Home improvement #1 – Roofs

If you own an older home, or are buying one, do plan for some ongoing maintenance and upgrades. What should we typically look out for, and when? Sharing some inputs based on my experience!

Let us look at Roofs this week

1. Roof age

Roofs typically last about 20-25 years. If it has crossed 30 years, it might have some wear and tear on it. If you are buying a townhouse or condo, in all possibility this might be the responsibility of the condo association (if you have one). If you are owning the home, it makes sense to check your roof once in a few years to inspect and make repairs as needed.

2. Changes or repairs

Check if you need to do minimal repair, or is it time to consider changing your roof. Minimal roof repair is covered by some home warranty providers. If you have crossed the average age of the roof (25+ years), then it is worth it to consider changing the roof. Use the average age of the home & current condition (and of course your finances) to plan for changing the roof. And, while you are changing your roof, it is well worth the effort to check if you can put in solar panels. Helps get some cost savings on the utility bills on the side.

3. Reduce Costs

If you are looking to reduce the cost of changing your roof, you need to be aware of the following

  1. Are you looking to remove old roof and replace with new one?
  2. Are you looking to lay over the new roof on an old one?

The cost of installation can be reduced for the latter, however it might not work if the older roof has a lot of issues. Solar panel providers might object to some of them as well.

Do evaluate the above based on the type of roof, type of installation and the cost that one would incur.

4. Home insurance

Changing the roof is typically a costly affair (anywhere between $7,500 to $25,000). If the roof is damaged due to natural weather conditions (not wear and tear), then home insurance can cover full / some part of the costs (depends on your insurance and deductible). Reading the fine print helps. If Home insurance is not covering the same, and you need to change the roof, shop around for vendors and compare estimates and services before making a choice. Look for inputs from your solar panel providers as well.

5. Gutters

Periodically cleaning the gutters helps reduce degeneration of roof and exterior sidings/walls. Advisable to get it done at least once annually.

6. Fireplace/Chimney

Chimney sweep and cleaning is recommended to be done at least annually. Fireplace chimneys or furnace chimneys, the soot accumulated can result in health issues. Look for rusted chimneys and brick chimneys and have them fixed / replaced on the roof. Long term issues can cause damage to the roof and layers.

7. Skylight

The more the number of skylights in the home, the lesser the ability to put on solar panels on the roof. It is worth it to contemplate the same from a home design standpoint before approving the roof layout.

8. Types of roofs

Choose your roof based on your local climate, type of home and costs.

Most durable of the above are Asphalt, Metal, Concrete/clay, Wood shake

Most economical of the above is Asphalt roof

9. home sale

If you are looking to sell your home, and you have an old roof, do you need to replace your roof?

No. you don’t need to replace your roof to sell your house. However, it will be a seen negatively by potential buyers and could decrease the overall value of your home by more than the price it would cost to replace the roof. A new roof can potentially increase home value, but you might not see a 100% return on your investment. Even if you don’t see a huge financial return, a new roof can make you more likely to get full asking price, lower time on market and smoother negotiations.

As an afterthought, planning for large home improvements once in 4-5 years helps!

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