When it comes to your home, an ounce of prevention is most definitely worth a pound of cure. In other words, regular maintenance is good for both your home’s appearance and your wallet. Putting off needed repairs might save you money in the short term, but it will end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
However, not all home improvement decisions are cut and dry. For example, it’s sometimes possible — and entirely acceptable — to repair a roof rather than replace it. Which route you take depends on several factors, including the type of damage and what percentage of the total roof surface is in need of repair.
Can you patch a roof instead of replacing it?
In some cases, replacing a few shingles is all you need to restore beauty and function to your roof. Asphalt shingles are designed to last for decades, and today’s modern roofing designs are engineered to last for as long as you own your home.
Before you decide to replace shingles, however, it’s important to have a professional inspect your roof to determine if any of the underlayment or decking is damaged. There’s a big difference between a few missing shingles lost during heavy winds and a leak that extends through the various layers of your roof. If the damage is extensive, it’s usually a better idea — and a better value — to replace the entire roof.
Can I mix shingles?
Keep in mind that shingles are exposed to rain, snow, and heat. Even if you have a spare box of shingles left over from when your roof was installed, you might have a hard time matching the “new” shingles to the ones on your roof, especially if the existing ones are covered in moss or lichen.
Depending on the location and the size of the area in need of replacement, it might be difficult to blend replacement shingles into the rest of the roof. However, if the area in need of new shingles is inconspicuous, or the section is relatively small, you might be able to get away with nailing down some replacement shingles.
Tip: If your roof is missing a few shingles, don’t wait to replace them. The shingles are there to protect your roof’s decking from moisture and wind. Even a small exposed area can allow water to seep into the underlayment and into the deck, where it can cause rot and leakage.
Can you replace just a few shingles?
Patching can sometimes work, but it poses all of the same issues — and then some — as replacing a few shingles. It’s best to call in a home roofing pro and have them perform a thorough inspection to determine if a patch will extend your roof’s lifespan without leading to future damage.
Major signs of serious roof damage include:
- Shingles that are curling at the edges or starting to buckle.
- Presence of granules — the small, pebble-like pieces that coat the outside of the shingle — in your gutters or on the ground.
- Water leakage or rot in your attic.
- A sagging roof is a sure sign of a more serious problem.
Even if it’s possible to patch your roof, the outcome might not be aesthetically pleasing. In the case of a patch, the damaged area is usually much larger than a spot in need of a few shingles, which generally makes it more difficult to blend the repaired section in with the existing roof.
Do I need to remove old shingles before installing new shingles?
Although not removing the old shingles might seem like it would save you money, it’s a bit like putting a bandaid over a broken bone. You cover up the problem, but the damage is still there — and it’s only going to get worse (and more painful) over time.
Most local building codes allow homes to have up to two layers of shingles, so it’s definitely possible to shingle over an existing roof. After two layers of shingles, however, you risk putting too much weight on the structure of the home. For this reason, the majority of building codes don’t permit a home to have more than two layers of roofing materials.
How do you know if your roof needs replacing?
The answer depends on a variety of factors, which you should consider any time you’re confronted with a roofing repair vs. replace dilemma. When it’s time to replace your roof, always consult with a home roofing expert first.
Here are a few major reasons to replace your roof:
- Signs of Moisture or Water Damage. If you see signs of moisture inside your home, including brown spots on the ceiling, peeling paint, or mold, you should probably opt to replace your entire roof rather than attempt a patch or repair.
- A Recent Disaster. If your neighborhood was recently hit by a hurricane, tornado, or an especially violent storm, the damage may be extensive enough to require a total roof replacement. Even a single harsh winter can push an ailing roof into a state of emergency.
- Age. Is your roof 5 years old and leaking? In this case, the problem is more likely related to the quality of the installation or even a defect in the materials rather than normal wear and tear. On the other hand, a 20-year-old roof with a couple of problem areas is probably near the end of its lifespan and due to be replaced.
- Materials. An 80-year-old slate roof might have a few more decades of life ahead of it, whereas a metal roof in its eighth decade is well past its prime. Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material due to their affordability and aesthetic appeal, and the latest generation of premium asphalt shingles are made to last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.
Where can I find a reliable roofing contractor in Columbia, MD?
Price should never be the only factor that influences your choice of a roofing contractor. You wouldn’t choose a “discount” heart surgeon. Likewise, you shouldn’t choose a roofing company based solely on a cheap price. By investing in a quality product and expert installation now, you can rest easy knowing your home is protected for the long haul.
In addition to providing functionality, a new roof can dramatically improve the look of a house. Enhance your home’s beauty with a new roofing design from Nu Look Home Design. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our home roofing professionals.