A leaking roof is the most obvious sign that it’s time for a roof replacement, but it’s hardly the only one. Identifying smaller problems before they become big ones can prevent water damage and save you money on your roof replacement project. Sometimes, early intervention and repair can save you from having to replace your roof altogether.
• Missing or torn shingles expose the roof to water damage and rot. Old shingles will curl, split, and lose their waterproofing effectiveness. Weakened shingles and shingles neighboring missing shingles are likely to be blown off in the wind.
• Rusted or missing flashing can result in a leaking roof. Flashing is the metal that surrounds chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes. It’s found in the valleys where roofing sections meet.
• Check gutters, downspouts and splash pans for evidence of decay or damage. Broken paint pieces and roofing scraps may be visible.
• Indoors, look for discolored plasterboard or cracked paint and peeling wallpaper.
You have two roof replacement options: You can remove the old roof, or you can put a new roof down on top of the old one. Laying a new roof on top of the old one is almost always cheaper, but it almost never lasts as long. Also, laying roofing on top of more than two layers will make your roof heavy and cumbersome — and the sub-layers may end up rotting to the point that your new roof is no longer stable.
Roof layering is a common home improvement failure. Find a quality roofing contractor to help, and always ask to see your roofing layers before you make a decision.
If you need to remove your old roof to make room for its replacement, be sure to do it right. If you don’t have the budget to hire a roofing expert, consider financing the project with home equity. In some cases, it makes sense to cheaply repair a roof knowing that the repair won’t last more than 10 years. Then, after the house has appreciated for a few years, you can use the increased equity to finance the project.
There’s a good chance that your roof deck will also need to be repaired, especially if it has settled or shows sign of rot. You’ll also want to review the slope of your roof to ensure that its positioned for optimal drainage. A high-quality roofing material and proper installation will give you a new roof that will last 50 years or more.