Depending on the materials used and the quality of the installation, most homeowners can get away without a roof replacement for up to 25 years. That long lifespan can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, a roof replacement is a significant investment—one you wouldn’t want to make multiple times over the course of your home ownership. But on the other hand, 20 years of protection can make it easy to take your roof for granted.
Regardless of quality, the reality is that a roof replacement will become necessary at some point if you want to properly protect your home and valuables. The good news, though, is that a roof replacement project can deliver approximately 67.5% ROI in Maryland based on Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.
The bottom line is that choosing a roof replacement service isn’t a purchase decision you can make lightly. There are many different factors to consider before choosing a roof replacement contractor. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know before investing in a full roof replacement.
Repair or replace? That is the question that homeowners often face when it comes to roofing problems. While repairs can extend the life of your roof, they’ll only take you so far. Eventually, your roof will need to be replaced. The challenge is identifying when that is for your home. Waiting for an emergency to strike to invest in a roof replacement is a surefire way to overpay and rush your decisions.
There are a few common warning signs, and it’s likely you’ll experience more than one. Maybe there are some granules in the gutters, the flashing is showing signs of wear, and you’re coming up on 15 years with the same roof—in that case, a full roof replacement may be your best option. Keep an eye out for the key warning signs below as you weigh your options to replace or repair your roof.
If you have records of when the existing roof was installed, you can get a good idea of how long it should last. If your asphalt roof is over 15 years old, you can bet it’s time to start thinking about a roof replacement. However, the expected lifespan of materials alone isn’t enough. Variations in maintenance, ventilation, and other factors can impact lifespan, so it’s important not to lock into a specific number of years.
It’s important to inspect your roof after serious, inclement weather. Hail, high winds, snow fall, and downed trees can damage the shingles on your roof, leading to cracks and leaks. On a small scale, repairs can keep moisture out. But if there’s extensive damage, you may need to invest in a roof replacement.
Moss and algae buildup on your roof can be more than just a cosmetic problem—it can point to a serious moisture issue. If you notice moss or algae building up on your roof, be sure to contact a licensed roofer to fully inspect the problem. Most importantly, don’t try to power wash the growth off—you’ll do more damage to the roof.
If you have an asphalt roof, the shingles are coated in granules to protect against damage from the sun. When the granules wear off, shingles take too much heat from the sun and can start to bubble/crack. Finding granules in your gutters or scattered on the roof can be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Keep in mind that a brand-new roof will have loose granules. This is more applicable for mid-life roofs.
Roofing isn’t all about shingles. The deck of plywood and/or substrate that keep your roof intact is also important. If you see plywood sagging or showing signs of water damage, it is time to replace your roof.
There are many factors that impact a home’s energy efficiency. Your roof plays an important role. If energy bills are rising unexpectedly and you can’t find another cause, the roof may be contributing to the problem.
Another aspect of your roof you should play close attention to are the flashings around vents, chimneys and other penetrations on the roof. These materials can break down over time, leaving your home vulnerable to the elements.
Most discussions about roofing materials focus on the shingles, tiles or shakes themselves. There is a lot of variation in lifespan, durability, and cost depending on the materials you select. However, it’s also important to recognize that roof replacements are sold as complete systems. Your roof is more than just the top layer. In addition to the shingles, here are the other aspects that go into your roofing system:
A piece of trim on the edges of the deck that is used to hold gutters in place.
Understanding the key components of your roof replacement will help you understand what goes into the cost of your roof replacement. Proper installation of these components will give you the best longevity, durability, and energy efficiency for your specific project. But the biggest decision you’ll make when investing in a new roof is the roof type.
Asphalt is by far the most common roofing material in the mid-Atlantic. These shingles can last anywhere between 15 and 25 years if properly maintained. However, not all asphalt shingles are created equal. You can purchase asphalt shingles with different impact ratings depending on the type of weather in your area.
In Maryland, wooden shingles and shakes when installed properly can last no more than 15 to 20 years. They’re usually made of cedar or redwood which is naturally insect and rot resistant and do not require any ongoing treatments to seal them.
Metal roofing is gaining popularity. While steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum roofing materials may cost more than asphalt shingles, a metal roof can last significantly longer—often times is excess of 50 years.
Slate has a similar price tag to metal and cedar shakes and shingles but has a longer lifespan. In some cases, a slate roof can last over a century. They’re fireproof and when installed properly can be invincible in heavy winds; however, they are prone to damage during hail and snow.
Lots of factors go into determining a fair price for a roof replacement, but all quotes are not created equal. As you evaluate roof replacement pricing, remember that scope (which can vary wildly between companies), materials, and process all drive price. The key is to understand what you’re buying and why. Aside from materials, here are a few key factors that contribute to a roof replacement estimate.
Size of the Roof: How many roofing squares (100 square feet) are required to cover your home?
Warranty Offering: We’ll cover this more below. But for now, know that you have to evaluate
Pitch and Slope: The pitch and slope of your roof can add to the cost of the project for two main reasons. First, accessibility can be a problem. If workers can’t safely walk on the roof, then additional staging may be required to complete the replacement could increase costs. Second, the pitch of a roof impacts the type of roofing system that is called for, which will impact costs.
Access to the Roof: How accessible is your roof? If there are challenges getting on the roof, contractors will need additional staging and could take longer to finish the job—both of which will drive up the price.
Labor: Another key factor that impacts price but is very hard for a homeowner to assess is the experience and the quality of the labor performing, and supervising, the installation. Experienced, skillful crews command higher wages and therefore cost more than ‘budget-friendly’ crews. Having a supervisor on-site who continually inspects the work also costs a little more, but results in a much higher level of quality.
