So, you have roof troubles? Have you detected the start of a leak, is your heat or cooling bill escalating rapidly? Do you see signs of wear and tear on your shingles? Then your concern is more than justified because a roof in bad condition is bad news. Your roof directly impacts your home’s resale value, it impacts your insurance policies, and if it gets bad enough out of hand, it can result in your home being condemned.

Water damage is especially insidious, as it can rot your home from the inside out. Noxious molds will begin to grow, and let’s be frank – some of these can kill you. It’s especially hazardous to small children, the elderly, and to animals. If you’ve got any sign of roof troubles, your concern is definitely more than justified.

So, the question is, do you want to repair your roof, or do you want to replace it? This isn’t a simple question to answer – when is anything in life ever that simple? It depends strongly upon several factors, such as the age of the roof, the extent of the damage, your budget, and so on.

Not only that, but there is more than one approach to replacing a roof, and both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. So, today, we’re going to discuss repairs, replacements, and what advantages they have in the face of one another.

At JDT Construction, we’ve repaired and replaced just about every kind of roof you can imagine, so suffice it to say, we’ve seen a thing or two in our time. If you need to repair or replace your roof, regardless the method you desire, you can count on us to do it right, and leave you with a repaired or new roof that will stand against the ravages of time and the environment for many years to come.


The first question is, how old is your roof? If it’s well beyond its maximum sustainable life span (say sixty years for the longest-lived roof approaches on average), then the answer is pretty cut and dry for the most part – you want to replace that roof. Repairing the damage would be pointless, as more damage will just appear, incurring more and more repairs, until you’ve replaced the roof in the most inappropriate and impractical way known to man.

Know your roof’s projected life span – this varies depending on the design of your roof, the materials used, and your environment. If your roof is very old, you definitely want a new roof.


Age aside, let’s discuss repairs in detail. Repairing a roof, under the proper circumstances, is obviously going to be a quick thing to accomplish, as well as a much more affordable proposition. If only a small region of the roof is showing damage, and the roof isn’t exceptionally old, this is probably going to be the best choice under most circumstances.

However, there are concerns with this, because the damage that looks localized and superficial can be deceptive at times. If water has gotten in, even if it appears not to have spread, this could mean that the spread just hasn’t revealed itself. Your damage could be further and more severe than it may initially seem.

In cases like that, your roof may need to be replaced partially or completely. This could be even more the case if it’s a structural issue, such as support beams sagging, severe climate changes taking their toll, or simply the use of subpar materials in the initial construction of your roof. In such situations, while repairs may seem cheaper and more practical, you may be better off replacing the roof with something more durable, and fixing some structural issues while you’re at it.

Tear-Away Replacement

If the damage is determined to be severe, the roof is old, or other such factors have rendered repairs impractical, you still have a choice to make. Do you want to tear the old roof down, or simply do roof-over? These both have their advantages and disadvantages, but let’s talk about tear-away first, as it’s what most would assume any replacement to be.

With tear-away roofing, your old roof is completely stripped down and disposed of, and a new roof built from the ground up, so to speak. This ensures that all the materials are brand new, and the foundations of the roof are strong and reliable. This also is the best choice for resale value and insurance concerns, as roof-over projects are frowned upon by real estate companies and insurance firms alike.

However, this is a costlier approach for a number of reasons. For one, the labor is basically doubled, as the old roof has to be torn down before the new one can be implemented. This raises the cost, as any additional labor would. It also incurs further costs due to the tremendous amount of waste this produces, which must be disposed of in a legal and environmentally-sound manner.


Your other option is cheaper in a number of ways, and it involves patching major gaps in the existing roof and then simply installing a new layer over it. As shoddy as the concept sounds, the adhesives and insulation placed between the layers are very solid and reliable. Still, this is less reliable than a tear-away roof, and as such, we discourage this choice unless budget and time constraints are severe.

A roof-over project produces far less waste, the labor is halved, and as such, the entire cost of the project is vastly reduced. It’s also usually done much more quickly as a result. However, warranties for this type of roof tend to be shaky and limited, and as we said, insurance companies and real estate firms tend to frown on this approach for obvious reasons.

Which is Ultimately Cheaper?

So, the final question is really this – is it cheaper, in the long run, to just replace your roof if you have damage showing up? Perhaps it is unless it’s superficial damage that inclement weather induced. You’ll have a brand new roof that you may not need to incur repair costs to for a long time, and you’ll be under warranty for several years as well.

Still not sure which is right for you? That’s okay, it’s a big decision. Fill out our contact form today for a consultation. We’re here to help!