When it comes to maintaining the integrity of a home, the roof plays a crucial role in protecting the property and ensuring the safety of its occupants. Over time, wear and tear can cause damage to the roof, which leads to the inevitable decision homeowners have to make: whether to opt for a roof repair or to invest in reroofing. This article will explore the pros and cons associated with both options, allowing homeowners to make an informed decision that suits their individual needs and budget.
Roof repairs target specific items or damaged areas of the roof, providing a shorter-term solution and offering a more affordable choice for homeowners. On the other hand, reroofing involves replacing the entire roof cladding surface, whether tile or metal. The process is typically more expensive but provides a longer-lasting and comprehensive solution to a wide range of roofing issues. Each method presents its advantages and disadvantages, depending on factors such as the extent of the damage, the age and condition of the roof, and the material used in its construction.
To make the best decision, it is essential for homeowners to familiarise themselves with the various factors affecting their roof’s long-term performance. By weighing the pros and cons of reroofing and roof repair, homeowners can select the most suitable option for their needs, ensuring that their property remains protected and structurally sound for years to come.
Definition of Reroofing
Reroofing is the process of removing the original roof cladding, this could be concrete tile, terracotta tile or corrugated iron / metal and installing a new roof cladding. Typically the roof frame and structure remains unchanged or only adjusted slightly. Reroofing may be carried out using the same roofing material or by changing to a different one, depending on the homeowner’s preferences and requirements. Some benefits of reroofing include:
- Extended roof lifespan
- Improved appearance
- Enhanced energy efficiency
- Improved roof thermal Insulation
- Improved roof acoustic insulation
- A comprehensive warranty covering the whole roof
However, reroofing may not always be the most suitable or viable option for a home. It is essential first to assess the existing roof’s condition, taking into account factors such as excessive leaks or potential rust and corrosion. In the case of a Tile roof the remaining strength of the tiles and an assessment of how brittle the tiles have become may be prudent. In such cases of a heavily corroded or rusted roof or a fretting Terracotta tiled roof a full roof replacement may be the only option. Conversely for a younger tiled roof that still presents in reasonable condition a roof restoration may be a viable option as most required repairs are usually undertaken during this process.
The following video is an example of reroofing:
Definition of Roof Repair
Roof repair refers to fixing specific areas of a roof that have sustained damage and or degradation or are experiencing issues, such as leaks, cracked tiles,or flashing problems. The goal of roof repair is to address and fix isolated problems without the need for a complete roof overhaul. Some typical roof repairs include:
- Replacing damaged tiles
- Repairing or replacing flashing
- Sealing leaks
Roof repair is usually quicker and cheaper than reroofing, making it a suitable option for homeowners facing minor issues that do not require a full roof replacement. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can prolong a roof’s lifespan and ensure its continued functionality.
While reroofing can provide a comprehensive solution in certain cases, roof repair may be sufficient to address minor issues and extend the life of an existing roof. Ultimately, a thorough assessment by a professional roofer is the best course of action to determine the most suitable option for maintaining and improving a roof’s integrity and performance.
Pros of Reroofing
Reroofing essentially provides a home with a brand new roof and all the benefits that come with being new. Typically a professional reroofing company will provide a lengthy comprehensive warranty on a new roof which covers the home owner for things like future leakage and workmanship. When you choose to reroof, you’re essentially giving your roof a fresh start, as it replaces the old roofing material with new. The serviceable life of the roof literally starts again. This provides the home owner with years of peace of mind knowing the roof is better equipped to handle the elements.
Improving Energy Efficiency
A reroofing project can lead to improved energy efficiency in your home. Upgrading to modern, energy-efficient roofing materials can help you save on heating and cooling costs. These materials are designed to provide better insulation and prevent air leakage, which ultimately reduces your energy bills. A typical project where thermal and acoustic Insulation will be significantly improved is when converting from a tiled roof to an Insulated Colourbond version. The new roof sheeting is lined with Insulation blanket that is installed in direct contact with the underside of the new roof sheet. This makes the new Colourbond roof almost silent and significantly better thermally insulated when compared with the original tiled roof.
Increasing Home Value
Reroofing contributes to an increase in your home’s value. Potential buyers are more likely to be attracted to a house with a new roof, as it signals that the property has been well-maintained. Additionally, a well-executed reroofing job can enhance the overall appearance of your home, boosting its curb appeal and making it more marketable. A well done reroofing job and easily increase the home value by more than the cost of the job itself. The last thing any seller wants is to receive a building inspection from a potential buyer noting problems with the roof. People often over exaggerate the cost and ramifications of roofing work and it could make the difference between a quick sale and a slow one.
Cons of Reroofing
Reroofing tends to be significantly more expensive than simple roof repairs. This is mainly due to the higher material costs and increased labour required for a complete roof replacement. While it may be tempting to only patch up damaged areas, reroofing can offer a more long-term solution, but the initial financial investment is something to consider as well as the home owners future plans, whether to stay in the property long term or sell in the future.
The process of reroofing can take considerably longer than basic roof repairs. This means homeowners must plan for several days of potential disruption and inconvenience. Factors such as weather and the availability of skilled professionals can also extend the project’s timeline. A typical reroofing project on a regular single storey family home in Australia would take around 1 week to complete. Home owners can stay living in the property while the work is undertaken. In contrast, small repair jobs often require less time and can be completed more efficiently.
Reroofing typically involves the removal of the old roofing material, which generates a significant amount of waste. This can lead to environmental concerns, as well as additional disposal costs. In concrete tile roof replacements the concrete is actually recycled and trend into road base to be used in the building of now roads in Australia. In metal roof replacements all original roofing iron and metal scraps are separately disposed of to allow them to be recycled and reused.
