“Should I replace my roof?” Homeowners often ask this question when they find a shingle in their yard or a leak in their attic—or when they are considering selling their home. Sometimes they simply ask this question when they pull into the driveway, look up, and see a roof that simply looks old.
Of course, the answer to this question isn’t so simple. Some roof problems can be fixed (with the help of a qualified roof repair specialist) and provide many additional years of functionality. Some problems can’t be fixed, but the idea of shelling out several thousand dollars doesn’t exactly put homeowners at ease. Sometimes, there isn’t an immediate problem; a homeowner just wants to upgrade with a new roof or add skylights.
So when you contemplate the replacement of your roof, which criteria should guide the decision? These are five considerations to keep in mind while reaching a decision.
1. The Roof’s Condition
As you examine whether or not you should replace your roof, one obvious consideration is its visible condition. Are shingles cracked, warped, or missing? Are granules collecting in gutters? Is water leaking into your home, even at a minor dribble rate? These serious issues might not be repairable. However, there may also be problems that aren’t apparent but can be diagnosed only by a professional. If you suspect that something is wrong with your roof, ask an expert contractor for an inspection.
2. The Roof’s Age
Another factor for deciding whether or not you should replace your roof. The type of roof, the quality of the materials, and the expertise of the installation are all aspects of the length of time a roof will reliably function. Older roofs are naturally prone to more problems, and those problems might be costlier to repair—potentially to the point at which replacement makes more financial sense than maintenance. If you have been in your home for a few decades, and your shingle roof hasn’t changed in all those years, it’s probably near the end of its practical life. It should be replaced when a major problem arises.
3. Energy Efficiency
Most older roofs do not offer the energy-saving features found in modern roofing systems. Upgrading to slate or metal roofs can decrease your energy bills, but even today’s asphalt shingles are better insulators than the shingles of a few decades ago. If you are contemplating roof replacement and want to achieve more energy efficiency—or even upgrade to solar—the investment is worthwhile.
4. Are You Selling?
Your old, drab roof might be able to limp along with a repair that holds for several years, but to potential homebuyers, that roof is still old and drab. If you are planning to sell your home in the next few years and are pondering about whether to repair or replace your roof, lean toward replacement. A new roof delivers one of the best returns of any home improvement project. Moreover, a sale could stall—or force you to drop the sale price—if a home inspection reveals a roof in bad shape or with only a few good years left. A new roof will help your home to be sold more quickly and closer to your asking price.
The old, drab roof that doesn't appeal to homeowners might also be unappealing to you, whether or not you are planning on selling. If you truly love your home, the things you don’t like about it will bother you even more. Roof replacement not only can solve a problem that a repair may or may not have addressed, but also can move you closer to the look you want for your home.
What’s stopping you from replacing your roof?