Time for a New Roof? Establish your Purchasing Criteria
Many things can be accomplished with your home’s new roof. A good place to start is by understanding the major things which impact your decision and then thinking in terms of what your current roof offers and what it lacks that you want to address or correct with a new roof.
Here are 14 things to consider when establishing your criteria for a new roof…and not just settling for what’s offered by others.
Establish Your Purchasing Criteria for a New Roof
Durability may seem like a “no-brainer” when it comes to roofing your home. Your roof, after all, provides great protection for you and your family. No one wants to have to replace their roof more often than necessary, nor perhaps endure leaks or other problems at any time. However, what we often see is homeowners assuming that warranty length equates to the life expectancy of a product. Yet, when it comes to standard shingles, no one ever sees them lasting 40 or 50 years as their warranties would imply. Warranties are legal contracts/agreements, not predictors of durability. One of the best factors when considering durability is to go look at older projects that have the product you’re considering and talk to the property owners to learn of their experiences.
2. Wind Resistance
If your home is located in an area prone to hurricanes or other wind storms, or if it just seems to always be windy where you live, wind resistance will be high in your roofing consideration set. In many cases, roofing manufacturers will have optional special installation procedures for high wind areas. Many contractors will not be aware of these so you may need to do some research. To help create a roof that is as wind-resistant as possible, interlocking panels or shingles can be expected to perform better than panels that just overlap or are held together by short-lived sealants and adhesives.
One criterion for your new roof may be resiliency. If you’re in an area that is prone to hail or if your roof is subject to foot traffic on occasion, then a roof that maintains its flexibility and rigidity as it ages will be important. Some roofs lose impact resistance as they age while others will be just as resilient in 30 or 40 years as they are when they are new. Roofs that lose impact resistance as they age will be increasingly prone to damage from hail, foot traffic, and even tree branches that may fall on the roof.
4. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a great thing to consider when buying a new roof, though many homeowners never even think about it. The primary time when a roof can help save energy is during hot summers. The right roof can reduce attic heat gain which then saves energy and lowers air conditioning costs. This energy efficiency can be achieved through solar reflective roofs, light-colored roofs, and/or various forms of ventilation and thermal breaks. For example, metal roofs with heavily formed thicknesses include integral airspace which achieves a thermal break between the rooftop and the roof deck – very similar to how the two panes of glass in a thermal pane window function. This will enhance energy efficiency and savings.
5. Fire Safety
If you live in an area prone to wildfires, fire resistance can be an important thing for you to want in a new roof. Think in terms not only of initial fire resistance but also fire resistance after the product has weathered for a few years. Products that dry out over time will be increasingly less fire-resistant with age. Also, in the event of an interior fire, low weight roofing can help protect your home while allowing firefighters to enter the structure and extinguish the fire at the source.
6. Design and Beauty
About 60% of the visible exterior of most homes is the roof. Today’s roofing options offer a wide variety of looks, styles, and colors. Classic Metal Roofing Systems even offers the option of custom-colored roofs. Choosing the right product can enhance your home, adding curb appeal and value. Visualizer tools can help you in advance to compare what different roof styles and colors would look like on your home. The amount of value-added to a home by a new roof depends largely on the aesthetics of that roof, and the ability of that product to maintain its beauty even as it ages.
If you have an older home or perhaps live in an area where very heavy snow loads can pile up on roofs, then one of your roof criteria may be a low weight roof. Roofs can weigh from less than a half-pound per square foot for aluminum up to around 4 pounds for dimensional shingles, all the way up to as many as 20 pounds for very heavy tile roofs. Low weight roofing can be beneficial to older structures as well as to homes in areas prone to seismic activity.
8. Home Value
Most homeowners care a great deal about the value of their homes. Short term roofing materials may restore home value when they are first installed but then quickly lose that value as they streak, stain, and begin to break down. This starts a roller coaster of home values going up and down. Longer-term roofing materials that maintain their original looks as they age, on the other hand, add lasting value to a home, making a home more attractive to potential buyers. Especially if you plan to stay in your home for ten or more years, then a roofing product that adds significant lasting home value may be one of your criteria.
Roof warranties contain a lot of fine print. Knowing that fine print is something you may want to include in your criteria. Is the warranty prorated? Is it transferable? If it is, how many times? Does it cover specific things or just the manufacturer’s defects? Does the warranty provide for repair labor if a failure occurs, or does it just drop off new materials in your driveway? Does it provide wind protection? Hail protection? What sort of workmanship warranty is the contractor giving you? These are all great questions as you review roofing warranties.
10. Product History and Experience
In our 37 years of roofing industry experience, we have seen so many residential roofing products come and go. These new products were touted as the “best thing since sliced bread” but, within a few years, we saw that they did not live up to the rigors of a rooftop; products like Woodruff, various fibrous cement products, numerous fiberglass shingles, and several polymer products. All of these failed, resulting in disappointed property owners and, quite often, class action lawsuits. For homeowners who do not wish to endure the difficulty of a roof that fails prematurely, it can be very wise to look for products that have been around for a number of years – products that are proving they can stand the test of time.
11. Applicability for Your Home
For homes that have unique design elements, one of your criteria may be making sure that the roofing product you choose is truly applicable to your home’s design. Things like rounded or arched roofs, lower pitches, valleys, dead valleys, and various transition areas can limit which products can be successfully installed on a home. If your roof has some challenging areas, don’t hesitate to reach out to the roofing manufacturer to make sure that they agree that their material will perform and be warranted on your home.
12. Solar Readiness
If you feel that you may wish to add solar collection to your home at some point in the future, that should be considered when your home is re-roofed. Special roofing materials or application procedures in the areas where solar panels may later be installed can facilitate a successful solar installation down the road.
Unfortunately, many existing homes do not have adequate attic ventilation to meet building codes. Those codes have been developed to keep homes healthy, energy-efficient and functioning properly — especially in terms of avoiding ice dams in northern climates. Additionally, as we install things such as house wrap, insulation, and new doors and windows to make our homes more airtight, that forces more moisture that is created inside the structure to migrate into the attic. If that moisture is not properly vented outward, insulation effectiveness is diminished due to high moisture levels and an environment is created which can support mold and mildew. Re-roofing your home is the ideal time to make ventilation one of the criteria you discuss with your contractor.
14. Contractor Selection
Finally, any roofing material is only as good as its installation. For that reason, a quality contractor with a proven track record, as well as some assurance they will still be around in the future, should be high on the list of roof purchase criteria for all homeowners. Make sure that they have the proper training to install your roof. Talk to past customers and read their workmanship warranty thoroughly.
We hope that the above ideas help you establish Your Purchasing Criteria for your home’s next roof. Knowing what you want to accomplish with your new roof will help lead you to a successful project.
As always, please contact us whenever we can be of service. We can be reached at 1-800-543-8938 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also use our online Research Toolbox to use several of our analysis tools to help you make good choices for you and for your home.