If you already have roof damage, the question you need to consider is: roof repair or replacement?

In most cases, roof repair is much cheaper and is often sufficient to prevent leaks. However, in certain circumstances, you'll need to pay for roof replacement. An often neglected aspect of home maintenance is the condition of the roof. If you do need a replacement, remember that roofing prices will vary depending on what you need done, the materials you choose, and whether you install the roof yourself.

According to Remodeling's 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report, the average roofing cost for a new asphalt shingle roof is roughly $21,500.

A roof is continually taking damage. The ultraviolet rays from the sun slowly damage your roof from the moment it's installed. However, it accumulates damages slowly, so a roof often lasts for over 20 years.

Do you need roof repair or replacement? In order to answer this question, you'll need to inspect your roof and the inside of your home to determine the damage. It's important to check your roof every year or two, and then fix small problems to prevent major damage from occurring.

Although, if you bought a home that's over 20 years old, the damage to the roof may be too severe for a quick repair.

From the inside of your home, you'll find signs that indicate if you have roof damage. Signs of roof damage include dark spots on the ceiling or wet areas along the fireplace.

Directly inspecting the roof outside can provide more evidence of damage. Grab a pair of binoculars and take a glance around the roof. If you see buckling, curling or blistering shingles, cracked caulk on flashing or worn areas around chimneys or pipes, then you have roof damage.

If your home recently experienced a storm with heavy wind or hail, it would be wise to contact a professional and get an assessment. Many contractors will inspect your roof for free and also provide a roofing estimate for necessary repairs.

If you inspect your roof and discover that it's relatively sound except for a few spots, you're in luck. In this situation, you'll only need to repair your roof and the roofing cost will be relatively low. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of roof repair is between $890 and $1,282. If you hire a reputable contractor to repair your roof, you'll often get a roofing warranty on its work, which can come in handy as mistakes made during the repair process may lead to leaks. Working on your roof also offers an opportunity to install features that make your home more environmentally friendly. In certain cases, you may even qualify for federal tax credits.

Choosing roofing material that's more resistant to fire or better protected against the elements may qualify you for lower homeowner insurance rates. When repairing or replacing your roof, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to minimize the cost.

Whether you need a roof repair or replacement, QualitySmith can help match customers in need of either service with a reputable contractor. When considering whom to hire for a task as serious as roof repair or replacement, it's important that you seek several quotes and hire someone you trust.