Installing a new roof is a major investment, and you don’t want to make any costly errors when it comes to the many choices you’ll be asked to make before, during and after the installation . To keep you on the right track, here’s what you need to know about the three most important elements of laying and maintaining a roof that will last for decades:
- Roofing Materials:
There are many types of roofing materials, and which one you choose should depend on a combination of durability, price and architectural style. In most cases, the material that best balances these concerns is asphalt shingles, which is why they’re the most common residential choice in North America. However, you may find that the look of tile is worth the extra upfront expense if you plan to stay in your home for another 50 years. You may not even be familiar with many of the options now available (such as eco-friendly recycled shingles and concrete made to look exactly like wood shakes), so the important thing is that you do your research in advance and talk to qualified experts.
- Roof Installation:
Roofing contractors are not all equal in skill level. No matter what roofing materials you’re using, they need to be laid properly in order to hold up over time. It’s fine to get several quotes and ensure you’re getting a fair price, but don’t let a relatively small pricing difference convince you to hire someone who cuts corners. One common mistake homeowners make is allowing their new roof to be laid over the old one. This saves a little on installation, but can severely decrease a roof’s resistance to the elements — resulting in a 20% shorter lifespan, experts estimate. In some places, it may even be against local ordinances to lay more than two layers of roofing on top of one another.
- Roof Warranties:
There are two types of roof warranties. The first is a manufacturer warranty, which covers defects in the materials themselves. The second is a warranty offered by the installer and covers workmanship errors. In both cases, you should read all the fine print to see what kind of maintenance is required to keep your warranty in good standing (you’ll probably need to have a professional roof inspection every year or two, for example). When it comes to warranties offered by your roofing installation company, it’s important to look at the company’s history. There’s a lot of turnover in the roofing world, and you don’t want to get stuck with a worthless warranty as soon as a roofing company goes out of business right after installing your roof (often starting up again under another name). Look for companies that have been doing business in the area for a long time and that have no unresolved consumer complaints filed against them.
What else should homeowners consider when navigating the roofing process? Share your advice in the comments.