Should I replace or repair my roof ?

The decision to whether repair or replace your roof, it is mainly an issue of time. From one side – you don’t want to replace your roof shingles too soon and don’t get an good return. On the other side, if you wait to long it can be pricier than expected.

Eventually, most roofs wear out and need to be replaced at a given point. It really depends on the material and weather. In Calgary unfortunately weather is not on our side.  As mentioned you don’t want to do it too soon, but you also don’t want to wait too long, because then you’ll end up with leaks and expensive water damage. To get this done on the right time, you need to know how to assess the overall condition of your roof and identify early signs of roof failure.

Unfortunately most home-owners are not roof experts and they rely on the expertise and advice of a roofer. Like any service a home-owner is bound to find himself subject to the itinerary and needs of the sub-contractor, instead of his or her actual needs. This is why selecting a reputable roofer is a must (read more about selecting a reputable roofer here)

Detect the early signs

Check and analyize the condition of your roof at least once a year, you should be able to plan in advance for necessary repairs. A good tip is to take a picture of your roof from the same angle and location at a given time of the year. It is essential that the area would be in the same conditions every year (so free of snow, leafs, etc. ).

From the inside of the house early signs of trouble related to your roof can include dark areas on ceilings, peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots alongside fireplaces, and water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace.

From the outside of the house, you can assess your roof’s health by viewing it through binoculars or device that would allow you magnify the view. Please remember that going on roof without the proper safety checks and gear is dangerous. Some of warning signs indicating that your roof might need some work are cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing; shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering (see pictures to your right); and worn areas around chimneys, pipes, and skylights. If you find piles of grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters, that’s a bad sign, since the granules shield the roof from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath.

When repairing makes sense

You can repair a leak in a roof that is otherwise sound. The cost might range from $10 if you just need to squirt some roofing plaster or sealant into a gap alongside chimney flashing, or it can go as high as $1,000 to fix a leak in a roof valley. If something sudden and unforeseen, such as a wind or hail storm causes a leak to appear, your homeowner’s insurance can probably cover the repairs or at least a portion of it. But you’re still responsible for limiting the damage, so put out buckets and try to get a local roofer to spread a tarp while you arrange for repairs.

Replacing shingles due to wind damage or hail is a relatively easy and usually comparatively inexpensive. Torn or damaged shingles can be removed, and new ones can be slipped in place. It is specially convenient if the repair would extend the life of your current roof for another 10 or 15 years!

Beware: Many insurance plans may not cover problems that stem from a worn-out roof or lack of maintenance.

Re-roofing ( roof replacement )

When to re-roof depends on a couple of variables, including for example the shingles’ wear and age, Calgary’s specific drastic weather changes, and your home’s susceptibility to future damage.

If you do decide to go ahead and replace the whole roof, keep weather and other issues specific to your locality in mind when choosing materials. For example, wood and asphalt shingles aren’t especially fire resistant — and this could be a problem if you live near a lot of dry brush and trees. Slate, tile and metal are more expensive materials, but they are a worthwhile investment because of the extra protection they offer better protection against fire.

But before setting your heart on slate or tile — and we know they look really nice — realize that these are very heavy materials. Some house framing just isn’t strong enough to support the extra weight of this sort of roofing.

Start now  before it’s too late

Don’t wait until water is unexpectedly pouring into your home by way of a leaky roof. Start protecting your home by using some simple observation skills. If you find problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your roof. Many repairs can be made before a major rebuild is necessary.

If you do need a new roof, be aware that this isn’t an average “do it yourself” type of project. It’s tough work — especially if you’re taking off the old roof — and can be dangerous, too. (Roofs slope and are up high… need we say more?)

When you evaluate bids, don’t just look at the total. A low bid estimate might include a single layer of 15-pound building paper under the roofing, while a  more expensive bid will includes 30-pound paper plus self-stick rubbery material along eaves to protect against damage from ice dams. Bids might also differ in whether they include the cost of disposing of the old roofing, on hourly rates for structural repairs, and on costs related to gutters.

Once you settle on a contractor, check to make sure the company is licensed and insured. Also discuss how the crew will minimize damage to landscaping, and who will pay for any that occurs. Schedule the roof work during dry weather, if possible, so your lawn doesn’t take as much of a beating. You’ll feel better if you’re not worrying about rain coming in when the roof is half-done.

For more questions or any advice, just give us a call and talk to us about your project!