Installing a Roof can be Tricky

Consider Hiring a Roof Contractor

Just as certain as the coming of rain, so is the certainty of every homeowner eventually needing the services of a roof contractor. A residential general contractor may be qualified to install most common types of a roof system. However, the services of a specialized roofing contractor may be necessary for difficult applications such as built up roofing on a flat roof.

Every new building construction project and many renovation projects involve installing a new roof system of some kind, with many roofing material choices and applications to consider. Some of the most common roofing materials are asphalt roof shingles, cedar shingles, or cedar shakes.

Roofing Systems are Complex

Pitched shingled roofs are the most common type roof; shingles are only part of a complex roof system. For added protection against leakage, metal flashing is strategically placed at the roof’s most vulnerable points. Places such as valleys, vents, chimneys, edges, dormers, and at any other point where a structural element penetrates the roof surface.

Installing a Roof can be Tricky

Many homeowners opt to install roof shingles themselves. However, proper installation of metal flashing can be tricky, and working on a high, slanted surface holds risks. A reliable roof contractor will be proficient at the task and know how to complete work safely.

Beneath the shingles and flashing lies the complex support system that ties the roof in with the rest of the house structure. Rafters or roof trusses are designed for the desired pitch (degree of roof slope) and load bearing specifications.

Roofing materials add considerable weight to any type roof, and in some geographical locations heavy snow loads must be taken into consideration. Plywood or OSB sheeting is installed over the rafter or truss joists, and then covered with asphalt/felt sheathing as a water barrier.

Rafter or truss joist ends are trimmed at the eaves using a fascia board, and along edges using a rake board. Normally, the under side of the resulting eaves are closed in with soffits.

Roof vents on the roof top work in conjunction with venting in the soffit; providing adequate ventilation to avoid overheating and moisture build-up in the attic and roof system. This helps to avoid premature deterioration of the roof system.

Various Roof Systems to Choose From

Determining which roof is right for you has many considerations; including style, color, durability, cost, and ease of installation.

Asphalt roof shingles are the most common choice. They are available in many different colors, are relatively easy to install, and are relatively affordable in cost. They require little or no maintenance when new, but begin to crack and curl over time. Repairs are relatively easy to perform. The average life span of asphalt shingles is 15 to 20 years; high-quality shingles provides improved weather and fire resistance, and can last up to 35 years.

Cedar shingles or cedar shakes are popular choices, but are significantly more expensive than asphalt shingles. Cedar shingles can last more than 20 years; properly installed and maintained, cedar shakes have a life span of 50 years or more. Left untreated, both have a poor fire rating; they will warp, split, rot, and weather. Therefore, periodic treatment with a product made for that purpose is recommended. Cedar shingles and shakes are neither difficult to repair or replace.

A metal roof is becoming an increasingly popular choice. There are several types of metal roofing such as terne (tin/steel alloy), copper, aluminum, galvanized steel, and vinyl-clad steel.

Some vinyl-clad steel manufacturers tout a life span of nearly 100 years; traditional painted aluminum or steel may last 35 years; terne lasting up to 50 years. Another modern “upper end” choice is a copper roof for both durability and appearance.

A metal roof must be flashed and fastened with the same type metal to avoid electrolytic action and subsequent corrosion. Metal roofing is relatively expensive, but the life span of some choices can be well worth the investment

Roof tile such as roof slate, concrete roof tile or clay roof tile has the longest life span of any roofing material; it will last for the life of the house, requires little maintenance, and is absolutely fire proof. However, an occasional cracked, broken, or chipped tile can be difficult to repair. If not attended to promptly and accurately, damage to existing roof system components beneath can result. Tile is heavy, has limited color choices, and is quite expensive.

Built up roofing or “hot roof” is the most difficult to install. Hiring an experienced contractor is a must to completely waterproof flat or slightly pitched roofs. Built up roofing is fabricated on the roof itself, by laminating layers of special felt with heated asphalt, followed by a gravel topping. This is an expensive choice in roofing. Life span is relatively short; 5 to 20 years. The more layers, the longer the life expectancy.

Rolled roofing is constructed from the same type material as asphalt shingles and is relatively inexpensive. It is simply rolled out in overlapping layers and fastened in place. It has a short life span of 5 to 15 years, and is used primarily as a quick fix.

Find a Reliable Contractor

While many do-it-yourself homeowners might opt to install metal or shingle roofs by themselves, it might be wise to enlist the services of a reliable roof contractor. Installing and repairing roof systems can be tricky; any undetected leakage can wreak havoc with the roof system support structure, not to mention the building itself.

A roofing contractor will not only know what type roof materials will best suit your needs, and how to properly install the roof for peak performance and longevity. He or she may also have access to suppliers that offer reduced rates to repeat-customer contractors.

When looking for a roofing contractor for your project, one good source is the Internet. You can post your project absolutely free with no obligation at With our easy-to-use tools, putting your project up for online bidding is a snap.

Reliable roof contractor members in your area are ready to provide competitive bids for your project. To give you the best service, at the best price found anywhere. And best of all – a great new roofing system for your home!

Click here to post your roofing project online at Handy; it’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s free! Best yet, it makes your project visible to hundreds of contractors in your area; each reliable and skilled, ready to bid competitively on your project!