by: Michael Clem
It’s that time of year again - the weather is getting a bit cooler as the fall and winter seasons begin. The dropping temperatures will inevitably affect energy costs, and as you look at ways to keep your energy bill down by winterizing your home, remember to consider the roof.
Taking steps to keep your energy bill under control, such as finding drafts and sealing them, replacing old insulation, and checking your vinyl siding and windows for wear and tear are all futile efforts with an old, battered roof.
The Cost of Your Old RoofJust as a hat keeps you warm in the winter, your roof functions in a similar way for your home – it holds the heat in. But if your roof is old and worn, if your home has no “hat,” your efforts to heat your home could literally be going through the roof. In addition, an old roof is often leaky, contributing to mold and bacteria overgrowth in your home. The end result can be chronic allergy problems and even respiratory infections for you and your family, because you are breathing in contaminated air.
A trained professional roofing contractor is best-equipped to identify problem areas on your roof and let you know whether minor repairs need to be done, or if there is enough damage, wear and tear to warrant a roof replacement instead.
The Value of a New RoofReplacing your roof is an investment, helping to cut your energy costs and increase the value of your home. A 2005 annual report by Remodeling Online Magazine reported the average cost of replacing a roof can range anywhere from about $11,500 to $17,000, depending on where you live in the United States.
And your new roof can prove to be a lucrative investment if you ever decide to move. GAF Materials Corp., (a manufacturer of residential and commercial building supplies including roofing materials) reports that, according to a group of realtors surveyed, up to 40 percent of your home’s curb appeal is your roof. Though its impact is more subtle, the appearance of your roof can attract buyers to your home and increase the resale value of your home when you’re ready to sell.
Before You ShopOften, a poor-quality roofing job does not show any signs of a problem for years. Getting a new roof is a major investment in your home, so be very careful when you begin to look for a contractor. In addition to making sure you see a portfolio of their previous work, ask for references and make sure you call them.
When looking for a roofing contractor, you want a qualified professional who will use the best materials and back up their work with a good warranty that doesn’t just cover the roofing materials, but also covers the labor to repair those roofing materials should you need repairs done.
If you have a roofing contractor in your local area that is a Certified Master Elite Roofer – only 2% of all roofers in the U.S. carry this distinction – you can rest assured that the work done on your home is excellent quality and is covered under a strong warranty.
Roofing Accessories to ConsiderAs you talk with contractors, keep in mind that the installation of a new roof involves more than just nailing in your shingles. A good roofing job will include at least a waterproof leak barrier, and ideally an additional layer of protection from the elements, sometimes called “roof deck protection.” Once this foundation is laid, then your shingles will be laid down.
Also discuss attic ventilation with your roofing contractor – without it, in the summer, your attic can get so hot that it actually bakes your shingles. And in the winter, the hot moist air heating your home can get trapped in your attic, soak and diminish the effectiveness of your insulation, and increase your energy bill.
Lastly, if you were ever thinking of getting skylights for your home, now is the best time to plan for them.
Many homeowners wait until their roof is leaking, there is major, visible damage or there is a complete catastrophe before replacing their roof. What these homeowners don’t realize is they are wasting money on their energy bills in the meantime. A new roof will increase the beauty of your home, cut your energy bills, and play a major role in your ability to sell your home at your asking price. Find out the condition of your roof before the winter weather sets in so that you can be aware of its condition and avoid the headaches that come when catastrophe pushes you into the emergency purchase of a new roof.
About The Author
Michael Clem is Operations Manager of Creative Energy of Richmond, Virginia, a home improvement expert in Central Virginia. A Certified Master Elite Roofer, the company is a Creative Energy Exteriors.