To Restore or to Replace- That is the Question

The decision to restore your roof or replace it altogether is never quite straight forward. In the rare cases that a roof is so far gone it cannot be restored, then the choice is made for you. But for every other roof condition, it is a tough decision to make, which hopefully can be partially, if not fully solved by the time you finish reading this blog.

Before making this all-important decision there are a few preliminary steps you should go through.

 Begin with a Visual Inspection

This is the best place to start when determining whether your roof can be restored. The assessment process will usually involve studying the current level of damage to your roofing. Scrutiny is done to expose any cracks, breakage, dents, or holes that will compromise the integrity of your roof. Wet insulation, rust and other elements that weaken your roofing material should also be identified in the process.

Checking inside the building for problems like growing moulds, water stains or strange odours will also give you a good indication of the roofing issues you have to face 

Consult a Professional

Once you have noted that the above problems exist, it is wise to bring in a professional to thoroughly scrutinise your roofing. Using professional equipment to expose any serious anomalies, a roofing contractor should be able to diagnose the problems and produce a report on the roof’s condition. A recommendation on what course of action to take, as well as the cost implications, may follow. You should ensure you engage the expert no more than six months before the time you intend to work on the roof.

If the roof damage covers only a small area, restoration will in all likelihood be the best option.


When determining if restoration is the most viable option, it is important to look for the following things:

  • The amount of slope on the roof and whether it is sufficient.
  • The roof’s past performance history, noting any pattern roof leaks.
  • The condition of the insulation, as well as the underlying deck.
  • The precise location of any water leakages, this may be done using infrared scanner.

Cost effectiveness of restoration

Restoration can prove more cost effective in extending the life span of your roof, especially where work has been done in the past. This is because restoration adds minimal weight when you compare this to installing a new roof. You will find that most building codes require a complete overhaul of the roof after two layers of roofing have been applied.

Complete replacement of the roof can prove very expensive, especially if the current roof has to be removed first.

Restoration Increases Your Roof’s Lifespan

Restoration can be an efficient, cost-effective of improving your roof. Consider this: a new commercial roof will typically last for about 20 years, restoration can increase this by 10 to 15 years and therefore extend the interval between costly roof replacements. This in turn gives you room to put off replacement until a time when you can afford the capital expenditure.


Restoration gives you flexibility in terms of the time you will be forced to close down operations as you carry out roof repairs. Restoration incurs less downtime compared to a complete roofing overhaul. Installation of a new roof also has other implications such as more energy use, need for an energy audit and an impact assessment which consume more of your time during the planning phase.

Tax Benefits and Insurance implications

Roof restoration is considered maintenance expenditure, while replacement falls under capital expenses. Capital expenditure exposes you to more taxes compared to roof restoration by virtue of the fact that you have to pay more taxes in the short term when your depreciation schedule changes. Since the average life of most roofs is 20 years, it makes sense to prolong this useful life as much as possible so as to continue deriving the said tax benefits. Getting a new roof also means that you can incur a higher insurance premium.

Mitigating huge risks

Restoring your roof, especially in a commercial set-up, is imperative to avoid exposing yourself to potential liabilities that can be brought about by accidents from collapsed roofs. Putting off repairs means that there will come a time when you will have no option but to replace the roof entirely. It therefore makes sense to use restoration as a to mitigate the risks.


Roof restorations are normally come with a warranty of five to ten years whereas complete new roofs have 15 to 30 year guarantees. It is good to check this with your contractor as specific terms and conditions tend to vary. You must also make sure you understand what is covered by the warranty, who may carry out the warranty work, and how to file a claim should the need arise.