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Should I Repair Or Replace My Roof?

Roofing is expensive. It’s not uncommon to feel a knot in your stomach thinking about how much money you’ll need to spend when you discover a roof problem. However, you may not have to panic yet. When roof problems come up, there’s often a much easier and cheaper solution than replacement. The trick is knowing what to look for and acting quickly before roof replacement becomes necessary.

With a bit of information, you can determine the likelihood of repairing or replacing your roof and know what you’re getting into before you call in the professionals.

Signs Your Roof Needs Repair

The following are typical types of roof damage. Sometimes, if caught early, they simply need repairs rather than replacing the entire roof.

Natural Damage

Fallen limb scars, minor hail damage or minor wind damage are often repairable. If the roof is only several years old, repairing or reroofing a section may be a low-cost option over replacement.

If you suspect a storm has damaged your roof, have it professionally inspected to determine the extent of the damage.


Modern roofs use rubber, tar and plastic around some pipes and vents. These materials often degrade faster than the roofing material and develop a leak. They’re relatively easy to replace and are likely all that’s needed if water is leaking at these spots.

Installation Problems

Look for large amounts of tar covering flashing. It’s usually a sign of poor workmanship and can lead to big problems. Also, look for missing kick-out flashing at the bottom or dormer wall intersections and missing crickets behind chimneys. A roofing company can install these missing items for far less money than a new roof.

Improper Ventilation

If you notice condensation on the underside of your roof deck, delaminating roof plywood in the attic or have trouble keeping the second story cool on hot days, your attic may need more venting. Call a professional to assess your home’s venting needs and have it added or repaired if required.

Signs Your Roof Needs Replacement

Some roof conditions simply can’t be repaired. Replacement of the whole roof is necessary when these problems become evident.


Asphalt shingle roofing needs to be replaced every 15 to 20 years unless your home has 30 or 40-year shingles on it. When your roof gets close to that age, start having yearly inspections to determine when to replace it.


Structural problems such as the roof deck plywood sagging between the rafters is only fixable by replacing the roof and decking boards.


Roofs take a beating from the weather and sunshine. If you find curling or shrinking shingles, an abundance of shingle granules in the gutters, bare spots, blistering or extensive moss or algae growth, it may be time to replace the roof.

Missing Shingles

More than a few missing shingles on your roof means it’s probably time to replace it before the problem gets worse. It’s often a sign of an underlying problem.

Know When to Repair or Replace Your Roof

Knowing what caused damage to your roof and how badly damaged it is could mean the difference between shelling out for a new roof or paying only for the cost of repairs.

Determine Cause

When your roof suffers from old age or structural problems is the only time that there’s no question about whether it’s time to replace it or not. If you know that a storm has caused minor damage, shoddy installation is to blame, improper venting or that material other than the shingles have deteriorated, you may be able to get by with repairing it.

Extent of Damage

Of course, when the damage is simply too much to repair easily, the best option may be to replace the entire roof. It’s not always easy to determine the extent of roof damage. Sometimes, when your roof is approaching the end of its lifespan, the most cost-effective approach might be to replace it now instead of repairing it, only to tear off the repair again in a couple of years.

Leaks that appear in several places, visible structural problems and shingles that are curling at the corners are sure signs that repairing the roof is no longer an option and you must replace it.

When to Call a Professional

A formal roofing education isn’t necessary to understand that something isn’t right with your roof. Visually inspecting your roof from the ground and in the attic each year will tell you when you need to take a closer look at your roof’s condition.

Call a trusted roofing contractor to perform a thorough inspection and talk to you about your options when that time comes.

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