How to Properly Plan For a New Roof
If you own your home, you know you need to plan ahead for big maintenance costs. This helps make sure your house stays in good shape for as long as you own it. However, it can be daunting to plan and budget for big projects like replacing your roof. If you are a new homeowner you might be asking the following questions
- How do I know my roof needs to be replaced?
- Why do I need to maintain and replace my roof?
- How do I properly plan to replace my roof?
How to know when your roof needs to be replaced
Most home roofs have a lifespan of around twenty years. This means that a twenty-year old roof is considered to be an old roof. If your roof is more than fifteen years old, you should start thinking now about when you might replace it and how you will pay for the work.
However, this estimate isn’t set in stone. Many factors can inform when your roof actually needs to be replaced, such as the materials used. For example, a metal or tile roof will have a longer lifespan than a shingle roof. Ultimately, though, the most important thing is preventative maintenance. If you or the previous homeowner have been getting your roof inspected and repaired regularly, you probably won’t have to replace it as frequently. This is because repairing small problems in the roof, such as leaks or missing shingles, prevents any more serious issues from developing.
Some signs that your roof might need to be replaced include: missing shingles (or other pieces of roof material), sagging spots, “soft” spots in the roof, lots of moss or plant growth, or evidence of leaks indoors, especially if they extend below the attic or crawl space under the roof.
Why you need to maintain and replace the roof
Many people are surprised to learn that home insurers may refuse to insure homes with old roofs, that is, more than twenty years old. This is because the condition of the roof is critical for the condition of the whole house. Replacing your roof when it gets to the end of its useful life will make your house last much longer, and will protect your belongings from floods, mold, and other problems.
Because a new roof is expensive, it’s important to invest in regular inspections and maintenance. If small problems with your roof are found and fixed promptly, your roof won’t develop severe problems as quickly. Make sure to document this maintenance, by keeping inspection reports and invoices from your roofer.
How to properly plan to replace your roof
Having a new roof installed happens in three phases: planning, construction, and final inspection. Let’s review the phases and go over the most important steps to plan for your new roof.
Choose a contractor
This is the first step, and you want to choose someone who has a good reputation in your area. It’s a good idea to get quotes from several businesses, so you can know how much to budget for and what is normal for your area. Make sure to ask all of your questions, and tell your contractor if you have any other renovation plans in the future that might affect the roof.
Make a plan and a budget with your chosen contractor
Once you’ve chosen a roofing company, go over in detail
- the plan for the construction
- estimated costs
- how long this will take
- how you will deal with problems if they come up
- how you need to prepare the site
- what your contractor’s warranty is
Having this conversation before you sign a contract will help prevent future issues.
Get the paperwork in order
At the minimum you will want these documents in your file:
- A signed contract with your roofer that clearly outlines the expectations for the job and the warranty
- Paperwork proving your financing
- Documentation of your and the contractor’s insurance
- Permits for the necessary construction work
Notify your neighbours and prepare for construction
It’s important to let your neighbours know that you will be doing construction on your home, and what they should expect in terms of noise, timeline, and inconvenience. Make sure you know the noise bylaws and that your contractor obeys them. Also, you may not be able to remain in the house during construction, so you may need to find somewhere to stay while your new roof is being installed.
Luckily, there isn’t anything for you to do except prepare your home for construction, and get out of the way! Go over the instructions for preparing your home and yard that you discussed with your contractor, and follow them to the letter.
Once the work is done, do a detailed inspection of the roof and the building site with your contractor before signing the final report. While a reputable company will make sure to deal with problems even after they have left the job site, it’s a lot faster and easier to deal with issues as soon as possible, before they leave. Plan to do the following:
- Walk around the house with the contractor and have them tell you exactly what work was done
- Make sure that the crew raked the yard and used a magnetic sweeper to pick up loose nails and other sharp metal debris
- Check the exterior of your home for any debris leftover from the job, any tools or objects not removed, or any damage to the house or yard
- Use binoculars to do a visual inspection of the new roof
- Go inside and check in the attic or crawlspace for debris or any accidental damage to other parts of the house
- Double check that you have a copy of the building permit and the manufacturer’s warranty for your new roof
If you’ve planned and prepared well, getting a new roof will be a temporary inconvenience and will protect your home and your family for years to come. Don’t forget to perform regular inspections and roof maintenance to get the most out of your investment.