Should I Patch or Replace an Asphalt-Shingle Roof?
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Gary in New York on the line who’s got a question about a new roof. How can we help you with that?
GARY: Back in 2011, down here Binghamton, New York, we had had a flood hit pretty bad. And we had thought that part of the storm that rolled through had damaged our roof. Turns out that the insurance company found out that the roof tiles weren’t installed correctly. I guess they had tacked them in too high and with too much PSI, I guess, with the air hammer or whatever.
And that’s long-term, so we had a patch actually sliding down, which we paid to have fixed. It was probably about 350, 400 bucks to have it patched. And now, couple years later, we have another patch that’s very close to the original patch job that’s starting to slide down, as well. And I have never really looked into getting a new roof. I was kind of curious what you guys might have for advice for me.
TOM: So, Gary, the old roof is a standard asphalt-shingle roof?
GARY: I believe so, yeah.
TOM: Because when you say tile that slid down, I think you’re just saying – you should explain that the shingle slid down.
TOM: And so, Gary, at this point, you just want to figure out the best way to replace that existing asphalt-shingle roof, correct?
GARY: Well, one of the questions me and my wife have been discussing is the last time we paid to have this patched, where we had the problem where a large portion was sliding down, we paid like 350, 400 bucks. And it lasted about three or four years before we saw any other problems.
What we’re curious about is there’s probably about – I think it was – we figured out about nine years left on the life of the roof, from when it was installed. And we were curious if we should just keep patching it at 300, 400 bucks a year – 300, 400 bucks every couple of years…should we replace it, or should just go ahead and get a whole new roof?
TOM: How long are you going to be in the house?
GARY: If we win the lottery, I’m not moving unless they heckle me too much.
TOM: So, you intend to be in this for most of the life of the roof, whether it’s the existing one or a new one?
GARY: We’re looking at staying in this house for pretty much as long as we live.
TOM: Well, I mean if it’s 300 bucks and it’s going to last you three or four years and you’ve got to do it once in a while, I might be OK with patching. But I guess if I had to do that time and time again, then I would start thinking about a new roof. And if I was going to do a new roof, I would remove the old roof, right down to the roof sheathing, and then reroof from there. It’s not a good idea to pul a second layer of shingles on top of the existing layer.
First of all, the second layer of shingles never lasts as long because the first layer holds a lot of heat. Plus, you’ve already got attachment problems with that first layer, so you wouldn’t want to compound it by putting more roofing shingles on top of that. So, I guess I’d be tempted to do it once or twice but after that, I’d be ready for a new roof.
GARY: OK. I guess the other question that I had had – and in regards to this – is about a year or two after we had the patch job done, we had had insulation put into the attic. And that cost us a pretty penny to get done because we had – I think it was R30 insulation installed and they had to sister out the joists on the rafters and everything. And since then, we hadn’t noticed any water infiltrating but we just put up drywall inside the attic, as well. Is there any way to check and see if there’s water infiltration?
TOM: Well, if there’s water infiltration you’re going to see it, especially if you have drywall, because it’s going to stain. So, if you’re not seeing it, then I wouldn’t expect that you’re getting any leakage.
GARY: And considering we’re in upstate New York, do we have to worry about the weather? Like when should we get the roof redone if we choose to do so?
TOM: Yeah. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do it mid-winter, obviously, but any other time of the year it’s fine. One of the things that you might want to consider when you do redo the roof, because you are in upstate New York, is to make sure that you have ice-and-water shield installed. This is an additional layer of roofing material that goes from the edge of the roof up 3 or 4 feet into the roof structure.
And it’s specifically designed so that if you get an ice dam, where ice forms at the gutter line, and then the snow above that starts to melts, that water is not going to hit the dam and back up into the house. And because you’re going to pull the old shingles off, it’s the perfect opportunity to do that.
LESLIE: And you know what, Gary? Here’s a tip from somebody who just had their roof redone last summer: get yourself one of those nail magnets. It’s like a big magnet on a stick that you kind of wander around your backyard with? Because I swear we still find nails in the backyard that show up at the most random times in the most random places. So no matter how well your guys look, there’s still going to be more.
And also, if you are going to be home at all during this project, try to get out. Because let me tell you, being in your home – I had a little guy, a youngish baby at the time. Charlie was only like six months. It was the loudest, most unnerving thing to deal with: the sound of people on your roof and hammers and …
TOM: It’s like being awake during surgery.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s like you’re under attack. We just had to get the heck out of the house. So it’s like try to make plans to not be around.
TOM: Alright, Gary. Hope that helps you out.
GARY: Thank you very much.