17 Need-to-Know’s Before Roofing Your Home

By Juno Construction

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So, you think you may need a new roof, but aren’t sure when the right time is, whom to call, what building materials to use, or how much it will cost?

You are not alone. Planning for a new roof is no easy feat and can be challenging if you were surprised with the knowledge that your roof has decayed faster than expected.

We will walk you through the process to help you gain a general sense of what to expect throughout the process.

How to Know if you need a Roof Replacement

 There are several “tell-tale” signs that you may need a new roof. Sometimes these signs are quite apparent from the ground. The next time you outside take a look up at the roof.

Do you see missing or curled shingles, bio growth, dark streaks, or bald spots from missing granules?

If so, it may be time to have a contractor inspect the roof for further investigation. If you don’t see these signs from the ground, but either

  • You know your roof hasn’t been replaced in over 20 years
  • You aren’t sure when the roof was inspected last

You may also want to have a contractor head up on the roof.

Insurance companies can try to avoid renewing policies on homes with roofs that are over 15 to 20 years old. So, if you have an older roof, it is especially important to monitor its condition.

 Warning! Do not try to climb around on your roof. Roofing professionals have years of experience moving around on rooftops and know the appropriate safety precautions to take.

Hire a Roofing Professional to Perform a Roof Inspection

If you decide to call a roofing professional to take a look at your roof, you have a few choices. The route you go may depend upon your situation.

Option 1

Many people gawk at the idea of paying for a roof inspection when traditionally these have been free. However, some companies specialize specifically in roof inspections.

These companies provide thorough inspections of the roof and attic components alike, take pictures, measurements (if necessary), and provide a report of findings to the client.

This report of findings is highly beneficial in many scenarios such as a home-purchase transaction, a homeowner looking for an honest condition report when your home insurance renewal policy is denied, or to prove maintenance was performed if you need to file an insurance or product warranty claim down the road.

These types of scenarios often require a formal report which most roofing companies will not do.

The other benefit is that the inspection company is paid to report on the condition of the roof.

There is no incentive for them to misguide you while trying to sell you a new roof.

Option 2

If you merely want a free roofing quote, you can hire a local contractor (or contractors) to inspect the roof.

Most roofing contractors have years of experience and can tell you right away whether your roof needs replacement now, or if not, what the life expectancy is.

A contractor inspection will not be as detailed as a roof inspection company inspection, but this may not matter to a homeowner simply looking to budget, plan, or gain general information about their roof.

Be sure to hire a reputable company that has been in business for a long time. Roofing companies looking to make a buck can exaggerate the urgency of your roof replacement.

Learn more about selecting a reputable contractor.

Option 3

If you are buying/selling a home, an essential home inspection may provide you with all the info you need to move forward with your closing.

Often, a buyer wants to know the general condition of the roof/attic. However, if potential areas on the roof are flagged, they may end up wanting a more detailed report from an engineer or roof inspection company.

Learn more about home inspections.

Photo credit: Structure Tech

Who to Hire to Perform the Work

Once you determine the condition of your roof, it may be time to hire a contractor to start the process of replacing your roof. Here are some tips for hiring the right person:

  • Get a referral – Ask a friend, neighbor, or call a local engineering firm
  • Check out local review sites such as Google Reviews
  • Ensure a project manager will be on site during the roofing project
  • Get job details in writing
  • Check references

Can I negotiate my quote

The roofing industry is a competitive market. Because of this, you may find that your contractor has already provided you with their bottom line quote.

However, it is always a good idea to obtain 3-4 different quotes to provide you with some negotiation power and a sense of the market. Be sure that each contractor has the proper insurances because this can affect the pricing.

If all the quotes are about the same price, then this may be the bottom line figure. For instance, if the quotes you received were $7000, $6750, and $6600, you could ask all three contractors if they would do it for around $6200.00.

During the summer months (when roofing is more competitive) you may have one of the contractors jump to agree to that. If it is a slower season, they may hold their ground. If you liked one of the companies, you could offer them the job first if they could meet you at your price. If one of your quotes is exceptionally lower than the others, be cautious.

There are cases where a roofer may have mis-measured or may be lacking experience.

What does a Quote Cover?

 A roofing estimate or quote should cover the cost of all materials, labor, and disposal of old materials.

Sometimes a roofer may suggest you fix other essential components of your home such as roof decking or attic insulation while the roof is off.

Some attics can only be appropriately insulated when the roof is off.

Be sure to know precisely what maintenance or repairs your home needs so you can plan and budget accordingly.

Your roofer can put together an estimate that will include all these extra costs.

What Roofing Materials are Best?

An experienced roofer can help you determine what type of shingles and roofing system to select for your home. Each and every scenario is different because of tree coverage, climate, warranty, costs, and aesthetic preferences.

When you are obtaining quotes, speak with the professionals about your budget and stylistic preference. They can weigh the pros and cons of various roofing systems, provide you with costs, and help you determine which style/color of shingles will be the most appealing on your home.

Learn more about your roofing material options.

Paperwork is Important

Once you decide upon a roofer, there are two documents you should be sure to have in your hands.

Building Permit:

Most cities require a building permit for a roofing project. This document is crucial if you ever plan to sell your home, to avoid fines from the city, maintain the integrity of your roof warranty, and to ensure that your roofer follows building code.

Project Contract:

A written contract will contain all project related details such as costs, project timeline, materials, and products. It clears up communication and sets the expectations for both parties.

How much does a roof replacement cost?

