The cost of replacing a roof is prohibitive to many business and homeowners who feel like they simply can’t afford it. So, they continue repairing the roof in an effort to extend its life for as long as they can. The problem with that scenario is that when the roof finally fails, the damage caused is much more extensive and expensive to repair than the roof would have been to replace. Fortunately, there are roofing materials available that fit nearly every budget. Here is a guide to four of the most popular roofing choices, as well as tips on choosing the right roofing contractor and maintaining the new roof.
A popular style of roofing material because it is reasonably priced and durable, composite sheet roofing material can sometimes be nailed over existing roofing materials. It is relatively easy to install and comes in a wide variety of colour choices and types.
A word of warning, however. The level of quality can vary considerably within the composite sheet market, and that can make the difference between a 10-year roof and a 50-year roof. So, do your due diligence and research brands and options before you buy. You don’t want to end up with a roof that’s shedding grains within a year of being laid.
Created to be applied in only one layer, single ply roofing is particularly durable, flexible and UV radiation resistant. The material is available in two primary categories: thermoplastics and thermosets. The most popular type of single ply roofing material is ethylene propylene Diene monomer or EPDM. It is a type of exceptionally durable synthetic rubber and is one of the least expensive of the single ply roofing options. In fact, the durability and reasonable price of single ply roofs in general have made it the industry’s fastest growing roofing material choice.
Single ply roofing systems are easier to install than some others because they are manufactured in sheet rolls that can be fastened to the roof mechanically. So, that means the installation time can be less when choosing single ply over other roofing options.
Slate roofing material is beautiful, adding a stunning aesthetic to a home or small business. However, it is more expensive than many other roofing material options, so if your budget is tight, slate is not your best choice. However, slate does offer more than beauty. It can last 100 or more years, requires little maintenance, and is invulnerable to pests and rot.
Slate is heavier than some other roofing options, so it may require roof reinforcements before being laid. It’s also a bit more challenging to walk on than other options, so tasks that you would otherwise be able to do on your own (gutter cleaning, etc.) may require a professional.
Just as composite roofing comes in a variety of colours, so does concrete roofing material. Concrete can even be manufactured to look like wood, except concrete is much more durable, and fire-resistant than wood is as a roofing option. Concrete is a mid-priced roofing material and can be made to mimic the appearance of the more expensive slate roofing material. It is also lighter than slate, so you can avoid the issue of having to reinforce the roof.
Since there are so many varieties available, the quality of the product can vary. The difference is usually in the type of additives that are combined with the concrete. However, concrete typically has a long lifespan (50 years), provides excellent fire protection, and resist insects and rot.
Choosing a Roofing Contractor
The contractor a home or business owner chooses to replace the roof is just as important as the decision he makes regarding what type of roof to have installed. So, there are many important factors to consider when choosing a contractor. For example, are they insured and licensed? Don’t just ask the questions either. Ask for proof.
Do the same thing with references. Ask for a list of recent, local references, and then follow through with a telephone call.
Also, find out the length of time the company has been in business, as well as the number of years the employees who will be replacing your roof have been employed with them. In addition, make sure that the roofing company has an actual established location. Many fly-by-night operations work out of their trucks or vans, making contact difficult should a problem arise.
Once you finalise your choice of contractor, don’t agree to anything unless it is in writing. Require that the contract includes stipulations on payments and when they are due. Never agree to pay the full cost for the project up front. Make sure the contract is detailed and, if it is confusing to you, have it reviewed by an attorney or qualified business associate before you sign it.
Also, just as with a written contract, never accept a verbal guarantee or warranty. Require any promises in writing before agreeing to the work.
Protect Your Investment
Once you have your new roof installed, it is incumbent on you to protect your investment. That means ongoing preventive maintenance and regular visual inspections, especially in inclement weather. Since the winter is nearly here, it’s prudent to ensure that your home or business roof is cold weather ready. Here are a few steps to take that can help you avoid potential property damage.
- Evaluate the integrity of your roof flashing
- Trim back all overhanging tree branches, so they don’t damage the roof should they fall
- Check sloped roofs for missing shingles or tiles
- Inspect flat roofs for missing gravel and surface bubbles
- Clean all debris from gutters and monitor regularly for build up
Some of what needs to be done will not require a professional. However, if the roof will need to be repaired, don’t take the task on yourself. Hire a professional. Many roofing companies offer free estimates, and you will get more information about the work that needs to be done than you’d likely get on your own.
It can be expensive to re-roof a home or business. However, by choosing the right roofing material and contractor and maintaining the new roof once it’s installed, a home or business owner can literally add years to the life of his new roof.