Ensuring the Best Roof Over Your Head
During the next rainstorm in your neighborhood, grab an umbrella and step outside for a quick roof inspection.
Do bits of shingle fly off your roof during big gusts of wind? Have roofing granules from your shingles collected on the ground under your gutters? When you’re safely indoors, can you see beads of moisture or damp patches on your ceiling beams?
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, chances are that your home might need a repair, partial replacement, or even a brand new roof, according to Clinton Murakami, owner of Murakami’s Roofing Service on Oahu.
A roof’s age, he adds, is a pretty good indicator of its current condition.
“Normally, if your roof is less than halfway through its lifecycle — if you have a 30-year roof and it’s only Year 10 or 15 — you can usually get away with a repair or just a partial reroof, if nothing really bad has gone wrong.”
However, a roof near the end of its lifecycle should be replaced if at all possible.
“If you’re more than halfway through the lifecycle and you opt for repair, you’ll likely have to do another repair after the next big storm,” Murakami warns. “The cost of the repairs starts to outweigh the cost of a reroof.”
The two most-common types of roofing in Hawaii are asphalt shingles (for higher-sloped roofs) and rolled roofing for low-pitched roofs. For a structure of about 2,000 square feet, a homeowner should budget anywhere from $5,000 to $18,000 for asphalt shingles or rolled roofing.
“There’s a wide variation, depending on whether you’re going to reroof over the existing roof, or if you have to scrape off one, two, or three layers of existing shingles.” The roof’s accessibility can also be a cost factor, Murakami adds.
One of the most important things to consider is the manufacturer’s warranty of roofing materials versus expected length of residence.
“Look at your own lifecycle,” suggests Murakami. “Is this the house you’re planning to grow old in? Then you might want to spend a bit more. But if you’re going to be selling it in five or 10 years, don’t buy a high-end roof.”
One of Murakami’s recent clients, a gentleman in his 80s, had decided to put an expensive 50-year roof on his home.
“I suggested that a 30-year roof would be cheaper and perfectly adequate, and he could find better ways to spend and enjoy his savings. He really appreciated that.”
As might be expected, light-colored roofs are best for most Hawaii homes. Tests done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory revealed that the temperature of a white roof on a cool sunny day can reach about 118 degrees Fahrenheit, while the temperature of a dark roof can surpass 140 degrees. Most manufacturers make ENERGY STAR® shingles in reflective colors that absorb less heat.
Even in sunny Hawaii, summer is the best time for complex projects. “You don’t want to do certain types of roofing during the winter months,” Murakami concludes. “The three magic words of roofing are June, July and August!”