FAQ: Can You Replace Only Half a Roof

Your roof takes a beating, day in and day out, and sometimes that results in the side most exposed to the weather wearing faster than the “protected” side. When that happens, some homeowners wonder, “Can you replace only half a roof?” rather than shell out the expense for an entire roof replacement.


Well, does it make sense to replace half your roof? Or, does replacing half the roof open a can of worms no reasonable person will want to open?


Here is a FAQ that will address those questions.

Can You Replace Only Half a Roof?

Technically, yes, you could get away with a partial roof replacement. However, there would be consequences that you might not like arising from replacing only half your home’s roof.


If things are tight financially, in these economic times, you can, in special circumstances, get away with replacing just half a roof.

What Are the “Consequences?”

can you replace only half a roof different options

There are several consequences to replacing half the roof versus a full roof replacement.


No matter how you do it, replacing half a roof will result in the new roof looking different than the older half. The reason for this is wear and tear and weather elements.


If you are unsure what new shingles look like compared to old, make a side-by-side comparison. The roof repair shingles will look significantly fresher and sharper than the old roof shingles.


Imagine the contrast between a few shingles for roof repairs and the older shingles and a scenario where half the roof looks sharp, new, and crisp and the other half look sold, shabby and worn.


Even if an inspection indicates your roof is in good shape with the new shingles, the existing shingles will have more wear and tear. Half an older roof will have shingles that are not attached as securely as a new roof and will not be as tough under high winds.


In a storm, you could end up with missing shingles, roof leaks, or even parts of the roof being torn off. The newer shingles have a much better chance of remaining attached and secure. If you only had a partial repair or replacement, you could be looking at having the roofing crew come back and do the other half.


In the worst-case scenario, damage to the leaking roof could result in costly repairs to the new section if the damage is extensive. It could even lead to having to make a whole roof replacement.


Working on half a roof will not save you as much money as you think. While it makes sense to do minor repairs or a small patch job, your square foot cost for larger, piece-meal repairs will almost always be more expensive than an entire roof replacement.


Additionally, replacing half of your roof will run you about as much as doing your entire current roof because of the extra care required not to damage the existing roof and the process of merging the two to create a watertight guard against the elements.


There is also the issue of recurring repairs when you only replace half a roof. Roof repair on the existing portion will run as it would with any older roof.


While new shingles will remain firmly attached to your roof and in great shape, the older shingles still have the same wear and tear and propensity to crack, rip and become unattached.


You should remember that by fixing only half of your roof, you face the other side becoming just as much a nuisance as the other half before replacement.

Does a Half Replacement Negate Warranty Protection and Insurance?

can you replace only half a roof meeting about insurance waranty

Most prorated warranties on materials will not apply to only replacing half a roof. They will only cover a complete replacement by a professional roofer.


Any roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty will likely not apply because you have no way of knowing if your issue was caused by a mistake in workmanship or from a failure associated with the older half of a roof.


By saving money upfront, you may have to spend more in the long-term because neither half of your roof is covered.


In addition, your insurance company may not cover an insurance claim for storm damage if you get your roof repaired or only part of it replaced. You will not be covered because there is no way of determining why exactly your roof failed.


A full repair or replacement by a professional, reputable roofing contractor provides the insurance company justification to insure you.

What About an Uneven Lifecycle?

When one of your vehicle’s headlights goes out, you do not usually just replace that one. In fact, retailers sell headlights in packages of two because of the following assumptions:


  • Both got installed at the same time
  • Both have similar if not identical lifespans
  • The one that did not die will die shortly


For those reasons, when you get one headlight replaced, you usually get both headlights replaced. Replacing both headlights costs you more now but will save you from returning to your mechanic once the other light goes out. The same principle applies to your roof.


If you have roofing issues that only affect half or less than half a roof, anything less than a full roof replacement means at least half your roof will need replacement in the future, but not on the same schedule as the half you replaced. You will be faced with the same roof replacement options and scenarios in the near future.

Final Thoughts

So, can you replace only half a roof? Replacing an entire roofing system is a significant investment.


For many homeowners on a tight budget, shelling out that money to roofing contractors is a major sacrifice. A partial replacement or repair might seem like the best idea.


As this list shows, however, saving money on the front end probably will not result in long-term savings or the roofing result those homeowners would prefer.


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