How Roof Repairs Work | Understanding the Roofing Process

September 10, 2021

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Are you a homeowner asking how roof repairs work and what is needed for the most common roof fixes? It’s always an excellent idea to know as much as possible about home maintenance and repair, including roof damage and needed fixes, as this can help you keep your home in good condition over the years.

Roof repairs start with a full inspection, checking for damaged and missing shingles or tiles, worn flashing, and cracked vent booting. Roofing contractors will also check for damaged decking, underlayment, drip edges, and gutters, and also inspect inside the house for signs of water leaks.

Knowing more about the process of how roof repairs work can help you discuss needed fixes with a roofing contractor. You can also know when it’s best to replace your home’s roof versus scheduling repairs.

understanding how roof repairs work

A homeowner might also note why it’s best to leave needed repairs and other roofing work to a professional rather than trying to address needed fixes themselves. This will ensure quality fixes that last and help you avoid otherwise unnecessary repair costs.

How Roof Repairs Work

Check out some added details about the roof repair process and how a roofing contractor determines the work needed for your structure.

How roofs are constructed

First note how roofs are constructed, as a roof is built in layers rather than just one solid piece attached to a building’s framing. Roofs start with wood joists and rafters, which are then attached to a building’s overall framing. These joists and rafters hold up the weight of roofing materials and give the roof its shape.

Insulation is installed over these rafters. Plywood decking, which provides a solid foundation for the rest of the layers, is then installed. An ice and water barrier is next, along with felt or another underlayment material, to provide added insulation against outside weather and sound. Shingles, tiles, and flashing, which are metal pieces attached around corners and crevices, are then installed.

What’s included in a roof inspection

roof inspection before repair

Roof repairs should always start with a full inspection, and this can include inspecting interior spaces as well as the roof itself. Once a roof cracks and starts to leak, this can leave behind water stains in an attic or along second-story ceilings. Note other signs of roof damage a contractor might look for during an inspection:

  • Missing shingles or tiles need immediate replacing. A roofing contractor should also inspect exposed underlayment and decking for cracks and other damage.
  • Roofing contractors will inspect fascia and soffits, or the edges and underside of roof edges, for damage. Peeling paint, cracks, and other damage can indicate damaged shingles or decking and needed repairs.
  • Roof vent bootings are rubber gaskets placed at the base of vents, to keep out water and keep the vents in place. Cracked vent booting often indicates roof damage and needed repairs; damaged vents also need replacing.
  • Buckled or curled shingles need replacing. It’s also vital to check the underlayment and decking underneath curled shingles for water damage or cracks. Buckled or curled shingles are also a common sign of poor roof venting, so a roof repair contractor will need to check roof vents for needed repair or replacement.
  • Dips or sagging areas along a roof’s surface typically indicate damaged decking and can also result from cracked roof rafters and joists. This framing might need replacing during the roof repair process.
  • When shingles lose granules due to age, storm damage, or something scraping on the roof, those granules usually end up in gutters or along the home’s lawn. A roofing contractor might inspect these areas of a property for granules, nails, and other signs of needed shingle replacement.
  • Roof repair contractors will also inspect shingles and tiles for signs of age and excessive wear; this can include fading, shrinking, loosening or pulling away from the roof, or other such damage.

The process - how roof repairs work

Once a roof repair contractor has found damaged areas of the roof, he or she will remove shingles or tiles as needed and then make repairs or replacements to the layers under those pieces. Replacing damaged or missing shingles or tiles and flashing is the last part of this process.

Can a Roof Be Repaired Instead of Replaced?

Whether or not a roof can be repaired rather than replaced depends on its age and the extent of the damage. For example, if tree branches have scraped away the granules and damaged shingles along one small section of your home’s roof, a contractor can repair the underlayment and then replace those shingles as needed.

repairing vs replacing a roof

While a roof can often be repaired rather than replaced, there are times when full roof replacement is the better option. Note a few considerations to keep in mind when it comes to repairing versus replacement, and discuss your options with a roofing contractor near you as needed.

  • How old is the roof? If it’s nearing the end of its lifespan, you’ll probably need to replace its major components within the next few years. Rather than investing in repairs now and a new roof a few years from now, consider an entirely new roof once it nears the end of its expected lifespan.
  • How extensive is the damage? If you need to replace a large number of shingles or if the roof would need extensive patching, you might consider investing in a new roof altogether.
  • Might you put your home on the real estate market in a few years? An old, damaged roof can lower buyer offers or make your house less desirable altogether, while a new roof can be a selling feature that attracts buyers!
  • A new metal, clay tile, or slate roof might be the last roof you’ll ever purchase for your home! Investing in durable materials built to last for decades can mean never having to worry about roof replacement in the future. In turn, you can plan your finances without necessarily having to worry about the cost of roof replacement in a few years.

