To the average homeowner, roofing is just as simple as many other home improvement projects. After all, all you have to do is take off the old one and put on the new one, right? While that may be the case with paint, roofing is far more complex than most people realize. Hence the need for licensed, professional roofers. To give you a little insight into the intricacies of roofing, let’s take a closer look at the process itself.

 

Step One: Create the Support Deck

The first thing to do when building a roof is to create a sturdy and solid support that. Without the right support deck, the roofing structure can fall apart during and after construction, making the work surface too difficult to work with. Once the support deck is constructed, it is important to inspect it to make sure there are no signs of deterioration, writing, or loose nails anywhere. If these are discovered, the necessary repairs must be made before work can continue.

 

Step Two: Apply the Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment is then applied to the work surface to create a flat, even surface Ruth. If the roof already exists making sure that the felt underlayment is intact is part of the repair process. Without the solid underlayment, the shingles will not be able to adhere to the roof surface.

 

Step Three: Metal Work

Extensive metalwork may be required to install drip edge is in gutters around the perimeter of the roof to ensure the end result is a starting even roof. Metalwork will also reduce the risk of leaks, dents, and cracks as a result of environmental effects and pressure on the roof.

 

Step Four: Apply the Shingles

After the underlayment has been applied to the Foundation and the metal work is complete, the shingles are applied. This is done with a combination of roofing nails and cement to attach the shingles to the roof and to each other. These methods will employ a number of techniques to ensure the shingles are laid out exactly as needed, and the exact number of shingles necessary are used to protect your roof over the long term.

 

Step Five: Clean Up and Inspect

The final step of the roofing process involves cleaning up everything and inspecting it. It will need to be inspected both up close on the roof, and down at ground level with binoculars to make sure there are no cracked, loose, or missing shingles.

 

Only a team of qualified professionals will understand how the process applies to your roof. There are special considerations for pitch (the angle of your roof), the type of weather your home experiences most often (areas with a lot of sun exposure are treated differently than areas with lots of snow), etc. While the do-it-yourselfer may be able to make small patches in the roof as a temporary fix, leaks that are damaging the support structure could lead to costly repairs in the long run.

If you are starting to hear a dripping sound, or suddenly notice a brown spot on your ceiling, that is a good indication that you have a roof leak. If finances are tight, it can be easy to say you’ll deal with it later, but the longer you put it off, the more serious the damage, and therefore, the resulting repair bill will be. If it goes too long, then you could be looking at an entire roof replacement, on top of fixing whatever interior damage the leak caused. Here’s a guide to help you determine what to look for, and what signs indicate it’s too late.

 

Signs to Watch For

 

Look for the following signs in your home to help you identify leaks or their potential to develop:

 

  • Brown spots on the ceiling
  • Water stains on the underside of the roofing deck or around the chimney
  • Black stains on the roofing deck—this may be an indication of mold or mildew
  • Bits and pieces of shingle in the yard
  • Rust stains on the furnace flue
  • Peeling paint or rotted wood around skylights
  • Roof granules in the downspouts

 

If you notice these in your home, make sure you employ proper safety techniques, first. Inspect the attic, and go outside to inspect the roof at ground level for signs of damage.

 

Is it Too Late?

 

If your roof is flat, it is most likely to leak because the lack of pitch, but a flat roof should last anywhere between eight and 12 years. The more layers you have, the longer it will last. While a multi-layer roof will add the overall installation cost, you may be able to get an additional seven to eight years on the life of your roof.

 

If your roof is pitched, it can move water off faster, thereby preserving the shingles. However, all pitched roofs have their vulnerable spots. The use of water and ice shields along the gutter lines and in the valleys can help extend the life of your roof. Fixing a leak at the first sign of a problem can help keep your roof “living” longer.

 

If you have a house that is under either western or southern exposure, those areas of your roof will wear faster than the rest. This is because your home gets the most sun exposure in those areas, and the intense heat will degrade the roof there faster than it will in other areas that don’t get as much heat from the sun. Once you start to notice shingles buckling, there is not much you can do about it–you will have maybe one to to years of life left, and the other shingles won’t be too far behind it.

 

Remember, patching your roof will only work in certain situations. It will only temporarily solve the problem when the leaks are very small, or there is wind damage to your roof. However, if the roofing material itself is deteriorating, then you can only expect the problem to get worse with time, and the longer you wait, the more it will cost you. The cost of roofing, both in terms of material and labor, won’t be going down anytime soon, so a patch will only prolong the inevitable replacement.

When it comes to roof repair or replacement, choosing the right company from the get-go can save a lot of money and stress in the long run. It may be tempting to go with a roofer based on price alone, but this could end up costing you.

 

A legitimate reason company should be willing and able to provide:

  • Local references from previous customers
  • A business license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Written manufacturer warranties

 

When choosing a roofer for your project you need to be sure you are dealing with only licensed and insured contractors. Verify the track record of anyone you are considering hiring. Ask for a list of recent customers and call them. If they are not willing to provide references, move onto another company.

 

Start by getting recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers or insurance agents or claims adjusters. Be sure to check with your local Better Business Bureau and Home Builders Association to see if any complaints have been lodged against any contractor you are considering.

 

Do not be in any hurry to sign a contract with any roofer. Quality roofing companies will not push you to make a decision, and will understand and respect the fact that you are shopping around.

 

Before allowing any company to provide you with an estimate, make sure there is no charge for this service. Be sure to get a written estimate that includes any promises the contractor has made to you verbally. Take the time to go over the contract and ask for explanations of everything, before you sign it. If possible, have someone who is knowledgeable, or an attorney review the contract to be sure everything is legally solid before you sign it yourself. Make sure you have a copy of the final, signed, contract before you allow any work to begin on your home. Keep copies of the documents and any receipts.

 

What to Avoid

 

Avoid working with contractors that ask for you to pay for the entire cost of the job upfront. This is a sign of trouble, as the contractor would have all of your money, and could easily refuse to work the job. However, it is important to remember that companies will typically ask for a deposit equal to ⅓ of the total cost of the job before starting on the project.

 

When you pay for the work, do not pay cash. Use a credit or debit card, so you have a paper trail and adequate proof of payment, should there be an issue. When it comes time to pay the final amount due on your account, do so only when you are fully satisfied with the work, again paying with a credit card or debit card rather than cash. This protects both you and the contractor.

 

Good contractors will not encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs, and will want you to spend the money on a permanent repair, rather than limping you along. If you suspect your contractor is suggesting too much on temporary repairs, it may be time to get a second opinion.