Choosing Your Home’s New Roof

Choosing Your Home’s New Roof

Is it time for a new roof? Whether doing it yourself or using a contractor, the cost of materials has gone up sharply, thanks to higher petroleum prices.

Is it time for a new roof? Whether doing it yourself or using a contractor, the cost of materials has gone up sharply, thanks to higher petroleum prices.

Unless you move on a fairly regular basis, at some point you’ll have to replace your home’s roof at least once. A roof that does its job well is important because it protects your home from everything that nature can throw at it. Rain, wind, sun, snow, hail, sleet, ice, debris, and much more must be repelled and only a roof that is in good shape can get the job done.

You have several options available when replacing your current roof, but not every choice may be feasible. Shingle roofs are the most widely used materials for new roofs, offering a good price and available in a number of different colors (black, gray, earth tones, even vibrant colors) and styles. Derived from asphalt and reinforced fiberglass matting, the cost of materials has risen sharply this past year as have all petroleum based products. If working with a contractor, get the price of the shingles to be used in writing.

Longer Lasting Roofs

Most roofs will last between 20-25 years, but some shingles have warranties which extend their usefulness to 40 years, even longer. You’ll pay more for better quality shingles, but you’ll have a roof that lasts longer and, if you plan on selling your home, a roof that will add value.

Beyond shingles, some homeowners prefer metal roofs because they are more durable and able to hold up against high wind and can resist fires. Businesses and factories favor steel and metal roofs, but homeowners are finding that they can provide superior protection for their homes too. Tip: Check with your insurance broker to find out if your metal roof would drop your homeowners premium too!

Contractor or DIY?

If you are searching for a roofing contractor, find someone who is licensed and can provide local references.  Check with the Better Business Bureau or your Chamber of Commerce for local roofers. Get your estimates in writing and insist that everyone who steps on your property is covered by the roofing company’s insurance.

If you are planning to tackle the roofing job yourself, then shopping around for supplies can save you money.  To plan your project, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Measure the entire room, section by section. Width x length for each section and then add those numbers together to determine how much shingles you will need. Divide that number by 100 and then add 5-10% to your total to cover waste, mistakes, and eventual repairs.
  • Follow the shingle manufacturer’s guidance on the type of nails to be used and the recommended number of nails for each shingle. Multiply that amount by the square footage to determine the amount of nails needed.
  • Purchase enough roofing felt to cover the entire roof.
  • Roofing cement will be needed for ridges, flashes, and edges. Other roofing materials can be purchased as the same time as your shingles.

Most roofing jobs can be completed in about two days for an average sized home, by using a team of workers to strip and remove the old roof and lay down the new roof. Once done, you’ll have a home that looks great, is more energy efficient, and ready to withstand whatever nature will be throwing at it over the next 20, 30 or 40 years.


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".