American Roof Repair

Welcome to the website where you can find out all the information about Roof Repair. Whether you need information as a do-it-yourself homeowner, professional roofer or homeowner searching for a professional roofer, you will find it here.  Honestly, you can expect to leave this site with all your questions answered.  If you wish, use our Simple Roofing Calculator to instantly receive a roof estimate of how much it costs to replace your roof.  Or if you want a simple question answered this is the one stop information shop for you, built by Americans for Americans!

What is a Roof?

A roof is much more than simply a covering over the top of your home. It serves to protect the inside of your home from water and acts as a layer of insulation to keep the temperature of your home moderate.

There are many types of roofs, the most common are:

  • Flat – more often found on commercial buildings than residential homes
  • Skillion – a roof that has only one slope
  • Gable – found on homes that are A-framed
  • Mansard – basically a multiple slope roof

Beneath the roof is a layer consisting of a protective sheeting or coating called an underlayment.

This underlayment can take several forms:

  • Tar paper for asphalt shingled roofs
  • Paint or rubberized coating for metal roofs

Slate tiles require no underlayment.

Damage to your roof can occur in either of these layers from a number of causes, including wind, mold, hail, or excessive moisture. Not all roof damage can be seen from the outside.

Knowing these basic facts will help you best determine whether your roof is in need of a professional roof repair company or, if you have a knack for do-it-yourself projects, repairing the roof can be done on your own.

How to Know When Your Roof Needs to be Repaired

It can be dangerous and costly to believe a roof is structurally sound without having the information necessary to make a basic assessment. The main reason for having a roof is to keep out water when it rains. Any breach in the roof structure can lead to water leaking into the house and cause significant damage to furniture, walls, and ceilings.

Where you should look for damage to the roof depends on the type of material it is made from.  You must not overlook this step before you ask yourself how to shingle a roof? Shingle roofs can have missing or damaged shingles, or in some cases have protruding nails that indicate something is pushing up from under the exterior surface. Tile roofs can show signs of damage if the tiles are cracked or loose.

If you have a flat roof with a gravel covering, bare spots and standing water are two signs of potential trouble.

One concept that will help you better understand roof repair is flashing. Flashing is weatherproofing that redirects water away from the point where two separate structures meet. For example, a chimney is not part of the roof, but there is flashing around the base of the chimney where the chimney meets the roof. Areas where flashing can be worn down or damaged is another place to look during an evaluation.

Let’s Not Forget About the Weather

There are special weather events that can damage your roof as they are happening. One of these is hail. Hail can create damage that is very difficult to see from the ground level regardless of the type of roof material. If significant damage is done in your area by a hailstorm it is a good idea to have your roof checked for storm damage as soon as possible.

The other type of immediate weather event that has the potential to cause immediate damage resulting in roof repair is wind. However, this type of damage can most often be seen from the ground level by noticing loose tiles, a damaged eave, or connected structure.

If you are not certain about the type or extent of damage it is best to seek out a qualified contractor.

When to Call a Licensed Professional

There are many factors that need to be considered before hiring a professional for roof repair. The extent of the damage, the value of the home, and the amount of money the owner can afford to spend all enter into the final decision. Many contractors will provide a free estimate of the cost of repairs, so the homeowner will have a general idea of the cost.

One of the most important factors is the type of roof material needing to be repaired.

Standard asphalt shingles are what most homes are covered with. Their lifespan is between 15 and 20 years before requiring replacement. Most contractors are able to repair and install this type of material.

