Should I replace my shingle roof or repair it?

old asphalt shingles

Deciding whether to repair or replace your roof is a matter of timing. Reroofing too soon can be a waste of money, but if you wait too long, it could lead to serious trouble.

So, how do you decide whether you should repair or replace your shingle roof? By following our guidelines below! We’ll explain how to inspect and assess your roof, signs that show it’s time for the roof to go, and when you can simply make the necessary repairs without a full replacement.

How long does a shingle roof typically last?

One of the most accurate ways to tell how long a roof will last is by referring to the manufacturer’s warranty and comparing it to the date of installation. However, it’s likely you bought your current house with its existing roof, and there’s no visible marker indicating its warranty. In that case, you have to make your best estimation.

Most roofing shingles come with a 20-year warranty, and that's a good rule of thumb to follow when estimating the life of your roof.

However, some come with a 30-year warranty; and of course, the kind of environment you live in plays a huge role in your roof’s lifespan as well, so you'll want to take that into consideration, too.

Other popular roofing material lifespans:

  • Slate, copper, and tile roofs typically last upwards of 50 years.
  • Wood shake roofs usually last roughly 30 years.

Should I have my roof inspected?

roof inspection

Without knowing your roof’s warranty, you won’t be able to tell for sure whether or not your roof is due for a replacement without inspecting it.

If you have the wherewithal to inspect your own roof, you can do so by first examining it the best you can from street level. Use a pair of binoculars if you have some on hand. Then, carefully make your way onto the roof, inspecting it from edge to edge, and making note of any concern areas.

Many roofing companies will come to your property and give you a free professional on-site roof assessment.

Specialized roof inspectors charge around $175 to do the same, but they work through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association, which demands a certain standard of inspection, providing you with the greatest roof assurance.

Does my roof need to be replaced or not?

If you see any of the following warning signs, you will likely want to go with a roof replacement:

  • Cracked caulk and/or rust spots on flashing
  • Shingles are buckling, curling, blistering, etc.
  • Worn areas around chimneys, skylights, and pipes
  • Piles of grit from asphalt roof tiles are in the gutters
  • Dark areas on ceilings
  • Peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs
  • Damp spots alongside fireplaces
  • Water stains on pipes venting the water heater/furnace
  • Clumps or large quantities of moss and lichen
If a majority of your roof is in good solid shape and you just have a leaky spot or two, simply repairing the leaks as needed is usually the best and most efficient option.

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Can I repair my roof myself?

asphalt shingle roof repair

If you’re comfortable working on your roof, have the necessary tools, and the repairs aren’t too complex, there’s no reason why you couldn’t repair your roof—and it’s a great way to save money, too.

Asphalt shingles can be easily damaged by high winds and falling branches, and sometimes all it takes to fix up your roof like (almost) new is replacing a single tab or shingle here and there.

Depending on your comfort working on a roof, you’ll likely be able to repair any minimal or basic damage yourself. Oftentimes, simply replacing a damaged shingle or tab is sufficient, and it doesn't take more than a ladder, a hammer, and some roofing nails to get it done.

How much does it cost to repair my roof?

Repairs can range anywhere from simply sealing up a leaky gap to repairing an entire roof valley, and they range in cost to accomplish, too—from $100 to $1,000 if you want to hire a pro.

If you have minimal leaking due to small gaps, sealing those up with roofing mastic or sealant costs roughly $10 to do yourself.

If you’d rather have a professional handle the job, you can expect to pay between $100 and $250 for relatively basic leak repairs. However, if you need to make more major repairs, they can reach upwards of $1,000.

If your roof repairs are lengthy, or you'd like to do some other property clean-up while you're at it, renting a dumpster could be a real life (and mess) saver. With Hometown Dumpster Rental, you can learn more about contractors in your area, read verified reviews, and get multiple quotes. We even help you choose the right size and get the best price.

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How much does roof replacement cost?

For basic composition shingles, tearing off an entire roof usually costs around $3 per square foot.

The national average to install a new roof is between $5,000 and $9,000, but that number can reach as high as $25,000 in some cases.

A number of things affect how much it costs to replace your roof, including your roof's:

  • Size
  • Pitch (steep roofs require more time/materials)
  • Roofing materials used
  • Application method
  • Number of layers (more layers = more labor/higher cost)
  • Your location (market prices and regional requirements vary)
  • Code requirements
  • Number of chimneys, skylights, pipes, etc.
If your roof was damaged in a weather event, like wind or hail, then your homeowner’s insurance may cover the repairs or replacement. However, keep in mind that most insurance policies do not cover problems that arise from an old or improperly maintained roof.

Who should I hire to handle my roof repairs or replacement?

old asphalt shingles

When receiving multiple quotes from various contractors, always look at the fine print, not just the total. Some bids may include the cost of disposal while others don’t, some may charge hourly while others charge by the project, etc.

Always make sure the contractor you hire is licensed and insured, and that there is a mutual understanding regarding how to minimize damage to your property and landscaping, as well as how clean you expect your property to be when they’re done.

Hometown Roofing makes it easy to learn more about contractors in your area, get quotes from multiple contractors of your choosing, and read verified customer reviews—all in one place!