So it’s time for a new roof! You begin the process of interviewing contractors and getting quotes just to find yourself more confused then when you started. Everyone has their own spin on what they do and the best system for your home. So what should you choose?
Let’s get started with understanding your roof System. Most of us think that when it’s time to get a new roof that it is just a matter of removing the old shingles and replacing them with new ones. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your roof is made up of various components all of which will affect the overall life span of your new roof.
1. Roof Covering– This is the exterior most layer of the roofing system that will protect your home from the elements. Today, there are many choices when it comes to your roof covering. Asphalt or fiberglass composition shingles are the most common and will serve you well as long as they are installed correctly. They will last between 15 and 30 years. They are also the most cost efficient. These days, metal roof covering is proving to be the roof covering of choice for those who can afford it. Metal roofing has a variety of looks and material makeups and I would recommend researching the product you chose before using it. These roofs generally will last longer than 50 years and most claim it will be the last roof you will ever buy, however they are usually three times as expensive as a traditional shingle.
2. Ventilation– To me this is the most important part of the roofing system. Just like a car your roof system has an intake for fresh air (the soffit vents) and an exhaust system (the ridge vents or can vents). These systems have to be set up right to ensure the longevity of your new roof. It is my recommendation that if a roofing contractor doesn’t look in your attic to examine this system you should kindly take his estimate and tear it in half. The number one reason for roofs going prematurely bad is they bake from the underneath side out.
3. Insulation– Southeast Michigan is in zone two according to the U.S department of energy. This suggests your attic should be insulated to a value between R-49 and R-60, for the same reason you should set your ventilation up correctly at the time of your new roof. You should also set up our insulation correctly for energy efficiency. A good rule of thumb is your attic temperature should always be within a couple of degrees of the outside temperature.
4. Accessories– Drip edge, Ice and water shield, soil pipe covers, and flashings should all be installed to meet or exceed building codes in your area because these are the areas that will usually present problem. First you want to make sure the contractor explains the types and methods of installation they are using for these, and if something doesn’t make sense research it before agreeing to it.
It is often said that spending money on a new roof is the least gratifying way to spend money. However, by becoming educated and investing a couple of extra dollars on a system that will last, will keep you sleeping sound at night and not replacing your new roof in just five years.