Frequently Asked Roofing Questions

WHAT THE COST TO REPLACE A ROOF?

The cost to replace a roof varies widely, depending on such things as the materials selected, contractor doing the work, home or building, location of the home or building, local labor rates and time of year. To get a good idea of price for your roof system, get three proposals from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship.

For each roofing material, there are different grades and corresponding prices. There also are a variety of styles and shapes. You need to look at the full product range and make a choice based on your budget and needs. Within the roofing profession, there are different levels of expertise and craftsmanship. Insist on a contractor who is committed to quality work.

HOW LONG CAN I EXPECT MY ROOF SYSTEM TO LAST?

Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer. Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.

Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.

CAN I DO THE WORK MYSELF?

Most work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through the roof.

Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. If you must inspect your roof system yourself, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber-soled shoes and stay on the ladder (and off the roof system), if possible.

MY ROOF LEAKS. DO I NEED TO HAVE IT REPLACED COMPLETELY?

Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that have come loose or a section of the roof system being damaged. A complete roof system failure, however, generally is irreversible and a result of improper installation or choice of materials or the roof system installation is inappropriate for the home or building.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS IF I DECIDE TO REROOF?

You have two basic options: You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system. If you’ve already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, check with a professional roofing contractor. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary.

HOW CAN A HOME OWNER RECOGNIZE WHEN A ROOF SYSTEM HAS PROBLEMS?

All too often, roof system problems are discovered after leaking or other serious damage occurs. Periodic (twice-a-year) inspections often can uncover cracked, warped or missing shingles; loose seams and deteriorated flashings; excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts; and other visible signs of roof system problems. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.

ARE YOU LICENSED?

Yes we are licensed, bonded and insured and will provide proof. Many states require a roofer be licensed in the state; however, all states are different. This means one code may be required in Boston while another may be required in New York. So what’s a homeowner to do? Research the code requirements in your area. If contractors, including roofers, are required to be licensed in your state, only work with those who are so you have some recourse in case things go wrong. Be sure the license is up to date.

DO YOU HAVE WORKMAN’S COMP INSURANCE?

Yes we carry workman’s comp insurance! At one time employers with three or fewer employees didn’t have to offer workman’s compensation insurance; now they do by law. Still, some contractors and roofers will skimp out on this requirement. The reason? Insurance isn’t cheap, and some would rather take their chances. The problem, of course, is when the chance is taken on your property and an employee becomes injured. If you hire a company that doesn’t offer employees workman’s compensation and someone gets injured on your property, you might find yourself forking over thousands of dollars to pay for medical bills. This is a loss no homeowner wants to incur. To protect yourself, make sure the company you hire insures each worker that will be present on your property

DO YOU CARRY GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE?

Yes we carry a 2 million general liability insurance! Workman’s compensation covers the employees on your property; general liability insurance covers your actual property. For example, if a contractor accidentally burns your house down in the process of welding something on your roof (it has happened!) and the company doesn’t carry liability insurance, you could be responsible for covering the debts incurred by this tragic accident. When it comes to insurance, though, don’t simply take the roofer’s word for it. Ask to see an insurance certificate. This certificate will list your name and address as an additional insured, so if something happens on the job, you –and all of your hard-earned property – are covered. If you still feel hesitant, call the insurance company and ask.

WILL YOU REMOVE MY OLD ROOF?

Yes! Some roofers will claim to save time and money by inspecting, with their eyes, the old roof, and then, if all looks well, shingling over it. However, unless the old shingles are pulled up you will never know if you have soft spots or rotten wood beneath the current shingles. If bad spots remain behind, you will have larger, costlier problems in the future. Don’t let a roofer place a new roof on your house until they have taken up the old roof.

ARE YOU GOING TO INSTALL DRIP EDGE OR EDGE METAL WHEN YOU INSTALL THE NEW ROOF?

