The decision of whether to repair or replace your roof is mainly an issue of time. From one side – you don’t want to replace your roof shingles too soon and don’t get a good return. On the other side, if you wait too long it can be pricier than expected. So the question is, when is the right time?
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, the weather is not on our side. Timing is key and in order to get this done at the right time, you need to know how to assess the overall condition of your roof and identify early signs of a compromised roof.
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.
We believe in educating our public the best we can, so they can make the right decision and have at least some background knowledge when dealing with a roofing company.
Check and analyze 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 and notes of your roof from the same angle and location at a given time of the year, every year, and keep a record of it. It is essential that the area would be in the same conditions every year (so free of snow, leaves, etc. ).
Inside and Outside
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 a roof without the proper safety checks and gear is dangerous. Some of the warning signs indicating that your roof might need some work are:
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.
Replacing shingles due to wind damage or hail is relatively easy and usually comparatively inexpensive. Torn or damaged shingles can be removed, and new ones can be slipped in place. It is especially 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.
Roof replacement depends on a couple of variables. Some are the shingles’ wear and age, weather events, and your home’s susceptibility to future damage.
If you do decide to go ahead and replace the whole roof, it is important to keep in mind weather and topography specific to your location. 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.
Another important issue to take into account is the house building and supporting the roof structure. For example, some house framing just isn’t strong enough to support the extra weight of a concrete tile and alternatives need to be taken into account.
Last and most importantly is what are you planning to do with your house. If you are looking to resell in a tough market, changing your roof might be a great way to stand out from the competition. Where for example, if you plan to rent out your house you might want to go with a cheaper option or wait out the lifespan of your shingles.
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.