Without the expertise of roofing experience, it's hard to tell. Certainly, if the shakes are falling apart from age, it may well be time to change the roof. But without that obvious evidence, you really need a roof inspector to tell you. A roof inspection done by a roofing company is likely to err on the side of a roof replacement, simple because they stand to gain a bit of business having provided you with the inspection free of charge. A home inspetor, on the other hand, might not be as knowledgeable about roofs and a roofing company would, but they could be more impartial.
Although replacing a roof on a home is not rocket science, there consequences of doing it badly can be enormous. Still, it's pretty predictable. You must remove and dispose of the worn out parts and replace them with new. Assuming there is nothing 'broken' under the roofing materials, it can be pretty predictable. But if there is something wrong, like water damage on the joists, work has to be done between the two major steps.
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A lot depends on the size of their team, and the size of your home. In the warm, busy months, roofing companies like to get moving on a job and get it finished asap in order to move on to the next project while the weather is still good.
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If you really know what you're doing, and if you mean to do the work literally yourself, then it might. But if you're not super familiar with what it entails, it will definitely take you longer than a professional roofer. What's more, and probably more important, you may make mistakes which, in the long run, could cost you a lot of money. And then there's the personal risk of perhaps falling off your roof or nailing your foot to the roof by accident with that nail gun you rented. A professional roofingh team will spend a fraction of the person-hours doing a great job.
i assume from your question, you are not planning personally to do it, right? The best thing to do first is to get a few quotes, and go from there. But perhaps you would consider a roof inspection, if you are not fully convinced you really do need a new roof. Sometimes a good cleaning and treating can give an old roof another lease of life.
The process involves removal of the old materials, and asssuming there is nothing major broken, installation of the new roof.
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Strange as it might sound, the winter is the best time. It's a little inconvenient, you could say, but some roofing companies can replace a roof any time of the year except for perhaps during a big storm, but in some ways, it's easier to work outside in the cold where you can put on extra layers than it is during the searing heat of summers. What's more, you can get some discounts, usually, as roofing and other companies are eager to keep their staff busy all year long.
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Experience is probably the most important factor. When a roofing company has experience, especially in the notoriously wet area we live in, they will be less likely to make mistakes. And a simple mistake can cost a lot when it comes to roofing. The second thing you can do is check their online reviews. And of course if they were referred perosnally to you, that recommendation is priceless.
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Don't assume the roof needs to be replaced. A roof might have been neglected for a long time, and have moss all over it, but a good cleaning might be all that's required. In any case, see if you can get a free inspection first. If there is a real problemm yes, it might not be worth cleaning and perhaps a new roof is required. But you might be surprised at what a cleaning can do. Your inspector will tell you if there are real problems, but do this first to see if you can save a lot of money first!
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The short answer is: Don't wait! Most leaks, if taken care of immediately, have not had time to do anyreal damage. If the leak is big and obvious, chances are you've caught it early. Sometimes it's the smaller leaks that do the real damage because they might have had months before being noticed. A small drip of water into your loft, for example, might have gone unnoticed for a year or more, in which time it can have done a lot of damage.
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The most popular roofing material these days is synthetic, and for good reason. It can look like real wood, but lasts much longer, and its installation is more predictable and easy. But within synthetics, there are more and more to choose from, with more coming into the market with each passing year.
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