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Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof?

If you're lucky, you'll find a home that has a brand new roof, or at least one that has several years left on the warranty, so that you don't have to worry about any issues with outdoor elements getting in for the foreseeable future. But unfortunately, many homeowners considering a sale are not likely to shell out the money to replace their old roofing for the next inhabitant, especially if it's still passable. And even a good roof may not be able to withstand the damage caused by gale force winds, freak hail storms, or overhanging branches that break off and come crashing down. Heck, even small pests can wreak havoc on a perfectly good roof. The point is, there may come a time when you're looking at the prospect of either repairing or replacing the hat on your house. But which should you choose?

There are a few things you'll need to consider before you decide which course of action to take where your roof is concerned. If your roof is in relatively good condition but you're experiencing a leak or you've noticed a few missing shingles, repairing it is the obvious answer. But if your roof is well past the warranty, you've already shelled out the money for multiple repairs, and the remainder seems to be deteriorating fast, any additional repairs are nothing more than money down the drain. In this case you're better off investing in a new roof. Of course, the amount of time you plan to live in the house could also affect your decision.

However, you also need to consider what you can afford. Replacing your roof is an expensive proposition, not just because of the cost of materials and labor, but also because you and your family may have to vacate the house while construction is underway. While there are certainly benefits to a new roof, including the warranty that comes with it and a virtual guarantee that you will be leak-free for at least the next several years (barring natural disasters, of course), none of this does you any good if you can't scrape together the cash or get a home equity line to cover the cost. So you might want to do less expensive repairs for now until you can pay down debts, clean up your credit, or save the money needed for replacement.

You should also think about the type of roof you have. If, for example, you're dealing with common asphalt shingles, the life expectancy of the product is relatively short (generally 10-20 years depending on the climate you live in). On the other hand, clay tiles tend to last about 30 years while concrete tiles and slate roofing can last anywhere from 50-100 years. Some slate companies even offer a 100 year warranty! So the type of roofing you have can help you to determine how soon you need to think about replacement or whether you're better off sticking with the fortified roofing you have and simply doing repairs on damaged portions of the roof. And if you happen to be a self-proclaimed greenie, consider that replacement is not the four-letter word it once was. Many types of roofing can now be recycled and you can even find recycled or upcycled options for your new roof, making the entire process a lot more eco-friendly.

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