Your home’s roof was probably there when you bought your house. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) pegs the ratio of existing home sales to new construction sales at around seven to one. You had no input with that roof, not its materials, installer, care, or warranty. How can you know if you inherited a mess or a marvel? How can you know whether to repair or replace your home’s crowning jewel?
Ask the Right People
These days, the vogue seems to be to shun expertise. We like our crowdsourcing, our inexperienced politicians, our social media influencers. We question authority and are skeptical of trained professionals. But in many areas, knowledge still matters. Do not bother consulting with friends, neighbors, or family members about the roof on your Twin Cities home. Go to the right people; talk to a nearby residential roofing contractor.
The roofing professional’s eye can tease out a lot of information about your existing roof. Who made the shingles, metal panels, or cedar shakes? How old are they? What is the quality of the installation? What kind of repairs are evident? Where are your roof’s weak spots?
One visit from a roofer can help you decide if residential roof repair makes economic sense or if the time is right for a carefully performed complete roof replacement:
- Repair makes financial sense for a relatively new roof (10 years or younger for shingles; 25 years or younger for metal, for example).
- Repair makes sense if only one or two spots are weak.
- Replacement is needed when damage is extensive (across your entire roof) or substantial (structural issues in one area).
Roof leaks require immediate repair, regardless of your long-term plans. You cannot allow water to infiltrate your attic and interior living space without acting on the emergency, not even for a few days.
Even if you and your roofer agree a complete roof replacement will be coming along in the future, your roofer will likely recommend a fast roof repair to stop further damage.
Waiting for finer weather (spring, summer, early fall) gives the leak time to saturate rafters, sheathing, insulation, and drywall. The leak can spread mold and mildew throughout your home.
The discussion with your residential roofing contractor will probably center on four key differences which help you both determine if you need a roof replacement or just roof repair:
- The quality of the materials in your existing roof — Every major roofing materials manufacturer produces multiple price lines, from economical to extravagant. Your roofer will recognize the value and quality of your existing metal panels, fiberglass-asphalt shingles, or cedar shakes.
- The abilities of the original roofing crew — Your existing roof installation could have been done by a random bunch of day laborers with no roofing experience, or it could have been performed by a crack team of skilled, factory-trained roofers.
- Weather patterns — We all know about Minnesota winters. Older residential roofs tend to suffer badly in bad weather, and if you can remember a few rough blizzards, an ice storm or two, or high winds, chances are your roof has suffered.
- Age — Older roofs will not return your investment very well; you will keep spending more and more money on repairs which become progressively less effective.
Let’s consider a typical Twin Cities roof to get a sense of how your roofer weighs these and other factors. It is covered in three-tab asphalt shingles laid down some 15 years ago (give or take) and has survived the 2007 blizzard (20 inches of snow; winds to 50 mph; remember?). A peek in your attic points to some minor leaks and a few spots of black mold on the sheathing.
Do you repair or replace it?
Replace it. The roof is old; it has seen some rough weather, showing signs of imminent failure.
A second roof is metal, roughly 35 years old, showing signs of rust around a row of fasteners below a chimney. It survived the Halloween snowstorm of 1991 and the 2007 blizzard. Surely it qualifies for replacement, right?
Nope. Metal roofs easily last 50 years with proper care. Your metal roof still has plenty of life remaining! A skilled roofer will:
- Assess damaged areas
- Replace mechanical fasteners
- Provide clear coating to protect your finish
- Possibly recommend having a mason repoint your chimney (water may be collecting in the bricks and then drip-draining into your roof’s seam)
The same roofer should also set you up with annual inspections, routine maintenance, and a program of spot repairs to keep your metal roof in good shape for years to come.
Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows in the Twin Cities is your reliable, local roofer for all your home’s needs. Contact us today to see how we can help with roof repair or complete roof replacement.