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"What are the signs that I should replace my roof?"
If you think your roof needs work, but it's not yet 20-25 years old, you may be able to get away with repairs or partial replacement, rather than a full replacement. A roof installed over an existing layer of shingles should be replaced after 20 years.
The most obvious signs that you need an immediate inspection – and that substantial parts of your roof may need to be replaced – include:
Sagging or Low Points A sagging roof line most likely means that your entire roof needs to be replaced.
Sunlight in the Attic If sun can get in, so can water, which means you probably have a major leak. Call for an inspection.
Visible Water Damage on the Ceiling or Walls Call a qualified roofing company immediately.
Additional signs that your roof should be inspected soon include:
Damaged or Missing Shingles Shingles that are curling, cracked, torn or otherwise damaged need to be repaired and checked for leaks ASAP.
Cracks or Breaks in the Flashing Problems around the flashing could mean leaks are imminent, if not already present. It’s best to upgrade to metal flashing if your flashing was made with tar or roof cement.
Moss, Mold and Fungi The presence of moss, mold or fungi could mean there is trapped moisture beneath the surface material. The roof should be inspected, and at the very least, the growth removed.
Shingle Granules in Gutters and Downspouts Single granules in your gutters mean that your shingles are deteriorating and losing their ability to protect against the elements. An inspection is warranted.
First, check to see if you have paperwork on the installation date, and also, if you have a warranty. Then, contact the original installer or a licensed roofing contractor to get a professional opinion.
"Who do I call to replace my roof?"
Most professional roofers, contractors and roofing companies will be able to install any type of roof, advise on roof options, and provide a free estimate. Roofers with less experience may not be able to work with all roof types, and may not carry proper insurance. Fully licensed roofing contractors should be able to provide you with proof of insurance, and a legitimate warranty.
Here are some definitions and options:
Handyman with Roofing Knowledge A handyman may be cheaper, but most are not licensed or able to provide guarantees.
Roofer A roofercan be a licensed or unlicensed contractor, or a general contractor who also does roofs. Make sure you ask questions so you know the roofer can handle the job and meets your requirements.
Roofing Contractor An individual roofing contractor will probably be licensed by the state, and may work on their own, or with a crew. Get references, and ask about licenses and warranties.
Roofing Company A roofing company will almost certainly be licensed, and can often offer more substantial warranties. Reputable roofing companies will also have a verifiable history, bigger crews, and more scheduling flexibility.
Home Improvement Retailer Some big box retailers have roofing services similar to roofing companies.
Fill out the form on this page to begin your search for a qualified provider. Be sure to get several bids, and ask questions about licenses, experience, references, and warranties.
"Does home insurance cover roof replacement?"
Only if it’s the result of something you cannot control or prevent, such as acts of nature, extreme weather, vandalism, or fire. Even then, if your roof hasn’t been properly maintained, or is over 10 years old, you may be reimbursed only for the depreciated value. If your roof is 20+ years old, you might only be partially reimbursed, or your claim may be denied entirely because you are past the average life span. Two layers of roofing material may also put your claim at risk.
What’s typically covered: hurricanes and tornadoes, hail, rain, and wind damage (but you might need to pay a separate deductible), damage caused by the weight of heavy snow and ice storms, damage covered by hurricane-force winds.
What is partially covered: damage caused by a leak, excluding the roof repair costs.
What you’ll need additional coverage for: earthquake, flood, surface water, or mudslide.
Speak with your insurance provider about your policy to determine exactly what is covered and what isn’t.
"Can I replace my roof myself?"
Professional roofers have the advantage of expertise and experience, which enables them to work fast and do a professional job. Roofing pros also: know how to spot damage and problem areas that the average homeowner might miss, have in-depth knowledge of the best materials for your specific needs, can hire subcontractors if needed, have the right tools for the job, can obtain (or help you obtain) local permits, and, offer warranties.
Also keep in mind that when a roof is not installed by a professional roofing contractor, roofing material manufacturers will not guarantee their materials because a botched installation may lead to costly damages.
With all that said, if you are comfortable working up on a roof, know what you're doing, don't care about guarantees and warranties, can pull all the necessary permits, and are willing to take on a big, lengthy construction project, you can consider installing your own roof.
"Is it possible to get financing for roof replacement?"
Depending of course on your credit and history, yes. Some roofing contractors offer financing for those with little home equity, or less than ideal credit.
There are also standard financing options to choose from:
Personal Loan Shop around since rates can vary. You can typically get the funds within a week, and sometimes the same day.
Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit This option has the lowest rates, and it may be possible to deduct the interest you pay. However, the risk is great: failure to abide by the terms of the loan means you could lose your house, since your house is the collateral for the loan.
Credit Card Look for a 0% APR promotion if you know you can’t pay it off quickly.
HUD Home Improvement and Repair Loan Certain lenders offer this option, which is designed for those with limited equity in their home. Lenders are insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Finding the best deal will depend on your budget, credit, income, and personal preferences.