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A Roof Repair or a Roof Replacement?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Timing is a major factor in determining whether to repair or replace a roof - you don't want to re-roof too soon and waste money, but you also don't want to wait too long.

Roofs wear out eventually and require replacement. You don't want to do it too soon, as you'll waste money. However, you also don't want to wait too long because then you'll have leaks and expensive water damage. You must know how to assess the overall condition of your roof and identify early signs of roof failure in order to get the timing right.

A spot repair makes sense if most of your roof is still in good condition. In the case of a roof that is worn out or over 20 years old, however, it is probably better to replace it.

Be Alert to Early Roof Leak Signs

A roof check-up at least once a year should allow you to plan in advance for repairs if necessary. Early warning signs include dark spots on ceilings, peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots near fireplaces, and water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace.

Viewing your roof through binoculars can give you a good idea of its health from the outside. These warning signs include cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing; buckling, curling, or blistering shingles; and worn areas around chimneys, pipes, and skylights. Grit from asphalt roof tiles in gutters is a bad sign since the granules protect the roof from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Black algae stains are cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen indicate decayed roofing.

If you find worrisome signs while inspecting your roof on your own, especially if the roof is old or if there has been a storm with fierce winds or hail, get a professional assessment. A few roofing companies provide free inspections, while specialized roof inspectors charge around $175.

When Repairs Make Sense

A roof that is otherwise sound usually can be repaired if it leaks. If you need to squirt some roofing mastic into a gap next to chimney flashing, the cost could be $10, while it could cost $1,000 to fix a leak in a roof valley. An unexpected event, such as a wind storm, may cause a leak to appear. Your homeowner's insurance will probably cover the repairs. But you're still responsible for limiting the damage, so spread buckets and try to hire a local roofer to spread a tarp while you arrange for repairs. The insurance often does not cover problems related to a roof that is not maintained.

The Cost of Re-Roofing

For basic composition shingles, tearing off an old roofing and starting over costs about $3 per square foot. For about $2 a square foot, you can add a second layer to an existing single layer. If you only plan to stay in the house for a few years, this might seem like a smart way to save. Except if you are so strapped for cash that your only option is to risk leaks, it is a false economy. In addition, the second layer won't last as long-only about 15 years rather than the standard 20-and you won't be able to upgrade to stronger features such as flashing or underlayment. Plus, your re-covered roof will look lumpy when you sell, and potential buyers may interpret the two layers as a sign that other home improvements were also made on a budget.

Make Sure to Factor in Hidden Costs

Don't just look at the total when evaluating bids. A bare-bones estimate might include 10 pounds of building paper under the roof, while a better, but more expensive, a bid would include 30 pounds of paper plus self-stick rubbery material along the eaves to prevent ice dams. Additionally, bids might differ regarding whether they include the cost of disposing of the old roofing, hourly rates for structural repairs, and gutter costs.

Once you have chosen a contractor, be sure the company is licensed and insured. Also, discuss how the landscaping will be minimized by the crew, and who will pay for any damages. Try to schedule the roof work during dry weather, so your lawn doesn't suffer as much damage. In addition, you'll sleep better if you don't worry about rain coming in when the roof is half-done.

Get the Most From a New Roof

The cost of a new roof isn't something most families look forward to. But getting multiple benefits from it makes the cost worthwhile. With a new roofing project, you can include many eco-friendly features, some of which may qualify for a federal tax credit to offset the cost. You can also choose roofing that is more resistant to fire or damage caused by wind and hail, which may qualify you for a discount of 30% or more on your homeowner's insurance.

About APD Roofing in Texas

APD Roofing can help keep your roof in good shape to better handle bad weather, and we can repair your roof in case of damage from wind and storms. We also build quality new roofs for your roof replacement or new roof project. Contact us for a free in-home or office estimate for any of your home or business roofing needs.


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