Summer is one of the busiest times in the real estate market and many families are trying to purchase their new home and move before their kids go back to school. With all of the considerations there are when buying a house, it may be tempting to assume the whole house is in great condition, as well as the roof. But it's best to take some time and get inspections by professionals, especially on the roof as it's one of the expensive parts of a house to replace. Here's a few things to look for when you're house shopping.
How old is the roof?
The best way to know if a roof is in good condition is if you can ask the homeowner or if this information is on the seller's disclosure form. If you can't get this information, in a case where perhaps the current owner is not the original purchaser of the home, you may want to get a structural inspection from a professional. Even if the roof looks new, a roofing company may have just shingled over previous damaged roofing materials instead of replacing the whole thing.
What type of material is the roof?
Composite shingles are one of the most common types of roofing materials. Roofs made of composite shingles are usually very durable and do not require a lot of maintenance. A composite shingle roof that was properly installed at the start will last a very long time. If your roof has a roof made from another type of material, for example tin, tile or cedar shingles, these may require more work to maintain them. If you're buying a home with a roof made of another material besides composite, get the condition of your roof inspected and find out what the annual cost of the roof maintenance will be.
One of the biggest problems that can happen if your roof is not in good shape is water leaking into your house. A small water leak can cause big damage to the interior walls and ceilings. Look at all interior roofs and walls and ask any about any signs of water damage. A roof leak can come from gutters, valleys, plumbing vents, and many other sources.
Other Roof Considerations
A few other items to consider are mold, attic ventilation, and downspouts, just to name a few. Mold can build up on the roof, and it's not always going to be black in color. Also, if the home previously had mold buildup and the owner fixed it, they may not have addressed the source of the mold. When looking at the home, review if there is proper attic ventilation, as improper ventilation can damage your roof from the inside. And always consider whether gutters are draining properly and directing water where it should go. You want all water to drain away from your home instead of seeping directly into the ground around it.
These are just a few tips to help you when you're looking for your new home. If you are uncomfortable, call a roofing professional for advice or an inspection. The cost of an inspection before you purchase a new home will be well worth the money spent in the long run.
Guest Blog Post by: Jason Lundgren, Young Management Corp.
The roof is a building’s first line of defense from natural hazards like snow, wind, rain, fire as well as extreme heat. In addition, it’s arguably a building’s most vulnerable part.
Oftentimes, your roof is exposed to punishing weather conditions, and this largely contributes to its deterioration, increasing the risk of damage to everything it protects beneath.
This, therefore, implies that as a landlord, you should always ensure that your roof remains in tiptop condition. Besides, it’s your duty to ensure that your property adheres to your state’s habitability laws.
Conducting regular inspections is unquestionably the best preventive care that you can take to safeguard your roof from the elements. The inspections frequency and maintenance, of course, mostly depends on the geographical location of your property.
For example, if your property is located near the sea or in equally inclement conditions, it’ll likely need routine and greater care than a building situated in an area with favorable conditions.
Besides harsh weather conditions, your rental property roof can also get damaged because of:
Poor or faulty installationThis can lead to water damage, the growth of mold and mildew, angry tenants, and other unpleasant side effects.
So, how can you ensure your rental property’s roof is always in good condition? Well, here are 6 tried-and-tested roof maintenance tips.
1. Check the insulation.
The primary function of a roof’s insulation is to act as a thermal barrier for your building. Keeping the building’s hot air and cold air is its job – and it definitely helps keep bills down and its thermal value up.
Proper ventilation and insulation in your attic also help reduce moisture and prevent the formation of ice dams.
2. Re-caulk, if necessary.
Flashings may not hold their seal if low-grade caulking was used when the roof was being installed.
Roof flashing helps direct the flow of water around openings. Without flashing, water will seep into your home causing structural damage. One telltale sign of a damaged roof flashing is large water spots on the ceiling inside your home.
3. Check for moss and algae.
Moss and algae growing on roof tiles and shingles are unsightly. Plus, they are damaging. Left unattended, these organisms can cause damage amounting to thousands of dollars.
To get rid of moss and algae growth:
Trees give us oxygen, food, medicine and a whole lot more. However, one good storm can send branches crashing into your roof.
Trees can damage your rental property’s roof in a variety of ways. These include:
5. Clean the gutters.
Your rental property’s roof can be just as important as your roof. Gutters help direct rainwater so it doesn’t flood your property.
