In his State of the Union Address in 1962, John F. Kennedy said what every good roofer already knows: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” He may have meant it as a metaphor, but it only works because it’s also true literally. Waiting for your roof to fall apart to have it repaired or replaced is a great way to waste money. You can end up with costly damage you could have avoided. And waiting until the need is urgent could rob you of the chance to make a sound decision on the best and most cost-effective new roof. So while the sun is shining, it’s time to plan for a roof replacement. Like anything you plan for in the long-term, planning doesn’t mean you have to act tomorrow. But if you plan now, you will be ready to act when the time comes.

How to Plan for a Roof Replacement [infographic]

How Do You Know if You Need a New Roof?

The first thing to know about planning for a roof replacement is that you don’t need to wait until you need a new roof. In fact, if you wait until you need a new roof, you really haven’t planned adequately. But there are some signs that you should start to plan for a roof replacement if you haven’t already.

Granules in the Gutters

When the rain in your living room rivals the rain in your backyard, you’ve waited too long. There are earlier signs of damage that don’t involve replacing your carpet along with your roof. First, look for granules in your gutters or at the bottom of your downspouts. An asphalt shingle is covered in granules similar to gravel. The granules help protect the shingle from the sun’s UV rays, which could degrade the asphalt. When the granules start to come loose, your shingles lose their protection. It’s just a matter of time—and not much time—before they begin to leak. Also, shedding granules can be a sign of age. A roof that is shedding granules probably has other damage that you can’t see. So if you see granules, get a reliable roofer to do a full inspection and don’t be surprised if your roof has reached the end of its life.

Damaged Shingles

If you can see damage on your roof, that’s definitely a sign that you should start to plan for a roof replacement. Cracked, damaged, or missing shingles are a warning sign that your roof has seen its best days and is on its way out. Also, the damaged shingles can allow water to penetrate into the underlayment and even into the decking beneath your shingles. Once water penetrates your shingles, it can start to cause some seriously expensive damage. Don’t let it get to that point. A few damaged shingles can be fixed, but if the damage is spread around the roof, you should start to plan for a roof replacement.

A 20-Year-Old Roof

Even if you think your roof is in good condition, don’t expect it to last forever. Most asphalt shingle roofs start to fall apart after about twenty years. If you’ve made it to the twenty-year mark and don’t notice any damage, just get your roof inspected. You may get the good news that your roof has more time left on it. But be prepared to learn that your roof is showing its age. Also, keep in mind that presidential quip about when to repair a roof. If your roof is reaching twenty years old, go ahead and look into getting it replaced. It may seem like a waste to replace a perfectly good roof, but replacing a roof that hasn’t failed yet gives you time to plan for a roof replacement and get the best value out of your new roof.

Planning Ahead

You may know that you will need a new roof soon, but how do you plan for a roof replacement? There are a few factors that you should consider. First, a new roof will cost money. There is a chance you might get your homeowners insurance to cover some of it, but it is always worthwhile to budget for roof replacement. Just as you budget for other large expenses, like college or retirement, you know that you will need to replace your roof eventually, so saving now will help you later. Most roofers offer financing, but the less you have to finance, the less interest you will pay. Making a sizable down payment can be a real money-saver.

Picking Your Season

Another benefit of planning to replace a roof is being able to decide when you will do it. If you wait for the roof to cave in, you’ll need to fix it in a hurry. But if you plan ahead, you can repair your roof when roofers are least busy. Often, roofers will offer deals in the offseason.

Most homeowners assume that the summer is the best time to replace a roof. But that’s what everyone else is thinking, too. So if you wait for summer, demand will be high and you will likely pay a premium. Winter is the least busy time, but depending on your location it may not make sense. Early spring is the sweet spot for most roofers. They aren’t busy yet, but the weather is usually warm enough to install a roof easily. The warmer temperatures also allow the adhesive on the shingles to set more quickly, which can really save you some headaches compared to replacing your roof in the dead of winter.

Time to Research

Finally, planning ahead will give you time to research. At the very least, you should research your roofer—you want a reliable one—and your materials. There is no need to replace your roof with the same thing you have now. But if you wait for a catastrophe, you may not have time to weigh your options.

Finding a Reliable Roofer

When you plan ahead, you have plenty of time to find a reliable roofer. If you plan to replace a roof, you will need to find a roofer. Given the importance of your roof, it’s not worth risking mistakes from a DIY job. But finding a good roofer could take time. You can start by searching online, in the yellow pages, or checking lists of home contractors from reliable sites. But just finding a reliable-looking roofer is not enough. Take your time to find out the roofer’s history. Often, a simple conversation with your neighbors could guide you to a roofer that they are familiar with and whose work they can attest to. If you find a roofer yourself, ask for references. You can learn about Eagle Watch Roofing on our testimonials page. We’ll also gladly share with you some jobs we’ve done in your area.

Picking a Roofing Material

There is no rule that you have to replace your roof with the same material you already have. Sometimes, planning for a roof replacement can be a chance to refresh your home’s design. You may want to change the color of your roof. We have a great article where you can learn more about picking roof colors. You can also choose to replace your roof with an entirely different material. An asphalt roof can be replaced with a roof made of tile, metal, wood shake, or slate. Each type of roofing material has its benefits. When you plan for a roof replacement, you have time to decide which roof is best suited to your home.

What Not to Do When Planning a Roof Replacement

There are some simple pitfalls to avoid when planning a roof replacement.

First, don’t get obsessed with price. Your roof is a vital part of your home’s envelope. It keeps out weather and keeps in your heated and cooled air. Your roof is also an investment that should last for decades. So saving a little bit by picking a less experienced roofer or a cheaper material may not serve you well in the long run. Think about value over time instead of focusing on the base cost.

Second, don’t forgo a written estimate and a written contract. Anything you don’t get in writing may as well have never been said. With no record, there is no way to enforce a deal made with some words and a handshake. Starting with a written estimate gives you and the roofer a reference point for how much you will pay in the end. A written contract spells out everyone’s responsibilities. For the roofer, they obligate themselves to a particular job. For the homeowner, you obligate yourself to a specific payment and nothing more or less. Contracts can also include language that outlines what to do in case of a dispute, or other clauses that protect both you and your roofer.

Finally, don’t choose a roofer without a little investigation. You don’t have to hire a private eye but beware of scammers. Roofing is unfortunately rife with con artists and scammers, so knowing your roofer is honest is crucial. At Eagle Watch Roofing, we’re happy to share our testimonials, reviews, Better Business Bureau rating, certifications, and any other information you may need to feel comfortable choosing us. We respect and commend your prudence. It takes a little work to plan for a roof replacement

We Can Help You Plan for a Roof Replacement

We hope by now that you understand why you should plan for a roof replacement, and we’re happy to help. We’ll inspect your roof so you know just how much longer you can expect to keep it before you need a replacement. We’ll also answer all of your questions about pricing, insurance, materials, and anything else you can think of. We want you to be well prepared for your next roof replacement. So contact Eagle Watch Roofing today to learn about our services and plan for a roof replacement while the sun is still shining.