What To Do If You Can’t Afford a New Roof?

Roof repairs and replacement can be expensive, but they are also an investment in your structure’s overall condition. A roof not only keeps out water, snow, and ice, but roofs also help to hold up a structure, displacing its weight across the roof span. Roofs also insulate a structure, keeping in your heating and cooling.

If you can’t afford a new roof, you might consider a home improvement or home equity loan, which uses the equity in your house as collateral. These loans are often easier to obtain and have lower interest rates than credit cards and other such loans.

Roof repair companies might also offer to finance, working with lenders specializing in loans needed for home improvement projects. These loans might also be easier to get and offer lower interest than a loan from your bank.

You might also ask your roofing contractor about dividing up the work over a few years. Your roofing contractor might make major repairs one year and then other needed patching next year, as an example. For full-scale replacement, he or she might replace one-quarter of the roof every year so you can spread those costs over a four-year period, as another example.

Further Details About How Roof Repairs Work - Tying a New Roof To an Existing Roof

In some cases, a roofing repair contractor can install new shingles or other materials over existing roofing, rather than pulling up those shingles or tiles. This isn’t always the best option or even allowed by building codes, and should be considered carefully.

working on a roofing repair

For example, shingles or tiles in poor condition won’t keep new shingles and tiles in place. Curled or buckled shingles can allow new shingles to also buckle or pull away from the roof. That buckling also creates gaps that can lead to water leaks and damage.

To repair decking and underlayment, a roofer will usually need to remove shingles and tiles anyway! Just adding new roofing materials over the existing shingles won’t fix damaged decking and can lead to even more extensive and costly repairs.

Property owners also need to realize that shingles especially are very heavy. Adding another layer of shingles to existing roofing can put too much weight on decking and roof framing, risking cracks and other damage.

How Long Does a Roof Patch Last?

The quality of roofing materials you choose and its installation will affect how long a roof patch might last. Most patching materials and new shingles are guaranteed for at least 20 years or more; however, this doesn’t mean you won’t need to schedule added roof repairs in that time!

One vital consideration is if you also address anything causing roof damage to your property; for example, tree branches scraping on roof shingles might need patching. If roof vents are blocked or damaged, those new roof materials and patching will soon suffer moisture damage no matter their durability.

Installing a new roof layer over a damaged layer will also mean premature damage, as said. Low-quality materials and DIY patching will also last for far fewer years than if you invest in durable materials and professional installation.

Are Roofers Responsible for Leaks?

Roofers are responsible for anything that falls under their guarantee for workmanship. If it’s determined that your structure is suffering leaks due to poor-quality installation or work, you might be eligible for repairs at no cost.

new roof construction springfield

However, roofers are not responsible for damage due to factors outside their work and especially if they note fixes your property needs to protect their repairs. For instance, if they note that your home’s gutters are clogged and that the roof is absorbing that standing rainwater, they probably won’t be responsible for repairs if you don’t invest in a leaf guard or gutter cleaning.

Property owners also need to remember that roof materials are guaranteed only for a certain time period. If leaks occur after their warranty is expired, your roofer is probably not obligated to simply replace those materials for free!

Installing Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is a thin metal installed along various points of the roof, to create channels needed for directing water off the roof. Flashing might be installed where roof materials meet a vertical surface, such as a chimney or dormer, or around obstructions on the roof such as vents or satellite dishes.

Flashing is pliable so that it bends somewhat easily, or a roofer might use prefabricated flashing already bent and sized for various applications. Flashing is applied with a sealant, which helps create a watertight surface, and then nailed or screwed into place.

Roof flashing installation is best left to a professional roofer, as incorrect or poor-quality installation risks water damage. A roofer will also ensure to use the best flashing for your roof type and for the particular area being covered, for maximum protection and best results over the years.

Knowing When You Need Roof Repairs

Sometimes it’s obvious that a structure’s roof needs repairs; you might notice large patches of missing shingles or “bald spots” along the roof, or severe sagging. Water stains on the ceiling that are not the result of a plumbing leak can also indicate needed roof repair.

new roof construction springfield

A property owner should avoid getting onto a roof themselves, but you can often spot curled or buckled shingles from the ground or a ladder close to the roof. You might also note algae growing between shingles and shingle granules clogging the home’s gutters, all of which indicate that it’s time to call a roof repair contractor!

Regular roof inspections can also spot developing damage, allowing your contractor to fill in small gaps and cracks before they spread. He or she can also note aging shingles or tiles, torn flashing, and other signs that it might be time to start budgeting for full roof replacement.

If you’re still wondering how roof repairs work, turn to the trusted Springfield roof repair contractors here at The Springfield Roofers. We offer full-service roof repairs and new roof installation, at competitive prices. We also guarantee all our work in writing! To get started, give us a call today.

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