Whether to entirely replace a roof, or to simply repair it, can be one of the most agonizing decisions that a homeowner can make with regard to their home. Some homeowners will neglect any necessary maintenance and repairs on a roof until there is evidence of either interior water damage or exterior dry-rot damage caused by roof leakage. Other homeowners will demand a roof replacement even though the useful life of the roof can be extended after repairs have been made to it. Many real estate transactions hang in the balance or are terminated when a buyer, who has limited resources and is buying a home in as-is condition, is required to obtain a roof certification from their lender, only to be told by their roofing company that they need a costly roof replacement. There are several important things that should be considered when attempting to make the decision between either repairing or replacing a roof.
WHAT IS THE AGE OF THE CURRENT ROOFING MATERIAL ?
Whenever a new roof is installed on a home, the manufacturer produces their roofing material to last for a certain period of time. It is important to know when the home was built or when the roof was last replaced on a home. To gain an exact determination, one can check the city or county building department to find out when the last permit was issued for a roof installation. The manufacturer's life of their product is only a barometer and should not be considered as an exact science, because many roofs will exceed and go beyond their estimated life with some maintenance and repairs. The following are some examples, in general, of the estimated life of certain roofing materials:
WHAT DOES THE ROOF WITH SOUTHERN-MOST EXPOSURE LOOK LIKE ?
- 3-Tab Composition (20 Years)
- Dimensional Composition (25-40 Years)
- Presidential Composition (50 Years)
- Tile (50 Years)
- Wood Shake (20 Years)
The south side of the home is the side that is exposed to the sun all day as the sun travels from east to west across the sky. The north side of the home is in the shade all day and never receives any sunlight. Many of the rain storms and winds in northern California come from the south. The part of the roof with southern exposure receives the most wear because of prolonged sunlight and wind exposure. If any underlayment were to become exposed because of broken or slipped tiles, excessive granulation loss on a composition roof, or in the keyways of a wood shake roof, then the underlayment will dry and crack from being exposed to the wind and sun, which will then allow rain water to intrude directly into the attic during the rainy season. You will notice this on a composition roof, where the granulation is worn more on the south side then any other side. You will also notice this on wood shake roofs, where the shakes are more worn, brittle and dry on the south side. In general, the extent of the repair to an older shake roof or an older composition roof can depend heavily on the amount of damage to those parts of the roof with the most southern exposures.
WILL THE ROOF BE CERTIFIABLE FROM FUTURE LEAKS IF REPAIRS ARE MADE ?
A roof certification is when a roofing company, for an additional fee, will obligate themselves to repair any future roof leak on the entire roof, at their own expense, during the term of their roof certification. Keep in mind that not all roof certifications are the same thing. Never use a roofing contractor who will issue a roof certification, but will not provide a future roof leak warranty for the entire roof. Some roof certifications can be very misleading, because they may meet the requirement to satisfy a condition to close a real estate transaction, but they are absolutely worthless if there is a future roof leak. A comprehensive roof certification, is in essence, your guarantee that the useful life of the roof and its functionality will continue throughout the term of the roof certification, and that the roofing contractor will make sure of it, by being responsible for any future roof leak. In any event, if a roofing company informs you that your roof is not certifiable, then they are telling you that it needs to be replaced.
ALWAYS OBTAIN OTHER OPINIONS IF YOU ARE EVER TOLD THAT YOUR ROOF NEEDS TO BE REPLACED OR IS NOT CERTIFIABLE
All roofing companies are not the same and will not view your roof in the same way. Many roof inspections are subjective. Some roofing companies do not like repairing and certifying roofs from future leaks because they don't have the resources to repair future roof leaks on roofs that they have certified. These types of companies will find any reason to exclude a future repair under their roof certification. These companies are in the business of selling you a new roof, and will go out of their way to persuade you that your roof needs to be replaced.
Based on our experience, we have seen numerous instances where a homeowner has been told by a roofing company that they need a new roof, even though the roofing material still has many years left before it reaches its estimated life. For example, we often see 3-tab composition roofs in the 12-15 year old range, that are being called by roofing contractors for a re-roof. In almost every situation, we see roofing contractors call a wood shake roof for a re-roof even though that roof can still be repaired and certified. There are instances, where roofs really do need to be replaced and there are situations where adequate repairs will be sufficient. Always get other opinions from other roofing companies to help you make your decision.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN A FREE ROOF INSPECTION AND FREE ROOF REPORT TO ASSIST IN MY ROOF REPAIR VS. ROOF REPLACEMENT DECISION ?
It is easy to obtain information on whether or not your roof can be repaired or whether it needs to be replaced. Roof Doctors provides free roof inspections and free roof reports for any property transaction. Our free roof inspection is usually completed within 24 to 48 hours. Our free roof report is issued later in the day of the inspection and will describe the current conditions of the roof, any conditions that need immediate action, any conditions that need action to prevent a future roof problem, and whether or not, our "No-Dollar Limitation Roof Certification Leak Warranty" can be issued after the repairs have been made. Our "No-Dollar Limitation Roof Certification Leak Warranty" is a roof leak warranty for the entire roof. If we are unable to perform repairs on a roof to bring it into a condition to where we can certify the entire roof from leaks during the term of the roof certification, then we are telling you that the roof needs to be replaced. Contact us via email, telephone or our website to order your free roof inspection and free roof report.