Home improvements can be extremely overwhelming and, at some point, you may even feel like giving up. I have put this list of commandments/guidelines/principles, call them what you will, together to help keep you above the water in this sea of frustration. I want to make the entire reroofing process as seamless and efficient for you, the homeowner, as I possibly can. So, here are some things I believe every homeowner should think about before purchasing a new roof.
What’s your objective?
Is this your forever home?
How much are you willing to put down vs. financing?
Will your homeowners insurance help cover anything?
Is your current roof covered by any warranty?
What kind of roofing materials are available?
What are the pros & cons of different roofing materials?
How well is your attic ventilated?
Do you or someone you trust know a professional roofer?
Do NOT shingle over preexisting shingles.
Know Your Objective
I put this at the top of the list for a reason. Really narrowing down what exactly your objective is will help you better communicate with a contractor, save you time and money through the process, and keep you focused.
You need to figure out whether you need a new roof or you want a new roof. Are you getting a new roof to improve your curb appeal or are you getting it because it rains harder inside than it does outside? Or maybe you’re renovating the home and the first thing on your list is a new roof. Whatever it is, before the quotes or contractors or insurance agencies or signatures, you need to narrow down what it is you want.
At the end of the finish line is the completion of that objective, but between you and that sweet, sweet victory is a series of hurdles: the quotes, contractors, insurance agencies, and signatures. Keeping your objective, your finish line, if you will, in sight will make jumping those hurdles that much easier.
Is This A Forever Home?
You seriously want to consider what your home means to you. A roof is a big investment to make on your home. If your home is a permanent residence then you may consider investing a little more and going with a long lasting roof system. If your home is just somewhere to stay until you find that forever home, then you may consider saving a little money and going with a more affordable roofing option. If you are an investor looking to make a quick buck off a flip, then a new roof is a great selling point and can add some serious value to a property. While you think about what your home means to you, you should also be thinking about your budget.
For some of us, money may be a discussion we aren’t really comfortable having; nevertheless, it’s one we need to have. Really evaluate your financial situation and get a good idea of what you can afford. How much do you have saved up? How much of that are you willing to put down? Are you willing to finance? What kind of monthly payments can you afford? These are all great questions you need to ask yourself.
If you are unsure of what you can afford, you might want to take some time to really figure out where you are financially. At the end of the day, most people will end up financing whether they have enough money saved or not. Everyone’s financial situation is different but generally most everyone can afford $150/mo. Another option is to take a gander at your insurance situation and possible warranties.
If your roof needs replaced due to a peril covered by insurance, then why not capitalize on that claim? Many roofing contractors actually offer to deal with insurance agencies on your behalf. This can end up saving you some frustrating phone calls and maybe even a few dollars.
Keep in mind that most insurance agencies will not cover a simple roof replacement. If your roof is simply old or needs repair due to poor upkeep, then your insurance will not offer any kind of support. The insurance agencies will also not cover any damage to your personal items that results from neglecting the maintenance of the roof.
Insurance can be tricky to navigate, but you will more than likely need to have it. Another thing you want to start considering alongside your insurance is warranties.
If your roof is needing replaced far sooner than what you were told, then you may expect some kind of warranty. There are typically three parties involved in the warranties: you, the contractor, and the manufacturer.
The contractor will usually have some sort of workmanship or labor warranty included in their contract. This covers their workmanship, meaning if they didn’t put a nail where it’s supposed to go then they will cover the cost for repair.
Manufacturers will offer all sorts of warranties to you through the contractor. If their shingle fails to perform how they said it would or a shingle is missing a patch of granules, then they will cover the cost of repair.
If a previous owner had the shingles installed, don’t worry. Your roof may still hold a warranty. Some manufacturers offer warranties that may transfer from owner to owner upon sale. If you don’t know who installed or manufactured your shingles, then try asking the previous owner, your real estate agent, or neighbor. Really anyone who may have an inkling of who installed the shingles. It is also possible that a seasoned roofing professional can identify the shingles’ manufacturer and color for you.
Not every area has the same selection of roofing materials. You may be restricted by a homeowners association, building codes, or historical district restrictions. You may live in an area where all your neighbors have metal while you’re sporting shingle. Have a good idea of what material you want to see and in what colors. The faster you can pick a shingle color, the faster you can get back to doing what you enjoy. Just keep in mind it’s not all about aesthetics; you want quality roof material.
Weighing the Pros & Cons of Materials
Every roofing material has its own advantages and disadvantages. When deciding between available materials you want to think about the cost and integrity. Is that material worth the investment? Will that material last as long as you need it to? Metal, when installed correctly, can possibly last 50+ years, but costs a small fortune and has its own set of pitfalls that most roofing contractors will not disclose. Shingle will usually last you about 20 years, is very affordable, and comes with fewer pitfalls than metal. This is really something you want to talk to your roofing professional about to get a better understanding of what will work best for you.
An improperly ventilated attic can accelerate the aging process of a roof and cause all kinds of issues such as: ice dams, hot roofs, and energy inefficiency. Every attic is unique and requires a custom ventilation system that best suits its needs. As you’re talking with your roofing professional ask about your attic ventilation. Do you need to make any changes? How much is that going to cost? How will it work? To learn more on attic ventilation read Why Is Attic Ventilation Important?.
Finding A Professional Roofer
Finding a reputable roofer you can trust can seem a little difficult. You want to examine a roofer’s experience, authority, and integrity. How much experience do they have in the roofing industry? Are they a leader in their industry or a follower? Do they display integrity? I have discussed this topic before in a blog posting titled Choosing The Right Contractor. In the blog post I discuss how important it is that you find a contractor you can trust.
The fact of the matter is, you’ll be dealing with that contractor anytime you have a roof leak or shingle blow-offs. You need to be sure they’ll stand by their work and treat you with professionalism. Ask around your community, surf the web, or look at some yard signs. Roofers are everywhere, the real task is finding the good ones.
Reroofing Over Pre-existing Shingles
Do NOT let your contractor roof over pre-existing shingles. A professional roofer will need to inspect the decking underneath the shingles for any damage. When contractors roof over pre-existing shingles, they have no way of determining the condition of the decking below. It could be rotted out or in serious need of replacement. A good contractor will remove all shingles without leaving a mess and replace any damaged or rotted decking.
I know some of what we discussed may fit into the “duh, I already knew that” category, but if there was just one thing you did not already know then I did my job. There is a lot to think about when it comes to home improvement, but having the resources to refer back to will hopefully facilitate the process.
Thanks for reading, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below and if you found this blog posting informative there is a button for Facebook sharing above the comments.