You’re a homeowner and determined your home’s roof needs fixing or needs to be improved with a replacement roof. You’re all set to get moving. What’s the optimal way to get a high quality roofer who will accomplish a good job? What could you look for in a roof contractor or contractor to obtain this work? Virginia Dale
When homeowners choose to repair a roof or replace that roof with asphalt during the cold winter months, they’re often plagued by worries that their family will freeze before the job is completed. In the same vein, those starting a roofing job in the sweltering summer months worry that they’ll be facing heat stroke. These concerns are perfectly normal and common among many homeowners looking for roofing fixes or roof replacement contractors.
Virginia DaleYou've decided you need a new roof. Several contractors have given you estimates. How do you know which is right for you? It is important to understand exactly what the contractor is proposing when making a decision on your roof replacement. There are usually several products/services included on most re-roofing quotes.SHINGLESThe primary item on a roof replacement estimate is the actual roofing material. The estimate will list the manufacturer and type of shingles the contractor intends to use. It will also show the style of shingle. Architectural or dimensional shingles are the most popular. They create more interest and often mimic the look of other roofing materials such as slate or tile. It may include color choice or options if design was part of the initial discussion. The estimate will also indicate the length of the manufacturer's warranty for that type.FLASHINGIf your roof has chimneys, dormers, and walls, then you will see flashing on your estimate. Flashing prevents water from seeping behind and under shingles, causing water damage to the structure.Flashing is usually thin sheets of aluminum or galvanized steel. Many professional roofers will fashion their own from sheet metal. Flashing is installed over joints in the roof & wall construction. Possible areas are valleys, chimneys, dormers, windows, pipes, skylights, porches, decks and edges.New flashing is often installed with a new roof. If flashing deteriorates or comes loose it can cause severe damage to your home. It is important to make sure it is installed properly to avoid unnecessary damage.UNDERLAYMENTOne item that should be included on every roof replacement estimate is underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of protective material between the roof deck or plywood and the shingles. Often called felt paper, it is the first layer of waterproofing for your roof.Manufacturers reinforce the underlayment with fiberglass to strengthen and resist tearing, make installation easier and improve its waterproofing effectiveness.Manufacturers are constantly developing new underlayment technology. Newer synthetic underlayment further increases the effectiveness, ease & safety to install and increases longevity. Some manufacturers have developed organic and green underlayment products.It is usually recommended to use underlayment from the same manufacturer as your shingles as they are designed to work together. It may be required for a valid warranty.A contractor will choose the best type of underlayment for your roof replacement based on the type of roof and climate in which you live. If you have any questions regarding their choice, they are the best resource for your specific project. DRIP EDGEDrip edge is another important and sometimes overlooked part of a roofing or re-roofing job. Even though manufacturers recommend it, and some require it for a valid warranty, some contractors do not include drip edge on their estimates.Drip edge is metal strips applied along gutter lines, eaves and some rakes. It stops water from getting under the shingles and damaging the deck plywood and protects fascia. Properly applied drip edge will lengthen the life of the roof and further protect the home from water damage.Drip edge is not expensive to include in a roof replacement project and the benefits greatly out way the cost.ICE & WATER SHIELDThe purpose of a roof is to protect the home from the elements; wind, rain, ice, etc. In most climates, ice and/or water are a concern you can't ignore.Ice and water protection should be discussed for almost every residential roofing project and will likely appear on your estimate. Ice and water barriers allow proper water flow preventing damage caused by high wind and rain storms and ice build-up known as ice dams. It strongly adheres to the plywood roof deck providing a second line of defense to the underlayment. The barrier is applied to the most vulnerable parts of the roof. Depending on the type of roof this could be the valleys, eaves and rakes, or the entire deck surface. Contractors may also suggest applying it around chimneys and other areas where leaks are likely to occur.VALLEYSA valley is the angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff. Because of the amount of water passing through that area of a roof, it is important to consider how the area will be protected when replacing an asphalt shingle roof.There are different methods for shingling the area with dimensional asphalt roofing material. Closed cut valleys are most popular aesthetically. In a closed cut valley application, shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed back a few inches from the valley centerline. Any flashing is not exposed. When using the open cut valley