I Need a New Roof – Now What?


This is a part of a special seecton identifying the Now What? reactions exhibited by homeowners, due to various issues that are common to all Happy Homeowners. The intent of this section is to provide a brief description of the specific issue and identify various common, and not so common, solutions to the problem or concern. This is not intended to be a detailed, nor thorough study, or even an analysis of the issue. Nor does it intend to present any official or politically correct solution to the problem. This is a down and dirty description of how we have solved these various common household issues, without creating a major, anxiety ridden concern over the situation.


Roof replacement is one of the most important and serious homeowner issues. The need to replace a roof is an inherent aspect of properly maintaining a home and mitigating water and moisture penetration. In my opinion the roof is the primary entity of a home and MUST be properly maintained and replaced when required. The new roofing systems being developed are providing protection for well over 30 years, however, the flashings, caulking and other entities that make up the roofing systems, must be adequately maintained and sustained. On older homes the constant surveillance of the roof as well as the interior of the residence is mandatory to ensure that there is now roof compromises.


Unfortunately one of the most frustrating aspects of being a professional contractor is convincing a homeowner that they need a new roof. This is extremely difficult, due to the expense of a new roof, as well as the natural reaction of homeowners, not to fix anything until there are problems. The problem with this concept is that, once the water is actually flowing, the roof has deteriorated to a point that there could be substantial damage which has already incurred, due to the roof deterioration. A visual inspection of the roof that identifies cupped shingles, pulled away flashings, concave roof panels or sections of the roof, sway in the ridge board, etc, all will indicate substantial roofing issues. It is at this time, that a professional roofing consultant should be involved with the overall investigation of the roof.

Quick solutions

1.) Immediate coverage of the leaking areas of the roof with plastic tarps, wrapped around the perimeter with wood slats, screwed into the existing roofing. It is important that any mechanical fastening into the existing roof be accomplished within roofing tar or cement. This material will seal the actual fastener from any water penetration.

2.) Installation of small sections of metal, under the compromised shingles to eliminate the water penetration on a temporary basis. Once again, this application should be imbedded with a roofing tar or cement to hold the metal in place and prevent further leakage.

3.) Installation of roof mastic around the obvious leaks, and at roof penetrations, such as vent pipes, roof flues, piping penetrations, ductwork penetrations, etc. A material called snow and ice shield is available that has a self-adhesive that can be used to cover over compromised areas of the roof.

4.) Collection of water in the attic area, prior to its traveling down into the living areas with tarps or buckets. Obviously this is a radical suggestion due to the fact that you are now collecting the water after it has passed through the roof sheathing. However, the accumulation of the water before it penetrates into the living areas is a positive alternative.

Future considerations

Roofing replacement is extremely important and the future of the entire home is based upon your decision to replace the roof.

Once the roof has been replaced, consistent surveillance of the status of the roof is recommended. Just because the roof is new, does not mean it will not leak. The roof must be visual evaluated on a periodic basis.

The longer the guarantee on the newly installed roof, the better! If the budget allows, the 40 year roof should be installed. In addition, the selection of the proper professional must be considered. Research the roofing contractor that you are selecting, this is a very important decision.

Professional suggestions

It is extremely important to select a professional roofing contractor that has a local reputation. I have found that roofing contractors are a very local type of business, and reputation is important. Select a local contractor that has a good reputation. Please stay away from the individual contractor, friend or acquaintance, that informs you that roofing is nothing, and can be done by anyone. Roofing itself is not difficult, the guarantee of the installation, and the establishment of a need to maintain this roof, is important. The roof of the home is the most important aspect of the home, and water must be kept from penetrating into the interior.

It is important to accept that failure to solve any of these “Now What” conditions may require the introduction of a professional local consultant, or contractor that is experienced in solving this specific “Now What” issue. Remember you are not alone when it comes to these very common problems and concerns!

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