3 Considerations Before Replacing Your Roof

3 Considerations Before Replacing Your Roof


If you spend more than once or twice a year thinking about your roof, you are not alone. However, the signs of water coming into a living area are enough to rev up your thinking process. It could be a minor leak that can be repaired quickly and inexpensively. More often, it usually points to a more serious problem. It could be that the roof was incorrectly installed (if it was fairly recent) or that it is has run its course and needs to be completely replaced. If you are currently in this situation where you need to understand more about your roof, this article will acquaint you with some of the considerations in replacing your roof.

1. Products

There are many types of roofing products in the marketplace for replacing a roof. However, we will concentrate our discussion here on composition roofing only because it is relatively inexpensive and lasts a long time on your roof. This type of roofing comes with manufacturers’ warranties of 30-50 years.

Composition roofing gets its name because it is manufactured from a composite or combination of materials. Composition roofing, which is also known as asphalt roofing, now ranks as the most common residential roofing material in North America.

Composition roofing products vary in quality and price. The ubiquitous standard asphalt shingles can produce a pleasant curb appeal. Heavier asphalt shingles do not necessarily perform better than lightweight products. It possibly just means there are more “filler” materials in it that can be good marketing but not necessarily long-lasting overall. 

Traditional composition roofing does not resemble tile or metal. However, newer products contain patterns that result in a three-dimensional appearance that is very attractive. Composition shingles come in a plethora of varying styles and colors. They perform well, especially given their affordable price.

2. Choosing a Contractor

Roofing installation can be complicated work and should only be carried out by a professional roofing contractor. When looking for a roofing contractor, you should look for a company that will do what they say, put everything in writing, and conducts the transaction in a business-like manner. With a big job ahead of you and a considerable investment, you obviously want to be very satisfied with the way your contractor conducts business.

One of the most important aspects of the contracting is receiving a few quotations. This allows you to see what the prices are; not just from one but a few others to keep them “honest” and fair. Word of caution: Cheapest isn’t always the best.
When shopping for a contractor, make sure they are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.

The length of time the contractor has been in business is important. Ensure that they have been around long enough to honor their workmanship warranty. Alternatively, you may consider taking a risk based on how you feel about the newly established contractor. Everyone needs to start somewhere. The newly established contractor may work extra hard to gain you as a lifetime client. This could work well for both parties involved. Also, consider their reputation online. What do others say about their workmanship and business overall? 

3. Checklist Before Signing On the Dotted Line

Again, you should get several bids. Prices from different companies vary. Also, consider that you are comparing apples to apples. Narrow down your search to two contractors and have in-depth discussions with them regarding their price and description of the service performed. Don’t leave any stones unturned! 

To protect yourself, make sure that your selected firm is licensed and that it has general liability and worker’s compensation insurance (WorksafeBC).

There are two warranties you will need to go ahead with your roofing job. (1) You will need a warranty from the manufacturer of the roofing materials being used. Make sure to get a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty. (2) You will also need workmanship warranty on the roofing contractor’s work. The minimum you should accept is ten years. If you can get more, that’s even better. Ask the contractor to write it into your contract. The warranty clause should contain some wording that specifies how long the contractor will assume the cost of labor and material to repair all the leaks within the specified period.

There are two main ways that contractors structure their invoicing. Cost-plus and fixed contract price. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing is to ensure that it works best for both you and the contractor. Arrange to pay for the work as the job progresses. Payment schedules are important but not concrete. It should be flexible and based on circumstances rather than hard and fast rules. This is similar to change-orders that you may want to be added to your property based on changes in ideas/preferences. Afterall, who doesn’t change their mind from time to time or make it up later once a certain stage is complete? 


If any of your neighbors have recently had their roofs replaced, find out what their experience was with the contractor they used. Many times, the knowledge of a person who had work done can save you a lot of time and efforts searching and interviewing potential contractors.


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Anthony PuaPresident of 604 Roofing Ltd.