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Roof Replacement: The Ultimate Guide for Homeowners

August 18th, 2020 BY First American Roofing

Getting your roof replaced is a big decision, and there are a lot of things to consider before taking the plunge. How much does it cost to replace a roof? Can I get financing? Can I get by with a simple repair, or do I need a full replacement? These are the questions that homeowners need answered, and we want to help! We are going to walk you through the signs that you need a new roof and how to find the right roofer for the job.

First, how do you know if you need a full roof replacement?

It can be tough to know when it’s time to get a new roof as opposed to a professional cleaning or repair. While roofs and shingles are made to last, the wear and tear of the elements will take their toll over time. So when you find yourself asking ‘Do I Need A New Roof?’ it might be time to look for these eight signs:

1. Your Roof Fails A Visual Inspection

Does your roof look just plain worn out? Do you see moss or dark streaks throughout (both can be a sign of moisture, which is damaging to your roof)? Does your entire roof appear to be sagging? Do you see inconsistent coloring across your shingles? This could mean granules have sloughed off for one reason or another. Granules are your shingles’ first line of defense against bad weather, once the granules are gone, your roof is susceptible to further damage and leaks.

While this may seem like a simplistic approach, you’d be surprised how much information you can gain by simply hopping on the roof and taking a gander. Checking your roof after any significant storm for damage is a good rule of thumb. Damage that goes unchecked will inevitably cause more extensive problems down the road.

roof replacement

2. Many Of Your Neighbors Are Replacing Their Roofs

Are any of your neighbors replacing their roofs? The homes in your neighborhood were likely all built around the same time, so that could certainly be a sign that it’s time to seriously consider a roof replacement. This can also be the case after a severe storm comes through. If your neighbors sustained substantial roof damage, there’s a good chance you did as well. It could be worth an inspection and contacting your homeowner’s insurance regarding widespread damage claims.

Furthermore, if you are looking at selling your house shortly, then replacing your roof may be a wise decision. Down the road, if all your neighbors’ roofs are newer than yours, potential buyers could get hung up on that. Keeping your home up to date with your surrounding neighbors’ curb appeal is a good idea for both roofing and siding.

3. The Shingles On Your Roof Are Curling.

Many reasons can cause your roof shingles to curl. Shingles can curl from the middle, sides, or bottom, and upwards or downwards. One of the reasons shingles can curl, besides a defective shingle, is high moisture conditions inside the house and poor roof venting. Your roof is the center of your home’s performance, and this could be a clear cut sign that it isn’t performing as efficiently as it should. Replacing your roof could be the cure for that. The professionals can inspect your roof and attic to find out for sure.

curling shingles roof replacement

4. You Find Roof Granules In Your Gutter

If your roof is only 10 to 15 years old and you see granules in the gutters, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Granules protect the asphalt from the sun. When the asphalt fiberglass is exposed to the UV rays, the quality of the shingle will deteriorate rapidly.

In a situation like this, get in touch with a local contractor as soon as you can. If your roof is compromised, immediate treatment could prevent further damage. Failing to fix problems like this can turn into a major headache for homeowners down the line.

5. You Can See Sunlight In Your Attic.

This one is pretty obvious. If you can get a peek into your attic and you see outside light coming through, that is not a good sign. If light can get into your attic, so can rain, cold air, and snow. Check for light or water stains on the attic floor. If you do see water stains, check on them when it rains. If they change shape and size, then you have an active leak.

It’s worth noting that some homeowners rarely use their attic and wouldn’t initially be aware of this problem. If you suspect roof damage, taking a peek under the roof after you look at its exterior is never a bad idea. Checking your attic on a semi-regular basis is good practice in general.

