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Repair or replace? Choosing the best strategy for a damaged roof

Storms happen, fires happen, trees crash through roofs, roofs get old and leak, and sometimes a fickle wind just blows off some shingles but leaves the roof relatively intact. Homeowners insurance might cover roof damage depending on what caused the damage. Most insurance companies have a level of cost they use to determine whether to cover a repair or replacement. Regardless of the insurance coverage there are still inconveniences, costs and concerns for the property owner. Ribas Roofing Services of Atascadero has some tips to help property owners decide between a repair and a roof replacement.

Generally, insurance does not cover damage that is the result of neglect. This makes the property owner’s role in roof maintenance even more critical. There are circumstances when even the best maintenance practices are not going to save the roof. When the time comes to replace the roof, the owner’s biggest concern is the cost, followed by “How long is this going to take?” and “Where are we going to live in the meantime?”

  • Preparation and knowledge are the best defenses against roof damage:
  • Know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t
  • What are the deductible costs and to which circumstances do they apply?
  • If you are a landlord, what are your tenants’ responsibilities and what are your responsibilities?
  • How do you define all party’s responsibilities in the lease/rental agreement?
  • What does your insurance company consider to be neglect versus normal “wear and tear?”
  • Shop around for insurance to be sure you get the most coverage available for your region and budget

These are only a few of the things to consider and, ideally, can be addressed before something goes awry with your roof. It’s much less stressful to know ahead of time what your insurance will pay and what you are expected to pay before something happens.


As a general rule, the following criteria helps determine when repairs are better than replacement:

  • When the cost falls within your insurance deductible. It’s an out-of-pocket expense, but not taking care of the repairs may lead to more damage. In the long run, your insurance may consider not maintaining your roof as neglect and not cover a future replacement.
  • When your insurance determines a repair is the least costly strategy

Replacing shingles that have blown off the roof, are damaged or showing signs of age would most likely fall under an insurance deductible. On the flip-side, not replacing those shingles could be considered neglect and more serious damage later may not be covered.

A leak can be local, meaning that where you see water dripping, or a water stain is very close to the damage to the roof. Or it can be the result of more extensive damage. Rain lands on the roof and sometime leaks directly downwards and other times travels and drips through the ceiling elsewhere in the building. Water follows the path of least resistance, meaning that rain water entering the roof in once spot is going to travel through any part of the roof structure that is not sturdy enough to resist the water’s penetration.

Leaks are signs that a roof needs repair but not necessarily signs that a roof needs to be replaced. Call your local Atascadero roofer at the first sign of any leak. Have the roof inspected to determine the extent of damage.


“Replacing” can range from shingling over existing shingles, to removing and replacing sections of roofing materials, to rebuilding the entire roof or sections of the roof.

Depending on the material, the local weather and the quality of the construction, a roof should last from 20 to 50 years. Accidents happen and sometimes a roof needs to be replaced before its normal life span.

  • Fire damage from a fire at a neighboring structure or windborne embers from any fire
  • Severe storm damage
  • A tree or meteor crashing into the roof
  • Extensive water and mold damage
  • Extensive remodeling or adding an addition
  • Upgrading the roof to add curb appeal and property value
  • An aged roof


Ribas Roofing, headquartered in Atascadero CA serve the entire Central Coast and as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area. A general contracting company, Ribas Roofing has solutions for all of our roofing, flooring and building challenges. The company works closely with clients to solve any issue with a cost-effective and creative approach. “We take great pride in offering our clients exceptional products and friendly service.”

Call today for a consultation and estimate.

Learn some money saving roofing tips from the professionals at Ribas Roofing today. Call 805-254-7331

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