Yes! Drip edge or edge metal is a small piece of aluminum placed under the shingle where it comes off of the roof. This piece of metal extends past the roof and allows runoff to flow into, rather than behind, the gutters, protecting the fascia and wood on your roof. If a drip edge or edge metal is not installed, you will incur problems associated with water damage. However, unless you specifically ask about drip edge prior to the job, some roofers will skip over this part of the process. For this reason, it is essential you ask about drip edge prior to hiring a roofing company

WILL YOU USE LADDER STABILIZERS OR STANDOFFS TO PROTECT MY GUTTERS WHEN YOU INSTALL MY ROOF?

Yes! You may not think about it as you contemplate your new roof, but the method the company uses to get onto the roof is almost as important as the type of roof you choose. Ladder stabilizers and/or standoffs should be used in every roofing job. Stabilizers are like big arms that rest on the roof or on the side of the roof. This keeps the weight of the extension ladder, which can weigh a few hundred pounds, off of your gutters. Without some type of standoff or stabilizer, you might end up with a great roof but a torn up, broken apart guttering system around your house at the end of the job. If the company you’re considering for the roofing job answers no to this question, you need to ask what they will do to ensure your gutter system will remain intact and unharmed during the project; if they can’t answer this question, don’t trust them to complete your roof.

DO YOU BRING A CONTAINER FOR REFUSE MATERIAL?

Yes! Refuse from the old roof, such as shingles, will need to be placed somewhere as it comes down. The company you hire should bring a container to the job site to contain the refuse. You should not be required to supply this container, nor should you have to deal with the refuse once the job is completed.

WHERE WILL YOU PLACE THE CONTAINER FOR THE REFUSE?

Depends upon your property situation, but . . .Asphalt driveways can crack under extreme pressure. If the company places the container on your driveway, you may wind up with a lot more to fix when the job is over. For this reason, it’s important to ask where the container will be placed, and then question the answer. If in the driveway, what are the provisions in case the driveway cracks? If not in the driveway, then where will the container be placed?

WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE CASE OF INCLIMATE WEATHER DURING THE JOB?

We will cover the job project in tarpaulins or plastic cover. Let’s face it: the weather guy is not always right. This isn’t too bad when you’re stuck in the office all day, but when someone is removing and replacing your roof it can be a major problem. If the prettiest of days turns into a rain storm, what will the roofing company do to protect the interior of your home? Make sure your roofer has a plan for this. Your roof should be covered in some type of plastic sheeting or tarpaulin to ensure it, and everything beneath it, remains dry. Also ask what the plan is if the rainy days extend for a while. Will the company come back to ensure the covering is keeping the home dry? If there is a storm with high winds, will someone be available to come out and secure the covering if it appears to not be holding?

DO YOU HAVE A LOCAL PHONE NUMBER AND ADDRESS?

Yes we have been in business serving Long Island, NY for over 20 years. If you choose to deal with a company not local to your area, you may not be able to get the company back to fix any potential problems in the future.

DO YOU PROVIDE A WRITTEN ESTIMATE?

Yes! Settling into a contract without a detailed estimate can cause problems in the long run. Be sure, before signing a contract, you have a detailed estimate for the job. Include the cost of removing the old roof, adding the new roof, and anything that could come up in the process, such as rotten plywood that needs to be replaced.

IS THERE GOING TO BE SOMEONE ON SITE WITH WHOM I CAN COMMUNICATE?

Yes! While we always hope home renovation projects run smoothly, experience – and shows like Holmes on Holmes – prove they don’t. If you return home after a long day at work to find your roof is as open as a convertible and the company is ready to leave for the night, you want to know there is a project manager on site with whom you can communicate your concerns. While some companies will tell you during the sale that you’ll have someone on site managing the job, you might find when the crew shows up in the morning no one is sure who that project manager is. Find out before you leave for the day. If you still don’t know, call the company and ask. And if no one can answer, send the crew away until they can. A reputable roofing company will have someone on site throughout the project to answer questions and address concerns.

WILL YOU PROTECT MY LANDSCAPING DURING THIS PROJECT?