Dimensional shingles are becoming more popular as homeowners are seeking a more decorative appearance to their home. Instead of the 3-layer shingle that often has a brick wall appearance, decorative shingles are 2-layered and overlap, giving a more aesthetic appearance. More than decorative, they are also more functional than the 3-layered shingles. These types of shingles have a lifespan of more than 40 years before requiring replacement. The heavier construction material makes them less likely to warp over time and is very flexible as they can be used on most types of roofs

At the top of the line in roofing material are slate shingles. Made from sheets cut from layers of rock, they add considerable weight to the structure of the roof and house. Before considering slate shingles, consult with an expert to determine whether your house or housing can bear the additional weight. Another consideration is cost. The average cost of using slate is 15 to 20 times higher than asphalt shingles. From a long-term view, the life of a slate roof is likely to extend beyond your lifetime.

Metal Roofing

A metal roof is becoming more popular with homeowners for a number of reasons. The metal roof cost is more expensive than a standard asphalt roof, but there are advantages in the quality of the construction and long-term financial advantages that make a metal roof worth considering.

Among the choices for a metal roof, copper roofing is highly resistant to the weather and requires no additional care such as painting or finishing. If your roof has a unique shape, choosing a copper roof may be desirable as the natural qualities of copper make it easy to bend or shape around structures.

When looking at the long-term financial advantages of a metal roof, insurance companies often give discounts for metal roofs, while savings on energy costs can be as much as 40 percent a year. In most cases, the increased resale value of your home will recoup the money spent on replacement.

Metal Roof Painting Options

There are a number of paining options available, depending on your particular needs and environment. Buying a higher quality and more expensive paint can save you money in the long term, as the need for repainting will be minimized.

One modern choice is rubberized paint. This type of paint is a liquid rubber that has excellent adhesion properties and is ideal for extremely wet environments. It can also be used on existing tar roof systems as it can flow into cracks and create a rubberized seal. In hot climates, rubberized paint stretches and expands, reducing the possibility of shingles becoming cracked. It has properties that allow it to expand up to 1000% of the surface it is painted on.

How Much Will Hiring A Contractor Cost?

It is always best to know how much a roofing repair project will cost before calling a contractor. We have provided a roofing estimate calculator to help you get a realistic estimate of the total roof replacement cost.

Here is an explanation of the information you need to have to arrive at the best estimate:

  • Determine whether the roof requires a complete redo or you are only fixing an area of the roof. The estimated calculation will be more accurate when calculating a roof repair.
  • For a pitched roof, you will need to know the total living area roof size. The simplest way to calculate this measurement is to measure the length and width of the house. For a more accurate estimate, you will have to include the amount of overhang and slope. There is a separate section on how to calculate the overhang and slope.
  • The slope is the angle at which the roof drops from the peak. Entering the slope of the roof is usually presented as a drop down menu, meaning you can choose one of several options. The ranges available begin at the least amount of slope (simple or some) to the steepest angle (extreme or severe). It is a judgment call, and most people will select normal or average.
  • There is a more accurate calculation that can be done to arrive at the total living area but requires a few tools and some time. Click here for the detailed procedure.
  • If the roof is being totally replaced, then selecting the roof type is a matter of choosing the material you want your new roof to be. If it is a repair job, then you need to know the current type of tile being used to match with the existing roofing.

Does my old roof have to be completely removed if there is significant damage?

A severely damaged roof does not always require complete removal, but it can cost less than trying to repair a large area of damage. If the roof is a shingle type, then replacing the new roof over the old can actually be a better choice.

The first advantage is obvious. Constructing a new roof over the old adds a layer of protection. But if the damage is underneath the shingles, placing a new roof on top of the old will only make the problem worse. A professional contractor can assess the entire situation.

It is important to keep in mind that the lifespan of different roofing materials is a major consideration in deciding between roof repair and replacement. If your roof is more than 20 years old, serious consideration should be given to replacement because it is likely it will have to be completely replaced sooner than later.

What needs to be kept in mind during the decision-making process is that this is more than simply repairing a roof. It is an investment in the present comfort and future value of your home, whether you choose to sell it or not. The best effort will produce the best result.

