When Is It Time to Replace a Roof?

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Unless a homeowner experiences major noticeable damage to their roof after an intense storm, they rarely know that there is a problem that requires a full roof replacement, that is until the water comes leaking into their house!

Replacing the entire roof system can be a difficult decision, especially when considering the cost. Typically, homeowners find out that they need a total roof replacement after an extensive inspection, when the roofing contractor details how bad the roof is failing. It may be to the point where simply repairing small leaks and other issues will not fix the problem.

Nearly every type of roofing system will at some point require a replacement. Roof systems that have not been well maintained can have a dramatically shortened lifespan due to external climate conditions and other factors. When a homeowner is faced with the idea of needing to replace their entire roof system, there are specific factors to consider when making the decision to have it done. These factors include:

  • The Life Span of the Roof – For most roofing materials, the lifespan is approximately 12 to 15 years. This is often dependent on how well the roof has been maintained since it was first installed. Generally speaking, nearly every roof will experience roof flashing that pulls away or minor leaking issues that do not require a full replacement of the entire roof.
  • The Time Span of the Problem – How long the problem has existed will be a determining factor in whether the roof needs to be replaced or not. Shingles that have been missing for a long time allowing a significant amount of water to penetrate the home’s attic usually creates the need to replace the entire roof. However, if there are only a few missing tiles or shingles it may be that the roof can simply be repaired.
  • The Condition of the Home’s Interior – Blistering paint, water spots on the ceiling, or any other signs of damage might be an indicator of water leaking or seepage that necessitates a full roof replacement. Damage or noticeable signs of water in the attic can also be an indicator of a serious roofing system problem that will require a full replacement.
  • The Cause for the Deterioration – Sometimes extreme, harsh weather conditions will expose an area of the roof where a replacement will be required. Additionally, damage to roofs can happen from prolonged periods of direct sunlight, heavy rains, hail and snow. The more damage there is to a roof, the shorter its lifespan, and the greater the need for a replacement.

Replace or Repair Options

Based on local building codes and the condition of the roof, the homeowner usually has two options when replacing the entire roofing system. Usually, a roofing contractor can replace the entire roof and all of the material, or simply re-cover it. In detail, each option includes:

  • A Full Replacement – Usually, a full replacement means the contractor will tear off all of the material including the shingles (tiles), and underlying sheathing, and remove every nail or staple. Fully replacing the roofing material typically reveals the need to replace portions of the plywood sheeting that have become damaged or weakened over time. Extensive water damage often causes plywood to fail, which will need to be replaced.  Click here to read more about our roof replacement services.
  • Re-covering the Roof – Alternatively, sometimes the homeowner has the option of re-covering the existing roofing material, by leaving the damaged shingles in place. Some local building codes do not provide this option, or have a strict limit on how many times this can be performed, or how many layers of shingles can be stacked on top of each other.

The first step in determining whether an existing roof system needs to be replaced is through a proper inspection and evaluation by a licensed roofing professional. Only then will the homeowner understand all the options that are available.