Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a new roof?
Too often, it takes a leak or serious damage to recognize you may have a problem. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored plaster board, and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.
Since you may not know what to look for on the roof, schedule periodic inspections, preferably twice a year. These inspections can uncover cracked, warped, or missing shingles, loose seams and deteriorated flashing, excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or down spouts, and other visible signs of roof problems. Catching problems early eliminates costs later.
My roof leaks. Do I need to have it totally replaced?
Not necessarily. Leaking can result because some flashing has come loose, or because a section of the roof has been damaged. A roof failure, however, is generally irreversible. A roof failure can come from an improper installation, poor choice of materials, installation of a roof system inappropriate to the building, or simply wearing out.
Can I do the work myself?
Most work is not do-it-yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace a roof. The shingles and other roofing materials you pay for only qualify for the manufacturer’s warranty if they’re installed correctly. Novices can harm a roof with improper roofing techniques or severely injure themselves by falling off or even through a roof in need of repair or replacement.
Homeowner maintenance should be confined to roof inspections in both the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles, and to cleaning rain gutters filled with dead leaves or other debris. If you must see the roof for 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) if possible.
How long can I expect my roof to last?
The condition and lifespan of your roof will depend on the type of roof you have, the effects of your local environment, and the maintenance the roof has received. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, asphalt shingles generally last 15-20 years. 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 they will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lifetimes.
What will a new roof cost?
The price of a new roof varies widely, depending on the material selected, the contractor doing the work, the home itself, local labor rates, time of year, and more. To get a good idea of the cost for your roof, get two or three estimates from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that cost is only one factor, and it must be balanced against the quality of the materials and workmanship.
For each roofing material there are different grades and corresponding prices. Plus, there 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. Pick a contractor who is committed to quality work.
The estimates I received are very different in price. Why not just go with the lowest bid?
Most often, estimates may appear to be offering the same or similar services, but our experience shows most contracts are not created equal. An unusually low price can signal discrepancies and shortcomings in the reliability of the contractor. In addition to the actual materials, some of the differences to look for when comparing contracts and/or contractors are number of years the company has been in business, experience of the actual crew, and validity of liability and worker’s-compensation insurance.
What questions should I ask when considering a contractor?
See Choosing a Contractor