Repair Or Replace?

How To Know Which Solution Is Best For Your Roof

Angie Lewis, Writer
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As a homeowner, you put your trust in the contractors servicing your home — from painters and plumbers to repairmen and roofers.

When a roofing contractor tells you that your roof needs to be replaced, you typically take his or her advisement at face value. But how can you know for sure that it doesn’t need a less-expensive repair?

We asked George Boudreaux, owner of Pelican Roofing in Lafayette, LA, and Atlas Pro™ Plus Diamond contractor, to share some advice on what to ask your contractor when it comes to a roof repair versus a replacement. Here’s what he had to say...

Q. What questions should homeowners ask when a contractor says their roof needs to be repaired?
A. What is the remaining useful life of the roof? With this answer, you can better determine whether the repair cost is justifiable in light of the future replacement cost. A $2,000 repair may not be best if a $10,000 replacement is needed within a year. Also, will a warranty be offered?

Q. What questions should homeowners ask when a contractor tells them their roof needs to be replaced?
A. [Again, ask about how much useful life remains for the roof.] What is the advantage of replacing the roof in lieu of a repair? Can you show me some pictures to support your determination?

Q. What indicators determine whether a roof needs to be replaced versus repaired?
A. The overall condition of the roof materials and the quality of the previous install. (See Atlas Tip below for more details on visual indicators.) When a roof has aged to the point of failure, a repair might provide a temporary solution, but more leaks and problems could be around the corner. It’s not extremely common, but if the install was done poorly, the only solution may be to rip it off and start fresh.

Atlas Tip: Visually, you should check your gutters for shingle granules and look around for shingles or parts of shingles lying in the yard. If you see any signs or have any suspicion of roof damage, be sure to consult with a professional roofing contractor who can check out your concerns and properly advise you on the best solution.

Q. How can homeowners tell if they’re being scammed? What red flags should they watch out for? And what advice would you give them to avoid disreputable contractors altogether?
A. Many [homeowners] don’t know until it’s too late. Do your due diligence. Watch out for too few reviews and a lack of a license or insurance. [Work offered without a] contract or a poorly constructed contract is another red flag.
Check [online review sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google, Yelp or Angie’s List] and weigh them heavily in your decision. Banks don’t lend money without credit, so homeowners shouldn’t hire roofers without reviews. Stop by the roofer’s office. Their place of business and environment speak volumes. Check their license and insurance. If you’re shopping for the cheapest price, you’re increasing your odds of having a poor transaction and/or inferior product or install on your roof.

Atlas Tip: While doing your research, find out how long a contractor has been in business in the area. Ask neighbors, friends and your social media communities for their recommendations. Referrals are a great way to know you’re getting a quality contractor.