The Roof over Your Head
Your roof is just there. Most of the time you don’t even think about it… until it doesn’t work right any longer. By the time you have leak in your roof, you are already behind the eight ball.
The roof on your house protects all of your possessions and everyone in the home. When it fails, it’s more than just a pain, it can be dangerous. The water and snow that comes into the house can easily destroy three or five floors below.
This little article will guide you through what you can do to maintain your roof, learn about different types of roofing materials, and how to choose a great roofer.
Types of roofing materials
There are lots of types of roofing materials. This list is a partial list that focuses on the most common residential materials. Things like rubber membrane roofs are rarely used on homes, so we will skip it for this article.
- Metal – A metal roof is one the best ways to get a roof that will last a lifetime or two. Most metal roofs are warrantied for 50 years or more. They are surprisingly light and quiet, which are two of the biggest misconceptions about residential metal roofs. This type of roofing can be had in nearly any color and can be made to look like almost any other type of roofing.
- Asphalt or composite shingles – This is the least expensive and most common type of roof. It’s made from a cellulose material, like felt, that is soaked in asphalt or some other waterproof substance. It’s then coated with tiny pieces of rock that are covered in porcelain and various chemicals that protect the shingles from molds, algae and the sun. Simple to put one, these shingles can last for up to 25 years. They protect most homes quite well and are available in a number of styles.
- Ceramic tile – Most frequently seen in warmer regions as terra cotta shingles, these tiles are extremely fire resistant, making them perfect for homes that are in wildfire areas. They tend to be somewhat heavy and will break if they are walked on, but the look and the durability is outstanding.
- Wood shake – Probably the second oldest type of roofing, behind soil, wood shake is a renewable and beautiful choice. Today’s wood shake is treated to withstand sun, algae, and rot. Usually banned in areas that are prone to fire, wood shake or shingles are a wonderful way to give your home an old-time homesteading look.
Maintaining Your Roof
The most fundamental part of maintain your roof is to look at it once in a while. Look up at the roof when you get home. If there are cracks, broken tiles, or other indications of wear, get someone up there to replace your roof.
One of the places to look for problems on a roof, especially asphalt shingles roofs, in the drain zone for your downspouts. If you are seeing a lot of the little rocks that cover the shingles, it means that it’s no longer. This is the beginning of the end for your shingles.
Look on the ground after a wind storm. If there are pieces of shingles on your lawn, this is an indication that the shingles are falling apart. No wind, except a major storm, should be able to tear off the shingles from your roof.
The most important part of keeping your roof intact is not on the roof. The gutters and downspouts are the number on things that destroys roofs. When water can drain off of the roof, it sits on the shingles and causes the materials to fall apart.
Note: Almost all roofing shingles, metal roofing and tiles have warranties. Some are only 10 years, but, like a metal roof, can be for 50 years or more. Be sure to keep a hold of all the paperwork that comes with your roof. This will let you file a claim if the roof fails before its time.
How to Choose the Right Roofer
Of course the most basic part of finding a new roofer is to look on up. Using www.qualitysmith.com , you can look up roofers from around the country. These professionals are available to work for you and make your home safe and arm.
Of course, a referral, even from Quality Smith, isn’t enough. There are some fundamentals that you need to look at before you hire them:
- Start by getting at least three bids on the job. These bids should all be relatively close in price, but if one is much more expensive, you might ask what they see that the others don’t
- Next talk to the roofers. They will be crawling on your roof for days or weeks, so it’s important that you can get along with them.
- Ask for references. Call up their references and ask questions like, did the clean up after themselves, did they come in on budget, and were there any issues with the crew.
- Look at online reviews for more information about how they treat their customers. Remember, only the most and least happy people leave reviews, so it’s important to be selective.
Considerations for Hiring a Roofing Contractor
Here are a couple of things that you need before you even start hiring someone:
- Their state contractor’s license – Roofing is a business that is notorious for the number of people who commit frauds. Ask for a copy of their license, then confirm that it’s in effect with the state. If it’s not, they don’t work for you.
- Their liability insurance information – This is the policy that will protect you if they destroy your roof. Ask for the policy number and their agent’s info. Call the agent to make sure that the policy is paid up to date.
- If they will have employees on property, their worker’s compensation information – If one of their employees get hurt on the job at your house, you can be found legally liable, even though you didn’t hire the employee. Worker’s compensation will cover their people in case of injury.
Fixing your own roof leaks, even temporarily, can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. “5 Most Common Roof Leaks and How to Fix Them” be just thing in case of emergency.
To do this you need to be able to spot leaks well. “Leaky House: 5 Ways to Spot the Problems like a Pro” can help you. Hint: Water can travel a long way on the inside of your peaked roof.
If you opt for a metal roof, you will want to understand how to avoid rust and damage. The most frequent problem is damaging hail making dents or branches hitting the roof. “Metal Roofs: 5 Tips to Safeguard against Rust and Harsh Elements” can get you started in understanding how to keep your metal roof perfect for decades.
Looking for great roof tiles can be overwhelming. One store can have hundreds of choices. The “Top 10 consideration for finding the Right Roofing Tiles for Your Home” is a great brief guide to help you make a decision on what works best for you.
Knowing how to clean your gutters isn’t complex but, as we said earlier, it’s extremely important. Quality Smith has made it easier with their guide, “Gutter Cleaning, Repair and Upkeep.”
There are hundreds of brands and choosing between them can be nearly impossible. Quality Smith has done a great job at helping you compare the major choices side by side easily:
- Certainteed Hatteras vs Highland Slate Asphalt Shingles
- Certainteed Independence vs Hatters Asphalt Shingles
- Certainteed Landmark Premium vs XT30 Asphalt Shingles
- GAF Ridgless SBS-modified Premium vs Timber Tex Ridge Cap Shingles
Don’t skimp om your roof. 10 years can seem like a long time until you realize that those cheap ten year shingles will cost you thousands in a decade or less. Can you save more money getting a great metal roof that will last for 50 years or more?
As we said, keep all of your paperwork for your roof (as well as everything else associated with your house). If the roofing materials fails too soon, many roofing companies will pay to replace the materials and for the labor to have the roof repaired. A single sheet of paper can save your thousands of dollars few years from now simply because you kept it in a file.
It is okay to let your desire for a great looking house guide your roofing choices. There are so many different styles out there that you can easily find something that is perfect for your needs. Also, remember, there are lots of composite shingles and metal roofs that are made to look like other styles. So if you want terra cotta tiles but don’t want to pay for reinforcing your roof, you can easily find a metal roof or asphalt shingles that looks just like it.