Should You Replace or Repair Your Roof?

Should You Replace or Repair Your Roof?

How do you know if your roof needs repair or replacement? It is unfortunate that we don’t usually think about it till we have a puddle on the floor or discoloration on our ceiling and walls. By then it’s not only known, but crucial that we find and fix the leaky damage. With luck it may be just a small area but in older homes it can mean replacing the whole roof.

Where do you start to take preventive measures in having a potential catastrophe on your living room carpet?

First place is start inside. Start in your attic. What you’ll need is a flashlight too look up at the eaves. Look for beams of light coming through the top of the house or stains and streaks which means water is getting in past your shingles and roof underlayment.

Secondly, when was the last time your roof was replaced or re-shingled? Having this knowledge and what your roof is made of will offer insight of how much life is left in your current roof. A typical asphalt roof last 20 – 25 years. If your current roof has been installed OVER an existing layer of shingles, it should be replaced after 20 years.

Visible exterior:

Storm damage is often reason to assess for damage. Shingles should lie flat against the roof but patches that are cracked, damaged or buckling would be reason for repair. Also, check gutters and downspouts for shingle granules; a roof that is losing a lot of granules is near the end of its useful life.

This cottage (shown in the first picture below) is near the ocean side in Chatham. The cedar roof had not been replaced in while. It has seen a few Nor’easter storms. The roof shingles no longer lay flat, buckle, and have moss on them. Time for replacement.


The cedar roof shingles on this cottage no longer lay flat, buckle, and have moss growing from them. Photo #1

In the photos below, you can see that the old roof shingles have been stripped down to the bare underlayment leaving the old tar paper. This was also replaced with felt paper and then re-shingled with new red cedar as shown in the third photo. Also the flashing used around the roof vent was replaced Copper Flashing as well as W-Valley  used where the two roof slopes joined shown in photo#3 .

Old shingles removed down to underlayment. Photo #2
New red cedar shingles and W -Valley copper flashing used at joined slope of two roofs. Photo#3




Finished red cedar roof from photo#1 & 2



Flashing around vents, skylights and chimneys seal keep the seams of the roof from the weather. At these points it should be determined that there are not any cracks or breaks which could turn into a potential leak. If you have an older home, it’s not uncommon to find roof cement or tar instead of metal flashing. Upgrading to a metal flashing system would add durability.

Other sure tell-tale signs are sagging in the roof where it would need to be determined if you have trapped moisture, rotting boards or other possible signs of damage, especially at the lowest point. Moss (mold and fungi) collected on a roof can indicate trapped moisture (see photo #1). This can be removed with a stiff brush but should be inspected to determine that there aren’t any other underlying issues.

In areas like Cape Cod, where houses can be in regular storm paths, it’s not uncommon to lose a shingle here or there. If you know that your roof is less than 15 years old, routine inspection of your roof can determine that you may just need minor repairs. When in doubt, contacting a licensed roof contractor will help dispel any doubts.

Gable Building Corp. has a long history of roof repairs and replacements for our clients. We can be more than helpful to help you determine what your next step is in repairing or replacing your roof. For asphalt shingles, our “go to” roof shingle is CertainTeed® Asphalt Shingles that come in a wide variety of styles and colors. Specified shingles have lifetime warranties if installed by a professional builder and many come with energy star efficiency with their CertainTeed Roofing Responsibility program. Check out their website to see for yourself:

Common to Cape Cod roofs are also Red Cedar roofs. They offer durability, energy efficiency, damage resistance and a unique beauty. They also come in a variety of grades, stains, and surfaces to satisfy even the most sophisticated home owner. However, being a natural product, routine maintenance is essential to keep your roofs longevity and sustainability.

With these tools and a little basic knowledge, you are now ready to inspect your roof. Or you can always leave it to the professionals by calling Gable building is at your service for not only roof repairs and replacements but a wide variety of other building requests as well. Free estimates given at your convenience.