10 Things To Consider Before Reroofing Your House

Home Improvement

Neil Kelly is a factory certified GAF roofing installer, offering a 25-Year workmanship warranty in addition to a 50-Year System Plus manufacturer's warranty on GAF's Lifetime Roofing System. Image courtesy GAF.

It’s true: most folks aren’t daydreaming about reroofing when they start thinking about remodeling their homes. But your roof is a critical part of the environmental control system that keeps your home feeling comfortable year-round.

We asked Matt Metz, Home Improvement General Manager, to identify the 10 most important things to consider before reroofing a house. Here’s what he told us:

1. Your roof is a system. Shingles are an important part of your roofing system, but only one part of it. Consider components such as the roof deck, underlayment type, starter type, ice and water shield, flashing, and other parts that make up the complete system.

2. Valley construction. The valley is where two roof planes meet at a low section — a place where lots of water will be funneled.  The way the valley is constructed can have a big impact on the effectiveness of the roof. Valleys with fewer joints are better, and they should be constructed using metal, not shingles.

3. Don’t install 15-year parts on a 50-year roof. If you’re going to make an investment in a high quality roof that will last up to 50 years, why would you install flashing that is known to last only 10-15 years? Pipe flashing is a component that often fails and leaks long before the roof is ready to be replaced. Install UV resistant pipe flashing instead of rubber flashing that has a shorter life.

4. Roofs should have two warranties, not one. When installing a roof, you should get one warranty from the manufacturer covering manufacturer defects, and one warranty from the installer covering workmanship issues. Read the fine print on these documents to make sure you’re getting what you expect. Also, the workmanship warranty is only as good as the company that is giving it — purchase your roof from a reputable contractor.

5. When is it time to reroof my house? Missing, curled or fragile shingles, loss of granules on shingles, leaks, stains on ceilings, excessive heat in the attic, blistering exterior paint — all are telltale signs that your roof needs to be replaced.

6. Thinking of adding a layer? Think again. We do not recommend installing another layer over existing shingles. In some cases, manufacturer warranties will be voided if you do this. The roof decking — the support for your shingles — needs to be inspected before you add anything to it. If you don’t remove all shingle layers prior to reroofing, there is no way to determine if the roof deck is structurally sound.

7. Ventilation: The unsung hero. Attic ventilation is what prolongs the life of the roofing system. Without proper, balanced attic ventilation, moisture and excess heat can build up in the attic and damage the roof decking and/or damage the shingles. If the shingles get too hot, the granules that protect the shingle will come off and leave the shingle vulnerable to early deterioration.

Every roof is unique — make sure your roofing contractor has a ventilation plan that is properly calculated and balanced for your roof.

8. Is a heavier shingle better? Yes and no. The heavier the shingle, the more durable the shingle — to a point. If a manufacturer makes the shingle heavier by adding too many fillers it can leave the shingle brittle and more susceptible to cracking. Do your research on the manufacturer and the products they sell.

9. The job isn’t finished until you see the magnet. When removing an existing roof, your roofing crew is going to be removing tens of thousands of nails. They will come off the roof, go into your landscaping, onto your driveway, etc. To make sure that all of the nails are retrieved, your roofing crew should be using a large magnet to pick them up.

10. It’s going to be loud. Removing your roof is a big project — expect noise, and lots of it! Demolition tools, nail guns, air compressors, and material dropping off your roof and into a dumpster are all noises you will hear.

Did you know that you can replace your roof in the winter? Our roofing crews have the resources and the expertise to safely handle any residential reroofing project, even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. Get in touch with us to find out more.