Roofs are one of the most underappreciated aspects of many people’s homes. A roof isn’t typically something you think about on any given day working around the house, and yet out of all the parts of a home a good roof is arguably the most necessary.
Depending on whether you found your home move-in ready or had it custom built, you may not even know the last time your roof was replaced. And depending on the type of material that your roof is, you may need to replace it as often as every twelve years, although ranges vary widely.
If you think it may be time to at least start thinking about replacing your roof, here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re beginning the process.
Before talking to companies, getting estimates, and all that comes with beginning a home improvement project, you should first look at your budget. This is actually a good idea for any project you embark on, but it’s especially pertinent for doing a roof replacement.
The reason is simple – you can’t afford to start a roofing project that you can’t finish.
So before you even begin getting estimates, do your research and try to get a ballpark idea of how much you can expect to spend on a new roof for your home.
After you’ve gotten a better idea of your roofing budget, you’ll next want to consider what types of materials to use for your new roof. Your budget will be a big determining factor in choosing a roofing material, but it’s far from the only one. Your current roof material, roof style, and the climate in which you live will also play a large role in picking out a new material, as well as whether you’re looking to make a shorter or more long-term investment.
Common roofing materials include slate, wood, clay, concrete, metal, stone, and steel, amongst others. Each material has its pros and cons, so you’ll probably want to think about your goals in conjunction with aesthetics and practicality.
Choosing a roofing contractor is an important step in the process of roof replacement. Although many people have successfully replaced their home’s roofing on their own, consulting an experienced professional is always advised to prevent injury and a project gone wrong.
Take your time and do the research when choosing a roofing contractor. Ask for references, and follow up. Online reviews can certainly be helpful, but consider talking to a person as well.
And if you’re still set on doing your own roof replacement, talking to an experienced contractor will usually give you some pretty sound ideas and good pointers as well.
Whether you decide to hire a contractor or to do it yourself, you’ll also need to consider a plan for keeping your worksite safe and properly disposing of the old roofing material. This could be as simple as investing in a trash hopper or portable dumpster. Self-dumping trash hoppers make a worksite safer by keeping dangerous debris off the ground.
If you happen to have a pickup truck, you can drive loads to the dump yourself, but landfill visits can add up in cost plus you may end up making quite a lot of trips to dispose of an entire roof. Either way, you’ll need to store the old material somewhere in the meantime, and a trash hopper is a good option.
You should also consider whether you actually need to replace your current roof or just need a touch up. If you’re unsure as to when was the last time that the roof on your home was replaced, take a trip up there and look around for yourself.
Some signs of damage may be fairly visible: cracked tiles, exposed nails, curling shingles, or leaks can be signs of a damaged roof that needs to be replaced sooner rather than later
When you’re looking around at roofing companies, be sure to try and get multiple estimates. Even if the first company to give you a quote is well-priced and checks a lot of the other boxes, you should still speak to at least two others to get a really good idea of your roofing needs and the probable scope of your project.
This will also give you a sharper idea of what you can expect to spend on your roofing project and also help you determine whether or not you actually need a roof replacement or perhaps just a repair.
When you do get a quote from a roofing contractor, be sure to read it through and also go back through it with the contractor themselves. You’ll want to look for a few specific things that should be addressed in the proposed contract, such as verifying that your proposed project is covered by the contractor’s insurance carrier. You’ll also want to check for any licenses and permits needed. Many localities require a building permit when a homeowner replaces a roof, for example, so make sure that any needed steps on your end are addressed in the project proposal paperwork.
And lastly, if it looks like you do need a new roof and you’re shopping around for one – why not consider some upgrades?
Upgrades, of course, are contingent on having extra cash to devote to your roofing project, but if you are in that situation it’s worth considering your options. Changing out your old roof for a completely new and more durable material may actually be a good investment if you’re in a house that you plan to hand down through the family. It’s also worth looking into solar panel installation and other types of renewable energy since this can lead to utility bill savings down the road and potentially increase your home’s resale value.
So if you suspect that your roof needs a little TLC but are unsure of the extent, it’s worth doing a quick check and contacting a few contractors to get a quote. After all, a bad roof isn’t something that anybody wants, anytime.
Read this next: The Benefits of Having Your Roof Maintained