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When Is It Time To Replace the Roof?

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    LESLIE: Lane in Texas is wondering if it’s time to replace that roof. Lane, how old is it?

    LANE: Ten years old.

    TOM: Mmm.

    LESLIE: Ten years old. You’re almost there. What’s it looking like?

    LANE: I had two opinions on there; waiting on a couple other estimates to come out. One guy climbed on the roof, walked on it and said he felt a couple soft spots. Another guy says that he can’t tell by that; you have to look at the eaves. See if the eaves are sagging. And he said there’s only one part of the eave that he said he’d be concerned about; on the backside of the house.

    TOM: What do you see? I mean why did you pick up the phone and call the guy? I mean did you see a leak or something?

    LANE: No, didn’t see a leak. It’s on a double wide mobile home and my neighbor down the street – his home is a little younger than ours is – and he found a couple patches in his roof when he had it replaced. And he found he did have a leak. So I’m using his blessing before his roof came in (laughing) to get ours checked out.

    TOM: Is this a flat roof? A low slope roof? Or is it a pitched roof?

    LANE: It has a little slope roof.

    TOM: OK. Well, 10 years on a low slope roof is pretty much the end of the normal life cycle.

    LESLIE: How does the slope affect the lifetime?

    TOM: Well, if you have a very, very low slope, it’s going to take a lot more wear and tear than if you had a very steep roof. So let’s say, for example, you had a 12 on 12 pitch on an asphalt shingle roof.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: That’s like a 45-degree roof. I’ll tell you, that roof could go like 25, 35 years. When you get down to a flat or a low slope roof, you’re lucky if you get 10 years out of it. So, I would say that, you know, regardless of whether you’re getting leaks, if you got … not getting a leak right today, you probably don’t have to replace it today. But it would not be money wasted …

    LESLIE: To replace it.

    TOM: … for you to replace that roof – exactly – in the next, you know, day to year or two years. You know what I mean? I mean, at this age …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (laughing) In the next now. Tomorrow.

    TOM: (chuckling) Yeah. At this age … right. At this age, you’re not going to be throwing your money away. Just I would concentrate on making sure I got the best possible roofer because when you have low slope roofing or flat roofing, if you don’t have good workmanship, it’s a big, stinking mess. I mean it really comes down to the workmanship as to whether or not that roof’s going to perform like it should be performing.

    LANE: OK. We’ve got a couple of estimates. We’re waiting on a couple of more. We’re planning on doing this in February.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I would say to you, being price sensitive is fine, but make sure you be skill sensitive and make sure you’re working with somebody who’s well known in the neighborhood …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Get references.

    TOM: … and has done a good job for other people. Get references. Exactly.

    LESLIE: And check them.

    TOM: Don’t just go for the cheap guy because you might get a bad job. OK?

    LANE: OK, sir.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: You got a “sir.” You command authority there, Tom.

    TOM: I did. I did. (laughing)

    LESLIE: I would have been upset if there was a ma’am reference because, you know, I’m only 15.

    TOM: (laughing) Yes, ma’am.

    LESLIE: But sir was. (chuckling) Hey.
     

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