There is a big difference between a repair and replacement. A repair is less cost now, but there comes a point when continued repairs exceed the cost of a replacement. How do you decide what is best?
Your roof’s materials, workmanship and maintenance determines its useful life. It isn’t a good plan though, to continue to let it age until it fails.
Some roofing experts, such as at R&S Roofing, are available to do the following inspections free of charge if you would prefer a professional checking on your roof’s health. Here are factors to determine if your roof is in good condition, just needs some repairs, or should be replaced?
AGE OF THE ROOF
Most roofs were built using asphalt shingles which were designed to last 20-25 years. [If your roof was re-shingled directly over an older layer, expect them to have a shorter lifespan.] Check your records to see when your shingles were installed. If they are nearing that age, replacement often becomes the best option.
SIGNS OF A FAILURE
If a tree branch has damaged shingles or a storm blew off shingles, those are clear signs of roof damage that need attention, but there are also less noticeable signs of failure.
Start your inspection by taking a trip up to your attic. Using a good light, carefully inspect the inside of the roof for areas of discoloration. Leaks often occur around items that penetrate the roof or where roofs and upper-story walls meet.
Check the insulation for signs of leakage. It may be dry now, but water leaves evidence of having been present.
Inspect the wood framing for signs of sagging, dry rot, mildew or water stains. The framing supports the entire roof and unattended damage can eventually lead to total failure.
Check the wood sheathing for sagging or soft spots which may indicate water getting through the shingles, but maybe not into the attic yet.
Before you leave, turn off the light and look for pin holes of light coming through the roof.
Your attic needs air movement through it to reduce humidity and moisture buildup leading to mold and wood damage. Air vents should be installed in the lower portion of the roof (or soffits) and also near the peak. If you don’t feel experienced enough in this area, a roofing professional can evaluate if the ventilation is adequate during their inspection.
Now let’s get outside and up on the roof.
On your way up the ladder look in your gutters for granules that have come off the shingles. Newly installed shingles will lose granules for a bit, but then in old age the granules will again start to come loose. Also notice if you have pieces of shingles there.
When you are walking around on the roof pay attention to its sturdiness. If you feel it sagging under you, that can be a sign of dry rot or damage from a leak.
Metal flashing should be installed around pipes penetrating the shingles and is sealed using rubber gaskets. Check for cracking and damage to the rubber and that the metal is laying flat. Metal flashing is also used where roof sections butt against a wall, in “valleys”, next to chimneys and around skylights. Older roofs may not use metal, but relied on an asphalt tar to seal. Either way, inspect these areas for signs of cracks, peeling and damage.
Now look at the shingles. Are any missing? Are some missing corners or chunks? Are some showing cracks?
The shingles should lay flat, sealed to the row below. With age or damage, they can begin to lift, curl, cup and crack.
Remember looking for granules in the gutter? Now look at the surface of the shingles to see if there are “bald” patches where the granules are gone. Checking after a strong hail storm is important as that can also cause damage and granule loss.
Having completed the inspection and identified any issues, the next step is determining the cost to repair them or the cost to replace the roof. This is the time to evaluate its useful life and replacement versus repair costs and an extended life.
Assuming you are not attempting a DIY, you now need to call a professional roofing contractor. See our previous article about how to choose the right contractor.
Most quality Roofers will appreciate knowledgeable clients who have done their homework because they will appreciate our expertise and professionalism, but please consider the risks before climbing around on your roof. A professional team such as ours at R&S Roofing will make a no-obligation free inspection if you prefer.
We will provide you with a detailed list of any issues we discover and repair costs. If your roof is old or the issues are more severe, we will work with you to evaluate the cost-benefit relationship between repairs or replacement.
You want your roof in good shape, but don’t want to spend too much. With an informative inspection and a detailed plan for the job, together you and an experienced, skilled Roofer can determine your best option.