When I bought my first house ever, it needed some work. Not big, tear-it-down repair work, but every room needed something done. Kitchen cabinet drawers made noise when you opened and closed them, some light fixtures were hanging off, the wood floors needed to be resurfaced, and a whole lot of similar things needed fixing and / or updating. So I marched off to Home Depot to take I some of their excellent classes for homeowners. One of the most interesting of them, by the way, was the tiling class. It was just a few hours, and I learned everything I needed to tile a kitchen or bathroom with a bit of patience. What I really learned, though, was that there were some jobs around the house that I will always get done by professionals. Sure, roofing is not rocket science, but if you get it wrong, you might end up spending a multiple of the cost you would have spent had you hired a professional to do the work in the first place.
A small roof leak versus a big roof leak
One of the risks of doing your own roof replacement or repair yourself is, you may not know that you have caused a small problem somewhere. Perhaps you used the wrong type of roof nails. Maybe you didn’t overlap the waterproof layers under the tiles properly. A small leak might only take shape once the fall and winter have arrived, and there’s sufficient water to make a little of it through the multiple layers of your new roof. Now, there’s a small leak, and water is making its way as far as the wood infrastructure and that’s where the real damage begins. But it’s not bad enough to cause a lot of water to make its way to a ceiling somewhere inside your home where the leak would be obvious. No, it’s just enough to get as far as the joists and rafters, and because it’s not such a big leak, it is left unfixed for as long as you decide not to do an inspection. Then one day – perhaps it’s when you are getting a house inspection with a view to selling your home – and that water damage that was caused over several years turns out to be an expensive repair. It also delays any possible sale, and perhaps when you were just about to close on that great offer that came it!
A big leak is almost preferable, in some ways. You make a mistake in replacing the roof, and the first rainstorm the following Tuesday, the rain is pouring down on your kitchen table. True, there’s clearly a big problem to be fixed, but wet interior materials is not the same as long term moisture damage. It might look bad, but a good roofer will have the problem diagnosed and repaired pretty quickly. Small leaks are harder to find.
The fact that problems caused during installation are harder to notice in a roof installation is good enough reason to hire a professional to do it in the first place, unless you have specific roofing installation experience and you really know what you’re doing.
A stitch is time – Getting regular roof inspections
An inspection for an entire house is usually about five hundred dollars. It ranges in price, depending on size of house, location and what the purpose of the inspection is. It’s a pretty thorough process, and it takes time. Hence the cost. A roof inspection, on the other hand, examines only a portion of your home, and it is a lot quicker. Often, roofing companies will offer you a free roof inspection or, if they do charge a small amount, will take that off the bill if you offer them the first shot at doing any repair work if that turns out to be needed. Roofing companies like to do inspections because they get to see you, the potential new customer, before anyone else does. It’s simply easier for their customers to “go with the guy on their doorstep” than to turn around and find another roofing company. Take advantage of this, and schedule a roof inspection every two or three years. If you’ve gotten your roof replaced just recently, then go do that inspection after just twelve months. If there is a problem – even if you hired external contractors to do the work – you’ll find it before too much time has passed.
If you want to do your own quick inspection, it’s worth noting that most roofing problems – where moisture is doing real damage – are accompanied by the smell of mold. Where an attic, for example, is not getting the chance to properly air out and become bone dry, will quickly get that damp, moldy smell. Climb into your attic and have a good sniff. Do you smell mold? In the summer months here in the Pacific Northwest, it should feel bone dry and even dusty. Dusty is OK. Moldy is a problem. If it’s the latter, make that phone call now and get a roofer to do a complete inspection.
A roofer will do it in a fraction of the time
It takes me forever to cook up a meal for two people. I often wonder how, in one of these fancy one-cook restaurants, a cook can prepare 135 different meals in a single shift. How do they do it? I have to really concentrate so as not to over-fry an egg. Well, it’s because this is what they do all day. Years of practice and training makes a person get the job done with very little down time.
A professional roofing company – one which has installed hundreds of roofs in their history – will whip through a roof replacement in a fraction of the time it would take you or me to do the same work. And that’s assuming we didn’t make any serious mistakes.
Another thing most roofers will be able to help you with is, taking advantage of any new potential materials or products. The roofing material industry comes up with new solutions every year, as far as I can see. Have a conversation about what’s new, and how to add great value to your home.