Which Way Should You Go?
When you notice a problem with your roof, the first thing most homeowners worry about is their wallet. Nothing about roofs is cheap or easy, and the urge to reduce costs can be strong. But when do you know it is time to replace your roof rather than have it repaired?
Roof Facts You Need To Know
The first thing you need to know about your roof is that it is more than shingles laying on plywood. Your roof is a system of interconnected parts, and unaddressed problems can snowball into a systemic failure. So, any problem you see needs to be fixed immediately if you don’t want to replace the whole thing.
The other thing you need to understand is that most roof issues go unnoticed for weeks or even months. Homeowners, as a species, don’t look at their roofs unless something happens. Water spots in the home or violent storms are about the only things that will remind a homeowner that they have a roof. So, again, once you notice a problem, get it solved as soon as you can.
Signs That Your Roof Needs Help
As we said, few homeowners think about their roofs until they notice a problem. So what are those signs that will put your roof on your list of worries? Evidence that your roof is in trouble is easy to spot, such as:
- Watermarks on the ceiling or walls of your home.
- Finding shingles in your yard after a windy day.
After any major storm, you should also inspect your roof to check for damage that can’t be spotted from the ground.
It’s also a good rule to have your roof inspected at least once a year. It’s always best to catch roof failures before they show themselves inside your home, and an annual inspection can prevent leaks from turning into disasters.
Does It Make Sense To Repair A Roof?
Roofs can be repaired, but roof repairs are more about buying time than a permanent fix. Once a roof starts to fail, its days are numbered. However, it makes sense to repair a roof if you don’t expect to stay in your home for many more years.
How Old Is Your Roof?
One of the main factors in deciding whether to repair or replace your roof is its age. Most asphalt roofs are expected to last from 15 – 25 years, depending on the quality of the shingles. However, architectural shingles, multi-layered asphalt shingles, can last up to 30 or even 50 years under the right conditions.
A roof’s lifespan is often reduced in areas with extreme weather, either cold or hot, or an extremely dry or wet climate. Unfortunately, the factor with the biggest impact on a roof’s lifespan is hidden from most homeowners. That factor is the quality of the installation, which probably happened long before you bought your house. A poor installation process can cut a roof’s life by half or more.
The best thing you can do is assess your roof visually. There a several signs that will tell you that your roof is on its last legs, such as:
- Curled or buckled shingles.
- Bare spots on the shingles
- Missing shingles.
- Areas that are sagging.
- Moss growth.
- Blistered shingles.
- Granules in the gutter.
If you see any of these signs, it is best to replace your roof rather than attempt a repair. On the other hand, if none of these signs are present, then you can move on to the next steps in your assessment.
What Are Your Plans?
Do you plan to live in your home for another decade or more? Are you getting ready to sell? Is this an income property? The answers to these questions matter.
If you plan to stay in your home for many years to come, do you want to go through multiple roof repairs? Roof repairs never stop at one unless it is in response to damage from an outside force.
If you are about to sell, a new roof will greatly increase the curb appeal of your home while a repair will stick out as recent work.
If the roof is on a rental property, which do you prefer? A repair every other year or a larger bill that only comes once?
Whether to repair or replace has a lot to do with your future plans and your financial priorities.
Common Roof Repairs
Certain roof issues lend themselves more toward repairs than replacements when caught early, such as:
- Leaks around pipes.
- Leaks around chimneys.
- Missing shingles.
- Popped nails.
- Flashing failures.
- Holes (animal activity).
- Damaged or failed shingles.
- Sudden damage (trees/storms).
- Poor ventilation.
Any of these problems can be handled with a repair, though the process is far from easy. Often, the problems run deeper than what you can see on the surface and a small repair can turn into something much more expensive. Always get your roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor with a good reputation before you dive into a ‘simple’ repair.
The Ugly Side Of Roof Repair
One of the main disadvantages of roof repair is visual appeal. It is impossible to find new shingles that match the old shingles on your roof, so the repair will stick out like a sore thumb. Plus, if you hire someone inexperienced in roof repairs, you may end up with more problems down the road as new leaks crop up around the repaired section of your roof.
Deciding To Replace Your Roof
Replacing your roof removes all questions about repair integrity and snowballing failures. You aren’t starting with a clean slate so much as throwing the slate away and getting yourself a tablet PC. It’s much more expensive, but oh so satisfying.
Benefits Of Roof Replacement
Your roof sets the tone for your entire home. No matter what the rest of your home looks like, a new roof will make your home more welcoming. They say that your roof is 40% of your home’s curb appeal, and they aren’t wrong.
A new roof also gives you tremendous peace of mind. At least a decade will pass before you have to worry about your roof again. And if you enter into a maintenance agreement and have your roof professionally inspected and cleaned twice a year, you might never worry about your roof ever again.
The Ugly Side Of Roof Replacement
The problems with roof replacement are unpleasant but short-lived. The process is very noisy and can be dangerous to anything living or moving around your roof. While roofing contractors do their best to protect your vegetation and property near your roofline, sudden gusts can grab loose shingles and carry them to the ground.
We highly recommend that you take your pets and young children to visit a friend or relative during the installation process. We also advise against keeping any vehicles near the home while your roof is getting replaced.
While replacing your roof can be very disruptive, it only happens once and is over within two or three days.
Whether you choose to repair or replace, your next steps are the same. First, research your local roofing contractors and check their online reviews. You should eliminate any roofing contractor with a star rating closer to four than five.
Then, ensure that the company you choose is fully licensed and insured for the work they do and that they have a good reputation around Chicagoland.
Finally, don’t accept any contractor that doesn’t warranty their workmanship for at least five years. And make sure those warranties are put down in writing.
Don’t Jump On The First Offer.
Once you have your list of quality roofing contractors, get an estimate from each one. If any of the bids are way off from the others, high or low, toss them out. Either one is most likely trying to cheat you either through garbage materials or overcharging, or both. Pick one of the bids that fall in the middle. Those will be the contractors that you can trust to be honest with you.
If you have a roof in the Chicagoland area that is giving you headaches, contact us at Krumwiede Home Pros for a free estimate.