THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GETTING A NEW ROOF

Without a roof, even the nicest house is uninhabitable. Unfortunately, roof issues happen and they can be a costly repair.
The keys to getting a new roof lie in the material you choose, the repair you need, and the roofer you hire.

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To start out with, you have to know that you need a new roof. There are many things that can indicate this, ranging from the subtle to obvious ones like a tree crashing into your house. Here are some ways you can know you need a new roof:
This applies specifically to asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are covered in tiny granules that work to keep the moisture out of your roofing structure and therefore your house. They also keep excess heat out of your home. Without these granules, your roof is at risk of becoming damaged and the extra heat being let into your home will cause the interior temperature to rise, costing you more money in cooling your home. If you look up at your roof and notice what appears to be bald spots where the granules are missing or completely gone, you likely need some kind of roofing repair. Without the granules, the asphalt of the shingles will soon dry out and crack, which could cause more issues.
As unpleasant as cupped or curled shingles are to the eye, more importantly is the resulting damage they can allow to happen to your home. As the shingles cup and curl, they will allow wind-driven moisture to easily find its way under the shingles and onto the roof deck which can quickly lead to leaks and rot, ultimately causing water damage to other parts of your home.
Similar to how cupped and curled shingles allow moisture to reach the roof deck, shingles that are cracked will also me much less of a barrier. Because your roof deck is made of wood, even a little moisture trapped there can cause serious damages.
No, you shouldn’t get a new roof just to be trendy. Especially in modern subdivisions and suburbs, houses in the same neighborhood, especially if they are right next to each other, were likely built around the same time.

That means the roofs have had the same climate, weather events, and general wear. There are other variables, but if you see your neighbor getting a new roof, it’s time to start checking yours.

This should fall in that “obvious” category. A leak means moisture is getting, which it shouldn’t if your roof is intact and in good condition. While a leak can definitely indicate a problem, it won’t tell you which component of the roofing structure is damaged or how extensive the damage is. But it’s definitely time for an inspection.
This is another one of those obvious signs your roof needs repairs. If you can see the sky through your ceiling or there’s a tree making its way into your home through the roof, clearly repairs are needed. A good rule of thumb is that if more than 35% of your roof needs repairs and the roofing is more than 12 years old, you should invest in completely re-roofing your home, rather than just patching the damaged area.
It’s okay to admit that you want your house to look good from the outside. That’s the goal of every homeowner – to have a house they are proud of and that reflects them. A huge part of your house’s aesthetic is the roof. If the roof is looking to be in bad shape or the overall appearance of your home would be improved with a little face lift, you can increase the equity of your home by investing in a new roof. You will also get the added benefit of knowing your roof shouldn’t have any problems for several years.
Along with knowing whether or not you need a new roof, you should be aware of the different repairs and replacements that you should consider. Each of these is good in different circumstances. Becoming educated on the following repairs and replacements can also help you make sure you choose an honest roofing contractor and the best estimate:
New Layer Of Shingles
One of the first things many homeowners think of when they know their roof needs work is replacing the roofing material or shingles. The first thing to note is that universal building code only allows for two layers of shingles. This allows homeowners to simply shingle over the one existing layer, should then need to. So, if you know your roof already has the two layers of shingles, you will likely need to start fresh. Along with that, if there’s damage to the roof deck, you’ll have to have more significant repairs done. This will be indicated by soft spots,  sagging, or significant leaks. Another reason a new layer of shingles wouldn’t be a possibility is if the flashing around the chimney, dormers, or upper story is loose. This loose flashing would allow in leaks so adding a new layer of shingles won’t be the right long-term solution. Another reason to avoid shingling over an existing layer is if that first layer consists of dimensional shingles that have a high profile. In this case, adding a layer on top of it will just look lumpy and unappealing. You also have to take into account the combined weight of a second layer of shingles with the first. If the combined weight will be too heavy for the roofing structure, an additional layer of shingles is out of the question. As you consider the combined weight, keep in mind the weight of precipitation in your area and the slope of your roof. A flat roof will allow any precipitation to build up and anywhere with heavy snowfall has to deal with the added seasonal weight.
Roof Deck Repair
To start out with, you need to know what the roof deck is and the purpose it serves in the roofing structure. The roof deck is a layer of plywood or OSB that’s nailed directly to the trusses or rafters of your home. Typically these sheets of plywood are approximately 7/16” thick and measure 4’x8’. Your roof deck is what shingles and roofing material is directly attached to. Before it’s decided that your roof deck or a portion of your roof deck needs repairs or replacement, a roof inspector should walk your roof to feel for any areas that are spongy or flexing. This would indicate rot and damage to the roof deck. During the roof walk, they should also look for areas where nails are pulling out. This tells them the wooden deck is soft, likely from water damage, and won’t hold the nails required to attach the roofing materials. Finally, the roof inspector should check the underside of the deck from your attic. They will be looking for areas with damage and staining, along with checking for mold and areas that have rotted. If any of this is found, it’s likely caused by an issue with improper ventilation in your attic. Without the right roofing ventilation, heat and moisture can’t escape and will cause damages eventually.

