How often do you think about the roof of your home?
It’s something a lot of us take for granted, but it plays a pretty important role in protecting you and your belongings from the elements. To help your roof do its job and prolong its lifespan, it needs to be maintained and cared for properly. Still, even with the right amount of maintenance, all roofs need to be replaced at some point. Not to worry. Below is a guide that will tell you everything you need to know about keeping your topper in tip-top-shape, from maintaining it to replacing it when the time comes.
Is it worth pumping a bunch of cash into your roof? The numbers say so. The latest Remodeling Impact Report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) ranks new roofing as the No. 1 project for both appeal to homebuyers and its value to the home for resale. For a new roof, NAR estimates the average cost at $7,500, which seems like a hefty price tag, but it can get you a 109% cost recovery upon sale — so it definitely pays off to take great care of your roof!
Just as you would fix a leak in your car’s gas line or a rip in your shirt before it gets any worse, you need to repair and replace parts of your roof that are damaged ASAP. By allowing a damaged roof to worsen, you risk damaging the subfloor and underlayment, the attic, and eventually the interior of your home. This is not a home-care project to skimp on. Here are some tips for keeping your roof in good condition:
- Each fall and spring, and after any major storms, do a visual inspection to identify any areas where shingles are loose, damaged, or missing. Get these fixed right away! Also, check flashing and the rubber seals around vents.
- Clean gutters and downspouts regularly. When debris builds up in the gutters, rainwater can’t easily run out through the downspouts, and may back up onto the edges of the roof, making leaks and other damage more likely.
- Clean your roof to remove mold and moss buildup using this soft wash technique (don’t use a pressure washer!).
- Have it inspected by a professional. How often your roof needs a professional inspection depends on a variety of factors, such as the age of your roof, how much tree coverage your house has, and how often your area gets hit with heavy storms. Plan to have your roof inspected professionally every few years.
The costs of repairing a roof are generally manageable, but they vary widely depending on the type of roof you have. The main points to remember are to hire a professional who is experienced with your type of roof (this is not the DIY Pinterest project you want to dabble in!), and don’t delay getting those repairs done.
It’s time to replace rather than repair when you’re getting near your roof’s estimated lifespan (see chart here), you’ve got algae growing up there, or the whole thing is sagging (which is a very big deal and must be addressed immediately). When getting a new roof, you will have the option to tear off the old roof or put the new roof directly on top. The former will most likely save you money in the long run, while the latter is a quicker fix if you’re short on funds. Tearing off the old roof will also allow your roofers to inspect the underlying structure for damage.
So many choices! From asphalt to slate to solar, the materials you choose for your roof have a lot to do with the cost, installation time, and aesthetics of your housetop. Of course, some roof materials look better on certain house styles and not others. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular materials to help you narrow down your choices and put them in a chart for easy reference.
Whatever type and style of roof tops your home, it’s a big investment that should be well taken care of, not only for the potential ROI, but also for the safety and comfort of your own family.