While some do-it-yourselfers take on projects for the thrill of it, others go the DIY route to save money. In either case, a DIY roof Installation isn’t the answer for a variety of reasons.
1) The roof is kind of important – In fact, your roof is the only thing protecting your family and most of your worldly possessions from rain, hail, snow and wind. Even a small mistake can have disastrous results and a bunch of expensive repairs.
2) Your DIY roof may not be insured – If damage occurs, the company that does your homeowner’s insurance is going to do some digging to see if there are warranties for workmanship and materials. On a DIY project, there won’t be a workmanship warranty and the materials warranty will probably be invalidated. After considering these factors, the insurer may decide that your work violates the homeowner’s insurance policy, meaning that none of the damage will be covered.
3) The money you save on labor may be spent on materials – Contractors often buy in bulk, getting discounted prices from their suppliers. For a one-off project, you’ll probably end up paying the full retail price, which will cut into the money you saved on labor.
4) The tear-off, hauling and dump fees will take another bite – Your going to have to get rid of the old roof, which will require a truck and numerous trips to the dump. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be paying for dump fees by weight. If you have to rent the truck, you’re even deeper in the hole.
5) Damaged materials are another expense – Shingles that are improperly nailed, tiles that are cracked and slate that is chipped will have to be replaced. Depending on the number of damaged materials, this mistake alone can raise the cost of a DIY project substantially.
6) You’ll need tools – Roofing installations require specific tools to be done correctly. You can either rent or buy the pneumatic roofing nail gun, air compressor, and the rest of the tools you’ll need, but by now you’re probably above the cost of a professional installation.
7) The value of time – It’s a pretty sure bet that a team that has installed hundreds of roofs will be faster than friends and neighbors taking on a roof for the first time. Don’t forget, if you’re paying those friends and neighbors, your cost just ratcheted up another notch.
8) Roofing is dangerous – Roofing consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous professions in the country, and that’s with professionals with years of experience. Forget about the money, an accident on a roof can be life-changing.
While the satisfaction of completing a project on your own is undeniable, there are too many ways that a DIY roofing installation can go wrong. Instead, leave that one to the professionals and focus your efforts on other areas around your home.
The process of getting a new roof installed will include a series of 5 different types of paperwork. While reading these documents may not sit at the top of your weekend reading list, each one will both inform and protect you in its own way.
1) The estimate – The paperwork for a new roof starts with the estimates you collect from different roofing companies. Look for estimates that are written with a high level of detail that lists exactly what you’ll be paying for. Estimates that include vague or non-specific charges should be discarded as they provide an opportunity for the contractor to pad some expenses and take shortcuts in other areas.
2) The contract – You aren’t obligated to work with a contractor until you sign a contract. Before putting your signature on the dotted line, check the contract for miscellaneous expenses and ask for clarification on anything you don’t understand. Also check the estimated timeline to completion of the job so that you have an idea about the amount of time that you’ll be living in a construction zone.
3) Permits – The installation of a new roof will require permits. Call your local building authority to see exactly the types of permits that are necessary and make sure that the roofing contractor gets all of them. Skipping on paying permits is another shortcut that saves the contractor money while putting you at risk of living under a roof that does not have necessary approvals and/or isn’t built to code.
4) Insurance – Roofing contractors are required to carry workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. Ask for proof of both types of coverage to avoid being liable for a roofer getting injured while installing your roof or for rebuilding the playhouse that was crushed when debris was accidentally dropped on it.
5) Warranties – There are 2 types of warranties. The manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in the actual roofing materials. The length of the warranty depends on the type of material that was used on the roof. Asphalt shingles typically have warranties of around 20 years while a tile warranty can last 50 years or more. The workmanship warranty covers the installation of the materials. Be wary of warranties that last 1 or 2 years and look for workmanship warranties of 10 years or longer. Generally speaking, the length of the warranty is directly related to the contractor’s confidence in the quality of the installation.
Paperwork may not be your cup of tea, but pay special attention to the pieces related to your new roof installation. These documents can help you avoid low-quality work, protect you from accidents and provide long-term protection for your roofing investment.
Having ventilation added to your attic during your roof installation can help to regulate temperatures in the space, which provides several advantages. Here are 3 reasons to ventilate your attic.
1) Cooling the space on hot days – While a new roof can receive its harshest treatment from sun, wind and rain, it can also be attacked from the underside if the attic isn’t ventilated. This is due to the extreme levels of heat than can result from direct sun shining on the roof as well as the side walls of the space during the hot days of summer. Even with insulation on the floor and ceiling, temperatures can reach over 160 degrees Fahrenheit, turning the space into a slow-cooking oven. Warmth radiating upward from the attic can then combine with the heat from direct sunlight to bake the components of the roofing system for several hours each afternoon. Granted, roofing materials are designed to withstand continuous heat, but the higher temperatures coming from its underside can speed deterioration rates of adhesives, sealants and shingles substantially. Adding ventilation to the attic can reduce temperatures by about 60 degrees.
