Things you should know before having your home roofed.
Is your roofing contractor really insured? Ask specifically for General Liability and Workers Compensation. General liability covers your home and workers comp covers the contractor’s employees during the roofing process. If the roofing company is insured they will be able to have a certificate of insurance sent directly to you from the insurance company stating what insurance they have. Without both of these types of insurance you can be held liable for any damage done to your home or property and any medical bills for injured employees. Because of the high risk work roofers do work comp insurance is expensive in comparison to other professions. It can account for as much as 30% to 50% of labor cost. Many roofers will carry General Liability but not Workers Compensation insurance. Because of General Liability's low cost in comparison to Workers Compensation many roofers will try to say they are fully insured and only carry General Liability insurance. General Liability is not intended to cover people that are injured while working on your home. Responsible and truly insured contractors are more than willing to give you proof of their insurance because it separates them from the fly by night contractors that they sometimes have to compete with.
All shingles are not the same. There is a wide range and quality of shingles. It is true that a lot of the shingles look alike but some do not perform as well as others. Poorly made lightweight shingles have low resistance to cracking and wind lift. In this area the temperature changes are extreme. The shingle you use should be able to hold up to the constant expansion and contracting that shingles go through. Cheaper lightweight shingles have a tendency to crack and fail.
There are also many different styles and looks of shingles that offer anywhere from 15yr to a lifetime warranty that can dramatically change the look of your home or match the existing look.
Should you tear off your old roofing? Although there are occasions where it might be practical to shingle over an existing layer of roofing it only can be done under certain circumstances. Most local building codes allow for a maximum of 2 layers of roofing on a residential structure. So assuming that you only have one layer of roofing this layer must be in fairly good condition and laying flat or when the new roof lays down onto the old the bumps will telegraph through the making it look like the old. This also can cause leaking because the bumps interrupt the flow of water down the roof. Another reason it is a good idea to tear off is because if you have ever had or are having leaking problems you need to fix any rotten or damaged material. If you do not tear off you are just guessing. Also most shingle manufacturers warranties are void if it is a second layer. These are just some of the reasons we suggest that all roofs be torn off.
Shingles can be put on in colder temperatures. This is probably one of the most common misconceptions we deal with. A good quality shingle can be put on in almost any temperature. Poorly made lightweight shingles become overly brittle and can crack in the cold just as these same shingles will become too soft in the summer and rip.
The key is buying a good quality shingle no matter what the temperature. There is probably more damage done to shingles in the summer time due to scuffing and ripping of shingles due to heat than there is problems with cracking in the winter. As long as you have someone who cares about the quality of the job and takes pride in their workmanship they can be put on in colder temperatures just as easy or easier than in hotter temperatures. Some people worry about the tar seal not sealing in the winter. A good quality shingle will seal down on a sunny day in colder temperatures. Those that do not will seal when it warms up. There is no time limit on how long after the shingles are installed as to when the shingles must seal down. It has been my experience that a sunny 30 degree day will seal the shingles. Most shingles that blow off have little to do with sealing down and more to do with poorly made lightweight shingles and poor workmanship.
Know what you’re getting for your money. Unfortunately for homeowners all you need to start a roofing business is a ladder and a hammer. There are many uninsured contractors that have very little knowledge about the roofing process and are just in it for a few quick dollars. We spend a lot of time every year fixing new roofs for these unfortunate homeowners because the roofer they hired can not be reached or just doesn’t know how to fix the problem. Usually at a much higher price than if they would have hired a responsible contractor in the first place.
Beware of lowball bids, quality work takes time, quality material cost more, and insurance that you need to cover you and your home during roofing process costs money. Just make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Make sure you ask what is included in the price if you’re not sure. Compare materials that are being used. An estimate is just a number on a piece of paper if you don’t know what you are getting for that price. Never assume that every one is doing the same work. There are so many things that can be done to cut corners ranging from using cheap materials to not tearing off old roofing .Do not be afraid to ask questions.
THE BITTERNESS OF POOR QUALITY LASTS LONG AFTER THE SWEETNESS OF CHEAP PRICES IS FORGOTTEN
What type and quality of shingle are you getting? Shingles can range from 15 year warranty to lifetime warranty. There is a very large range in cost and performance.
Are they tearing off? If yes are they tearing all the layers off? Some contractors will tear one layer off and leave the rest.
Is the cost of waste disposal included?
Are they using ice guard? Ice guard is different from felt and provides protection against ice dams and any potential trouble spots.
Are they using felt?
Are they installing new flashings? Roofing tar IS NOT an acceptable flashing on any roof. Many contractors will use old flashings and/or use tar. The flashings need to last as long as your shingles in order to be functional. It doesn’t do any good to have 30 year shingles and use roofing tar that only lasts a year. Any penetrations through the roof, anywhere a roof meets a wall and chimneys should all have new flashings.
Are they doing all sections or only parts of the roof? Sometimes what the homeowner wants done and what the contractor thinks should be done can be two different things.
Are they installing proper ventilation? Improper attic ventilation will cause premature failure to shingles and create moisture problems within the home. Most shingle warranties are void or are reduced dramatically if the roof is not properly vented. Shingle manufactures have guidelines as to how much ventilation is required. Most of the time just putting a couple vents in your roof will not supply adequate ventilation.
WE STRIVE TO PROVIDE QUALITY SERVICE AND PRODUCTS TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS