How to Tell If Your Home Needs a New Roof

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the first things people see when pulling into a home is the roof. A good roof is solid and attractive with no dips, weaknesses or missing shingles. Replacing the roof on your home is a major expense costing thousands of dollars. Replacing a roof is something we know we need to do someday but it is something we’d rather do at our convenience rather than because it has to be done this month! One way to tell if your roof needs replaced is to do a home heating inspection.

A home heating inspection tells you several things including how much heat is being lost through your roof. A good home heating inspection also tells if there are issues with the heater itself, checks for gas line safety, carbon monoxide safety checks for furnace recalls, chimney inspection and other issues that can keep your heating system working efficiently. This helps your home work more efficiently and when heat loss increases through the roof then there is little question a new roof is in order.

When considering a new roof is there a clause in home owners associations or area requirements for a historical roof or a certain color? This is a factor in the final cost as not all roof replacements are the same. Typically a new roof has a warranty but some advise even a good roof that is maintained has a 15-20 year lifespan.

A few questions come up with the lifespan being a factor. When was the roof last replaced? If there is a corner damaged you might repair just that corner but if it’s been 20 years then it might be a better use of dollars to get a new roof. How much do you want to change the look of your home?

Your new roof might be metal, asphalt shingles, wood shakes, slate, clay or fiber cement. Consider all parts of your situation from a safety standpoint as well as a home safety one. If you live in a dry area and use wood heat, combined with dry wood shakes on your roof this could result in a fire. Use extra caution.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYour home’s roof withstands hot summer sun as well as hail, storms and in some places snow and ice. An effective inspection looks at the amount of insulation in the roof not just for heating but cooling as well. Does your home have areas of the roof that appear weakened or sag? Is there perhaps a section covered by a tree that stays damper and creates additional wear on the roof? One way to tell at a glance if the insulation is effective and the roof protected is during the snow how much snow is on the roof? If the snow sits there then you probably have enough insulation and a solid roof. When the snow melts off quickly this can indicate that heat is escaping from the roof, melting the snow. Check the attic or upper level to insure there is no leaks or bad spots from the inside also.

If there is missing or torn shingles then it can call for replacement of a roof. Thoroughly check the walls on the inside of the roof line. Are there areas where there is water damage or moisture, blistered paint or other indications of water coming into the home? If this is visible it indicates a new roof is needed as soon as possible before additional, more expensive damage is done to the home.

If the design or materials of the roof are inferior the roof might not last the expected 15-20 years and may show signs of home distress in 10 years. If this is indicated and the roof needs replaced don’t go just on the time since it was done last. Obviously if there has been storm damage, fire or other damage to the roof then a new roof is in order. This part of your home protects the rest of the home and contents. Look carefully at a home heating inspection recommendation and at the condition of the roof itself. If you need a new roof get a quality one and hopefully it’ll be the last one you need to get!

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