2) Adding usable space to the home – Attics can be large enough to serve as usable space in the home, whether it’s a small den, playroom, or reading room. With adequate ventilation bringing temperatures down to the area of 100 degrees, a system of fans and a small air conditioning unit can bring temperatures down to a comfortable level in the space, even on the hottest days of summer. Adding this space provides an additional place for activities and may increase the value of your home.
3) Saving energy – A properly vented attic will have 1 square inch of ventilation for every square foot of floor space, divided evenly between soffit and ridge vents. Depending on the configuration of the home, efficient ventilation may be installed that requires no electricity and instead relies on the properties of rising warm air to be vented out at the ridge. When combined with insulation recommended for the geographic area (the DoE recommends an R-value of 60 for the Atlanta area), a household can reduce heating and cooling bills by almost 50 percent.
Ventilating your attic brings significant advantages. When discussing your new roof installation with your contractor, be sure to ask about the possibilities of regulating temperatures, adding usable space and saving on energy bills by venting your attic.
Your attic may be the last space in your home that you ever think of, but it may be increasing your heating and cooling bills while also speeding the breakdown of your roof. While you may not notice the deterioration of roofing materials and the extra money you’re paying to control temperatures in your home throughout the year, the cost of ongoing roof repairs as well as the accumulation of unnecessarily high utility bill payments can add up to a substantial sum. Here how your attic does it.
- Raising the cost of climate control in the home – An attic that does not have insulation and proper venting can keep your heating and cooling systems working overtime. In the summer, direct sunlight warms the roof, which radiates heat into the attic. As the attic warms up, heat is then radiated into the interior of the home, forcing air conditioning to work harder and longer to maintain preset temperatures. In the winter, warm air the home moves upward through the ceiling and then through the roof. This keeps the heater running constantly to replace lost heat.
- In the winter – In areas with snow accumulations, warm air escaping through the roof melts the snow above it, which runs down the roof to the eaves. With an open underside, the eaves will be much colder than the rest of the roof and can refreeze the runoff. If enough refreezing occurs over time, an ice dam can be built that starts trapping runoff, backing it up under the shingles. This can start a process that weakens adhesives and damages the underlayment, with the result being leaks into the house or attic.
- In the summer – An uninsulated and unventilated attic can reach temperatures exceeding 160 degrees. In addition to placing demands on the cooling system, heat at this level can bake the components of the roofing system from the underside. The results can include the softening of adhesives and drying roofing materials until they turn brittle. The constant exposure to extreme temperatures can lead to a premature breakdown of the roofing system, which may require repairs or a full replacement well before the roof would otherwise reach the end of its estimated service life.
While it may be a neglected space, your attic may be costing your household over $400 per year by placing extra demand on your heating and cooling systems. In fact, according to ENERGY STAR an uninsulated attic can increase energy bills by approximately 67 percent versus a space that has been fully insulated to local standards. For a family paying the national average of about $1,000 per year for heating and cooling, that translates to utility bills that are $422 higher than a comparable home with a fully insulated attic. Insulating this space can also save money by reducing damage caused by heat exposure to the roof while also extending its service life.
Installing a new roof is a substantial investment, which can be protected in large part by two types of warranties; those offered by manufacturers on their materials and by roofing companies on their workmanship. Here are the basics of each type of warranty.
- What is covered – Materials warranties cover defective materials used in a roofing installation. This type of warranty only covers materials that break down prematurely, and only under a strict set of conditions. For example, a warranty may be voided if materials break down due a lack of maintenance.
- How coverage works – Warranties on materials can either provide full coverage for the duration of the warranty, or offer prorated coverage after a predetermined length of time. For example, a warranty on asphalt shingles may cover the total cost of replacement shingles and installation for 10 years, with the percentage of coverage versus cost being reduced incrementally after that time until the warranty expires. Due to the durability of slate and tile roofs, the proration of coverage on these materials may not start for 50 years after installation.
- What isn’t covered – Damage caused by winds in excess of 85 miles per hour will not be covered by a warranty on materials. Additional areas that aren’t covered by these types of warranties include improper installation, damage due to the installation of roof structures such as satellite dishes, and material failures due to faulty repairs.
- Coverage – Workmanship warranties cover any issues that can be attributed directly to the installation of the roof. Generally speaking, materials that have been manufactured properly rarely break down prematurely, leaving mistakes made during installation as the most common causes of roof failures. Due to the likelihood that any roof failure is going to be caused by mistakes made during the installation, full coverage for the roof must include a workmanship warranty.
- Duration – The duration of workmanship warranties is set by each roofing company. Highly reputable companies will offer warranties of 10 to 12 years, while others may offer either no protection or warranties with shorter time spans. When shopping for a roofing company, the length of the workmanship warranty will be indicative of a company’s willingness to stand behind its work, which should be a primary factor in deciding on the best roofer for the job.
- What isn’t covered – Workmanship warranties are similar to those written for materials in that they don’t cover extreme weather events and damage caused by the installation of equipment or walking on the roof.
Determining warranty coverage should be a focal point of the decision making process for your roof installation. Keep in mind that longer warranties represent the good-faith backing of both the manufacturer and the roofing company, meaning that longer warranties will also represent quality materials and workmanship.