The best resource when you have to get a new roof over your head.
No one wants to have to replace their roof. Roof replacement is a daunting prospect. Your roof covers your entire house, after all; you’re not contemplating repainting your front door, something you could do alone and in a few hours.
Homeowners are understandably often overwhelmed as they begin consider the cost of roof replacement, which is, most likely, an unexpected one. Unplanned-for budgeting, poor timing, and other issues that can potentially pop up can make the process seem like it will be a nightmare.
Refined Exteriors understands the stress of replacing a roof. We take tremendous pride in working with every homeowner individually and in-depth to make sure that the homeowner is satisfied and knows that they have a trusted partner in this process.
When is it time to replace my roof?
One of the first things that you should know is that the average roof is expected to last 13–18 years. Your roof protects your home and is subject to all kinds of damage from the elements. Over time, cycling temperatures, extreme heat and cold, wind, rain, snow and flying or falling debris begin to take a toll.
Barring obvious damage from a storm that you can see when you go up into your attic or outside your home, how do you know when it’s time to replace your roof? There are several signs that roof replacement will be in your future:
1. Your roof is old
We mentioned above the average lifespan of a roof. If yours is getting into that bracket (or has surpassed it), you’re going to want to look into roof replacement. If your current roof is an overlay–earlier repairs were done on top of the existing roof–this could be hiding a larger problem with your roof’s surface that could get worse.
2. Your roof’s shingles are missing or curling
Weather causes your roof to degrade over time. You may easily spot missing or curling shingles. You might also find pieces of them in your gutter or around the outside of your home. Any visibly damaged shingles or pieces of shingle is a sign that your roof has sustained damage that needs to be addressed.
3. Your roof’s flashing is damaged or broken
Flashing keeps moisture out of the joints in your roof. Anytime there is a break in the surface of your roof, you’ll see flashing— around your chimney, skylights, or dormers. It may be made of roof cement, tar or metal. If you have flashing that is broken, or if it’s missing, your home is susceptible to water damage.
4. You have visible water damage inside or outside your home
Are your walls or ceiling wet or have mysterious dark spots? Do the outside walls of your home have visible water stains? Is the insulation in your attic wet? The culprit in any case may be roof damage that is allowing moisture into your home (beyond the areas with flashing).
5. Your roof has ice dams in the winter
While rows of icicles might be pretty to look at during the winter, they can be a sign of a big problem, especially for homeowners in the Denver metro area. If your roof is not properly ventilated, heat from the attic can melt the snow that has piled on it during a storm. The melted snow runs off the edge of your roof or into your gutters, where the cold air refreezes it, creating an ice dam. This dams remaining snow, which likewise melts and then freezes behind the original ice dam, and this process will continue throughout the winter.
The pressure of the ice can cause roofing materials to separate and pull apart, and then the melting snow begins to seep into the inner layers of your roof, soaking them and necessitating a roof replacement.
6. You have uninvited animals in your home
Squirrels, raccoons, bats, and other critters are often looking for a new place to call home. If you find them in your home (and know that you inadvertently didn’t leave a door or window open), it is likely that they got into your home via an opening in your roof.
When you realize that you need to replace your roof (or think that it might be a good idea), one of the most important things to keep in mind is that any contractor you work with offers a warranty to guarantee their work. We’ll talk more about what to ask contractors in a little bit.
What type of materials are available for roofs?
If you are ready to think about replacing your roof, you might be wondering whether you should stick with the roofing material that you already have, or look into other options. Roofs are typically made out of asphalt, wood, or tile. They may be peaked or flat. Let’s look a bit at the different materials
Asphalt Shingle Roofing
This is the most popular roofing material. Asphalt shingles are made of fiberglass mat that is topped with asphalt and mineral granules. They are easy to repair and replace–if you have one or two damaged ones, you can replace them individually. They often come with a 20–30 year warranty, and are flexible enough to move as a roof expands and contracts due to weather changes.
