If Your Roof is Leaking, Does It Need to be Totally Replaced?

Logical and well-informed decision-making is critical for minimizing your short and long-term home maintenance and ownership costs.  This is especially important when it comes to major expenses in maintaining or replacing the main components of the house like roofing.  These decisions need to be made before your first call to a contractor or deciding on which roofing manufacturers to consider.

Pic of If Your Roof is Leaking, Does It Need to be Totally Replaced?The first decision you’ll have to make is whether to patch over leaks and damages and move on or to consider partial or complete re-roofing.  American Construction provides a list of certain factors make this a very easy decision.  Those are:

How Old Is Your Roof?

If your roof’s life is in its 40s it might be a high time to consider partial or complete re-roofing.  Although, with a few major repairs you can get by for another 2, or 5, or even 10 years, but is it worth the risk and the expense of increased energy costs and weather-related hassles? If you live in a neighborhood that was built as a development and you see roofs being replaced of the neighborhood houses around you, you know your turn is coming.

Your Entire Roof Is Sagging?

When your roof is sagging, it is a clear sign of a larger and more structural problem that is beyond a matter of routine maintenance.  You need to address is on an urgent basis.  There might be a problem with the underlying decking or even the rafters might have rotten.  This is not a situation where your life might be in danger but this needs to be addressed now to solve a local problem to a specific area of the house rather than having your house become inhabitable.

Once you determine that you do not have an aging or morbidly damaged roof, it’s time to assess the damage and find the optimum solution.

Replacing a few shingles on your roof that were damaged as a result of high winds or a fallen tree limb is a breeze, but before you replace those shingles with mismatched shingles, check with the contractor to see if you can find ones with the closest match to your existing shingles.  It may not seem like a problem now but, it can seriously impact your home’s value when you go to sell it in a year or two.  A glaring patch in the middle of the roof can put a big ding in the curb appeal of your house and confidence in the soundness of their investment.  A partial roof replacement might be a solution that will blend out the different color of shingles and keep the look appealing.

Contrary to common belief the cost of a partial roofing job is a lot more expensive (on a 10’ X 10’ portion) than having the entire roof redone.  And a partial re-roofing job comes with its own headaches.  For example, Depending on the number of layers of roofing material, either all the layers in an area being redone will need to be removed or you’ll be left with a lopsided looking roof that may look worse than if you had done a patch-up job on the damaged portion.  Of course, there are other methods like adding a ridge cap, but the difference in height to the rest of the roof might still be noticeable.

Especially if you live in an area like Cherry Hill, NJ where being hit by a hurricane is not a once-in-a-life thing (remember Hurricane Sandy), you might not want to replace a dozen or so shingles every couple of years where it ends up leaving your house looking like something borrowed and something blue.

A New Roof Is Cheaper In the Long Run:

If you have a roof with lower quality and lower life expectancy, like the one with a –tab shingles, it might be a wiser choice to update your entire roof in one go.  Remember, if one part of your roof is having a leakage problem, there is the likelihood that other parts will begin going as well because they are of the same age as the part you’ve just replaced.

The second issue is that a roof repair or a partial roofing job is getting the crew to your doorstep and doing the prep-work needed to fix the roof.  This is an overhead cost that you’ll be paying for several times over if you decided to replace the roof in sections rather than in one go, doubling or even tripling the labor on a roof job.

When In Doubt Look For The Ominous Signs:

If you are not sure about the age of the roof, here are some signs to look for in order to determine if it’s time to replace your roof:

  • Cracked Shingles: One or two shingles that were damaged as a result of inclement weather or other incidents is fine but if you start seeing groups of them it means the ultraviolet light has damaged them beyond repair and it’s time to replace your entire roof.
  • Check the Southern Exposure: The Southern side of your house gets the most amount of sun.  Almost throughout the day, this side of the house is exposed to the sun.  If the Southern side of the house is okay, then you do not need to replace your roof, otherwise, it may be imminent that the whole roof will need to be replaced.
  • Curling of Shingles: Curled shingles can mean a lot of things.  It may mean your roof is leaking, or that your roof’s shingles weren’t lined up properly during the installation, or poor installation or even poor ventilation underneath.  They all, however, lead to a single conclusion; your roof needs to be replaced.
  • Roof Granules in the Gutter: If you are finding substantial number of granules that cover your shingles in your downspout, it means that the UV protection of your roof’s shingles is being quickly washed away leaving the shingles vulnerable to the ultraviolet rays of the sun and the extreme heat your roof bears on a daily basis.

In conclusion, only fixing the immediately apparent leaks in your roof might be a cheaper and quicker solution, but it might be wiser to take a long look at getting rid of your roofing woes once and for all.