Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my roof has problems?
In most cases, roofing problems are discovered after damage has occurred from a leak. However, not all leaks produce visible damage immediately. Some leaks can occur for up to a year before showing any signs of damage. To avoid this hidden problem, it is important to have your roof inspected at least every five years by a qualified contractor. You may see excessive granules running down the downspout, shingles in the lawn or excessive curling and cupping of the shingles on the roof.
How can a homeowner prevent roofing problems?
Once-a-year inspections can discover 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.
If my roof leaks, will I need to have it totally replaced?
In some cases, no. Leaking can occur because some flashings have come loose or because a section of the roof has been damaged. A roof failure, on the other hand, is generally irreversible and occurs from improper installation, choice of materials, or from the installation of a roof system inappropriate for the home or building.
Can I just do the work myself?
Most roofing work should not be a do-it-yourself project. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace a roof. Do-it-yourselfers can harm a roof with improper roofing techniques and can harm themselves by falling through a roof or even falling off a roof.
What are my options if I decide to re-roof?
The best option is to completely replace the roof system, involving a full tear-off of the old roof. The other option, which is not to be recommended, is to cover over the existing roof with a new roof, involving only the installation of a new membrane and surfacing. If you’ve already had one re-roof over an original roof, check with a professional roofing contractor to see if your deck can support a third layer. In Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C it is against code to have more than two layers on a roof.
How long should my roof last?
The life of your roof depends on a few factors – roof type, pitch/slope of the roof, ventilation, installation, maintenance, and weather. As a general rule of thumb, basic three tab fiberglass shingles last 15 to 25 years. Flat roofs generally last 5 to 15 years.
What is the best time of year to have my roof replaced?
Any time is a good time. Roofing materials are safe to install year round in our service area, which stretches roughly from Baltimore, MD to Richmond, VA. Our winters are relatively mild so we work all year round, weather permitting. 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 and 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 that the roof has received. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, asphalt shingles generally last 15-20 years; wood shingle/shakes, 10-40 years; clay/concrete tiles, 20+ years; slate, 30-100 years; metal roofing, 15-40+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, area of the country, local labor rates, time of year, and more. To get a good idea of the cost for your roof, get three of four 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.
How can I determine my annual cost?
When mulling over your roofing options, the following formula may help: Total Cost (materials and labor)/Life Expectancy of Roof (in years) = Annual Cost
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