You may remember this Beatles’ classic:
I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go…
I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door and kept my mind from wandering where it will go…
(“Fixing A Hole,” The Beatles)
It’s so bouncy and positive (that’s how you know McCartney wrote it) that you almost want to keep the holes! The Beatles loved romanticizing being stuck in the rain or being the “fool on the hill” or otherwise defying convention. While that makes for great music, it’s a poor approach to home maintenance – especially when it comes to roof repair.
Equally metaphorical but far less chipper is the Meat Puppets’ take on the same theme:
There may be diamonds in that dream on the hill, but the people who live there still complain – ‘cause the roof’s got a hole in it, and everything is soaking in the rain.
No one can practice the common sense that they see. Through the nickel and diming I’ll explain – when the roof’s got a hole in it, everything gets ruined by the rain…
(“Roof With A Hole,” The Meat Puppets)
Paul McCartney may know how to spin an image into inspiration, but Curtis Kirkwood (of the Puppets) knows how much it sucks when you have a leaky roof. It turns out that it’s not so much about the fun things it does to wallpaper – it’s about how quickly everything gets messed up. There are things we can learn to live with in an older home, or when money is tight. Avoiding essential roof repair shouldn’t be one of them. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Learn How to Finance a Roof Repair to Protect Your Overhead
For most of us, our home is the single biggest investment we’ll ever make. And is arguably the most important thing we’ll ever own. Just like with the cars we drive or the major appliances we use every day. The time and resources invested in maintaining or improving our home aren’t just expenses – they’re part of that investment and statements on the importance of the home to ourselves and those in our care. We shouldn’t skimp on taking care of our homes.
That doesn’t mean, however, that money is no object and we can’t consider ways to take care of our property as cost-effectively as possible – including when it comes to roof maintenance or roof repair.
If your roof has been severely damaged in a storm or other major event, it may be necessary to skip right to professional repairs and insurance claims and figuring out how to pay the deductible – which we’ll talk about below. It is more about natural aging or minor wear and tears over time, there are a few ways you may be able to keep your expenses down while still giving your home the care it deserves. Some of them started long before any actual damage.
#1 Look at Your Roof
It sounds silly to say, but how often do you actually make a careful inspection of your roof? I don’t mean looking up at it as you pull in the driveway. I mean getting up there and noticing discoloration, missing shingles, debris, etc. You don’t necessarily need to walk around on your roof unnecessarily (that causes its own wear and tear if we’re not careful). But the view from the sidewalk won’t cut it, either.
Depending on what sorts of things might end up on your roof, you’ll want to carefully sweep off anything which seems to have found a new home up there – twigs, leaves, that plastic bag stuck around the side of the fireplace, etc. Anything that might damage shingles when blowing about. Or which could trap even a small amount of water in place, doesn’t belong on your roof.
A little black alga is unsightly but doesn’t actually harm most roofs. Moss, on the other hand, is a problem. How big of a problem is up to you. Catch it early and regularly (twice a year is good) and you can usually just sweep it off. Let it grow and it begins trapping moisture, which is the opposite of what roofs are supposed to do. The longer you let it go, the harder it is to remove without damaging your roof further in the process. Your local home improvement store will have some treatments. Or you can call a local professional experienced in roof maintenance and roof repair.
#2 Clean Out Your Gutters
Depending on where you live and how many trees are around, you may need to do this every few months. At minimum, you should set aside time for this twice a year. It’s tedious and unpleasant, but not usually that difficult to do yourself if you choose. A decent ladder and normal safety precautions. And maybe an old pair of gloves if you’re squeamish. And you’re good to go.
If you have a tricky roofline or simply aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, you should be able to find a local service for a few hundred dollars. That may seem like a serious investment for something that seems largely aesthetic – like paying someone to sweep the back alley or fight cobwebs around the porchlights. Do a quick search of roof repair in your area. And see what that’s going for these days, then compare it to twice-a-year gutter cleaning. Like regular oil changes or replacing air filters inside your home, taking care of your stuff is part of the gig – and it pays off over time.
Clogged gutters don’t just create problems on the side of your home or below the roofline. Water can work its way into the roof sheathing (the wood underneath the shingles) or other parts of your attic where it starts to warp, rot, or do the things water does to wood over time. Your roof is built to withstand an impressive amount of abuse by falling or running water. It’s not built to be a submarine.
|Gutter Cleaning Costs|
|National average cost||$188|
#3 Let Your Roof Be… Naked
Any good 20th or 21st century roof is made to handle sun, rain, wind, snow, etc. for decades. While even the best roof may need replacing from normal aging and wear and tear after 25 – 30 years, it’s actually pretty impressive that they hold up as well as they do, given their exposure to the elements 24/7.