Underlayment

Your underlayment has a direct impact on the moisture resistance of your roof. There are two basic types of underlayment:
Asphalt: An asphalt underlayment comes in two main types: asphalt-saturated felt and asphalt saturated felt with fiberglass reinforcement, each coming in different thicknesses. There are less-commonly used asphalt underlays, as well, but these two types are the most common.
Synthetic: A recent trend has been to use a synthetic underlayment when roofing. While it can cost up to two to three times more than the traditional asphalt, it has the advantage of being more breathable, allowing moisture in the attic to evaporate out of the house. Plus, the polymers synthetics are made from are lighter, meaning the combined weight of the roofing structure isn’t as impacted by the underlayment.
With the underlayment comes the option of adding a moisture and ice barrier known as Ice and Water. Because a great deal of water moves through and over the valleys where roof sections come together, these should be lined to protect the structure from that moisture. An Ice and Water barrier will cover the valleys by 12 to 16 inches. If you live in a climate that regularly reaches freezing temperatures, many roofers will include a layer of Ice and Water at the eaves to help prevent ice dams. As an added protection in the underlayment layer, a starter strip of shingles to defend against wind-blown moisture and ice dams. This layer will depend on your contractor whether it’s installed or not. You should communicate with your roofing contractor whether or not this will be included in your roofing repairs and replacement.
An essential part of your roofing structure is the ventilation. This is what prevents damage from excess heat and moisture. There are a few different types of ventilation, all good for different homes and roof lines:
For this vent, you will have to have soffit vents. With your ridge vent, the gap that occurs at a peak will be covered but still allow heat and moisture to escape. This can also be covered in shingles, so long as they don’t impede the function.
The ideal for every soffit, or the area under your eaves, is to have perforating. But if your soffit was built without perforation, vents will need to be installed. These are great at allowing fresh air to come into your attic, displacing any moisture and heat that builds up.
If your home has two gabled sides, this is an especially desirable form of ventilation, namely because it allows cross breezes to move the hot air and moisture away from your attic.
All homes will do well to have additional ways for heat to escape the attic space. Roof vents are passive vents, turbine vents, and vents with a fan, that pull heat and moisture out and away from the attic.
While your attic should be as cold as the air outside, the right amount of insulation can helplower the energy lost and the cost of running your HVAC system. More importantly, atticinsulation will prevent ice dams. An ice dam occurs when warm air is trapped in the attic, eventually heating your roof enough tomelt any sitting snow. As the snow melts, the water runs down to the eaves, which are unheated. The water then freezes, creating a literal dam of ice on your roof. Along with adding a considerable amount of weight to the roof, this can ultimately lead to water damage, mold, andleaks. At less than $1.50 per square foot in most homes, attic insulation is a definite consideration all homeowners in colder climates should consider. That cost will be gained in energy savings and typically it will pay for itself within 5 years.
Once you become certain that your roof needs repairs or replacement, the fun part is choosing the material you will be using. If you are having your roof repaired in just one spot, you will likely try to match the patch to the rest of the roof. But if you are re-roofing your entire house, here are the material options to be aware of:

These are shingles made of fiberglass-reinforced asphalt. There are tons of varieties in style and the price also ranges, though it’s typically the least expensive option. These are the most commonly used and we’ll touch on them later.

