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 properly diverting rainwater and moisture away from the roof deck underneath, and hence the risk of leaks and eventual water damage 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/underlayment, flashing, ice and 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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Roof Financing – How to Pay for a New Roof – The Ultimate Guide

When the time comes, replacing your roof is a big, important, investment. Since a new roof can cost $10,000 or more, paying cash is not an option for most homeowners. Financing, by taking out a home equity line of credit or a home improvement loan, is how most homeowners pay for the roof they need.

A new asphalt shingle roof with PV solar panels
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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A line of credit or a loan allows a homeowner to pay in installments spread out over time, which is easier to handle than an upfront cash payment in full. This guide will help you sort out the different types of home renovation loans so you can find the one that best meets your needs.

The first step is to contact at least three licensed contractors to discuss your roofing options and to get estimates on the cost of a new roof. Knowing how much your new roof will cost will help determine which type of financing works best for you.

Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)

HELOCs are revolving credit lines that typically come with variable interest rates. Your monthly payment amount will depend on the current interest rates and your loan balance.

HELOCs are very similar to credit cards, except the rates are generally significantly lower because your home serves as a collateral, whereas credit cards are considered a form of unsecured debt (with some of the debt often becoming uncollectable for Credit Card companies, hence requiring high interest rates) with much higher interest rates.

Once, you are approved for a certain HELOC amount, you can then draw any amount, at any time, up to your credit limit. You can pay the loan down or off at will.

HELOCs have two phases. During the draw period, you use the line of credit as needed, and your minimum payment may cover only the interest due for that month.

However, eventually, usually after ten years, the HELOCs draw period ends and your loan enters the repayment phase. At this point, you can no longer draw funds and the loan becomes fully amortized for the remaining years.

HELOCs offer low closing costs and are very convenient. They offer low monthly payments during the draw period. The downside of these loans is that they use variable interest rates, meaning the interest rate can rise in tandem with the Federal Reserve’s prime rate.

Also, your monthly payments can significantly increase once the repayment phase begins and you begin paying both the interest and the principle on the loan.

Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage

You might be able to use your homeowner’s insurance policy to cover the cost of a new roof. Many homeowners’ insurance policies also include roof replacement insurance, and hence will cover roof replacement if the roof was severely damaged by fire, wind, or hail. However, if your roof degraded due to age and general wear-and-tear and/or due to a lack of maintenance (no roof cleaning, allowing moss outgrowth, not dealing with issues like loose shingles in time, etc.), the insurance company won’t cover the replacement. One thing to consider is that making a claim on your insurance will, most likely, raise your premium in the future.

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