Blog - Tips & Articles

Posted by Bothell Roofing on February 02, 2012
1. By far the most popular is composition shingles. They are called composition because they are composed of a fiberglass matt, covered with tar and various fillers , and the colored granules for appearance and to protect the shingle from ultra violet rays. It is the least expensive shingle and comes with manufacturers warranties of 20 years to limited lifetime. They come in many different styles and over 90% of the homes in the greater Seattle roofing area are composition.

2. Cedar shingle and cedar shake are Northwest roofing originals but over the last ten years they have steadily lost popularity because of a combination of cost, longevity of the roof ( generally 15 to 20 years ), maintenance requirements, fire hazard, and other reasons. The main reason people pick this option is they have CC & R’s that require it or they simply like how they look.

3. Low slope or flat roofs are all ‘membrane roofs’. They are called membrane roofs because all are tarred or glued together to make a solid one piece membrane that water can not enter as it becomes one continuous piece after application. With a few exceptions any roof with a slope of less the 2/12 ( which simply means less then a 2 “ drop in a 12” horizontal run ) require a membrane roof. The most popular membrane roofs are hot tar or torch down. A hot tar roof is composed of layers of tar separated by layers of different types of rolls of roofing material. The most popular type of membrane roofing is ‘torch down’ so called because the roofer uses a small ‘flame thrower’ to melt the bottom layer of tar as it is rolled out that tars the material to the roof. If this is the type of membrane roof you chose it is imperative that you have your roofer show you that he has liability insurance to cover this type of work as a number of insurance companies will not cover the roofer for this type of roofing due to the many fire claims it has caused. Also, if your roof allows standing water anywhere but in the gutters it generally does not carry any  warranty of the maker of the material. You may still have an application guarantee from the roofer. Other types of membrane roofs are PVC, Epdm, etc which are higher in both cost and longevity and should be considered before making your selection.

4. Metal roofs are a safe and efficient type of roofing with long life expectancies and comes in many different styles. They are much more expensive then any of the above types of roofing so be prepared for a much higher bid for metal roofs. In addition it is important the get and read the manufactures warranty on the material as it is not uncommon to get a 50 year warranty in the big print only to see it all disappear in the exceptions. Metal roofs can also be noisy in the rain depending on style and installation.

5. Tile roofs come in many types and styles. Standard tile weighs so much your house has to have special framing to take the weight. This can be avoided by using ‘light weight’ tile but light weight tile generally has a problem with cracking and leaking. Cracking of any type of tile is almost never covered under any warranty so it should be considered only if you never have to get on your roof for cleaning or maintenance which leaves most of us out unless you live in a desert.

6. Warranties and guarantees should come with each new roof. Warranties come from the manufacturer and have a specified number of years. It is important to understand most warranties are pro rated ( like tires ) and after a short time cover MATERIALS ONLY leaving the customer to pay for the tear off, dump fees, application costs and the percentage of the material not covered depending on its age. Put simply, if you install a 30 year roof which fails due to material problems you will be lucky to pay less then 85% of the bid cost. The second part of the new roof warranty is the roofers guarantee on his workmanship. Most states require a 1 year warranty which is not enough. Roughly 90% of all problems occur in the first year after application, assuming the roofer has followed all codes and manufacture’s specs. The next 2 years will account for the remaining 9.9% leaving only a small number of application problems to show up after year three. Thus as a minimum insist on at least a three year guarantee. If you plan on selling your home you need a five year guarantee as most banks require the roof to be guaranteed for 5 years before they will issue a mortgage.

7. How do I pick a good roofer? That is a very good question which does not have a simple answer and depends on how much time and effort you wish to spend. If you do not have lots of time to spare the following will generally separate the ‘sheep’ from the ‘goats’ . It is no guarantee of selecting a good roofer but it switches the odds in your favor.
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