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During the summer months in the Pacific Northwest, all sorts of construction is happening. With the rain out of the way, homeowners can finally get to those residential projects that have been waiting impatiently on their to-do lists. One of the biggest home upkeep projects is roof replacement, which is something that every homeowner or landlord will have to face every decade or two. Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a seasoned residential upkeep expert, these recommendations on residential roof replacement will help make your next roofing job a little easier.

First of all, what is a roof replacement?

Before getting started on your roofing project, it is important to understand what exactly this update entails. A full roof replacement involves completely stripping away all of the old components and installing brand-new materials and equipment to keep your roof in tip-top shape. A roof is actually composed of 9 different components, including roof shingles, roof flashing, underlayment, and more. All of that considered, redoing your roof is much more complicated than tearing off the old shingles and patching on the new ones.

How often do I have to replace my roof?

Your roof in most cases will simply need some TLC throughout the year to stay functional. When installed correctly with quality materials, your roof should last anywhere between 12 and 20 years before needing to be fully replaced. You may encounter damaged shingles or other materials now and then, but most homeowners can easily go a decade before they need to begin planning for a roof replacement. How often you have to undergo this project largely depends on the type of roof you choose, so make sure you understand the difference between your available options before making your decision.

So what materials should I choose for my roof replacement?

There are many different options available for roof replacement, though most modern homes are being constructed with asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles can be classified as either composition (also called 3-tab) or architectural, and each come with their own considerations. Composition shingles are more affordable upfront, but may require more maintenance or have to be replaced more frequently because they are less durable. Architectural shingles have a higher upfront cost but are able to withstand inclement weather, meaning they will last much longer.

Other options available include wood shake shingles, metal shingles, and cement shingles. Wood is a classic material, though this option does often require much more maintenance to prevent natural decay caused by trapped moisture, such as under piles of leaves. Metal and cement roofs are extremely durable and can last 50 years or more because of their ability to handle harsh weather conditions such as storms and high sun exposure. Both materials will still require upkeep to stay viable for many decades to come, but overall their durability and versatility make them great options for your roof replacement. One caveat with these two materials is that they are both challenging to install and expensive to buy, so labor costs and upfront purchases will be much higher than asphalt or wood shingles. It is important to weigh your options to see which benefits are most important to you and what can reasonably fit into your budget.

How much does a roof replacement cost, anyway?

Speaking of budget, it’s important to think about how much something like this will cost. Many homeowners are eager to save up enough money to finally have their own place, but may fail to realize that homeownership comes with many unforeseen maintenance costs. Your roof is one of the most costly projects required with your home, though luckily it may only need to be done once or twice during your lifetime, especially with proper care. The chosen materials, selected labor, and square footage of your home are all factors that can impact the overall cost of a roof replacement, though on average this project falls somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000. It is important to shop multiple companies to make sure you are getting the best rate with quality workmanship and materials.

How do I find the right roofing contractor?

There are many qualified contractors in the Pacific Northwest that specialize in roof repair and replacement. The key things to look for when choosing a contractor is that they are licensed, bonded, and insured. This means that the work they do is guaranteed and that if something goes wrong with the project, damage is done to your home, or someone is hurt because of their work, you can seek financial compensation to make it right. This is a huge consideration and should never be overlooked, even if your neighbor is extremely handy and replaced his own roof multiple times. You always want to make sure you are working with a qualified professional that is prepared for the worst-case scenario, just in case.

Another important note is to find a professional that you trust and that has your best interest at heart. This can be tricky to determine from a webpage, so take the time to contact a few places and talk to their staff to get an idea of how the project will go. Did they answer your call within the first few rings or did you get placed on hold? Were they interested in learning more about you or in upselling their most expensive products? This can be an important conversation that will give you insight into what working with this company will be like during the course of your project. Having your roof redone won’t happen overnight and is a huge investment, so it is always smart to take the time to search around and find a contractor that is knowledgeable, professional, and readily available.

Can I do the job myself?

While home renovation projects and DIY activities can be a lot of fun, your roof isn’t the time to feed your inner handyman. Roof replacements come with a lot of regulations, paperwork, time, energy, and industry knowledge. Unless you have firsthand commercial experience installing a roof, it is always recommended that you seek out a qualified professional to handle the job for you. They are trained and experienced in this unique home maintenance project and will be able to make sure everything is done up to code and is built to last. As tempting as it may be to save some money upfront and spend a few weekends pounding in shingles yourself, hiring a roofing contractor will be much better in the long run.

Tackling a roof replacement can be quite daunting, but with a little knowledge and the right team, it can be a simple and painless process. Before you start your roof replacement, contact your insurance company to make sure the chosen materials are acceptable and covered under your policy. Certain materials may be excluded or make you ineligible for coverage, so it is always wise to talk to an insurance professional first to make sure you can stay protected. Most insurance carriers also offer a new roof discount as a motivator and reward for maintaining your roof, so be sure to ask your insurance agent about this too. If you need help with your insurance coverage or are interested in getting a homeowners quote, contact our team of personal lines insurance agents to learn more!

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