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Restore Or Replace Your Roof: Experts Advice

This is actually one of the most common queries we get either over the phone or during a roof inspection. A roof restoration has it’s advantages over a roof replacement but it also works both ways too.

Let’s break this down for you so that you get to know the technicalities behind the overall decision.

Quick summary – the definition of a roof restoration

With a roof restoration, the original roofing material is left in place.

Having said that, the term ‘restoration’ does have elements of a ‘replacement’ in it whereby a roof restoration actually replaces the old roof material with newer and potentially better products. This could include repairing and covering up known leaks or replacing tiles.

A roof restoration is the less expensive and invasive option, compared to a full replacement.

Quick summary – the definition of a roof replacement

A roof replacement, or a re-roof, is simply out with the old and in with the new.

It’s the process of completely removing all of the old materials and replacing them with brand new ones which includes the support structure or roof trusses.

A re-roof is only really recommended if the roof isn’t a fit for a roof restoration, meaning there’s far too much damage to have it restored. Irrepairable damage and persistent problems are reasons to have a roof replaced rather than restored.

It’s also more expensive because you’ll be needing more roof materials and also more manpower.

So… which one do I choose?

There really is no set answer(s) for which one to go for. It depends on a number of things which includes: the overall condition of the existing roof, the state and extent of the repairs needed; the cost/budget; the impact on the environment; accessibility of the roof/working area etc.

But, generally, if the existing roof still has life left in her then a roof restoration would be the way to go.

Think of it like going to the Doctors, if a bit of medication can cut it then that’ll do but if it’s gotten to a point where the situation is worse then it might need some surgery.

Same logic applies to roof restorations and replacements.

However, if you’re in this predicament, it gives you the opportunity to think about upgrading your roof. This junction of thought definitely gives you the option of going two-ways – to restore it as it was or in a similar fashion to what it was OR go with the option of possibly upgrading the roof overall – a popular one is going from tiles to Colorbond metal roofing.

But before thinking about that, the underlying problem why most people get into this predicament in the first place is because they’re experiencing roofing issues such as leaks and age.

If we class ‘leaks’ as ‘repairs’ then to what extent can the repairs be remedied? Repairs usually have a domino effect. Broken tiles usually lead to leaks which can lead to water ingress which can also result in breaking down of the roof structure (especially if left untreated for a long time).

So, it’s these factors which need to be considered and assessed by a qualified and licensed roof plumber during an inspection before any decision is made.

Let’s go with the hypothesis that the repair jobs are, on a traffic light system scale, a green then it’s most likely that a roof restoration would suffice. However, the licensed roofers will take into account the area in which they have to work with.

For a roof restoration, this shouldn’t be a problem as it’s usually a job of fixing, replacing, cleaning and making things look good again. But if the repair jobs are a ‘red’ (on a traffic light system scale) and the roof requires a complete roof replacement, then the roofing structure may need work done to therefore from a roofers point of view, would need to maximise the space needed to access the entire roof.

For most residential properties this wouldn’t be a problem, but for some terraced properties, on busy streets, this might be a tricky proposition.

So, again, the roof experts would have the final say as to what really could be done for your roof.

Going back to the list of factors affecting the decision to restore or replace, age and climate zone are important factors to consider.

The age of a roof is vital in the decision making process. Most roofs have a life span of anywhere between 50-100 years, this changes depending on what era a roof was first constructed and also what original materials were used.

Melbourne has some of the best Victorian and Edwardian houses that the world has to offer and it is these houses that are prime examples of going through roof restorations or roof replacements.

Again, there’s no set rules here. Even if a property is 100 years old with it’s existing roof, it could still be on par with a house that has a 20 year old roof – it all depends and a roof inspection is your best bet to determining the best solution.

Those living along the Bay will experience harsher conditions than those in inner suburbs. The same applies for properties near the ranges.

It’s no secret that a roof’s lifespan decelerates the more it is exposed to harsher weather conditions.

So, here in Melbourne we get the full works in terms of rainfall and sunshine but this can make you go for a roof replacement than a roof restoration faster if you live near the coast or near areas which experience harsher weather conditions.

This is why roof maintenance is essential for every roof. It’s the one part of the home which you don’t see everyday and you’ll only really think about it when something goes wrong (leaks!).

Finally, and this is what most consumers don’t think about too often, the impact of a roof restoration and replacement on the environment differs especially with regards to waste.

All that roof waste and old material needs to go somewhere, the more of it the more it needs to be scrapped. If these figures are accumulated per house and per year then the numbers would be higher the more roof replacements there are.

In short, if anything can be saved, reused or repurposed, then it’s better for the environment than totally sending it off to the dumps – so, with this in mind the amount of waste from a typical roof replacement is certainly more than a roof restoration which tends to keep some of it’s materials.


If money isn’t a problem then you can definitely go for a roof replacement, but it isn’t as clear cut as you may think.

The overall importance of a roof inspection by a licensed roofer or roofing company is vital to making your final decision.

There isn’t any set rules in play to determine which of the two you need/require but there are guidelines which will help you make the right decision.

Booking an obligation free roof inspection is easy, simply call us on 1300 442 753 or 03 9738 2501 or go via our contact us page and fill up the form. One of our sales reps will book you in a date and time convenient for you and you can get your roof restoration and roof replacement questions answered by one of our experienced and fully licensed (and insured) roof plumbers.

Restore or Replace Your Roof FAQs

How do I know if my roof needs to be restored or replaced?

You should consider restoration if your roof is still structurally sound but has minor damages. Replacement is necessary if your roof has extensive damage or is nearing the end of its lifespan.

What are the signs that indicate my roof needs attention?

Signs include missing or damaged shingles, leaks in the attic, mould growth on the ceiling, sagging areas, and excessive granule loss from shingles.

How long does a roof restoration typically last?

A properly restored roof can extend its lifespan by 10-15 years or more, depending on the quality of materials used and regular maintenance.

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