Dreaming of buying a house and actually buying one are two very different things. It usually takes quite some time and plenty of savings before you can buy your own home, and even then, you will surely favor practicality over luxury.
This is why first-time homebuyers typically buy an old house instead of splurging or overspending on something new. A newly constructed home is not exactly cheap, and after all, buying an old home is a better option for a first-time buyer than not buying one at all. Sure, you might spend more money to replace the siding at some point, but at least you already own the house and you can save for the repairs and replacements.
That being said, you do have to face the fact that everything ages, including the materials used to build your home, particularly the exterior items that are exposed to the elements all the time.
While you can probably wait a bit longer to replace a window whose inert gas fill has leaked out, it’s not the same thing when it comes to your roofing system. Your roof has the most demanding job of all, protecting your family and your belongings from rain, snow, ice, sleet, hail, dust, debris, and the heat of the sun.
A typical asphalt shingle roofing system can last up to 20 years or longer with regular maintenance, cleaning, and the occasional roof repair. At some point, though, your contractor’s repair skills will only be able to do so much before repairing becomes impractical and practically pointless. This is when they’ll advise you to replace your aging roof.
Replacing a roof is almost like buying a home in that it takes a considerable amount of investment. Unless you have thousands of dollars in disposable income, you’ll probably have to plan for your roof replacement project. To get you started, here are some tips:
Have Your Roof Inspected by a Professional
You should know more about your own home than anyone else, from the siding to the roof to the interiors. However, if you’re new to roof inspections, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to help you. A professional would know what your roof’s real condition is. Even if you don’t see anything wrong with it, a pro can tell if it needs repairs or a replacement. Before replacing your roof, it’s best to ask for their opinion.
If your roof is about 10 years old or just a bit older, hasn’t been hit by a storm or heavy snow, and your home is located in a place with mostly pleasant weather instead of searing hot or freezing cold, there’s a good chance that repairs will do. However, if it’s 15 years or older, or if your area is prone to storms, plenty of heat, or heavy snowfall, it probably has some damage that repairs can no longer resolve for much longer. If this is the case, a replacement is the better option.
Take note that a yearly roof inspection is better than getting an inspection when your roof is already old. An inspection prepares you for a roof repair before the damage becomes too extensive and too expensive. And the sooner you find out that your roof needs to be replaced, the sooner you can start saving money for the project.
Get Estimates for Your Roof Replacement
You can get free estimates from most reputable roofing contractors for free. Ask at least five local contractors for an estimate so you have several options for comparison. Never go lower than three estimates.
Don’t trust an estimate sent to you by a contractor who has never seen your home. Reputable professionals perform their own inspections before they prepare an estimate. The estimate should include a list of the materials, their cost, the scope of the work and how many labor hours the project will take.
Take your time in comparing estimates and deciding on which contractor to hire. Don’t base your decisions on which one offers the lowest estimate alone. The question you should ask yourself is why they’re offering such a low estimate. Are they using cheap materials or taking shortcuts with the work? It’s fine to pay less if you can, but if it’s too low that it’s almost unbelievable, that should be a red flag.
Apart from the price of the roof replacement, find out more about the roofing contractor. It’s easier to do that now, thanks to the internet, where you can easily check a contractor’s website, what past customers are saying, and what the contractor’s rating is from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Ask the contractor for a copy of their license, insurance, and whatever pertinent documents that might help you decide.
Choose a Roofing Material
Materials are extremely important, whether you’re replacing a roof or building additional space for outdoor living. You can probably get away for a little while with cheap materials, but eventually, that decision will lead to bigger problems that you could’ve avoided had you sprung for better-quality things in the first place.
The most popular roofing material in the U.S. is asphalt shingles. It’s also one of your best choices in terms of longevity (up to 20 years with maintenance) and reasonable replacement costs. You can also save money when you have to repair shingles.
That being said, you have other options, as well, such as wood shingles, metal shingles, and concrete tiles, among others. Some options last longer than others, but they usually have higher initial costs too.
Choose the roofing material that you think is the best for your home, your personal taste, and your spending capacity.
This is the part where you can thank yourself for having your roof regularly inspected. Inspections give you a solid idea of when to expect a repair or a replacement. The sooner you know, the sooner you can start saving money, as well.
After receiving the estimates from several roofing companies, it’s time to check how much you have in the bank and how much more you need to save over several months. How soon you can have your roof replaced depends on the condition of your roof, how much money you already have, how much you earn, and how much longer it would take you to save.
If you’ve been diligent in inspecting and maintaining your roof, you can start saving as early as three years before it truly needs to be replaced. You can also cut down on some expenses that you can live without at least for now, including a costly vacation, movie tickets, a new TV or an expensive phone, and others. This will allow you to come up with the money you need for a roof replacement sooner.
You can also look into loan options if your roof definitely needs to be replaced and you’re still months away from saving enough money for it. Note, however, that loans come with interest. It can also be difficult to secure an affordable loan if you have a low credit score. Paying cash for a new roof is still your best option.
Get in touch with Sterling Exteriors for your roofing and outdoor living needs. Call us today at (513) 685-8055 or leave us a message here. We work with homeowners in Milford, Anderson Township, and Newtown, OH.