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Old 05-24-2009, 02:04 PM   #1
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


I'm buying a house soon that's in need of a new roof. Originally I was going to handle it, but since the owners pushed closing by a month they agreed to split the cost of it. So it will be done while they are still there, but a contractor that put the roof on their addition.

I plan to talk to the contractor directly for the estimate and what he plans to do. So my question is, what should I expect to be done? ?

-Removal and disposal of old roof.
-New felt.
-Metal edges.
-Ridge cap?
-........?????

There is a 2nd story roof is the main concern. But there is a several smaller 1st floor roof over additions. I'm not sure if they will be doing the 1st floor too, but I will find out. If not, I guess it would make sense to just have him do it?

Any other other stuff should I think about having him do while his already there? (stuff I'll probably have to pay for). Possibly a roof vent or two?

I don't have any specifics because I just found out on Friday.

Thanks.

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Old 05-24-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


Roof ventilation is part of the roofing system.Any contractor that does not write this in the contract,I would avoid.Most importantly do your homework on who to hire.Visit a jobsite in progress,talk to some of their customers from 5 or 6 years ago.Get lots of references,check to make sure they have valid insurance and workers comp.I would also talk to their supplier(s) to make sure they are in good standing.

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Old 05-24-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


Hi HautingLu,

I wonder why the seller would use his contractor. There are certain factors I am looking for, since I'm replacing my roof: Contractors might just be hiring a roofing company and charging seller and you an expensive overhead. Sometimes the overhead runs 30 to 40% over the fees of a good roofing company. It just doesn't sound like a good deal to you. Tell the seller you agree to the terms of splitting the cost if the company hired is a true roofing company, their carpenters should be experienced in working with frames, heights, angled measurements, and so forth. Not every carpenter is adept with this kind of labor. That's why contractors just hire a roofing company, under the condition that the roofing company's name stay anonymous. Then the "WARRANTY" goes out the window too.

Secondly, a roof replacement should include the entire roof (measured in squares) and you ought to have access to the attics to form a good idea of the shape of each individual frame. It's easy to say "we're replacing the shingles for you" but it's not as easy as ABC. If there's a problem with the current roof, like longevity, you should be able to updgrade the roof to a material that will outlast you (standing seam, for example). From your description, on the other hand, it sounds like the seller is being very arbitrary with him choosing materials/color, when the seller is not even going to live there any longer.

So here are a few considerations for the most important structure of your new home:

• make sure the company hired to do the job is an expert roofing company, check their website, their warranties, their insurances they will carry while doing the job, and their experience with different materials. Check their references. Also look for someone who's willing to give you advice. Only hire experts. If the seller claims that he is hiring a roofing company, don't hesitate to check references. Show them you're on top of things, not just a passive buyer.

• don't change some areas but not others. The problem I have with this is that roof does age, and in a few years (I mean 2 or 3) you might be forced to change the rest out of your own pocket. That's not a deal, that's the seller's poor incentive.

• changing a roof means adequately fixing the underlayment, and this includes old rafters, a bad fascia board, improper flashing, old vents. If I were you, I'd get an expert roof inspector (out of your own pocket) to assess the damages and needs. I know it's a far cry from having the property inspector, then splurging on a new inspection. You won't be sorry if you hire a roof inspector.

• Demand the work be done "Up to code" and that the roofing company should be in charge of getting city permits. One main problem I have with contractors (as opposed to roofers) is that they patch things up and don't go out of their way to do things up to code. If you demand the roofers hired to get the city permits, they will have no recourse than to do things up to code, since the city comes to inspect things.

• Another pet peeve: You should be able to get several bids and discuss issues with several roofing companies. No one changing the roof goes with the first "storm chaser" that comes their way. If you read the pages over at the National Roofing Contractors of America, you will find that on top of their list is that homeowners should do the leg work in finding the best company. You need to hire one that will be there in case there's a problem 5 years from now. Here are some tips for your leg work:

- take a look at the street where your new home is located and assess the roofing jobs all around you. On my street, there are roughly 60 houses, it's only 3 blocks long. I can point out only 3 houses have an excellent roofing job, all the others are not that great. I bet that the reasons the other homes are not that great is because they were roofed by contractors, not by expert roofing companies. Age is a factor too, but 2 brand new homes do not have a good roof on them.

