The roof is arguably the most important component of your house. After all, it keeps water out of the building.
For that kind of money, you want to make sure job is done right. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Shop around
Some roofers don’t worry much about customer satisfaction since replacing a roof is a once-every-few-decades job, which means they don’t have to count on repeat business. Plus, many homeowners (mistakenly) choose their roofer based largely on price, and many roofing contractors hire low-wage workers so they can deliver the lowest possible bids. All of which is to say: You need to be extremely careful whom you hire. Get references from neighbours (or tradespeople or lumber yards) that you trust, and check major roofing manufacturer websites for lists of certified installers. Then request client references from anyone you’re considering.
2. Strip away the old
You’re permitted to have two layers of asphalt shingles on your roof, so if there’s only one in place now, you can have a new layer installed right on top. That will save you as much as $1,000 and a fair bit of mess, but it means the roofer can’t inspect and repair the decking and flashing underneath. If you live in a cold climate, stripping away the old roof allows the contractor to install ice and water shield, a rubber membrane used to prevent leaks at the eaves in the event of ice buildup. The tear-off gets a lot more complicated if you have something other than asphalt up there: If you can see original wood shingles on the underside of your roof when you’re up in the attic, you’ll need not only to tear everything off, but also to install new plywood decking, all of which likely adds $5,000 or more to your costs.