If you want to only ever have to repair your roof once and also have the money to spend, natural slate is your best bet. These are estimated to last at least 100 years but can cost thousands of dollars for even small sections. It is the Rolls Royce of roofing material, and because of that, only holds about 1% of the market.
Prized for their durability and the modern aesthetic, metal roofing is the second most popular choice for roofing materials. Because it’s so widely used, second only to asphalt shingles, we’ll also touch on these further.
If you have a home with a low-slope or flat roof, you know it comes with a few challenges, namely that water can sit on top and weight can quickly build up. Along with the added weight, the sitting water can cause water damage quickly. So, for those low-slope and flat-roofed houses, a single-ply or built-up roofing option is the best choice.
These are a classic roofing material. They provide a timeless aesthetic, yet are becoming more and more unique. They are often beloved for their natural beauty, though we start to see the price per square foot rise as we move away from asphalt and metal.
While these mimic the look of wood shingles and shakes, they are far more durable and longer- lasting than the traditional wooden variety. However, they cost more per square foot, coming in as the second most expensive option. The cost is counterbalanced with their longevity, however, making them a more luxurious option and a stronger investment. They are also less of a fire hazard.
If you’ve ever visited Las Vegas, you have seen miles of tiles. They are exceptionally popular in warmer climates, although their cost sits comfortably higher than asphalt. Both lightweight and durable, these can provide you with a fun, Spanish Mediterranean aesthetic while also being a good choice for the long-term.
By and large, asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material. About 75% of sloped roofs have asphalt shingles. Their affordability mixed with the durability and ease of replacement make them more of a universal option. They also come in three grades of quality:
The most basic of the three grades, three-tab asphalt shingles are also the most affordable.
They are the classic asphalt shingles that you first think of. They can be easily installed and
quickly replaced if needed.
Your mid-level option is dimensional and architectural versions of asphalt shingles. These consist of a base layer that’s fused to a top layer. They are often cut to resemble wood shingles and shakes that are so classic, yet these have more durability than wood and come at a much lower cost.
For those that prefer the finer things in life, a luxury version of the dimensional and architectural asphalt shingles is the way to go. They are very similar to their less-fancy sister shingles, however they have more material and a higher profile, leading them to provide more dimension to your roof.
Carrying 15% of the roofing market, metal roofing is still a relatively popular option. It comes in two varieties:
Of your metal options, this is the more expensive. It has an iconic look that can be easily identified and is typically made from either steel or aluminum. It looks like a sheet of metal plus a standing seam that allows any precipitation to fall off the roofing panel easily.
These days, metal can be and is stamped to look more like traditional shingles, shakes, and tiles. It provides the aesthetic, while also giving your home the protection and durability of metal. It’s also a longer-lasting material than asphalt shingles.
Once you’ve decided to re-roof your home, finding the right people for the job is essential. Here are some things to keep in mind when finding your roofing contractor:
Minimum Qualifications
As with any industry, there are certain minimum requirements that a roofing contractor should
meet. First, they should have the proper business licensing, bonds, and insurance. This assures you they have the minimal knowledge required to roof your home. The insurance also protects you from liability if they have a fall during the roofing process. Experience is next. Having at least a little experience is better than nothing, but the more experience a roof has, the more assurance you have that the job will be done well and in a way that will last.
Questions to Ask Your Friends, Family, and Neighbors

 

You will inevitably be offered recommendations from your loved ones, friends, and neighbors as soon as they hear you’re thinking of re-roofing your home. You should make sure to ask the following questions anytime you receive a referral:

 

 

 

  • ● Does the new roofing perform as it should?
  • ● Did the contractor start the job and complete the work on time as agreed upon?
  • ● Did they make any mistakes and how did they fix them?
  • ● Did they stay within the estimate they quoted you?
Due Diligence
Once you have a list of several roofing contractors, you should do your due diligence. This is the less-fun part of choosing a roofer because it requires you to do some research. However,
researching each contractor in the following places can give you valuable insight into who your top three local choices are:
  • ● Better Business Bureau
  • ● Google Reviews
  • ● Yelp Reviews
Next Steps
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to three local contractors, you’ll need to narrow it further. Do the following steps to ensure that you’re making the best choice for your house:
  • ● Interview the three contractors. Ask them specifically about their experience with the roofing material you are choosing and the slope of your roof.
  • ● Drive by a couple of roofs they’ve recently done. They should be able to provide you with a sample of their work, like in any industry.
  • ● See their licensing and insurance documents for yourself. If you have any questions or need clarification, make sure to ask.
  • ● Ask them about a labor warranty to go along with the material warranty. You shouldn’t choose anyone who won’t agree to at least a 12-month labor warranty.
  • ● Make sure you are completely clear on their time-frame for starting and completing your roof.
Re-roofing your home can be an exciting adventure in home ownership. Along with it comes certain challenges and decisions that need to be made. Here are some final tips to help you through the process:
Don’t let cost be the only factor in who you choose. The most expensive contractor may not be the best with your material and trying to save a few dollars could land you with someone who doesn’t have adequate experience.
Do the research beforehand to see what looks good on your style of house. One of the worst things would be spending tens of thousands of dollars on a new roof and have it look terrible. 
Research the materials before you select one. Make sure you know the difference in cost between your different options, as well as checking comparisons. Always keep in mind longevity – it will determine how long it will be before you have to go through a re-roofing project again.
Always make sure you understand the warranties completely before you sign any
contracts with your roofing contractor. This will come in handy if you ever need to call on it.