roof repair

One of the most important components of a home, the roof plays a critical role in keeping moisture out of a building. And while nobody like the cost associated with replacing a roof instead of roof repair, its functional and aesthetic value should help ease the pain of spending $8,000 to $20,000 on the work. (The average, according to Angie’s List cost data collected in 2014, is approximately $11,000.) While the cost is justifiable, homeowners want the job done right the first time—no exceptions. Here are 5 things they need to know from the start:


1. It pays to conduct research.

Some roofers don’t place much emphasis on customer satisfaction since replacing a roof is a once-every-few-decades job (meaning they don’t have to count on repeat business). Plus, many homeowners (mistakenly) choose their roofer based on price; consequently, many roofing contractors hire low-wage workers so they can deliver the lowest possible bids. All of this to say: Homeowners need to be extremely careful when selecting a roofing company.  It pays to do some research. Homeowners should get references from trusted sources like neighbors (or tradespeople or lumber yards) and check major roofing manufacturer websites for lists of certified installers. Next, they should request client references from prospective companies and check out their reputations on Angie’s List and their backgrounds on sites like


2. Strip it down.  

One of the first steps in the roof repair/replacement process is stripping away the old roof. Bear in mind, however, that homeowners are permitted to have two layers of asphalt shingles on their roof, so if there’s only one in place now, a new layer can be installed right on top. This can save individuals as much as $1,000 and avoid a sizeable mess, BUT it also means the roofer can’t inspect and repair the decking and flashing underneath. This is especially important to keep in mind for those who live in a cold climate as stripping away the old roof allows the contractor to install an ice and water shield, which is used to prevent leaks at the eaves in the event of ice buildup. Roof tear-off gets a lot more complicated when material other than asphalt is used. Note: If homeowners can see original wood shingles on the underside of their roof when standing in the attic, they will need to not only tear everything off, but also install new plywood decking, all of which adds roughly $5,000 or more to the roof repair’s bottom line.


3. Go top shelf.

Homeowners can minimize long-term maintenance, buy themselves peace of mind, and add value to their home when they opt for top-quality products. That means choosing 50-year-shingles (the longest available warranty) for just $300 – $500 more and selecting an “architectural” look (varying color and thickness that creates an upscale character) for only $250 – $750 extra. Homeowners should also opt for copper flashing, the most durable metal for sealing the joints where a roof meets a wall or another roof, which might add $1,000 or more compared with aluminum—a worthy investment given its longevity and how it favorably impacts return on the investment of your roof repair.


4. Pay attention to the paperwork.

For such a quick job—two to five days, depending on the size and style of the roof—roof repair and/or replacement involves a tremendous amount of liability and money. Homeowners should remember three essential documents: 1) Most towns require a building permit for a roofing project, primarily because this can help to ensure building code compliance. Plus, roof warranty can be rendered void without a permit. 2) A written contract that specifies all of the agreed-to details, products, and project expenses. 3) A letter to the homeowner, from the contractor’s insurance carrier, confirming that the specific project is covered under the roofer’s compensation and liability plan for its workers.


5. No magnet, no money (seriously).

For homeowners undergoing roof repair and/or replacement for the first time should bear in mind that when roofing is stripped off about 10,000 nails came with it—and most land on the grass, mulch, and driveway surrounding the house. Contractors have a tool that makes it easy to pick these up—a giant magnet on wheels that they pass over the yard to grab the dropped fasteners so they don’t cause issues for vehicles, pets, or tender human feet. But workers don’t always remember to bring it to the job site. When the roofer comes by for the final payment, homeowners should request that he or she also brings the magnet to pick up any remaining metal that might have been missed before final payment is remitted.