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Your Roofing Buying Guide

While there are many types of home repairs and improvements that you can put off indefinitely. With that being said, one of the home improvements jobs that you cannot put off is a leaky roof.

Cracked or curled shingles – or missing shingles altogether – demand immediate attention from a homeowner. The reason why is because if you decide to neglect those repairs, they can lead to serious water damage that can have a massive impact on your home’s value and your bank account!

When it comes to purchasing new shingles, we at Colony Roofers know that one of the hardest things to do as a homeowner is to figure out what the very types of shingles are for a specific home.

How to know when it’s time to replace

When it comes to figuring out whether or not it is time to replace your home’s roofing, there are some great telltale signs that you can depend on. Let’s break them down together.

Water finds a way

Water marks on your ceiling, or dripping water (which is far worse), may rightfully have you worried that your roof is going to need a comprehensive repair. Do not worry, though! Just because you are seeing water does not necessarily mean that your entire roof is in disrepair.

Oftentimes, repairing that leak is as easy as filling a crack with caulk, replacing a number of shingles on your roof, or installing some flashing, which is a membrane of metal that provides a mechanical barrier to redirect water to corners, crevices, gaps, and other spots that are vulnerable to leaking.

When it comes to how damage occurs, fallen tree limbs, hail, even wind are common culprits. Flashing that is damaged is another common cause. Truth is, that walking on roofing of any kind can damage your roof. Even if you are simply up there to clean the gutters or install a new satellite dish or solar panels.

One of the very best was to figure out what kind of leak you have is to trace its origin.

While it is easiest to find a leak while it is raining, it is important to remember that a leak does not necessarily come out directly under where it has originated from. Typically, water will run down the length of a rafter or stud and only drips once it reaches a low point.

If you are unable to locate the leak yourself, a great way to figure out what is going on is to hire a roofing contractor who can perform an inspection and make recommendations about what kind of repair or replacement is needed.

Other signs to look out for

You really don’t have to wait for leaks to show up for you to consider making repairs to your roof. Missing, damaged, or curling shingles can all be good signs that a leak is taking place and that a repair is warranted.

In fact, the age of your roof can be a great sign. Homeowner’s insurance companies typically assume an asphalt shingle roof is going to last about 20 years. If your roof was put off by a previous owner, a roofing contractor or a licensed home inspector will be able to offer you a rough estimate of the age of your roof based on its condition and the condition of the shingles.

Even without leaks or obvious signs of damage to the roof, it can make sense to replace an out-of-warranty roof that is more than 20 years old. The reason for this is because once a leak develops, it has the potential to do serious damage to the wood sheathing beneath those shingles.

If the sheathing of that roof becomes warped or rotted, replacing it can add several thousand dollars to the overall cost of your repair job.

How to shop for a roof and a roofer

The very first step that you should take when you are thinking of having a new roof installed is to figure out what type of roofing you want or need. Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice because they are inexpensive, durable and easy to install.

With that being said, slate, tile and metal are also good options provided you plan on being in the home that you currently home for a long time. All three of those other options cost more than asphalt shingles, but last much longer. Believe it or not, in some cases, roofs can last as long as 100 years.

As you start learning about the different types of shingles and roofing, make sure to do some Internet snooping to see what experts are saying about the different options of roofing that are at your disposal.

When you have made a decision on what kind of roofing you will do, it is time to find licensed installers in your area. The way to get the very best way to get the best price for you is to contact at least three different companies or contractors and request bids.

On the other hand, if you have a specific roofer in mind that you want to work with, just make sure that he or she is licensed to install that product that you want by checking with the manufacturer.

How to compare costs

Costs for these types of big jobs can vary widely, even for the same job! That’s why it is very important for you to make sure that you are getting fair pricing. Keep in mind that roofing material is priced by the “square” which is a 10-foot-by-10-foot section, which is equal to 100 square feet.

For asphalt shingles, prices range from $65 per square for the basic 3-tab shingles and can go all the way up to $350 per square for multilayers architectural shingles.

While the cost of shingles are similar to one another no matter who installs them, other related costs for labor and materials are what you will want to look out for when comparing multiple bids.

The best way to judge pricing takes a couple steps that you will want to take:

  • Make sure that each bid you receive is not only for the same product, but also for the same exact service.
  • Ask for a breakdown of all of the costs that are involved – one price for shingles, one price for labor of removing the old ones and installing the news ones, as well as a contingency budget that outlines the costs if your roofer discovers the sheathing and roofing felt need to be replaced.
  • Beyond that, ask every roofer who you speak with for references and make sure that they offer a warranty for their work. However, keep in mind that it is pretty rare for roofers to offer that kind of coverage so do not consider that a deal-breaker if they do not.

Types of roofing

When it comes to choosing a type for roofing, there are simple things to look for such as longevity, how it looks or blends with other material, if it is a reasonable price, and if it is easy to install, which helps to avoid spending money on hiring workers to place it.

Some of the most popular roofing materials are slate, tile, and metal. Tile is a popular choice for places such as Florida and Southwest, as it can reflect the heat coming from the sun on hot summer days.

Slate is commonly found in houses that are in certain states and towns that have a Victorian aesthetic, such as the Northeast, which slate has the ability to give it that look and make everything unified.

Asphalt roofing shingles

This material is made of fiberglass between asphalt and ceramic granules. The strength of this type comes from the fiberglass, the asphalt helps to make it waterproof from the mixed minerals, and the ceramic protects it from the harmful UV lights while making it look great.

Asphalt roofing shingles is often the first choice for many houses as it is affordable, easy to install, and it is considered to be lighter than other types. They also provide an expensive look for the house, as it looks like they have been installed one at a time.

Faux slate roofing shingles

This type of roofing material is meant to look identical to the real type, the only difference is that it will cost you a lot less and it is plastic or rubber. It is also more slippery than real slate, which will require you to install snow guards if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, as it could slide off and fall on your car or on someone.

While real slate requires a professional mason to install it, faux slate can be installed by a lot of roofing contractors. Faux slate is not as durable as the real one, as it could crack or have a faded color throughout the years. Faux slate can last you a long time and will survive for 20-50 years.