Roofs are designed to last a long time, but sometimes you will encounter problems before you expect them. While you should inspect your roof twice a year, many homeowners neglect this practice until they are ready to sell their home.
Often by this time what could have been a simple repair is now much more complex, and you have to decide if you should get a new roof loan and fix the issues that now exist, or if you have to replace your roof altogether.
Here are some steps to take when weighing your roof repair or replacement options.
1. Inspect First
The very first thing to do is to inspect your roof thoroughly. This means you must look at things both inside and out. Inside, you need to look for several things.
- Light Showing Through
- Dark Spots or Water Trails
- Areas of Wet Insulation
- Bowing Roof Supports
Once you move outside, you need to look at other parts of your roof.
- Curling or Bowing Shingles
- Damage on Peaks and Valleys
- Roof Edges Near Gutters and Drains
- Weak or Creaking Boards
You should also look for discolored shingles. If you see granules in your gutters, it may mean those shingles are wearing out ahead of time due to moisture, wind, or sun exposure. This may mean something as simple as replacing several shingles, or if other damage has occurred, it might mean a total roof replacement.
2. Structural Assessments
If you notice sagging or drooping roof boards or apparently weak spots in your roof, you may want to hire someone to do a structural assessment of your roof. The reason is that often a structural engineer does not have any interest in selling you a particular product or service.
This can mean you get an unbiased assessment of the condition of your roof, trusses, and overall structural integrity. This can help you determine if you need to repair your roof or replace it and have other structural issues solved.
Also, a structural engineer may be able to recommend contractors who know and understand both the issues you have and how to offer an affordable solution.
3. Bring in the Pros
Speaking of bringing in the pros, once you have a structural assessment, you need to get the options and estimates of the professionals who will do the work for you. When looking for a roofing contractor, there are several factors to consider.
- Ask about Insurance, and verify it.
- Choose local contractors, not those from out of town.
- Price isn’t everything. If it sounds too cheap to be true, it probably is.
- Avoid storm chasers. The knock on the door from roofers you did not call first is a warning sign
- Get job details in writing before work begins.
- Expect clear, timely communication.
While most contractors are honest and will do a good job once you hire them, there are some who are less than trustworthy and will take your money and possibly never finish the job, or even start it in the first place.
Get recommendations, and check references before hiring anyone.
4. Think Long Term
While it is easy to think about what needs to be done right now to keep your roof functional and your home safe, it is important to consider the long term. How long to you plan to keep your home? How much value will a full roof replacement add to your home if you plan to sell it?
One of the first things many home buyers look at is the roof of a home. They look at how recently it has been replaced, what the warranty is, and how other things around the roof are cared for like gutters and drains.
Not all roofing materials are created equal either, and whether you are selling or just planning to stay in your home long term, you should purchase the best shingles you can afford.
5. Save Your Energy
One of the best reasons to get a new roof on your home is because one that is in need of repair is usually causing you to waste a lot of energy. Whether this is from worn insulation, holes, or other issues that allow cool air out in the summer, and the heat out in the winter.
The other option is that you can now use solar shingles to actually create energy for your home, or when replacing your roof, you can install solar panels. Either way, not only can a new roof save you energy, but it can create energy for you. In the long run, this can help your roof pay for itself.
If you generate enough energy, you can sell it back to your power company if you wish, so that they actually pay you.
If your roof is aging, whether you are choosing to stay in your home or to sell, you have choices. You can either repair it, or replace it altogether. When you are deciding, you need to get the advice of professionals. Think of the long term, and save energy if possible.