10 Questions to Ask Your Roofer Before You Hire Them
Most homeowners know the typical questions to ask of a roofing company they’re considering – including how long they’ve been in business, references and proof of insurance, and information about warranties. But installing a roof is a complex job. The little things can make a big difference, which is why it’s important to choose an experienced roofer who really knows what they’re doing.
Check out these ten roofing-related questions you should ask your roofer before hiring them:
1. Will the Roofer Remove Your Old Roof?
An easy way for black-hat roofers to cut corners is by visually inspecting the old roof and then shingling over it. If they don’t pull the old shingles up, however, they won’t know whether or not there are soft spots hiding beneath. If problems aren’t found and repaired early, you’re looking at costly repairs down the road. A good, experienced roofer should always take up your old roof before placing a new one down.
2. Will the Roofer Install Drip or Metal Edge?
Drip or edge metal is typically a piece of aluminum, which is placed under shingles where they come off the roof. It extends out and helps direct runoff into your eavestroughs to protect your decking, soffits, and fascia. If it isn’t installed, you can end up footing heavy bills for water damage later on. Some unscrupulous roofers will deliberately skip drip edging unless homeowners specifically inquire, which is why it’s always important to ask.
3. How Many Nails Will the Roofer Use Per Shingle?
Your roofer should use at least four nails per shingle for a standard job. If, however, your home has a steep-sloped roof or is in a high-wind area, they’ll need to use six nails for each shingle to firmly hold them in place.
Remember, though, that it’s also about how the nail is installed:
- The Nail Line: All shingles have a nail line, which ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 centimetres, where the nail is meant to be placed. Putting the nail too high means it won’t catch the shingle below, compromising the strength of your roof. If it’s too low it leaves the nail heads exposed to corrode over time and cause gaps as your roof naturally expands and contracts with changing temperatures. Not nailing shingles on the nail line also voids warranties and makes your roof more susceptible to wind and storm damage.
- Properly Driven Nails: If a nail is driven in too hard, it can tear and ruin the shingle. If it’s not put in tightly enough, it can cause the shingles above it to sit up – creating an air bubble that leaves your roof vulnerable to high winds. An angled nail leaves a rift for water to sneak in.
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4. Will Your Roofer Reuse Old Flashings or Install New Ones?
Replacing the flashing on your roof isn’t a simple job. Your roofer needs to remove and measure the existing flashing, and then custom bend the new ones before installing them properly. For some less reputable roofers, new flashings just aren’t worth the hassle. But for homeowners, they’re a necessity. Your old flashings are designed to integrate with the dimensions and shingle type of your original roof. Like other elements around your home, flashings also show their age over time. Not replacing them now can mean bigger repair bills in a few years – especially if they begin to rust and leak, causing additional damage to your roof and home.
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5. Will Your Roofer Use Steel in the Valleys or Weave the Shingles?
If your roofer says they’ll weave your shingles without installing metal underneath, you should take that as a red flag. Woven valleys are cheaper and easier for roofers to install, but they leave homeowners at a disadvantage. They’re more vulnerable to premature wear-and-tear as the granules on the shingles are prone to wearing faster. Metal valleys are more durable, last longer, and look better.
6. How Far Will Your Roofer Overhang Your Shingles?
Your shingles should overhang between 6mm and 2cm, depending on a range of factors including whether or not drip edge flashing is installed. They should not extend more than 2.5cm. If there’s too little overhang, water can seep into the rake or fascia boards. If there’s too much, your shingles become more susceptible to blowing off in high winds or sucking up water as it flows through your eavestroughs.
7. How Will Your Roofer Cut Their Shingles?
When it comes to cutting shingles, a roofer should never just eyeball it. Instead, they need cut on a straight edge using a straight or hook blade.
It’s also important that they strike a chalk line before installing your shingles. This will keep shingles horizontally and vertically aligned, especially over large areas or long distances. It will also help to eliminate short exposures, waviness, and other aesthetic issues.
8. How Will Your Roofer Protect Your Eavestroughs?
Inexperienced roofers can easily damage your eavestroughs if they don’t take steps to protect them while working on your roof. Tools and supports they can use typically include things like trough or ladder stabilizers. Ask your roofer before hiring them what measures they use, otherwise you could be looking at a torn up roof or broken eavestroughs after the job is done.
9. What Will the Cost be for Plywood if the Roofer Finds Rotten or Soft Decking?
Once your roof is up, it can be hard for you to backtrack and dispute overinflated costs for plywood sheeting to fix soft, rotten decking. It’s important to find out before you hire your roofer how much they’ll charge per plywood sheet if they find pieces that need replacing while working on your roof.
10. How Will the Roofer Leave the Jobsite at the End of Each Day?
Your roofer shouldn’t strip more of your roof than necessary each day, making sure your home is protected from nature’s elements. If there are any open areas remaining in the event of an emergency, the roofing crew should tarp them before leaving. They also need to clean any stripped shingles and check the lawn and garden for nails and other hazardous items.
As you’re looking for a roofer, remember that they’re not all created equal. It’s important to find one with the experience and knowledge to repair or replace your roof – helping it look and perform its best for decades to come.
Herb Lodde & Sons Roofing has been providing quality roof replacements and repairs since 1964. We stand behind our workmanship and are committed to delivering superior results using the best materials. Contact us today to schedule your in-home consultation!
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