Roof replacement or roofing repair: critical decisions for the homeowner
By Homer Winthrop
Whether to repair your roof or go for a complete roof replacement has several ramifications. To help you make an intelligent choice, consider the following:
Extent of damage
- If your roof shows damage in one or more areas, it might be possible to make repairs. However, visible damage may only be part of the problem. A thorough inspection by a professional is almost always an essential step when considering problems associated with your roofing installation. You can do a cursory inspection by checking for any internal signs of leakage but if your roofing is over ten years old, it's better to pay for peace of mind.
- If your roof shows multiple points of damage on the outside, obvious areas of leakage on the inside or both, roof replacement may be the key to a long-lasting and sensible solution.
- While roofing repair is less expensive than complete roof replacement, it can be costly nevertheless. When the damage is extensive, roofing repair involves more than removing and replacing damaged shingles, cedar shakes, tiles or other roofing materials. Responsible roof repair can include taking up the outer layer of the entire roof, replacing parts of the underlying membrane and sealing seams and joints. Many roofing contractors can do this but Internet research reveals that the repairs won't last as long as a complete roof replacement.
- A complete roof replacement means stripping the roof down to the bare construction and applying new roofing materials. This allows for repair of any damage done to the original surface and applying new flashing and membrane. Next follows replacement of new outer roofing materials. You can even choose materials other than those originally on the roof. This process can guarantee a longer life for your roof.
- Get a trusted professional to help you through the process of roofing repair or replacement. This includes inspection and recommendations on how to proceed. Satisfy yourself that the solution makes sense and fits your budget.
- Get at least three bids from licensed roofing contractors. Your local home improvement stores, the Internet and your local Better Business Bureau are good sources for making sure you deal with bona fide roofing companies.
- Make sure roofing repair or replacement is done in periods when weather won't be a factor. If bad weather should occur, your roofing contractor must be ready to cover up the work in progress to protect it from the elements.
- Get an iron-clad guarantee for the work performed. A responsible, licensed contractor can make a huge difference if things go awry and you happen across complications in your roofing project.
About the Author:
Old Homer has been around the block more times than he cares to remember but he keeps up an ongoing love affair with home design and maintenance. His expertise harks back to living in and working on a Civil War house, to plain vanilla residential maintenance, to surviving Mexico City earthquake-proof housing and finally to apartments where other guys get to do the hard work and he kibitzes.