No roof will last forever. There will eventually come a time when your roof may exhibit deterioration suggesting it needs repair or possibly to be completely replaced. Even if the roof was installed properly by skilled technicians and roofing specialists, it is the age of the roof that will mostly determine when it needs attention.
The question is whether the roof can be repaired or if it needs full replacement when certain issues appear. Other than age, some things that indicate that your roof is damaged or is failing include visible leaks in the attic or ceiling, curling, lifting, and worn shingles and surface areas, ice damming at valleys and skylight, or an overgrowth of mold and moss.
When it comes down to it, the cost may be your biggest hurdle when deciding how to approach a roof repair or replacement. Obviously, a full replacement is your best return on investment. But there are some ways you may be able to extend the life of your roof with routine maintenance and repairs.
With routine maintenance, you can prolong the life of your existing roof. There are a variety of things that you can either do yourself if careful or have a professional roofing contractor – Big Al’s Roofing take care of these items. Maintenance includes:
- Clearing debris and sediment from gutters
- Power washing to remove moss, mold, and lichen
- Snow and ice removal
- Replacing curled or missing shingles and tiles
- Patching worn areas
- Replacing or sealing deteriorated flashing
- Repairing rotted soffits
- Keeping natural ventilation access points clear of debris and nests
As mentioned above, the age of the roof will likely be the determining factor for full roof replacement. Many asphalt shingle and cedar shake installations come with a 15 to 30-year warranty. Slate and clay tiles can last 50 years. Metal roofing can also last 50 years or longer. Many membrane roofs, such as EPDM, will last 30 years.
If the roof is exhibiting serious defects and you are experiencing leaks it is probably time to do a full roof replacement and not mere repair, especially if the material is out of warranty due to age.
The best way to replace a roof is to have a licensed and insured local roofing contractor – Big Al’s Roofing assess the existing conditions and then remove the entire roof surface. You may also need to have the supporting deck material removed and replaced. The contractor generally secures permits and sets up dumpsters to haul away all of the removed material. Then, they will work quickly to make the house or other building weather-tight.
In some cases, you can actually place a new roof over an existing one. However, this depends on the amount of weight that is being supported by the roof framing and how many layers of roofing are present. For instance, it is possible to add a layer of asphalt shingles over an existing layer of shingles if there is adequate support, as determined by local building codes. When it comes to a flat membrane roof, you may be able to apply a new membrane over the existing one or seal the deteriorated membrane with a spray foam roof or a liquid-applied membrane that fills in cracks and holes while sealing the entire surface.
It is prudent to get on a schedule for routine roof maintenance to protect your roof and ensure that it lasts for the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty period. When your roof is beyond repair and you are faced with full replacement, it is recommended that you consult with a professional and discuss removal vs. installing over an existing roof.
Be sure to check the qualifications of your contractor. You want a company that is properly licensed, insured, and implements safe working conditions for the crew and for the building occupants. Picking someone local who knows the codes, is also recommended. Big Al’s Roofing can inspect the roof and prepare an estimate to help you budget and get started.