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F.A.Q.

What will a new roof system cost?
The price of a new roof system 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 or four 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 can I determine my annual roofing cost?
When considering your roofing options, the following formula may help:

Total Cost (Materials and Labor) รท Life Expectancy of Roof System (in years) = Annual Roofing Cost

I received three significantly different proposals from contractors. How should I decide which contractor to select?
Clearly written proposals that are detailed and broken down into separate line items are a good sign that the contractor is being thorough and has prepared an accurate estimate. The following is a partial list of items your estimate or proposal should include:
The type of roof covering, manufacturer and color
Materials to be included in the work, e.g., underlayment, ice dam protection membrane
Scope of work to be done
Removal or replacement of existing roof
Flashing work, e.g., existing flashings to be replaced or re-used, adding new flashing, flashing metal type
Ventilation work, e.g., adding new vents
Who is responsible for repairing/replacing exterior landscape or interior finishes that are damaged during the course of the work
Installation method
Approximate starting and completion dates
Payment procedures
Length of warranty and what is covered, e.g., workmanship, water leakage
Also, be sure to read the recommendations listed in Buying a new roof and getting your money’s worth and Selecting An NRCA Professional Roofing Contractor (Steep-slope Residential) for more information.
I received several estimates to replace my asphalt shingle roof system and the prices vary greatly.
If one estimate seems much lower than the others and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many fly-by-night contractors’ below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work. If an estimate is confusing, ask the contractor to break down the estimate into items/terms you can understand.
My contractor is offering a one-year warranty on my asphalt shingle roof system-is that the industry standard?
Before answering the question, a clarification needs to be made about the different warranties you will come across during your roofing project. First, there will be the asphalt shingle manufacturer’s warranty. In general, this warranty covers defects in the manufacture of the shingle. The period of coverage can range from 20 years to a lifetime. Please read NRCA’s consumer advisory bulletin addressing roofing warranties for more information. Once the project is complete, be sure the contractor provides you with a certificate for your records.

Second, the roofing contractor will provide you with a warranty on his workmanship. Typically, this will cover installation and related issues. The warranty should contain what items are covered and what will void them. Many contractors offer one year or two years of coverage; however, there is no industry standard.

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 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.

My house has a flat roof. What is the best roof system for a flat roof?
There is no one roof system that is best for all applications. Keep in mind that even if you are using the best materials, your roof system still can be installed improperly and you could end up with a leaky roof. Good workmanship and proper attention to detail (e.g., flashing and drainage issues) are just as important as material selection. Also, maintenance plays an important role in roof system integrity and service life.
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.
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.
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.