Wood Shake and Wood Shingle Roofing
Wood shake or shingles are made from redwood, red cedar, or cypress trees. They provide a beautiful natural look that enhances any home. They are also durable, standing up to the elements, and energy-efficient. If they are maintained, they can last a long time before needing to be replaced.
Tile shingles, whether made of concrete or clay, are durable, weather-resistant, and can last up to 50 years if properly cared for. Like wood, they are another attractive, eye-catching option for your roof covering. That said, they are the heaviest of the roofing materials, so if you think that you’d like a tile roof, you’ll need to have the structural integrity of your home tested beforehand to make sure that it can support that weight.
Commercial Flat Roofing
Maybe your commercial building needs a new roof. Commercial roofing has a slight incline, but appears completely flat. It consists of a vapor control layer, insulation, and a membrane layer meant to protect the roof from water damage. You’ll need to make sure that you have gutters and a proper drainage system in place. A flat roof is cost-effective to install, and provides you with additional space for equipment like an HVAC unit.
Can’t I just repair my roof instead of replace it?
It’s logical to consider roof repair rather than replacement: Maybe you’ve noticed one of the issues we mentioned earlier, but it appears to be localized to a single spot on the roof. Let’s look closer at some of the more common roofing issues that people notice and whether they might require a roof replacement or if you can have part of your roof repaired:
First, it’s important to remember that a regular check on your roof is important. Addressing problem areas that are repairable when you notice them will save you time and money in the long run. Don’t wait.
If you notice a few broken tiles or shingles, and you’ve just had a heavy storm, chances are good that you’ll be able to just replace them and not have to worry about a larger roof replacement. That said, you should never make that determination on your own. A roofing professional should come and examine the problem to determine whether there’s a larger underlying issue. For example, you might have lost a few shingles in a heavy rainstorm, but do you also now have leaks that have seeped through your roof’s decking and made its way into your attic?
If you just need a few shingles or tiles replaced, that’s great! Keep in mind, though, that it may be hard to match exactly the color of your existing other shingles or tiles, which have been impacted by the elements in the time since they were installed.
If you notice that your roof is sagging in one area, that is a an indicator of a larger problem that requires an entire roof replacement. Do not wait to call a professional to have them come inspect your roof if you notice that it is sagging.
Should I be concerned about hailstorms damaging my roof?
Colorado has wacky weather. Many homeowners are right to be concerned that storms may do damage to their homes that will require repairs or replacement. Hail damage is something that we are asked about often. A single hailstone can weigh more than a pound. The combination of hailstones, snow, sleet, and rain can subject your roof to a lot of unexpected pressure. Severe hail can crack shingles.
You should check your home’s exterior well before a storm hits to make sure that it has the best chance of withstanding damage. Check your roof and siding to see whether any part of either is cracked, loose, or missing. If it is, call a professional to assess the damage and make necessary repairs.
Before a storm that will be arriving in a few-days’ time, secure large objects that are outdoors that could be damaged during a storm or cause damage by being blown against your home. Cover shrubs with tarps and trim tree branches that could fall and damage your home. Make sure that all vehicles are moved into your garage or are otherwise covered.
Wait until after a hail storm to check for damage. Check again for broken, lose, or missing shingles and siding. If you find leaks that you are fairly sure that can be traced back to a breach of your roof, a replacement is in your future. Damaged shingles may be able to be replaced. In either case, make sure to have a qualified professional do an inspection and walk you through the next steps.
If you do need to replace your roof, you should consider impact-resistant (IR) shingles. IR shingles are shingles that are specially manufactured with a SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) modified asphalt formula—also known as rubberized asphalt—to withstand the impact of hail more effectively than typical shingles. It’s important to realize that these shingles are impact-resistant, not impact-proof. Impact from hail may cause them to lose some of their granular layer or sustain dents. The real benefit of IR shingles lies in their rubberized component; it makes them less likely to crack from the impact.
How much does a roof replacement cost?
If you think that you’re going to soon be in the market for a new roof, you’re obviously curious (and likely anxious) about the replacement cost. The national average for roof replacement cost is a little over $7,500, with a typical range between $5,133 and $10,028.
