So much of what makes Santa Cruz, California such a desirable place to live is the beauty of the Monterey Bay and it being one of the very few places in the world where the redwoods come down to the sea.
But these same conditions of salty air from the sea and the way redwoods hold moisture and have branches that snap relatively easily during storms creates a unique set of problems for roofs in Santa Cruz that aren’t commonly found elsewhere.
Your roof is one of the very most important investments in your property and your property’s value. With property values in Santa Cruz County some of the highest in California, the costs of thousands of dollars of water damage from roof failure during a heavy storm can be one of the most expensive and most preventable losses a homeowner can sustain.
How do you know when it’s time to reroof?
There are several important warning signs to look for to know when you need reroofing in Santa Cruz County.
- Shingles are buckling and curling at the edges. Asphalt shingles are designed to lie flat and be flexible. With age they tend to begin curling at the edges giving the appearance of the shingles being cupped.
- Shingles are broken or cracked. As shingles age they become more brittle. When a roof experiences high winds during a storm it causes the shingles to rise and flap causing them to crack and break around where they are nailed to the roof. This can cause leaks to suddenly occur during a downpour with high winds when you can afford it the least.
While individual shingles can be replaced, at a certain point as a roof ages it’s better to do a reroofing to avoid costly water damage that may not show until a powerful storm occurs with old brittle shingles cracking and breaking in high winds. Santa Cruz’s salt air next to the ocean requires using nails resistant to corrosion to withstand the test of time without failing.
- Granules in the shingles are missing or gone. If you look at the surface of an asphalt shingle it has granules embedded that help deflect the impact of the elements. As shingles age, the protective layer of granules loosens and runs off into the gutters when it rains. If you have bald spots where there are no granules in the shingles and you have a lot of granules in your gutters that’s a sign you need to reroof.
- The age of your roof. If your roof is older than 20 years it is time to do a reroofing because it has reached the end of its expected lifespan and the water damage that can suddenly occur during a storm can be costly.
- The roof is sagging. The flat parts of your roof should be flat and the ridgeline of your roof should be straight and level. If you roof is sagging anywhere it means the structural integrity of the roof has been undermined probably by water damage.
- Light is coming through the roof. Go into your rafters and see if day light is coming through the roof anywhere, taking special care to look around chimneys and any flashing. If daylight is visible anywhere that means water can come through too.
- The roof is leaking. Last but not least, perhaps the most frequent way people realize they need a roof repair is when the roof leaks during storms and puddles are discovered. Water can enter a house through a number of different ways including flashing, light fixtures, wall cavities and drywall. It can often take a roofing professional to identify the exact source of the leak and assess the extent of the repair needed because puddles can be found far from the original source of the leak.
Santa Cruz’s redwoods drop a lot of debris that accumulates and can block water from freely flowing off the roof that is a common source of leaks on the redwood coast.
While a single leak can often be repaired relatively inexpensively, major leaks mean your roof is beginning to fail and needs to be replaced to avoid further water damage.
How much does reroofing cost in Santa Cruz County?
There are several factors that determine costs of reroofing with the first decision being if you are going to be laying another layer of shingles over an existing roof or are going to be doing a complete tear-off roof replacement. A full roof replacement obviously costs more because of the additional time involved in removing the previous roof, disposing of the previous materials and preparing the roof substrate for shingles.
Most building codes including Santa Cruz County state that you can only have two layers of shingles on a roof. If only one layer of shingles is on the roof, often simply laying another layer of shingles over the existing shingles will be your least expensive solution.
However, if two layers of shingles already exist on the roof, a tear-off and roof replacement will be necessary to meet Santa Cruz Country building codes which is more expensive for the labor and disposal of the materials.
If your roof has sustained water damage and is sagging due to the loss of its integrity, how much of the roof substate needs to be replaced will impact costs. But the new roof cannot be applied until these repairs are completed.
The slope of your roof and how many stories it is off the ground will also determine roofing costs. A steeper, higher slope is more dangerous for workers requiring more preparation and safety equipment. A steep slope simply takes longer for a roofer to traverse with safety harnesses and roof jacks providing footing.
A higher story roof also takes longer for contractors to get materials and workers to. So, the lower the slope of your roof, and if it’s a single-story reroofing job it will be relatively cheaper than a taller structure with a steeper roof.
