Frequently Asked Questions

There is not one a single best roofing system; each solution should be customized for each project. There are eight major families of roofing. including steep slope (inclusive of shingle, tile, shakes, etc…), built up roofs (inclusive of asphalt and coal tar), modified bitumen roofs (APP and SBS varieties), metal roofs (standing seam, architectural, and pre-engineered), coatings (acrylic, silicone, ceramic, etc), sprayed-in-place foam roofs, thermoplastic single ply membranes (PVC, TPO, EP, CSPE, etc…) and thermalset single ply membranes such as EPDM.

Each of these roof systems has its own distinct advantages. A critical factor to a successful roofing project is using a contractor who is both familiar with and capable of installing each type of roof system, and who can provide you with the right recommendation for your project. Your contractor should evaluate your facility and the particular roofing characteristics of the building to then suggest the system(s) that meet your needs.

Any roofing system is only as good as the contractor who installs the roof. The very best components of a roofing system can be specified yet if installed by an average contractor than the results of the project will be average. Roofing projects are dependent upon on the contractor. The roof itself is fabricated on your building and those areas such as roof projections, edge details, penetrations, walls, and other areas of the roof requiring workmanship will determine the success of the project. With this in mind, it is always important to look for a contractor who has a proven track record with multiple years of experience. It is also important to look to a contractor that has the ability to install multiple roof systems so they can work with you to select the best roof system for your specific needs. Criteria such as a written safety program, a drug tested work force, uniformed employees, and the use of their own employees versus sub-contracting are all important. Financial strength, years in business, and like type references are also worth serious consideration.

A final suggestion in selecting a roofing contractor is to ask for references that have had problems. All roofing contractors have had jobs that have leaked. The difference between the good contractors and the bad contractors is how they service the client after any problems arise. Calling a few clients that have required attention after the initial installation is a good way to measure the contractor’s commitment to his clientele.

You have two basic options: You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system. If you’ve already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, check with a professional roofing contractor. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary.

Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer. Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance. Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.

Most work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through the roof. Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. If you must inspect your roof system yourself, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber-soled shoes and stay on the ladder (and off the roof system), if possible.