What You Need to Know When Buying a New Roof

It’s time for a new roof. Maybe you’ve been dreading this moment for years. Maybe you just moved in. Either way, a new roof is a huge investment. Both sellers and buyers dread the cost of replacing a roof. Sellers seldom like to pay for such large improvements right before they leave. But potential buyers do not like seeing a big ticket item — to the tune of $20,000 in some cases — when they look at a house. Only you can decide if it’s worth it to replace your roof — as the seller or the buyer. Here are some tips before purchasing a new roof.

Survey Your Roof

Go outside and look at your roof from all angles. Are any shingles curling? Are there discolorations that indicate worn or missing shingles? Check your gutters; are they filled with roof shingle granules? Do you see algae or moss growing on the roof? Slate roofs will have broken and missing tiles. Wood shingles will rot or dry out and harbor moss. All of these signs may indicate that you are due for a new roof.

Don’t forget to also consider the most obvious factor: time. When was your roof last replaced? Most roofs last around 20 years. Remember that roofs are multi-layered, so what you see on the surface is just that—the surface. There may be underlying damage. But here’s a potential cost-saving tip: were any sections replaced more recently that don’t need to be redone?

 

Materials

Will you be replacing your roof with the same materials or trying something different? Asphalt shingles are standard in the industry, but take into consideration regional differences. Tile roofs, while expensive, are popular in the Southwest. Slate or wood shingles are popular in the Northeast. Metal roofing, once the domain of commercial buildings, is now a popular choice for residential homes as well. If you are switching to a different style of roof, be sure the underlying structure can support the new material. For example, tile is significantly heavier than asphalt shingles.

Roof Installation

Next, you’ll need to choose who is going to install the roof. If you’ve chosen a specialised roof type, you may also need specialised contractors for installation. Otherwise, read reviews, ask around and be sure to find a qualified, insured, well-recommended roofer.

Call and ask several roofers to come out, look at your roof and give you quotes. The quotes should be free. Keep in mind that good roofers will be booked during dry months, so be sure to call ahead. The good news is, once it gets going, a new roof installation should only take a few days, weather permitting.

If you’re looking at selling, a new roof could be a huge point in your favour. Buyers will see that shiny new roof the second they pull into the driveway. While you may not recoup the entirety of your costs, chances are a new roof will increase your selling price and decrease the time your house stays on the market.

Basic Roof Maintenance

A good roof will last a long time, but it will last even longer with proper maintenance. Since you’ve just gone through the entire process and know how expensive it can be, this should spur you on to make the roof last as long as possible.

    • Drainage: Of course keeping your roof properly drained is essential. Moisture is the demise of many roofs. Keep all gutters clean, clear and in good repair.
    • Remove Branches: Tree branches that touch the roof can introduce moisture and rot; they need to be trimmed or removed immediately. Branches also invite critters to crawl onto the roof and set up home in eaves and attics.
    • Keep Off Debris: Other debris also brings moisture and invites pests and damage.
    • Inspect Regularly: Hiring a roofing contractor to do a seasonal inspection could save you a lot of money in the long term. Inspectors get up on the roof and feel for damaged or weak spots. This type of inspection typically costs around $200 and is a worthy yearly expense for maintaining your roof.

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