What they’re not good at is warding off falling tree limbs or other debris. They don’t like having stuff banging into them or left on top of them or anything which traps water or muck. Trim back any branches that reach over your home or begin to get too close. Like so many things, this is much easier early in the process than later. This will also make it less likely that unwanted critters will end up on your roof or inside your home doing whatever damage their little teeth or claws or reproductive habits tell them they should do. You don’t want to end up with an entirely avoidable expensive roof repair when prevention could be so painless.
Sure, some creatures are such climbers or leapers or whatever that if they really want up there or in there, they can probably find a way. You’ll generally find, however, that most rodents aren’t big on long-term strategy. When was the last time you saw a team of squirrels with binoculars and blueprints, discussing the best approach to your attic space? You don’t need to go all Caddyshack on them for doing what nature tells them to do (they’re just squirrels). But that doesn’t mean you build them a bridge to the tempting little hideaways inside your roofing, either.
That goes for people, too. Roofing isn’t designed to double as a lawn chair or a convenient place to hide out from the wife while sneaking a smoke or sitting with friends to drink beer and stare at the stars. With apologies to the Drifters, when you come home feeling tired and beat and wanna go up to where the air is fresh and sweet, open a window or go to your local park. Your roof is not a paradise that’s trouble-proof.
#4 Attic Ventilation and Insulation
This one may be a bit harder to do yourself. Proper insulation in your attic will first and foremost help keep your home’s living temperature easier to moderate and maintain – which means more comfort and lower utility bills. There’s another benefit, however. Stabilizing the temperature helps prevent water vapor from pooling under your roof. And, as you know by now, water running over the roof is fine; water sticking around anywhere on or in the roof is bad.
Ventilation goes hand in hand with this. It reduces heat buildup in your attic, which contributes to comfort and stability in the rest of the home. Proper ventilation also helps fight moisture buildup. Your home probably has the minimum number of vents required by local codes. But most roofers prefer more than what’s absolutely required in order to extend the life of your roof.
Check your vents from time to time for the same sorts of debris that accumulates on the rest of the roof or for signs local critters have been using them as a revolving door in and out of your attic or crawlspace. Consider screening that allows plenty of airflow but fewer rodents, birds, or bears to get in.
Actually, the screens probably wouldn’t stop a bear. I was just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.
R-Value is the rating system used to grade insulation products or a material’s insulating properties. The “R” stands for “resistance” and refers to the resistance a material has to heat flow, or temperature conduction. When a product or home has a high R-Value, this means it is well insulated.
#5 Know When You Can do it Yourself
There are times that calling in a professional is by far the most rational and cost-effective thing to do. The trick is that this line isn’t the same for everybody. For many years, I could barely change toilet paper when one roll had run out and another needed to be carefully installed on that little plastic axel held daintily between two faux-aluminum arms. It was better for me to call in experienced help for serious stuff like replacing a ceiling fan or painting a room.
Over the years, however, I started paying closer attention to how some of the work was done. I married a woman who comes from a long line of “we could do that ourselves” types (when it’s realistic – they’re not sitcom reckless about it). The internet exploded with informational sites. With a little patience, you can find some great advice about all sorts of things – including, for example, the basics of do-it-yourself roof repair.
To cap it all off, YouTube happened. Obviously, you don’t ever want to rely on a single home video of Vern the Self-Proclaimed Roofing Expert when it’s time to make major decisions. But there are a surprising variety of high quality, legit instructional videos about almost anything you could consider trying yourself at home. I have one acquaintance who rebuilt his entire fireplace based entirely on YouTube instructions – and it meets code and everything!
That’s not me. Anything involving fire, like anything involving water or electricity, I’m calling in a licensed professional. Period. Always. A minor shingle repair or tips on getting rid of moss, however… for that, I’ll at least try YouTube first. You’ve used the internet long enough that it’s pretty easy to separate the legitimate sources from the weirdos when it comes to home repair topics. And of course, it’s usually valuable to watch 3 – 4 short videos from different legitimate sources on the same subject (“When is a missing shingle bad?”) before deciding how to proceed. If you’re not up for it, then don’t try it yourself. The better videos are very honest about helping you make that decision as well. If it is something you can do, the savings can be immense – not to mention the personal pride in a job well done.
