Is honesty the best policy, or are little white lies acceptable? When it comes to assessing and caring for your roof, denying the truth will only cost you time, money, and stress. Being honest with yourself about the condition of your roof and the best approach to repairs is critical to keeping your roof and your home healthy. Let’s look at five common lies homeowners tell themselves about roofing and why these untruths are definitely not the best policy.
“If I ignore it, it isn’t happening.”
The movie, “Don’t Look Up,” was a Netflix sensation about an approaching comet and the tendency to avoid dealing with things by pretending they don’t exist. If you fall prey to the temptation not to look up and ignore your roof for fear of what you might find, you could end up costing yourself thousands of dollars.
What could have been an easy roof repair can turn into a complete roof replacement, along with expensive fixes to the underlying structure. Or what might have been addressed with a new roof instead leads to costly interior damage and destroyed property. And, once you deal with all that, you still have to replace your old roof.
Don’t ignore signs of damage, and don’t fail to look for those indications of trouble. They aren’t going to magically fix themselves. Addressing them quickly and thoroughly can save you time, money, and stress. But that requires looking up to find problems early.
For most people, an attic seems like an afterthought. It’s that place where jeans that haven’t fit since high school and your kids’ old art projects get stashed. However, if your attic isn’t properly ventilated, not only will those kindergarten masterpieces be ruined, but your roof might also be damaged. Summer heat and winter ice dams can take a toll on your roofing materials. Your heating and cooling bills will also fare poorly if your attic isn’t properly vented. If you have questions about your attic, a professional roof inspection will help determine whether any modifications are required or recommended.
“The cheapest materials and repair options are good enough.”
No one wants to spend more than necessary to accomplish a required job. But you should resist the temptation to go for the least expensive fixes or materials without comparing other options. The lowest-priced options may be the right choice.
Sometimes, what is cheapest today can cost you more in the long run. Low-quality materials are more likely to fail, so less-expensive roof replacement today can mean you’ll be doing another replacement in 10 years instead of 20. Patching a problem area may be a cheap temporary fix that leads to ruined drywall, carpet, and furniture when the leak returns, worse than ever. Using mismatched or low-quality materials can also affect your property value and ability to sell down the line.
Shopping for inexpensive options and being mindful of costs when choosing between options make sense. Just ensure you are factoring in all aspects of the decision. When in doubt, ask questions. Your roofing contractor should be able to discuss the pros and cons of different materials, approaches, and options so that you can strike the right balance between cost, quality, appearance, and reliability.
“The cheapest contractor who can do the job gets the job.”
This is another example of how looking only at a price can be a mistake. The lowest-bid roofing contractor may keep costs down by cutting corners or using untrained workers, leading to problems down the road. Or they may use low-quality materials and skip necessary roof system components, like attic vents.
Shortcuts let them finish your job more quickly, meaning they can charge less for labor. But it may leave you with an incorrectly-installed roof that can increase your energy costs and lead to repairs or replacement far sooner than if they’d done the job correctly and completely in the first place.
If you get more than one quote for your job, compare them. If something is included in one bid and not the other, ask both roofing companies about the discrepancy. They should be able to explain why they’ve included something the other hasn’t or why an item in the other bid isn’t truly necessary. In addition to comparing quotes, ask questions of potential roofing contractors so you can hire with confidence, knowing you are working with a company you can trust.
Your house is likely your most valuable asset. Don’t trust its roof system to the lowest bidder without doing some due diligence.
“I need to fix the problems I can see and nothing more.”
If your shingles are curling, that’s a sign of damage. Replacing the affected shingles removes the damaged material, but it doesn’t address why the problem happened in the first place. It may be that the material has simply outlived its useful lifespan. In that case, you may get away with replacing a small area and waiting another year or two before everything else needs to be replaced as well.
But it’s possible that the shingle damage was caused by an underlying issue, in which case you will be right back where you started if you don’t address that, too. To avoid frequent, costly visits from your favorite roofing contractor, make sure they thoroughly investigate to find potential problem sources. Address those before repairing the shingles, and you’ll save yourself time and money. Otherwise, you are just putting a bandaid on a wound that will never heal.
As a homeowner, it can be tempting to ignore your roof and hope it continues doing its job, but that leads to more problems and significant expenses over time. Be honest with yourself about the status of your roof and the implications of going cheap on materials, approaches, or roofing contractors. A trusted roofing contractor can discuss options and features to help you make decisions you won’t regret.