do I need roof repairs or a full roof replacement?"

While a local roofing contractor will offer their opinion on which one you need after an inspection, it's ultimately your decision. But I want you to have the information needed to make the right decision.

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners make the right decisions with transparent information. That's why I'll break down what you need to consider when choosing between repairs or a roof replacement. 

This article answers the following:

  • What should I consider before deciding on repairs or a replacement?
  • What are the pros and cons of repairing my roof?
  • What are the pros and cons of replacing my roof?
  • What should I do next?

What should I consider before deciding on repairs or a replacement?

There are factors you need to consider when deciding to repair or replace your roof. The best way to find the answers is by asking yourself a few questions. 

By asking yourself the following questions, you'll have a pretty good idea of which way you should go. 

How old is my current roof?

Unless you bought the roof or the previous seller provided the relevant information, I wouldn't expect you to know the exact age. Without that information, the only way to narrow it down is by contacting a local roofing contractor who can tell you how much life it has left. 

However, some signs can help you determine if it's on the older side by simply looking at it. Some signs of an old roof are:

  • Curling or buckling shingles
  • Bald shingles
  • Missing shingles
  • Roof sagging
  • Moss covering your roof
  • Blistering shingles
  • Granules in the gutter or on the ground around downspouts

OldRoof2(Moss and missing granules on old asphalt shingles)

Keep in mind that every roof is different, and the type of roofing material determines its stated lifespan. But if you see any of the above signs on an asphalt shingle roof, it's most likely on the older side. 

How long do I plan on living in this home?

Next, you need to consider how long you plan to live in your home. These future plans will impact whether repairs or a replacement is the better option. 

If you’re not in your forever home, it may not make sense for a full roof replacement. You may be able to sneak by with repairs until it's time to move on. 

However, the condition of your roof could be a pain point once you put your home up for sale. So, a full roof replacement may be your best option if your roof is in poor condition or it has reached the end of its lifespan.

But the great thing is that the curb appeal of the new roof will help sell your house. And you could even get back 68% of the replacement cost when you sell the home.

On the other hand, it may be the better option to go ahead and replace your roof if you're in your forever home. But I only recommend considering this if your roof has already had several repairs, it’s between 15-20 years old, or it has significant damage. 

Either way, your roofing contractor will advise you on the best option based on your future plans after their inspection. 

What is my financial situation?

Just like you need to consider your future plans, you also need to consider your financial situation. This is a huge factor when deciding to repair or replace your roof. 

The truth is, a roof replacement is a large investment that takes some budgeting to afford. This makes roof repairs a good option if you need more time to afford to replace your older roof.

But if you need a new roof, you need a new roof. So, start budgeting and be ready to replace your roof next time a problem shows up. 

What are the pros and cons of roof repairs?

Roof repairs focus on taking care of problems such as common leaks, small to medium damage, and general wear and tear. 

Some common reasons to repair your roof are: 

  • Ventilation problems  
  • Leaks around the chimney
  • Weather damage, if it's minor
  • Poor installation
  • Nails are popping up through the shingles
  • Leaks around the pipe boot
  • Missing shingles
  • Air gun nailing mistakes
  • Punctures and holes
  • Fascia replacement
  • Splitting
  • Cracking and blistering
  • Tree damage

But even though repairs may be the solution to these problems, it may not be the best choice if the damage is extensive. Let's break down the pros and cons of roof repairs. 

The pros of roof repairs

There are two pros to roof repairs, the cost and lifespan extension. Both are good reasons to repair a roof, but have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Roof repairs are cheaper than a full roof replacement

The biggest pro is that repairs are way cheaper than a full roof replacement. They are a more cost-effective way to deal with smaller roofing problems that aren't severe enough to warrant a replacement.

However, bigger repairs could still be a large investment. In this case, you'll have to consider if it's just worth it to go ahead and replace your roof. 

Roof repairs can extend the lifespan of your roof

The second pro is that roof repairs extend the lifespan of your older roof. This is especially important for homeowners with older roofs who can't afford a new roof. 

But keep in mind that the roof will have to be replaced eventually. Roof repairs can only extend the lifespan so much before a replacement is necessary.

The cons of roof repairs

While knowing the pros of roof repairs is great, understanding the cons are more impactful. The following cons may not seem as important, but you should still consider them when making your decision.  

It's difficult to match shingle colors for roof repairs

As shingles age, their color fades. This is simply due to the wear and tear from the elements.

