Call us directly: 410-241-8421

If You Live in Baltimore, MD, Should You Repair or Replace your Roof?


In order to minimize current and long-term costs associate with home improvement it’s vital to make good decisions and this especially applies to the large, complex job of reroofing. When it comes to reroofing, homeowners have several important decisions to make before choosing a shingle manufacturer or hiring a contractor.

Considering roof repair options

One of the first decisions facing a homeowner regarding roof issues is whether they should just patch leaks and repair damaged areas or opt for a complete or partial reroofing. If the homeowner decides to reroof then they have to decide between a roof re-cover or an entire roof replacement. Not making the correct choice for the particular circumstances can have cost consequences in the future.

Repairing damaged areas

If the roof damage consists of damaged shingles from wind or fallen limbs then repair is usually inexpensive and relatively simple. Undamaged shingles simply go in place of the damaged or torn shingles for this type of repair. If the roof is older, it might not be possible to find matching shingles as replacements, but this is a minor issue considering that the patch extends the life of the existing roof another 10-15 years. For resale purposes, it’s best to find shingle that match the existing roof as closely as possible to maintain the aesthetics of the exterior.

Partial reroofing

For significant damage confined to a single side of the roof, partial reroofing can be a good option. Partial reroofing costs considerably less than replacing the entire roof and it makes it easier to blend the new section with the existing roof because the slight color variations are less noticeable. However, partial reroofing costs more per square (10 foot by 10 foot area.) Partial reroofing can also create problems if there are already two or more layers on an asphalt roof because all the layers require removal for an effective partial reroofing. The removal of the layers increases disposal and labor costs and can cause a lopsided appearances at roof ridges and a noticeable hump even with a built up course of new shingles and a ridge cap.

A New roof is a more viable long-term solution

Although a roof may only show signs of wear in certain areas, homeowners should consider having the entire roof replaced while they have the professional crew on hand with their equipment, ladders and scaffolding. Repairing part of a roof now and the rest in the future can be more expensive so homeowners should inquire about the costs of a single side replacement as opposed to an entire roof replacement. Sometimes an entire replacement costs less per side and it also gives the homeowner peace of mind knowing that their roof is set for at least another 20 years.

Knowing the right time to reroof

The right time to reroof depends on several factors such as the regional climate, the shingles age and condition and the home’s vulnerability to damage in the future. When a roof endures heavy rains, extensive snowfall or a natural disaster like a hurricane, patching damaged areas serves as a temporary fix but it’s a better idea to replace the entire roof with sturdier materials designed to withstand the elements longer.

Complete replacement vs. re-cover

When a homeowner decides to reroof they have to choose between a total tear off and replacement or installing a new roof over the existing roof. Installing a new roof over the existing roof, called a re-cover, can save money in the short term but cost more in the long term when the entire roof needs replacing and both layers of roof require removal.

For homes that already have two layers of shingles, a total tear off and replacement is the only option due to building codes that prevent more than two layers of roof covering on a home. Adding more than two layers of roofing to a home is unsafe due to the weight of the materials and the effect on the home’s structure.

Importance of roof deck access

Homes with only a single layer of asphalt shingles can benefit from removal of those shingles even if it’s not required. Shingles stay in place better when fastened directly to the roof deck and a single layer of shingles makes it easier to inspect the roof deck and sheathing. Being able to examine the roof deck is essential for detecting wood rot or finding inadequately fastened sheathing. Making necessary repairs to the wood and adding fasteners as needed help sheathing resist being ripped off by the wind and exposing the surface to moisture that can lead to interior damage. Having a clean roof deck free of old shingles and roofing felt is the best way to start a roofing job as it gives the homeowners the option of adding protective membranes along the eaves that can prevent damage caused by ice dams.

Although a new roof seems like a large initial expense, it lasts for decades and can save money long-term. It also brings the comfort of knowing that the entire roof is secure and durable when rain pounds, heavy snows fall and high winds blow.