- read as much as you can here, on contractor's talk- the sister website, and the various possible credentials the roofers in your area might have (better business bureau, NRCA, homebuilders, etc) to check and see what sort of credentials they could have.

- Another place to do research: Your own insurance company of your new home. In Texas, insurance companies are now giving credit to roofs constructed with Florida codes: Class IV roofing (mostly metal). From this point, I went to explore sites of different metal companies and came across the UL site, that actually rates every single roofing material. Materials have been tested to withstand the types of natural elements we get in my region (tornadoes, hurricanes and fires).

• Another point to make is to openly discuss your concerns with the seller. Your concerns should include all the stuff that the inspector has found, besides the roof. If the inspector found Nothing, get a new inspection. Even newer homes have problems. Make sure things have been added on with respect to codes and if not, you should be aware of them.

As the new owner, you should be able to choose the roofing material you want and you should be able to hire experts to do the job. Discuss your concerns with your lender. They might not be crazy with the idea of splitting costs, claiming that the seller should foot the entire bill. Even so, you should choose materials and company.

Last edited by jpike3211; 05-24-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:39 PM   #4
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


Dang, looks like you guys go it covered pretty well. I was just thinking about the eves wondering what condition all of that was in.
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Old 05-24-2009, 11:00 PM   #5
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


I apologize for my previous long reply. It didn't quite answer your questions.

Yes, you do replace old felt. My insurance calls it the underlayment, and should be new whenever you dispose of an old roof.

Roofers should remove it and inspect the frame. In their proposal, they should include repairs of rafters and proper ventilation, which is a science. Proper ventilation has come a long way now. There is air intake and air exhaust. The real roofers explain this science in this forum and in the contractor's talk forum.

If you are able to choose materials, there are other considerations as well: A radiant barrier extends the life of your home/roof. They are relatively inexpensive, do-it-yourself, but it's always better if you consider it now and ask the professionals to install it. A good analogy is the extended visor in your car, it shields the sun away from it, like a reflector.

There are many types of vents, the plumbing vents can be made out of lead (long-lasting) or they can be PVC piping, and they are pretty ugly. If you notice any in the existing roof, find out if there's any rust on the caps, those should be replaced and installed with proper flashing.

Remember: Once the roof is replaced and you move in, you don't want to still have things you regret not having replaced, removed or repaired.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:46 AM   #6
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


A good roofer will be concerned with proper ventilation. Intake and exhaust. He also won't try to lay a crap shingle on you. Would recomend asking around who other people like and then get 3 to 4 estimates. I like certainteed landmark 30 ar shingles. Second place is Tamko heritage 30 ar 3rd place is Gaf timberline 30 ar.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:50 AM   #7
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


jpike - Thanks for the detailed reply

The situation is an interesting one, because technically I don't have to spend a dime. The owners have taken it upon themselves to do this (per the letter I received). I was aware the roof was going to be needed to be changed soon, but didn't put that in the offer.

Now they have decided to replace it and have asked for a contribution. Since I probably will contribute, I will want to have some say in it but picking the contractor may not be possible. Technically it's still their house....*sigh*

I don't doubt that they will do it correctly, but I was asking about vents and other stuff because (like I mentioned) it's a 100 yr old house that doesn't have any attic vents -- well at least I don't think so.

So when I would be talking to the contractor about the quote, contract, terms....I wanted to have a better handle of what to ask for.

Once I have a chance to talk to the contractor, I'll come back with in an update.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:58 AM   #8
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


Me, personally, don't feel comfortable with the arrangement. I'd rather get some quotes on a new roof, get the seller to knock some off the selling price and go from there, other wise it seems too many hands in the pot. You have the most to gain or lose, seller just wants out of there., and sorry I didn't answer any of your questions.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:53 AM   #9
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I concur. It seems far fetched that the seller's managing this and I empathize with your concerns.

