The Ultimate Guide to Getting a New Roof in 2021 – Homeowner’s Guide

A new roof is a costly investment with practical and aesthetic implications – the roof is your home’s most important protection against rain, snow, and nature’s elements. The roof can also significantly impact the appeal of your home in the eyes of potential buyers.

GAF Timberline HD Shingles Roof

This guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes to re-roofing, whether it’s adding a new layer of roofing to the existing roof, or tearing off and replacing the old roof.

Seven Signs You Need a New Roof

Here are the indicators that your roof should be re-shingled or replaced to maintain your home’s defense against the elements:

  • Shingles are visibly worn: Are there so many of the colored granules gone that your roof looks like it has bald spots? While the shingles might still be keeping moisture out, a lack of reflective granules allows excess heat into your home, raising the temperature inside your house and increasing your air conditioning costs. Furthermore, once exposed, the underlying asphalt will soon dry out and crack, and then your roof will be susceptible to leaks.

  • Shingles are cupped and curled:

    Curled-up old shingles

    This issue looks bad, but more importantly, it means wind-driven water and moisture can easily get under the shingles and into your roof deck where it might cause leaks and rot.

  • Shingles are cracked: The cracked areas aren’t keeping moisture off the deck, and the risk of leaks goes way up.

    Cracks or thermal splitting in asphalt shingles
    via Structure Tech

  • Your neighbors are getting new roofs: This is more than “keeping up with the Joneses.” When homes built about the same time as yours are being re-roofed, your roof is probably about due.

  • You’ve experienced multiple leaks: Your roof is an entire structure, not just the shingles. Deck paper, flashing, moisture barrier in valleys, starter shingles, vent stack boots and other components are part of an entire roofing system. As the roof ages and several of its components or locations fail, the roof should be replaced.

  • The roof has experienced major damage:

    hail damaged roof shingles

    If more than about 35% of the roof is going to need a repair due to wind or hail damage, then the most cost-effective decision might be to replace it altogether.

    Repair is costlier on a per square foot basis because it is more time-consuming to integrate new shingles into the existing roof “here and there” than to install them over the entire roof. Plus, a mix of old shingles and new just won’t look very good.

  • Your roof looks bad: Cosmetics and aesthetics do matter to homeowners and potential buyers. If your roof is worn, has algae staining that won’t clean up or has patches of moss on it, boosting its appearance with a new layer of shingles will make a very nice difference.

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If none of these reasons to get a new roof apply, then you’re probably done here! If you’re not sure about your roof’s condition, hiring a home inspector or roofing contractor to inspect it can be a preventative measure before a roof failure and the extensive and expensive damage it can cause.

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Major Exterior Remodeling Upgrades for Fall, Plus Costs & ROI

Fall home exterior remodeling projects make sense for two reasons:

  • The weather is ideal for several outdoor home renovations
  • Getting your home’s exterior ready for winter is a mark of wise home-ownership

Here are the top autumn remodeling upgrades for the outside of your home, their cost range and the potential return on investment they bring:

  1. Replace the Entry Doors and Garage Door

via Eco View

Replacing any door, whether garage or entry, that faces the street, will boost your home’s curb appeal while also increasing the value and salability of your property. Even if you’re not planning on selling your house any time soon, giving your home’s exterior a practical face lift will help increase the enjoyment of your home for the whole family. The benefits of new exterior doors include:

  • Better aesthetics: New, good-looking doors make a great impression on guests, neighbors and potential buyers, if you list your home.
  • Improved energy efficiency: Replacing old doors that have settled and no longer fit well with new, insulated doors lowers heat transfer out of the house in winter and into the house in summer. When the doors are being replaced, the installer should also check for and replace any loose caulk around window and door frames.
  • A safer home and family: Home security relies on strong, secure doors as a first defense. A reliable garage door keeps potential thieves out. It can also prevent one of the thousands of injuries to children, adults and pets caused every year by old, faulty garage doors falling unexpectedly or failing to reverse motion if an object is in the way.

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Asphalt Roofing Shingles: Costs, Pros & Cons – The Ultimate Guide

Asphalt shingles still dominate the US roofing industry, accounting for more than 70% of all residential, sloped roofs including new construction and replacements. That’s probably why you’re here – asphalt shingles are on the short list of materials you’re considering for your home, garage, or business.

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GAF Timberline HD Birchwood Architectural Asphalt Shingles on a Cross-Cable Roof with two dormers
Source: GAF

However, not all asphalt shingle roofing products are created equal. This guide will help you:

  • Understand the main types of asphalt shingles
  • Compare top products and brands from most popular manufacturers
  • Ultimately choose the best asphalt shingle type and style for your home

What are Asphalt Shingles?

There are many reasons for the popularity of asphalt shingles, and we’ll cover them in the pros and cons section, but the main reasons are low cost and ease of installation – the combination of low cost and fairly decent durability and longevity.

Note: If you come across a discussion of organic shingles in your research, the information is likely quite old or encyclopedic. Organic shingles didn’t perform up to the expectations of quality and performance, so most manufacturers stopped making them in 2008.

Did you know? The longevity of any asphalt shingle product is determined by the shingle thickness and quality of construction. More on that below:

Composition of a modern asphalt shingle:

  1. Fiberglass mat: The core of today’s durable asphalt shingles is fiberglass mat. This material is chosen because it is lightweight, resists tearing, and holds asphalt very well.
  2. Asphalt: The fiberglass mat is run through a saturator tank where the glass fibers are thoroughly coated with hot asphalt, a petroleum-based material used for its strong resistance to moisture. The weight and toughness of the asphalt is useful for wind and hail impact resistance.
  3. Mineral granules: The part of the asphalt shingle that will be exposed to the elements is coated with mineral granules that are available in a wide range of colors.
    — Shingles can be given a single color to produce a solid-color shingle or a blend of colored granules for a more nuanced look.
    — The ceramic-coated granules also reflect the UV rays of the sun – the single worst threat to shingles.
  4. Sealant strips: Continuous or intermittent lines of raw asphalt are applied to the top part of each shingle that will be covered by the next layer installed. The sealant strip bonds the shingles together once they heat up in sun and warmth.

Did you know? The sunnier a climate is, the shorter the lifespan of the average shingle will be. One of the ways to extend the lifespan of an asphalt roof in a sunny climate such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, is to opt for a solar-reflective, light colored shingles designed to reflect solar radiant heat and UV radiation.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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