Roofing Riddle
Photo: courtesy Owens Corning
Although roofing doesn't wear out all at once, its demise does have a way of sneaking up on you. Then you're faced with the big decision: What kind of replacement roofing are you going to use? Deciding doesn't have to be an ordeal — even inexpensive roofing will keep the rain off your head if it's installed properly. And there are so many material and price options available, you can get just about any look you want from a number of different products. How can you tell if you need a new roof? The safest way is to check its condition from the ground using binoculars. Although a leak here or a missing shingle there often can be repaired, curled shingles or cracked, broken tiles are warning signs your roof is at the end of its life. Asphalt shingles that are losing their coating of protective granules also indicate a roof on borrowed time. Call in a professional for an inspection if you spot any of these symptoms. Once you know you're headed for a new roof, the easiest course of action is to have a contractor replace what's there with the same stuff. But easiest isn't always best. There are some compelling reasons to change the color, style, and even the material of your roof. For instance, if the siding on your home has changed, the original roofing style might not look good. Then there's cost. For a 2,000-square-foot roof, you can pay anywhere from $2,000 installed for good-quality asphalt shingle to $10,000 and beyond for slate. Considering the investment — and how long the roof will stay up there — it pays to look at all the options. If it's been a while since you had a home reroofed, you'll find some new products on the market, including many that suggest the look of costlier materials without the high price. The smartest way to choose a new roof is to pick the basic style and color first. Then choose a material based on any technical requirements and your budget. In most cases, you'll be able to duplicate the look you want in different price ranges by using different materials.

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