When getting a roof repair, there's a good chance you'll have to replace some shingles. Unfortunately, it's rare to find exact or close color matches when replacing missing or damaged shingles.

This leads to a patchy and mismatched look that decreases your home's curb appeal. Some homeowners don't necessarily care about the aesthetics, but it still needs to be considered.  

Poor workmanship can lead to more roof repairs

All roofing work takes skill and experience to do correctly. But repair work and installation are totally different from each other.

Not only do they have to repair the leak, but they have to track it to the source to truly fix the problem. If you hire someone without the proper experience, I can almost guarantee the leak won't be repaired. 

Not only that, but they can actually cause more damage that leads to even bigger roof repairs down the road. Unfortunately, I see this happen often.

That's why it's crucial to find a roofing company with a strong history of performing roof repairs. 

What are the pros and cons of a roof replacement?

A roof replacement involves tearing off your old roofing materials down to its decking and installing all-new roofing components. A roof replacement is common for extensive damage or your roof has reached the end of its lifespan.

But a roof leak doesn't always equal a roof replacement. That's why it's important to know the pros and cons of replacing a roof. 

The pros of a roof replacement

Just like roof repairs, there are two main pros to getting a roof replacement. These two pros are what a new roof does to your home's curb appeal and the peace of mind you get. 

A roof replacement increases your home’s curb appeal 

Curb appeal is the attractiveness of your home from the curb on the street. A new roof always increases your home's curb appeal. 

Depending on the type of roofing material you choose, it could offer a huge boost to your home's look. But no matter what, a new roof will make your home stand out on your street.

A roof replacement gives you peace of mind

A leaking roof is always a stressful situation. While roof repairs can take care of the problem, there's no guarantee the leak won't pop up again down the road. 

With a roof replacement, you can have peace of mind that you won't have to worry about your roof for at least 15 years. Keep in mind that this all depends on proper roof installation and attic ventilation

But as long as you hire a reputable roofer, you'll have peace of mind for years to come. 

The cons of a roof replacement

I've already told you that a roof replacement is a large investment. This is obviously a big con, but there are more you need to consider. 

Let's break down the cons of getting a new roof. 

A roof replacement is a very noisy project 

The first con is simply that a roof replacement is a very noisy project. While most homeowners know about the noise outside, they don't realize how loud it is inside the home during a roof replacement. 

Because of the noise, I always recommend finding somewhere to go while the roof is installed. I guarantee it'll be nearly impossible to stay inside with all the banging that will be done overhead.

But it's not just you; you must also consider your pets and how they'll react to the noise. Just like it's recommended that you leave, I also recommend sending them somewhere on the day of installation. 

Many roofing companies don’t clean up properly after a roof replacement

A lot goes into the roof replacement process. Most roofing contractors do about 90% of the job and get paid. 

But most skip the last 10% of a project, which is a final inspection and cleaning up your property. While the final inspection is important, the clean up process must absolutely be done. 

If the clean up isn’t done properly there will be nails in the yard, debris in your shrubs, and flat tires from nails in the driveway. It also makes your attic look like a bomb went off.

If the roofer didn't lay down plastic or a tarp over everything, you'll have debris all over your attic. Dealing with the leftovers that weren't cleaned up after a roof replacement isn't fun, trust me. 

Paying for a roof replacement isn't fun

I've already mentioned that a new roof is a large investment multiple times. But it needs to be said that paying for a roof replacement isn't fun. 

A new roof isn’t a jet ski or car. You don’t get to play with it or enjoy it like other things you invest a large amount of money in. 

However, a roof is a necessity. The joy you get out of it is the peace of mind knowing that your home is protected from the elements and that you have a solid foundation over your head that will last you a long time.

What should I do next?

Now you the pros and cons to consider when determining if you need roof repairs or a full roof replacment. But you just got a lot of information throw at you, so I understand if you're overwhelmed. 

So, the next thing you should do is if find a local roofing contractor. After all, you won't truly know what your roof needs until after an inspection. 

Unfortuantely, finding a trustworthy roofing contractor is harder than you think. That's why I wrote another article to help you find a great roofer in your area. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided roof repairs and full roof replacments to thousands of residents in Nashville, Tennessee. We take pride in our work and back it up with a lifetime craftsmanship gurantee. 

If you're local to Nashville or a surrounding Middle Tennessee area, don't hestiate to Contact Us today. 

Check out How Do I Choose a Professional Roofing Contractor to find a great roofer in your area. 

roofing contractor questions checklist

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