Water is not supposed to come inside your building. When it does, this can be more than alarming. The first response is typically to panic. Thoughts of having the roof entirely replaced and what that might cost begins to add to the stress. However, some of the time, a professional roofing contractor can repair the damage without completely replacing the roof.
The first line of defense against leaks is prevention. The best way to prevent roof replacement is to keep it from becoming seriously damaged. Roof maintenance plans can help stave off a costly roof replacement by having your roof regularly inspected for damage. This should be performed twice each year and is the best way to maintain the health of your roof.
So repair or re-roof? The decision can be made based on the source of the leak(s) and where it is coming from. For this reason, it is important to hire a professional roofing contractor and not to try to determine the source of the leak yourself. Many homeowners have tried to save money by fixing the leaks themselves only to find that they never truly addressed the source of the problem. Over time, the problem grew until there was no way to repair the damage except to replace the entire roof. This approach also sometimes lends itself to costly dry rot repairs as the roof deck componentry warps, cracks and rots with excessive moisture that cannot dry out properly. An experienced roofer may be able to locate the source of the leak and make the repairs which would have spared the cost of a replacement.
By having a professional roofer regularly inspect your roof, you can repair minor problems before they turn into bigger problems. Usually, if the roof is not at the end of its lifespan, repairs can make sense. Sometimes, the original installation is just plain faulty and no repair will fix the problem unless the bank account gets raided. When the repair begins to approach 15 to 20% or more of a complete re roof, we try to recommend a re-roofing solution.
When you finally re-roof, it is a good move to go with a roofing contractor that offers discounted maintenance programs. Yearly inspections can add up over time and most good roofing contractors will cut discounts on roof maintenance to honor your loyalty and to keep you as their customer.
I see this question from the client’s perspective. If they are a homeowner, they want to know some things about any given roofing company’s re roofing philosophy. Will they be exposed to the elements? Why? Is there a way to lessen this risk? Are they insured? How much? What type of insurance do they have? Claims made? (oh, perish the thought!)… do they “felt in” what they remove at any given re roofing day? What type of felt will they use? 15# felt?? (which can blow off more easily in sudden summer storms than stronger heartier felts)? 30#? 40#? Ice & water shield? What is the projected crew size for the project? The questions are heart felt and deserve honest open answers at the time of signing the bid proposal. Length of time is undoubtedly the most frequently asked question that all homeowners have when considering replacing a roof. A great way to determine how long it will take to replace a roof is to just ask the roofing contractor when they are giving you an estimate. You might be surprised at the answers.
Commercial building owners have others things in mind such as tenant relocation during the project, loss of productivity, sensitive computer or network vulnerability exposure, and for some clients like psychoanalysts… dentists, government officials, health departments… noise factor and SMELL factors definitely come into play. Other clients like schools want to know how child safety will be handled.
These factors and more all effect project duration.
It is important to realize that not every estimate is written in stone. A roofer may estimate that a project may take two weeks to complete, but if there are conditions that arise that delay the work, it may take longer. Unforeseen items like dry rot or inferior roof deck sheathing may delay the project. Obviously, bad weather is a factor that can interfere with work, so it’s always advisable to be flexible in your expectations and plan for roof replacement when the weather is more favorable. Usually most midsize to small projects only need 3 to 5 days of a good weather window to successfully complete.
If a roofer tells you that they believe it would take two days to complete the roofing project, and you have plans to leave town the second day of the project, you may want to reschedule. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the project in case there are emergencies, poor weather conditions or any additional work that must be completed.
I need a Roof Estimate… Do I Need To Be Home?
When you are considering hiring a roofing contractor for your roofing project, it is important to obtain an estimate. Usually people elect to contact several roofing professionals and then compare estimates. They may feel that it is best to obtain several estimates while they are at work and then compare the estimates at a later time. This method sounds practical, but could lead to problems and frustrations later.
The best start is the interviewing process. It’s important to actually interview the roofers face to face. Sit down with them. Ask to see their letters of reference, proof of insurance (liability and worker’s compensation) photography of previous work performed. Ask each candidate what sort of game plan they have to ensure a professional, high quality, and no hassle roof installation or repair. Many people feel more comfortable when they hire roofing contractors that they have spoken with in person. Part of the reason why you should obtain an estimate is to choose a roofer that you feel is trustworthy as well as knowledgeable. When you receive an estimate, you should be there so that you can meet the roofer and ask them any questions that you may have directly.
