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How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

Don’t wait until an emergency roofing repair is required before choosing a roofer. When your roof starts to leak and you need somebody right away to fix it today or tomorrow, you’ll just have to hope for the best. Get yourself established with a reputable roofing company by using it for inspections. This way, should an emergency ever occur, you’ll have the number at hand and won’t have to worry about getting overcharged by a less experienced company.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right roofer so that you know that the job will be well done and you’ll be receiving the best value for your money.

Does the Company Have Insurance?

Don’t play around with companies that don’t carry insurance. If anything should happen to the roofer while he is on your property, you could very well be held liable. Confirm that the company carries liability insurance and provides workers compensation to its employees. If you find a company that doesn’t have insurance, don’t take a chance. It’s not worth it.

Reasonable Prices

Look for a company that offers reasonable prices but keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest price. Get 3 estimates and then make a decision. The rule of thumb that you should go by is that a cheap quote will often result in an insufficient job being done while a quote that’s too high indicates that the company is charging more than necessary. Look for a middle-of-the-road quote when examining roofing companies.

Choose a Local Roofing Contractor

Choose a roofing business that works in your local area. It will have had the chance to build up a reputation within your city or town. You’ll have a lot less problems dealing with local contractors than with ones that are outside the city limits. You’ll also be contributing to your community and keeping your hard earned money close to home.

A Knock at Your Door

If you receive a knock at your door telling you that a roofing company is working nearby and that there is a problem noticed in your roof, be very, very careful. This is just selling and canvassing and sometimes it is being done by unscrupulous characters. The person may take a cheque or cash from you as a down payment for the job and then disappear into never-never land.

A Proper Estimate

A legitimate roofing company will provide you with all of the job details written on a paper with a company letterhead on it. It will outline everything that needs to be done on your roof in clear terms. You’ll be able to see how much the labor will cost along with the materials. While a firm handshake used to be good enough in the past, a written contract is required nowadays before the job should go ahead.



A reputable and reliable roofing company will stay in good communication with its clients. If you have any questions at all you should receive a call back within a reasonable amount of time from a company representative. Look for a business that has good communication skills.

A Solid Reputation

An established roofing company will have built up a solid reputation within the community and will be able to supply at least 3 references upon request. Don’t be afraid to ask for these references either – it is your chance to check out the roofing company and find out if they are really as good as they claim to be.

Talk to the Owner

You’re going to be investing a lot of money into your new roof so don’t be afraid to ask to talk to the owner of the company before putting pen to paper to sign a contract. The owner should be approachable and be able to tell you about the company in an honest and straightforward manner. Any company is as good as the owner makes it and if the person in charge of the business doesn’t have time for you, it’s a direct reflection of what you can expect in terms of your roofing job.

Make sure that you check out all of the credentials of a roofing company before going ahead with one. You’re going to be spending a lot of money on your roof so you’ll want to be absolutely sure that you’re dealing with a straight-up company that will do a good job at a reasonable price in a timely fashion.

Roofing Material Comparisons

Roofing Material Comparisons

Are you in the market for a new roof? There are a wide range of roofing materials available including asphalt, metal, wood, slate, clay tiles and more. Figuring out which roofing material would work best on your home comes down to a number of different factors. While price may be a concern, you’ll also need to examine the weight of the material and the installation requirements. Not all materials can be used on all roofs. A roof with a steeper pitch will need a different type of surface than one with a low pitch. Tile and slate roofs are extremely heavy so it must be determined first whether the home will be able to carry the load.

Here are some of the most common roofing materials used today. In terms of residential roofs, most are made of either asphalt or metal.

Asphalt shingles – These are the materials most commonly used on homes since they are relatively easy to install and cost much less than a metal roof. They can last 15 – 40 years depending on the shingle type and the maintenance done on the roof.

Metal – A metal roof can be made of copper, steel, copper and asphalt, lead and aluminum. The copper and asphalt and lead roofs usually come in a shingle form while the other metal roofing materials are usually made into vertical lengths. The life expectancy is approximately 50 years.

Wood – Back in the day, wood was used as a roofing material but it has been gradually replaced by newer materials partially due to fire code restrictions. Wood shingles can last up to 25 years on average but will cost double the price of asphalt shingles. Would roofs are usually made of southern pine, redwood or cedar.

Slate – This is the most durable roofing material you can find but it’s unfortunately the priciest option available. It is also very heavy so you’d need to have an engineer okay the roofing process beforehand to make sure that your home could handle the weight.

Clay tiles – These are the types of tiles that you’d see on a Spanish Colonial home. They come in a variety of different styles including half cylinders and tiles offering a wavy effect. Just like slate, these tiles are very heavy and extremely durable but also very expensive.

Before choosing your roofing material take into consideration the life cycle of the material, the cost and the weight. A metal roof will last a lot longer than an asphalt one but will be costlier to install. If you need a new roof and plan on staying in your home for many years to come, metal is always a good option. A metal roof is also a good selling feature when it comes time to put your home on the market.