One of the first questions you may have is “How much is a new roof going to cost me?” And, the answer is, it entirely depends upon your situation.

Smaller roofs can end up being between $6000-$3,000.00 to replace while larger roofs can be upwards of $10,000.00.

This is another reason it’s good to have a roof inspection performed to determine the exact condition of your roof and components.

For instance, if the underlayments on your existing roof were not installed correctly, you may have some rotted/damaged roof decking that needs to be replaced.

This would drive costs up. You may need to remove siding to correctly install the new roof, or you may need repairs made in the attic.

All of these factors affect the cost of install.

To get a rough estimate, use this roof estimate calculator.

Warranty

The most common type of roof warranty is a shingle warranty. On average, shingle warranties are good for 20-50 years, and they cover defects within the shingles themselves.

They will not cover poor install from your contractor who is, more often than not, the reason a roof would break down sooner than it should.

A warranty might become null and void if a proper roof maintenance schedule was not implemented.

This is another reason why it’s beneficial to have periodic roof inspections performed (every 5-10 years) accompanied by a report.

These documents can help keep your shingle warranty intact throughout time.

Know what your Warranty Covers

Read the fine print on your shingle warranty.

It is common for clauses to be included which exclude a manufacturer from responsibility after only a few years. Make sure you know exactly what your warranty covers and for how long.

Do Roofing Companies Finance?

Some roofing companies will finance your project, and often, it’s a better financial decision than going with direct-lender financing.

This is because many companies will offer special promotions which beat out the competition (other banks/lenders). Roofing companies can offer such promotions because they get special rates from banks due to volume lending.

This definitely works in the consumer’s favor.

Never Replace a Roof Without Looking in the Attic!

Roofs are expensive to install. We justify the price because proper roofing is paramount to the health and longevity of the home.

However, we expect our newly installed roof to last for at least 25-35 years (depending on your attic health & roof products).

How would you feel if you invested $12,000.00 into a brand new roof and had ice dams and water intrusion issues that very year?

You would not be very happy.

Scenarios such as this happen more often than you would think because a crucial component of the roofing process is often ignored… the attic.

A good roofer will look inside your attic and assess the following:

  • Insulation
  • Open airways (bypass)

If these three components have not been installed properly or are not functioning correctly, heat loss occurs which can cause:

  • High Energy Bills
  • Ice Dams
  • Leaks
  • Mold & Mildew
  • Degradation of roof deck and other materials
  • And more…

SIDE NOTE: Many older homes were not insulated correctly, so be sure to have a professional look at your attic before putting a new roof on. If the professional does not mention spray foam insulation for certain parts of the process… proceed with caution.

The ONLY way to correctly seal attic bypasses is to use spray foam insulation.

Learn more about a healthy attic.

How Long will my New Roof Last

If your roof has been installed correctly according to manufacturer’s specifications and your attic is working correctly with little or no heat loss occurring, your roof should last 25-35 years.

If you have installed good roofing products and heat loss is not present to damage your roofing materials, it will withstand the test of time.

It’s as simple as that.

However, there are “mother-nature” related events that can impact the longevity of your home. If this occurs, you may be eligible for roof repairs or a new roof via home insurance.

Insurance Claims

If your home gets hit with an unexpected storm (tornado, hail, wind, etc.) you may be eligible for a roof replacement.

To have the best chance at claim approval, you should move on this quickly. Have a roofing professional take a look at your roof and determine if/how much damage is present.

The contractor you hire will work with the insurance adjuster throughout the process.

The contractor will communicate with the adjuster how much damage is present and the adjuster will write the scope of repair based off of this.

Sometimes the insurance adjusters will attempt to keep costs down and cut corners on essential aspects of the job.

If the outcome of the claim concerns your trusted contractor, explore other options.

You may be able to hire an engineering firm to back up the contractor’s statements to obtain proper funding.

How long will it take to replace my roof?

 Roofing is an extensive process that requires highly educated professionals in the realm of moisture intrusion best practices, proper install techniques, following building code and manufacturer’s specification, safety protocol, and product knowledge.

With that being said, most roofs can be installed within 1-3 days. Pretty impressive.

Clean up

A professional roofer will be sure to leave the job site nearly as clean as when he first arrived. However, keep in mind that thousands of nails are used throughout the roofing process.

It is a good idea to take a look around the job site before making your final payments to ensure that most of the debris/lost materials have been cleaned up.

Not all roofers are as good about this as they could be.

Warranty

The most common type of roof warranty is a shingle warranty.

On average, shingle warranties are good for 20-50 years, and they cover defects within the shingles themselves.

They will not cover poor install from your contractor who is, more often than not, the reason a roof would break down sooner than it should.

A warranty might become null and void if a proper roof maintenance schedule was not implemented.

This is another reason why it’s beneficial to have periodic roof inspections performed (every 5-10 years) accompanied by a report.

These documents can help keep your shingle warranty intact throughout time.

Read the fine print on your shingle warranty. It is common for clauses to be included which exclude a manufacturer from responsibility after only a few years.

Make sure you know exactly what your warranty covers and for how long.

 

Roof Maintenance

A roof maintenance schedule should be implemented to keep your roof in good condition and to prevent a void roof warranty or denied an insurance claim.

An inspection and report can prove that you have done your due diligence in maintaining your roof throughout the years and therefore acts as a shell of protection.

On top of this, it gives you a chance to check your caulking.

Caulking helps prevent moisture from breaking down roofing components and entering your home. It often fails after 5-8 years, so will definitely need to be checked and maintained to preserve your roof and house.

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