Thinking twice about renovating your home? It’s a common dilemma. You know your home needs updating and your roof needs replacement, but economic uncertainty freezes you from moving forward.
Unfortunately, homes don’t wait for recessions or inflation to end. Roofing wears out and severe weather strikes. So, there’s no time like the present to make smart improvements.
Consider these points before planning a major renovation.
1. Know Your Options
Want to save money on utility bills? Re-roofing — that is, installing a new roof over an existing one — is a surefire way to do that.
Re-roofing with quality metal materials — those that are coated to increase energy efficiency — can save you up to 40 percent on annual heating and cooling costs.
Even basic, unpainted metal roofs reflect more solar radiation than asphalt roofs. But low-glare metal roofs with certain colors and coatings reflect mostly non-visible, infrared and ultraviolet rays. These produce the most heat and cause the most damage.
A common question is, “How much does it cost to reroof a house?” That depends on many factors, including the new roofing material, its features, and the contractor. However, re-roofing usually is more affordable than roof replacement, which involves ripping out the old roof, and all the costs associated with that, and installing the new roof.
The costs of removing a roof
Removing an old roof could set you back $1 to $5 per square foot, which means the average removal could cost $1,000 to $1,500, according to HomeAdvisor. If your roofing contractor charges hourly, expect to pay $40 to $80 per hour. Additional costs may apply, depending on the existing roof and roof decking’s condition.
Re-roofing removes some of those costs because you’re laying a new roof over the old one. Generally, you’ll only pay to correct any imperfections on the existing roof and install the new one. Re-roofing is also better for the environment because it keeps asphalt shingles out of the landfill.
Just check area building codes to make sure re-roofing is an option for your home.
Proper roofing installation is crucial. That means having adequate insulation, airflow and ventilation for all seasons. While it’s tempting to look in your attic, check for bare spots and purchase insulation to fill them, first check area building codes to ensure your insulation meets or exceeds standards.
Good eve and ridge ventilation systems help maintain consistent roof temperatures, regardless of the roofing material. Covering all of these installation details can help prevent expensive problems, such as ice dams in cold-weather regions.
2. Consider Long-Term Costs
For large-scale home improvements like re-roofing, choosing the cheapest estimate is tempting. But the saying is true: You get what you pay for. Cutting corners on inferior materials and labor now could cost you much more later.
While asphalt shingles cover your home and get the job done, their limited life will leave you shelling out big bucks for repeated roof replacements. Not to mention the headaches and hassles that come with them.
Think of it this way: You could replace a 15-year asphalt roof three times — and worry about replacing shingles after mild to severe storms — or you could purchase a quality metal roof, which can last for as long as 50-plus years.
Best of all? You don’t have to sacrifice style for stability. Metal roofs now come in many styles, such as shakes, slate and tile.
So, the choice is yours. Pay more upfront now, reduce ongoing maintenance costs and save on long-term expenses, or choose cut-rate materials, pay more long-term, and face more maintenance.
3. Prepare for Severe Weather
Damage from hail, hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms is rising, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
In fact, spending on disasters totaled just $14 billion from 1996-1997 and almost doubled (to $27 billion) from 2016-2017. This was the latest period that the center collected data.
Wood shakes are an attractive roofing material, but they make your home especially vulnerable during wildfires. The more durable option is fire-resistant metal roofing.
And while hailstorms may seem insignificant compared to hurricanes, they wreak havoc on asphalt shingles. A direct hit from hail can crack a shingle. Then, water seeps in, which can cause major damage over time.
In some areas, homeowners insurance doesn’t even cover storm damage, so it’s important to make improvements now to guard against extreme weather later. You can start by investing in the best-quality roof you can afford.
Quiz Roofers Before Doing Business
If you’ve decided on roof replacement, the next step is determining what roofing material will work best for your home.
It’s important to consider your regional climate conditions, performance needs and priorities (sustainability and energy efficiency, for example), along with style preferences, and how long you plan to stay in your home.
Trade organizations including the Metal Roofing Alliance offer free guides and resources to help you compare and learn more about different types of roofing materials and quality installation practices. Download MRA’s free Buyer’s Guide for more information.
Once you’ve decided on the material, approach at least three installers to compare bids, experience, project details and claims.
Questions to Ask a Roofer
Ask these key questions before signing any contract:
- How long have you and your company been in business?
- Are you and your crew licensed, bonded and insured?
- What is your experience working with my preferred roofing materials?
- Can you provide three project examples and references from recent jobs you’ve completed?
- What steps will you take to protect my property, home and landscaping during the process?
- What is the brand/manufacturer of the materials you’ll be using? How long have they been in business and how long have you been working with them? Can they describe their track record?
- What product and installation warranties do they offer, are they transferrable and how long is the product guaranteed to last?
- To which verifiable safety, performance and environmental standards, testing and regulations does the manufacturer adhere?
- What type of performance ratings does the product have for conditions such as severe weather and fire protection?
- What customer service support do you and the manufacturer offer should an issue, problem or question arise?
- Does the manufacturer have favorable reviews from other customers and credible, third-party business rating organizations?
- Are they members of industry-leading trade organizations, such as the MRA?
Dealing with Roofers: Next Steps
Beware of any contractor who demands cash or full payment upfront, has no physical address or identification, steers you to a specific lender, or tries to act as the intermediary by asking to file insurance claims on your behalf, or wants your personal financial information prior to starting the process.
Verify their web and physical address, look up online reviews and ask for references. Then get cost estimates, schedules and other agreements in writing (in advance) and ensure they have the right permits.
Also, if applicable, don’t forget to check with your HOA to refresh yourself on any design or project rules or requirements before the job starts and communicate clearly with the contractor so that they are aware.
Looking for Metal Roofing?
The Metal Roofing Alliance, a nonprofit organization, can help. MRA, a leading authority on metal roofing, connects homeowners with experienced, vetted, trusted manufacturers, contractors and installers.
MRA’s track record provides peace of mind and assurance, whether your home improvement plans call for re-roofing or roof replacement.