The current roof is 13 years old, the same one that was in place when the courthouse opened in 1997. The commissioners said they believe the current roof was intended to have a lifespan of seven years.
"We want to get moving on this," Presiding Commissioner Arden Engelage said. "It's starting to tear. We need it done later in the summer when it's dry."
The county commission has $100,000 allocated for a new roof in this year's budget, but expects the project to cost more since more insulation will be added.
The county is trying to work with AmerenUE to take advantage of available funding through the company's energy efficiency program.
The commissioners said they are considering adding 2 to 3 inches of compressed insulation to be placed under the new roof, a move that could save up to $20,000 annually in heating and cooling costs. The new roof also would be white rather than black.
Southern District Commissioner Hubie Kluesner said he's not comfortable going into the winter with the present roof.
"The roof has exceeded its life," Kluesner said. "We've milked it as long as we can."
A small leak, estimated to be the size of a quarter, was discovered above the Division 2 courtroom earlier this month, causing water damage to the wood fixtures inside the room and soaking the carpet. Court cases were moved to the Division 1 courtroom for two days last week, according to Circuit Clerk Jerri Jordan.
A conference room in the prosecutor's office on the main floor also sustained some water damage. ServePro of St. Charles County was called in to help dry and clean the affected areas.
The county had earmarked $100,000 for a new roof in 2009, but the commissioners said patching the tears was a cheaper option to follow at that time. Since then, they said the roof's condition has worsened.
"It's now to the point patching is no longer an option," Northern District Commissioner Dan Hampson said.
The commissioners said the roof replacement project could be finished within a month's time and shouldn't affect day-to-day business at the courthouse. They explained a small stretch would be removed and replaced so that no area is left vulnerable to the weather.
They noted removal of the gravel would occur over a weekend in order to not disrupt employees. That procedure would include a sweeper dropping the rock into a county dump truck parked below.