Pros of Roof Repair
Roof repairs can be more cost-effective than a complete reroofing project when the issue is isolated. By addressing only the damaged or problematic areas, homeowners can save money while maintaining the integrity of their roofs. This approach is often suited for minor issues such as small leaks, damaged shingles, or minor wear and tear.
Faster Completion Time
Another advantage of roof repairs is the faster completion time compared to reroofing. Since repairs focus on specific areas, the work can be completed more quickly, reducing the disruption to the occupants of the building. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that need to minimise downtime or residential properties where inhabitants may find extensive construction work unsettling.
Roof repairs provide localised solutions that can effectively address the particular issue at hand. For instance, if there is a leak originating from a single spot, repairing that specific area will prevent further water damage without needing to replace the entire roof. Additionally, roof repair can be useful for maintaining the roof’s overall longevity by applying targeted fixes, such as replacing cracked tiles or resealing flashings.
By considering these factors, it is clear that in specific scenarios, roof repair can offer a cost-effective, efficient, and targeted solution to address roofing problems.
Cons of Roof Repair
Roof repairs can sometimes offer only short-term resolutions for underlying issues. Small patchwork or spot fixes might not address the overall condition of the roof. Consequently, homeowners may end up facing repetitive problems that demand further time and resources in the long run. It’s crucial to inspect the entire roof during repairs to identify potential problems and decide if more comprehensive solutions are required.
Potential for Recurring Issues
Repairing a damaged roof may not always resolve underlying problems or prevent future issues from arising. This is especially true if the repairs are not properly executed, leading to recurring water leaks and further deterioration of the roof structure. If a homeowner chooses to repair a roof themselves or hires an inexperienced contractor, they may face continuous repairs and growing expenses.
Limited Improvement to Home Value
While roof repairs can address immediate issues, they might not significantly enhance a home’s resale value. Potential home buyers may still express concerns about the roof’s longevity as long-term issues may remain concealed beneath the surface. Furthermore, they might offer a lower buying price due to apprehensions surrounding potential repairs or maintenance work. In contrast, a new roof installation could project a more significant return on investment and inspire buyer confidence.
Factors to Consider
The age of a roof is a critical factor in deciding between reroofing and roof repair. Generally, a well-maintained roof can last for 40 to 50 years. If the roof is nearing its end of life (about 40 to 50 years), it may be more cost-effective to opt for a complete reroof or roof replacement. Meanwhile, if the roof is relatively younger (less than 10 to 20 years), repairing and or restoring the damaged or aged areas might be a better option.
Extent of Damage or degradation
In determining the best course of action, homeowners should assess the extent of damage or degradation to their roofs. For minor issues such as a few broken or chipped tiles or a small area of damage, roof repair should suffice. However, in examples of iron roofs with significant rust and or corrosion or tiled roofs that have become extremely porous or fretting and brittle, reroofing may be the only viable option.
Examine the following factors for a clearer understanding:
- Small area of damage: Roof repair is suitable.
- Large area of damage: Reroofing would be a more cost-effective choice.
Budget is another crucial aspect to consider when deciding between reroofing and roof repair. Homeowners need to weigh the short-term and long-term costs associated with each option. Roof repair is the more affordable option in the short-term, but if the roof is nearing its end of life or if the damage is extensive, reroofing may save on future repair costs. Consider the following:
- Roof repair: Lower upfront cost, but may require more repairs in the future.
- Reroofing: Higher upfront cost, but provides a longer-lasting solution and greater value over time.
Example of reroofing being a better option than roof repairs
The below pictures are that of a concrete tiled roof on a typical 1960s house in the Australian city of Adelaide. This roof demonstrates a great example of a case where reroofing was a much better option than roof repairs. The original state of the tiled roof is very porous as indicated by the significant discolouration and moss build up on the surface of the tile. Given the poor state of the roof the concrete tiles were structurally very brittle and would break quite easily under foot.
Above: Original Concrete tiled roof from the 1960s suited to reroofing
Above: Post reroofing the newly installed Colourbond Monument roof.
For this roof the option undertaken was to completely remove the concrete tiled roof and install a new insulated Colourbond roof. The new roof sheeting was lined with 50mm Insulation blanket which made the roof much quieter and improved thermal insulation significantly.
Make before and after slider with the below two images for here:
Visually the difference is extreme.The whole property looks decades newer. The significant weight reduction also means less load on the original structure leading to sagging and cracking in walls.
Deciding between reroofing and roof repair requires careful consideration of various factors. To assist the homeowner in making an informed decision, the following points have been summarised:
- Reroofing involves replacing the entire roof, while roof repair focuses on fixing specific areas where damage or degradation has occurred.
- Costs: Reroofing typically involves a higher initial cost compared to roof repair. However, it can offer lasting benefits and overall savings in the long term.
- Lifespan: Reroofing provides a longer-lasting solution, really starting again with a new roof, compared to roof repair which may provide temporary fixes and require subsequent attention.
- Extent of damage: Assessing the extent of damage to the roof is key in deciding which option to pursue. Minor or isolated damages may warrant roof repair, while severe or widespread issues are better resolved through reroofing.
- Warranties: New roofs generally come with warranties, providing added peace of mind for homeowners. Roof repairs may not have warranties, increasing the potential for recurring expenses on future repairs.
In the end, homeowners should evaluate the specific circumstances of their property and seek professional advice to determine the most appropriate course of action for maintaining the integrity and longevity of their roof.