When you give it some thought, we expect houses – and other buildings – to work hard for their keep. By this, we mean they are out there, exposed to the elements day in, day out. Think what you would look like if you spent ten years in the sun, wind, rain, hail and snow that the seasons bring us!
Of course, houses are built of tougher stuff, but any material will suffer wear and tear, even in the mildest of poor weather. There is one part of your home that can easily suffer damage, and it’s one that you might not get close to very often. We’re talking about the roof, that all-important lid on your home that keeps you warm and dry.
The roof of your home may be the one area you need to check more than others. There are several reasons for this. First, a pitched roof is designed to allow rainwater to drain off. It will run into the gutters, and then into the drainage system below. Any holes in the roof – gaps between the tiles or damage – mean that water will enter the building below.
And, you really don’t want that to happen! The result can be the onset of water damage, which will rot the wooden timbers. Left to its own devices, a damaged roof can lead to serious expense. Caught in time, you might be able to get it fixed with simple repairs.
Checking Your Roof
Not many of us like to get up a ladder, but there is a way you can check the state of your roof from the outside, and from the ground. It’s simple: use a pair of binoculars! You may not have thought of it, but it’s a great way of finding out how your roof is holding up.
What you need to look for when you check your roof with binoculars:
- Shingles that appear to be buckled or curved;
- Rust spots around flashing on chimneys and edges of the roof;
- Wear around chimneys, and around any other fittings such as windows or skylights;
- Grit and other debris in gutters (not easy to see but a tell-tale sign);
- Moss and lichen growing on the roof in force.
All of the above may be indicative of damage to the roof, or in fact one that is past its allotted lifetime. All roofs will need replacing at some point, after all.
You can also check for roof problems from inside the home:
- Look for dark or damp areas on your ceilings.
- Check the eaves for peeling paint.
- Look for water stains on your pipework from the attic area.
- Check fireplaces for water stains.
These are checks that you can carry out yourself as a preliminary course of action. If you do see any of the above signs – or indeed anything that concerns you – or you feel your roof is overdue an inspection, it’s always wise to get the professionals in, as they have the expertise and knowledge to advise you as to the best course of action.
Repair or Replace?
How do you decide whether you can repair the problems with your roof, or if you should replace it? The simple answer is you don’t; an expert roofer will be the best person to advise you on this decision, would could mean the difference between a few hundred dollars and tens of thousands.
The roof expert will carry out a full assessment, and will advise you carefully. If you leave it too long and simply add temporary fixes to your roof damage, you risk rot and very large bills to repair the water damage. If you choose to replace a half-decent roof, you might be spending a lot more than you really need to.
Here’s a scenario: your roof is fundamentally sound, with a few broken shingles and perhaps some other damage. The best course of action here is to get someone to repair the damaged areas. This might cost you anywhere from a few dollars for a basic repair, to a couple of thousand for more serious work.
Then there’s this possibility: an expert looks at your roof, which is more than 20 years old and it has serious leaks and damage. The only course of action is replacement. This may cost you in the $20,000 ballpark, but in the long run it is worth it. If you choose to continually repair a roof that is past its best, you will simply be pouring money away. Get the experts to advise you, and you have that peace of mind.
Getting Your Quotes
It is not advisable to engage the first tradesman you come across to do the job, whether for repair or replacement. Get two or more people to assess the job, and make sure you have a thorough understanding of what they are quoting you for.
Don’t be afraid to ask about the materials they will be using, about jobs they have done before, and about their policy on potential damage to surrounding fixtures and fittings and other parts of the property. Also, make sure you check that each company you talk to is fully insured and licensed by the relevant bodies.
You should also ask about whether they include new gutters, who will be responsible for disposing of the removed materials, and any further details that might be of relevance. It’s not so much about getting the best price, as about getting a job that is well done and that will last the longest while, protecting your home effectively.
Remember, in certain circumstances – storm damage for instance – you may be able to claim on your home insurance. Check this carefully in advance, as it could save you a great deal of money.
If you think you need repairs to your roof, or perhaps you believe it is time for a replacement and talk to the experts so you can be sure of the best possible job.