The more professional roofing companies will have an organized presentation that lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the client’s questions and comments or concerns.
I always tell my estimators there is no way that a client who does not know Ross Roofing’s rich history of roofing success would ever feel comfortable choosing Ross Roofing as their contractor without a detailed breakdown, explanation, and instruction as to what and how we plan to succeed with the client’s roofing needs. If that takes 15 minutes, fine… but sometimes it just takes longer than that.
Though it may seem like you will save time by gathering several estimates while you are not at home, you may end up regretting it. If you choose a roofing contractor based upon an estimate that you received or that the roofer gave you over the phone, and later have issues with the roofing contractor, you may discover that you could have avoided any problems or misunderstandings by speaking with them in person.
A good roofing contractor will have a series of questions they will ask you to best determine what you need. It is a good idea to be available for these. Some of the questions involve discerning the safest approach for the building occupants as well as the roofing professionals. These types of questions need to be addressed on site where access and clear dialogue can happen.
The roofing estimator must look at your roof first hand to make the estimate legitimate. They might also need to look into the attic; therefore you should be home to give them access to this area.
Besides all of these reasons, it’s a good idea to meet with the roofing contractor to get a feel for their style of business, aptitude for professionalism. Do they want to just drop off a number with a 5 minute song and dance? or will they take the time to sit down with you to answer all of your roofing questions? Is there an organized presentation available? Or is it merely a price driven shpeel? How does each roofing contractor propose to add value to their roofing bid? Spend some time with your roofing candidates.
So, you made the decision to do your roofing project, you feel good about who you chose to do the roofing work. When you hire a roofing professional to work on your roof, you should ask them if you need to be home while they work. Typically, they will tell you that you do not need to be home. First of all, you should realize that any work or repair on your roof is going to be noisy. Due to this reason, many people prefer to leave their homes and return when the work is complete. Some people simply do not feel comfortable leaving their homes
while any work is being performed. It is up to the homeowner to ask the roofing contractor what their preference is, and then decide for themselves whether or not they will remain home.
Some roofers need to use inside power to perform the work. Other roofing contractors may use an outlet that is outside while others may use a generator. If the roofing contractor is going to use an indoor plug for their power source, many homeowners may feel more comfortable staying home while the roofing contractor completes the work. Again, this is a matter of personal preference.
If you are going to leave your home and the roofing contractor will have access to the inside of your home, you should feel that they are trustworthy. Checking references and hiring reputable, established, bonded, and licensed roofers can help you find a level of comfort if you are going to leave your home while the project progresses. The better roofing companies will have employees that do not have criminal records and are not convicted felons.
You should take the time to ask your roofing contractor any questions that you may have involving the work that they will perform and their policies for handling any debris that may result from their work. Will the roofing contractor take care of alerting the neighbors?
Or will they leave that to you? Most good roofing contractors are thrilled with any excuse to talk to your neighbors! Even dropping off flyers the day before is helpful. Many homeowners are not exactly thrilled to leave their home while work is in progress and then come home to find that their prize winning rose bushes have been trampled or that their backyard is overrun with shingles, plywood, and other materials. Find out what the roofer’s policy is regarding clean up when you have your estimate and you can avoid aggravation later.
Each roof is different in pitch, hips, gables, undershots, access, flashing detail, transitions, etc. I often get the phone call where a fellow wants to know “just ball park, you know?” how much a roof will cost. They’ll tell me square footage but when I ask if that includes overhang, pitch, waste and garage there is always a short pause. But still they persist… “just ball park it” I often wonder why I bother. You see, any one factor in the beginning of this paragraph could affect the price of a roof by thousands of dollars!
There is no one answer to the question of how much it costs to replace a roof. When you grab estimates from different roofing professionals, the most important bid factor is to develope a way that assures you, the roof buyer, will be able to compare apples to apples come final time to decide.
