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Home Repairs You Can't Afford to Ignore

When it comes to home repairs, it's important to weigh short-term savings against long term value, because cheaper is not always better in the long run. Acting quickly when you notice problems is the smartest way to reduce home repair costs. A small problem is always cheaper to fix than a large one. Sometimes it's a good idea to replace components before repairs are needed. Most water heaters have a life span of 10 to 12 years. But waiting for your water heater to fail can cause much more than inconvenience. Aging water heaters can burst and flood the garage or the inside of your home, damaging furniture, carpets and more.

Windows that have frequent condensation or are "sweating" can damage your window's components, causing the wood to rot and saturate the wall insulation, reducing its effectiveness. Sometimes this issue can be resolved by reducing excessive humidity in your home. Ventilating your crawl space or basement, installing foundation vents or leaving a basement window cracked in the fall or early winter can sometimes solve the problem. Installing exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms can also help, but keep in mind that windows do fail and need to be replaced. Replacing your windows is expensive but nothing compared to the repair costs of dealing with rot.

The most expensive repair most homeowners face is repairing or replacing their roof. Depending on the size of your home, roof repairs can cost up to $50,000 or more and delaying needed repairs only increases the damage to both your home and your bank account. Roofs need to be replaced when the shingles, wood or compost begin to fail. Most roofs last about 15 to 20 years. Once shingles start to deteriorate, they allow moisture to pool and the plywood structure underneath will begin to rot. That damage can extend into the rafters and spring leaks inside the home.

Here in the Northwest, pine needles, leaves, moss and other natural materials tend to collect on rooftops, trapping water and adding to potential problems. In some cases a cheaper but less effective alternative to a roof replacement is to cover existing shingles with a new layer. Called put-overs, this method cost much less than a roof replacement, but it doesn't last as long as a new roof will. If your home is more than 10 years old, it may already have more than one roofing layer. The standard practice in the construction industry limits the layers of shingles to two due to weight concerns on the roofing structure.

You should also check with your insurance company regarding their policy on roofing layers. Relaying is not recommended when the existing shingles are curling, moss covered or splitting and you will want a qualified professional to inspect the roof for sagging or rotting decking, which indicates problems requiring more than the simple addition of new roofing materials. One roofing tip that will definitely save you money is to never employ the blue tarp temporary fix. It will hurt more than it helps because moisture gets trapped below a tarp causing even more problems. Remember, whatever you choose, get multiple estimates and always insist on a licensed roofer.

All Master Builder contractors are registered with the state, insured and offer a minimum one-year warranty on their work.