roofing method the flashing is visible. Open cut valleys may be used to create visual interest or enhance features on some design styles.Some contractors will use ice and water shield under the shingles, others will choose to install metal flashing. Further, some contractors will install both for extra protection. A professional roofing contractor will consider many factors and make a recommendation as to the best method and style for the specific project. A detailed estimate will include these recommendations.RIDGE VENTAll roofs need to be vented to allow moisture to escape and prevent damage to the roof and the entire home. There are several types of roof ventilation systems. The most popular are ridge vents. They are installed along the ridge or peak of the roof and allow hot air to escape and draw cool air in the soffit vents.A detailed roof replacement estimate will include which type and style of vent is going to be installed. Ridge vents come in several styles to match the home, shingle design, and homeowner's preference as to how much they stand out or blend in with the rest of the new roof.CHIMNEY CRICKETIf the home has a chimney, a professional roofing contractor may recommend installing a cricket if there isn't one already. A cricket is a peaked construction at the back of a chimney to help prevent snow and ice build-up and to deflect water around the chimney.PIPES AND FANSPipes and fans on the roof should be addressed in the estimate. These are vents that allow air to escape the home from the attic, bathroom, or other household needs. A contractor will indicate how they will treat these during the project. Will they keep the same ones, replace with new pipes or recommend a different type of ventilation or fan.GUTTERSWhen replacing a roof, it is a good time to consider replacing gutters as well. Either on your request or their recommendation, an option for gutter replacement may appear on the estimate. It may specify the length in feet, type of material, the type of construction (seamless, sectional), the size or width in inches and the size of the downspouts that will be used. Gutter estimates may include leaf protection, which is a covering that allows water to flow and keeps leaves and other debris from causing clogs in the gutter and downspouts.SOFFIT & FASCIAOften replacing soffit and fascia will be recommended.Fascia - Connects the roof to the soffit, where gutters are attached.Soffit - Covers the underside of the roof overhang.Both of these play a large part in protecting the structure of the home.PLYWOOD & SHEATHINGUnder all the underlayment, ice & water shield and shingle material is the decking. This is the wood that makes the solid structure of the rooftop. During a roof replacement project, it may be discovered that some of this decking has been damaged and needs to be replaced. A roofing contractor may indicate this expense in different ways. If they see obvious damage they will note that in the estimate and the type of material that will be used. This could be plywood, Luan or other coverings. However, sometimes this damage is hidden until the replacement project has begun. Some contractors will also include the additional costs that may be incurred if a problem is found. WARRANTIESMost roof replacement estimates will mention warranties and guarantees with limitations and for a specific number of years.Manufacturers' warranties usually offer coverage when there is a defect in the roofing material that causes leaks under normal conditions. A manufacturer's coverage will typically cover the cost of replacing the materials, not the labor to do so. They also do not cover replacing the entire roof, just repairing or replacing the defective areas.Manufacturers' warranties often exclude damage due to pre-existing conditions of the roof. If the shingles were installed improperly or the roof structure and gutter design was faulty, coverage may be denied. Many warranties are prorated, meaning the longer the roof is on your home the less coverage you have.Manufacturers may recognize quality professionals that they trust. These contractors may be able to offer additional or extended manufacturers' warranties.Be sure to understand the coverage and limitations of a manufacturer's warranty before using it to make your roofing decisions.While a good warranty to cover defects is important, choosing your roofing contractor is as much so.Manufacturers' warranties do not cover problems arising from installation. This is where a workmanship guarantee comes in.A workmanship guarantee is offered by the contractor and covers all defects related to installation work only. A qualified contractor will know what type of material to use on your roof and how to install it properly, reducing the possibility of roof leakage. Your contractor will also recognize potential problems such as structure, drainage and ventilation issues and address those ahead of time so they won't damage your new shingles in the future. A reputable contractor will offer a labor warranty to cover any issues that may arise for additional peace of mind.When considering your new roof investment, be sure to look at the coverage warranties offer and especially the quality and knowledge of the company installing them.CHOOSING YOUR CONTRACTORAfter reading and understanding the estimates, it is time to make a decision as to who will do the work. Make sure to check out each contractor's qualifications and experience. Online reviews are an excellent source of information.
