Winter is almost upon us and with it heavy rain, sleet and snow. If your roof is standing on its last shingles, now is not the time to be pushing its lifespan. If you do, you could find yourself with some cold leaks-or much worse-in the midst of a major storm. So if it’s time for a roof replacement, now is the ideal window of opportunity to be calling in the roofing experts.
The “Detroit Free Press” has some good news if you’re a homeowner who happens to need a new roof. The newspaper recently ran a reader write-in segment titled “Replacing the roof over your head? There are many attractive, long-lasting options.”
Janet H., a reader of the newspaper, wrote in with a dilemma. The regular asphalt shingles she had always had on her home never quite lasted as long as she’d hoped they would. Their 20-year lifespan just didn’t suit her and she wanted a longer-lasting roofing alternative, something other than metal.
The newspaper’s expert, James Dulley, came to Janet’s rescue with some recommendations. First, he pointed out, “There are quite a few roofing materials for you to discuss with your roofing contractor.” And arming yourself with a roofing contractor you can trust should always be the first step in any roof project.
Why is a consultation with an experienced roofer so important? As Dulley observes, “Even inexpensive asphalt shingles, which typically have a 20-year warranty minimum, should actually last longer than 20 years.” Hence, Janet wasn’t getting her money’s worth out of her previous roofs and might very well have saved herself a pretty penny if she’d had the roofing shingles installed by a trustworthy roofer in the first place.
After pointing this out to Janet, Dulley went on to caution her not to be so quick to rule out metal as her roofing material. “Metal is one of the best roofs, and it can last a lifetime.” He didn’t downplay the downside though. “Metal roofs are considerably more expensive to install than even architectural shingle roofs.”
So what if a homeowner like Janet just can’t justify the cost of a metal roof? Then slate, tile or plastic roofing materials are all viable, longer-lasting and more affordable options. Another attractive option according to Dulles is fiber-cement roofing. “Made from cement and fibers that are molded into the shapes of other common roofing styles, it lasts long, and since the pigments go through the material, it keeps its nice appearance,” he explains.
Whatever roofing material you ultimately decide upon, the key is to make sure that it is a high quality one. How can you ensure your roofer is using quality roofing materials? Check his or her warranty plus UL fire and wind resistance ratings. And keep in mind that not all shingles are the same. Make sure you and your roofing contractor choose a name you trust.
Finally, make sure you clearly understand the workmanship and manufacturer’s warranty. Are defective shingles replaced for prorated replacement cost, or original cost, with labor additional? You should also be very clear about whom to call with a problem.