Calling in the Pros
It’s never fun to spend money fixing stuff. As we discussed above, however, investing in proper maintenance and timely repair can save you money as well as pain and suffering down the road. Plus, it’s one of the most “adulting” things you can do.
Roof repair, like any sort of home or auto repair services, is inherently local. You can’t order it on Amazon. And even if you start at a local chain store for recommendations, they don’t do the work themselves – they contract through local professionals. That means prices will vary widely and quality could be unpredictable. How can you increase the odds of making the right decision when choosing someone to do your roof repair?
You know the answer. Do some research online. You join Angie’s List or another crowd-sourced review service. You ask friends and neighbors about their experiences and check with your local Better Business Bureau. Talk to several options and ask about their certifications, what guarantees they offer, etc.
You will no doubt encounter the eternal dilemma between “affordable” and “reliable.” Not every solo contractor working out of his garage under his own name with an old pickup truck and his trusty dog Nailgun is a scam artist. Some may do amazing work at a great price. Not every full-page ad company with their own shirts and shiny line of work vans is your best option for quality and customer service. If we’re talking overall numbers and percentages, however…
There’s usually a reason Bubba-Joe and Nailgun cost so much less. And can’t actually produce evidence of certification from the local professional organization. There’s usually a reason the guys with the fancy collared shirts and all the paperwork have been around so long and cover such a wide geographic area in their ads.
The Home Repair Loan Options
Reliable roof repair isn’t the only service which requires a little shopping around for the best product. When it’s time to borrow money, you have more options than ever before. The 21st century has changed the financial industry dramatically. Making lending more competitive than ever. Which means you don’t have to go begging for loans – lenders need to compete for you.
It’s almost never a good idea to put a major repair on a credit card if you can avoid it. The interest rates are simply too high and the terms designed to keep you in debt indefinitely. Nor should you empty your savings or let other bills go unpaid in order to pay for roof repair or any other unexpected need.
No one wants to borrow money when it can be avoided, but sometimes that’s our best path forward. If you do decide to look at home construction loans or think you might need a home repair loan to help you take care of essential roof repair, don’t take the first thing you’re offered. If you’re happy with your local bank or credit union, see what they can do. And if you have a lender you’ve used before for your home mortgage or vehicle financing, look into rates with them.
Before you decide, however, let us weigh in. We don’t loan money. But we maintain a curated database of some of the most successful, flexible, customer-friendly lenders around the country – many entirely online. The growth of online lending in the past decade has been amazing. So much so that it can be difficult to sort through the endless options. There are many quality institutions out there offering competitive rates, even for people with average or bad credit. The trick is finding the right one for your circumstances.
That’s where we come in. We’ll gather a little basic information, then match you with the lender we think has the best chance of meeting your needs and winning your business. You don’t pay us anything and you’re not obligated to take their offer or anyone else’s. It’s always entirely up to you. We’re pretty good at it, however, and we’re proud of how many success stories have piled up over the years. You really have nothing to lose. All you need to do is enter your information below, and wait for potential offers within the next few minutes. Start here:
Whether you’re looking for home construction loans, a home repair loan, wanting to finance a vehicle or major appliances, consolidate debt, or have any other financial needs, chances are good we can help you find your way to options you may not even realize are out there from established lenders with strong track records. We’re also specialists at helping you navigate those unexpected expenses – medical bills, emergency home repairs, legal expenses, etc.
Life has a way of coming at you sideways and sometimes there are things we simply can’t avoid. That doesn’t mean we can’t manage them with intention and clarity, however. Maybe there are parts we can handle ourselves, or ways to prevent problems in the future. We can shop around for the right professionals and ask them for options we may not see. And if it does come down to taking out a home repair loan, we can insist on comparing our options and remembering that crisis or no, we’re still the customer. We’re still in control of our home, our choices, and our finances.
We don’t have to let debt, or our interest rates, go through the roof.
Blaine Koehn is a former small business manager, long-time educator, and seasoned consultant. He’s worked in both the public and private sectors while riding the ups-and-downs of self-employment and independent contracting for nearly two decades. His self-published resources have been utilized by thousands of educators as he’s shared his experiences and ideas in workshops across the Midwest. Blaine writes about money management and decision-making for those new to the world of finance or anyone simply sorting through their fiscal options in complicated times.