- Getting Started & Precautions
- Selecting a Product
- Roofing Procedures
GETTING STARTED & PRECAUTIONS
Choosing a professional contractor can be an arduous task, but there are some simple steps one can take to help ensure that your expectations are met?
How should I find a professional roofing contractor?
- The best way to seek out a professional contractor is through referrals. If a neighbor has recently had their roof redone ask if they were satisfied with the job.
- Another way to seek out a professional contractor is to ask the local roofing material distributors who deal with reputable contractors on a daily basis who they suggest.
- Looking in the phone book can also be useful in seeking out a professional contractor, but if you choose this route use caution and interview two or three contractors before making any decisions.
What should I ask a prospective contractor?
- Previous job-site locations that you can go view
- Referrals from past customers
- Length of time they have been in business
- If they are members of any professional associations
- The roofing procedure to get an idea of the contractor’s knowledge & thoroughness
How do I judge and decide on an estimate?
- Realize that a good estimate will not always come from the cheapest bid you receive. Some important factors to consider include:
- The Contractor: based on your evaluation and interactions what is the likelihood that in the next five years the contractor can be located and will stand behind his warranty.
- The Quality: make sure that the description of the roof system is complete (does the contractor include ventilation, waterproofing, clean-up, etc.), and realize when looking at prices that the higher the quality of products, the more expensive.
- The Protection: check on the completeness of the contractor’s insurance package so that you are not liable for injuries or damages that may occur during the job. Also, check to see if the contract anticipates unforeseen problems that may occur and incorporates this into the price of the estimate.
Should I expect to pay a deposit?
- While the amount of the deposit varies from contractor to contractor in most cases a deposit is common, but make sure that the contract covers all the charges including considerations such as:
- ALL materials
- Completion date
- The total payments before the job is completed should not equal more than 75% of the total job price.
- A deposit should not be held for more than two months.
- Before signing the contract and giving a deposit it is important to verify the contractor’s track record by checking references from previous jobs.
Once I choose a contractor how long will it take?
- It usually takes approximately 2-6 weeks after the contract is signed until the job begins.
- Weather is a major factor in the start and length of a job. The contractor must take into consideration bad weather and extreme temperatures in order to ensure you the highest quality of work. Reasons for this may include:
- Safety of the workers
- Shingle quality is affected by extreme temperatures
- Cold weather can delay activation of sealant
- The typical duration of a reproofing job varies depending on many factors including size and complexity. It is the contractor’s responsibility to be straightforward about how long the job will take, and should tell you in a timely manner if any changes occur.
SELECTING A PRODUCT
Purchasing a new roof is a major investment, and in order to make the right decision some investigation, comparison-shopping, and knowledge of the products is necessary
How do I know what shingles to buy?
- Decide on what you are looking for:
- Do you want a new roof for functional or aesthetic reasons?
- How important is the cost?
- What kind of warranty do you need?
- If your primary concern is function then?.
- The standard shingle for residential homes is most often the three-tab or strip shingles.
- These shingles come with various warranties.
- Many times the only aesthetic difference in these shingles will be the color.
- If your primary concern is appearance then?
- Many architectural shingles are now available that have a wide range of not only colors but also textures, forms, and designs.
- f you are looking to make a major aesthetic upgrade for your house then researching the different types of architectural shingles for what fits the style of your home may be beneficial.
- Whether your focus is on appearance or function it is also important to be in contact with your contractor.
- Have them show you different levels of quality in products, discuss with them what you envision for your roof, and ask them any questions you may have concerning shingles.
What about warranty?
- Warranties generally range from 20-40 years, but it is also extremely important to keep in mind the upfront coverage in the first few years following the application of the roof (this is the time when defects are most likely to occur).
- Look for a manufactures’ warranty that will cover materials and labor for the first 3-5 years after the roof is completed.
- Review the warranty stipulations. Pay especially close attention to stipulations about:
- Proration & Transferability: this refers to the reduction of the manufacturer’s contribution to the homeowner during the stated warranty period. Select a warranty that doesn’t prorate for the first 3-5 years.
- Ventilation: look into the stipulations regarding ventilation because in many cases a shingle roof system that fails as a result of inadequate ventilation may cause the warranty to become invalid.
- Pay attention to the contractor’s guarantee of performance as well, but remember that the length of the guarantee is less significant than the contractor’s desire to stand behind his workmanship.
What about all the extra information?
- While you are researching and choosing a product you may run into terms that are foreign to you. Here are a few common terms used with roofing products that may assist you in choosing a product:
- U.L. fire resistance ratings:
- U.L. stands for Underwriters Laboratories. This rating signifies that the shingles have been manufactured to pass a certain set of standards that qualify them as fire resistant.
- While both organic and fiberglass are appropriate for residential roofs it is important to check because certain building codes may specify a certain U.L. Class for your area.
- All metal flashing vs. rubber flashing
It is important to familiarize yourself with the aspects of reroofing because various factors and conditions may influence the product choice and cost of the job?
Will I need a permit to install a new roof?
- Some local ordinances require permit that must be processed before work starts on the roof, and your contractor should know if a permit is needed.
- If a permit is required talk to your contractor about who and how it will be obtained, and if the contractor is responsible for the permit make sure it is stated in the contract.
What is a roof slope?
- The slope of a roof is the calculation of the rise versus the run, or it can be stated as the number of inches vertically by the number of feet horizontally.
- Depending on the slope there may be some limits to the choice of shingles that can be used.
Will it be necessary to tear off existing shingles before reproofing?
- There are two options for installing a new roof.
- Tear off: where the old roof is completely taken off before applying the new one.
- Lay over: where new shingles are put over the existing roof.
- A lay over is the less expensive approach, but it is not necessarily the best choice. While the tear off may be more expensive it is important to consider the advantages of this option:
- Any defects in the roof deck will be revealed and repaired before the new roof is applied.
- If there are condensation problems in the attic they will be revealed and properly designed ventilation can be installed.
- Waterproofing underlayment can be installed before a new roof is applied.
- There is a significantly greater likelihood that the validity of the manufactures’ shingle warranty will not be impaired.
- Make sure that clean up of the old roof is discussed and the contract accounts for cost and who is responsible for this duty.
Why is ventilation important?
- Ventilation is important for a variety of reasons including:
- Importance concerning warranties
- Reduction of attic heat build-up
- Reduction of attic moisture & condensation
What is shingle underlaying?
- A shingle underlayment is commonly referred to as roofing felt by contractors, and it serves numerous functions:
- Roofing felt it put down before the shingles are applied to the roof deck to protect the deck from moisture.
- The roofing felt provides back up protection in the event that water gets under the shingles.
- In many cases building codes will require that shingle underlayment be installed, and it is important to ask you contractor about what type of underlayment will be necessary for your particular roof.