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It’s common to take your roof for granted—until it suffers major damage or springs a leak. Then you are left evaluating the situation and wondering whether a simple repair will suffice or if the entire system needs replacing to protect your home and everyone in it.

To figure out the answer to that question, there are several factors to take into consideration, including the age of the roof, the extent of the damage, and whether it’s been repaired or overlaid with a new roof in the past. Whichever option you choose, it’s best to move quickly to resolve the issue with a team of roof repair specialists so your home in the Wilmington, Delaware, area is not susceptible to further problems.

Should I Repair My Roof or Replace It?

In general, an asphalt or wood shingle roof should be good for 20 to 25 years before it needs replacing. Rubber and metal roofs are designed to endure much longer.

However, certain circumstances can impact the durability, appearance, and structural integrity of your roofing system and force you to consider a partial roof repair or entire roof replacement sooner rather than later. Here are several signs your roof may be nearing the end of its life-cycle:

1. Leaks in the Roof

The first place to check for leaks is in your attic. If there are water strains or streaks or shafts of light filtering through worn-down areas, you have a leaky roof that needs attending to before it causes damage to the attic area and your personal belongings. If you don’t have an attic, the leaks will instead harm your interior ceiling, as well as the paint and plaster on nearby walls as well as your ceiling-mounted lights and fans. If the leak is only in one small area, you can consider patching up the roof. Widespread damage or multiple leaks, however, indicate you need to replace the whole roofing system.

2. Problems with the Shingles

Every so often, especially after a severe storm, you should check the status of your shingles, which are supposed to lie flush against the roof. If you spot patches of shingles that are cracked, buckling or otherwise damaged, you know some work is needed. But how do you decide between roof repair and replacement? Again, the extent of the damage should be taken into consideration. Additionally, check for shingle granules in downspouts and gutters. If your roof is deteriorating substantially and losing lots of granules, that’s a sign it’s nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.

3. Your Roof is Sagging

Is your roof sagging or drooping? Are there signs of trapped moisture—such as the presence of moss or mold—or rotting boards? Over time, excessive weight, ice and snow, and other structural problems can cause your roof to sag, putting stress on your whole home and risking eventual collapse. Sometimes you can reinforce your roof, but in most cases, you’re going to need a roof replacement before further damage is done.

4. Your Roof is Aging

It’s important to also consider the history of your roof. This can be done through your home improvement records. Has your roof already been repaired extensively or re-shingled in the past? Industry experts recommend you only install a new roof over the existing system once and insurance will not allow you to do more than one re-roof. If that’s already been done, then your options are increasingly narrow. At some point, it is more cost-effective and safer to simply replace the whole roofing system than to keep trying to repair it—especially if it’s already 20 to 25 years old. You also should check the warranty on your roof, what it covers and how soon it expires.

5. Your Future Plans

If your roof is in generally good condition and you intend to sell your Delaware home in the near future, you can likely get by with simple repairs. However, if you intend to remain in the house long term, there are several benefits that come from replacing your roof. New materials tend to be higher-performing, as well as more durable and environmentally friendly. If you incorporate various energy-efficient features into your project, you could qualify for local or federal tax credits. You may also save on your homeowner’s insurance by putting on a new roof.

Options for Replacing Roof

If you are dealing with a small leak, a few damaged shingles, or some minor issue on a roof that’s less than 10 or 15 years old, you can simply have it repaired or fixed, which is a more cost-effective and less complex project.

In other cases, the damage is so extensive that reroofing is necessary in order to protect not only your family and your belongings, but also your home’s value. A good rule of thumb is that if 30% or more of your roof is damaged, replacement is the more advantageous choice. To completely redo your roof, you have two main options:

1. Overlay Roofing

As the name implies, overlay roofing is merely putting down a new set of shingles on top of your existing system. While this option is more affordable and less labor-intensive, it also is a short-term solution. You’ll still have to replace your roof eventually, but it can temporarily fix problems.

2. Tear Off Roofing

The other option is to tear off your old roof system and install a new one, including underlayment, flashings, deck, and shingles. Removing your damaged roof also gives you an opportunity to investigate what’s underneath and do any additional replacements or repairs to get your house back in shape.

It’s normal to want to save money when and where you can. If the damage seems to be isolated to one side of your roofing system, can you replace only half a roof? The short answer is that it’s not recommended for several aesthetic and logistical reasons. Not only will the newer half look noticeably different than the older portion, but roof systems aren’t designed to be split in half. Doing so may create troublesome seams and other issues that cause future problems. The last thing you want is to be left dealing with an uneven life-cycle.

Roof Repair and Replacement in Delaware

As a homeowner, it can be difficult to decide whether to replace the aging or damaged roof on your Delaware home or simply invest in repairs. If you’ve investigated the problem and still feel uncertain, reach out to roof repair specialists near you. Bromwell Construction Company can help you review your options and determine what makes the most logistical and financial sense in your unique situation.

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