Below you can see the different costs, pros and cons associated with different roofing types:

Roofing Materials Costs Comparison

How to Inspect Your Own Roof

How to Inspect Your Own Roof

Taking the proper precautions early enough can save your roof. That’s a fact. You roof should be inspected at least once a year if it’s fairly new or twice a year if it’s getting older. As well, if you’ve experienced any major weather conditions such as a heavy wind storm, it wouldn’t do any harm to get your roof inspected to make sure that no damage was done during the storm.

Regular maintenance will extend your roof’s life but it’s not easy to identify some of the problems with an untrained eye. The roof needs to be looked at close-up and no roofing inspection should include only an inspection from the ground.

Water Damage on Your Ceiling

If you’re looking at your ceiling and notice a water spot on it, there’s a good chance that it’s a roofing issue. The problem is, however, that the water may not be coming directly from the roof area above the water spot. It’s possible that the water might be traveling on a downward slope from another area. Climbing up onto your roof to look for a leak where you think it may be coming from could be a fruitless effort on your part.

DIY Versus an Inspection by a Trained Roofer

Roofing professionals have been trained to conduct complete assessments of a roofing system in its entirety. The cost involved with this inspection will depend on the roofing material, the pitch and the size of your roof. If you’re going to get on the roof yourself, you’ll need to make sure that you have protection equipment that includes a safety harness, a roof anchor, lanyard and rope. There should also be another person with you in case of an emergency.

What to Look For

Here are the most important things that you’ll be looking for if you are inspecting your own roof:

Metal roof – If you have a metal roof it should be good to go for 50 years but it’s always good to check it out yearly to make sure that there are no open or loose joints and seams that could possibly lead to leaking. If it is an older roof you’ll also want to look for signs of corrosion and rust that occur naturally during the aging process.

Asphalt roof – If your roof has asphalt shingles you should be checking to make sure that the shingles aren’t brittle and that the granules on the asphalt are still attached firmly. As well, any sign of shingles starting to curl is an indication that you’ll need to replace them soon.

Wooden shakes or shingles – If you have wooden shingles or shakes on your roof examine them for signs of warping and look for dry rot. Warping and dry rot issues will need to be handled quickly by a professional roofer.

Slate and clay tiles – These types of roofing materials can last a lifetime but they can suffer from ice damage during the winter months. Any chipped or broken tiles will need to be replaced.

Flashings – Flashings cover penetrations in the roof made by vent pipes, chimneys etc. They are made of metal and if they are sitting improperly or have any cracks or dents in them, this can lead to problems with interior leaking.

Gutters – The drainage system must also be checked to make sure that there aren’t any signs of large pools of standing water. Standing water can leach out chemicals from the membrane that keep the roof pliable. Make sure that your downspout and gutters are clear to prevent any further damage.

You can always find room in your budget for things that are important and getting your roof inspected once or twice a year should fit into the “important” category. It could potentially cost thousands of dollars to handle roofing problems later on, which would have only cost a few hundred dollars if you had done a simple roof inspection.

How Snow and Ice Impact Your Roof

How Snow and Ice Impact Your Roof

A winter full of ice and snow can really take a toll on your roof – even if it is a new one. It’s always a good idea to get your roof inspected after a long winter. If issues aren’t addressed fast enough they can turn into larger problems when the summer storms begin. Here are some of the common problems associated with snow and ice and how they can impact your roof.

A Puncture in Your Roof

Punctures are a serious problem especially during ice storms. If you have a tree overhanging your roof with ice accumulated on it, it will be extremely heavy if it falls and it could cause a serious puncture. Even limbs that have a lot of snow on them have enough weight to puncture through several of your roof’s layers. Major leaks may develop as a result.

Ice Dams

Ice dams that form on your roof during the winter months have a good chance of becoming leaks when the warmer months arrive. If you see any water stains appearing on your ceiling during the spring, you may have experienced an ice dam during the winter.

Damaged and Missing Shingles

A heavy winter storm can blow away shingles that aren’t attached properly to the roof while damaging others. In the spring you should look for missing, curling, broken or bent shingles. It’s not uncommon to see these types of issues – especially when we’ve experienced a cold harsh winter with a lot of snow and ice.

Roofing Blisters

When the cold winter air turns into a warmer spring breeze, roof blisters may occur. The rising temperature of the air can trap moisture and air between the layers of the roofs. This usually happens only on flat or low sloped roofs and fortunately doesn’t happen as frequently on higher pitched roofs.

A Word about Hail

Hail is a four letter word when it comes to roofs. Hail has the ability to create hairline punctures and cracks in the asphalt that are very difficult to see. The small cracks may not allow water into the home but maybe enough to pull granules off of the shingles. While some hail-related damage is easy to spot, there are instances where damage may have occurred that isn’t obvious to the untrained eye.

The Thaw/Freeze Cycle

Water presenting itself as rain can easily get into the smallest cracks and then when the temperature dips below zero and the water starts to freeze this crack will expand. When it starts to warm up more water will enter the crack and it will get bigger. In Canada, there’s not much we can do about this type of weather cycle except keep our roofs maintained regularly. This way, we can spot small problems before they become big emergencies.

