How to Decide to Recover, Replace or Repair the Roof

Roof providers may guarantee a roof with a lifelong and impeccable performance. Unfortunately, sometimes this won’t always be the case.  Unforeseen problems can weaken the roof and lower its lifespan, especially when its incorrectly or inadequately designed, installed, or maintained.

There are a few options for fixing roof problems such as a full replacement, repairs, or recover. However, deciding on the action to take isn’t that simple. Before deciding whether to repair, recover, or replace, it’s essential for owners to analyze and gather as much information as possible about the existing roof.

The decisions are always a case-by-case basis and will depend on the current situation of the entire roof. A roofing specialist will be able to help the owners take the first step which is to investigate the existing roof system and take note of the following factors:

  • The remaining service life of the roof
  • Incidence and extent of leaks
  • Moisture trapped in the underlying insulation
  • Pliability and condition of the membrane
  • Bituminous membrane slippage
  • The structural integrity of the roof decking

In addition to factors relating to damage, the roofing specialist will take into consideration as part of this decision the structure’s geographical region, the cost of the project, the construction schedule, the occupant requirements as well as the owner’s long term plans for it.

A roof evaluation isn’t just about detecting problems. It’s a way to pinpoint the cause of the problem, answer the owner’s questions, and work with them to develop a long-term solution. When the necessary information is gathered and review then, it’s time to make a decision.

Repair

Even roof systems that have been adequately designed, installed, and maintained could have some minor problems from time to time. In these cases, repairs can be easily made to extend the lifespan of the roof.  Also, repairs are also a good option to minimize the cost.

In general, this is the best solution if the membrane and insulation are still in good shape and problems are easy to repair such as eliminating a specific source of water intrusion through replacing deteriorated components such as the base flashings and pitch pockets.

However, if the repairs are done incorrectly, it will only be a matter of time before more interior finishes receive damage and the cost of repairs escalate. By then, repairs will become difficult to justify.

Recover

A roof recover is an alternative approach to a full roof replacement. It involves installing a new roof system over the existing roof which saves costs and is less disruptive as there’s no need to remove and dispose of the existing roof membrane.

Recovering is an effective way to mend an almost sound roof. It’s the best solution for roofs that are still properly functioning, has good insulation and proper drainage, but the membrane has already met its life expectancy.

This is also an opportunity to improve the thermal performance of the roof system as many recovers install a thin section of insulation or other material for the separation of the new roof membrane from the existing roof membrane.

Replacement 

Full replacement is warranted when the existing roof system has deteriorated beyond being serviceable, and no other option works. Since it’s such as a costly solution, roof repairs are often seen as a last resort. It is the only alternative when the repairs are either failing or if the roof has been recovered once before.

A complete tear off of the roof is also inevitable when there’s significant deterioration to the underlying structural deck, the existing roof system attachment can no longer provide the required wind up-lift resistance or fire protection for the new roof assembly, or there’s simply excessive moisture below the membrane.

While roof replacements are expensive and could take a lot of effort, it does ensure long term benefits. It’s a good option for customers planning to keep their property for an extended period. It also presents an opportunity to inspect the deck for necessary repairs.

Fahey Roofing Contractors can help with necessary roof repairs and roof replacement. Check out our residential roof replacement services, residential roof repair services, or contact us at (304) 826-1333 to learn more.

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