On one side, some of my more savy roof buyers create a bid specification sheet outlining detail by detail what they want done on their roof. They present each roofing contractor bidding on their project with the exact same specifications. That may seem over the top, but believe me, they have the upper hand advantage when they look at the prices from different roofing contractors.
Apples to Apples comparison benefits all parties. We roofing contractors spend a lot of time composing a professional estimate for you. Few things are more frustrating than losing a roofing project to the “Low Cost Leader” (every city has a few) only to discover through the grape vine later that the client was shishkabobbed by the LCL because the LCL roofer did not bother to check for multiple roof layers… or put a cheaper felt underlayment down that voided a longer warranty… or did not account for bad truck access that required 4 laborers to pack out the old torn off roof and pack in the new roof materials. Oops! The list is long on this item. We have tales to tell about this.
The above illustrates (I hope) why it is important to find a good solid reference for a reliable roofing contractor who can generate a solid roofing specification that others can bid so that you, the roof buyer, can enjoy the confidence that comes from bidding Apples to Apples! Believe me, you are not imposing if you take this route. If you get any flack from other roofing companies about proceeding this way just call Ross Roofing 831-394-8581. I will be ecstatic to assess your roofing needs, budget, weight limitations, asthetics and provide you with a detailed roofing specification others can bid on (including myself!).
Now then. Let’s sum this up. I’m getting long winded again. The total price of your roof replacement will depend upon the type of roofing materials you choose, pitch, drainage, undershots, flashings, roof access and other items. You’ll need to start somewhere, usually the best place to start is with a thorough in-house free consultation which Ross Roofing provides.
There are roofing systems that are made from wood, metal, clay, slate, concrete, cementious fiber, asphalt, plastic and modified materials. Each system has unique properties that assist in longer lifespans for various roofing scenarios. A good way to determine how long you can expect your roof to last is to check with the manufacturer’s warranty. Use the warranty as a gauge and keep in mind that what the manufacturer claims for lifespan usually is meant to be interpreted under ideal installation factors.
Most tile roofs, for example, have a “good better best” underlayment system. The tiles themselves might be 50 year or more lifespan design, but for the roof system to actually achieve 50 years, “best practice” underlayment and ventilation systems must be used. You should also realize that with a preventive roof maintenance plan that utilizes seasonal inspections, you can greatly enhance the lifespan of your roof. When considering roofing materials, always talk with your roofer about the steps that you should take to maintain its condition as well as anything that you should do to ensure that you don’t void the warranty. By taking the time to choose the best roofing materials for your house’s design, structure and geographical location, you will have a better chance of enjoying your new roof for many years to come.
Most roofing products, such as asphalt shingles, come in different weights and thicknesses. To achieve the longest “lifetime” or “50 year” type warranties with 20 year workmanship warranties, proper technique in nailing, underlayment, flashing, ice and water shield as well as ventilation must be achieved. Some less than scrupulous roofing contractors are installing the “lifetime warranty” shingles without paying heed to the stringent (read: expensive) requirements the manufacturers impose to actually achieve the longer warranty.
They get the job due to a much lower price than the professional roofing contractor who has the ice and water shield, flashing, ventilation, and other required entities in their bid. What happens is if the customer ever has a problem with the roof… only then will they know how their roofer sold them down the river. Their roof warranty will be void.
A great way to ensure that your roof stays in great working condition for a lifetime is to build a lasting relationship with your roofing contractor. When you hire a roofer who not only builds your roof but also regularly inspects and maintains it, you will have the advantage of having a roofer’s warranty in addition to a manufacturer’s warranty. Your roofing contractor should be much more than the person who installs your roof or someone you call in times of an emergency. By having your roofer, regularly inspect and maintain your roof, you are taking vital steps to preserve your roof system and the integrity of your home for many years to come.
Your roof protects your from the moisture and heat that is in the elements. You might think that roof venting would be the last thing that you would expect a roof to have. Besides, aren’t we trying to keep the elements out? Opening the roof to expose ourselves to the open air seems counterproductive.
