Making good decisions regarding your roof is key in minimizing long-term costs, as well as giving you and your family peace of mind. A decision that many homeowners often face when they notice a leak is whether they should simply repair the problem area or if they should go ahead and replace the entire roof. Below are a list of things to consider when making this decision.
How old is the roof? If your roof is fairly new (< 5 years old) and you have a leak, it is highly unlikely that the entire roof needs replaced. More likely, the problem area just needs repaired. Perhaps you lost shingles in a wind storm or the flashing is not caulked properly around a chimney or vent. In this case, shingles can be nailed back down, secured, and be fine. Flashing can be re-caulked and the leak may cease. However, if you have 30-year shingles and your roof is 28 years old, replacement is the better option.
Are you under a time constraint? Do you have visitors coming over THIS weekend and the leak needs fixed ASAP? Or are you leaving on vacation for a month and don’t have time to wait for the roof to be replaced? Maybe a quick repair would be a better option.
What’s the cost difference? Is the cost to repair the front of your roof is $4,000, but if you went ahead and replaced the entire roof, it would only be $6,000? In this case, it may make more sense to replace the entire roof. Oftentimes, partial reroofing jobs are more expensive on a cost per square basis. Plus, if you have the option of dealing only once with the crew on site with their ladders, equipment, loud noises, and mess, take that opportunity.
How important are aesthetics to you? If you do a repair, the new shingles may not exactly match the hue of your existing ones, as shingles that are weathered often have a different hue than brand new shingles.
Is the roof deck damaged? If moisture has seeped onto the roof deck and caused structural damage, repairing the shingles above it is not going to fix this problem. The roof deck can be replaced if the entire roof is removed and fix the problem from bottom-up.
In the short term, patching and doing minor repairs on your roof will be cheaper. However, over the long term, if the problem is extensive enough, you may end up doing a bunch of little repairs and spending a little bit of money a bunch of times, costing you more in the long run than if you had just replaced the roof to begin.