There are a variety of factors that are going to impact the cost of roof replacement:
- The size of your roof
- The height of your roof
- The roof pitch
- What type of material you’re selecting – asphalt, wood, slate, metal, etc.
- The condition your roof and its frame are in
- Whether you have skylights, chimneys and other protrusions in the roof
- What condition your soffits, fascia, gutters, and flashing are in
- How many layers of existing shingles your roof has, and whether or not they will require removal
- The location and accessibility of your home
Be aware of these variables when you call contractors to get estimates. The largest determinant of the final price will be what kind of material you are choosing for your new roof. A contractor is also not going to be able to give you a specific price without actually inspecting your roof. Also, keep in mind that you will need to pay for removal of your current roof and labor costs.
What should I ask before hiring a roofing contractor?
If you think that your roof is a candidate for replacement, you’ll want to speak with several contractors before making a final choice. There are several questions that you should ask all of them.
Reputable contractors will be expecting these questions and won’t be put out that you’re asking them. They understand what a large undertaking this is, and they will want you to have all of the necessary information so that you’ll be able to make an informed decision, and for you to deem them trustworthy. Pay attention to anyone who seems annoyed, evasive, or who attempts to brush off a question or a concern as “unimportant.”
Question #1: What is your full name and address?
If the person you speak with gives you a P.O. box, ask for the company’s physical location. A company that does not have a physical location is a red flag.
Question #2: Do you have insurance?
You should be expecting to hear that a contractor has two kinds of insurance. The first is workman’s compensation insurance, which protects you in the event that a roofing company employee gets injured while working on your property. The second is liability insurance, which protects you from needing to pay for damages caused by the roofers during roof repair or replacement.
Question #3: Do you have a license?
All states require that roofing contractors (and other professionals) have a valid, up-to-date license. Check to see whether your county or city also requires a license. A reliable contractor will be more than happy to provide you with this information so that you can check to see whether the license is up-to-date and whether the contractor has any outstanding violations.
Question #4: Do you have homeowner references?
Many contractors will provide testimonials on their websites or social media pages. Ask friends and family whether they’ve worked with a particular company–often that’s a great way to start your own search. But also ask the contractors for references so that you might be able to speak with the homeowners about their experiences.
Some homeowners may not be comfortable having their contact information released to others, and, of course, contractors might only give you references for those customers who were happy with a job. Be sure to try to use as many avenues as possible to get a fuller picture for each company that you are considering.
Question #5: Do you offer a warranty for your work?
Typical roofing warranties are good for a year, but some may be longer. There are two warranties that you should ask about: the warranty for the materials (provided by the manufacturer) and the warranty for the work (provided by your roofer). The roofing company can give you information about both: Ask for specifics about what each warranty covers, and the length of each.
Question #6: Do you use roofing subcontractors?
A roofing company may work with subcontractors. If the answer is “yes,” you should ask all of these same questions of the subcontractors.
Question #7: What is the project estimate?
As we mentioned above, there are a variety of factors that impact the total price of a roof replacement, but you can and should still ask. The more information you can give a contractor about all of the variables, the closer the estimate will be to the final total. This will give you more accurate estimates to compare as you speak with multiple contractors.
You should get no fewer than three contractor estimates before choosing a contractor. And remember, don’t be lured in by a low price. While it is good to find an affordable contractor, you typically get what you pay for. That low price can mean poor workmanship. You should also find out about a payment plan and never pay for the complete project up front.
We know that there’s a lot to consider when it comes to whether you should replace your roof, or if repair is possible. Check your roof (and attic) for signs of visible damage regularly and don’t wait to schedule an inspection. Keep in mind that there are a variety of roofing materials available, and so, should you need to replace your roof, it’s an opportunity to choose a look that you love, that suits and will protect your home for the next several decades.
Contact Refined Exteriors today to learn more not just about quality roofing replacement options, but also the other exterior services we offer. You can fill out our contact form or call us today at (720) 360-1611 to schedule your free, no obligation estimate.