Roof Repair vs. Roof Replacement –
What to Know
When you experience a problem with your roof, it may seem tempting to first go with the quick, cheap fix. But those kinds of solutions typically end with more money and time being spent later on down the road. And even if you wanted to put the time and money in to completely fix it, it’s not always easy to determine whether a repair or a complete roof replacement is what’s truly required.
This leads us to the big question: repair, or replacement? Read on to learn about the differences, and based on our expertise, which you should choose.
Sometimes, all you need to do to fix your roof is replace a few shingles. If that’s the case, this can definitely be an inexpensive and effective way to solve a roof problem… Sometimes.
Before deciding on a roof repair, it’s helpful to consult a roofing professional. If some shingles have come off, that may mean part of your roof is now exposed to moisture and water. You’ll want to make sure there are no underlying problems in this area before doing any sort of repair, to prevent the potential for much greater problems down the road.
It’s also good to keep in mind that the shingles have been exposed to the harsh elements of nature, including sun fading. Meaning, they’re probably going to look different than any unused shingles you may have stored away or newly purchased shingles. If a shingle replacement is required on a widely viewable part of your roof, understand that your roof may not look uniform once the repair is done.
In addition, installing new shingles to replace missing or damaged shingles involves disturbing and bending the shingles around them and if they are older they become brittle and may crack when disturbed, preventing this type of repair.
Patching is very rarely the right solution for roof problems and is generally not recommended by roofing contractors. It can be less expensive than re-roofing if the issue is localized, but isn’t necessarily more affordable in the long run. Especially considering patching a roof is usually noticeable from afar, thus affecting the general aesthetics and appearance of the roof. In addition, sometimes the foot traffic to get to the patched area causes harm to the areas that remain.
If the patch isn’t a complete area or slope that doesn’t have safe termination points (like at a ridge or outside edge, for example, where shingles don’t connect together) then it involves tying into existing shingles and this may not be possible as noted above with minor shingle replacement, when the existing shingles are too old and brittle to work with. Even if they aren’t too old, cooler temperature alone will cause them to be brittle, meaning the repair has to be done in warmer temperatures. This may mean a tarp until that’s possible.
Even shingles that still have a reasonable amount of life/warranty left in them may not be suitable for a tie-in repair. The best way to think of it is like a potato chip, left undisturbed it’s fine, but when you bend it, it will crack.
Sometimes a contractor may offer to simply shingle over your current roof instead of replacing it. This may help the general appearance at a lower cost than replacement, but it likely won’t fix any problems that were going on with the original roof and it prevents the inspection of the roof deck, which oftentimes provides evidence of issues that need to be addressed, not to mention rotten wood replacement. It’s easy to spot trouble when the old roof is removed, but when roofing over an existing roof that’s not often the case.
You also don’t have the option to install underlayment’s beneath the shingles, as they have to be installed directly to the roof deck and when it does come time to completely replace your roof, you will have to pay to tear up and dispose of more layers of shingles. Plus, shingling over reduces the lifespan of the shingles and weakens the manufacturer’s warranty. This option is never recommended.
Total Roof Replacement
If it is an older roof, or showing signs of wear, replacing it is usually the best solution. Look for wet spots on your ceiling or mold in your home or attic for signs of water related problems. Left unresolved, moisture can cause significant damage to your roof and home. A sagging roof is also a sign that immediate replacement is necessary. Even improper ventilation can cause moisture problems that appear to be roof leaks.
It’s also important to be aware of the type of asphalt shingle you have, organic or fiberglass based. Fiberglass based shingles are far superior to the organic based shingles of the past, especially in terms of longevity. If your shingles are nearing the end of their life expectancy, it is advisable to remove and replace them and, as mentioned earlier, never shingle over an existing roof.
Which to Choose?
A roof is an integral part of any home and things can unfortunately get costly when problems arise. If it’s a minor dent, a simple shingle might do the trick. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to get a professional opinion. A roof protects your home, which for most people is their greatest asset, but more importantly it protects your family.
At Gauthier Roofing and Siding, we use fiberglass based laminate style shingles and advanced installation techniques, combined with enhanced warranty coverage, so that your new roof will protect your home against the elements and look great while doing it. Repair or replacement? Let us help guide you through the process.