The roof is your rental property’s first line of defense against the elements, but it’s also arguably one of the most vulnerable parts of the building – and one of the costliest to replace. However, just like bringing your vehicle to the mechanic regularly for maintenance will lower your overall repair costs, roof maintenance can extend the lifespan of your roof and how often it will need replacement.
Property maintenance is an essential part of keeping your property maintained and habitable. Capital budgeting also becomes more predictable and simplified when you factor in preventive maintenance and inspections. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to extend your roof’s lifespan and save money in the long run.
Regular maintenance on your roof is one of the most cost-effective options for landlords and property managers. Manufacturers tend to agree; it’s estimated that routine maintenance can extend a roof’s lifespan by 25%. Maintenance would include things like removing snow, re-caulking or re-sealing as needed and clearing debris. If there are trees around the property they should be trimmed back away from the roof to reduce leaves, twigs, moss, and other debris from clogging the gutters and to prevent animals from getting onto the roof. You should also check that the insulation in the attic is adequate, especially if you provide electricity for your tenants. Poorly insulated attics are one of the largest sources of potential energy loss, particularly during extreme temperatures.
Although you may have some small upfront maintenance expenditures, keeping up with your roof maintenance can significantly minimize the roof’s overall cost. A well-maintained roof needs minimal repair annually and will have fewer expenses associated with it overall, plus it minimizes how often the roof will need to be replaced.
Roof Maintenance Inspections
In addition to performing maintenance on your roof, roof maintenance inspections can help you plan and budget for any future costs. For example, a contractor can provide you with a detailed report that will tell you you’re likely going to need repairs in about 3 years, and a complete replacement in 12 years. Using this information, you can reduce the likelihood of budget shortfalls and emergency repairs.
While you should conduct your own visual inspections regularly, most experts recommend consulting with a roofing contractor twice a year for a more detailed inspection and projection of what types of repairs will be necessary in the future. Keep in mind the location of your rental property when scheduling inspections, as things factors like snow and salt air can put substantial wear and tear on a roof that may require more frequent maintenance or repairs.
Lower the overall cost of your roof replacement
Performing regular maintenance and minor repairs as they occur will help prevent larger-scale projects and reduce the overall costs; it also protects your building operations from interruptions that can be expensive and time-consuming. Repairing small leaks, for example, can protect your deck or other structures from becoming damaged and ensure the insulation doesn’t become saturated and require replacement.
Simple maintenance items can save you up to 30% of the entire expense of replacing your roof and may provide even more savings when you factor in the costs of replacing other areas that would have become damaged otherwise. On average, a well-maintained roof will cost approximately $3 – 5 per square foot for a re-roof, as opposed to $12 per square foot for a poorly maintained or structurally unsound roof. These costs can easily be mitigated by implementing a regular maintenance plan.
It’s easy to neglect roof maintenance, especially while capital planning; however, consistent upkeep will significantly reduce the need for repairs and replacement, as well as unforeseen costs. Additionally, as the landlord or property manager, you have a responsibility to keep the property habitable in accordance with your state laws. Hiring a contractor to conduct regular annual or bi-annual inspections will also ensure you have a complete picture of what your roof will need and when, so you can plan and budget accordingly.
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