6. Blatant Cracking Or Missing Shingles.

A missing or cracked shingle exposes your roof deck to moisture, the enemy of wood. If not addressed, it could cause damage to the bones of your home. This can be treated with a quick repair, but most likely, the entire roof will need to be replaced in 3 to 5 years. A professional roofer can come to inspect the damage and determine if a spot repair will tie you over, but they can discuss your best option for a roof replacement. If there are no other signs of damage to the interior, you might be in good shape!

cracked roof replacement

7. Your Roof’s 25th Birthday is Approaching.

Shingles manufactured 25 years ago don’t have the same longevity of shingles made today. If your roof is getting up in age, it may be time to start planning on replacing the entire roof. It does depend on the type of roof you have, of course. For example, an asphalt roof is recommended to last about 20 years, so it would fall within this time frame. Metal roofing, however, can last closer to 30-50 years. Things like climate and proper maintenance can affect your roof’s lifespan as well. Read more about the longevity of varying types of roofing materials here.

8. The Entire Roof is Sagging.

I don’t think we need to say that if your entire roof is sagging, it would be something to worry about. A sagging roof is typically a sign of a structural issue, which would be much bigger than merely replacing the roofing shingles. It could be a problem with the decking, the trusses, or even the supports in the foundation. Addressing this at the first sign of a sagging roof is much easier to take care of before it has progressed.

As any homeowner knows, replacing your roof can be one of the more expensive upgrades you will do to your home. That being said, the most expensive roof you will ever own is the roof that you have to continue to repair or replace. But, it is also a good investment towards your home’s longevity and value, so it’s essential to do it wisely. To avoid running into a situation where the only solution is costly and timely repairs and replacements, it’s best to invest in your roofing early on.

The Real Cost of Hiring a Cheap Roofing Company

A good roof is going to cost you more, but the payoff is significant. With something like a roof that protects your home and helps it run efficiently, you won’t want to cut corners. Let’s talk about what the actual cost of cheap roofing services is, which can include an increased likelihood of repairs, as well as causing damage to other parts of your home.

Cheap Labor Will Lead to Costly Repairs

One of the ways people will try and cut costs with their roofing project is through labor. Cheap labor is often a sign of inexperience. They also may do just enough to get the job done, and nothing more. If they aren’t being paid to do it, then they won’t.

This may or may not always be the roofer’s fault, especially with those lacking experience, or not being part of a professional company. If homeowners give their roofers a strict deadline within which they pay them based on hours worked, it may force the roofers to cut corners to meet the deadline. This can ultimately lead to a poorly constructed, rushed roofing job. A proper roofing crew will have confidence in their timeline and what they charge. Let them decide when and how the roof gets done, not you.

One of the most common issues we see when we’re called in for roof repairs is that the nailing wasn’t done correctly. Most homeowners will wrongly attribute shingles sliding down and off their roofs as wind damage when in actuality, it’s the nailing. You wouldn’t think that professional roofers would have problems with nailing, but this can happen when you hire cheaper companies. Whether it is due to lack of experience or the use of improper tools, it happens.

Aside from paying extra money for repairs for inadequate nailing, many insurance companies consider this to be improper installation. In other words, it’s not going to be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. This can be bad if your home does encounter a storm and does take storm damage. It will be challenging to prove that the damage was caused by the storm rather than improperly installed shingles.

roof repair

Cheaper Materials Will Lead to Damage

Homeowners also try to save money by choosing cheaper roofing materials. However, you know the saying: “You get what you pay for.” This holds especially true when it comes to home construction, which includes your roofing. So, if you buy cheaper materials for your roof, the odds are not in your favor in terms of avoiding repairs.

Cheaper materials, though if installed correctly, can be okay for a few years. But if you are looking for materials that will last and won’t need to be repaired or replaced within a few years, you will save more money overall by paying for the high-quality materials upfront.

Along with this, the underlayment and ridge vents should also be of higher quality. At First American Roofing, we take a systematic approach for roofs, where everything is designed to work together. This includes the flashing of the roof, which if you choose not to replace, can allow easier access for water into your home. That can cause some very, very costly damage to your home. For us, making sure that all these other parts of your roof are functioning properly is part of the job. We don’t cut corners. Period.

Watch Out For Red Flags During Estimates

If a contractor ever asks you to get the permit necessary for roofing installation, that is a huge red flag. What this most likely means is that they have not been properly licensed themselves, so they don’t have the knowledge and ability to put your roof together in a manner that will last. Also, watch out for long turn around times or those who ask you to sign paperwork before they ever come to your property. A reputable company will generally not offer to work with you until after they’ve inspected your roof and given you a fair estimate. Don’t fall for any contractors before then.

