Call a Roofing Contractor Before There's an Obvious Problem

When it comes to home maintenance, there are two basic types of projects: Those that can wait until something is obviously broken, and those that should not. Roofing falls firmly into the latter category.

By the time that it's obvious that you need roofing services, extensive damage has usually taken place. This is because of what has really happened when rain starts to come right through the roof. Even if a leak looks like just a pinhole, there is typically extensive damage above it. Tracing the water back up, it's easy to see why this is the case.

A leak in a shingled roof starts with a breach at the shingles. Water gets in here and then follows gravity to the lowest point that can be easily reached. This is typically some sort of depression in the next layer of material. There, it sits until it gets this area soggy enough that it can get through it. After that, it's on to the roof deck, which is not made to resist water by itself. Finally, it finds a crack between the roof deck boards and comes through. Only then – after at least two layers of non-waterproof materials have gotten soggy – does the water come through and alert you with its telltale drip-drip-drip noise.

By the time this happens, the roof layers have typically been wet for a long time. This is often long enough to cause rot to start. Then, the damaged materials will have to be replaced. As you can imagine, if you ignore the leak even after it has started its dripping, the rot in the roof just gets more extensive. After long enough, the entire roof deck may need replacement.

Because of this possibility, a roofing contractor will strongly recommend that you get your roof inspected on a regular basis. Timely inspections help to catch problems before they become too extensive – and too expensive – to easily fix.

It can seem surprising when roofing services tell you to fix something while it's only a patch job worth a couple of hundred dollars instead of waiting until they can do a $20,000 total roof replacement. One of the reasons they do this is simple: It's much harder for people to come up with $20,000, so waiting for it to become a big job carries a huge risk of not getting the work at all. It is also a lot more labor to rebuild a roof.

The upside to the customer is that he or she can save thousands by getting roof services right away. Therefore, a roofing contractor that spots a problem early deserves thanks.