Repair or Replace your roof - image of a damaged roof

A damaged roof can be a true nightmare for homeowners and is a problem best tackled early. No one wants their beautiful house to look less than perfect because of ruined roofing or suffer water leaks and similar problems a damaged roof can bring. Be in no doubt though – deciding to repair or replace your roofing is necessary for your own health and safety. It can be challenging, however, not least deciding what you need.

Roofs are designed to last for many years but after a long time exposed to the elements, they become prone to damage. Everyday ‘wear and tear’ and unexpected events such as dropping objects can inflict damage on the roofing of your home. This, if it happens, will leave you wondering whether to replace or repair the affected part of the roof or the entire roof itself. We’ve put together a few thoughts that might help you think through the kind of factors that you should consider if you think your roof is damaged and needs fixing. This article will guide you through what to consider and how to make the right decision about replacing or repairing your roof.

How Can A Roof Get Damaged?

Shielding us from rain, sun, snow, wind, and intense temperatures, roofing is a basic part of any building. Vital as it is, a roof needs to be in good condition to fully fulfil its role in keeping the building dry, watertight and warm (or cool). Poor roofing puts you at risk of dealing with pest infestation, leaks, higher heating bills, reselling problems, mould and mildew. Maintaining your roof by repairing or replacing it will keep it in good shape and working at it’s most efficient. Good knowledge of what will most likely damage the roof greatly helps you with its maintenance – if you know what to look out for visually you can get ahead of the game. The thoughts that follow should give you some insight into how a roof gets damaged. Some risks you may know, others you won’t. Let’s get to it!

Weather

Extreme weather conditions are inevitable and uncontrollable (and likely to worsen with global warming). Therefore, it’s possible for bad weather to fully or partially destroy a roof. Strong winds and storms can put your roof to the test and if it’s in poor condition it can, in the worst case, be ripped off in whole or part (think of the storms of February 2022 in South Wales). Apart from wind and rain, strong heat can take a toll on a roof, especially during summer when there’s major exposure to high heat and UV light.

At the other end of the scale, during cold weather, severe impacts with amounts of ice and hail will unquestionably impact and, possibly, damage your roof. Also, rust can occur on parts of some roofs during prolonged high rainfall. Always visually inspect your roof before and after these weather periods to check for signs of damage.

Improper roof installation

Installation errors are one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you. These problems arise from no or poor roof sealants, no use of underlay, improper installation of flashing, and incorrectly overlapping and failing to fasten the shingles. Poor roof installation can lead to leakages, pest problems, and ventilation issues.

Problems of this type may be less easy to spot and you may only suspect you have a problem in some cases. If in doubt, get in touch with a local roofing contractor such as ourselves to talk through your suspicions or visit to make a professional assessment.

Lagging behind with repairs

Maintaining your roof can be pretty expensive as it can involve a lot of work and newly acquired materials. Inspecting and maintaining your roof is more beneficial compared to the cost you may incur if you leave your roof checked or not fixed. Regular roof inspection comes in very handy in identifying small issues that need repair to work effectively or else become a bigger problem further down the road. Inspecting regularly and cleaning off if debris accumulates on your roof or in your guttering is important for the health and life of the roof.

Roof ageing

The lifespan of a roof depends on the materials used for roofing and the quality of the installation work done. Typically, a roof can last from 25-50 years if accompanied by good maintenance. Other factors affecting a roof’s lifespan include quality, type, colour (heat absorbing or reflecting), materials used and workmanship. Potentially, wood shingles last up to 30 years, metal roofs 20-30 years, composite shingles 40-50 years, architectural asphalt shingles 30-50 years, and three-tab asphalt shingles 15-20 years. The longest-lasting roofs are generally concrete or clay tiles and slate tiles that can last successfully for over 50 to 100 years.

Commercial and flat roofing lifespans are, for example and broadly speaking,  PVC, which lasts over 20 years; EPDM, 20 to 30 years; Thermoplastic Polyolefin(TPO), 15 to 20 years; and spray foam for over 50 years.

This is all, of course, in a perfect world but not uncommon. As noted, looking after your roof and repairing problems early pays dividends.

Foot traffic

If your roof is of a type that allows you to walk on it and use it for rest and relaxation then potentially you’re exposing the roof to damage if used that way. This happens when you rip a couple of shingles out of place and knock off granules at the top of the shingles. Walking on the roof may seem fun and relaxing but put your safety and your home’s comfort first. Be careful not to risk damage to your roofing. If in doubt, avoid walking on such roofs.

When should a roof be repaired or replaced?

There are some factors to consider that may help you decide which option you need.

  • Age
    Time is a key factor when it comes to roof replacement. If the roof’s lifespan has been long exceeded and the roof is damaged then replacement is a must. Failure to replace and leave to age further will often lead to a disaster eventually. Repairing a damaged and ageing roof is only a short-term fix – in the long run, the problem will probably become worse and cost more to ultimately fix. We can help you assess if you’re unsure.
  • The extent of damage
    If the damage caused to the roof is beyond repair, a replacement is necessary. Repair your roof if you feel it can last effectively and the damage is manageable and low-scale (and without complications). Consider replacing it if you are unsure or feel unsafe. Again, a professional assessment will always help in these circumstances.
  • Wear and tear
    Wear and tear happen over time due to poor roof maintenance. Replacement is recommended if the roof is experiencing heavy water leakage, is extremely worn out from age or appears to have become distorted. has fallen over. Repairing your roof can be done when there’s less wear, the apparent problem is a small area or single area, or you appear to have only lost tiles.
  • Budget
    Replacing or repairing the roof will incur some costs. Experiencing an emergency roof repair, for example, will require unexpected costs but is an emergency. Budgeting for repair or replacement in the longer term is sensible and setting aside funds over time will help bear the cost. Most roof replacements (and many repairs) will be covered under structural house or building insurance so make sure you have a good policy, that it covers potential costs and that it is up to date. We can advise on this subject further if useful.

Final Thoughts

Repair your roof or replace it? It may seem a difficult decision to make but we hope the article above can help you decide. If you’re still not sure, give us a call or get in contact. One of our roofing experts will talk to you about your roofing needs and help you reach the right decision.