When you take pride in having a roof over your head, it can feel like a supreme…
If you pride yourself on having a roof over your head, it can feel like an ultimate insult if it starts to leak.
It happens to any homeowner if you live in a house long enough. Roofs don’t last forever. You will eventually have to repair or replace it, which will typically cost you several thousand dollars, if not significantly more. So if you’re looking for a new roof or need your roof repaired, you can rest assured that you’re not alone.
Repairs versus replacing a roof: when is which is better?
If you want to follow a general rule, repairing verses when replacing a roof often comes down to the age of the roof, how it performs and even how it looks.
For example, a roof with asphalt shingles is expected to last 20 to 25 years. If you are in third year and have some loose shingles or a leak, hopefully one roof repair is all you need. If your roof looks like a mess, is leaking and it’s been 19 years since it was installed, replacement is of course the way to go.
“Repairing a roof can seem like the most cost-effective option, and it usually is. But the older a roof gets, the better it is to have the entire system replaced,” said John Willmer, marketing manager at Fortress Roofing & Exteriors in Calgary, Alberta.
He says that if your shingles are cracked and dried out, and it almost looks like your roof is wavy or if there are potholes in the structure, “this is a major sign of roof decay, which can weaken the structure of your roof and reduce the amount of of the weight it can bear. This can lead to branches or storms causing unbelievable damage to your roof or causing your roof to collapse.”
Whether you replace or repair a roof often depends on your homeowners insurance. In general, you will have to pay for a new roof yourself if it has aged itself to death. Insurance policies usually cover a new roof or repairs if there’s a storm, hail, or something else natural disaster damaged the roof, or something surreal has happened, like a small plane has been hit.
But normal aging that leads to a roof having to be repaired or replaced? You’re probably on your own.
Cost of repairing or replacing a roof
It’s expensive and it’s very difficult to say exactly how much a roof will cost because it depends on the size of the house and the types of materials you use – and of course which roofer you use. But there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
Most people go for asphalt shingles. The most popular roofing material is asphalt shingles, according to Lauren Marsh, owner and president of Ridgeline Construction Roofing & Exteriors, headquartered in Athens, Alabama.
“Their lifespans range from 20 to 40 years, and they are easier to install and often have great warranty options,” says Marsh.
To give you an idea of how much these types of roofs cost, the average price for asphalt shingles is $100 to $400 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor.
The heavier the roofing material, the more durable it is. “While it is a more expensive option, metal may be preferred for some structures because of its longer life and durability,” says Marsh.
Or maybe you should go even heavier. “Concrete has the advantage of being very strong and able to withstand heavy wind and rain that can damage other materials,” she says.
Some materials like concrete may not work on your roof. It depends on the structure and slope of the roof.
Heavier roofing materials are more expensive. The heavier the material, Marsh adds, the higher the labor cost.
The material – not just the labor – also gets more expensive if you go beyond asphalt. Willmer provided documentation showing that if you hire his company, wood shingles would cost twice as much as asphalt, and concrete and slate would cost about three times as much as asphalt.
[Read: The Guide to Home Renovations.]
How to get your roof repaired
It’s not difficult: browse the websites of some roofing companies or call and ask to be contacted, then make an appointment. But if you’re getting your roof repaired, do yourself a favor: don’t hire the first roofer you come across, even if the roofer is highly recommended. as with any home contractor, first request a few quotes.
Yes, meeting multiple roofers is annoying, but you’ll start to feel better about your choice if you know you’ve done some comparison shopping first.
When you compare, you are also much less likely to be scammed. Ryan Smith, a roof moss removal expert and pest control technician who owns Ant and Garden Organic Pest Control in Beaverton, Oregon, says there are three types of roofers to avoid:
— The side gig roofers: “This type of roofer does roof repairs as a side job, and hiring a roofer is risky,” he says.
— “Nice Guy” Roofers: “These roofers will come to your door and tell you they have extra materials after a job in the area and offer to do some roof repairs for a low price,” Smith says. In other words, the roofer may seem nice and may be nice – but may also intend to scam you, or for all you know may be inept.
— The storm chasers. “These types of roofers move from one place to another to find work, usually in places that have just had a disaster and damaged roofs,” Smith says. This is also a possible scam.
Again, compare shop and don’t let anyone pressure you to sign a contract. There is a lot to learn about repairing a roof – or especially replacing it – and you won’t get much, in price or quality, if you rush it.
Besides, between the pandemic, labor shortages and getting the job done during the busy season, it’s not like you can plan your roof replacement or repair in a hurry. It is possible to do it in a few days or even a day, but it can and should take weeks to find the right roofers.
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What should you pay attention to before having your roof repaired? originally appeared on usnews.com