A single roof leak doesn’t always mean you need to replace your entire roof.

A variety of reasons could be the cause, and some are easily fixed with minor repairs. However, multiple leaks likely mean it’s time to replace your entire roof before more leaks or water damage become the issue.

The best protection against leaks is always prevention. If you want to avoid total roof replacement, consider preventing significant damage by having it regularly inspected. You can potentially stave off costly repairs by having it professionally inspected twice a year.

So, back to the original question – repair or re-roof? This is decided based on the source of the leak and where it’s coming from. Consider hiring a professional roofing contractor instead of trying to determine the source of the leak yourself. Many homeowners trying to save money, try to fix leaks themselves and find they didn’t adequately address the source of the leak. Over time, the problem continued to grow until repairing the damage was no longer an option, and instead, they had to pay for a total roof replacement. Doing it yourself can also result in expensive dry rot repairs as the roof decking warps, rots, and cracks from excessive moisture that can’t properly dry out. An experienced roofer has a better chance of locating the source of the leak then making the necessary repairs sparing the cost of a replacement.

Here are a few things they are looking for:

Cracked or Missing Shingles

Shingles are the first line of defense against water leaking from your roof into your home. Asphalt shingles that might have been blown away by strong wind gusts or cracked tile shingles can both be easily replaced. Exposed portions of your roof’s underlayment or decking can allow water to leak in through nail/screw holes, which are easily sealed. However, should they find multiple areas of your roof showing these types of damage, it might be time to consider replacing your roof sooner rather than later.

Flashing Leaks

Another common roof leak, especially on a tile roof, could be produced by leaks in the flashing or underlayment. Tile roofs, by design, can last a long time, but the flashings and seams need regular maintenance to prevent leaks.

Sagging Areas

If your roof is leaking because of sagging, the repair is now out of the question. You need a professional roof inspection to determine the cause. It could be a problem with your roof decking, or your home’s foundation could be sagging. Damage to your roof decking would require a total replacement. If it’s due to your foundation sagging, that would need to be solved prior to roof replacement. 

Professional Roof Inspection

To recap – by having a professional regularly inspect your roof, repair minor problems that can be addressed before they become bigger problems. Typically, if the roof isn’t at the end of its lifespan, repairs make more sense. Sometimes, however, the original installation is just faulty at the beginning, and no repair will solve the problem. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends checking your roof at least twice of year—fall and spring when the weather tends to be milder—to help spot any problems.