What to Look For When Getting a New Roof

Replacing a roof on a large building

Getting a new roof is a major expense, so you want to make sure that you go about it in the right way. Any time that you’re doing a home improvement project of this magnitude it’s important to bring in professionals to get the job done right, and in this case, that means roofing contractors.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how to know when to get a new roof, how to find the right roofing contractor, and how to make decisions about what kind of new roof you need.

How Do You Know When You Need To Replace Your Roof?

There are a lot of things that should be warning signs that it’s time to get a new roof. Yes, it would be nice if that roof would just last forever, but like any part of the home, it has a limited lifespan. And, seeing how it shields you from all the weather–the heat, the cold, the rain, the wind–it will age much faster than other parts of your home. So how do you know when it’s time to replace it?

  • If you haven’t replaced your roof in 20-25 years, then now is a good time to look into it. Different types of roofs will have different lifespans (we’ll talk about that a little further down) but it’s important to know that, for a shingle roof, 20-25 years is about as far as you can stretch it.
  • The shingles are deteriorating. This can be seen in a number of different ways. Either the shingles are starting to drop off (that’s a sure sign) or the rain gutters start to fill with the little grains of grit from the shingles. These are red flags that your shingles are wearing out and need replacement.
  • Water is leaking. This is a no-brainer. Of course, you’ll first want to get a roofing company to come out and see if the problem can be fixed with a simple and inexpensive repair, but water leaking into the house or attic is always a danger sign.
  • The roof is sagging. If the roof is sagging then there’s no question: it’s time to replace the roof right now.
  • Moss is growing on the roof. When you have moss growing on the roof, then that means that water is likely infiltrating the shingles and you’re probably getting other water-related problems under the shingles, in the attic. The most notorious culprit is mold. That’s not only unhealthy, it could be deadly.

Getting a New Roof: What to Expect

So you’ve decided that now is the time to get a new roof. What are some roof replacement tips? The first thing that you’re going to need to do is hiring a roofer–an experienced roofer.

Getting the Right Roofing Company

There are a lot of people that you can find on Craigslist who will say they can replace your roof for a really good price–too good to be true. But when you get your roof repaired or replaced, you want someone who will have 1) proof of insurance, and 2) make sure they’re completing the work.

The last thing you need is someone without coverage and a license who will do half the job and then disappear. (Or do a shoddy job and you’ll never be able to find them when a problem arises.) Always get your roof installed by a licensed and insured roofing contractor.

Know What Kind of Roof You Want

There are different types of roofs, and, as we alluded to above, they have different lifespans. The shortest lifespan is also the cheapest and most common roof: asphalt shingles. These are all over, and they’re all over because they are good, solid roofs that will last you 20-25 years. But there are other options.

A tile roof will last longer, but it’s a little more expensive and it definitely adds a certain look to your home (some HOAs might not want a tile roof–while others demand it). A tile roof will last you 30-35 years.

A metal roof lasts the longest of all the major types of roofing, and, depending on what type of metal you use for your roof, it could last between 40 to 70 years. It’s a bigger investment, but it definitely adds to the value of your home.

There are other types of roofing: wood shakes, slate, and so on. If you’re interested in those, ask your roofing contractor about them.

Be Aware That It’s Going to Be a Mess

Some things to do when replacing a home roof is to prepare for quite a commotion. The good news is that this should only last for a few days. The bad news is that those few days are going to be hectic.

If your home is an average size–say 2500 to 3000 square feet–then the roof can be replaced in 1-3 days. (If your home is larger, has steep pitches, or is hard to access because of trees and terrain, then it could take longer.)

But it’s going to be loud replacing a roof, regardless of roofing material. There’s going to be a lot of scraping to get up the existing shingles, a lot of wood sheathing, and even beams and joists being moved around, hammered in, with drills and screw guns and circular saws running almost constantly.

A new residential roof is a great peace of mind, but it takes some effort to get there.

Ask About Refuse Removal

When it comes to things to ask when getting roofing quotes, you need to ask about who is going to be hauling away all the garbage. Because there’s going to be a LOT of garbage. A good roofing contractor will cover the perimeter of your home with tarps to collect any loose shingles, nails, and other debris from the process. A bad roofing contractor won’t be as good about it.

And, perhaps more importantly than saving the bushes and lawn for debris, is the question of whether all the roofing material will be put into a dumpster and hauled away, or whether you’re on the hook for that. Make sure you know what the roofing contractor is doing, and make sure you get it in writing.

Read the Fine Print

You’re investing a lot into this roof, so it is in your best interest to not only do your research into the roofing company, to see if they have good reviews, but to also read the contract in detail. If you have any questions at all, ask. And if someone makes a verbal promise, have them put it in writing. You want that contract to be rock solid.

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