It might be against the law (or your lender) to foot half the bill when you're not residing in that residence. Before contributing a dime, check with your lender.

By the way, nice to have such an old house. There might be lots of squeaks, but most of the materials will be top-notch and sometimes it's hard to match them.

Here's something for your consideration: If the seller insists on replacing the roof of the second story (but check with your lender), ask to upgrade this roof to a metal roof or to a Class IV roof. You can actually decide to pay for this upgrade.

If you and your lender agree on this, you will still have to replace the rest when the time comes, but if you replace the top roof with materials that are warranted for 80 years, you won't have to mess with that top roof again.

Discuss this possibility, because it would be a hard deal for you if 2 or 3 years from now you have to replace the rest of the roof, then 12 or 15 the top floor, and it will be so hard to match roofs consistently this way - unless in 3 years you plan to re-roof the whole house.

Metal is easier to match and if installed properly, it's maintenance free. So consider this as a good way to improve your investment, if you intend to "contribute."

Otherwise, I agree with Dude: Keep your wallet on a safe place.
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:30 PM   #10
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


The most important thing you should demand is to not add any layer on top of the existing roof, no matter what materials you guys choose. It's very important to make sure that the current roof be removed and disposed.

Willing to pay for an upgraded roof IS contributing to the roof (although not in the seller's perspective, but definitely in your lender's). There are many advantages to go with a standing seam roof:

- Not everyone can install one, so the seller's contractor might be out of the loop. This might be a positive thing in the long run for you, unless you discover that the seller's contractor is an expert roofer.

- metal is less weight than shingles. When re-roofing, take into consideration the foundation of the entire structure. Particularly with a second story.

- standing seam is beautiful now and there are no exposed nails. The roofer has to be qualified to adjust the intake and exhaust of air.

- upgrading to a Class IV will make you look good to your lender and your insurance and will be less of a hassle in the long term. Good manufacturers offer great warranties and now the government gives us a rebate, as an incentive to upgrade our dwellings to safer, greener materials. It's fire proof and if you need to change it, it's 100% recyclable.
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:45 PM   #11
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Getting a new roof........what to ask, what to look for?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jpike3211 View Post
The most important thing you should demand is to not add any layer on top of the existing roof, no matter what materials you guys choose. It's very important to make sure that the current roof be removed and disposed.

Willing to pay for an upgraded roof IS contributing to the roof (although not in the seller's perspective, but definitely in your lender's). There are many advantages to go with a standing seam roof:

- Not everyone can install one, so the seller's contractor might be out of the loop. This might be a positive thing in the long run for you, unless you discover that the seller's contractor is an expert roofer.

- metal is less weight than shingles. When re-roofing, take into consideration the foundation of the entire structure. Particularly with a second story.

- standing seam is beautiful now and there are no exposed nails. The roofer has to be qualified to adjust the intake and exhaust of air.

- upgrading to a Class IV will make you look good to your lender and your insurance and will be less of a hassle in the long term. Good manufacturers offer great warranties and now the government gives us a rebate, as an incentive to upgrade our dwellings to safer, greener materials. It's fire proof and if you need to change it, it's 100% recyclable.
Thanks again. A lot of what's been said here is common sense of course....shop around, competitive bidding, 30/50 yr shingles. These were all the things I was getting ready to do in a month or so. But now it's sort've out of my hands, but it doesn't necessarily mean thats a bad thing. One thing I forgot to mention is that there is already a 2nd layer roof. I don't think a 3rd layer is really an option........well maybe

Right now I'm comfortable going along and giving them the benefit of the doubt, but it won't be a blank check obviously. I'm going to ask for the quote/contract and go from there with the contractor. Possibly have him do some extra stuff like vents.

Like I said, I'm going to see this week what it all entails.


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