One of the key features to look when you buy a new house is roof replacement.
If a roof is in poor condition it could take thousands of dollars and be a hassle to get done.
The most common type of roof is a sloped roof. This type of roof has many aspects that have specific terminology.
Knowing the parts of your roof will help you when talking with a contractor and allow you to understand what he’s saying.
The roof can also be a feature of the house.
In a city, it can add extra square footage by having a deck on the roof.
Solar panels can add a flair while also saving you money.
A green roof can be the talk of the street while decreasing your heating and electricity bill.
…Or go with a time-tested shingle and asphalt roof.
All of these are good options, but which one is right for you?
No matter what you choose, there are things that you should know before you take on your roof replacement.
Do your house need a roof replacement?
This is a tricky question. There are many factors that can cause a roof to need to be redone.
The first indication is the age of the roof.
If it has been over 20 years since the first installation, it may be time to at least investigate the shape of it.
Factors such as materials and how it was previously installed can play a role in determining if it is time or not for a roof replacement.
For example, if your shingles are curling or you notice granules in your eaves they are more than likely past their expiration date.
This can let water to seep into the plywood and cause rot which adds more cost and labor to the job.
If you start to notice that your roof is unintentionally growing an ecosystem of moss, it is past due for a new roof.
Have your contractor take a look to see if there is damage to the plywood sheathing or rafters if you have anything growing on your roof.
The typical lifespan for a roof is 15 up to an impressive 50 years.
We recommend checking your roof twice a year, especially if you live in colder climates.
Checking your roof in both spring and fall will ensure it can properly last through the heavy rain and snowfall of winter.
You do not want to learn about a weak spot in the middle of winter when there is non stop rain or snow and it is more difficult to complete a roof replacement.
Depending on the materials used a warranty could, and should, be given.
You are typically given a manufacturer’s warranty that depends on the type of material you use.
This should range from 10-30 years. Typically.
These generally exclude your contractor from liability only two years after installation. So ask your contractor if they give any additional guarantees.
As roof replacement is an expensive, but hopefully infrequent, purchase. We recommend looking into the warranty of different materials before you decide on the one that works best for you.
If you are buying a new home with a recently refinished roof. Check to ensure that the warranty will transfer to you following purchase.
If you are refinishing your roof with the intent to sell your house in the near future. Ensure that the company you work with and the materials you choose all carry a transferable warranty.
Types of Roof
All roofs do not look the same. Largely based on where you live they can look vastly different.
People who live in a colder climate, where snowfall is common, a tin roof allows the snow to slide off lessening the burden of the heavy weight of the white precipitation.
A drier climate could allow a flat style roof. Since rainfall is uncommon, you do not have to worry about creating weak spots due to limited drainage.
Live in the city? This is a type of roof that you can add a patio for extra living space.
Canada’s climate is one of the colder ones in the world.
Roofs need insulation and protection from the harsh environment including heavy rain, snowfall, and wind.
Driving down any street you will more than likely see a shingle or tin covered, sloped roof.
This creates a barrier between its inhabitants and the rain and snow typically seen in this part of the world.
The top of your house can take on a drastically different look than a typical shingled roof.
A great twist on a standard shingle and asphalt is a wood shingle roof.
This will add character to your home and be a focal point.
It has protection from the elements and can come in a variety of different colors.
No need to worry about durability, these are a tough option and depending on quality can last around 10 years longer than asphalt.
This is a great way to add a functional focal point to your home.
A green roof is essentially a layer of foliage that regulates the temperature of your home.
A regular shingle roof does a good job at keeping heat level, but can still make it fluctuate throughout the year.
Green roofs do a better job at regulating the heat while adding other benefits to your home such as noise and sound insulation, improved air quality and could even be a vegetable garden.
If you go with a regular shingle roof, solar panels can easily be added.
This should be a consideration if your home is in direct sunlight for most of the day.
Even though it has a high initial cost solar panels can actually make you money.
Once you create more energy than you use your electric bill will show a credit.
Depending on your usage this money will add up and pay off the cost of the panels.
The roof is an integral part of the structure of your home and an improperly designed roof will significantly diminish the integrity of your home.
Your roof needs the correct slope to ensure rain runoff while giving enough support for the weight of the type of materials you use.
The slope creates the attic which needs to be properly insulated.
An unfinished attic can be insulated with a spray in insulation.
This is essentially insulation batting that has been broken down into small pieces that can be blown into the crevices of the attic.
The loose material creates small air pockets that keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
A finished attic is a good place for storage and can be drywalled with a high R-value batting style insulation.
Properly insulating your house can end up saving you a lot of money on utilities over the years and help with reducing moisture.
Ensure that the roof is moisture sealed.
If moisture enters the attic or space directly under the roof it could cause mold rendering the whole renovation irrelevant.
Vents can significantly reduce the amount of moisture is built up in this area by allowing the moisture to escape.
It is recommended to have one square foot for every 300 square foot of your attic.
This is a rough rule that promotes air circulation throughout the space.
Another important point to consider before your roof replacement is :
A lot of damage can occur if you don’t have a proper runoff system for your roof.
Every homeowner dreads the autumn when leaves start falling and they need to clean their rain gutters.
When getting a new roof, ask your contractor about upgrading your irrigation system.
Companies have done research which advanced this to the point of having non-clogging technology.
They have done this by having semi-covered gutters that allow the leaves and debris to flow off your roof rather than collecting in your piping.
This will save you time and effort because you won’t need to climb a ladder to clean them making them worth the added expense.
This is a good time to check where the water from the eaves drains to.
If water drains too close to your home, or your yard is sloped towards your foundation, you could face serious consequences.
Water that runs into your foundation can cause the cement to deteriorate over time.
This is especially concerning in colder climates water could cause cracking to the cement that makes up the support of your home.
Consult your contractor and ask if you should be concerned with your water runoff.
They will be able to modify the piping by either extending it away from the house or altering the slope of the yard.
Since it is a costly endeavor to repair and replace, we strongly suggest looking over your home insurance.
Make sure that your roof replacement is covered by the plan.
Talk to your insurance broker and find out what it would take to include this if you don’t have this type of coverage.
Also, walk around your yard and see if you have any large trees that can pose a threat to your home.
Weakened and dying trees, especially in the spring and autumn seasons, can fall and cause serious harm to your home.
Taking the time to do a walkthrough of your yard can prevent this unfortunate situation and succeed your roof replacement.
Choosing a Contractor
When looking for an independent contractor ensure they have experience installing roofs.
We suggest looking at dedicated roofing companies rather than a general contractor.
These specialized companies are people who install roofs for their living and they will understand and follow the codes in your area.
They also have a wealth of knowledge about cost, installing, and types of roofs.
Try talking to family and friends about their experience with people they have used in the past.
Take a look at their roof and see their quality of work.
Visit these roofing contractors to see examples of their work and consult the reviews left by their previous clients.
Did you experience a roof replacement recently? Let us know what do you think in the comment section below.