There are a few reasons why a complete roof renovation might be a great idea, whether you are replacing a roof that simply looks like it is past its prime or you’re fed up with multiple leaks on rainy days.
An old, leaky, or otherwise damaged roof poses many risks such as structural damage, health issues caused by the build-up of mold, and possible danger if the building’s wiring is located in the attic or ceiling. Renovating your roof also means you can install any additional extras in the building’s roof, such as gutter guards that prevent organic material from blocking and damaging drainage or ventilation systems that need an exit point through the roof.
No matter what you’re looking for, here are some core tips and tricks that will make planning your roof renovation a breeze so you get quality that will last.
1. Will You Need Gutter Guards and Any Additional Add-ons?
A new roof renovation provides an opportunity to add a few extras that enhance your living space as well as the overall health of your roof and drainage system. You can consider installing skylights or ventilation systems during the roofing process so the new roof can incorporate them in its design. This avoids contractors from having to pull up some of the completed work later.
Installing gutter guards is also an important option to prevent leaves and other organic matter from falling into your gutters and blocking your home’s external drainage system. Gutter guards are an inexpensive option that can save on maintenance costs, especially if you’re are renovating the roof of a multistory building where a leaf guard for gutters can prevent someone from working from a height.
2. Learn Some of the Basic Roofing Lingo
When communicating with contractors, you’ll need to understand at least some of the basic terminology so that you can grasp what they recommend and ask about specific details.
- Shingles are the most commonly used top layer for roofing and can be made out of asphalt, slate, rubber, and more.
- Roof decking is a layer of plywood underneath the top layer, such as the shingles, to which that top layer is attached.
- The underlay membrane is the waterproofing layer that sits between the plywood roof decking and the shingles to protect against any water that gets underneath the top layer.
- Flashings are strips of metal that cover gaps, like where vents or chimneys come out through the roof or where different sections of the roof need to be covered. The contractor you choose may use a selection of varying flashing materials, so knowing what this part is will help in your conversations.
3. Research the Different Available Roofing Materials
Different roofing materials are used for different environments, weather conditions, and levels of durability. These may range from solar tiles that provide power for your building to shingles made of asphalt, slate, rubber, or just standard metal roofing. You can learn more by reading this guide on the advantages and disadvantages between shingle and metal roofs to better understand these roofing materials.
4. Understanding Overlaying Versus a Full Removal
Contractors use two methods to give you a complete roof renovation.
- An overlay (also called a roof-over) is where the new roofing is laid over the top of old material.
- A complete removal (also called a tear-off) is where the old material is entirely removed, and new roofing is laid in its place.
While a roof-over is cheaper since you don’t have to pay for the labor and disposal of old material, it can mean that the new roofing doesn’t last as long. In many cases, it can even void the warranty on the new roof. Additionally, the contractors won’t be able to see and diagnose any problems underneath the shingles or old roofing, which is a missed opportunity to make sure that everything is fixed and ready for the long term.
Wherever possible, it’s recommended that you opt for a complete removal so that you aren’t back where you started in just a few short years—needing a roof repair.
5. Ask Contractors the Right Questions
Part of the process of selecting the right roofing contractor for your job means asking the right questions. Some of the most useful ones include:
- Are they licensed, bonded, and have adequate insurance to protect all parties involved?
- What warranties do they provide for materials and labor? Are there any extended warranties?
- Who is responsible for obtaining the required permits for the work?
- Are they aware of, and do they follow, all local codes and regulations?
- What previous nearby work have they done that you can view and inspect?
6. You Get What You Pay For
When reviewing an assortment of quotes from roofing contractors, never go for the cheapest option, especially if it is a low-ball compared to the others. Your roof plays an integral part in a building’s value and long-term health, so if you are worried about the budget, try to focus more on the mid-range prices instead.
A roof renovation is a great opportunity to ensure the health of your building into the future and add on any extras to improve the space, such as gutter guards, skylights, and more. Following these tips will mean that you come prepared when it is time to speak with contractors and get the job done. Remember, this is a long-term investment that can add value to a property, so hire the contractors with a proven track record and a guarantee that it will be done right the first time.
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