Visual cues often tip you off to when you need a new roof. Take a quick look at the surface of your roof. Are there any missing or broken shingles? Do they all lay flat, or are some curling, cupping or swelling? In the attic, look at the framing and the underside of the roof deck. Is there any staining?
Look along the edges of the roof, around roof penetrations and in the valleys. Is the flashing intact, or is it broken, cracked, corroded or even missing? Finally, look at the soffits and the fascia. If they are made of wood, are they rotting or otherwise deteriorating? Soffits are available in many different styles and colors, and can, in fact, replicate the look of real wood from a curb view.
5 Key Considerations When Replacing a Roof
There are many details to consider when replacing a roof. We’ve compiled this list of five of the most important considerations that you should discuss with your roofer.
1. Quality of your roofing contractor
One of the key things to consider when replacing a roof is the quality of your roofing contractor. It’s ideal to choose a roofing contractor who is experienced, reputable, local and factory-certified. Ask neighbors, friends and co-workers for referrals. Look at online ratings, references and customer testimonials. Ideally, you’ll find a well-established local roofing contractor that will be there for you for years to come. Hopefully, your contractor will be “factory-certified,” meaning that one or more major roofing manufacturers trust them to install their products to the correct specifications.
2. Quality of materials
You’ll encounter differences in the quality of materials any time you embark on a home improvement project. The use of premium roof components is essential if you want a long-lasting roof. One of the best ways to ensure you are getting quality roofing material is to work with a factory-certified roofer using recognized products manufactured by a top company like Owens Corning or GAF.
Premium materials will often save you long-term compared to budget brands:
Synthetic underlayments – Northern NJ homeowners increasingly select modern synthetic underlayments over traditional #15 or #30 felt. Synthetic underlayments are lightweight and tough. They are up to six times lighter and three times stronger than regular roofing felt. They are also waterproof, breathable and UV-resistant. These modern materials are also more slip-resistant than felt, particularly when wet.
Flashing materials – Flashing is a vital component of your roof that resists water infiltration in valleys, joints and roof edges. There is a wide range of flashing products, ranging from Karnak flashing cement all the way up to copper. Although some roof flashing is fabricated from plastic, it is usually made of a rust-resistant metal like galvanized steel, zinc alloy aluminum, or copper. You’ll also find starter strips, pipe flanges and vents made from these same materials. Copper is a high-end option. Galvanized metals, zinc alloys and aluminum deliver both performance and value.
Water and ice shield – Winter weather in the Tri-state area tends to cause ice dams. Therefore, it is a good idea to install a water and ice barrier to counter the threat. This waterproof membrane adds another layer of protection against moisture intrusion. For premium protection against ice dams and other possible causes of leaks, an increasing number of homeowners in New Jersey use a water and ice shield across the entire roof.
Algae protection – Gloeocapsa magma, commonly called blue-green algae, causes dark streaks on residential roofs all over the country. If you’ve been bothered by those dark streaks that mysteriously appear on your roof, there’s now a way to cope. Shingle granules containing copper counter the effects of the algae for many years. Streak Guard algae resistance protection from Owens Corning features granules infused with copper. GAF’s StainGuard Plus time-release technology also uses copper to protect against blue-green algae.
Wind-rated shingles – You might be amazed to discover that the wind rating of asphalt shingles can be as low as 60 mph or as high as 130 mph or more. Many NJ homeowners have first-hand knowledge of wind damage to their shingles. GAF has a map that shows where high-wind risks are greatest. About half of the state of New Jersey faces a risk of high winds. Fortunately, major roofing manufacturers offer shingles with high 130 mph wind ratings.
Cool roof options – In many Tri-state homes, energy costs rise because of all the heat transferred from the roof system to the living space. It is possible to address this with quality ventilation and improved attic insulation. Some homeowners, particularly those to the south, consider “cool roofs.” Shingles with special granules reflect more of the sun’s UV rays away from the roof system. The Timberline Cool Series and the Duration Premium Cool Series are two examples that are available to NJ homeowners via special order.
3. Insulation upgrades
There is no better time to upgrade insulation than when you replace your roof. Boston University researchers estimate that 90 percent of U.S. homes are under-insulated. In our area, the EPA recommends attic insulation values ranging from a minimum of R-38 to a maximum of R-60.
4. Upgrades to ventilation
Proper roof ventilation extends the life of roofing components by evacuating excess heat and humidity from under your roof. You’ll want intake and exhaust vents positioned in the right places. Ideally, you’ll combine proper ventilation and insulation to reduce the load on your cooling system, potentially reducing your energy expenses year after year.
5. Warranty features
A high-quality installation using premium products from a leading roofing manufacturer may never lead to a warranty claim. However, you want to know that you’re covered should an issue arise many years from now. The differences between warranties are substantial, and warranty coverage can vary by thousands of dollars per claim. For example, compare a lengthy manufacturer’s warranty with a relatively brief contractor warranty. Compare warranties that cover labor and materials versus those that cover materials only.
Recommendation from a Certified Contractor
Since a decision to replace your roof is a major one, it’s ideal to check with a factory-certified roofing contractor when you’re trying to assess all the pros and cons of your current roof. You want trustworthy information as to whether relatively straightforward repairs will resolve your current roofing issues, or whether a roof replacement is the best choice.
Trust a roofing contractor who major manufacturers trust to install their roofing products to spec. Examples of highly regarded factory certification programs include those run by GAF and Owens Corning.
Contact CRS Today
For more than 40 years, homeowners in northern NJ have looked to CRS for their roof replacements. We are a reputable, local contractor factory-certified by two of North America’s top roofing manufacturers: GAF and Owens Corning. We address virtually every roofing issue, including periodic roof inspections, routine maintenance, emergency work, minor/major repairs, roof ventilation updates, re-roofing and full roof replacements.
Please contact us today to arrange for a visit by our highly experienced, certified roof inspector who can further discuss things to consider when replacing a roof.