Your Roof: Replace Or Repair?

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When you first purchase your new home, there may be many things to consider. Among them, whether or not to replace your roof.  Although the condition of your roof will have been covered in the home inspection ordered by your mortgage lender, it may still need work.

The roof of a home is one of the most important investments a homeowner can make. A roof that’s in disrepair can also mean thousands of dollars in water damage to your home.  Indeed, it can make sense to re-inspect the roof of your home, whether you hire a professional or do it yourself.

Many homeowners agonize over which decision is best: to replace or just repair their roof. You can either get the answer from a contractor, or try and determine this on your own.

Hiring a Contractor
There’s much to be said for getting a contractor to help you decide whether or not to replace your roof. First of all, little can compare to the eye of a professional. Any contractor worth their salt will be able to not only advise you on the best route to take, but educate you as well.

But before you hire one, you should know the answers to a few questions, such as how long you plan to stay in your home. If you aren’t planning to sell before a few more years have passed, this will result in additional questions, including:

  • Whether or not the contractor expects your roof to pass inspection in a few years’ time;
  • How the roof looks from ground level. If your roof’s condition negatively affects your home’s curb appeal, this could spell trouble for future would-be renters or buyers.

A contractor should also be able to tell you about the probability of other leaks to form and whether or not a repair will look visually appealing.

Assessing Your Roof on Your Own
Different roofs exhibit different signs of damage. But no matter which type of roof you have, inspecting it effectively is much easier with a pair of binoculars. This can allow you to see some damage from the ground, eliminating the need to climb to dangerous heights. Alternatively, you can ask an experienced friend or neighbor to climb the ladder and take a look for you.

If you have shingles on your roof, then the most common signs of damage and wear are curled, loose, cracked or missing shingles. Granules which have worn out are another sign, as are dark patches.

If your roof is done in tile, then the most common signs of wear and damage are chips and cracks.

Metal roofs show their age in the form of rust patches and holes. Because this material will contract and expand over the years, you may also notice split seams and areas where the screws or nails may have ‘popped’.

Slate roofing damage is characterized by pieces that have either shifted or gone missing. Pay particular attention to areas where the slate meets your roof’s flashing.

If you have a flat roof, you will want to check your gutters as well as the ground around your home for evidence of damage or wear. As well, a worn flat roof will often pool water, which can cause damage if left too long.

How to Decide
The decision to repair or replace your roof is a significant one. If you find you have damage that’s concentrated in one area of your roof, it may make sense to simply repair the damaged area, which can be relatively inexpensive, depending on the type of roof you have.

You can either repair the damaged portion of the roof yourself, or hire a professional. Whichever you choose, experts advise that partial re-roofing may be the solution, as it can cost far less than going for a full roof replacement.

However, partial re-roofing comes in at a more expensive cost for a square that’s ten by ten feet. As well, there are several caveats to consider with a partial re-roofing, such as additional costs for disposal and labor should existing roof layers need to be removed.