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Are your shingles in shambles?

Mr. Fix-It Lou Manfredini with tips and advice on what to do if your home needs a new roof.
/ Source: TODAY

We tend to treat the roofs on our homes the way we treat the brakes on our cars. That is, we ignore them until they’re just about to fail-then we rush to make some long overdue repairs. How do you know when you need a new roof? Age alone is the biggest factor. Here’s advice how to make your roof last longer.

An asphalt-shingled roof, which is the most popular kind in America, is likely to last an average of just 13 years, even if the shingles themselves are backed by 25-, 30- and even 40-year warranties. As soon as you celebrate your roof’s 10th anniversary, I would say it’s time to start taking a close look at it. If you see discoloration in the shingles, this is a sure sign that they’re wearing away. If they’ve begun to curl at the edges, or blow off with increasing regularity during winds, or if the roof starts to leak, it’s time to start interviewing roofing contractors.

A contractor will help make the assessment whether you need a new roof or not. And finding and hiring the right roofing contractor is key. To do so, contact The National Roofing Contractor’s Association there you can locate a roofing contractor that knows what they are doing. If you do need a roof, the first thing you need to do is make sure that the old roof will be torn off completely before the new one goes on. While there might be savings in simply slapping a new layer of shingles over the old ones, you do this only at great risk. Ripping the shingles off is the only way to inspect the wooden sheathing that forms the structure of your roof, and make any repairs. There’s an added benefit to a complete tear-off as well. It literally adds value to your home. When it comes time to sell your house, you’ll actually be able to brag about this to prospective buyers.

The materials you use are crucial to determining the lifespan of the new roof. Too often, people try to cut corners by buying the cheapest shingles they can. Shingles are sold in 100-square-foot bundles called “squares,” and the price for asphalt shingles only can run anywhere from $25 to $150 and more per square. Now, a $25 square might sound like a bargain, but it simply will not hold up on your roof. You’d be better off living with garbage cans positioned under the leaks in your ceiling than in wasting money using materials this shabby. With shingles, I have found that the heavier ones are best-so spend the most you can afford to get them. Some of the better manufacturers are IKO, GAF, and Certainteed. The average cost for materials and labor to install new asphalt or fiberglass shingles is about $350.00 per square

Water protection is another element of a roof that is often overlooked. Before the shingles are laid down, a waterproof rubber membrane about 30 inches wide is laid across the edge of the roof, just above the gutter. This helps prevent massive leaks due to “ice dams” that are common in cold climates, but I think it makes great sense wherever you live. I’d recommend using a double roll of the membrane for a full 60 inches of protection. In my own house, I covered the entire roof with the membrane just to be extra secure.

By spending a little extra thought and money at the start of a re-roofing job, you will more than get your money back in the form of a roof that lasts years longer than it otherwise would.

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