There is no denying a new roof is a big investment – although it is also one of the best home investments you can make! A roof is one of the most important aspects of your home, and as such, it needs to be working at its peak. Problems with your roof lead to all kinds of other problems with your home (some very large ones, too). The good news is there are plenty of great roof replacement contractors out there who can help install a beautiful new roof on your home. The bad news is there are also lots of not-so-great contractors who may leave your roof in a worse state than they found it in. A new roof starts with choosing the right contractor, because when you choose the wrong contractor with improper techniques and inadequate materials, it will be a costly exercise but may also compromise the integrity of your home. That is why we have put together this Comprehensive Guide to Roofing, this article is designed to guide you through the process of replacing your roof.
Is It Time For a New Roof?
An aging roof will begin to show signs that it might be time to consider replacement. However, not all roofs show signs they need replacing. In fact, the optimal time to replace a roof is before it begins leaking. That is why a routine inspection of your roof is paramount. As such, when your roof begins to show the following signs of major wear, it is certainly time to start shopping for a new roof.
A roof leak is a serious sign that your roof must be repaired, and more often than not, replaced. Ignoring roof leaks or doing a quick, band-aid fix puts many of the other parts of your home at significant risk. If you spot a leak or have repeatedly repaired the same leak without success, it is time to call in the professionals. Sometimes, if a specific reason can be found for the leak, the roof can be repaired. What may at first appear to be a roof leak may often point to a flashing issue. Without sound, tight flashings around all of the areas of your home including chimneys, vents, skylights and junctions, incoming water can cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.
Rain Slots and Notches
If you have a roof with asphalt or fiberglass shingles, take a look at the rain slots (notches) between the tabs. If the notches are significantly wider than they are on new shingles, are rounded off on the corners, or the surface of the shingles is bent, warped, cracked, curled or dented, it is a good idea to have a complete inspection of your existing roofing system to identify how much life is left in the materials.
Another sign that your roof has seen better days is a build up of shingle grit and granules in your gutters. The older the shingles get, the more cast off granules you will see. Likewise, if you inspect your shingles, and see much of the asphalt layer peaking through the colored granule coating, your roof is at the end of its life. If your roof is metal, note any damage, rust or loose panels. For roofs constructed from tile or wood shingles, damaged or loose shingles indicate it is likely time to replace your old roof.
Storm and Other Damage
Even if your existing roof is not very old, it may have suffered some severe weather damage. This could simply be the result of a very strong storm, or could be caused by improper installation of the existing roof system or construction with substandard materials. In these cases, you should examine any warranties you have and ask your insurance providers about coverage.
So by now you may have determined that you need a new roof. What next? Let’s look at the benefits of a new roof.
The Benefits of a New Roof
Energy savings are a great benefit of a new roof. A professionally installed roofing system can help you significantly reduce your energy costs and make your home more comfortable. Some of today’s quality roofing systems have increased insulating values. Likewise, “cool” roofing options can increase your heat deflection and save you even more money in energy costs.
One of the most important things your roof does is keep the temperatures within your home stable and comfortable. An old roof is far less likely to do its job to keep warm air in during the colder winter months and keep your home cool during the warmer summer months. This can increase your energy cost significantly in just one season, not to mention the compounding long-term costs. A comfortable home is a good home, after all.
Old roofs nearing the end of their usable life may present some possible safety hazards like water damage and the associated risk of health compromising mold and mildew. Additionally, an old roof is far more likely to suffer significant damage during inclement weather like high winds, heavy snowfall or a severe storm. A structurally sound roofing system using the best available materials is an investment in your family’s safety.
Choosing a Roofing System & Materials
Choosing a new roof is both exciting and stressful because there are plenty of things to consider like material, style, color and investment. There are various materials available and they offer varying benefits like ENERGY STAR ratings, aesthetic appeal, cost, life span and more. A knowledgeable roofing contractor can help you understand the benefits of the different materials and weigh your options to find the best fit for your individual style, budget and home. Consider these questions when choosing the right materials for your home:
- How long will my new roof last?
- Is the roof suitable for my area’s weather and climate?
- Is the roof too heavy for my home’s existing roof framing?
- Is the roof properly ventilated?
- Does the roof have enough slope?
- Will the roof complement the style of my home?
- Are eco-friendly or green roofing materials right for my home and area?
- Is the roof I am considering permissible by the local building codes and/or HOA guidelines?
- How much will my new roof cost?
You can read more about the different roofing materials here.
A Checklist for Choosing a Qualified Roofing Contractor
As we mentioned before, not all roofing contractors are one in the same. It is important to prequalify roofing contractors to get the job done right the first time. Doing a little work upfront will save you hours of distress and potentially thousands of dollars later. Some of the things you should look for include:
- A permanent place of business, telephone number, tax id number and business license.
- Proof of insurance - liability coverage and workers’ compensation certificates.
- Licensed and bonded insure the contractor is financially stable.
- The company has a proven track record, client references and a list of successfully completed projects.
- A detailed, written proposal with descriptions of the work and specifications, approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures.
- The contractor is a licensed or approved installer with the manufacturer.
- The contractor should be able to explain his project supervision, quality control procedures, size of the crew and estimated project completion time.
- The contractor demonstrates a commitment to professionalism with appropriate industry associations check with the Better Business Bureau or Department of Professional Regulation for possible complaints filed against them.
- Contract and roofing warranties offered for labor and materials.
Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor
Professionalism, experience and quality workmanship is the aim when choosing the right roofing contractor. While we all like a bargain, your roof is one of those purchases where going cheap is never a wise idea. There is a significant expense with a new roof, so be wary of low-ball bids.
These contractors offering too good to be true bids are oftentimes no more qualified than you are to install a new roof on your home. If you aren’t careful, you can end up getting a roof installed incorrectly only to end up paying thousands of dollars to fix the issue the first contractor caused.
The goal of selecting a roofing contractor? A quality roof system at a fair price. You will no doubt get a higher price from a professional roofing contractor than a one-man show working out of his truck, and for good reason. A professional, expert roofing contractor understands their business and is not going to take material or labor shortcuts that save the contractor money in the short term but cost you money down the line. Not to mention a reputable professional roofing contractor carries full insurance, works closely with their manufacturers, and carefully trains employees to ensure the job is done right. All of these cost considerable amounts of money, but they are vital to doing the job properly from the get-go.
We hope this guide to roofing has helped make the process of installing a new roof that much easier – but if you have any additional questions or would like a free quote, get in touch with our friendly and expert roofing team today.