5 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Roofer

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Before hiring any contractor, including a roofer, make sure you have everything in writing. This includes a contract that details safety procedures, liability, and workers’ compensation. Ensure they install drip or metal edges around chimneys, skylights, and walls. If this isn’t done, it could lead to water damage. Many black hat roofers skip this step to save time and money. This will leave you footing the bill for costly repairs down the road.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

A roofer is usually self-employed or works for a roofing company. Those with certification typically undergo a four-year apprenticeship program, including on-the-job and technical training. They inspect and repair clients’ roofs. This can include replacing areas of a roof or installing shingles. They also install vapor barriers and insulation to increase a roof’s waterproofing. Roofers can also do clerical work, such as answering phones and scheduling appointments. How quickly and professionally they handle their responsibilities can tell you a lot about how well they run their business.

Will They Remove Your Old Roof?

Many roofers try to save time and money by putting a new layer on top of your old one. This can be a big mistake. It prevents roofing pros from seeing if the underlayment is damaged and can cause your house to weigh more than it’s designed for, which could damage interior walls, ceilings, and even your foundation. The right way to replace a roof is to tear off the old one. Then, the contractor can inspect it for ice and water protection, proper attic ventilation, and other essential components. This also gives you an official record if something goes wrong during the job, and your insurance company needs proof that your roof was correctly replaced. This could otherwise be a reason for them to drop your coverage.

Will They Replace Your Flashings?

If your flashing is highly damaged or corrupted, it may need to be replaced instead of repaired. This project is best left to professionals as it requires removing shingles and can damage the surrounding areas if not done correctly. Flashing is a metal trim sealed with caulk covering the seams of roof penetrations like chimneys, skylights, dormers, vents, and walls. It can also be found in valleys (the inward creases where two roof slopes meet) and at the rake edges of your roof. Ask your roofer which type of flashing they recommend for your home and how they will install it. Proper flashing installation takes skill and can cause leaks if not done correctly. Using the proper nails, laps, and sealants is essential to longevity.

Will They Install Drip or Metal Edge?

Drip edge (drip edging or flashing) is a critical component of metal roofs. It prevents water from seeping under the roofing materials and causing wood rot and other structural damage in your home. A quality drip edge should be made of materials consistent with your metal roof and galvanized to protect against corrosion. Drip edges come in various shapes and styles, but most are L-shaped to direct water into the gutter. Aluminum drip edges are the most affordable and durable, but consider a high-end option like copper. These can cost up to $75 per 10 linear feet, excluding labor. Regardless of the type you choose, it’s important to remember that a roof without a drip edge isn’t up to code.

How Many Nails Will They Use Per Shingle?

The nails that secure your roof’s shingles are crucial to a successful installation. Poor nailing patterns can lead to shingle damage, sheathing rot, and leaks into your home. Nails should be a good size and at least 3/8 inch long. They should have a ring shank rather than a smooth, more resilient one against the weather. Some roofing companies prefer using galvanized nails, always hand nailed, and six (6) nails per shingle.

Your roof slope determines how many shingle bundles you’ll need to cover the surface of your house. This number is determined by multiplying the rise in feet of your roof by the run. Usually, roofs with steeper slopes require more shingles. Ask if your roofer will weave the valleys or use metal.

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