Roof Replacement — HOME Magazine

Roof Replacement - HOME Magazine

David Heissenbuttel of DMH Roofing on a slate roof at a home in New Canaan. Slate, one of the most expensive roofing materials, is also one of the most durable. — Thomas Nash photo

My husband and I have lived in our 1962 split level for more than 15 years, and during that time we’ve replaced the flooring and appliances and repainted the interior and exterior several times; you could say we’re veterans when it comes to the home improvement process. As far as a new roof is concerned, however, we had no experience. In fact, most homeowners replace their roof just once during the time they own their homewhat did we know about roof ventilation and ice dams? Several roofing experts provided the following advice:

1) When should homeowners consider replacing their roof? What do they need to know before choosing a new roof?

Kevin Maier (KM), Owner/Operator, Square Edge Remodeling LLC, (203) 798-6426; “A home owner should consider replacing their roof if it is older than 20 years, if the shingles are worn, curled up or if the roof is leaking. Before replacing a roof a home owner should know the basic cost and procedure a contractor will take in replacing their roof. Is the contractor licensed? Does the contractor carry liability and workers compensation insurance? Are debris removal and the price of a Dumpster included in the contract?”

Richard Tavella (RT), President/Owner, Rick’s Main Roofing, Ltd. (203) 838-5858; “Ideally, you want to replace it before something goes wrong, but that’s not always going to be the case. Many times a roof under 20 years old can be repairable. It’s important to have an experienced roofing company determine if it is able to be repaired or needs to be replaced. A homeowner should inquire to be certain that the roofing company is licensed and properly insured and has longevity.”

Leon Barnaby (LB), President, (203) 334-5521; “Generally speaking, visual appearance will be your first indication. Signs like worn out slots, missing granules, missing shingles, nail pops and most of all a deteriorated roof deck. Sometimes a leak develops

around a flashing area and that generally can be repaired without replacing the roof.”

2) What are the different roofing materials available? How do they vary from lower to higher end?

RT: “Materials range from composite to synthetics like asphalt/fiberglass shingles and plastic tiles to natural materials like cedar, slate, clay tile and metal. Commonly what we see on most roofs are asphalt/fiberglass shingles. The life expectancy for asphalt/fiberglass is currently about 50 years.

“Wood, slate, clay tile and metal roofs have been used for hundreds of years and have stood the test of time with life expectancies from 30 years to a few hundred years. Life expectancy of those materials really depends on the type of material, thickness of material, breathability of the material and the installer’s experience.”

LB: “There are many types of roofing products on the market and sometimes it can get confusing for a homeowner that is not familiar. The important thing is to choose a product that goes well with your type of house, offers you a strong warranty (labor & material) and is affordable to your budget. “Slate or tile roofing is likely the most expensive but will last the longest.

Wood shingles are very attractive but very costly and need maintenance on a regular basis. Asphalt shingles with a fiberglass base in the Architectural High Definition Style, I feel, offer the homeowner the best value, appearance and warranty.”

KM: “Asphalt shingles are probably the least expensive to buy and install, and require the least amount of maintenance. They can be expected to last up to 30 years by most manufacturers warranties. Wood shingles for roofs are typically cedar and are more expensive to buy and maintain and are expected to last approximately 20 years. Slate roofs are probably the most expensive type of shingle roof to install; they also require a home to be framed structurally to support the weight of a slate roof since slate is a very heavy material.”

3) How do you determine if the wood under the existing asphalt shingles needs to be replaced?

LB:  “Any older home that has a wood shingle roof with any layers of asphalt on top must be completely torn off and CDX plywood is installed to accept the new roofing system.”

KM: “Most residential homes are wood framed and sheathed in plywood, tar paper and roofing shingles are nailed over the plywood on roofs. In most cases you have to remove the shingles to inspect the condition of the plywood for damage, but in some cases shingles that appear loose or curled in a specific location on the roof where a leak occurred for a period of time are an indication that the plywood under the shingles may be damaged. Plywood is multiple layers or wood that are glued together and when it is exposed to a water leak the layers of wood and glue separate and the plywood becomes weak and needs replacement.”

