The roof is by far one of the most important parts of your house. It protects your home from all of the elements of the outside world and has a major impact on the appearance of your house. If your roof is old or showing signs of wear, you likely need to start thinking about getting a new roof. Before you call up the first contractor you find and get them over to start tearing off your old roof and putting a new one on, there are a few things you should know.
From the signs of roof damage to steps for finding the right contractor, there is a lot to brush up on when it comes to replacing a roof. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about getting a new roof so that you can put the perfect roof on your home to protect your family.
Spotting the Signs You Need a New Roof
A good rule of thumb for roof replacement is that you should start your plans for getting a new roof if it is approaching 20 years old or if it is showing signs of damage. If you don’t know when your roof was last replaced, then you should also keep an eye out for wear. To an untrained eye, however, these signs can be difficult to catch. The following are some of the most common signs you need a new roof:
- The shingles are missing granules: The shingles on your roof are going to be a key indicator of the state of your roof. Take a look at the colored granules on your roof. If many of these granules are missing, making it look like your roof is balding, then your roof is damaged. The granules may have ended up in your gutters, so you can check there to see how many have fallen off. The shingles can still keep moisture out, but without the reflective granules excess heat can enter your home, raising the temperature inside and your air conditioning costs. A lack of granules also exposes the underlying asphalt, allowing it to dry out and crack and making your roof susceptible to leaks.
- You’re experiencing leaks: Whether your roof is leaking because of missing granules or its due to another part of your roofing system, roof leaks are a clear sign that you should be getting a new roof. You may see leaks appear as droplets falling on the floor or you may notice spots of water damage on your ceiling or walls. If you’re experiencing leaks, be sure to have a contractor look at replacing the other parts of your roof system, such as the deck paper, flashing, and moisture barriers, as well as the shingles, to ensure they fix the source of the leaks.
- The singles are cupped and curled: This is one of the easiest signs of wear to spot. If the shingles on your roof are curling or cupping up away from the roof at their corners or edges, it’s time to replace your roof. Not only does this issue make your roof look bad, but it allows wind-driven moisture to get under the shingles and into the roof deck where it can cause leaks and rot.
- The shingles are cracked: Another shingle-centric indication that you need a new roof is that they are cracked. Cracked shingles allow moisture to get on the roofing deck as well, opening up the possibility for leaks.
- Your roof has experienced significant damage: If you’re considering repairing more than 35% of your roof because of damage from storms or fallen trees, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire thing. Repair tends to be more expensive on a per square foot basis because it takes roofers longer to sporadically integrate new shingles into a roof than to install them over an entire roof.
- Your roof looks bad: This is a more subjective sign, but if you think your roof doesn’t look good, consider replacing it. A roof that shows algae stains, has patches of moss, or just looks worn can undermine the rest of the aesthetic appearance of your home. New shingles can make a huge difference in the appearance of your roof and your overall home.
- Your neighbors are getting new roofs: This is a great indicator for people who have moved into their home more recently and don’t know the exact age of their roof. Your house was likely built at the same time as the other homes around you. If they’re replacing their roof, and it wasn’t just damaged by a storm or other natural disaster, then it may be time for you to replace yours as well.
Relying on these signs is a great method to determine if you should be getting a new roof. Other key indications that you need a new roof include a sagging roof, seeing daylight through the boards of the roof in your attic, and your chimney flashing is made of tar or cement and needs replacement. If you can look at your roof and spot some of these signs, then it is time to get a new one.
Selecting the Right Roofing Material
Once you spot these signs and know for sure that you need a roof replacement, the next step is knowing what kind of roof you want to replace it with. This is an exciting step, as it will dictate how your new roof looks, functions, and lasts as well as how much getting a new roof is going to cost you.
One of the most common types of roofing shingles is asphalt. They cover a significant number of homes in the United States, largely because they are the most affordable option and work in all types of environmental conditions. They also come in a variety of colors, giving homeowners plenty of options for how they want their new roof to look. However, asphalt shingles have one of the shortest lifespans of residential roofing materials. While asphalt shingles may be an economical choice that gives you a look you’re accustomed to, you may find yourself replacing or repairing your roof sooner than you would like.
A longer-term investment for your roof is using metal shingles. On average, a metal roof will last 60 years. While you may think of a metal roof as just a crude sheet of shiny silver, metal roofing can actually be made to mimic the look of other roofing materials. This means that you won’t have to compromise on the look of your roof while getting a roof that requires less maintenance and lasts longer than an asphalt roof. Metal roofs are typically more expensive than asphalt roofs, but they will last longer and will boost the curb appeal and resale value of your home.
