5 questions to ask when updating your roof

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    Is your roof old enough that it needs replacing?

    Obvious signs that you roof is reaching its end if it includes water leaks, curling, cracked or missing shingles.

    Be sure to ask potential roofing contractors the following five questions:

    1) What type of shingles will be used?

    The style and material of your shingles play an important role for your home’s curb appeal, not to mention protection against the elements.

    One of the best options for roofing shingles are asphalt shingles. Asphalt is a great choice for homeowners who need to upgrade their roof with premium products, but at a less expensive price than metal or slate. Keep in mind, however, that quality counts with asphalt; if you cut corners on quality, you’ll end up with shingles that have a shorter lifespan. GAF fiberglass asphalt shingles are a top choice as they are incredibly durable, dense and more eco-friendly than organic asphalt shingles. You also want to look for shingles that have stainguard protection against algae, duragrip adhesive seals to reduce the risk of shingle blow off and a class A fire rating.

    2) What type of underlayment will be used?

    Underlayment refers to the material installed underneath the shingles. This layer provides extra protection between your roofing shingles and the roof deck.

    Unfortunately, not all roofing underlayment is created equal.

    Let’s first review the benefits of underlayment. It helps prevent wind-driven rain or water from other sources from infiltrating under your shingles. In addition, it helps shingles lay flatter and more uniformly which will help prevent shingle blow-off. At the same time, this material should be “breathable” to help prevent inside moisture from becoming trapped within your roofing system, which can lead to mold, mildew and other damage.

    Ask your roofing contractor which type of underlayment they use. Synthetic underlayment is now being preferred over traditional felt underlayment as the synthetic materials have been found to offer a higher degree of weather protection. With that said, synthetic underlayment will be more expensive but rightfully so. We use Deck Armor as it has 600 percent greater tear strength than standard #30 felt.

    In addition, don’t forget to ask about the leak barrier your contractor will use. Leak barrier is sometimes referred to as “ice and water shield” and should extend 6 feet around all vulnerable areas including eaves and rakes. This helps provide additional protection against leaks, extreme weather and ice dams! Not all roofing contractors will provide 6 feet of leak barrier, some will install less than that, so make sure to ask. We use Storm Guard and Weather Watch for steep slopes to safeguard vulnerable areas of a home.

    3) Is your company insured, and do you follow OSHA standards?

    When it comes to hiring a roofing contractor, insurance is top priority. Roofing contractors who are uninsured present various risks to homeowners. First, if a crew member becomes injured while working on your home, they can try to sue you to pay for hospital bills. You could ultimately end up paying out of your own pocket for any injuries that occur during your project.

    In order to stay properly protected, you’ll need to ask for proof of insurance and verify that the contractor follows OSHA standards to prevent injury.

    4) How can you ensure proper ventilation?

    The ventilation system of your new roof is imperative to keeping your home free from moisture. Soffit vents and ridge vents are two components that keep your home ventilated. They work by increasing airflow and keeping your attic properly ventilated, reducing the risk of mold, mildew infestations and ice dams. Remember, your attic should be roughly the same temperature as the outdoor temperature. If it is not, you should contact a roofing professional.

    5) What do you use to flash the chimney?

    Chimney flashing helps make your home leak proof. Lead is the optimal material for chimney flashing. Aluminum, tar, metal and rubber are alternative materials, but the downside is that these materials don’t last as long.

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