New roofs are a necessary but expensive reality for homeowners and commercial property managers alike. So how can you tell when a roof just needs a few repairs, as opposed to needing to be replaced completely?
A lot depends on the type of roof and the type of wear and tear it has taken. If you’re seeing signs that your roof is nearing the end of its life, you’re going to need to deal with it sooner rather than later, and you’ll need to make decisions about whether to patch it, do a partial replacement, or re-roof the whole building.
The basic types of roofing are:
Torch-on roofing, polyester-reinforced asphalt rolls that are applied with heat. It’s sealed together and is highly resistant to damage from weather, pests, rot, and debris.
Metal roofing, which can last as long as the building itself, sheds rain and snow easily, and resists fire, mildew, pests, and rot.
Shingle roofing, typically made of asphalt, is the most common type of roofing for residential buildings and generally the least expensive option. However, shingles can be vulnerable to weather, pests, and debris, creating weak points in the roof.
All types of roofs have different life expectancies and maintenance requirements. Good maintenance will help prolong the life of your roof, but no roof is going to last forever. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to take action to repair or replace a compromised roof.
What Are The Signs That A Roof Needs Repairs?
There are several things you can look for when you’re trying to determine if a roof is in need of repairs or replacement. Obviously, a leak is a sign that’s hard to miss. However, there are subtler clues you can look for as well. Shingles that are curling at the edges, cracked, or missing granules are a good indicator that a roof has worn to the point where something needs to be done. If you can see daylight through the roof boards in your attic, that’s a sure sign as well. Age alone is a fairly important factor—if you’ve had the same shingle roof for more than twenty years, you can expect that it’s going to need replacing soon.
In many cases, it can be more cost effective to replace the entire roof than to patch it or do a partial replacement. However, if the roof is fairly new it may be practical to simply repair problem areas.
The Importance Of Regular Maintenance
To prolong the life of your roof, it’s vital to maintain it regularly. If you’ve just had a new roof installed or repairs done, getting in the habit of practicing proper roof maintenance early on can help forestall further repairs or replacement down the road.
Patching: a few cracked or missing shingles are easy enough to replace. Leaving gaps in the roof can allow water and pests to get in, so make sure you replace compromised shingles as soon as you spot them.
- Flashing: the flashing is designed to help water flow off of your roof efficiently. Any problems with the flashing must be dealt with immediately in order to prevent water from causing structural damage to your house.
- Gutters: clogged gutters can cause a host of problems for your roof and home. If water can’t flow through the gutters properly, it can get into the foundation of your house. Gutters that are loaded with ice or debris can also come detached from the weight, damaging your trim and siding. The organic debris and dampness that collects in gutters can also attract insects, rodents, and other harmful pests, so make sure you clean them out regularly.
Roof Wear Isn’t A Problem You Can Ignore
No matter what kind of roof you have, at some point it will have to be replaced. Knowing when to repair versus when to replace can save you a lot of money—small problems can often be easily fixed, but when serious damage occurs, it’s often more cost effective to do a total replacement, as partial repairs won’t last as long. When in doubt, get in touch with roofing experts for an evaluation of the condition of your roof and professional advice about how best to handle it.