Performing some routine maintenance on your home is always a good idea to ensure it’s safely holding up through the seasons.

Ideally, your roof should be inspected twice a year: in the spring and fall. By inspecting it in the early spring, you can fix any problems that happened during the winter and make sure your roof is ready to face the extreme summer elements like hail, wind, heat, and rain.

If you fail to address a current issue, the problem could grow and cause serious structural damage down the road. Even a small problem could make your home less energy efficient. If you have a leak somewhere, you might also be risking your health. The smallest leak can ultimately lead to mold, mildew, and rot.

If there’s a problem with your roof, having it repaired or replaced as early as possible can save you  a lot of money in the long run. Prioritizing the health of your roof will also extend the life of your roofing system and increase your home’s overall value.

In this roofing guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know from diagnosing problems with your roof to finding the perfect contractor. Already know what you’re looking for? Click a link below to jump right to that section.

Table of Contents

1. How to Tell If Your Roof Needs to Be Repaired or Replaced
2. Expert Tips for Replacing Your Roof
3. How to Find a Good Contractor
4. Download Our Complete Roofing Guide

How to Locate a Roof Leak

If you notice a stain forming on your ceiling when the snow starts to melt or when it rains, you may have a roof leak. If you have (safe) access to your attic, pinpointing the location of the leak should be fairly straightforward. An ideal time to locate a leak is during or shortly after it rains (if it’s not lightning). Otherwise, grab a friend to spray the roof with a hose for you on a dry day.

Next, inspect the underside of your roof using a flashlight. Look for signs of water damage to help locate where exactly your roof is leaking. Trace the water trail to its highest point. This is where your roof will need to be repaired and sealed. Call a roofer to repair the damaged area for you so it doesn’t spring a leak during the next big storm and cause more damage.

How to Tell If Your Roof Is Failing

One reason it’s so important to have your roof inspected by a professional is because certain types of damage are difficult to spot. Some problems form slowly and quietly over a long period and by the time you notice an issue, it could have already caused extensive damage to your roof and home.

Common Causes of Serious Roof Damage

  • Moisture
  • Strong winds
  • Tree moss
  • Pests
  • Falling debris
  • Hail
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Cold temperatures
  • Heat and UV Rays
  • Old age and deterioration

If your roof gets to the point where it’s showing any of the following signs, you could have a major problem that has been developing for a long time. Call a professional roofing contractor to address the issue immediately as these particular problems shouldn’t be attempted by an untrained individual. If your roof is failing, you could put your life at risk and cause more damage.

Warning Signs Your Roof Is Failing

  • It’s over 20 years old
  • Shingles are deteriorating or chipping off
  • You notice brown or dark colored water spots on your ceiling
  • Shingles are curling
  • Shingles are cracking
  • Your roof is sagging

The Best Time to Replace Your Roof

The best time of year to replace or repair your roof depends on two main factors: the weather and how busy your contractor is. It’s easiest for roofers to work during mild weather, so fall and spring offer the most ideal conditions.

You’ll want to avoid having your roof replaced during your roofer’s “peak” season. Not only will it be difficult to get an appointment during this time, but it will likely cost more for materials and installation. When the demand is higher, roofers are inclined to raise their prices. When this happens, it’s easy to give in and choose the cheapest contractor you can find, but don’t rush into anything. Replacing your roof is a big job, and if it’s done sloppily or using cheap materials, you’ll end up paying the price.

To avoid the rush—which commonly happens late summer through the fall—set up your roofing appointment early in the year. Aim for either spring, early summer, or late fall. If you wait until fall, you should still grab a time slot in the summer so you can find a good roofer and lock in a lower price.

Top Quality Roofing Materials

Choosing strong, durable roofing materials is vital. While asphalt shingle roofs are still popular for their affordability and variety, they won’t last as long as higher quality roofing materials. Two of the highest quality and longest lasting roofing types on the market today are metal roofs and architectural shingles. Both are durable, attractive, and should serve you well for far longer than traditional 3-tab shingles.

Architectural Shingles

If you like the look of conventional asphalt shingles but you want something that will last longer and require fewer repairs over time, consider installing architectural shingles. They will enhance the aesthetic value of your home and can be more cost effective over time. Up front, they cost more than conventional shingles, but they can potentially pay for themselves over time! Architectural shingle roofs typically last 25–30 years; 3-tab shingle roofs typically last closer to 15–20 years.

Other major benefits of architectural shingles include longer warranties, lower maintenance, numerous customization options, durability, fire resistance, and ease of installation.

Metal Roofs

You can choose from copper, steel, zinc, and aluminum when installing a metal roof. Gone are the days of only using metal for corrugated roofs on sheds and barns. Today, metal roofing materials are highly customizable and can be designed to mimic other types of roofs, like slate, shingle, or shake.

Metal roofs also last for decades longer than most other types of roofs. While they cost more than shingle roofs up front, they can end up serving you well for 40–70 years! Metal roofs can be highly energy efficient, are eco-friendly, and are 100% recyclable. Metal is also lightweight, strong (making it ideal for locations with extreme weather), and noncombustible.

What to Look for When Choosing a Roofing Contractor 

Whether you need a new roof installed or a repair done, it’s important to hire the right contractor. Without doing some background research, you can become the victim of a scam or receive poor quality service. Here are several boxes to check when looking for a roofing contractor.

  1. Make sure they are trustworthy and professional. Check online reviews, Better Business Bureau ratings, and their company website. Make sure they have a physical location and ask people in your community for referrals. Also ask for references that you can follow up with.
  2. They should be licensed, bonded, and insured. Ask for evidence of this up front. If a roofer is missing any of these key documents, don’t sign a contract.
  3. Ask for at least three estimates. These should be free and will help you compare prices to see if any roofer’s costs are outrageous—or way too low to be realistic for quality work. Ask for an itemized quote so you can see the breakdown and compare the details of all three estimates.
  4. Ask about warranties. Do they offer workmanship warranties on top of the shingle and manufacturer’s warranties? A workmanship warranty can cover you if something is installed incorrectly or poorly.
  5. Ask what brands the contractor uses. You can then research these brands on your own to see how they’re reviewed and rated.

What to Look for in a Roofing Estimate

As we previously mentioned, it’s wise to get at least three separate quotes from different roofing contractors before you decide who to work with. Knowing the answers to the following questions will help you make informed decisions and choose a good roofing contractor.

  1. Are they quoting the entire roof or only the shingles? Surprisingly, some roofers initially only give you an estimate of the cost of the shingles, so the price appears low.
  2. Is the quote itemized? Make sure the estimates you receive include the cost of all materials, labor, and any extra expenses, permits, or other fees.
  3. Does the quote include a timeframe? Some roofers may get the job done in a few days, while others might take several weeks to finish a project.
  4. Will the roofer remove and dispose of the old roof for you? If so, the price of this service should be included.
  5. What are the contractor’s payment terms? This can vary among companies. Some may offer financing options while others might require payment in full.

Doing the research to find a quality roofing contractor to partner with will give you peace of mind if something serious ever happens to your home or an emergency occurs. Pacific provides roofing services for beautiful Aspen, Colorado, and the surrounding area. We offer roofing inspection, repair, and installation for our local community.

We also offer 24/7 emergency repair service! Call us any time—night or day—and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible.