Sunday, July 26, 2009

Raze the Roof

From painting and HVAC to organizing and yard upkeep, there’s so much to think about when it comes to home care that it’s easy to overlook the one thing that protects it all — until it starts to leak.

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your house, and it also happens to take the biggest beating, thanks to the elements and general wear and tear.

A new roof is a hefty investment — it can cost $6,000 to $20,000 or more — so how do you know when to replace it or just repair it? Here are some tips for knowing when to patch and when to overhaul:
• As a general rule, roofs usually last 12 to 20 years, depending on the climate. If your roof is approaching the 20-year mark, shingles are more likely to be worn out, and flashing around chimneys, eaves and skylights might have decayed, leaving your roof prone to leaks.
• If there are a lot of missing or torn shingles, as opposed to just a few, then it’s best to replace the roof. Shingles also curl up and crack as they age, making them unable to resist water and exposing your home to leaks and interior damage.
• Inspect the interior walls that touch the roof. If paint is missing, they are moist to the touch or there are water stains in the house, it’s clear that water has seeped in, and the roof will most likely need to be replaced. But finding one or two leaks in a specific location could mean that a roof patch will be enough to stall any potential damage.
• Extreme weather can wreak havoc on your roof. If prolonged conditions such as rain, hail and direct sunlight have exposed parts of the house from the top, a minor patch will not be enough to protect the interior, and the roof will need to be replaced.
Keeping your roof clean and in good repair should prevent costly replacements for years to come. But before attempting any patch or replacement, talk to an experienced roofer.


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