Questions & Answers

Q: How can a home owner recognize when a roof has problems?

A: All too often, roof problems are discovered after leaking or other serious damage occurs. Periodic (twice-a-year) inspections often can uncover cracked, warped or missing shingles; loose seams and deteriorated flashings; excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts; and other visible signs of roof problems. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.

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, involving a tear-off of your existing roof, or re-cover the existing roof, involving only the installation of a new roof. If you’ve already had one re-cover installed on your original roof, check with a professional roofing contractor. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary.
Q: My roof leaks. Do I need to have it replaced completely?
A: Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that have come loose or a section of the roof being damaged. A complete roof failure, however, generally is irreversible and a result of improper installation or choice of materials or the roof installation is inappropriate for the home or building.
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 roofs. You can damage your roof 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 roofs 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 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.

Q: How long can I expect my roof to last?
A: Most new roofs are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years. Some roof types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer.

Actual roof life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof 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.

Q: What will a new roof cost?
A: The price of a new roof 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, 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 can I determine my annual roofing cost?
A: When considering your roofing options, the following formula may help:

Annual Roofing Cost = Total Cost (Materials & Labor)

Life Expectancy of roof (in years)