Yes, we make sure placement of equipment, traffic patterns to avoid trampling the bushes, etc. Too often, homeowners think about what’s going on top of the roof and forget about what surrounds the house. This includes the gutters, which we talked about earlier, but also the landscaping. If you spend hundreds – or thousands – of dollars planting trees, shrubs and flowers, you don’t want to come home to a new roof but a torn up lawn. Before you hire a company, ask specifically what they will do to protect your landscaping. Where will the ladders go? Where will the old shingles and potentially rotten plywood be dropped or tossed so that it doesn’t affect the bushes and flowers that surround your house? If an accident does occur and an employee from the company tromps through your rose garden, what will the company do to fix the damage?

WHAT IS THE COST OF PLYWOOD SHOULD YOU FIND ROTTEN ROOF OR SOFT ROOF DECKING?

We will inform you a dollar amount per plywood sheet. Unscrupulous roofers might skip over this information as you head into an agreement. Once the roof is up, it’s tough for you to dispute an overinflated cost for plywood sheeting to fix what was rotten underneath. For this reason, you need to ask how much it will cost per plywood sheeting should the roofer find rotten or soft pieces that need to be replaced. This will leave you with no surprises during the job, and it will allow you to compare one roofer’s estimate to another’s.

WARRANTY VS GUARANTEE

Products vs. Services

Product (Manufacturer) Warranty vs. Services (Contractor) Warranty can be confusing. The purchase of a new roof system for a home is a significant expense. It involves purchasing a combination of products and services. It is very important that the homeowner understands the role of the roofing contractor and the role of the manufacturer.

The Contractor: Reputation and Price

In the matter of services or workmanship, the signed agreement between the homeowner and the contractor generally includes a written warranty on workmanship. While the length of warranties may vary, a good contractor will stand behind his work because he cares about his reputation and the homeowner’s potential as a referral for other work. Clearly, the terms of the agreement and the good reputation of the contractor are the most reliable assurances of satisfactory workmanship. In addition to the warranty, price is always a central concern. Price is not a measure of experience, reliability, competence, honesty or stability. Price is a measure of the cost of the project. Some low prices are bargains. Some low prices are invitations to a bad dream.

Also remember to judge a price based on the total services a contractor will provide. Only after you understand these considerations should you think about the price.

The Manufacturer: Warranties

Unlike the workmanship warranty, which is generally negotiated in the job agreement, the product warranty is set in concrete by the manufacturer. It is limited. It is fixed. It is rigid. It cannot be altered by actions of the homeowner or the contractor. It is the responsibility of the contractor and the homeowner to read and comprehend all of the terms and conditions of the warranty.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONTRACTOR ROOF WARRANTY AND A MANUFACTURER ROOF WARRANTY?

This one is pretty straight forward. One comes from the roofing company that installed the roof and one comes from the manufacturer of the roofing material.

Manufacturer warranties vary and some cover only the material while others cover the entire system. Most manufacturer warranties also require the contractor to perform warranted repairs for the first few years after the install.

Contractor roof warranties typically do not cover materials and only cover workmanship.

MATERIAL-ONLY WARRANTY VS. LABOR-ONLY WARRANTY VS. SYSTEM (LABOR AND MATERIAL) WARRANTY

  • A roofing material only warranty usually has a lower cost than a full system warranty but only covers manufacturing defects and premature deterioration for the length of the warranty. Material only warranties only cover the roof membrane and do not cover other accessories such as flashings, adhesives, metal edge, etc.
    This type of warranty would only cover the cost of materials to repair or offer a credit toward the purchase of new membrane. These warranties in no way cover or include any labor or coverage for installation errors. Material only warranties also do not provide coverage for leak repair costs.
  • A labor-only warranty covers only the labor required to address a roof defect and does not cover the cost of materials. These types of warranties are usually offered by the roof installer. Note that this type of warranty is not a roof workmanship warranty and may not cover repairs for installation errors.
  • A full system warranty will typically cover not only the material, but also manufacturer approved flashings, accessories and metal work utilized in the original installation. These types of warranties will typically cover full cost, labor included, for any leak repairs within the warranty terms and conditions. I’ll go into more detail below on what is and isn’t covered under this type of warranty. Again this type of warranty may not cover installation errors.

