When a roof starts to leak, the price tag of having it re-roofed can be quite intimidating. To ensure that money isn’t being thrown away by either unnecessary re-roofing or failing to re-roof when it is needed, there should be some understanding of the purpose of a roof and how to judge when it is time to re-roof.
What is the Purpose of a Roof?
To put it in the simplest terms possible, a roof acts as an umbrella for a building. Construction materials used for private homes virtually always contain a high percentage of wood. Even treated wood is a porous material that can absorb water. While treated wood will rot more slowly, that absorbed water will still cause it to degrade by swelling, this effect is even worse in cold weather when ice crystals form. Another weakness wood has where water is concerned is that it wicks water quite well through capillary action. In other words, even a localized leak can result in water damage over a wide area as the water spreads.
The umbrella effect is only helpful in the event that the roof remains entirely intact because of that wicking effect wood can demonstrate when exposed to moisture.
When does a Home Need Re-roofing?
The first thing to keep in mind is that a leak does not necessarily mean it is time for a new roof. There are many hazards that can destroy the integrity of a small part of a roof, leaving the remainder in good repair. As an example, animals like squirrels are notorious for damaging asphalt shingles. Tile can be cracked by a neighbor kid throwing rocks. If a leak can be isolated to one damaged area, it may be more cost effective to have the area patched instead of recovering the entire roof.
Generally speaking, the surest way to know that it is time to re-roof is visible damage to the roof in several areas. This indicates that the roof sheathing has simply reached its wear and tear limit, as opposed to having damage from some isolated incident.
What if I’m not Sure?
Like an ill person who does not know how serious the situation is, the only way to gain peace of mind is to consult a professional for re-roofing services. A quality roofer can quickly determine whether the roof needs replacement for a token fee. The damage saved by replacing a worn roof in a timely manner can far exceed the cost of the project, so the best bet is to bring in a professional if there is any doubt at all.
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