With a lifespan of over 100 years, slate roofing is one of the longest-lasting roofing materials. It is also extremely durable, as it is fire-resistant, waterproof, and resists mold and fungus. Its only weakness is that it may be easily broken when stepped on, which can be a problem in environments that experience hail. It is also a heavy roofing material, so it may not be suited for older homes that don’t have roofing decks and frames that are strong enough.
Clay and concrete tiles are another popular option for roofing materials. These tiles can withstand damage from tornadoes, hurricanes or winds up to 125 miles per hour, and even earthquakes. They’re best in warm, dry climates and may require extra support from the roof decking to bear their weight. These tiles can add an interesting aesthetic to your home, as they are often in a rusty, reddish-orange color.
No matter which type of material you decide on, be sure that it compliments your home’s aesthetic and functional needs. You’ll want the roof to match the architectural look and style of the other exterior elements of your home, such as the siding, doors, and garage. If the roof looks out of place on a major feature like the garage, you may need to contact professionals for new garage door installation so that you can make it all appear cohesive. The functionality of the roof for your area’s climate is just as important as its aesthetics. Be sure that the materials you choose can stand up to the types of weather you regularly have, or else you may find yourself constantly having to repair the roof.
Finding the Right Roofing Company
Working with the right roofing company is essential for getting a new roof that you love and that doesn’t break the bank. When you find the right roofing company, you can rest assured that they will do the job correctly and give you the roof that you dreamed of.
The first step for finding a company when you’re getting a new roof is to look for companies in your area. You’ll be able to see the company’s reviews, testimonials, and perhaps a portfolio of work online. You can find these companies through a simple Google search or you can go to sites like Angie’s List, where users can submit reviews and testimonials for various companies in the area. If you have friends, neighbors, or family members in the area who have had their roof replaced recently, you can ask them who their residential roofing contractors were and how it was working with them. Whether they give a glowing review or advise you against using them, you’ll be able to trust the opinions of the people you know the most.
One key mistake to avoid when choosing a roofing contractor is going with the company that has the lowest price. A company that has a much lower price than others in the area likely employes low-wage workers. With low wages, these workers don’t have an incentive to do a good job and may not be as skillfully trained as workers who charge a higher price. Roofing companies don’t rely on repeat business because homeowners only need a roof replaced every couple of decades, so not every company will prioritize customer satisfaction as much as companies in other industries do. This makes it important to pay attention to how a company’s prices compare to its competitors and what kind of reviews they have online.
Another essential point in picking a roofing company is ensuring that they offer the services you need. If your home is older and needs a complete replacement of the roofing system, make sure the roofers can provide that, rather than just putting on a new layer of shingles. If you need your gutters replaced along with your roof, make sure that the roofing company provides gutter services as well as roofing services. It’ll be much more time- and cost-efficient to have one company replace your roof and gutters rather than two separate companies. You’ll also want to be sure that the company can install the materials you want for your new roof. While virtually all roofing companies will be able to handle an asphalt roof, not all of them will be trained to install the more uncommon materials, such as rubber slate.
Maintaining Your New Roof
Once you’ve gone through the long process of getting a new roof, you’ll probably want to avoid doing so again for as long as possible. Luckily, you can take certain steps to extend the life of your roofing materials.
The first step is to inspect and clean your roof regularly. Keep an eye out for damaged or missing shingles, especially after storms roll through the area. If you notice damage, call professionals to fix it as quickly as possible. If you’re comfortable and properly trained, you can climb onto your roof and clean the dirt off of it. Keeping dirt off of your roof will help reduce the growth of moss, algae, fungi, and lichen, all of which can lead to the disintegration of your roof. As most people aren’t exactly skilled in cleaning a roof, it is often best to call professionals for this type of roof maintenance. They’ll have the right tools and knowledge to clean your roof and can look for signs of damage when they’re up there.
Another sign of wear to look for on your roof is cracked sealant. The sealant is essential for keeping moisture out of your roof. If you spot cracked or worn sealant, remove the existing sealant and apply a new sealant in all affected areas. If you have metal parts on your roof, look out for rust or corrosion. You can use a wire brush to remove the rust and then prime and paint the affected metal to extend its lifespan. Again, you can have professionals do these forms of maintenance for you.
Regularly cleaning your gutters is also important for good roof maintenance. Clogged gutters can allow water to accumulate in them and then get under the roof. If they’re so clogged that they’re heavier than usual, the gutters can pull at the roofline, causing damage. You can clean the gutters yourself or call professionals for gutter services. The professionals will be able to completely rid your gutters of debris and gunk while you don’t have to lift a finger.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re getting a new roof for your home. Not only do you need to know what kind of materials you want for your roof, but you need to be able to spot the signs that you should be getting a new roof, find the right contractor, and know how to maintain your roof for decades to come.