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Old 11-04-2009, 11:12 AM   #1
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House and detached garage need new roofs looking for tips and advice

Hi, I'm a homeowner and my insurance company has given me a starter check ($10,000 will be given for the complete job) for new roofs for my home and detached garage that's downtown, hail damage and old age. I'm doing research on roofing and roofer options.
I'm looking for any tips or advice and have some questions below that come to mind.

My insurance agent said they may have underestimated the size of the house roof because she couldn't walk it all, too step and also said code may require more expensive roofing (modified bitumen) on the garage than what she estimated. My insurance allows me 1 year to reroof.
My neighbor knows a roofer that she says did her roof and she highly recommends them.
I guess I'll check with the BBB and also get a few estimates before I choose a roofer.

I know to require the old roof to come off as there are spots where an old roof is under the existing one and the current house roof was a poor installation where some of the shingles were stapled, not nailed etc.
I know to require nails instead of staples. I've been to consumer reports and they found roof price does not dictate quality in their tests. They highly recommend laminated shingles Owens Corning Oakridge or CertainTeed Landmark for their low price and long wear and strength.
They did not discuss flat roofs though.

I'm guessing the insurance company probably underestimated the costs and hopefully the roofer can work with them to get more money. I guess I may have to pay some of it myself for the level of roofing job I want.

General Q's
1. How should I choose/what should I look for in selecting a roofer and what precautions should be followed?

My home:
Is circa 1900, 2 story, the upstairs has some dormer windows, it's the 3 tab asphalt shingles, about 2500 square feet size home. The roof is very steep.
The chimneys need repointing and are missing some bricks that I have. There is a evaporative cooler. The gutters are garbage, need replacing. I believe the roof under decking is all good, it's 3/4 inch solid wood and the gapping is 1/4 inch and less.

Home Q's
1. Insulation on the roof, is there a radiant heat barrier that should be installed under the roofing?
2. Is there a better way to channel the roof valleys and ridges I should insist on?
3. What's the best roof color, I suppose a light color or silver or white, to reflect the sun and for longevity or does it matter much?
4. Is there a better way of flashing the chimneys I should insist on?
5. Is the roof underlayment gap of 1/4" and under a problem-too wide?
6. Is there a roof coating that should be applied to the new roof to extend it's life?
7. Is there any underlayment sheeting I should insist on?
8. Is there flashing on the roof edges I should insist on?

The garage:
The detached garage is a flat roof, with a slight pitch to the center so the water runs down the center out the back in the alley, there is no gutter. It's basically the size of a 2 car garage, but it's a single garage with a work shop area.
The roof is rolled asphalt and the walls are stucco, the ceiling joists are 8 inch, 16 inch on center and there is a large center beam. The exterior walls are taller than the flat roof, in an art deco fashion where the corners are the tallest (maybe 15" inches taller). The interior walls are unfinished.
Some of the roof sheet decking is bad and the exterior walls top may be too.

Garage Q's
1. Insulation, I really think thick insulation sheeting should be applied under the roofing, I've seen this done on a flat business roof, any tips?
2. I want to be able to talk on the roof as a patio with the addition of stairs on the outside of the garage, what type of roofing is best considering price and longevity?
3. Should I install a wood deck maybe with perimeter hand rails over the new roofing if using as a patio?
4. Is there an exterior edge flashing I should insist on?
5. Is there a roof coating that should be applied to the new roof to extend it's life?
6. Is there a better way to channel the roof valley I should insist on?
7. Is there any underlayment sheeting I should insist on?

Thank-you for any advice.

Jim in Colorado Springs Colorado
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House and detached garage need new roofs  looking for tips and advice-img00300.jpg  


Last edited by jimtmcdaniels; 11-04-2009 at 11:13 AM. Reason: pasted info twice
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:42 AM   #2
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Location: Central Alberta, Canada
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Morning Jim, All of your questions will be answered if you hire the right roofing contractor. If he can't answer them don't hire him. Your insurance company will also have a list of companies that they use as well. Have a great day and happy contractor hunting.


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Old 11-05-2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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As you have done, talk to friends and neighbors and find a good roofer that they recommend.
Meet with the roofer and present your questions to them. If they provide answers or offer to research your questions and get back to you.Then you will get a good feel for how knowledgeable and helpful they are.
Every climate and location has different requirements. What may be ideal for Minnesota, is not proper for Florida. So your best option is to begin by interviewing local roofing contractors. Don't ask everyone in town for a quote, choose one or two that you feel comfortable and confident in working with.
"It looked good on paper, but paper is funny that way"

Time to Get Up Out of Your Chair and Do it Yourself!
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
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Jim, where are you located? I may be able to refer you to some reputable contractors in or near your location. Also, your roof is not that steep. It looks to be a 8/12 pitch. I would suggest calling your insurance company and finding someone who can actually walk the roof so they can properly price it for you. A reputable contractor will most likely cost you more than insurance is willing to pay. This is usually because those guys do better quality work so their employees make more money. This will be the contractor that also addresses all of those questions for you.

A suggestion, very few homeowners know how to properly locate a contractor. Looking at BBB is one resource but is not one that should be trusted. Someone being accredited only means that they pay their yearly fee. It has nothing else other than that to do with it. Also, our company has a report on there from a customer who we never worked for and have proof to show but yet they do not remove the complaint. You want to check if the roofer is involved with memberships to NCRA or NARI. In order to join these, they need to pass a certain set of standards. If you call your neighbors roofer, ask him for a list of addressed of recent homes he completed and also a list of older homes and go look at them. Do not pick more than 3 roofers to give you estimates otherwise you will most likely only confuse yourself. I will try to locate the list of what to look for and post it for you.
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