RT: “80% of the time we cannot determine it until we remove the existing roof. Basically, if the decking has lost its structural integrity it needs to be replaced. For instance, when the plys in plywood decking have come unglued it will no longer be structurally sound. Only rarely with an attic inspection, will it be obvious to us.”

4) What is involved in installing a new roof?

RT: “Depending upon the type of home and the roofing material selected, the process will vary. Generally, installing a new roof involves first an inspection of the roof and area around the home, removal of the existing roof, inspection of the structure and wood decking that supports the roof as well as any associated flashings (i.e. chimney), repairs if needed to decking and structure, replacement of flashings if needed and, finally installation of the new roof system.”

LB: “The best way is to remove all present layers of shingles and start fresh! This way, any deteriorated wood roof decking will be replaced and all the essential underlayments, flashings and metals, roof boots and vents can be properly

installed to give you a fully warranted roof system.”

KM: “When installing a new roof the existing layers of roofing shingles need to be removed. The plywood needs to be inspected. If the plywood is in good condition, ice and water shield should be installed three feet from all fascia boards and in any valleys. The ice and water shield will help prevent any ice or water that may get under the shingles from leaking onto to the plywood and possibly into the home. Tar paper should be installed over all other plywood (to prevent moisture that may get under the shingles from damaging the plywood; roofing shingles should keep water off the plywood but not necessarily moisture). New plumbing vent roof penetration covers should be installed. Shingles should be installed to the manufacture’s specifications. All debris should be removed from the job site and the home should be left in the same condition as when the job started except for the new roof.”

5) What are the differences between wood shingles and asphalt shingles?

LB: “Wood shingles are very attractive but very costly and need maintenance on a regular basis, while asphalt shingles with a fiberglass base in the Architectural High Definition style offers you the best value, appearance & warranty.”

KM: “Asphalt shingles are a petroleum based tar product with colored glass granules on one side to keep the damaging effect of the sun from damaging the shingle. Wood roofing shingles are typically made from cedar that is naturally resistant to insects and rot.”

RT: “Wood shingles and shakes are a natural product made mostly from Western red cedar (in roofing applications) that are made from lumber milled from the Northwestern corner of North America. Wood shingles and shakes are an energy efficient renewable resource. They are a highly wind resistant, impact resistant and, if well maintained, can be a long lasting roof system.

“Due to their breathability, wood shingles tend to keep homes dry and at level temperatures.

Asphalt shingles are petroleum based products that are manufactured at plants across the country using a fiberglass mat that is heavily saturated with asphalt. Today’s technology has made asphalt/fiberglass shingles much more wind resistant and tear resistant than shingles in the past. Newer styles and colors give a more natural look to the home. Asphalt/fiberglass shingles are usually installed as a more economical option to wood/shakes and slate.”

6) What about venting? How does it work, and is it always necessary?

KM: “Hot air accumulates in your attic and the best way to let it out is a ridge vent. The ridge is the highest point of your roof and we know that hot air rises; consequently, installing a ridge vent is the best way to let the hot air escape your home. If your home has soffits (overhangs) it is wise to have them vented as well to introduce fresh air into the attic to recycle air flow.”

RT: “Ventilation is important because it reduces the moisture and heat that builds up in the attic and reduces your chance of experiencing ice dams (An ice dam, according to Wikipedia, can occur when snow accumulates on the slanted roof of a house with inadequate insulation. Heat conducted through the insufficient insulation and warm air from the attic bypasses warms the roof and melts the snow on those areas of the roof that are above living spaces, but does not melt the snow on roof overhangs. Meltwater flows down the roof, under the blanket of snow, onto the eave and into the gutter, where colder conditions on the overhang cause it to freeze. Eventually, ice accumulates along the eave and in the gutter. Snow that melts later cannot drain properly through the ice on the eave and in the gutter, resulting in leaks to the roof space resulting in damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and insulation).