A Good Roofing Company Should Possess These Traits

Now that you know what happens when you hire cheap labor or order cheap materials, let’s talk about what you should do when it comes to hiring a professional roofing company. Every good roofing company should possess these traits.

They Offer FREE Estimates

Most roofers will offer you a FREE estimate, but often charge a small fee for a more detailed inspection and diagnostic. By providing a free estimate to prospective customers it not only entices people to call them, but it also shows they are understanding of homeowners needing to repair or replace their roof.

Especially after storm damage, the last thing a homeowner wants to worry about is having to pay for someone to look at their roof. A good roofer will come out for a free estimate and help them in the early stages of budgeting and filing insurance claims before they ever have to take the next step towards installation.

They Have Good Reviews and Referrals

Reviews and referrals matter more than anything when it comes to hiring a reputable roofer. To find the right one, it definitely requires taking some time to read through good reviews and especially bad reviews. Plus, before you ever start your search, try putting out feelers to friends and family for referrals. If someone you trust would refer a company to you, it is probably a good bet they can also be trusted.

On these roofer websites, look for testimonials and customer feedback or reviews. If they can showcase some positive feedback from customers, that’s a good sign! Do your research and don’t just look at the star rating, read some of the reviews, and see what people are saying. It can be the difference between an okay roofer getting reviews, and an outstanding roofer who would have people coming back again and again if they could.

They Offer Comprehensive Warranties

When you get a new roof installed, you will often be able to rest assured that your materials themselves will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. This is something to look into as well when you are searching for a roofing contractor — what materials do they stand behind, and what warranties are included? A good warranty that covers any material failure for the length of a roof’s lifespan is what you want.

Roofing contractors who also provide a workmanship warranty are ones to look for. A workmanship warranty will cover their labor and installation. If you experience any damage or issues with your roof that are related to how it was installed, you could be covered.

A workmanship warranty also shows that this contractor stands behind their work and wants to prove to you that they work with honesty and integrity. If something goes wrong, they make it right with their comprehensive warranties. Replacing a roof costs a lot, so you should be able to rest assured in your investment and never have to worry about paying for a repair down the road due to the contractor’s error.

They Are Licensed and Certified

Look for roofing contractors that have obtained special certification. Whether it be licensed in a particular brand or material installation, or they’ve been certified for education and training amongst their team. These can show you that they care about the work they do and prove it by continuing to get licenses and certifications from reputable companies and manufacturers.

At First American, we are GAF Master Elite certified, meaning we are among the 2% of contractors across the country who have achieved this level of status. We go above and beyond what is required for contractors because we want our customers to have the highest quality homes around.

We also possess the GAF Golden Pledge Warranty, which is the best roof warranty available. It includes a 25-year water-tight workmanship warranty, as well as covering your home’s entire roofing system against material defects for 50 years.

GAF master elite

They Have a Permanent Business Location

A home improvement company that has a permanent office is likely more organized and more put together than one that works on the road. An excellent roofer will have a receptionist or administrator that takes appointments, gives callbacks, and does the overall scheduling and follow-up to ensure the best possible service. Additionally, a roofer that does not have a permanent landline or office location may be a clear cut sign that they are a fly-by-night roofer. Meaning, they swoop in from out of state after storms or during peak roofing season to get business.

They Have Good Communication and Response Time

A good roofing contractor will have excellent communication and fast response time. Having a permanent landline and office administrator can help with this, as we said above. If you are stuck playing phone tag with a contractor, or they don’t deliver on their promises of next business day responses, stay far away.

A contractor who is impossible to get a hold of is probably not one you want to do business with. Fast response times, following through with promises, and communicating thoroughly throughout the entire process, are great qualities in a proper contractor.

If you are looking for a company that possesses these qualities, knows roofs like the back of their hand, and can offer premium-level service with a guarantee to match, reach out to us today! We provide roofing inspections, repair, and replacement with your whole home in mind. Make sure to head to our blog for more tips and tricks when it comes to home performance, roofingsiding, and more.