Habitat Repairs Team DYI Tips: Roof Maintenance and Replacement

June 8, 2021

Roof before workRoof after work

One of our most frequent repairs request is for roofing. In this last fiscal year, we have completed 19 full roof replacements and are on track to complete 21 by the end of June.

Replacing a roof is a major undertaking that can be a daunting one for homeowners. Due to the longevity of most roofs, many homeowners do not consider their roof until a problem occurs.  Depending on the type of roof, the lifespan will vary, but in general shingled roofs can last 20 -25 years. It’s always best to maintain the roof and know where it is in its life cycle before a problem occurs. Problems such as a roof leak can cause major damage and lead to a costlier repair.

In terms of maintaining a roof, there are many options. Most roofing companies will perform a free assessment or inspection of your roof and tell you if it looks like it’s time to consider a replacement. There are even companies that specialize in cleaning roofs, which is a fairly inexpensive way to maintain it and also have it assessed at the same time. Roof cleanings can cost between $300 – $700 depending on the size and complexity of the roof. If you feel comfortable going up on your own roof to do some light maintenance and check things out, that is a great way to really know what’s going on with your roof. Many roofs are at a moderate pitch, meaning they are not angled too steeply and should be safe to walk on provided they are not wet or have any serious damage. If you do have a steep roof, it’s best to have a professional do an assessment.

If you do feel comfortable getting up on your own roof, here are a few things to look for (you may also be able to assess some of these from the ground or from upstairs windows):

  1. Algae, moss, and debris from trees/plants. These can damage the shingles, but if cleaned early and regularly you can greatly improve the chances that your roof lasts longer.
  2. Buckled, curled, or missing shingles.
  3. Granules which indicate the shingle is likely worn out.
  4. Cracks or rusting. Also check the rubber boots around the vents for signs of cracking.

We also recommend you check the underside of the roof from your attic if you have one. You can verify if there appears to be any water damage to the roof decking (which is normally plywood) or any mold growth which may mean you have a lack of needed ventilation.  If you have a chimney it’s good to check that as well. Check for damaged bricks, missing mortar joints, or a missing chimney cap.

If you do find signs of wear or problem areas, it’s best to get a reputable roofing company out to take a look. We always recommend getting three bids or estimates to make the best comparison. Make sure the companies you contact are licensed, bonded, and insured. Discuss both workmanship and material warranties with each roofer. There are also plenty of roofing material suppliers out there, so conduct research into the type of shingle or roofing membrane the roofer is proposing so you know exactly what to expect.