Do I need a new roof?
For many homeowners, installing a new roof is a very intimidating thought. Most people cringe when they hear the word construction. Pair that with the fact that it is often your home that you are currently living in, and that is usually enough to let most people remain content that their roof is not leaking and therefor they do not need to replace it. The general thought is that it is not worth the frustration, aggravation, cost, and potential problems that come with taking on a new construction project if there is "no reason" to replace it. The fact is most home owners have no idea how old their roof is or how much life it still has. While it is impossible to tell the age of a roof from looking at it, you should have a general idea of the last time it was replaced and the condition it is in. If you don't, call your town hall and see if they have any record of a building permit for when the work may have been done. While not everyone needs a new roof, it is a good idea to take a look every now and again to check if you can see any signs of aging or damage. (Curling shingles, rotting trim, missing shingles, discoloration etc) Ultimately you should replace your roof before you need to. Roof replacement should be considered general maintenance on your home and done before you have any active leaks. Waiting until it is an emergency means putting yourself at risk for interior damage (Sheetrock, plaster, paint, floor damage, mold) as well as your belongings becoming damaged. The cost of an active leaking roof can easily be five - ten times the cost of doing the roof only, before it reaches this point. Add in the time it would take to repair interior damage which is often a challenge due to organizing several trades and suddenly your $10,000 roof that could be done in one day without any workers entering you home has turned into a $50,000 two week project with several different trades in your house disrupting your lifestyle. If you think you may need a new roof, call a roofing contractor and have them take a look at it and give you their professional opinion. Many companies will do visual inspections and even provide a quote for you free of charge with no obligations.
Finding a qualified contractor is a lot easier than it used to be ( See my article on how to choose a roofing contractor) and a roof replacement can typically be done with no access to the house needed. This means it can all be done while you are at work or on vacation with no disruption to you. Most midsized typical homes can be stripped and reroofed in one day, and the worst thing you will experience will be a dumpster in your driveway for a few days.
With many contractors offering their own financing, and low rates on Home Equity Lines of Credit, the cost of a roof can be broken down into low monthly payments. With a good credit score, the cost of a new roof can usually be financed into monthly payments that are less than your cable bill. If you are worried about the financial burden of installing a new roof, think about what you would do if you had active leaks that posed a health/safety concern. By delaying an appropriate fix to the problem, you are only putting yourself at risk for a much more costly project in the future.
Not everyone needs a new roof. I am writing this simply to raise people's awareness of their roof condition. Every day I see two things that drove me to write this article:
1) Roofs that have shingles that are severely deteriorated.
2) Customers who have active leaks that never anticipated doing interior work that they now have to do.
Look at your roof and treat it with the respect it deserves! If you are at all concerned about the condition of your roof, call a professional and get their opinion.