There’s another key thing to keep in mind when investing in a roof replacement—warranties. Salespeople usually lead with a big number of years, but the actual warranty is MUCH more complicated. Plenty of homeowners have misunderstood the complexities of roof warranties because they just don’t know what to ask.
Most roof warranties come from the manufacturer of the
Many warranty claims are not approved for various reasons, and if a claim is approved you’ll likely only be reimbursed based on a depreciation schedule. Shingle warranties will only cover a portion of the project.
Some contractor warranties include coverage for workmanship, which is great if they honor it. However, you have to be careful with contractor warranties—they’ll look vastly different between proposals.
This is another opportunity to determine how much you trust your potential contractor. Does their warranty have a lot of terms and
The most trustworthy contractors will clearly state what they cover and how you can submit a claim. You should never be hit with a surprise rejection of a warranty claim. Trust that the right company has manufacturer’s warranties covered and will honor any workmanship guarantees.
When you’ve selected your materials, reviewed warranties, and collected price estimates from contractors, it’s time to decide who will carry out your project. For many homeowners, this is the most difficult part of the process—how can you tell the good contractors from the bad? Choosing a roof replacement contractor is all about trust. Which contractor is going to go above and beyond to provide transparency and take the time to walk you through the entire process to ensure you understand. One way that good contractors build trust with potential customers is to go through a highly-detailed inspection process. If your contractor doesn’t put someone on the roof to inspect the existing system, you can’t truly know that the estimate or proposals are accurate.
When your contractor has someone on the roof, they can feel the stability of the structure, calculate potential problems, calculate ventilation requirements, and determine whether a full replacement is even necessary. The more detail you receive in a contractor’s roof replacement proposal, the better. When a contractor can provide specific details about your current roofing system and a proposal for a roof replacement in a package that’s easy for the homeowner to understand, you’ll know it’s worth considering. Too many contractors will get by with low-cost estimates and win new business based on price alone. That may work for some homeowners, but the best option for your home’s value and protection is to go with the most trustworthy contractor.
There is always someone who will do the project for cheaper. Put your roof replacement in hands you can trust.
Whether your roof needs repair or is past due for a roof replacement, Brothers Services can help. As one of the leading roofing replacement companies in Maryland, we work with thousands of Maryland families each year. We hold the highest level of certifications from our manufacturing partners and have earned designations as a Platinum Preferred contractor through Owens CorningTM and a Select ShingleMasterTM through CertainTeed.
More often than not, you’ll experience a mix of these warning signs. Maybe there are some granules in the gutters, the flashing is showing signs of wear, and you’re coming up on 18 years with the same roof—in that case, a full roof replacement may be your best option.
The reality is that this can often be a subjective decision. If the warning signs are mounting, it’s best to proactively address the problem rather than sit back and wait for disaster to strike.
Now that you know the warning signs and decide if a roof replacement is the best option for your home, your next step is to decide which materials you should use to complete the project.
Asphalt is by far the most common roofing material. These shingles can last anywhere between 15 and 20 years if properly maintained.
Not all asphalt shingles are created equal, though. First of all, you can purchase asphalt shingles with different impact ratings. Be careful in the decision-making process. Not every manufacturer will disclose impact ratings. If you can’t find an indicator of impact resistance and durability, it may be best to choose a different option.
With asphalt shingles, you also have to choose between architectural and 3-tab options:
In an ideal world, wooden shingles and shakes can last between 30 and 50 years. They’re usually made of cedar or redwood to improve fire resistance, but they’re prone to cracking if not properly maintained.
As a natural insulator, wooden roofing materials offer excellent energy efficiency but you’ll pay more upfront for wood versus asphalt. When considering wooden materials, you should also consider the added costs of maintenance. While asphalt is a generally low-maintenance material, wood has to be inspected and treated regularly to avoid insect infestation and rot.
Metal roofing is gaining popularity as costs come down. However, the fact remains that steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum roof replacements come at a higher cost than more common options.
With that added cost comes high impact resistance, little-to-no maintenance, high energy efficiency and a lifespan of up to 50 years. Not only that, but metal roofing is made of recyclable materials and 100% recyclable itself.
Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials available but has the longest lifespan. In some cases, a slate roof can last over a century. They’re fireproof, highly energy efficient, and essentially invincible in the face of heavy winds, hail, and snow.
However, these benefits come at costs beyond high prices. Installing slate roofing is a difficult task. Despite its weather resistance, standing on a slate roof can cause cracking. And worse yet, the significant weight of the material requires more intricate framing, adding additional labor and costs to your project.
Repair or replace? That is the question that homeowners often face when it comes to roofing problems. While repairs can extend the life of your roof, they’ll only take you so far.
At a certain point, you’ll have to decide that repairs aren’t enough and it’s time for a full roof replacement. The challenge is identifying when that is for your home. Waiting for an emergency to strike to invest in a roof replacement is a surefire way to overpay and rush your decisions.
If you want to avoid the high costs of emergency replacement, keep an eye out for these key warning signs:
Repair or replace? That is the question that homeowners often face when it comes to roofing problems. While repairs can extend the life of your roof, they’ll only take you so far. At a certain point, you’ll have to decide that repairs aren’t enough and it’s time for a full roof replacement. The challenge is identifying when that is for your home. Waiting for an emergency to strike to invest in a roof replacement is a surefire way to overpay and rush your decisions. If you want to avoid the high costs of emergency replacement, keep an eye out for these key warning signs: