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One of the most dreaded home improvement projects is the roof replacement.
“You need a good roof,” says VP of Ecosystem Development Paul Chadowski, who owned his own insurance agency for more than 26 years. “Ours was reaching the 25-year mark, so we knew it was time to have it inspected and most likely replaced.”
Unfortunately, not many homeowners know when to replace their roof or even the warning signs of worn or damaged roofs. That’s why we reached out to Michael Lyons, former Product Specialist and current Corporate Trainer for Long Home Products.
Michael has been in the home remodeling business for more than 10 years and shared with us expert tips you need to know about roof replacement, including how long you can expect your roof to last.
Warning signs that your roof is wearing
Your roof is actually a lot like car tires.
“It’s like when you look at an old car tire and you start to see those little cracks on the edge,” says Michael. “It’s like, ‘Well, maybe I should replace my tires.'”
What should you be on the look-out for when it comes to your existing roof?
- Curling shingles
- Lifted shingles
- Missing shingles
- Cracking or deteriorating shingles
Lifted shingles are an especially unfortunate sign.
“That means the nail is pushing out of the wood, which would mean that it has gotten wet at some point. With expansion and contraction – it’s moving that nail head up and lifts the shingle a little bit.”
Of course, you never want to see water damage or a roof leak in your attic or top level.
“At that point, usually there’s a lot of damage that has occurred,” says Michael.
By the time you see it, the water has already seeped through the shingle, underlayment, wood, insulation, and finally the ceiling. Ouch!
How to tackle roof damage
“Be proactive, which most people are not,” says Michael. “Most people are reactive, and a lot of people don’t even look at the roof.”
When you start seeing those signs, you need to call a roofing professional immediately to inspect and assess the damage. This may mean you need a new roof, and it’s never a good idea to procrastinate.
“We always suggest if the roof starts failing, it’s never going to get better,” says Michael. “If you patch it, if you do little repairs here and there – it’s not going to be a good resource or a good decision on your ROI.”
The painless roof replacement process
“We make it really easy for our customers,” says Michael.
While not every roofing replacement company will follow the same easy process as Long Home Products, you can use these steps as a guide for when you’re looking to replace your roof.
After a homeowner calls Long Home Products, a product specialist will be deployed to access the situation. The specialist will complete an attic and walk-around inspection and take approximately eight pictures of the home.
Long Home Product then uses a software called Hover that formulates a full, complete 3D model of the home with its exact measurements.
“We plug it into our estimating software, and 99% of the time, we give them three shingle options. They differ in quality – good, better, best.”
If your municipality requires a permit to replace your roof, your roofing company should take care of that step, but what is the average cost to replace a roof?
“According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, the average roof costs $997 per square (1 square equals 100 square feet),” says Michael.
However, you may not be expected to pay for your new roof all at once.
“I would say about 65 to 70% of our clients do utilize the financing that we offer them.”
Once all the paperwork is taken care of, then it’s time for installation, but how long does it take to replace a roof?
“From inspection to installation, it takes four to six weeks,” says Michael. “That is longer than normal due to COVID shortages.”
Preventing storm damage
Depending upon where you live in the country, you may want to invest in options that prevent storm damage. While Home Long Products (based in the DC Area and New England) doesn’t see hail damage on a large scale, some parts of the country may require specialized shingles.
“If you go into the Midwest and down into Texas, they do get a lot more hail damage and need impact resistant shingles,” says Michael.
Another option to help save your roof from extreme weather is hurricane straps. Since Michael went to college in Florida, he has knowledge in hurricane preparation.
“Hurricane straps are on the actual trusses and don’t change the shingle at all,” says Michael. “It’s more for the structural integrity of the roof, so you could still have all the shingles blow off if you have a 165-mph hurricane. The straps are just so your roof doesn’t blow off in those high winds.”
How often should a roof be replaced?
Long House Products uses CertainTeed shingles, which have a life expectancy of 20-50 years. However, the shingles are made to last that long, but that number isn’t the lifespan of the roof.
“The biggest misconception homeowners have is ‘I have a 30-year roof,’ but what does that mean? The shingle has a manufacturer’s warranty for 30 years.”
Some shingles can last 20 years or even 50 years, but unfortunately, the warranty that comes with them does not cover normal wear and tear or labor costs.
“Usually, the shingle is not what fails,” says Michael. “It’s usually the installation, which would be the workmanship, so that’s not covered.”
That’s why it’s imperative to hire the right roofing contractor to install your new roof.
“Do it right the first time,” stresses Michael. “Do it with a reputable, dependable company that is going to give you a written warranty, that has been in the business for a long time.”
The Long company name has helped more than 300,000 families with their home improvement needs since 1945.
“You get what you pay for,” advises Michael. “We always say, wouldn’t you rather invest a little bit more with a higher quality product installed by a reputable company than not spend enough and have to worry about replacement down the road?”
Ultimately, the customer is the one who will suffer.
“The most expensive home improvement project that you could ever do is the one you do twice.”
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