The age of your roof is usually the major factor in determining when to replace it. Most roofs last many years if properly installed and often can be repaired rather than replaced. An isolated leak usually can be repaired. The average life expectancy of a typical residential roof is 15 to 20 years. Water damage to a home's interior or overhangs is commonly caused by leaks from a single weathered portion of the roof, poorly installed flashing, or from around chimneys and skylights. These problems do not necessarily mean you need a new roof. Fire-Resistant Materials
Some roofing materials, including asphalt shingles and especially wood shakes, are less resistant to fire than others. When wildfires and brush fires spread to houses, it is often because burning branches, leaves, and other debris buoyed by the heated air and carried by the wind fall on roofs. If the roof of your house is covered with wood or asphalt shingles, you should consider replacing them with fire-resistant materials. You can replace your existing roofing materials with slate, terra cotta or other types of tile, or standing-seam metal roofing. Replacing roofing materials is difficult and dangerous work. Unless you are skilled in roofing and have all the necessary tools and equipment, you will probably want to hire a roofing contractor to do the work. Also a roofing contractor can advise you on the relative advantages and disadvantages of various fire-resistant roofing materials. Hiring a Licensed Contractor
One of the best ways to select a roofing contractor is to ask friends or relatives for recommendations. You may also contact a professional roofers association for referrals. Professional associations have stringent guidelines for their members to follow. The roofers association in your area will provide you with a list of available contractors. Follow these guidlines when selecting a contractor...
- Get three references and review past work
- Get at least three bids.
- Get a written contract and don't sign anything until you completely understand the terms.
- Pay 10 percent down or $1,000 whichever is less.
- Don't let payments get ahead of the work.
- Don't pay cash.
- Don't make final payment until you're satisfied with the job.
- Don't rush into repairs or be pressured into making an immediate decision
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