Pittsburgh Roof Repair Facts

by Jon Nunan

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The roof of a home, most would agree, is one of its most important features. In Pittsburgh, a roof provides shade from the sun in the summer, protection from snow in the winter, and keeps pigeons, squirrels and bugs (not to mention rain) out of the house all year round. Yes, its fair to say that Three River residents depend a lot on their roofs which is why, in Pittsburgh, roof repair is not just important, but necessary to keep your home functional and comfortable.

The Importance of Roof Repair in Pittsburgh
Few repairs are as important as those performed on your roof, especially in a city like Pittsburgh. Roof repair is one of those tasks that can affect the rest of the home very quickly. A small leak in your roof might go unnoticed for months (or even years) if you live in a place where it rarely rains and where wet materials can dry quickly and thoroughly. In Pittsburgh, however, the likelihood of more serious damage resulting from that small leak is high due to the large amount of precipitation (both liquid and frozen). Think about it: Your roof protects everything underneath it from the elements, and when that protection is inadequate, more than the roof is bound to suffer. From wood roof decking to insulation to personal belongings stored in the attic, the water damage resulting from a small leak can snowball into huge repair costs in other areas if left unchecked.

Pittsburgh Roof Repair by Material
The fact that the majority of roof repairs in the country deal with asphalt shingles stems from their popularity. It's estimated that more than 80% of American homes are topped with asphalt. Good insulation and inexpensive installation are the two main reasons for asphalt's popularity. The problem is that the quality of asphalt shingles varies dramatically, so their life expectancy can be anywhere from 20 to 35 years. The upside of asphalt shingles is that they are relatively easy to work on. Since they are so common and inexpensive, most contractors know exactly how to work on them. Repairs are generally quite fast and not too hard on the wallet, either.

While quite common in other areas of the country, metal roofing in Pennsylvania is much more likely to show up on a barn in Lancaster than on a two story in Pittsburgh. It is not, however, completely nonexistent (and is a good quality material that may soon become more popular). Roof repair for metal-topped homes is not extremely common. This is because metal roofing tends to last a very long time (often 50+ years), and then it needs to be replaced rather than repaired. One exception to this occurs when a metal roof is subjected to abnormally large hail. Hail damage rarely has a significant effect on function, so repairs are basically done for cosmetic purposes. For metal roof repair, Pittsburgh residents might have a more difficult time finding a contractor with a lot of experience, so make sure to ask around before you make up your mind.

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Due to Pittsburgh's age, some sections of town have houses with original slate roofs. A slate roof can last for over 100 years and still function quite well. They are expensive to install and to repair as well. Slate is also extremely brittle and can crack under a person's weight. It is truly in the best interest of slate roof owners to keep overhanging trees properly pruned, especially in Pittsburgh where a freezing rain storm could easily cause a weighed down branch (and, in turn, your roof) to crack. Make sure that anyone you hire to repair a slate roof has experience working with the material, or you could end up spending more than you have to.

Pittsburgh Roof Repair Pricing
For asphalt shingles in Pittsburgh, roof repair is almost always well below $1,000 and is often $500 or less. Iron City residents looking to repair a slate roof, however, can expect a bill between $1,500 and $2,000. If metal roofing is your thing, repairs are in the same price range as slate. If you want metal roofing to be your new thing, installation runs around $6,000 (far less than a slate roof, which averages well over $10,000 to install, but will be more than asphalt shingles.)

Pittsburgh Roof Cleaning
For some homeowners in Pittsburgh, roof cleaning is viewed as either unimportant or only an aesthetic choice. The fact is: Pittsburgh roof cleaning is sometimes able to extend the life of your roofing materials! Since gunk, moss, and debris can, overtime, take a strong hold on your roof, it's easy to understand the visual benefits of roof cleaning. Pittsburgh roofs, however, are exposed to enough moisture every year that the gunk, moss, and debris can actually age your roofing materials prematurely by holding onto moisture and loosening shingles. Therefore, by performing regular roof cleaning, Pittsburgh homeowners are not only boosting their curb appeal, they are also making a small investment that has the potential to save money on repairs and premature replacement down the road!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.