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Horsefly Construction

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Roof Repair or Replacement. Which is right for me?


Roofing problems never get smaller and cheaper. They always get bigger and more expensive. If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you already have some indication that your roof is in need of repair and you are seeking information to help you make important decisions.

roof replace picture Inspecting the roof is the first step in finding the correct solution. A roof inspection will help to determine whether the roofing system is performing according to its intended function as well as identify weaknesses and deteriorations that may be causing roofing failures.


Inspecting your roof involves more than a look at the exterior. Roofing failures affect many parts of a building and there are signs, both interior and exterior, that help to identify problems. A home owner can increase his understanding of potential issues by answering the questions at the end of this paragraph. A roofing professional will make the same general inquiries though their answers may reflect a more in-depth assessment.



Exterior Appearance and Conditionsinpect chart

  1. Does the roof ridge appear straight?
  2. Is the roof surface flat without sags or dips?
  3. Are there areas where debris collects or water pools?
  4. Are there signs of damage? Missing shingles, metal corrosion, bare patches, blistering, etc.
  5. Is there mold, fungus or moss growing?
  6. Is the flashing firmly in place? Around chimneys or vents, where the wall meets the house, etc?
  7. Is the caulking or sealant used to seal flashing missing or damaged?
  8. Are there exposed or missing nails or screws?
  9. Is there abnormal accumulation in the gutters?
  10. Are the gutters draining away from the foundation?
  11. Are there eave areas that would be prone to ice build up?
  12. Does snow melt readily off your roof?
  13. Is there surface deterioration, deformation or staining on the walls?

Interior Appearance and Conditions

  1. Is your attic damp?
  2. Is the sheathing stained or sagging?
  3. Can you see light through the roof?
  4. Are there leaks in your ceilings?
  5. Are there cracks or stains on your ceilings?
  6. Are your doors and windows aligned?
  7. Is there leaking around windows?
  8. Are there cracks, leaks or water staining on wall surfaces?
  9. Does the appearance or condition of your interior fluctuate seasonally?

The goal of the inspection is to identify if the problem is roofing related as well as the extent of the problem. Where a problem is small or localized and the roofing structure sound, the decision is usually as simple as either repairing it yourself or hiring a roofing professional to repair it for you. However, where damage is extensive or repairs are complicated and expensive, the lifespan of the existing roof becomes a consideration and the cost of ongoing repairs and maintenance become a factor. Every roof has a lifespan and knowing how many years are left is imperative in any roofing decision. At some point, the repair costs will outweigh the replacement costs and a new roof will become a more beneficial option.

The second step in the roof repair process is calculating and comparing the costs of both options. This includes material, labor, delivery, taxes, disposal and other incidental costs. The roof repair costs need to include an estimate of ongoing maintenance and repair costs to the end of the current roof’s lifespan.

The replacement costs include the same expenses but maintenance costs on the replacement roof are calculated only to the end of the original roof’s replacement and any savings resulting from a replacement are subtracted from the overall costs. Savings are additional benefits that result from a replacement and can include utility reductions resulting from better insulation factors, insurance reductions and even increases in the value of your home. The easiest way to do this is a simple worksheet of each option’s costs and benefits and comparing the final number. If you are using a qualified roofing contractor, most of the work will be done for you.

The costs and savings calculations for both repair and replacement are unique and the homeowner needs to put some thought into what the actual costs and benefits are. For instance, is the current roof a cedar shingle and fire insurance is expensive or non-existent? Is there any financing involved so interest is a cost? Is the current structure an ongoing nightmare and the homeowner’s peace of mind a factor? How long will the homeowner live in the home and how will repair or replacement affect a future sale?

By the end of the process, a homeowner should be able to make an informed decision between repair or replacement. Whatever the solution, the most important thing is to carry through and have the work done because as stated in the beginning, roofing problems never get smaller and cheaper. They always get bigger and more expensive.

Please feel free to email us for more information.

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