The material used in roofing has varying costs. The least expensive roof material is the three tab asphalt shingle while the most expensive are clay tiles. Another thing to keep in mind is that roofing materials vary from region to region as well. Areas that see harsh winters, such as New England would not use the ceramic and clay tiles that someone residing in southern California would use as these tiles couldn’t handle the climate. The wintry North Eastern states would be better served by utilizing materials of slate that can last for years. In either case, there will come a time when you need to decide if your roof needs repairs or if it is simply time to replace it.
When to Repair
One of the most evident times your roof will show needs of repair is after damage caused by high winds or after an especially difficult winter. At a minimum you may notice dark stains on the ceilings inside your home. On the other end of the spectrum you may even come across dripping water inside your home that can cause further damage. A roof that isn’t properly sealed can form ice dams along the edges. This will allow melting water to enter under the edge of the roof causing ice build up to damage the edge further and ruin the decking of your roof. Numerous home owners will utilize heat tape along the edge of their roof to avoid this problem, but this “simple” fix comes with its own set of problems. Read manufacturer directions carefully as there have been house fires caused by heat tape.
If your home and roof are relatively new, check the warranty of the roof. If it is still under warranty the contractor that installed it should be willing to repair it under the warranty. It’s always a good idea to check the fine print of contracts before signing to see what the repair policies are and what your responsibilities will be should repairs come up after your purchase.
When to Replace
A good guideline to follow to help you decide if its time to replace your roof: is there damage to one third or more of your roof? If you answered yes, then it’s probably time to replace. However, this is not the only thing you need to consider as there are many more aspects to roof replacement than simply the appearance of your roof. Below are some tips to help you make your decision.
o Dark spots or blisters on the ceilings and walls of your home’s interior.
o Leaking inside your home after a hard rain.
o Attic has discoloration or water damage.
o Evidence of leaks in your attic after a buildup of ice.
o Shingles appear to be cracked or curling.
o Shingles that look dirty or contain algae.
o Decaying shingles, soffit or sheathing.
o A noticeable escalation in your energy bill during the winter months.
All of the above are signs of possible trouble with your roof. Rising energy costs over the winter months could indicate that you’re losing heat through your roof. Decaying shingles could indicate that water is entering the walls of your home and getting into the soffit. Knowing what to look for is half the battle.
Before you purchase a home, be sure to check the roof and ensure that it is the proper type for your climate. Homes in climates that are hot and humid need a particular type of roof that will differ from a home in areas that have a lot of snow and ice. Homes that may be vulnerable to hurricanes need to have hurricane straps installed during construction as they need to be installed on interior walls prior to securing to the roof. A little research about the climate of your area and what type of roof will fare better can go along way when it comes to repairs and replacement.