Snow and ice buildup on roofs can cause serious load issues by putting stress on roof flashings and roof accessories. Come spring, it’s always a good idea to get your roof inspected by an experienced roofing company to make sure that your roof made it through another brutal Canadian winter unscathed.

I found a pretty cool videos on youtube for a device that helps clean the snow off of your roof.  I have not tried it and I never have to deal with too much snow buildup on my roof but I thought I would share.


Common Roof Problems

Common Roof Problems

If you are currently experiencing roof problems, you certainly aren’t alone. Roofs can experience their own set of issues and while in some cases you may have to replace the entire roof, in most cases simple repairs will breathe new life into your roof. Here are some of the most common roofing problems that we run across in our business:

  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Weathering issues
  • Skylights not installed properly
  • Damage due to tree branches overhanging the roof
  • Exposed nails
  • Loose flashing
  • Gutter problems
  • Ponding water
  • Blistering and shrinkage
  • Dry rot
  • Corrosion and loose joints in metal roofing

Faulty Installation

A lot of the problems that we see are due to faulty roof installations. If an experienced roofer did not do a proper job on the roof in the beginning, it can lead to a lot of issues down the road. Even something as simple as not hammering in a nail completely can lead to leaks. A roof repair or an entire installation needs to be handled by an experienced roofing company with a solid background and reputation behind it. A roof should never be attempted by a handyman or somebody that is just starting out in the roofing industry without a lot of experience.

Flashing Problems

Flashing is installed around your skylights, vent pipes, cooling and heating systems and chimneys. If it’s not secured properly there will be open seams to deal with and shingles could potentially blow off.

Puncture Problems

Inclement weather can cause a range of problems including penetrations and punctures in the roofing material. Severe hail storms can damage a roof and a heavy wind can knock limbs and branches off of trees sitting in the path of your roof.

A Shrinking Roof

If the membrane of your roof shrinks it can lead to splitting, blistering and cracks forming in your shingles. All of these symptoms can lead to a roof leakage.


If you have any type of hole in your roof line or in the roof, you can bet that a critter will attempt to call it home. Once in, these animals can cause a lot more damage and you’ll have to pay big bucks to get them removed unless you block up the hole yourself.

Blocking off a hole with an animal inside it’s never a good idea. The animal will feel trapped and will wreak havoc inside your home and cause a lot of damage. For animal lovers, it will also mean the demise of the animal and perhaps small babies that never had a chance to bloom.

Before small problems become big ones, get your roof inspected. A lot of the roofing issues that we see are due to aging of the roof and to severe weather conditions. While these are the most common problems, there are many other roofing situations that require an immediate handling to prevent more severe issues from forming in the future.

Planning a New Home Purchase? Find out Everything You Can about the Roof First!

Planning a New Home Purchase? Find out Everything You Can about the Roof First!

As a new home buyer you have probably already paid a home inspector for an inspection and your home has passed the test. You sit back in your chair in the living room and then all of a sudden notice a small drip coming from the ceiling. This drip is followed by a second one and then another. You grab a bowl and then the panic sets in. What do you do? How could this be happening when the roof was inspected?

A Quick Word about Home Inspections

While the example above is extreme, a home inspector can give you a general idea of how your roof is doing but may overlook something that’s not obvious. For example, the roof doesn’t need a gaping hole in it for it to leak.

In order to get a better idea of the roofing condition you should find out everything you can before making a home purchase. A new roof can cost thousands and thousands of dollars to replace and it is your home’s front-line against the elements.

When Was the Roof Installed?

Ask the previous homeowner if he knows how old the roof is. Quite often he’ll have a general idea of its age but will not know the exact year it was installed. Find out if there is any paperwork available or other records showing the age of the roof. This will let you know whether the roof will need replacing soon or whether it will need to undergo some serious repairs.

Is There a Warranty?

If there is any paperwork available, go through it to find out whether there is a warranty and whether or not it is transferable. Many warranties can be transferred to a new owner so it’s worth trying to track down more information.

When Was the Last Repair Made?

Finding out when the last repair was made can give you some clues about its age. For example, if the previous homeowner does not know how old the roof is but can tell you that he had some leaks in the master bedroom area last year; this can give you a clue. It may very well indicate that the roof may need more repairs in the future due to its age. Unless the repair was due to an isolated extreme weather issue, you may need to do more repairs on it sooner than later.

Safeguarding Your Investment

As a new homeowner you should gather together all the information you can about the roof before making an investment in the home. Just because a home inspector says your roof looks okay doesn’t mean that there aren’t any underlying issues due to its age.

You should also be aware that home inspectors are not regulated in Ontario and there have been thousands of complaints against them regarding roofing issues and other problems that went undetected. Feel free to Google it for yourself. If you want a second opinion about your roof an experienced roofer can check it out for you an affordable price.

Preventative Measures

Roofs should be inspected by a qualified roofer at least once a year. A bi-yearly check would be a good idea if your roof is more than 10 years old. These checks don’t cost a lot and could save you literally thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.

The roof is the hat to your home and if it doesn’t do its job your dwelling will suffer and start to crumble. For this reason, the roof is the most important area of your home to preserve. Take care of it and it will take care of you.