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closeup of roofing repair or replace job
closeup of roofing repair or replace job

Repair or Replace? Which One Is Right for Your Roof

Most homeowners are inundated with advice on how to maintain their roofs:

  • Prioritize your curb appeal.
  • Get a thorough inspection at least once per year.
  • Avoid walking on your roof at all costs.

Though well-intentioned, lists of advice like these can go on for ages, and they don’t always account for the nuance needed when considering the best long-term move for dealing with your roofing problems.

A prime example of this is when you have to make a choice to either repair or replace roof. How do you know which course of action is the best choice for your situation?

Below, we discuss some of the key things to keep in mind to help you make your decision, including the costs of repairs and replacements, the nature of the damage, and your long-term plans for your home.

How Widespread Is the Damage?

closeup of damaged roof shingles in need of repair or replacement

The first question to ask yourself is how far the damage extends across your roof’s surface. A great basic rule of thumb to follow is that if the damage covers more than half of your roof’s surface, it’s worth considering replacing the whole roof and starting fresh.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it would be silly to think about replacing your entire roof if you only have a few shingles that are affected. In this case, a simple repair will do, and you might even be able to complete it yourself!

If the damage covers a significant portion, but not all, of your roof’s surface, a partial replacement could be an option worth considering. It’s exactly what it sounds like; you completely replace the roofing materials for just a portion of your roof.

This option tends to work well if one side of your roof has sustained significant damage while the other side has remained relatively normal. Keep in mind that it may be hard to color-match your new shingles with your old roof materials, and the mismatch will be much more noticeable with a partial replacement vs repairs that are more limited in scope.

How Deep Does the Damage Go?

In addition to how much surface area the damage covers, you also need to think about how much damage may have been done to the underlayers of your roof.

For example, say that you recently experienced a minor hailstorm in your area. When you inspect the surface of your roof, you see some spots where the hail knocked the mineral granules from your shingles, but they seem to be minor spots of damage. Because the brief storm included very little rain, you don’t believe that any moisture found its way below your shingles.

Consider another scenario: you had driving wind and rain for hours on end, beating against your shingles and the sides of your house. When you inspect your roof after the storm, you notice that some of the flashing near the edge of your roof is looser than it should be, leaving room for a roof leak to have developed below the surface of your roof.

closeup of white home ceiling with severe water damage from leaking roof

In the first example, the damage technically covers a wide surface area, but it’s made of minimal spots of damage that didn’t penetrate far below the surface of the roof. It’s safe to say that some targeted, minor repairs would be sufficient in this circumstance.

In the second example, the damage is limited to a single, concentrated location, but the nature of the damage has left the underlayment and roof deck at risk of severe water damage. If you tried to only repair the flashing and move on, you could end up trapping moisture inside the roof, leading to mold growth and potential roof sagging down the road. In this case, it would be better to hire one of your local roofing contractors to inspect your roof, and it’s not unlikely that they would suggest you tear out all your roofing materials to remove and replace your underlayment.

Can You Salvage Any Roofing Materials?

If you see damaged or missing shingles across the surface of your roof, your gut instinct might tell you that an entire roof replacement is your only option.

However, take a look at the roofing material that’s left and see if any of it can be reused. Do the same with any blown-off materials that you can locate in your yard and elsewhere on your property. If the materials still seem functional, you might be able to use them toward temporary repairs until you can get a trusted roofing contractor to come tell you whether you need a complete roof replacement.

How Old Is Your Roof?

Beyond analyzing the damage itself, consider the age of your roof and where it’s at in the context of its usable lifespan.

Say, for example, that a simple repair would technically fix your current issue, but you were already anticipating replacing the roof at some point within the next five years. It wouldn’t make much sense to go through with the repairs when you could simply get the replacement done a few years early and save yourself from getting work done twice within a short time frame.

older roof in need of repair or replacement

This same logic also works in reverse. Imagine your roof sustains enough damage that you could feasibly consider getting either partial repair work or a full roof replacement. If you recently had a new roof installation, it might make the most sense to preserve as much of that initial investment as possible by only making the repairs that are absolutely necessary.

Check out the paperwork from the last time you had work done to see specifics on your roofing materials and how long they should last. If the last roof replacement happened before you bought your home, try reaching out to your realtor or, if you can, the previous homeowners to access that information

Side note: if you have recently gotten a new roof and believe that your current damage is a result of either poor workmanship or faulty manufacturing, you might be able to get your repairs financed through one of the two following warranty types:

  • Manufacturer’s warranty
  • Workmanship warranty

Again, go through your paperwork to see if either of these warranties applies to your situation, and reach out to the roofing contractor who did the work for guidance on how to utilize the warranty.

What’s Your Budget?

Roof replacements aren’t cheap, and they often involve replacing much more than just the top of layer of your roof. In addition to thinking about your shingles, metal panels, or other roofing materials, you’ll also need to plan for the potential of replacing the following materials during your roof replacement project:

  • Roof flashing
  • Gutter system
  • Underlayment
  • Roof deck
  • Soffits and fascia
worker nailing new shingles down during a roof replacement

Sometimes, you simply don’t have the money on hand to get your roof replaced, no matter how much you want it. If you’re in this position, most roofing contractors will be willing to work with you on getting the most essential roof repairs completed while you put the money together to get your total roof replacement.

You might also consider alternate funding sources such as contractor-provided financing, emergency government assistance grants, and personal loans.

How Important Is Energy Efficiency?

With every year that passes, your current roof loses some of its insulating ability, leaving your home susceptible to wasting energy and ever-increasing utility bills. Additionally, new roofing materials come onto the market every day with ever-more robust eco-friendly qualities.

Even if your home hasn’t sustained significant roof damage, you may decide it’s worth replacing your roof anyway in order to save money on energy costs and lower your home’s carbon footprint.

Do You Intend to Sell?

Finally, consider your long-term plans as you make your decision whether to repair or replace. A new roof can have a significant positive impact on the selling price of your home, helping you to recoup the investment you made when you decided to replace your roof.

Conversely, roof repairs can lower your home’s curb appeal due to the potential mismatch in shingle colors between the older roof portions and the new materials. Depending on the noticeability of the repair work from the street, this may actually lower the overall selling price of your home.

To Repair or Replace Roof: The Choice Is Yours

Choosing to repair or replace the roof is no easy task, and it depends on many different circumstances. Ask yourself the questions above, and consult with a professional roofing company to help you determine your next course of action.

Whether you’re dealing with minor damage or more severe roof issues, Melo Roofing has your back. With our emphasis on swift, seamless service and high-quality installation, we’re prepared to be your go-to contractor for all your roofing work and repair needs!

Ready to learn more about how we can help you with your roof repair or replacement? Give us a call today!

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