How Often Does a Home Need Roof Repair, and Is This a DIY Job?

August 1, 2020

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As a homeowner, it’s vital that you schedule needed roof repair as quickly as possible. Roof damage tends to get worse over time, leading to more extensive and even costlier fixes! Leaks, old and worn tiles, torn flashing, and other such damage also increases the risk of interior water damage and mold growth as well as poor insulation for interior spaces.

Asphalt shingles might need roof repair every few years, while a metal, slate, or clay tile roof typically lasts a decade or longer before needing new connectors and other pieces. It’s also vital to schedule a roof inspection after a strong storm or stormy season and especially if your home has been hit by hail or falling branches, and if you notice signs inside the home that the roof needs repairs.

While various roof materials have an expected lifespan, it’s important that homeowners educate themselves on signs of needed roof repairs. Leaks and aging shingles aren’t always visible or noticeable to homeowners but knowing when it’s time for a roof inspection ensures you schedule needed fixes as quickly as possible.

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A homeowner might also note why certain roof fixes are not DIY jobs and some tips on choosing the best roofing contractor near you. This information ensures you’re doing everything possible to keep your home’s roof in good condition year-round!

Know the Signs of Needed Roof Repair!

One reason that roof repair costs are often so steep is that homeowners tend to overlook needed fixes until they become very extensive and far costlier to address, as said. This isn’t always because homeowners are neglectful but because they may not be familiar with signs of needed roof repair! Consider a few indications that your home’s roof needs a thorough inspection and potential repairs so you know when to call a roofing contractor near you.

  • Over time, asphalt shingles tend to fade due to sun exposure. That exposure also causes shingles to become brittle, leading to cracks and an increased risk of water leaks. Older shingles might also become thin so that they’re more likely to split and fall away from the roof and don’t provide proper insulation for your home as well. If you notice graying or faded shingles, it’s time for a full-scale roof inspection.
  • Water damage often causes shingles to buckle and curve. While a homeowner should avoid getting onto a home’s roof due to safety concerns, you can inspect your home from across the street and note if you see curved or what appears to be heaving shingles.
  • Algae, moss, mold, and mildew growing under and around shingles pulls them away from the roof decking underneath, increasing the risk of crack, splits, and other such damage. Regular pressure washing removes these contaminants; however, if you notice them growing under shingles, it’s time for a full-scale roof inspection.
  • Tree branches and storm debris crack and split roofing materials leading to leaks and other such damage. It’s vital to schedule a roof inspection after a storm or if you notice tree limbs and branches on the home’s roof any time of the year!
  • Squirrels and large birds also damage shingles and other roofing materials with their claws and talons. Homes located near lots of mature shade trees often have squirrels using the roof to get from tree to tree, and birds use those branches for roosting and nesting. When you notice squirrels running across your roof or lots of birds calling your house their home, consider a roof inspection!
  • As shingles and tiles crumble away over the years, pieces of those tiles tend to wind up in a home’s gutters or alongside exterior walls. Note if you see granules, what appears to be clay pieces or dust, and other roof materials residues in gutters, on your landscaping features, or in the lawn outside your home, as this means it’s time for roof repairs!
  • A home’s roof plays a major role in its overall insulation. If you notice a cold and drafty interior space during winter or a hot and humid home in summer months, this might be a sign that it’s time for roof repairs or a new roof altogether.
  • A leaking roof typically results in water damage along a home’s framework as well as resultant mold growth. If your home has water behind the walls or above ceiling tiles or mold in any area, consider a roof inspection and needed repairs.
  • Every roof has an expected lifespan; if you’re not sure the age of your home’s roof, call a roofing contractor near you for an inspection. He or she can note the overall age and condition of current shingles or tiles and typically offer an estimate of its age and how long before you might need to expect roof repairs.

Why Roof Repair Is Not a DIY Job

A homeowner might assume they can manage roof repairs on their own, and especially if the roof is only missing a few shingles and tiles. However, there are some good reasons to leave this work to a professional roofing contractor near you no matter the extent of damage.

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One consideration is that a roofing contractor near you will understand all the layers of materials that go into creating a roof and knows how to inspect all of them properly! As an example, roof decking goes over a home’s wood framing; this decking can suffer cracks, splits, chips, and other damage. If left unchecked, that damage leads to interior water damage.

A roofing contractor also understands the importance and function of flashing, or a metal piece wrapped around corners of a row of singles, providing protection between those shingles and a chimney stack, vent, and the like. Torn or damaged flashing also leads to roof damage, interior water leaks, and the like. Homeowners, however, might not know how to inspect flashing for damage much less repair or replace it as needed.

It’s also vital that a homeowner address roof damage causes before repairs are made, so that you don’t face those same repair bills over and over! An aging roof will simply need repairs or replacement; however, a roofing contractor near you might notice that overhanging tree branches tend to drop leaves and twigs on a roof, causing premature damage, and suggest tree trimming. He or she might also note that you’ve chosen low-quality shingles that simply cannot withstand extreme weather conditions, and suggest something more appropriate for your area.

Note, too, that even replacing shingles is often more difficult than homeowners realize. The wrong nails or connectors, incorrect placement, and other such issues often mean future roof damage and even costlier repairs. It’s also vital that someone use caution when on a home’s roof, and not just for their own safety! A homeowner can easily pull shingles off the roof, loosen gutters, or otherwise cause damage just by walking on the roof, which is why it’s good to leave this work to a professional roofing contractor near you.

How to Choose the Best Roofing Materials for Your Home

In some cases, your home might not need roof repair but a new roof altogether. In that case, you have the chance to choose the best roofing materials for your home! Asphalt shingles are valued for their affordability and durability, as most asphalt roofs last anywhere from 10 to 20 years or more before needing full replacement. As many homeowners buy a house when in their 20s, you might need to replace that roof no more than twice in your lifetime when you invest in high-quality, durable asphalt shingles.

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The downside to asphalt shingles is that they don’t offer the same aesthetic appeal of clay or slate tiles. Clay especially offers a unique, natural look that many homeowners love. Clay and slate tiles also last far longer than asphalt, typically 40 years or more before they need replacing.

Metal roofs also offer a unique look that many homeowners appreciate, and metal can be powder coated virtually any color, to ensure a cohesive, coordinated look for your home. A metal roof can last for decades if not even centuries; investing in a metal roof now might very well mean never having to pay for a new roof for as long as you own your home!

When choosing between these materials, note your installation as well as long-term roof maintenance costs. If money is tight, you might choose a mid-range asphalt shingle so you can afford that new roof you need; on the other hand, if you have some room in the budget, opt for a more durable clay or metal roof, so you don’t need to worry about repairs for many years, if ever!

It’s also vital you remember your home’s style when choosing new roofing materials. Metal helps offset a modern home with all its square lines and glass accents, while clay or slate coordinate well with a traditional home. Balance a material’s appearance with its overall durability and you’ll find a material that looks its best while also avoiding as much roof repair over the years as possible!


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