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Did the Harsh Winter Wreck Havoc on Your Roof?

Mar 26, 2014

This winter has been tough on most Michiganders mentally and physically. Its also been tough on their roofs. Roofing contractors like us are expecting a busy roofing season this spring. Homeowners start to notice roof damage when things begin to thaw. It has been one of the coldest winters people can recall — and one of the snowiest, too.

Has the winter left your roof beyond repair?
Has the winter left your roof beyond repair?

“Homeowners can find damage from the winter weather in the loose shingles, skylights, piping, chimneys and any part that penetrates the roof,” said, Patrick Ward, President of C&L Ward. Ice and snow can easily build up around these, melting during the daytime and freezing at night. “These constant freeze-thaw cycles can cause damage to the roof and the accessory materials,” he said.

Other problem spots are valleys, where two slopes intersect on the roof, such as around dormers, where ice and snow can build up. Ice dams can cause problems with gutters and shingles.

Sometimes the damage comes from homeowners trying to clear their roofs of the ice dams, or removing the snow itself. Even though the media recommends people should clear their roofs, more damage is done when they clear them if the roof was old or brittle to begin with. The wrong move could create a bigger problem and they end up with shingles on the ground and leaks because of it.

Roofing is expecting a boom this season not only because of the harsh winter, but because during the past several years, homeowners have put off doing work on their roofs, because of the shaky economy. A roof has been the last thing they want to spend their money on.  This winter may have pushed procrastinators to the point where a roof needs to be replaced and not repaired.

If winter did a number on your roof, consider the following:

Stay off the roof.

Some people are capable, and they do some of their own checking on the exterior of their home. But we don’t encourage homeowners to go up on their roof.  It can be a dangerous task, unless you follow certain safety guidelines, so homeowners are often better hiring a professional to do the check.

Hire a reputable roofing contractor.

Beware of unsolicited offers to fix your roof problems. After big storms or hail events “scammers” or one man operations will try to drain money from unsuspecting homeowners and take off. To find a reputable company, gather recommendations and interview a few contractors before giving them the job. In the state of Michigan, roofers are required to be licensed and bonded, like we are; always check the status of their license and insurance. While you’re at it, make sure they have a good reputation with the Better Business Bureau, like we do.

Look on the inside, too.

At C&L Ward, we like to take a look in the attic for visible signs of water, in addition to the exterior inspection. This also provides an opportunity to look at ventilation and insulation in the attic, he said.

Repairs aren’t cheap.

Typically, roof repairs can start around $199 and can go as high as $2,000.  C&L Ward’s estimate for basic repairs, such as when shingles are blown off: Anywhere from $200 to $600. Remember, these are just ballpark estimates and will be assessed when the service technician comes out.

But replacements are much more expensive.

A replacement on a typical asphalt shingle roof costs depend on how many layers of roof are already on there. The more layers, the more labor intensive the job will be and the more disposal fees you’ll be subject to. C&L Ward estimates the cost to adding a new asphalt roof on an average three-bedroom home costs between $8,000 and $12,000. A metal roof will cost about double that of an asphalt roof, however, that roof type can last up to 50-years.

  Source:  MarketWatch

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