If you’re having problems with the roof on your home, you may be wondering if you’ll need to replace the whole thing — one of the biggest expenses you can face as a homeowner — or if you can get away with repairs to the trouble spots. The first thing to consider is the age of the roof. Asphalt shingles generally last 15-30 years, so for a roof younger than that with only minor damage, repairs are probably in order. However, for a roof approaching that age (or beyond it), a full replacement may make more sense in the long run.

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It can be hard to determine exactly where a leak is coming from, and a professional inspection can help. A small leak in one area of the roof is usually a candidate for a quick repair, but for multiple leaks in multiple places, replacing the roof is generally recommended. Another thing to keep in mind is how long you think you may be in your current home. If you’re planning to only be there for a few more years, and the roof is generally in good condition, repairs will probably be the better option.

The good news, if you do need a replacement roof, is that you may be able to offset some of the costs. New roofing materials are usually longer-lasting and more energy-efficient than the old roof, saving you money down the line. Some roofing materials are environmentally friendly enough that they may qualify for federal or state tax credits. In addition, using materials that are fire- or wind-resistant may allow you to get lower rates from your homeowner’s insurance company. A local roofing contractor can help you explore your options and find savings.

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