Do it yourself roof repair can be a dangerous job if you don’t know what you’re doing and if you have no experience, especially on rooftops. I strongly suggest having any repairs done professionally for the obvious reasons mentioned. Several questions arise and will affect the cost. First, do you want to do the entire roof, or just repair what needs it right away?
If you are lucky, your neighbor is doing his/her roof and their house is the same age as yours. Carefully look at what they find and expect a similar situation at your house. In any case, it is certainly much better to check and repair a roof before it leaks, not after. If you delay, you may find yourself repairing not only the roof but also the interior walls. How do you identify roofing problems? Some things can be seen from a distance. Look for problems with flashing around vents and at chimney bases. Frequently, worn shingles can be seen without getting on the roof. Look for visible cracks or loose shingles. Most of the time, looking to repair the roof is prompted by leaks inside.
If you want to put yourself in a position not to have to think about the roof for awhile, invest in the highest quality materials available from your roofer. There are several types of roof coverings used. The most popular are architectural shingles which give a textured appearance. In years past, they were made of asbestos but that has been eliminated due to the danger of asbestos. An aside: if your house has asbestos roofing and it has to be removed for some reason, it can get very expensive because there are rules almost everywhere about how to dispose of asbestos. In many cases, that reason alone can prompt re-roofing over old roofing. Then there are cedar shakes and shingles which generally last longer than architectural shingles. Add to that clay and/or terra cotta shingles which became popular here in the late 1800’s because of their popularity in Europe. Repairing existing terra cotta shingles can sometimes be difficult because matching the shape and color is not easy. Most often, clay shingles have to be imported which adds to the expense.
Slate roofs are supposed to last a long time, over a hundred years is claimed. If you want a slate roof or if you have one that needs repair, make sure you get a contractor with experience on slate roofs. Slate is not only very expensive, it is very heavy and requires special equipment. Finally there are metal roofs which are also quite varied and extremely durable/