Roof Repair vs. Replacement: How to Know Which One You Need

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Did you know that experts have found and identified more than 1,000 mold species in U.S. homes?

Molds, after all, only need three things to survive: oxygen, cellulose, and water. The first two are already in homes: oxygen is in the air, while cellulose is a chief component of wood. Excess moisture, in turn, can come from water leaks, including those affecting roofs.

Thus, if you have a damaged roof, your home is at risk of mold growth.

Fortunately, you can avoid such hazards with timely roof repair or replacement. From there, it’s only a matter of figuring out which of the two makes the most health, safety, and financial sense.

Don’t worry, as we’re here to guide you through that decision-making process. Read on to learn when to get roof repairs vs. a replacement.

Your Roof’s Expiration Date

Asphalt shingle roofs last for about 20 years, copper for 70, metal for 40 to 80, and slate for 60 to 150. However, they can last longer as long they undergo maintenance at least twice a year. On the other hand, lack of upkeep, paired with extreme weather, can cut their life short.

With that in mind, you can now compare the age of your roof with those estimates. If it’s close to its expiration date, consider getting it inspected by a professional. Reliable roofing contractors can tell you if you need roof repairs and if they can extend the life of your roof.

If you’re not sure how old your roof is, reach out to your real estate agent or your home’s previous owners. You can also call the roof manufacturer or installer if you know who they are. Another option is to contact your local government.

The Severity of Existing Roof Damages

Problems affecting shingle and tiled roofs are buckling, missing, sagging, and warped components. Other roofing systems can also sink and sustain cracks, dents, and holes. These damages can all occur due to extreme heat, heavy snow, harsh winds, or torrential rains.

If such issues only affect a localized area of your roof, you may only need roofing repair. Fixing or replacing damaged and missing components may make more sense if your roof is only a few years old.

If you have multiple massive roof leaks and your system is also old, it might be best to get a replacement instead. Due to its age, even the non-damaged areas are likely to develop issues sooner rather than later. They might even fail during severe weather, and if that happens, your home is at risk of indoor water damage.

If Water Penetration Has Occurred

Between your roof’s exterior materials and its sheathing is the roofing underlayment. It sits atop the roof deck, acting as a secondary barrier against the elements, such as rain, snow, and wind. Therefore, it has to be water-resistant for it to do its job.

Unfortunately, the underlayment can become wet because of damaged or missing roof components. That can happen due to constant exposure to water getting in through the cracks or bald areas of the roof. Ultimately, that can allow the water to seep into your home.

You can tell that water is penetrating your roof if the surfaces in your attic become damp when it rains. Likewise, ceiling stains or streaks on the walls below the attic are also a dead giveaway.

Over time, all that extra moisture can lead to mold growth. The thing is, molds don’t only look and smell unpleasant; they can cause severe property damage, too. Moreover, they can be a health risk for the 20% of people in the U.S. with environmental allergies.

If those symptoms describe your roofing woes, you might need a roof replacement. It makes even more sense if your existing roof is also nearing the end of its service life.

How Often You’ve Had It Fixed

Let’s say your roof has reached the middle of its life cycle, but you’ve only had it fixed a few times within that period. Then it might be more practical to have a roofing company repair minor to moderate problems.

However, a replacement may already be in order if your roof has had multiple service calls in the past year or two. That’s especially true if the cost of those repairs, plus the one you need now, sums up to thousands of dollars.

In addition, a new roof comes with an installation, contractor’s, and manufacturer’s warranty. How long they last varies, but the first two often run for five to ten years, while the third can range from 25 to 30 years. So, even if you have to spend more for a replacement, you can worry less about repair costs for the next several years.

Resistance Against Future Weather-Related Damage

Building codes get updated every three years to include changes that can save lives. For example, they incorporate new information extracted from post-disaster studies. If followed, the revised standards help make buildings, including homes, more hazard-resistant.

Modern building codes can also reduce property losses due to natural disasters. FEMA even says that their use can save cities and counties at least $32 billion over 20 years.

Investing in a new roofing system is one way to reap the benefits of updated building codes. After all, modern roofs incorporate features allowing them to withstand hurricane winds better. Some also boast improved ultraviolet radiation protection against UV degradation.

With that said, you might want to get a roof replacement that meets the latest building codes. That can prove to be a life-saver during extreme weather events like hurricanes.

Never Delay Roof Repair or Replacement

There you have it; your guide on when to get roof repair vs. a replacement. You’ve learned that repairs often make more sense for roofs with minor to moderate damage. By contrast, a replacement may be best for older systems with more severe problems.

Whichever you decide on, don’t delay scheduling your roof for the service. You never know when the next storm may come, so it’s best to get your roof fixed or replaced ASAP.

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