When Should We Get Our Roof Replaced?

Eight factors to consider when determining if you need a new roof

It’s a common question and a homeowner concern. When is the right time to reroof a home? We’ve outlined several factors below that should be taken into consideration when making this decision.

  1. Pitch:
    The pitch of your roof is the angle at which the surface slopes. Typically, the steeper the pitch, the quicker water, ice or snow runs off its surface, making a roof last longer. Most common residential roof slopes are covered in the medium pitch range.

    Low Pitch: 2:12 to 4:12
    Medium Pitch: 4:12 to 9:12
    Steep Pitch: Over 9:12

    Unfortunately, a steeper pitch also means steeper costs, requiring special equipment and adding a higher level of risk to workers.
  2. Local damage:
    Sometimes there is damage to just a small portion of a roof. These areas can often be patched, adding years to the life of a roof. This is especially common on wood shake roofs and south-facing sections. Costs and the availability of matching materials may influence the decision to repair a small portion, as opposed to replacing the entire roof.
  3. Going solar:
    If you are considering installing solar panels, it can be a good idea to do so in conjunction with a new roof. Have your solar installer and your roofer work together to help ensure a watertight design and installation.
  4. Remodeling plans:
    If you are considering an addition to your home, it is generally best to complete a reroof in conjunction with this work. By doing so, you help ensure a continuous, waterproof result and all materials are guaranteed to match exactly. Work closely with your designer to ensure roofing decisions match your personal design tastes.
  5. Gutters:
    If your gutters are leaking, rotten or otherwise not draining properly, reroofing is an excellent time to have them replaced. This guarantees a seamless, effective water drainage system from top to bottom. Your roofer, in general, is also the source for installing new gutters.
  6. Skylights:
    If you are considering having a skylight installed, this work rarely requires a reroof. When installed professionally, skylights can be done effectively without compromising an existing roof. The exception is roofs that are very close to the end of their life, where the existing roofing materials are frail and will not hold up to being walked on.
  7. Design:
    Changing the style of roofing can have a huge impact on design. Going from a wood shake roof to a comp roof, or from a comp roof to a metal roof, or even just changing the color can completely transform the look of a home. Work with your designer to ensure that the finished result is what you envision. Modern CAD software can give you an excellent visual of how these types of changes will look.
  8. Safety:
    With the current drought, fire safety is always a concern. If you have a wood shake roof, changing to a more fire-resistant option can give you peace of mind, and should be weighed against the cost and estimated life span of the existing roof.

If you’re not sure if your roof needs replacing, ask a professional roofer. They’ll be happy to evaluate the area and answer your questions.

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