Keeping your roof in top shape

Mother Nature can wreak havoc on your roof. Heavy snowfalls, gusting winds, torrential rains and extreme temperatures all take their toll over time. If your roof hasn’t been inspected in a while, it might be time.

Replacing a roof is expensive. It could run you $10,000 to $20,000 or more. Regular inspections can help you protect your investment, but it’s still possible to develop a leak.

“The two main causes of leaks are generally an elevation change – valleys, walls, ceilings, like that on the roof – and then where non–like materials connect, so your pipe boots, your skylights, your flashing and your wall flashings,” said roofing professional Justin Vorbroker.

While you can’t do anything about the elevation changes, you can make sure that you keep your roof clear of debris from overhanging trees and that your gutter system is in good condition.

“Gutters is probably the top of my maintenance list around the house, because if you’re not taking care of your gutters properly, it can actually lead to roof damage, as well as water in the basement, so be sure that you’re attending to them, cleaning them, because it can very much prevent big costly problems,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said.

Even if you do everything right, a storm or an accident could require you to hire a professional. Find three local companies with solid reputations and ask for detailed quotes. Make sure you study each one carefully so you understand the scope of all three bids.

“You want an apples–to–apples estimate, so make sure you know exactly the type of material your roof is made of,” Hicks added. “Is it an asphalt shingle roof? Is it a tile roof? Also, you’re going to need the full dimensions of your roof if you’re going to get an accurate estimate.”

Some companies use aerial satellite imagery to get precise measurements of your roof, which should allow for a more accurate estimate on materials. Angie warns homeowners to steer clear of anyone going door–to–door in your neighborhood after a storm. They often do shoddy work and aren’t around for any follow–up issues.