Roofing Frequently Asked Questions
While there are no definitive guidelines for identifying a good contractor from a bad one, you can use the estimates provided to learn a good deal about their practices. This information may be just the differentiation you need to separate the good from the bad. A good contractor’s estimate should include all of the following:
- Type, color & manufacturer of roofing material
- All materials to be included in the project (underlayment, protective membranes, etc.)
- Scope of work to be completed
- Plan for existing roof – removal or replacement
- Plan for flashing – reuse, new, type of material
- Ventilation work to be completed
- Identifies the party responsible for repairing or replacing exterior landscaping or interior finishing damaged during roof work
- Specific installation method
- Targeted start & completion dates
- Payment methods accepted
- Warranty specifications
One of the best ways to determine whether or not a contractor is legitimate is through their pricing. If you get an estimate from one that is far lower than the others, often it’s due to their lack of insurance, licensing, or bonding. Worse still, they have none of the above. It’s a good idea to avoid the extremely low estimates altogether, but, if you’re determined to get a low price, ask the contractor for an item by item breakdown of their estimate. If they can fully explain it, then you may have found the deal of the century. Yet, it’s still a good idea to be very cautious. Making a mistake with your roofing can be very costly to remedy.
When dealing with roofing and roofing systems, it’s important to differentiate the warranties involved. The asphalt shingles used in your project will come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers any and all defects in the product due to a manufacturing defect. Usually, these warranties are for the lifetime of the product, or at least a period of 20 years or more. Your contractor should give you a certificate upon completion that details this warranty. They will also offer their own warranty that covers their work on your project. This warranty can be for whatever term they choose, but most are normally at least three years from the date of completion.
One of the benefits to working with an experienced, reputable roofing contractor is the knowledge of materials and rooftops they bring to the table. There are two separate categories of asphalt shingle and the professional can match the right shingle to the specifics of your roof. This can mean the difference between a lifetime of worry-free performance and costly repairs year after year.
You have 2 options: a) a full roof replacement OR b) a re-cover of the existing roof system. A complete roof replacement requires that your entire existing roof system be redone. This involves a “tear off” of your existing system and is a full-blown roofing process. Cost depends on the type of shingle, style and warranty/durability you choose. Talk to your local roofing professionals to get advice on what best suits your needs and your budget.
It depends. If you are someone who is generally successful with DIY home improvement projects, then you may have the ability to take on a project of this magnitude and importance (for your home’s health).
However, if you are someone who is generally NOT successful with DIY home improvement projects, then this is definitely not the time to be bold and “give it a shot.”
Your roof is vital to the health of your home’s structure and internal condition. To botch repairs or wing a full replacement can lead to serious damages. Even more, you will end up spending both time and money in performing the DIY roof project and then spend more time and money later on when you need to hire a professional to do it right.
A) The first thing to consider when evaluating the cost of your roofing project is to determine whether you will need a complete roof replacement OR a re-cover of your roof. The former is a far larger roof project and thus more expensive, while the letter is a smaller project and therefore less expensive.
B) The next question to consider is what material you will use. Roofing materials range in aesthetic appeal, durability and cost. Shingles, for example, are an inexpensive roofing solution, while high-end slate will cost a pretty penny. Do your research on what fits your aesthetic appeal (you’re going to be living with this roof for a long time) and then determine if it is within your budget range. (Here’s a resource to get you started).
C) Finally, you’ll want to consider your houses architectural style. The more “valleys,” angles and “hard-to-get” spots you have, the more your roof project will cost.
Roof leaks are actually a common occurrence so don’t call your roofing contractor yelling at him or consider your leaking roof as a personal attack on you. Instead, call your roofing contractor and clearly explain the problem. There is no need to exaggerate the leak and, again, it is important to calmly and clearly explain your situation. If you made the right decisions in hiring a professional roofing contractor then you can expect the leak to be fixed. Roofing contractors often provide warranties on their projects and, even if they don’t, most care enough about their reputation to amend the situation and make sure your roof is healthy.
Many different kinds of damages that can compromise a roof system. It can be hard to know where to begin to look and, often, homeowners aren’t really sure what they are looking for. That’s why it is a smart investment to hire a roofing professional to perform a roof inspection periodically (at least once a year). He will know what kind of damage to look for and where to look for them.
If, however, you feel comfortable performing a roof inspection on your own, then take a look at the posts we recently wrote about the common signs you need a new roof OR take a look at our roof inspection checklist.