As an older housing market, Pittsburgh has many homes that are in need of a variety of maintenance, from the windows to the roof and with the siding and trim in between, the exterior of these older homes often cry out for help.

To the homeowner who is faced with these types of decisions, there is no doubt that the option of a low price repair can be tempting. People would like to believe that they can fix the problem for a small amount of money and that the repair will last long enough to make it worth while. If the item in need of repair is relatively new and the replacement will blend in with the existing material, a repair may make sense.

On the other hand, if you are battling the ravages of time and weather one patch and pile of wood putty at at time, I have some bad news for you. In the long run, you are fighting a losing battle. The problem here is that each time you replace a missing shingle in a leaking roof another shingle will eventually come lose, every time you putty and paint the wood siding, a new problem will rear its head. You see, in these cases, the products are simply worn out, they have served their purpose, lasted as long as they were supposed to, and now need to be replaced. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize this until they have wasted much time and treasure trying to find a fix that will work before finally throwing in the towel.

My advice to homeowners facing old windows, doors, siding, roofing, gutters, trim, or anything else on their home is to consider replacing these items rather than repairing them. For many reasons this is preferable.

For starters, quality replacement products, be they windows, siding or even shingles are designed today to incorporate energy saving features. So if you are at the point where existing parts of your home are worn out, you have an opportunity to upgrade the performance of your home and to save money over the long term.

Secondly, by replacing work out parts of your home with the latest in home improvement technology, you have the opportunity to reduce or eliminate maintenance. As a bonus, many products now come with lifetime material warranties and if installed by a reputable company (like Legacy Remodeling) there will also be a labor warranty.

Also, there can be health issues associated with older products. Old wood windows are a very common area for lead paint. Any wood on your home which is exposed to frequent moisture can be a breeding ground for mold. There are old shingles and siding that are made of asbestos. By installing new products you can eliminate the potential for health hazards in your home.

Lastly, virtually any home improvement will add value to your home. Well done, upscale projects can add significant value to your home. According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost Versus Value report, a homeowner can expect to recover 60, 70, even 80% of the cost of project when they later sell their home depending on the type and quality of the renovation.

So although on the surface, it seems to be the economical approach to try and repair and maintain the existing parts of older homes, in truth this can be the most expensive approach available. By delaying replacement of worn out parts, the homeowner incurs the cost in time and money to effect repairs, can be exposed to the risks posed by some older building materials, and misses out on energy savings and loses the potential appreciation in the value of the property.

As you consider work that you need to have done on your home, you may find yourself thinking that you cannot afford to do certain things, but as the owner of a remodeling company, I can tell you the most expensive jobs are those that you have to pay for more than once. By doing it right when the need arises you will save yourself much in the long run.