The Question of Repair vs. Replacement
Deciding whether you need roof repair or roof replacement services can sometimes be tricky. Although modern roofs are meant to last for 20 years or more, repairing a roof is sometimes a good option and sometimes it’s not. If you have serious roof leaks, have large sections of shingles blown off in high winds or storms, or your roof is more than 10-15 years old, roof replacement might a less costly long-term strategy. So how do you decide? Let’s take a look at some of the influencing factors.
Repair vs. Replacement
There are a number of factors that determine the answer to the question of whether your roof can be repaired, or needs to be replaced. These can include:
- Leaks– Is the roof currently leaking?
- Roof Age– How old is the roof?
- Roof Type– flat roofs generally need replacement more frequently and make it more difficult to trace leaks.
- How long do you intend to be in your home?
- The climate in your area.
We all tend to want cut and dried answers, especially when it comes to something as important as our home. After all, it usually is the biggest investment most of us will ever make. This question of whether you should repair or replace your roof falls into the “it depends” category.
A Word About Leaks
Roof leak repair can sometimes be tricky, depending on the style of roof you have. For example, on a flat roof, water can run in any direction across the roof before it leaks into the building. This can make tracking down leaks on a flat roof difficult. However, there are places that are more susceptible to leaks. At seams, around pipes, skylights or any other point of roof penetration for equipment, are all likely places for roof leaks to appear.
If the leaks are severe or have been going on for some time, you probably have water damaged tiles or sheetrock as visible expressions of the leak. Just remember, for it to show on the inside, it has to have passed through all of the upper parts of the roof first before it begins to show inside the building. In this case, a replacement roof might be less costly in the long run. At Forster Construction, our first choice for flat roofs is Duro-Last roofing systems, which offer the best in class 15 year warranty, with no exclusions.
Residential Roof Repair
For residential roofs with shingles, damage from high winds or strong storms can be easy to spot. When you see sections of roof that have missing shingles, it’s pretty clear that the roof has sustained some level of damage. Damage from hail, however, can be a little more difficult to spot and it’s recommended that you have a professional come and inspect the roof. And if there is damage, to assess the extent of that damage.
Repairing a few shingles that have blown off is very straightforward. Simply buy some new shingles, place them under the folds of the ones on top and secure them in place. If your roof is more than a few years old, the only challenge you might have is finding shingles that match the exact style you have on your home. If you plan on being in your home long-term or are not concerned with a close match of the older style, you can simply buy some that are similar from the local hardware store.
However, if you plan on selling your house any time soon, or you are concerned with the appearance of your roof, this is where a good roofing contractor comes in. We can help you identify and locate many types of shingle styles when you just need a bundle to take care of patching a few open spots. If the roof is relatively new and has several spots where shingle loss from storms is more significant, we can inspect the roof and provide a free estimate to get the roof looking and functioning like new.
Metal roofing systems come in two different types, structural and architectural. The primary difference is, in structural roofing applications the metal roofing panels act as both the deck structure and the waterproofing element for the roof. Whereas in architectural roofing systems, the metal roof panels function as the waterproofing element only. The panels are attached to sloped (usually) decking already on the roof. For sloped roofs, usually found in residential applications, you generally see architectural styles. Because of this sloped style, architectural roofing systems are meant to sweep water off the roof.
The most common types of damage that occur in metal roofing systems are:
- Openings in horizontal seams
- Openings in metal flashing
- Metal roof oxidation
- Back out of fasteners
Some of these can be repaired/restored if problems are found early. Fasteners can be tightened, and oxidation can be removed and protective coatings applied. However, damage to seams and holes in flashing can make a roof more difficult to repair. The biggest challenge for all metal roofs is expansion and contraction caused by variations in temperatures. This difference in temperatures causes the metal roof panels to expand and contract over time. This can cause fastener back out and a buckling or separation of the seams in the metal roofing panels. This buckling, then makes the roof panels more susceptible to vibrations caused by wind blowing under the roof panels.
This is why Forster Construction is proud to use Duro-Last metal roofing applications. Because the metal roofing panels come in sheets up to 2500 square feet for your building, there are fewer seams clipped or fastened together on the job site by the installer. And most seams are bonded at the factory, greatly reducing the chances that a poor installation will lead to roof leaks soon after the roof is complete.
If you have a metal roofing system on your home or business, getting the roof inspected bi-annually will help you catch issues like fastener back out early and allow for a beautiful roof that can last for decades
Commercial Roof Repair
Unlike residential roof repair, where repairs can be fairly simple and straightforward, commercial roof repair is both more challenging and expensive. As previously stated flat roofs, like those found on most commercial buildings, are more difficult to work with when it comes to leak detection points. They also need regular maintenance and need to be replaced more frequently.
The reasons for this are fairly straightforward. Unlike sloped roofs, flat roofs are made to allow water to pool on the roof and this prolongs exposure and increases the risks for water leaks. Commercial roofing applications generally have either large rolls or sheets that cover the roof and these panels or rolls are not generally replaced without a real scope of work. Much of this will be determined by the roof type.
Flat or Low Slope Commercial Roof Repair
One of the challenging aspects of low slope roof repair is finding where leaks are coming into the building. With commercial flat roofing systems, the most likely places for water to leak are:
- At seams
- At flashing penetrations for pipes and other roof elements
- In transitions along parapet walls
- Drain areas, scuppers and open edges
Careful inspection of these by a trained professional can help you determine how significant the water infiltration is, and whether or not a simple repair to the roof is a viable option.
As with residential systems, roof age is an important factor in determining whether the roof can be repaired or needs to be replaced. Generally speaking, if you begin to have issues with leaks in a low slope or flat roof, there is a high probability that the roof will need replacement rather than repair. Once there is significant water infiltration into the roofing material, that moisture will affect the roof’s ability to provide ongoing protection.
With more than 30 years of experience in roof repair and replacement, Forster Construction has seen every kind of problem you might have with your roof. If you need professional, experienced, courteous inspection of your residential or commercial roof, call 806-794-5600 today.