Obstructed gutters can cause:
6. Inspect your roof.
Experts recommend that you do this at least twice every year. When inspecting your roof, look for these problem areas:
Properly maintaining your rental property can not only help you avoid costly repairs but can also help you minimize tenant turnover.
With summer just around the corner and the weather finally warming up, most people are enjoying this time of year, but hot and humid days in the Kansas City, Missouri area are just around the corner. Did you know that the relentless summer sun and extreme heat can cause stress on your home's roof? Here are some items to consider regarding summer weather, roofs and materials from a local Lees Summit roofing contractor to help you out.
All asphalt shingles will eventually become bleached lighter by sunlight, especially in hotter sunnier climates like Texas and Florida, but even here in Missouri, shingles will be affected by the sun. One simple decision that can make a big difference is the color shingle you select. Automatically a lighter shingle color, such as beige, tan or light gray will looked less bleached or dyed with age than a black or other dark roof shingle. Preventing color loss may also keep your house cooler in the summer.
Extreme Heat and Roof Ventilation
A small way you can prevent the impact of extreme heat and heat buildup on your roof is from the inside out. A properly ventilated attic will keep the underside of your roof cooler and help the shingles and roof deck to last longer. Getting a yearly inspection from a roofing professional to assess whether your attic is vented appropriately can really help.
Proper Attic Insulation
As noted above a properly ventilated attic will help keep your roof cool. In the same fashion, an attic that has the proper amount of insulation will help keep an extremely hot roof from transferring that heat into your attic, and then on into your indoor living spaces. So inspect your home's attic for insulation and ventilation in spring or at least before the hottest days of summer arrive, and before your attic is overly warm for inspection.
There are more ways to cool your roof and extend its life, a couple options are shade and protective cooling materials, but these can be expensive options for an existing roof. These few simple tips we've provided can be a very beneficial first step in lessening the impacts of summer heat and sun.
As soon as it starts to warm up in spring, it's the perfect time to assess your home's roof condition and see if there's anything you need to get scheduled and/or budget for. Here's some information from a professional home roofing contractor to help you out.
Get a Professional Inspection
If you call a roofing professional and pay them for an inspection, it's well worth your investment. There are many repairs that can't be assessed simply by looking . An inspection by a local roofing company can discover small issues that can be repaired. Many times with roofing issues, small jobs left undone become major issues later causing holes in your roof and water leakage, among other things.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Cleaning all the debris and accumulation out of your gutters is one of the biggest things you can do yourself to keep water from being an issue at your house. In the spring, we get many episodes of heavy rain, and if your gutters can't effectively deal with all that water, it has no choice but to accumulate close to your house, and possibly flood your basement or crawl space.
Check Your Crawlspace or Attic
If you are able to access your attic or crawlspace, it's a good idea to make the time to view these areas. Go up in the attic and see if you notice any leaks or holes. Doing this review each spring will keep small issues from becoming large ones and possibly causing you to need a complete roof replacement. If you can get into your crawl space, check to see if there's any water accumulation. And as always, review your basement for any signs of water leaking through the foundation.
Review Impact of Trees or Branches
Look around your yard for any trees that are close to your house, or branches overhanging it. If branches are constantly swaying against your roof or gutter, they can eventually damage them. They can also provide easy access to squirrels and other rodents who will deposit debris and other things in your gutters. Leaves constantly falling from branches will clog your gutters and make extra work. If you don't feel comfortable trimming trees or branches yourself, there are plenty of professional companies who can do it for you.
These are just a few of the simple things you can do to keep your roof and home in decent shape by making spring the time to do an annual review. Add these task to your spring cleaning schedule and you'll be in good shape year round.
With all the ice we've had across Missouri lately, as a local roofing contractor I'm concerned about the safety of homeowners across the area and want to share some great information in a series I published a few years ago regarding ice buildup on a homeowners roof and what to do about it. Stay tuned this week for the full series on ice, and if there's any necessity for you to contact an experienced roofing professional to get your questions answered.
Ice Dams Series, Part 1
The recent snowstorm brought us over six inches of new snow in the Lee’s Summit, Missouri area as well as most of Missouri. That snow is very pretty, but it brings in a lot of questions about snow and ice and their impacts on trees, houses, buildings, and especially your roof. How much snow is too much accumulation on your roof? Can you wait for the snow to melt or do you need to actually remove it yourself or get a professional? Read on for some basic advice about snow accumulation on the roof of your house.
