Roof repair is an essential part of home maintenance and can prevent a range of potential problems. Roof renovation, meanwhile, is all about creating the ideal roof for your property and making the right choices for the long term. Deciding which approach is right for your home is a several-step process.
To check for damage, you’ll need a good home inspector. Make sure they subscribe to the standards from professional bodies like the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), which operates around the world and provides certification to registered surveyors.
Remember, roof problems often reveal themselves elsewhere – whether through cracks in the wall or damp ceilings – so consider commissioning a full structural survey rather than just a condition report, especially if you’re in a period property.
Depending on the state of your roof, you’ll essentially have three options: a cosmetic change, addressing existing issues, or remodelling the whole roof. If, for example, everything is in tiptop condition, you can get a new look and avoid a hefty roof replacement cost by simply overlaying existing tiles. Properly installed and reflashed to a high standard, this can make your roof even more watertight. However, if you leave existing issues like warped tiles or damp unsolved underneath, you could aggravate the problem – and cause headaches further down the line should you later decide to sell your home.
Once you decide whether you’d prefer a full remodelling or a repair-and-replace job, it’s time to cost the task. Give this step plenty of consideration, as it’s easy to make mistakes. Ensure that all quotes (you should get at least three) include itemised lists of the work being done, and that the tradesmen will guarantee their work for as long as possible.
Roof repair is usually a major undertaking, so authorities tend to have stringent requirements – especially if you’re in a conservation area or heritage site. Your solicitor will be able to research details for you, but your national and local government planning departments can also tell you which planning laws might affect your roof. World conservation body UNESCO also lists all of its heritage site areas online.
Looking at neighbouring properties can give you a good idea of local restrictions too. Countries like Germany have rules requiring owners to keep their property consistent with the area, while Scandinavian countries place more emphasis on environmental issues. Zoning laws can also affect planning permissions, so you may find rules are different in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Large-scale jobs will almost certainly require a construction company, or at least a team of professional roofers. It makes sense to get quotes for the full roof replacement cost in such cases.
However, you could save time, money and disruption by managing smaller jobs yourself. That means getting quotes for each job from various specialists, like tilers, roofers, carpenters and masons – but also considering whether you need an expert at all. Fixing or replacing cracked tiles is relatively simple, with the right research and equipment, and some support from your friends.
All in all, there’s no doubt that a roof renovation or replacement can be challenging and disruptive. However, by following these tips, taking a considered approach and having the right team behind you, it can also be a real opportunity to upgrade and add value to your home.