The type of materials used are another important cost factor depending upon the particular type of roofing. Asphalt shingles are the least expensive way to reroof and is the most common. High end architectural shingles for a specific look can be considerably more. Wooden shakes or shingles cost more, but wood is a better insulator and can bring long term energy savings.
Metal roofs are more expensive, but more energy efficient and can also have long term cost savings benefits beyond their initial installation cost. Metal roofs last longer and are more rugged and better able to withstanding heavy weather conditions and falling debris than asphalt roofs which means they don’t need to be replaced as often.
The size of the roof and its slope are often the biggest cost factors because most roofers charge on a per square foot basis so the larger the roof area the more it will cost.
How accessible the roof is in terms of being able to getting materials to roof is another cost consideration. If it is difficult to get a truck close to unload materials that will increase labor costs if they need to be hand carried to the structure.
If there are roof structures like skylights or chimneys that need to be sealed and worked around that will increase costs. The same is true of complex roof designs and gable roofs. Flashing around chimneys and vents also frequently needs repair or replacement during reroofing.
How long does it take to replace a roof?
Every roofing job is different depending upon the size, type of roofing material and any repairs that may be necessary to the roof substrate from water damage. Construction and laying shingles obviously involves pounding and nail guns that are noisy. But you probably won’t need to totally vacate your house during the time it usually takes to reroof an average single-story home without significant roof damage of about two to five days.
How long does a reroof last?
Asphalt tiles are the least expensive with good ones lasting between 20 to 25 years.
Wood shakes or shingles can last for more than 20 years. But to do so they usually need to be allowed to dry out between rains, be well ventilated and not have any debris on the roof like leaves or moss that prevents water from running off or they will age much more quickly. Customers in Santa Cruz County, due to fires are not able to get wood shake roofs insured, forcing customers to move to a grade-a fire rated roofing material.
Concrete roofing has a lifespan of 50 years on average. Terracotta roofs will also last 50 years.
Metal roofs made from aluminum or steel last 50 years or more, while metal roofs made of copper or zinc and last over 100 years.
Slate tile roofs on average last the longest with hard slate lasting between 75 and 200 years, and soft slate having a lifespan between 50 and 125 years.
Should you change your roofing material?
Although asphalt roofs are the least expensive, many home owners at the time of reroofing consider changing from asphalt to wood shakes, tile, slate or metal. These roofing materials are more expensive but they provide a longer lifespan and give a home a more distinctive look that can definitely increase property resale value.
Changing roofing materials can also result in better energy efficiency keeping you warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Wood shingles or shakes provide good insulation because wood is a poor conductor of heat.
Keep in mind these roofing materials tend to be heavier than asphalt roofs and may require modification of your current structure to support.
Is it possible to partially reroof a house?
Sometimes it seems like only certain areas are in need of a reroofing and homeowners ask if a partial reroofing is possible. The problem is it is almost impossible to get the colors of the shingles to match so you are left with a patchwork of color most people find undesirable and lowering property value.
When the rest of the roof needs reroofing, those newer areas again will not match the next roof. The result is some property owners end up spending more on partial roof jobs over the long run trying to finally get everything to match.
Why is reroofing a solid investment in your home?
Your roof is one of the biggest and most important investments you will make in your house. Studies have found that a new roof yields more than 80% of its original cost upon resale giving you one of the greatest returns on your investment in your home maintenance costs. Even with the tight housing market in Santa Cruz County, 30% of real estate professionals say a new roof is one of the best ways to insure a quick resale.
Santa Cruz has recently taken direct hits from over 13 atmospheric rivers in one winter producing 50-year storms that caused extensive roof damage across the county. These weather extremes are only expected to intensify and more than ever you need to think of your roof as your first line of defense against climate change.
Whether you are looking for a relatively inexpensive second covering of an existing roof or a complete roof replacement know that having the peace of mind that you won’t be needing to do this again in a couple decades can be assured if the job is done right!
If you think you may be ready for a new roof, don’t put it off. Doing so can be very costly! Contact Shelton Roofing (831) 464-4120 in Santa Cruz County for a free quote and get answers to any questions you have.
Shelton Roofing residential and commercial roof instillation in Santa Cruz, California.