Believe it or not, ventilation is one of the more important aspects of your roof’s performance. There is a great deal of moisture that accumulates in a home. Inside the building or home, Cooking, Showering, Cleaning and just breathing and perspiring as we humans are known to do all add to significant amounts of moisture. Natural climate, ambient temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity also effect how much moisture builds up. These moisture sources, like heat, rise and work their way into the top of your attic space. In the summer, the moisture in the attic becomes very hot and humid and as we all know… Mold spores thrive in this environment. Improper ventilation can cause this moisture to accumulate and cause great deterioration to the top of your home. Proper and well planned attic ventilation allows this moisture to escape.
Likewise, ventilation also helps to bring balance to the moisture that accumulates on the roof as well. Ceiling fans, vents and ridge vents all comprise part of the ventilation system and ensure that the home, attic and roof have ample air to release moisture. The roof ventilation systems consist of both intake and exhaust vents. These vents ensure the balance is regulated between the roof and the attic.
The current code for a balanced attic system follows the 1:300 rule.
If your home doesn’t have proper ventilation, you can experience a number of problems. First, moisture accumulates and may cause various parts of your roofing system to deteriorate. You may notice that the shingles become warped or loose and may slip off. If the water damage extends to the underlayment, you may see warping or buckling of the wood underneath the roof. This can lead to structural damage and may extend into the roof sheathing, the ridge beams, trusses or rafters. If these structures become damaged, they may fail to support the roof.
It is extremely important that your roof has ventilation according to the latest code specifications and that you ensure that the ventilation system is working properly. The best way to ensure that your ventilation system is installed properly is to have a professional roofing contractor do the work for you.
Roofs are funny things. I have spent hours with clients and some times days with others in the roof type and color selection phase of re-roofing. I have been known to explain on more than one occasion that the color and type of roof really matters right now… but 3 months after the new roof is installed, the client will hardly look at their roof anymore! It’s like… what was the big deal? I am kidding… I understand it is a big deal due to the fact that there is an enormous number of roof types and colors to choose from… but for the most part though, roofs tend to blend into the backdrop of the building’s setting after awhile. When your roof ages it stops blending into the background and begins to stick out like a sore thumb due to the aging process.
One thing is for sure, besides death and taxes, is that your roof is going to wear out. Roof replacement is unavoidable; however, not all roof types will age at the same pace. Tile roofs can last 50 years if the original installation is solid. Wood shakes can last 30 years. Wood shingles last about 20 to 25 years. Hot mopped roofs last 10 to 25 years. Duro-Last single ply low slope roofs can last up to 30 years. Slate roofs in Europe have lifespans of hundreds of years!
Looking at the world of asphalt shingles, different shingles have different weights and lifespans. We can use this roof type as a model for other roofing types because most roof types have similar grades of product performances.
A good way to assess how long your shingles will last is to check with the manufacturer’s warranty. Typically 20, 30, 40, 50 and even lifetime limited warranties. Notice I mentioned “warranty”. It’s important to know that many of the shingles on today’s market carry fancy manufacturer “lifetime” or “50 year” material warranty labels on them. However, most of this warranty language is pro rated and designed to protect the material manufacturer. The materials generally do last a long time in most scenarios but they do not last forever. For this reason, the workmanship warranty is usually more important.
Two or three shingle manufacturers currently offer 10 to 20 year workmanship warranties. All others offer far less, if anything at all on the workmanship portion of a warranty. Most roofing contractors offer 5 to 10 year workmanship warranties. Workmanship warranties expire at a certain date. Usually, that is the length of time it takes for the product to begin their natural break down process of aging. When the workmanship warranty is about to expire, a more thorough inspection is a prudent move. If you have been maintaining your roof all along, there should not be many surprises at this inspection.
When shingles become old or begin to show signs of aging, they begin to crack, curl or become loose. They may even break off and blow around your (or your neighbor’s) yard. Shingles lose elasticity with every passing year. You should never ignore these signs or put them off. When you begin to see signs of aging in your shingles, tiles, shakes or flat roof systems, you should contact a roofing contractor and have the roof assessed. Most roofing consultant and home inspectors recommend most roofs have a bi annual inspection.
Flat roof systems are among the most important types of roofs that need regular inspection. Putting off roof repairs to a later date can cause many expensive repairs in the long run. Make the roof repairs as soon as you or your roof professional notices the problem.
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