Roof Repair or Roof Replacement – Which One to Choose
Roof Repair and Roof Replacement are terms that are commonly used interchangeably in the roofing business. You may also see them advertised as re-roofs or new roofs. The real question is what exactly does “repair” mean to a roofer?
Most often when your roofer says he’s going to repair the roof, he is talking about replacing an area of shingles that has been damaged by hail, wind or some other form of damage done by Mother Nature. This type of replacement can be as simple as cutting out the damaged and missing shingles and then installing new ones in their place. In more extreme cases where there have been large chunks of slate or asphalt tiles blown off during a storm, you may have to replace the entire roofing panel or tile with new material.
Sometimes we may have to go through several layers of shingles, plywood and underlayment just to reach the point where we can begin the repair by installing new top materials. In short, the term “repair” is really a misnomer for what a lot of people think it means. A more correct way of saying things would be replacement or restoration. Because that’s exactly what you are doing, restoring your property back to its original condition (or as close as possible). If you have ever seen an episode on one of those home improvements shows like Today’s Homeowner, then you know they use a crew which does nothing but repairs roof all the time. What they are actually doing is doing partial replacements on roofs. On some of these shows, the crew will cut out just a portion of the roof and replace it with new shingles or tiles to match the existing top materials.
The majority of homeowners who use “re-roofs” as opposed to a full replacement don’t realize that their home’s warranty will be voided if the work is not done and approved by an inspector from whatever company insures their property (usually an insurance company). A re-roofed house may look nice on TV after being fixed up and given its makeover, but in reality, most homeowners would probably prefer one where all of the old roof has been removed and replaced with brand new material. I say this because it is just not cost effective to do partial replacements on a roof when the homeowner’s insurance company or whoever insures their home would rather pay for a full replacement of the entire roof to begin with.
Frankly, the insurance companies know what they’re doing and why go through all of the work of repairing an old roof if you are only going to have to do it again in five years? Plus, if you were paying for everything out-of-pocket, wouldn’t you want your new roof done right the first time? And that’s usually not possible with a re-roof job! You need brand new material to obtain warranty protection from whatever company insures your property.
That said, there is one instance where I would recommend a partial replacement of your roof. If you have to do it, that is. And that’s when the old shingles or tiles you want replaced are in such poor condition there is nothing left of them worth salvaging. Replacing full panels with haphazardly cut up and mismatched materials just does not look good at all on any home no matter how much money you spend doing it!