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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.

Underlayment’s primary enemy isn’t time it’s exposure to the elements. Once it gets wet, wrinkling and buckling are inevitable. If they become too severe, the underlayment will have to be removed and a new one put down before any shingles can be attached.

This is an important question, and one you should think of before you sign any contract. You’re having work done to the covering of your interior. Any time this is being done, you run a risk of moisture making its way into your home. You must ensure this very circumstance is clearly defined in any contract you sign. Make sure that everything that can be covered in the contract is covered. If unsure, ask the contractor specifically before agreement is reached.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends that galvanized steel nails be used in shingle installation. It’s always a good idea, if uncertain, to check your local building codes and the manufacturer’s recommendations before allowing a contractor to make a unilateral decision about something so intrinsic to the process.

Yes and no. Flashing is only included in installation if the contract includes it bin the scope of work to be completed. If you signed a contract that did not specify new flashing, the contractor is within their rights to reuse the old flashing. This is why it’s so important to read and understand anything before you sign it.

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.

Flat roofing is a different ballgame than traditional pitched residential roofing. From the materials to the installation procedures, everything is different – including the expertise needed. In flat roofing, the installers’ skills are just as important as the roofing material you choose. Poor installation leads to pooling of moisture that inevitably causes leaking. You also need to think about biannual roof maintenance when you have a flat roof. This can help you avoid costly repairs down the road.

Most commercial and industrial roofing is expected to last somewhere between 10 to 30 years – depending upon the environmental factors at play. 15 years is a good average for commercial flat roofing in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. With proper inspections and maintenance, a commercial flat roof’s lifetime can be greatly extended.

Responsible property owners know that any roofing requires maintenance to stay in peak working condition. Flat roofing is no different. It should be checked regularly for overall integrity and any issues discovered should be repaired as quickly as possible. This proactive, preventative approach can keep small things from becoming large ones, so scheduling inspections and maintenance biannually or even annually can help avoid the pitfalls of major restoration or replacement.

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.

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.

A leaking roof is a bad thing. However, it doesn’t necessarily warrant a complete roof replacement. How much repair and work needs to be done on your roof depends on the level of damage caused by leaking. Talking to a professional is the best way to know whether only minor repair OR a full roof replacement is necessary. There are many problems that can lead to roof leaking, which is why it’s important to inspect your roof periodically and check for common warning signs. You can perform this inspection yourself, but it is a good idea to hire a professional at least once a year to check for any serious roof problems.

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.

Remain calm.

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.

20 Years. That is the life expectancy of the average roof system. The lifespan of a roof system is determined by a number of factors, like: roof system design, building structure, material quality, material suitability, proper installation, periodic maintenance, local climate, and much more. Material quality is especially important because some roof system types such as clay tile, slate and (certain) metal can last longer. When choosing the materials for a new roof (or when hiring a professional, make sure to check the warranties on the materials. Most roofing manufacturers offer warranties on their products and you should be wary of any manufacturer that doesn’t.

The cost of a new roof system depends upon the size of the project, the materials involved, the architectural style of your house, market costs, and the roofing contractor you hire. Typical costs for a new roof system are, on average, about $12,000 to install a new roof.

Costs vary greatly depending on the pitch of your roof, the type of shingles you have, what condition the roof is in, and how many layers of shingles you have. The best way to find out the cost is to have a free quote done.

While a lot of people think that a leaking roof needs to be replaced, this may not be the case unless the roof is old. Missing, cracked, broken, and curling shingles can be repaired and replaced to stop a leak, while older roofs or roofs with multiple leaks or widespread issues should be replaced.

There are a lot of factors that go into how long a roof will last. While most roofs have a warranty, this doesn’t mean that your roof will necessarily go this long without needing to be replaced. Some will wear out faster due to severe weather and environmental conditions, while others could last longer. Most roofs, however, are designed to last between 15 and 25 years; some types of slate and metal roofs could last longer.

There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not the hail is damaging to a roof. The age and condition of the roof can greatly impact how large a hail pellet needs to be. In general, however, pea and marble sized hailstones do not typically cause damage to a roof without high winds also being involved.

While some small jobs can be tackled by DIY homeowners, major work or a roof replacement is a pretty complex process that requires training and thus should be left to the professionals. Professional roofing contractors goes to through training and certification by the manufacturer of the materials in order to obtain extended manufacturer warranty. The manufacturer won’t offer (or void) the warranty if the roof is repaired by a person he is not trained by the manufacturer.

Leaks can be tough to spot because water wants to find the path of least resistance and can travel for a while before finally showing up through your ceiling. You can try going into your attic or crawl space with a flashlight the next time it rains and try to trace it, but your most accurate answer will come from having a professional come out to find it and give you a quote.

The answer depends on several factors, such as what is causing the leak, and the overall age and condition of the roof. If the leak is caused by a few minor issues with the shingles or flashing, this can be repaired easily in a few hours. However, if the roof is old and subject to widespread problems, it may need to be replaced, which could take a few days.

A roofing underlayment is also known as felt paper, and is installed beneath your shingles, over the wood of your roof. It helps protect your roof from wind driven rain that can get beneath your shingles and potentially damage your home.

A roofing underlayment is also known as felt paper, and is installed beneath your shingles, over the wood of your roof. It helps protect your roof from wind driven rain that can get beneath your shingles and potentially damage your home.