LB: “Ventilation is a very important aspect of a successful roofing project. Venting

the eave (overhang) area and the ridge is most beneficial.”

7) What are the color/designs options available? What are the most popular colors/styles in this region of the country?

RT: “The Timberline Architectural asphalt/fiberglass shingle, as manufactured by GAF.

In today’s market, blended colors offer the homeowner many choices to complement or contrast the prominent colors carried out on the exterior of their home. Some of the most popular shingle color choices in our area are: Weathered wood, pewter gray and charcoal. Of course, it is also a matter of personal preference of the homeowner. Materials Corporation is the most common style installed.

“The temperature of a home can be influenced by the color of the roof, depending on the size and exposure of the roof. For homes in New England, wood roofs or Energy Star rated metal and asphalt/fiberglass roofs are highly recommended.”

KM: “Each major roofing manufacturer offers many different colors to choose from. The colors today are not solid colors but more of a blend of similar colors giving the homeowner a wider choice for selecting colors of siding and trim paint to match the new roof.

“The most popular shingles I sell are GAF Timberline Architectural Series. They come with a lifetime warranty and are available in over 10 different colors. The most popular colors my clients seem to choose are charcoal, slate and weathered wood. All of the colors are blends of similar colors, not solid colors, giving the homeowner a wider choice of siding paint colors that go well with each different shingle color. The Architectural Series shingle looks nice on any type of home, from raised ranches to colonials. In my opinion I like to see contrast between the roof and siding color, for example I like a charcoal roof and light grey siding.

“It does make a difference the color of the roof is in keeping a home cool or warm. A light color roof will keep a home cooler in the summer and a darker color roof will keep a home warmer in winter. Since Connecticut has both hot and cold months during the year, in my opinion, I would not recommend a color based on if it is more economical to have that particular color in summer or winter because it may be more beneficial to have a light color roof in the summer to save money on air conditioning bills and a dark color roof in the winter to save on heating bills.”

LB: “Colors and designs are really a matter of preference. In New England, neutral colors/shades such as weatherwood blend and pewter gray blend in the Architectural High Definition style are the most popular. “Something on the lighter side, as opposed to a dark color, is typically better. However, I would not sacrifice a color decision based on that!”

8) What can a customer expect to pay for a new roof? What is the approximate price range, and what does that include/cover?

LB: “This is a very difficult question because of the many variables that may be present in a roofing project. To give a range, I would say $3.50 to $8 per square foot. Our Company is a Gaf Master Elite Contractor. I feel, we offer our customers the strongest material and labor warranty possible. That is the Gaf Golden Pledge Warranty. For this warranty, a complete roofing system that includes proper underlayments, flashings, metals and ventilation must be installed.”

RT: “The price of a roof is dependent upon many variables including size and pitch of the roof, how many layers, the type of roof and accessibility, just to name a few. Rick’s Main Roofing is a Master Elite certified roofer that offers the most comprehensive warranty available for asphalt/fiberglass shingle: the Golden Pledge Warranty. This warranty covers the first 25 years of the roof’s life expectancy in full with no loss of value.”

KM: “A homeowner should expect to pay approximately $400 per square one hundred feet of roof to be removed, cleaned up and taken away, new shingles installed by a contractor that is licensed, carries liability and workers compensation insurance. Flashings and venting should be an extra charge. We warranty all of our new shingle roof installations for 20 years.”

9) Are there any other points relating to roofing that should be addressed?

KM: “Homeowners should be careful when choosing a contractor. They should check license status with Connecticut consumer affairs, verify the contractor carries liability insurance, workers compensation insurance for their workers, and ask for references.

RT: “Homeowners should work with manufacturers when choosing their contractors. Manufacturers have systems in place for choosing the right contractor for the right job.

LB: “Look for a contractor that has an established business and that has been around for some time. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure that he has the proper insurance, licenses and that he is a certified contractor with the shingle manufacturer that he is trying to sell you. Always try to get a list of references of other customers that he has done work for and call them.”

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