Deciding Between a Roof Repair and Replacement

There are times when you can get away with repairing a damaged roof, but a full replacement may be the most cost-effective solution for the situation.

Your roof is a vital component of your home because it prevents water, animals, and wind from getting in, keeping you warm, safe, and dry. Having a shelter is essential to human survival, and your roof, walls, and floors must provide this for you. 

That being the case, you need to take care of your roof to ensure the inside of your home remains a comfortable, safe place for you and your family.

When you notice an issue with your roof, you have a couple of options to remedy it. In many cases, you can have a contractor repair it. This is often the most cost-efficient option, especially if the damage is relatively minor and your shingles aren’t overly old. 

Other situations call for a complete roof replacement. This typically makes the most sense when your shingles are nearing the end of their life expectancy or you encounter severe damage.

Either way, a lot goes into this decision and you should go over your options carefully to make the most convenient and cost-effective choice for your home. 

Here’s what you need to know about roof repairs and replacements in northern New Jersey to make the right decision.

Should I repair or replace my roof?

Roofing problems usually aren’t something you can put off for a few months, because leaks can do significant damage in a short amount of time. When you notice an issue, the first step should be to identify the problem and develop a solution. Generally, this process involves contacting a roofing professional to have a look.

It’s usually a good idea to repair the roof, instead of replacing it, whenever possible. The main reason is the cost, as it’s often considerably more expensive if you have to install new shingles. 

However, if the repair will only provide a temporary solution, going with a replacement right now can actually save you money. 

For example, let’s say you require a minor repair that will cost about $400. If that repair holds up for years to come, it’s money well spent. But if the repair only holds for six months and you need a new roof anyway at that time, you’re essentially wasting that $400 without investing in a long-term fix. 

Getting an accurate assessment of your roof is one reason why it’s a good idea to contact a roofing professional. The contractor will begin by looking for damage and figuring out the best course of action, and you’ll receive the information you require to make an informed decision. 

Sure, going ahead with the repair will save you money right now. But when you think about the long-term costs, including any damage that could be done to your attic and home by leaks, a replacement might save you not only money but time and hassle, as well.

Every situation is different, so carefully go over your roofing options to make the right one for your property.

Other roofing factors to consider

When looking at the big picture, there are numerous other aspects of your roof to consider.

The first thing to look at is your maintenance schedule. Are you taking care of your current roof? Many homeowners are under the impression that once a roof is on their home, it should last for 25-30 years, no matter what. But that’s not a reasonable expectation if you’re not taking care of it.

The truth is that roofs require maintenance to avoid problems and last for their ideal life expectancy. In New Jersey, we get a lot of snow and ice in the winter. This weather is hard on roofs and can reduce the lifespan of your shingles. 

Regular maintenance will find and address any minor damage before it has the chance to spread, keeping your roof healthier for longer. Having a professional roofer handle your upkeep is a great way to identify potential issues and fix them before you have water pouring into the house. The result will be fewer roof problems and a maximized lifespan.

Even if you’re taking great care of your roof, you should consider its age when going ahead with a repair or replacement. If your roof is 27 years old and your shingles are rated to last 30 years, you might want to replace the roof when you begin experiencing problems.

The reason is that your repairs might not provide you with much more time anyway. As your shingles age, they show visible signs of wear and the physical structure starts to become compromised. Sure, a repair at this stage could get another couple of years out of your existing roof, but is it really worth the cost when you’ll have to replace it soon anyway?

Of course, this is a decision that comes down to the individual situation and repair costs. It’s also worth noting that, even if the repair holds for longer than a few years, some insurance companies won’t provide coverage if your roof is over a certain age. In this case, you might have to replace the old shingles even if the repair seems to have solved your issue.

Another factor that should go into your decision is the availability of materials. Just because you want to have your roof repaired doesn’t mean the materials will be readily available. Think about how much has changed since the original installation of your roof. Depending on your roof type, your current shingles could have gone on in the 1980s or 90s. Technology has evolved a great deal since then, and your contractor might not have the same shingles in stock. 

There’s also a good chance your roofer won’t have access to the same color palette, since they change regularly. Or, in more extreme situations, there’s even the possibility that the shingle manufacturer is no longer in business. 

While this doesn’t necessarily make the repair impossible, it won’t look as good if you’re using two different colors or shingle types. When looking to resell your home, or if curb appeal is a priority for you, this could be a situation where you are better off going ahead with a full roof replacement. 

Finally, consider your warranty. If your shingles remain under guarantee, you’ll likely want to go ahead with whatever that agreement covers. In some cases, the manufacturer will cover the repair costs, while in others, only the cost of the new shingles is part of the contract. 

There are also labor costs to consider — you may or may not be responsible for them even if the repair is covered by a warranty. 

Have a look at your warranty and do a bit of math to figure out the best course of action for you, both short-term and long-term. Your roofing contractor can also help you understand what the manufacturer is responsible for and inform you on how to handle the situation.

Determining the cost of a roof repair

Naturally, the cost of your roof repair will have a significant influence on what you do. Assuming that your roof’s warranty has expired and you’re on the hook for whatever repairs are necessary, consider the expenses you’ll have to take on.

Here’s the problem: There are so many factors that go into a roof repair cost that it’s nearly impossible to talk numbers without knowing the specifics. If you have a roof leak, there could be damage to your underlay, decking, insulation, and rafters that you have to address. 

Likewise, the problem could be with your flashing or valleys, rather than the shingles themselves. 

There are many different components on your roof, and all of them factor into the repair cost. 

However, you should know that minor roof repairs can run between $200 and $1,500, while significant restorations could cost you over $3,000. If you only need to replace a few shingles or the flashing around your chimney, it’ll cost far less than addressing decking with water damage. 

The final cost of your repair could be what ultimately persuades you to go with a full replacement because the expenses could end up being similar, especially if the repair won’t get much more than a few more years from your roof.

Why it’s essential to hire a roofing professional

Since so many scenarios could happen to your roof, all with different implications and costs, it’s always a good idea to get an inspection from a professional roofer. Not only will these experts figure out precisely what is wrong with your roof, including any underlying issues that you might not see, but they can also help you to come up with the most cost-efficient plan for your home. 

The most inexpensive option today isn’t always the best choice for your long-term planning. Consider all the options before making your final decision.

Blue Nail Roofing & Siding has a team of experienced roofing and construction experts in the Morris County, New Jersey, area. We can provide full-service solutions for your home’s exterior, including advising you on whether a roof repair or replacement is the best way to go. Contact us for a free consultation, and have peace of mind that your roof is in great hands.

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