Commonly Asked Questions
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A: All too often, roof system problems are discovered after leaking or other serious damage occurs. Periodic (twice-a-year) inspections can often uncover 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 system problems. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.
A: Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that have come loose or a section of the roof system being damaged. A complete roof system failure, however, is generally irreversible and a result of improper installation, or the roof system is inappropriate for the home or building.
A: Most work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through the roof.
Maintenance performed by homeowners and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. If you must inspect your roof system 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 system), if possible.
A: Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for about 20-25 years. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and metal systems, can last longer.
An actual roof system’s lifespan is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.
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 manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lifespans.
A: The price of a new roof system varies widely, depending on such things as the materials selected, job site conditions, project location, roof geometry, roof slope and time of year. To get a good idea of the price of your roof system, get three or four proposals from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship.
For each roofing material, there are different grades and corresponding prices. There is also 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. Insist on a contractor who is committed to quality work.
A: When considering your roofing options, the following formula may help:
Total Cost (Materials and Labor) ÷ Life Expectancy of Roof System (in years) = Annual Roofing Cost