No one ever wants to wake up one morning to see that their ceiling is wet or find that their roof has leaked after a storm. It can be alarming and will surely have you wondering whether to repair the leak or replace the entire roof. There is no simple answer to this, as the course of action depends on the extent of the damages. The important thing to know is this: If your roof is leaking, then you cannot wait to have repaired or replaced.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at whether it is better to repair or replace a leaky roof and what to consider when making that decision.
Signs Your Roof Is Leaking
Sometimes, the fact your roof is leaking is obvious. Then there are scenarios where you might not realize your roof has been damaged. By knowing the signs, you can stop the worst damage before it begins.
Here are things to look out for:
- Stains or wet spots on the ceiling and walls
- Moisture and mold in the attic space
- Damp roof deck
- Condensation or rust around stove pipes or other vents
- Warped or defective flashing
- Loose materials around vents and chimneys
- Clogged or slowly draining downspouts and gutters
- Sagging on the roof or ceiling
- Places in the attic or ceiling where outside light can be seen shining through
Do I Repair or Replace My Leaky Roof?
As you may have noticed, the signs that you have a leak in the roof sometimes point to either localized damage. In the event that there are just a few shingles damaged, you still have a warranty on them, and the rest of the roof is in otherwise good condition, you won’t need to replace your whole roof.
Before you decide the shingles that need to be replaced, you should have a professional come to your house for an inspection. This will help determine the extent of the damage. Remember, there is a huge difference between a few missing shingles and a flood of water saturating the roof deck.
In some cases, replacement is the easiest option. If your roof is 15 years or older, or if there is widespread damage, multiple patches of shingles missing, or deep puncture wounds from fallen debris, then you cannot just patch up the most visible issues.
When To Replace a Leaking Roof
Are there some scenarios where a leaking roof leads to total roof replacement? Of course. There are plenty of reasons to replace a roof. You may have noticed that your shingles are brittle, discolored, curling, or missing granules. Other factors that lead to replacing your leaking roof include:
- Extensive water damage. Even the smallest of cracks in between shingles caused by a freeze/thaw cycle can cause water damage and falling patches of plaster overhead. But when sections of the roof are ripped off, or there are sections that are failing after previous repairs, you will have to replace the whole roof.
- Disaster. If your neighborhood has been recently impacted by a violent winds, a tornado, hurricane, or blizzard, your roof may have sustained enough damage to call for total roof replacement. Remember, melting snow can stress your roof and open up tiny cracks for moisture to leak in.
- Poor installation or manufacturing defects. If you notice that your recently installed roof is not working properly and that your ceiling is getting water stains, then something is obviously wrong. Usually, premature failing is due to a manufacturing defect or inadequate installation. Luckily, this is usually covered by the lifetime warranty on your shingles.
- Materials. Depending on the type of shingles you have, they may be nearing the end of their lifespan, causing them to fail. Instead of replacing the shingles of the roof causing the leak, you should replace the entire thing right now to save time and money.
Just because you have a leaky roof, it doesn’t mean you need to immediately plan for a whole roof replacement. There are factors to keep in mind. Just remember that a leaking roof is oftentimes hinting to a larger problem. You will have to repair or replace your roof quickly to prevent structural erosion from happening. Be sure to call a reputable roofing contractor to come an inspect your roof regularly—not just when you have a leak.
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