Repair vs. Re-Roof: Which Is Right for Me?

What to Consider When Your Roof Needs Work

Whenever your roof has damaged or missing shingles, the question arises: Does my roof need a repair or a total replacement? Unless you’re a roofing expert, it can be difficult to know with certainty which option is right for your situation. A repair is faster and less expensive, but sometimes factors like the extent of the damage or the materials involved make re-roofing a smarter choice. Here are some considerations when weighing roof repairs vs. a total re-roof job.

Roof Repairs: Great for Small Issues and Temporary Fixes

Your roof and shingles take a beating over their usable lifespan. Wind, rain, ice, animals, algae, and any number of other hazards cause wear and tear. This is normal and to be expected–after all, your roof’s job is to protect your house!

Your roof might be a good candidate for a repair job if:

  • The damaged area is small. No need for a tear-off to take care of a shingle or two! Small-scale damage often means a small-scale solution. Damage that covers less than 30% of your roof’s surface means your roof could be a good candidate for a repair job.
  • The damage is not severe. Some roof issues, like clogged gutters, snow buildup, and algae staining, might not even require expert help. For example, algae stains are treatable and preventable with a little bit of DIY work. For more information about dealing with algae, check out our recent post: What Causes Roof Stains?
  • Your shingles are relatively new. The age of your roof and the roofing materials plays a factor in this decision. If your roof is less than 10 years old, it may make the most sense to address issues with repairs. The useful lifespan of your shingles may be longer or shorter, depending on quality and shingle style, so look for signs of age like curling and missing granules.
  • You need a replacement soon, but it’s not in the cards right now. Maybe you know a re-roof is coming, but that doesn’t align with your finances or your schedule. Ignoring leaks or other issues will just create a bigger problem down the road. The solution? Get a repair job now to extend the life of your current roof and buy yourself some time before a tear-off.
  • Your shingle style is on backorder. The roofing industry is currently seeing shortages of select types of shingles. Most standard models are available, but specialty options have significant lead times. This is another case where you’ll want to do repairs immediately to prevent further damage. Then, you can always choose to re-roof down the road to get your entire roof with coordinating shingles in the style that you want.

Roof Tear-offs and Replacements: When It’s Time to Start From Scratch

Often, repairs and maintenance will do the trick, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes a total re-roof is in order. As you might expect, roof replacements are generally the correct solution for larger, more substantial issues, but there are some other situations where re-roofing makes sense.

Here are some indicators that your roof issue necessitates a replacement:

  • The damaged area is large. Trying to repair a large section of your roof surface can end up being quite costly. Plus, color-matching existing shingles is difficult, especially if they’ve been exposed to the elements for a long time. One option is a partial re-roof, but this is more expensive in the long run and can cause its own issues like gapping.
  • The damage is severe. Storms, falling trees, lichens, and other hazards can cause an extreme level of damage. Repairs may not be enough, or they might not be cost-efficient. Take care of severe problems with a re-roof.
  • Your roof is getting old. Roofs that haven’t been replaced in 15-20 years (or more) will be due for a replacement soon anyway. This is especially true if you’ve prolonged getting a tear-off by overlaying several layers of shingles. The issues you’re noticing might simply be because your roof has reached its life expectancy. Curling, discoloration, cracked shingles, and sagging are all tell-tale signs to watch for.
  • You’re thinking about moving soon. A new roof is great for resale value and curb appeal! When your house goes on the market in the coming months or years, buyers will appreciate seeing a new roof, and it’s one less thing to worry about during an inspection.
  • You want to change shingle styles. Maybe you want to move up from tab shingles to dimensional, try a different shingle material, or match your roof’s color to an exterior paint job. Replacing everything at once will get you the look and function you want.
  • Matching your existing shingles would be difficult. If your shingles have been discontinued, or you’ve already done a patch job with a non-matching style, getting everything to coordinate can be difficult with a repair job. If a uniform look is what you’re going for, a replacement might be the best solution.

Unsure? Bring in a Roofing Expert

No matter which solution you choose, it’s smart to act quickly. The longer you wait, the more expensive repairs and re-roofs can get as the damage becomes more extensive and material prices increase. For additional resources and guidelines, please visit our Roofing and Repairs pages.

A roofing expert from L.H. Krueger can determine whether a repair or a replacement is needed. To request a Free Service Estimate, contact our team today!

Do you have a worn or leaking roof? Are you looking for advice or assistance with your next roof repair or replacement job? Contact L.H. Krueger and Son, Milwaukee’s home exterior repair experts.

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