Q: What are my options if I decide to reroof?
A: You have two basic options: You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system. If you’ve already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, check with a professional roofing contractor. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary.
Q: How can I tell if my roof is in need of repair or maintenance? A: Homeowners often neglect their roofing system until it begins to leak or other serious damage occurs. In most cases, roofing issues can be discovered way before major (and expensive) problems happen. If you notice cracked, warped or missing shingles, broken flashing, loose seams, or large amounts of shingle granules in the gutter, it’s time to call a roofing contractor. Cracked paint, peeling wallpaper or wall coverings, and discolored plasterboard can also indicate roof damage. Periodic inspections can help uncover potential problems and allow you to address them before they become a major investment.
Q: How do I clean algae and moss from my asphalt shingle roof? A: Use a mild solution of chlorine bleach and water or mild detergent gently applied with a sponge or hand-held sprayer and rinse thoroughly. Do not use a power washer or high concentrations of bleach, and do not scrub the shingle surface. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association also offers cleaning recommendations.
Q: Do I have to replace my entire roof if it leaks? A: It depends. If the leak is simply caused by faulty flashing or a small section of roof that has been damaged, then you will most likely only need to repair the source of the leak. If, however, the entire roofing system has failed as a result of poor installation or subpar materials, then a new roof installation is appropriate and often necessary.
Q: Can I do the work myself?
A: Most work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through the roof.
Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. If you must inspect your roof system yourself, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber-soled shoes and stay on the ladder (and off the roof system), if possible.
Q: What will a new roof system cost?
A: The price of a new roof system varies widely, depending on such things as the materials selected, contractor doing the work, home or building, location of the home or building, local labor rates and time of year. To get a good idea of price for your roof system, get three or four proposals from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship.
For each roofing material, there are different grades and corresponding prices. There also are a variety of styles and shapes. You need to look at the full product range and make a choice based on your budget and needs.
Within the roofing profession, there are different levels of expertise and craftsmanship. Insist on a contractor who is committed to quality work.
Q: How do I choose the right roofing company? A: The right roofing company will be experienced, committed to quality, and have a trail of happy clients across the area. A quality contractor will always meet building codes and requirements and have strict standards for installers to adhere to. Make sure to get a detailed quote and research reviews & ratings from prior customers.
Q: How long can I expect my roof system to last?
A: Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer.
Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.
Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.