It’s important to know when referring to snow accumulation what type of snow or accumulation there is. All snow is not created equal. Packed snow weighs a lot more than new snow, and ice weighs far more than both. So if you experience a second snowstorm before old snow has had a chance to melt, the packed snow now topped with new snow accumulation could be more than your roof can handle. And that’s not even counting if you experienced ice on your roof and haven’t had weather warm enough to melt it.
The general rule from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety to prevent roof collapse is that a house should be able to support 20 pounds per square foot of roof space. Twelve inches of snow is roughly 5 pounds per square foot so your roof should be able to support up to 4 feet. Packed snow of 3 to 5 inches equals about 5 pounds per square feet, so 2 feet of old snow could be too much for a roof, and ice equals 1 foot of fresh snow. Some areas that tend to receive abundant snowfall yearly may have higher loads mandated by your local building department. You can call them to find out what the regulations were at the time your house was built.
The best thing to do to put your mind at ease if you can’t tell if your roof can handle the snow accumulation is to safely remove it. For an easily accessible roof, a snow rake can be the right answer. If you have a dangerous, steep or roof in disrepair, or are simply worried, call a roofing professional to discuss. Your local Missouri roofing contractor will have the right answer for your individual home and area.
In this blog series, I am trying to explain why I typically recommend a 30-year Architectural shingle and not upgrading to the premium versions (40-year, 50-year, plus, premium, lifetime, or other marketing terms might get used). Many homeowners are concerned about maintaining the value of their homes, and as a house is likely your largest single investment I agree you should be concerned. They (rightly) think that often times if you spend more, you get something better in return. And as you improve your house, quality craftsmanship isn’t just something you live with every day, it will be reflected when it comes time to sell your house in the future.
I would think that when I am looking at a house that I would recognize quality craftsmanship, and appreciation that the former owner took to care for the property, and perhaps that might have value to me. However talking to realtors, most homeowners don’t follow that logic pattern. And this includes the roof that is the primary protection for that home. Prospective homeowners ask a single question, “how old is the roof?” If it is over eight (8) years old, they start to think about the check they will have to write to replace that roof. Like many of us, they don’t think about the insurance discounts I wrote about earlier, only the age of the roof.
Beyond what is “typical” for your neighborhood, there is likely no increased house value you can expect from upgrading from the 30-year Architectural shingles. I appreciate that as a homeowner, you are trying to be prudent and upgrade the value of your home, but the market treats your roof as purely a routine maintenance item and values your roof strictly by the age and nothing else. This is unfortunate, but this is also the reality.
In summary, as a roofing contractor, I recommend a tried-and-true product that has been real world tested in our Jackson County, Missouri weather; the premium products may last longer but I haven’t seen it. In addition, every time you replace a roof you get to press the “reset” button on your homeowners’ insurance and qualifying for a significant discount on your premiums. And last, the real estate markets simply views a roof as a maintenance item, and this upgrade won’t factor into a potentially higher future sale price. While I often advocate and recommend upgrades, this simply isn’t a place I can support spending more money.
In this blog series, I am discussing the value of “upgrading” to longer-life shingles, and if it is worth it to you, as the homeowner, to spend more money when replacing your roof. When you call roofing companies and get bids to replace your roof, you are looking at the bottom dollar on the bottom of that bid. How large a check are you going to write? What other costs are there?
I own my house here in Lees Summit. Technically I don’t, I pay the mortgage company and they own the house. The mortgage company requires me to purchase homeowners’ insurance. This is just like you, if you are talking to roofing contractors (renters don’t put new roofs on houses they rent, that would be the landlord’s responsibility). If you call your insurance agent, you will qualify for a significant discount when you put on a new roof. Your insurance agent calculates this discount simply based on the age of the roof, and doesn’t count any other factors in the discount. Your discount is the same whether you use the cheapest 3-tab shingles (perhaps we get 10-years out of these) or the most expensive slate (which has stood the test of time and we might expect 100+ years). Your discount is generally good for about five (5) years, and then starts to taper down. By the time the roof is ten (10) years old, you have no discount.
When you add that “new” roof discount over ten (10) years, you will note that (in our area) adds up to probably 50-75% of the cost of a new roof. You pay for a new roof today, which reduces the risk that your insurance company has on storm damage to your house so you are lower risk. As that roof ages, your damage risk increases, and your rates increase accordingly. However every time to put on a new roof, you get to push the “reset” button and start those discounts again at year zero.
