Roof Repair, or Total Roof Replacement? How to Know Which One your House Needs

If your roof is not doing its job, it could be because the entire roof needs replacing. Then again, roof problems can also be caused by issues in small areas of the roof that can be repaired without re-roofing the whole building. Since this is often an expensive and laborious process, you want to make sure you know whether your roof merely needs repairs, or if it should be replaced entirely. Here are some tips for determining which route to take:

Inspect the Exterior

Start by cleaning off the entire roof surface and inspecting it to determine its condition. It is a good idea to remove debris regularly, anyway. Cutting away branches that are touching the roof is also best for the building, as well as necessary for inspecting the condition of the roof.

Roof Repair, or Total Roof Replacement How to Know Which One Your House Needs

If the roof is asphalt shingle, look in the gutters for shingle granules. If they are plentiful, this can be a sign that the roof is reaching the end of its lifespan and needs replacement. Loosening shingle granules will also be obvious as you walk across the roof.

Check for missing shingles, bald areas, loose roofing material and flashing. Pay close attention to areas around vents and chimneys. These are spots that can crack and cause localized leaking that can be repaired without replacing the whole roof.

Inside the House

According to a Sherwood Park roofing contractor at A. Clark Roofing & Siding, the inside of your home can also give you plenty of clues about the overall condition of the roof. If there is an attic space, use a flashlight and carefully inspect the underside of the roof. Look for water stains, dark spot, sagging, and light that is shining in through cracks.

Also look for water damage, mold and sagging in the ceilings in all rooms. Inspect walls behind kitchen and bathroom sinks and in laundry areas where water from a leaking vent may be damaging the wall.

Determining the Damage

Once you have inspected the entire roof, outside and inside, you will have the information you need for determining whether you need roof repair or replacement. A new roof will likely be needed if you have discovered any of the following symptoms:

– Excessive wear and loosening of asphalt granules,
– Area of balding in the roofing material,
– Large areas of loose or bulging shingles,
– Build-up of moss or algae,
– Sagging of sheathing under roof covering
– Signs of water damage in more that small, localized areas of the ceilings and walls.

Roof repair is probably all you need if you have only found cracks around vents and chimneys or a few loose shingles or pieces of flashing.

The roof over your head is what keeps your home warm, insulated, and protected from the elements. Don’t ignore the warning signs when your roof is struggling—this will only lead to more expensive repairs or replacements in the future.

Photo Credit: via Peter Haken

Erin Emanuel


  1. I started to notice yesterday that we’re missing a shingle on the roof, so maybe we should start thinking about replacing the roof (our home is about 20 years old). You mentioned that we should also inspect the flashing; what should I look for? I hope we can get it everything done before it starts to get cold. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that excessive wear of the asphalt of your shingles is a sign that you might need to replace your entire roof. Mine is getting pretty old, and when I inspected it a few days ago, the asphalt of the shingles seemed pretty worn. I’ll definitely look into having a professional come and check it out, and I’ll have it replaced if needed. Thanks for the great post!

    • Olivia, I hope that everything goes well with the inspection of your roof. I too, after reading this article gained more interest in the condition my roof. I might even have to get up there and take a look around. If anything seems out of place, i’ll probably have to call a professional as well.

  3. Thanks for sharing this great post about determining if you need to replace or repair your roof. I inspected my roof the other day, and there were some cracked and loose shingles. I’ll definitely be sure to check for granules in the gutter, and if there aren’t too many, I’ll definitely have it repaired instead of replaced.

  4. I don’t think you really have to replace the entire roof all the time. I know that repairs are common, though. This is why you need to inspect your roof. If you find any problem areas that need repair get on it. I don’t think that your roof can afford to be there with needed repairs. If you get everything fixed you won’t have to worry about other bigger problems.

  5. Great post! Thank you for helping me understand the importance of repairing and replacing my roof when problems start to occur. I like how you explained that “The roof over your head is what keeps your home warm, insulated, and protected from the elements. Don’t ignore the warning signs when your roof is struggling—this will only lead to more expensive repairs or replacements in the future.” My parents had my leaks in their roof a while back but after hiring a roofer to replace the whole roof, they have not had any problems with their roof ever since.

  6. My roof is starting to get pretty old and I know that it needs to be fixed. I am not sure whether to replace it or try to repair it, so I appreciate your article. My roof has quite a bit of moss on it and I didn’t know that was a big issues. Based on what you said, it is probably time for me to get my whole replaced. Thanks for the info!

  7. Thanks for this interesting post on roof repair or replacement. I have just recently moved into a new home and I have no idea if I need to replace my roof or if a repair will be enough. I will have to go home and inspect the exterior of my roof to see if it is missing a lot of shingles or if there are any bald areas. Thanks for the help!

  8. Figuring out the extent of the damage is a great first step if you ask me. I know that my roof recently had some very significant damage from a large storm and it looks like my roof might need replacing. I’ll have to call a roofer and see what their opinion is since I’m not an expert. Thanks for the great info!

  9. You mentioned that if the roof is asphalt shingle, look in the gutters for shingle granules. Do most roofing materials have strong records of being durable? While I was on a business trip there was a lot of severe weather that damaged the roof on my house. Finding a contractor that could help repair it might be a good option.

  10. I’m trying to come up with a good way to get my roof fixed up. I tried inspecting things, but I couldn’t figure out where the leak is. I think I might just hire a professional who has an eye for this kind of things!

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