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Repair or Replace – How Is This Roofing Decision Made?

When a roof sustains damage, roofers may suggest replacing it, as opposed to just doing repairs.

While it is normal that a homeowner might want to pay roof companies only to make repairs, there are many instances when the cost of those repairs just does not make sense.

Where is the magic line between roofing companies recommending a replacement over doing repairs?

It depends on a few important factors when assessing the amount of damage present.

  • What Type of Damage Is Present? - First, roof companies will assess the type of damage, as some problems are definitely worse than others in terms of making repairs or having to do an entire replacement. A few leaks here or there could be repaired, but something like protrusion through the roof or shingles blown off or damaged by hail represent something else entirely. Structural damage present almost always means a replacement is necessary, as the roof has to be removed to repair the support structure.    
  • How Widespread Is The Damage? - Next, roofers will assess whether the problem is located in only a few small areas or if it encompasses most of the roof. A few random missing shingles after a storm can easily be replaced. If shingles are missing all over the roofing system, the time it would take to replace them individually could be much longer than simply tearing off the old roof and doing a new installation. Widespread damage like hail damage, curling and blistering from heat damage, and cracked and broken shingles due to dry rot would also require a replacement, as opposed to just being repaired.  
  • What Is The Age of the Roofing System? - The older a roof is, the more likely it is that roofing companies will recommend replacing it versus doing repairs. Older roofs are more likely to develop problems as time goes on, so if replacement time is already close, skipping the repairs and opting for a new roofing system makes more sense. 
  • Which Option Is More Cost-Effective? - After considering the previous three points, roofers will then assess which opinion is more cost-effective and therefore makes more sense.

Since no roofing system is the same and there are countless ways in which roofing damage can be assessed, roof companies should always be called in to do an in-person inspection before any decisions on replacement or repairs should be made.

When roofers can make repairs, they will.

If the damage is such that the scope or cost of repairs would be better handled with a new roof system, most roofing companies will make that suggestion as well.

Sometimes, even if the cost is more than expected, spending a little more on a new roof is more cost-effective than paying only for repairs.