Your roof is one of the most important parts of your property, but frequently owners don’t think about it until it becomes an issue. A roof makes itself heard in a variety of ways, though: are you selling and wondering if you should replace your current roof? Maybe you’ve just found damage and are wondering if you should invest in maintenance or just replace it.

So when should you consider a full roof replacement?

Roofs and Real Estate

According to the National Association of The Remodeling Industry, as of 2019 a new roof can be one of the top exterior improvements to make to your property to increase its appeal to buyers. The cost of installation is frequently more than returned when it comes time for appraisal.

Overall, the state of repair is vital to your success on the market. An interested buyer will need to know things such as the overall repair, how old it is, and what material it’s made of, but keep in mind that depending on your local market a well-kept roof could be just as valuable as a full replacement.

When it comes to the liability of the seller, however, in Ontario, home defects are separated into two categories:

  • Patent Defects

These are obvious flaws that could not be ignored or overlooked by you or the appraiser. The buyer, if they choose to purchase a property with patent defects, assumes their responsibility so long as the seller does not purposely try to conceal these issues.

  • Latent Defects

The second type are flaws which may not be picked up on by the appraiser or even known to the seller. If the seller is aware of latent defects that may not be immediately obvious, they must disclose these issues. Legal battles can arise if a buyer tries to prove that latent defects were known by the buyer and purposely hidden or misrepresented.

You don’t have to do a full replacement if you don’t know that something is wrong, but with an older roof or a surrounding environment that could be an issue for the overall state of your roof (such as particularly windy or moist areas) it can give you peace of mind down the line.

Repair vs. Replacement

The question of whether to continue maintenance on a pre-existing roof or to pull the plug and install something new can be stressful for a property owner. A roof is an investment, and you want to make the most of it before it’s time to reinvest.

Luckily, owners have options to help them decide if they want to replace or repair. Roofers can offer inspections to give owners a formal idea of where they stand; however, there are some clear indications that a replacement is preferable to a repair, even if a repair is possible.

Good Housekeeping warns that if your roof is over twenty years old and has damage that would normally be repaired, maybe it’s a wiser choice in the long run to do a full replacement. Even if it still looks good, doing a spot repair now could be a waste of money when in five years you’ll have to replace the whole thing anyway.

That number varies, however, depending on location and environment. For instance, in our region of southwestern Ontario (and depending on the kind and quality of shingles used in the initial build), we see our roofs last closer to fifteen years with a high end of twenty. This should adjust your expectation of your roof: it would need to be repaired sooner than perhaps roofs in different areas would.

There are also more obvious signs that a roof is in peril, including:

  • damaged shingles, including shingles that are missing, broken, or shedding their granules,
  • obvious gaps visible from the interior and persistent leakage, or
  • visible structural weaknesses, like a warped surface

If you see one or more of these, it’s recommended that you call a professional right away. On their own, they represent years taken off the lifespan of your current roof: combined, they may represent a far more urgent safety issue.

So Why Should I Replace My Roof?

Whether to repair or replace is ultimately up to what the owner feels is best. If a roof is under fifteen years old with good quality shingles, has suffered from no severe damage that could potentially impact the rest of the structure, and the owner has no future plans to sell their property, a repair could work just as well as a replacement.

However, repeatedly repairing an older roof to avoid incurring the costs of a replacement isn’t a long term solution. A new roof can increase the value of your property to potential buyers, and installation can be completed quickly to minimize disruption. To help make an informed decision, call a professional roofer to give you the whole picture.