This is a question every home owner will ask themselves at least once in their lifetime. Sometimes more depending how many houses you have owned. Don’t wait until you see water spots or stains in your house to consider that it may be time to replace your roof. If you wait that long, your costs of repairs will increased. Be pro-active and keep an eye on your roof at regular intervals. One easy way is to pick a holiday(s) during the year and ear mark that time to do a visual inspection. This is an easy way to keep a regular schedule. If you find a leak, don’t immediately decide that you need a new roof. Put on your inspectors hat and start looking for compromised area. Finding water leaks can be very difficult because water “travels”. This means that water rolls on the surface below it. You need to follow the trail backwards until you find the point of origin. This is often frustrating and sometimes impossible for the DIYer because there are areas where you do not have access to the roof from the inside.
Go into the attic and take a flashlight with you. It’s best if you have lights installed on a switch so the entire area is illuminated. Listed below are things you should look for from the inside.
- Places where the roof underlayment is sagging
- Visible signs of water damage or leaking (dark spots or water marks on the underlayment).
- Wet insulation
- Damage to items that are stored in your attic.
- Light coming in from the outside.
- Make sure dryer and shower vents lead to the outside and are not vented into the attic.
Pay close attention to curling, missing, buckling, and algae growth. Algae growth is easy to identify as there are patchy dark spots randomly spread over the roof. Take a look at your neighbor’s roof and see if they have similar stains. Often the same stains appear on the other roofs in your neighborhood. Algae takes no prisoners…you aren’t alone.
- Scan your roof around the chimney and pipes for any loose materials. You may want to use binoculars if you are not physically on the roof.
- Use a ladder to climb and look into your gutters. If you see granules off of shingles, it’s a warning sign that wear is taking place.
- While you are up there, check the drainage to make sure there are no roofing materials blocking the drain pipes. If there is any, it obviously came off the roof.
If you do need a new roof, be aware that it is not the average DIY project. It is difficult work and should be left to a professional. First things first….get a dumpster delivered. Many roofing companies use a powered tool to get the material on the roof. You should remove the old roof before putting on new material. Never go over top of the old one!
This is a messy job but a necessary one. Some contractors put tarps on the ground to catch the material rolling off the gutters. Some roofers still use a hammer and nails to do the entire roof but most use a combination of nail guns and a hammer. The nail guns speeds up the completing time dramatically but requires a large air compressor. Be mindful of your roof slopes. The steeper the pitch the more it will cost. Along with the increased cost comes an increased danger of falling off.