Who doesn’t want to save a little money wherever they can? Homeowners often try to squeeze extra pennies out of their budget by forgoing maintenance on parts of their home that do not seem like they need immediate attention. Eventually the homeowner is surprised by a costly repair, and when the roof is involved, the results can be catastrophic.
The cost of a roof repair often exceeds the amount of money saved by avoiding preventative maintenance. The need for repairs may come up even when maintenance is done on schedule, but they will do so less often, and they will not cost as much money as they would otherwise.
Common Roof Problems
To fully understand how much money can be saved by properly maintaining the roof of a building, it is important to know the roof’s most common problem areas. Many homeowners don’t realize how many ways a roof can sustain damage. If they know what to look for, they may be able to catch the problem and hire a professional before the damage becomes even more serious. Here are the most common problems that affect the roof of a home and how to identify them.
- Roof Leaks – Roof leaks can have a variety of causes, from improper installation to weathering over time. When a roof leaks, water is penetrating the layers of material that acts as a barrier between the roof and deck sheathing. Once the water gets in, it can cause staining and rot on the ceiling. If the leak is bad enough or goes untreated for too long, the contents of the room under the leak will get wet. Usually a leak in a roof can be identified easily. The most common thing a homeowner notices is an area on the ceiling that is discolored or that there is a drip present. There may be moss growing on an exterior wall or spots under the roofline. When looking at the roof, homeowners may notice that the shingles are lifted around the area of the leak.
- Pooling Water – Flat roofs are susceptible to pooling water, also known as ponding water, which can cause significant damage. Usually water that settles on a flat roof evaporates within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Low spots on uneven roofs prevent water from being able to reach the drains, leaving it to collect into pools that are larger than what can be evaporated in time to prevent long-term roof damage.
- Roof Shrinkage – Modified bitumen or EPDM rubber roofing have a coating on them that protects them from extreme weather, temperature, and physical penetration from small falling debris. Over time, the membrane shrinks and cracks, which exposes roofing materials to these elements. EPDM rubber roofs are sensitive and made from inexpensive materials. They require regular maintenance to prevent severe roof damage, even more so than what is required with other roofing materials.
- Ice Dams – Ice dams are a ridge of ice the builds up on the eave of a sloped roof. Snowpack and ice melts as heat from the house rises through a poorly insulated roof, and the resulting water pools in front of the ice ridge. The pooling water makes its way through the shingles over time, causing damage to both the inside of the house and the roof itself. Once an ice dam is present, it usually requires immediate help from a roofing professional to be removed.
- Tree Damage – Tree damage is one of the most common and most obvious problems with a roof. Downed tree limbs because of wind or the weight of snow can cause a range of issues, from ripping off shingles to putting a hole in it. Additionally, leaves and twigs can trap moisture and clog gutters, resulting in water damage to the roof.
- Wind Damage – Wind, even without the presence of rain or hail, can cause significant damage to the roof of a home. Roofs are designed to withstand an average amount of wind, but strong winds over a period of time can cause several problems. Shingles can be torn away and debris carried by the wind can put holes in the roof. The areas most susceptible to wind damage are the corners and perimeter, so homeowners who notice lifting shingles in these areas should have them repaired immediately to prevent further damage.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
All homes need repairs at some point, and homeowners often lament the high cost when they do. The roof is one of the most expensive parts of a house to repair, but the cost can be minimized or avoided with regular preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance is performed at regular intervals and is intended to reduce the need for premature roof repairs and increase its lifespan. Preventative maintenance typically includes:
- Removing debris
- Cleaning and sealing drains
- Repair roof defects
- Repair water-entry points
- Visually inspect the roof for damages or problem areas
How Does Preventative Maintenance Save Money?
Many things on a person’s house require regular maintenance. Besides the lawn being mowed and the HVAC system being checked periodically, the roof needs a regular tune-up from a roofing professional. Having the roof inspected before problems arise helps homeowners stave off repairs, but it can save them money in other ways as well, including the following:
- Lower Repair Costs – Roof repairs are costly, and the more often they happen, the more money a homeowner has to spend on keeping their roof in good repair. Homeowners who do not hire a professional to perform regular roof maintenance not only have to repair their roof more often, but the severity of the repairs is significantly higher. When repairs are more involved, the time to fix them and the number of materials necessary increases, resulting in a much higher bill than the homeowner would need to pay otherwise. A homeowner should have their roof inspected by a professional twice a year, both in the spring and the fall. The roofing professional will identify and repair minor issues and inspect the roof for more serious problems that could result in damages to the interior of the home.
- Increased Longevity – A damaged roof has serious implications for other areas of a person’s home, which can quickly add to the overall cost of the repair. A new roof costs as much as $14,000, making it critical for homeowners to protect their investment. The lifespan of a roof can be as great as 30 years. If a homeowner opts out of the recommended preventative roof maintenance, they may find they need to replace their roof much sooner. Every roof needs to be repaired eventually, but the more often it is repaired, the sooner it will need to be replaced. Since preventative roof maintenance eliminates premature repairs, homeowners can expect to get the maximum number of years out of their roof.
- Increase the Home’s Value – Real estate is a popular investment because of the potential for making a profit, and one of the best ways to get the most money for a house is by keeping the roof in good condition. A roof that leaks or that has significant damage is a deterrent for potential buyers. Not only will a damaged roof cost them money, but the house’s curb appeal is negatively impacted by the damage. Regular maintenance ensures the house’s roof is in good repair, which will improve the odds of the homeowner receiving a profitable offer and how quickly that happens.
- Reduced Insurance Rates – Insurance is a necessity for homeowners, and it comes at a significant cost. They can reduce their insurance premium in a variety of ways, but one of the best ways is by keeping the roof of their home in good condition. Since a compromised roof can cause costly structural damage, it is no wonder insurance companies charge more to insure a house with a bad roof. When a person hires a professional roofing company to maintain their roof, the insurance company knows that there is less risk of significant damage and will lower the homeowner’s premium.
- Improved Energy Efficiency – A damaged roof may let water inside the house, but it also lets air out. A roof that has holes, a damaged membrane, or lifted shingles is not properly insulated and leaks heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. This increases the homeowner’s energy costs on top of having to pay to repair the roof of their house. When they invest in regular preventative roof maintenance, any damage that can cause a loss of energy is found before it is significant enough to cost them a lot of money.
The Bottom Line
Owning a home is a big investment, and with homeownership comes the cost of repairs and maintenance. While it may seem like a good idea to save money by ignoring the roof, it can end up costing homeowners far more money down the road. Preventative roof maintenance keeps minor problems from becoming irreparable and lets them keep their hard-earned money in their wallet.