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Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof?

Posted by Ron Neal on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 at 10:15am.

Roofing Options Exist Even When It's Time to Repair or ReplaceIt is almost universally agreed that having a good roof over your head is important. However, it is sometimes difficult to know how much life is left in a home's existing roof. Although a homeowner might concede that some action is needed, there is always a question about the effectiveness of needed repairs. If replacement seems to be the best option, there may be additional questions.

Sometimes a partial replacement will suffice if roof damage is confined to a relatively small area. Even if total replacement is the only solution, the option to install new material over the top of the existing roof can save time and expense associated with a total tear off, according to Bob Vila, the authoritative inspiration behind television's This Old House.

Roofing Material Affects Performance

As with other home systems, roofs have an expected lifespan. Knowing the actual age of the roof is helpful, but even new roofing can fail because of wind and sun damage or severe storms. Seasonal weather fluctuations can damage shingles as well as flashing and gutters, and rain or ice damage over time will damage even the best roofs.

In general, however, the average life of various roofing materials varies from about 15 years to several centuries, according to a professional roofing contractor writing for Money Talks News. Common asphalt shingles typically last between 15 and 20 years, but some newer varieties are expected to perform well for as long as 40 years.

Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market, and slate tiles can last a century or more. Clay or concrete tiles are nearly impervious to most types of damage, and can remain durable long past the century mark. Metal and aluminum roofs, commonly used on commercial buildings for good reason, can last for hundreds of years.

Wood shingles and spray-on foam or synthetics coatings, in areas where they are allowed, typically last for between 15 and 35 years.

Check and Inspect Regularly

Routine maintenance and regular checks ups are the best preventive measures. Inspect and clean gutters seasonally; visually check a roof both from the outside and from the underside. Visit the attic to determine if there are air gaps, or if daylight shines through the shingles. Check for evidence of moisture and water spots on the Langford home. Schedule periodic professional inspections, and take care of any damage or suspicious areas as soon as possible. It's relatively easy to replace single shingles, or even a small section of damaged roof before small problems become big ones.

Check for insect or pest infestations, and reseal air gaps, electrical and plumbing penetrations, or buckled flashing and trim that needs attention. Assure that roof vents, gutters and downspouts are in good condition.

Aging Roofs Require Care

If you don't know the age of the existing roof, have a professional check for evidence of previous repairs, and try to determine if previous work is under warranty. Newer roofs and and necessary repairs should carry labour and material guarantees. In general, a roof can be expected to last at least 15 years, but even new roofs can fail following a several weather event.

However, depending on the age of the roof and the history of previous repairs, a new roof might represent a better investment than repeated attempts to prolong the existing roof's life. A new roof may also be a great selling point, should the home go on the market to sell. Because it is an expensive component of any home, the roof is of prime concern to potential buyers as well as for sellers. Weighing the pros and cons of each available option will depend on specific needs, professional recommendations and cost considerations.

The bottom line is that with proper attention, a reliable roof overhead will provide the best possible protection against the elements and offer valuable peace of mind.

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The Neal Estate Team

The Neal Estate Team is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 4,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Team have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions. 


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