When you factor these insurance discounts into your roof investment decisions, this discount becomes significant cost savings. Every time you replace that roof, you qualify for that discount. Now then, what prevents you from replacing a roof every five (5) years? Nothing, except that we have to consider the idea is to maximize the value of your investment. If you need help deciding when is the most cost effective time to replace the roof on your own home, contact your local roofing contractor. We're always happy to give you advice that gives you the best bang for your hard earned buck.
In previous blogs, I have been a strong proponent of upgrading from the minimum necessary to simply put a new roof on your house. And yet my most recent blog series is recommending that there are times when you shouldn’t upgrade? Before you discount my ramblings entirely, please allow me an opportunity to explain. I understand that a roof is a significant investment, so my recommendation is simply to invest wisely. I know a few extra dollars in my pocket is always welcome, and if I can save some money by shopping I appreciate that someone took the time to steer me in a better direction.
My first recommendation is simply that here in Kansas City that we get sunny and hot summers, icy winters, windy spring, violent storms that include tornadoes and hail, and generally harsh weather year around. While a base Architectural Shingle is often referred to as a 30-year shingle, it is quite unlikely that we will ever get anything approaching 30-year lifespan out of that shingle. One bad hail storm is all it takes to render them damaged enough to warrant replacement. However our sunny days with ultraviolet (UV) exposure take their toll as well. Wind-driven rain drives water in places it was never intended to be, and that impacts your roof. Our winters are based on ice; I have already written on ice impacts, causes, and minimization, but you cannot eliminate the impacts of freezing on your roof materials. Simply put, we don’t get anywhere near the forecast life presented by the marketing brochures.
Architectural grade 30-year shingles have been around awhile, we can accurately predict how long they will last in our Midwest climate (on average). Predictions vary, and a single hail storm or tornado will destroy a brand new roof, but our roofing company history is showing that fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years would be a good run for a 30-year roof. The upgraded roofing (40-year, 50-year, plus, premium, lifetime, whatever marketing terms are used) simply haven’t been around long enough to show they stand up longer. I have seen 50-year roof damaged by a hail storm, and while the neighbor qualified for a new roof from their insurance company, this homeowner was left with a damaged roof that looked bad but also didn’t qualify for replacement. And looking at these materials, there is nothing in them that leads me to believe we will ever get 40 years or more of life out of them, compared to the 20 years we might expect from the baseline roof. Do you want to take the risk on unproven materials? They certainly cost more.
When it comes time to preparing bids, I really like a homeowner that wants to make the best decision, not just the cheapest roof they need for their house. A homeowner that is planning on living in that house for the foreseeable future, and not just dressing it up to sell, flip, or other short-term gain. These are homeowners that understand that short term cost decisions have long-term ramifications; and that saving money today may well not be saving money in the long run.
And the most common question, should I upgrade my shingles to 50-year shingles (depending on manufacturer, these might be called 50-year, plus, premium, lifetime, or perhaps other marketing terms)? When they are looking at a baseline of Architectural shingles, we tend to think in terms of 30-year life. They understand that a good roof is expensive, so why not pay a little more now for upgraded materials if it means longer life, no hassle in the future (do you plan to be alive in 50 years?), and understanding that the cost of the roof is more than just the cost of the materials as it includes labor, equipment, trucks for my crew, insurance for my workers, etc.
While I am typically criticized for my answer, most people are surprised when I recommend not upgrading from a 30-year architectural shingle. As a reputable Lees Summit roofing contractor, I want to make sure I'm doing the best I can for my customers. Sure, those upgraded shingles do look nicer, and if you were to see two houses, side-by-side, you could probably pick out the homeowner that spent a bit and cared enough to upgrade.
I base my recommendation on a couple of factors, and I will prepare subsequent blogs to provide more information. Here in tornado, hail, ice and snow, and high summer UV country in the Midwest, we will never get 30 years out of a 30-year shingle. Longer life shingles haven’t really been tested in the real world. A new roof qualifies for a significant insurance discount (check with your agent). And if you are going to invest in your house (a new roof is a significant investment, your house is likely your largest single investment) you want to be assured of payback on that investment.
We are an experienced Lees Summit roofing company with over 15 years experience in repair, service and installation.