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Question DetailsAsked on 11/6/2011

Answers for getting reroofed with shingles.

Whst should I ask the person who puts a new roof on my home?Type here...

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2 Answers


There are many questions you need to ask. I recommend you take a look at the NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) website and search for their choosing a contractor section.

If you follow the guidelines they have set in there, you should be good to go. You will find a qualified and quality driven installer that will give you the right information.

Be aware that the highest price does not mean the best job.. but the lowest prices assures you the cheapest job....

Answered 8 years ago by Onlythebestbuilder


I am a roofing contractor and there are things I explain to my customers that nobody else in my area seems to. First off the roof is more than just shingles, it is a system. But a professinal roofer will sell you more than just a system... the professional roofing contractor will sell a complete roofing project.

So what is a "roofing project"? Simple, it is everything from start to finish. It is the protection and setup necessary to ensure no damage is done during the roofing process. It is the aquisition of the permit, if necessary in your area. And it is the clean up which is necessary and often neglected.

So what do you need to know about the roof? Well codes vary from area to area, so I can really only speak of my area, Chicago. However most of the Chicago codes are national and apply to most of the country.

So ask yourself what kind of roof do you want. Do you want a cheap commodity "minimum code" roof? Or would you want a roof that exceeds minimum code and meets NRCA and manufacturer recomendations? My company won't insta;; minimumc ode roofs because as mike Holmes would say "Minimum code sucks!". It's simply not enough.

So here is the roofing system. 1) Tear off, it's always the best. Forget the idea of a lay over or recover. This is the process of putting shingles over shingles. It is poor practice, but allowed by code in some situations and areas.

2) substrate tune up. What will be done about the substrte of the roof, sometimes called decking? Will rotten wood be replaced? How much will it cost? What will the roofer do with the old roofing nails, will they be pulled out? What about any loose boards, will they be refastened, and if so will this cost extra? The wood is the foundation of the roof, if you have a bad foundation you can never have a good roof.

3) underlayments. Minimum code states that ice shield starts at the gutter line and extends past the exterior wall at least 24". Some roofers seem to hink minimum code means 3" at the gutter, which is fine if you have less than a 1' overhang. However in most cases 3' doesn't meet minimum code. We often install 6; at the gutter which is in excess of the minimum code. But code says nothing about valleys, or pre flashing problem areas. Ice shield is not that expensive, it is very cheap insurance. Opt for a professional roofing system and get the ice shield installed in all the problem areas. Felt is another kind of underlayment which is used to cover the rest of the areas not recieving ice shield. Make sure the felt is replaced, some unscrupulous contractors will reuse felt. Also keep in mind 15# felt is minimum code. This is cheap product. Opt for the 30# or the fiberglass reinforfced. Sure it will cost more but it's a far superior product.

4) Shingles. Well the standard now is what is known as an architectural or laminated shingle. I am not going to talk bad about any one product. There is some good and some bad on the market. Each roofer has their own prefrence. I encourage you to read the warranty document before choosing a shingle. There are some warranty documents I have read which are worth less than the paper they are printed upon. Also keep in mind all warrantys now adays from the manufacturer will say lifetime. But what does lifetime mean? My personal prefrence for a starting hsingle is the CertainTeed Landmark.

Flashings are critical to haveing a water tight roofing SYSTEM. Do not reuse flashings. Invest the little extra money into having all the flashings replaced. Often color coordinated aluminum is fine for walls chimneys and skylights. What is more important is how these flashings are installed. A professional roofer is one who has the knowledge to replace flashings, not just shingles. Metal flashings, where they meet masonry, should be inserted into the wall. This can be called a raggle or a reglet depending on how the metal is fabricated and installed. Metal work takes brain power and takes time, it will cost more, but is essential. On a side note stay away from neoprene or rubber flashing kits for the plumbing pipes. Opt for the leak flashing kits which will truly last a lifetime!

Ventilation is key and critical to a long lasting roof system. Neglect the entilation and your roof won't last longer than 15 years. But what kind of ventilation is proper? Well that depends on the size and architecture of your roof. There are no one size fits all ventilation systems. A common mistake I see many roofers making is the installation of ridge vent on every roof. If a professional roofing contractor runs the calculation they can determine what kind of ventilation is adequate and will meet not only minimumc ode but warranty requirement. Also keep in mind an intake will always improve the exhaust and in some ventilation types like a ridge vent or fan is absolutely critical. Food for thought when determining what kind of ventilation is best.

Cleanup is important. We like to rake and sweep and we use a magnet to pick up stray nails. We also clean the gutters. My goal is to leave the groudns as clean if not cleaner when we are done, as it was when we started. If you ask your neighbors, a dirty job site is usually the #1 complaint of roofers.

There is so much more to it than that. I could talk for hours about the short cuts many unscrupulous roofers may take. Make sure your roofer has general liability insurance, workers compensation, and preferrably some form of manufacturer certification. Make sure if a license is necessary in your area, that your roofer is licensed. Call your local bldg department and check the reputation of your roofer. Ask about any requirements to ensure the proposed scope of work meets code. AND NEVER sign the contract on the first night, always take time to do your due dilligence. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Thomas Kral

Reliable American Roofing


Answered 8 years ago by ReliableAmericanRoof

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