LABOR WARRANTY VS. ROOF WORKMANSHIP WARRANTY

These two types of warranties are often confused so let’s clear up what the difference is.

Labor warranties typically cover the costs related to repairing a defective roof within the limits of the roof system coverage. Most full system warranties include labor. This type of warranty however does not cover the cost of repairs associated with installation failures. That is why the most important aspect of your roof system is a good installation!

Not much can protect you against installation defects apart from a roof workmanship warranty from the installer. Also keep in mind that a warranty is only as good as the company backing it. Make sure you have a professional, long-standing roofing contractor install your roof!

A roof workmanship warranty will cover you against costs related to actual installation failures and errors which a labor-only warranty may not cover.

How can I determine if my roof needs to be repaired or replaced?

Roof repairs can be carried out during the average 20 year lifespan but when roofing can no longer be protected from water infiltration despite regular maintenance, roof replacement may be required. Check for cracked or missing shingles and damaged flashings and contact a Conlon Exteriors Inc for a licensed roof inspection.

My roof leaks. Do I need to replace it immediately?

If a roof leak is the result of a minor damage, roof repair may be all that is required. Conlon Exteriors Inc technicians are trained to promptly identify the source of roof leaks and provide practical repair solutions that extend roof lifespan whenever possible.

How long do new roofs last?

The average life span of a roof is about 20 years with regular maintenance.  Certain types of roofing can last 30 years or longer including cement fiber, tile, slate and copper.

I received quotes for several different roof prices, how do I know which one to choose?

Roof quotes may vary due to lack of insurance, the use of subcontractors, or limited experience. Property owners are advised to carefully research a roof contractor’s credentials since lower quotes may indicate substandard work.

What is the industry standard for warranties?

Manufacturer warranties are regulated by industry standards and cover defects in roofing materials only; while warranties for labor are offered by roofing contractors and vary widely depending on the contractor.

Can roofing be installed or repaired during winter?

There are no standard temperature guidelines for installing asphalt roof shingles although certain, materials can become brittle during colder months. An experienced roofing contractor will store materials properly and work with one bundle at a time. Conlon Exteriors Inc offers qualified roof installation and repair at any time for the year.

What is the best asphalt shingle to use on my roof?

Asphalt shingles must be in compliance with standards and applicable building codes. The performance of asphalt shingles also depends on their compatibility with surrounding roof components in addition to quality.

When should a shingle underlayment be used?

The use of an underlayment protects shingles and decking from wood resins and water penetration and increases fire resistance.  Many manufacturer warranties also require the use of an underlayment.

My contractor wants to use staples instead of nails to install my roof. Is that OK? 

Conlon Exteriors Inc uses industry recommended galvanized steel or corrosion resistant nails for all asphalt installations according to building code requirements and manufacturer recommendations.

What is the best roofing system for a flat roof?

The best roofing system is dependent on detailed workmanship and the quality of materials rather than a specific system only. Conlon Exteriors Inc provides a range of roof installation options to assist customers with making practical decisions based on their specific needs.

How can ice dams be reduced or removed?

Using an ice pick or shovel should not be used to remove ice dams because of the risk of roof damage.  Remove as much snow as possible and contact a licensed roofing contractor for assistance. 

How do I get rid of moss or algae on a roof?

A mild detergent or solution of bleach and water should be applied by hand using a sponge and then rinsed thoroughly. Power washing and scrubbing is not recommended.

Can hail damage my roof?

Hail can cause damage to shingles and in more severe cases expose felt matting. Contact Conlon Exteriors Inc for an evaluation following a hail storm or any other extreme weather event.

Are asphalt shingles environmentally friendly?

Asphalt shingles are available in fiberglass or organic format. Organic shingles are saturated with asphalt for waterproofing and are less environmentally friendly due to a high asphalt content compared to fiberglass or composite shingles.

Can I paint my roof?

Yes. Certain latex premium quality paints can extend roof lifespan. Contact a Conlon Exteriors Inc roof maintenance specialist for more information.

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