Help Paying for the Roof Repair

The cost of replacing a roof can be expensive. What many homeowners do not realize is that in many cases your insurance company will cover the entire cost. Before starting on the project, contact your insurance company and meet with a representative to discuss if your policy will cover the cost, how much of the total cost will be reimbursed, and the specific reasons you are replacing the roof. When you know the amount the insurance company will reimburse you for, you will be in a better position to discuss costs with a licensed contractor before beginning the work.

Choosing to Do It Yourself

The alternative is to repair the roof yourself. This is not a decision to be made without careful consideration, because should the job be done incorrectly it can cost even more money and potentially cause further damage to the roof, in which case you will have to call a contractor. The person most likely to successfully do the job will be someone who has considerable experience as a do-it-yourselfer or has someone to help and direct through the process.

After the Repairs

Depending on the type of roof, there are a number of problems that are common yet also preventable. To reduce the chance of having to do repairs in the future, here are a few helpful tips.

While roofs are often damaged from the outside of the home, an overheated space below the roof can cause the underlayment to deteriorate faster. Keeping a moderate temperature and humidity level below the roof will maximize the life of the roof.

An attic fan is a simple and inexpensive way to keep air circulating and prevent moisture buildup that can be the beginning of mold or rot that will damage the roof.

Homeowners need to routinely check the roof, especially after a severe storm. Finding a problem early and fixing it will save money on future repairs.

Detailed Total Living Area Roof Size Calculation

To calculate a more accurate measurement for the cost calculator, you will need a basic calculator, tape measure, extension pole, and a roll of electrical tape. Read through how to obtain the measurements first. The details of how the final area size is determined will be explained at the end.

  • If you have a roof where the peak is centered in the house, the measurements are much simpler. Measure the length from one side of the house to the other. Since it is likely you will run into walls while measuring, you can measure each room and add 5 inches for every interior wall that you encounter. Once you add the total of the room space and interior walls, add an additional 7 inches to account for the exterior walls. Finally, estimate the roof overhang on the outside of the house and add that to the total. This is the Total Length Result.
  • To calculate the width, estimate the position of the roof peak and then measure the space from that point to one side of the house, adding 5 inches for each interior wall between the starting point and exterior wall. Add another 7 inches for the exterior wall. Multiply this result by 2 to get the total width of the house. This is the Total Width Result.
  • Remember that these instructions are for a centered roof. If your roof has a more complex design you will have to estimate both sides of the house to accurately determine the width. Use the same procedure except instead of multiplying one result by 2 you will add the result from the first width measurement and second width measurement.
  • Using the electrical tape, tape one end of the tape measure to the end of the extension pole and measure the distance from the peak of the roof to the lowest point of the roof. Take that measurement and multiply it by itself. This is the Peak Roof Result.

The calculation is completed by using a Geometry concept called the Pythagorean theorem, but you don’t need the details of how the answer is arrived at.

  • Multiply the Total Width Result by itself to get the Total Width Result Squared.
  • Add the Peak Roof Result and the Total Width Result Squared to get the Final Width.
  • Using your calculator, take the square root of the Final Width to get the Rooted Width.
  • Multiply the Total Length Result by the Rooted Width to get the Half Roof Size.

If your roof is centered, multiply the Half Roof Size by 2 to get the Total Living Area Roof Size.

If your roof is off-centered you will have to go back and do steps 2, 3 and 4 again, then add the two Half Roof Size results to get the Total Living Area Roof Size.

A roof is a vital part of your home, as problems on the outside can lead to problems inside the home. The decision to do-it-yourself roof repair requires a certain amount of knowledge and general do-it-yourself experience.  Licensed contractors bring the combination of knowledge and experience to the situation.  They can repair or replace the roof and guarantee their work, adding a measure of financial safety.

There are more choices for roofing material than before, allowing the homeowner to combine functionality and appearance.  The modern choices of material may be a bit more expensive but are more durable and have a longer lifespan, meaning a longer time between replacement or repair. Learning about these options will help you make a better decision, either now or later, when it becomes necessary.

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