Don't Get Caught off Guard by Roofing Surprises

man using calculator

There are a number of issues that can arise when it comes to roofs, but there are ways to prepare yourself so you aren't caught off guard. Have your home regularly inspected and budget for unseen surprises to be as prepared as possible.

Understand Common Roof Issues

The issue with roofing projects is that problems can't always be diagnosed before work begins.

A respectable roofing contractor should have your roof inspected before they give you a final estimate, but that doesn't guarantee surprises won't pop up. Even the best roofing inspectors can’t predict every surprise.

Once the contractor begins pulling off roofing material, there’s no telling what they'll find. Some of the most common issues they expose are damaged underlayment and storm damage.

Rotten Underlayment

Underlayment, sometimes referred to as decking, is the plywood sheathing that sits underneath your roof’s shingles.

Rotten underlayments are the most common issue roofers find once they begin tearing off old roofing materials.

Rotted or soft plywood needs to be removed and replaced before any new roofing material can be installed.

Inadequate Decking

If an experienced contractor notices that the decking of the roof is soft and springy, they’ll recommend new decking.

Modern underlayment consists of half-inch thick plywood sheets. Until recently, most building departments only required decking to be 3/8 inch thick. However, today this thin sheeting is considered inadequate, and a roofer will likely propose to replace it if they find it.

Storm Damage

While some storm damage is obvious and easy to identify, storms can cause issues much more problematic than a few fallen branches.

For example, hail damage often goes unnoticed until it creates a much larger problem. Tiny holes caused by hail can expose underlayment to moisture penetration.

This can lead to mold, rot, and leaks, among other problems. A trained inspector will notice hail damage and will prompt you to contact your insurance company. This is why it’s crucial to notice storm damage early; a claim filed long after the storm may not be covered by your insurance provider.

Drainage Issues

Another surprise roofers commonly encounter are drainage problems. A blocked drainage system results in pooled water, which often leads to rotted underlayment and leaks.

Pooled water can be difficult to spot from the ground, which is why it often goes unnoticed until it creates problems.


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Budget for Hidden Surprises

Rotten or inadequate underlayment and damage caused by storms are the most common causes of unexpected roofing surprises.

Thankfully, paying to have problems fixed is a lot cheaper than getting a full roof replacement. In most cases, these surprises cost less than $1,000.

For Underlayment Issues...

New underlayments could add several thousand dollars to your roofing project.

Prices vary depending on how much decking you need to have replaced and how much the contractor charges for labor. But generally, homeowners should budget between $70 - $100 for each sheet of plywood.

Each 4 x 8 sheet covers approximately 32 sq. ft. of the roof. Modern sheets measure anywhere from 1/4 - 5/8 of an inch. The thicker the plywood, the more expensive the sheeting will cost.

Calculate the total square footage of your roof, and you’ll get a working figure for an appropriate estimate.

For Storm Damage or Blocked Drains...

Estimating the cost of repairing storm damage and blocked drains is difficult, as they vary largely in scope.

However, average repair costs associated with common problems like hail, storm damage, and blocked drains are between $300 to $1,000.

While no one likes surprise expenditures, paying for a minor repair is worth the investment. Considering that most full roof replacements cost thousands of dollars, paying for new underlayment or a properly functioning drain is well worth the money. 

Schedule Regular Roof Inspections

roofer working with shingles

A roof inspection is always a good idea after a severe storm, hurricane, or other damaging weather events.

But routinely, roofs should be inspected twice a year; once in the fall, after the hot weather has subsided, and once in the spring, after the precarious nature of snow and ice have melted away.

During a roof inspection, the inspector will have a better vantage point to access possible issues that may need corrections. They’ll point out the smallest issues that may blossom into grave consequences; everything from cracked shingles to mold to hail damage.

Keep in mind that a small repair is much cheaper than a total re-roof, so locate and fix problems early when you can.

Don't let rotted underlayment or lingering storm damage catch you off guard on your next project. Allocate funds for these possible roofing surprises, and you'll be prepared for whatever the contractor finds.


Find the Right Roofer

Hometown Roofing Contractors makes it easy to find qualified roofing professionals. Browse a wide selection of roofers, research multiple quote options, and check out what other customers have to say about their experience.

If you have any roof surprises, an experienced roofer will have the knowledge to accurately fix and price the issue.

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