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When to Repair, When to Re-Roof

One of the hardest questions for a building owner when dealing with a roof is the decision of when to stop investing in an old roof and to instead invest in a new one.

Below are some helpful ways to know when your roof has reached the end of its usefulness and when it is better simply to replace it.

When Expenses Outstrip Savings

We encourage people to take the cost of the roof, divide by 20 and save that much each year toward the day when they need to purchase a new one.

Your average roof should last 20 years so by doing this you will have most of the money you will need for the new purchase once you need to do so, and will avoid the stress of a costly project of having to go into debt to ensure the safety of your building.

As your roof ages, you will start having to spend money on repairs and this amount will typically increase yearly. If the cost of the repairs ever exceeds the amount that you are saving yearly for the new roof you know the time has come to quit investing in the old and look at going new.

New Leaks VS Old Leaks

Another consideration is the age of the existing leaks. New leaks are often best to repair as they have not yet led to extensive damages or chronic problems such as mould. Long-term leaks, leaks that keep coming back or ones that were left a long time before repairing, can be much more costly and extensive repairs.

When left unfixed water from a leak can degrade insulation and cause roof decking to rot. Eventually the roof supports erode causing sagging in the supported materials. When this happens mechanical fasteners such as screws will look like they’re popping upward, but they are simply maintaining their original level while materials around them sink.

This will put pressure on the roofing membrane and can cause more damage as they eventually push and wear through, leading to more areas to repair.

Before a Solar of Green Roof Project

If you intend to change the use of your roof or invest in costly solar or green projects it is usually best to do so on a new roof that you know will last, rather than on an older one which may need maintenance which will disturb the project.

When you’re investing a lot of money into what is on top of your roof it is best to give the project the best chance of success and the least interruption possible. Once there are solar panels or dirt up on the roof, simple repairs become more complex because they involve moving equipment or dirt in order to access the roofing membrane.

In the case of solar this often requires the involvement of both your roofer and solar installer in order to ensure there is no damage to either the roof or solar panel system. By investing in a new roof before the project starts you avoid a lot of unnecessary hassle.

When Getting New Tenants or Selling the Building

Most people don’t like to deal with the unknown, and that includes unforeseen roofing problems. Having a new roof installed on a building before getting new tenants or before selling the building will give those looking into the space confidence that they will not have to deal with unforeseen roofing problems for years to come.

This will often increase the value of your building by more than the cost of the project. If considering selling it is best to get a roof report from your roofer that you can show to potential buyers.

If your roofer has any concerns then you can counsel with your real estate agent as to whether replacing the roof would a financially beneficial before trying to sell.

After Purchasing a Building

It is best to get a good idea as to the condition of the roof before you invest in a building, but even if you have seen a report from the previous owner’s roofer, get your own roof inspection done as soon as you take over the building. This ensures that you are fully aware of any problems or issues with your building and will not be caught off guard later.

It is important not to take their word for it that they had a competent flat roofing contractor do the inspection. Many people don’t understand how different flat roofing is from pitched roofing and therefore bring in anyone who calls themselves a roofer but who may not know the specific requirements of flat roofs or flat roofing materials (which are entirely different from the materials used on pitched roofs).

The Final Word

While it is always a hard decision when to replace your roof, a little knowledge and planning will help you be easy with your decision when the time comes.

Good foresight and information always makes the process easier and regular maintenance and roof inspections will help lengthen the life of your existing roof for as long as possible.

Call Northern Seal today for roof maintenance, inspections or advice on the existing life of your roof. We will work with you to maintain your existing roof or help you plan for when you will need a roof replacement.