Hailstorm Help - Choosing a Roofing ContractorFollowing any major hailstorm in the United States, homeowners in the affected area are hit with another storm; hundreds of roofing contractors! It can be very confusing for homeowners to know how to navigate through all the flyers and brochures and decide on which contractor to hire. Unfortunately there are some scam artists out there as well that put the homeowner on high alert in making their decision. This article will make the process of choosing the right contractor a much easier task.Eliminate Imposters QuicklyWith a little detective work, you can quickly figure out which companies to avoid like the plague. The obvious initial thought is to Google the company name, but for a scam artist looking to run away with your insurance proceeds, this method is not likely to be very effective. You may find a website, and not much else. If they have scammed other homeowners in another city, they likely did it under a completely different business name, and possibly even under another personal name.The next place to look is on the Better Business Bureau website. There you can see if they have any prior complaints, and whether or not those complaints were resolved. In some cases you will also be able to see when the entity was created, though this date is taken from the information the contractor sends to BBB, so further research is needed. In order to find the actual business creation date, you will need to do a business entity search on your state's secretary of state office website. Some states will allow you to search for this information, showing you the date the business was started, as well as the local entity creation. There are reputable contractors that will open a new office in your city following a major storm. But if the business itself was not created until shortly after the storm date, it gives you an idea that this might be a scam artist. Obviously if a Google search and a BBB search both result in no information about the company, you have good reason to believe you should eliminate that company. Once you have eliminated the potential scam artists, it's time to do further research on the companies you like.Knowing What You're GettingChecking references is a common suggestion when it comes time to choose a contractor, and this is a great suggestion. However, this should not be the only method used. It is unlikely that any contractor is going to hand out references that will give them a bad review. Still, by calling a few of the references you can get an idea of what kind of work they do.Another important factor to consider is the detail of the proposed work. If the contractor is vague in their work description, ask for a detailed breakdown. As you compare multiple contractors, you can see which one is offering the highest quality product.Be sure to ask about the workmanship warranty offered. You will want to be sure to get at least a 2-year warranty on workmanship. Most issues in workmanship will show up almost immediately following the installation, or the first time the roof is exposed to extreme weather conditions. Extended warranties are often offered by the contractor; in some cases at no additional charge, and others for a fee. If you want the peace of mind, you may be interested in an extended warranty, but it is not necessary. Any issues you experience with your roof beyond the first couple years are not likely to be a result of poor workmanship, but rather caused by failed materials or external damages.Interview Contractors Rather Than Comparing BidsThe insurance company is covering the cost of the repairs anyway, so the price is irrelevant. If you hope to have your deductible covered, or possibly even make money off the claim, think again. That would be insurance fraud, and you could end up getting into some serious trouble for doing so! Beware of contractors who try to lure you in by offering to pay your deductible, give you free upgrades, advertising credits, etc. If they can't earn your business because of the quality of work they do, they probably aren't worth your time. Plus, it is better to pay a little more now, than a lot later because of shoddy work. Be sure to ask the contractor their experience in dealing with insurance claims. If they have little or no experience handling claims, you're probably better off to cross them off your list. A professional insurance restoration contractor will be able to assist you with the claim process, get you the most money (and therefore the highest quality repairs), and get the claim approved. Professional insurance restoration contractors will use Xactimate software for their estimates, and some may even have licensed adjusters on staff.SummaryDon't be in a hurry to choose a contractor following storm damage to your home. Take your time to research several companies, interview them, and make your own educated decision from there. You will be glad you did when your property has been restored with top quality craftsmanship, while your neighbor complains about all the issues they have had with their project and the contractor that covered their deductible and gave them free upgrades!