Roof replacement: How to decide to replace it?

Author: Housing Editors

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So your roof may need to be replaced. You’ll find below 4 things to consider in your roof replacement. From assessing the age and extent of damage to exploring different roofing materials, we’ll cover everything you need to know below.


The advises below are part of the Homeowners’ Roof Repair and Replacement Guide.


Roof Replacement: 4 Things to Consider


1- Assessing the Age and Extent of Damage


The age of your roof is a crucial factor in determining whether it’s time for a replacement. Most roofs have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years, but this can vary depending on the material and maintenance. If your roof is approaching or has exceeded its expected lifespan, it’s wise to consider replacement.


Additionally, evaluate the extent of damage to your roof. If the damage is widespread, recurring, or affecting a large portion of the roof, replacement becomes a more viable option. Extensive damage can compromise the structural integrity of your roof and lead to further issues if not addressed promptly.


2- Understanding Roofing Materials and Options


Roofing materials play a significant role in the durability, cost, and aesthetics of your new roof. Here’s an overview of some commonly used materials:


Asphalt Shingles

– Pros: Affordable, easy to install, wide range of colors and styles, suitable for most climates.

– Cons: Less durable compared to other materials, may require more frequent maintenance and replacement.



– Pros: Long lifespan, excellent durability, fire-resistant, energy-efficient, recyclable.

– Cons: Higher initial cost, can be noisy during heavy rain or hail, may require professional installation.



– Pros: Long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, fire-resistant, low maintenance.

– Cons: Heavy, requires a strong roof structure, higher cost, professional installation needed.


Wood Shakes

– Pros: Natural and rustic appearance, good insulation properties.

– Cons: Prone to rot, mold, and insect damage, requires regular maintenance, may not be suitable for all climates.



– Pros: Long lifespan, elegant appearance, fire-resistant, low maintenance.

– Cons: Expensive, requires professional installation due to its weight, fragile and can be easily damaged.


Tar & Gravel/BUR (Built-up roof)

– Pros: Long lifespan, popular for flat/low grade roofs, good waterproofing, fire-resistant, low maintenance, cost.

– Cons: Not recommended in very hot climate, tend to create water pool on flat roof, requires professional installation due to its weight or require very good structure.


Choosing the right material depends on your budget, climate, and personal preferences. nsider factors such as durability, cost, aesthetics, maintenance requirements, and the suitability of the material for your specific climate.


3- Exploring Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Options


If sustainability is a priority for you, there are eco-friendly roofing options available. These options include:


Solar Panels: Installing solar panels on your roof not only generates clean energy but can also help reduce energy costs in the long run.


Green Roofs: Green roofs involve the installation of vegetation and plants on the roof surface. They provide insulation, reduce energy consumption, and contribute to a healthier environment.


Recycled or Sustainable Materials: Consider using roofing materials made from recycled content or sustainable resources. Examples include recycled metal roofing or synthetic materials made from recycled plastics.


Choosing an eco-friendly roofing option can contribute to environmental conservation and potentially provide long-term cost savings.


4- Budget Considerations


Roof replacement is a significant investment, so it’s crucial to consider your budget. Take into account the cost of materials, labor, and any additional features or upgrades you may desire. While some materials may have a higher upfront cost, they may offer greater durability and longevity, potentially reducing long-term maintenance and replacement expenses.


The average cost table below include material and labor. Please note, the cost can vary a lot by state and city as well as season. Having your roof redone off season in your area can bring you some savings.

Roof Material Cost per Square Foot
Asphalt shingles $5 to $16
Tile $429 to $1,103 
Slate  $11 to $25
Metal  $9 to $17
Bitumen $1.60 to $3.50 
Tar gravel / BUR $3 to $5

Other factors influencing cost:

– The slope of your roof will also have an impact on the cost: the steeper the roof the higher the cost.

– A flat roof replacement cost usually most because of the material used: membranes, bitumen or rolled roofing.

– Other items located on or part of your roof may also add to the cost of your roofing project: number of air vents, skylight(s), chimney, ice dams, roof deck, etc.


It’s advisable to obtain multiple quotes from reputable roofing contractors to compare prices and ensure a fair assessment of your budgetary requirements.


What type of other work a roofer may do?


It varies greatly. In general, the smaller the city, the more other types of work a roofer will do. In major cities a roofer will generally only do roofing installations or repairs.


In smaller town a roofing company will usually also do one or more of the following jobs:

– Chimney repairs.

– Gutters repairs and installation.

– Home sidings: vinyl, wood or brick.

– Windows repairs and installation.

– Solar panels installation and repair.

– General home remodeling.

– Residential and commercial roofing.


Replacing your roof requires careful consideration of several factors. If the information above is not enough, you should ask a few local professionals for more advice.