How can a home owner recognize when a roof system has problems?
Typically, roof system problems are discovered after leaking or other serious damage occurs. Periodic (once a year) inspections often can uncover cracked, warped, or missing shingles and tiles, loose seams, deteriorated flashings, excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts, and other visible signs of roof system problems. Indoors look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard, and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.
What are my options if I decide to re-roof?
You have two basic options. You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or recover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system. If you have already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, roof sheathing replacement may be necessary.
In many instances building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary. Additionally manufacturers void their system warranty on recovers and require a complete roof replacement. Recover systems only last about half as long as full reroofs as flashings, the most important part of a roof, are not replaced on recover applications.
My roof leaks. Do I need to have it replaced completely?
Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that have come loose or a section of the roof system being damaged. A complete roof system failure however, generally is irreversible and a result of improper installation, choice of materials, or the roof system installation is inappropriate for the home or building.
Can I do the work myself?
Most of the work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off of or through your roof.
Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. If you inspect your roof yourself, use a firmly braced or tied off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber soled shoes and stay on the ladder, (and off the roof system), if possible.
How long can I expect my roof system to last?
Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful services ranging from 15, 20 even 25 years. Some roof system types such as slate, clay & concrete tile and metal systems can last longer.
Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climactic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.
Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what
responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.