Roof repair vs. roof replacement: how to decide

It can be hard to decide whether you want to have your roof repaired or just replaced entirely. The letter may seem appealing since it gives you a chance to start from scratch. However, the costs of installing a new roof are often enough to discourage such ideas. For most people, the choice isn’t always obvious. When is it more advisable to deal with the costs and replace your roof rather than spend more money over a long period to try and keep it in good condition? Let’s look at roof repair vs. roof replacement: how to decide and answer these questions!


The first thing that can impact your decision of roof repair vs. roof replacement is the age of your roof. It is unfortunate, but roofs have their lifespans, too. If the roof is too old, it can be impossible to fix it. You cannot expect a wooden roof to remain in top shape for over thirty years. Asphalt-based roofs will last even shorter, and their expected lifespan is around twenty years. Finally, tile, copper, and slate last for approximately fifty years. To gauge the life expectancy of your roof correctly, you need to get a roof inspection before buying a home. Otherwise, you may have to replace your roof shortly after moving in. Of course, note that roofs that last longer are typically more expensive. Sometimes, it is better to opt for a cheap roof that you can repair or replace easily when going for a replacement. Cheaper roofs will save you from having to pay for a significant up-front investment.

Extent of damage

Another contributing factor in the roof repair vs. roof replacement debate is the extent of damage done to your roof. There is a point where it is both cheaper and safer to give up and have a new roof laid. One example is if you notice considerable sagging in your roof’s main support beam. This is a sure sign that your roof is in danger of collapsing. If your roof does collapse, it will likely take a chunk of your home with it.

Another example is excessive shingle damage. This damage can easily happen when you live in an area that suffers from powerful storms or after a large hail. Of course, this will likely leave you with nowhere to put your attic stuff, so keep in mind there are several uses for storage units, and that renovation is one of them. A storage unit can save you from a lot of trouble.

A sagging roof
When trying to decide between roof repair vs roof replacement, sagging always requires the latter.

Type of damage

The next thing to consider is just what type of damage your roof has taken. We’ve mentioned shingle damage before, but unless it is very prominent, in most cases, you can replace the damaged shingle and get away with a straightforward roof repair. Unfortunately, some situations are tricky to deal with, such as leaks. In most cases, they happen due to some damage to your roof. However, if you did not lay your roof correctly, you may not be able to fix the fault without a complete roof replacement. How thermal shock affects your roof is also an excellent example of how damage type will change your decision of whether to repair or replace. Cracks and buckling are one thing since they primarily affect individual tiles or shingles. If gaps form, however, you may need a roof replacement.

Badly installed roof
A badly installed roof often must be entirely replaced.

Type of roof

The type of your roof affects more than just its lifespan. It also dictates whether you can even opt for repair. One reason it may not be possible is how some roofs are laid. Their tiles or shingles may interlock in a way that would prevent you from just replacing some of them. The extent of work needed to extract them doesn’t make the repair option worth it. The second problem you may run into is if your roof is relatively ‘old.’ Some roofing materials have fallen out of use and are now considered ‘faulty.’ Thankfully, plenty of newer and better versions are currently on the market. Unfortunately, you might have difficulty finding materials to repair your roof if that model isn’t supported anymore. After all, you cannot replace part of your shingles if you cannot purchase the replacements.


The deciding factor in your decision between roof repair vs. roof replacement might be your available budget. Entirely replacing a roof is a lot more expensive than just having a few tiles or shingles swapped out. There is the cost of materials, hiring people to replace your old roof, and finally putting in the new one. And, as the experts from like to warn, you really shouldn’t forget the ‘smaller’ costs, either. The cost of renting storage for your attic items, potentially paying movers to get them there and back, as well as paying a crew to clear out the building materials from your old roof are all expenses that aren’t exactly cheap.

Professionals at work
No matter how expensive, remember to leave work on your roof up to professionals.


Of course, the decision between roof repair vs. roof replacement does not only need to come down to necessity. You might want to get a better roof. Energy efficiency is one important factor here. Things like additional insulation or adding vents for better air circulation to your roof often can’t be done through repair work. Not even the most professional roofers you can hire are miracle workers. If you want such features worked into your roof, then you need to get a new one installed. Thankfully, this means you would have the opportunity to select all the other features of your roof correctly. The material, design, and even color of your roof are all essential elements that impact its effectiveness.


Final comment

Having read our explanation of roof repair vs. roof replacement: how to decide, you should be able to make your judgment. However, let’s reiterate once more. If your roof is significantly damaged, too old, or not doing its job well enough, it is better to replace it. If the damage is limited to individual shingles and tiles, not aimed at structurally integral parts of your roof, or if you cannot afford the total cost of roof replacement at the moment, then the repair will have to do the trick.


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