Expert roofers: Clear gutters help to extend a roof's life
We asked three highly rated roofing contractors on Angie's List what homeowners need to know about their roofs.
Yeary: Binoculars are an easy, safe way to check your roof without getting on a ladder. Missing roofing shingles that may have blown off, nail pops where the nails have pushed the shingle up in the air and granules in your downspouts could indicate premature wear or a product failure.
Monroe: People often don't realize the damage clogged gutters can cause to a roof. When water isn't properly drained away from the house, it can lead to mold and mildew under the roof. Keeping your gutters clean is the easiest thing you can do to prolong the life of your roof.
What are some concerns that aren't necessarily visible?
Yeary: Even if your shingles look good, it's always the things you can't see — the ventilation, underlayment and nailing — that are paramount to a good roof. One thing we see during tear-offs in older homes is underinsulated attic areas, which can cause ice damming.
Mendez: We tend to look at the underlayment and the age of what's underneath the tile and shingles. Sometimes there's a problem with pipe flashings — any sort of penetrations that weren't installed properly. Pigeons will get into the eaves and overhang, and make a big mess.
What are some energy-saving possibilities with roofing materials?
Monroe: Energy Star shingles, especially if you can get a tax credit. You should also consider your carbon footprint and who manufactures the shingles. We use CertainTeed shingles that are manufactured in North Carolina.
Mendez: Owens Corning has a series of Cool Shingles, which is a fairly new product. Homeowners interested in those can apply for a tax rebate. If you get solar panels, make sure it's installed properly and not just bolted to the roof. Make sure the installer is working in tandem with a roofing company.
What are some important things to keep in mind when selecting a roofing contractor?
Yeary: Make sure your contractor is aware of your municipality's permit process. It should be a red flag if a contractor asks the homeowner to get the permit.
Mendez: You want to meet whoever is going to do your roof. It comes down to your level of comfort with them. You always want to have a signed proposal or contract with a specific scope of work.
Monroe: Did you call them or did they come to you? Don't pay more than 25 percent for a deposit and hire local roofing contractors. Storm chasers follow the storm. They won't be around if you need them in the future.