Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive home repairs and maintenance needs you'll ever pay for on a house. But the cost of this project reflects the importance of a high-quality roof to protect your home from wind, rain and other outdoor elements.

When it's time to consider residential roof repair or a full replacement, it can be tempting to attempt this roof work on your own and lower the costs of a roof replacement. But if you don't have experience with roofing a house, a DIY approach can also be risky.

Still trying to decide? Here's what to consider when your home needs reroofing.

Deciding When to Replace Your Roof

Replacing a roof is a major investment—and that investment isn't made lightly. While asphalt shingles are built to last 15 years or longer, any choice of shingle is going to reach the end of its life expectancy eventually.

The decision to repair or replace a roof is often an easy one if your roof has developed the following issues:

  • Water leaks. If water is leaking into your attic or other interior spaces, a leaky roof is a likely cause—and if you can trace the leak back to the roof, you'll need to fix the issue.
  • Bald spots on asphalt shingles. The gritty asphalt exterior that strengthens your roof and protects your home is bound to deteriorate over time. When this exterior layer is rubbed off, it will expose bald spots that will be more prone to water leaking and damage.
  • Visible damage from severe weather. Hail and fallen tree branches can strike your roof and cause damage to both the shingles and, in the case of large branches, the underlying structure.
  • Missing or broken shingles. Missing shingles are likely the result of severe winds—but they may also be a sign of poor installation.

The Risks of DIY Roof Replacement

While a DIY roofing project may sound appealing from a cost perspective, there are certain risks to be mindful of when considering this option. Some of these risks could even lead to added long-term costs that push the total cost of a roof replacement beyond what you would have paid professionals. These common risks include:

  • Incorrect installation. When a non-professional installs your roof, you're at a greater risk of leaks, lost shingles, and other problems resulting from poor installation.
  • Worker safety. Whether it's you or other help on your roof, non-professionals are more likely to fall and/or become injured on the job.
  • Voided warranties for roofing materials. Many roofing materials, including shingles, come with warranties that are only valid when installed by a professional. If you opt for a DIY roofing job, you could void those warranties and be out of luck if those materials develop any issues.
  • Potential insurance claim denials. If you file a claim on your roof in the future and your insurer finds out the roof was installed by you, and not a professional, they could deny your claim and even cancel your policy.

The Benefits of Professional Residential Roofing Replacement

While a professional installation helps you avoid all of the aforementioned risks of DIY projects, homeowners can also have peace-of-mind that their roof has been properly installed to maximize its lifespan and its protective qualities—and that, if problems arise in the future, they have someone they can call for help.

In addition, professional roofers can also help you choose the materials and colors you want for your home, guiding you through your options and helping you understand the features of each roofing material, as well as its impact on your budget. Finally, in cases where you aren't sure whether you can repair a portion of your roof, or if the full roof needs replacement, a professional roofing company can evaluate the damage and help you understand the pros and cons of a partial repair versus a full replacement.

How to Pay for a New Roof

Most homeowners can't afford the full cost of a new roof out-of-pocket—especially if this expense catches them by surprise. Fortunately, you may have multiple options to afford a new roof immediately, even if you lack the cash to foot the bill.

The first place to start is with your insurance company. Depending on whether any damage is found on your roof, you may be able to get a portion of the roof replacement cost, or even the full cost, covered by insurance after paying your deductible. This can be the most affordable option for paying for a new roof.

You can also look into home improvement loans or personal loans to cover this large expense through financing at a competitive rate. Many roofing companies also offer financing and/or payment plans to help their customers afford a roof replacement. Once you get a quote from a roofing company, ask about their financing and/or payment options to find the best option for affording a new roof.

While DIY roofing may seem like a viable option for saving money on a major home expense, the reality is that a DIY approach doesn't save you nearly as much as you might hope for in the long run—and it could cost you significantly if your roof runs into any problems. Invest in your home and your own sense of security by having your home reroofed by a trusted local roofing company.