A home is the most significant purchase that most people make in their entire lives, so it makes sense to invest in maintenance that provides ongoing attractiveness, durability, and longevity. Because the roof carries the brunt of protection for the rest of the structure, ensuring that it remains stable and impervious to leaks is imperative.

Obviously, repairing a section is less expensive than replacing the entire roof. However, if in doing so you are merely covering up a larger problem that will manifest later, you are multiplying your expenses down the line. That’s why it’s important to obtain the professional assistance of a home roofing contractor before making final decisions on whether to repair or replace your roof. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the best course of action.

Basic Considerations

When deciding between roof repair and replacement, there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, the age of your roof is an important consideration. If it has numerous defects and it’s nearly 20 years old, it may be time to replace it.

The size of the area needing repair is also important. If the difficulty is isolated in a small section, you may be able to repair it; however, if the problem covers a significant percentage of roof space, replacement may be advisable. You may also want to consider the specific cost of repair versus replacement. If you receive an estimate for repairing a portion and then find out that it costs just a nominal amount more to replace the entire roof, you probably would be wiser opting for the replacement.

A further consideration is that if you replace shingles on one part of the roof only, the color of the repaired shingles will not match that of the rest of the roof. If cosmetic aspects are important to you and the area is on an exposed portion of the roof, you may want to consider replacing all the shingles instead of just some of them.

When Repairs Are Sufficient – Shingles

Often replacing some shingles or flashing is sufficient to restore your roof’s protective capabilities. For instance, sometimes curled, torn, or split shingles can be selectively replaced. Hail storms can knock granules off the surface of shingles, causing the shingles to lose protection and begin to deteriorate from the sun’s UV rays. It is important to replace hail-damaged shingles as soon as possible.

When Repairs Are Sufficient – Flashing

Some leaks and other problems are caused not by damaged shingles but by damaged flashing, which is the sheet metal that helps keep your roof watertight. If roof cement has been covering up inadequate flashing, it is important to repair this oversight as soon as possible. Kick-out flashing prevents leaks where roof edges meet sidewalls. Be sure that your roof has this added protection.

Another place where proper flashing is vital is around chimneys. If your chimney has not been adequately step-flashed and counter-flashed, water may be running down your chimney and into your attic. Related to flashing, plumbing vent boots are metal or plastic units that surround the pipes and prevent leaks. Cracked or broken plumbing vent boots can be replaced so that water cannot infiltrate your home along the pipes.

Other Situations When Repairs Are Sufficient

If you are in a climate zone where moss or lichen tends to grow on your roof, have it cleaned every year or two. Be wary of roof washing that uses pressure that is too high, though, as this may damage your shingles. Black stains or streaks on your roof may be caused by a type of algae called gloeocapsa magma that is attracted to the mineral filler inside asphalt shingles. If you catch this in the early stages, stain remover can make your roof attractive again, and installing copper or zinc strips along the top course of shingles allows a solution to run down the roof that prevents algae, fungus, and moss from growing.

Preventive Measures

Gutter aprons prevent water from wicking behind the gutter and rotting the fascia, soffits, and roof sheathing. Gutter aprons can easily be installed when you are putting in new shingles, but they can also be slipped under existing shingles and glued in place with roof cement. Another important device that helps prevent rusted flashing and roof rot is a chimney cricket. This provides a mini-roof or saddle behind your chimney that prevents debris and water from accumulating around your chimney. If you are installing a new roof, be sure to include a cricket.

When Replacement Is Necessary

Although the repair of your existing roof is easier and less expensive, some situations clearly call for roof replacement. For instance, if your entire rooftop consists of cracked, curled, broken, or missing shingles, your roof obviously needs replacing. Granules from shingles in your gutters and downspouts indicate that your shingles are in their final stages of deterioration and should be replaced as soon as possible.

You may be able to shingle over an existing layer of shingles, but according to most building codes, you are not allowed to have more than two layers of shingles. After that, you have to remove and replace them. Additionally, keep in mind that when it’s time to replace the roof, ripping off two layers of shingles instead of one adds to labor costs. It’s also more difficult to spot and repair leaks through two layers of shingles.

If a portion of your roof is sagging instead of straight, this may indicate structural damage due to trapped moisture and rotting wood that will necessitate roof replacement. Contact a professional immediately if you notice your roof sagging. Signs of extensive water damage inside the home such as mold, peeling paint, and dark spots on the ceiling are warning signals that your roof may need replacing. You should also consult a professional about possible replacement if your roof is at the end of its normal lifespan or if you’ve just gone through a devastating natural disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, or other violent storm.

When you need an appraisal of your roof as a prelude to deciding whether to repair or replace it, don’t opt for a discount company. Consult quality home roofing contractor with impeccable reputations and recommendations from former clients.