Condo Blues: How to Buy a Roof

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to Buy a Roof

One of the reasons we bought a new build condo is so we wouldn’t have to worry about making home repairs to make it move in ready. In fact, we had a guarantee that the builder would make repairs or fixes on to our home for the first year.

Except the roof. 

And we had to replace.

Less than a year after putting it on the new house.

Being innocent doe eyed homeowners, all we thought we needed was to do was call the insurance company, get someone to slap a few new shingles on the roof, cash the insurance check, pay the guy, and call it a day.  

Ha, ha, ha. Silly doe eyed homeowners.

The part that tripped us up when buying a new roof was not realizing that there is more to a roof than a plywood base with shingles on top. In general, roofs are made of the following layers:

Water and ice barrier under layer. This layer goes around low areas on the roof as vents and chimney where rainwater or melting snow may collect and could damage the roof unless it drains properly.

Underlayment layer over the entire roof. This layer protects the whole roof against moisture.  This is a different layer and product than what they use around the vents and chimneys. 

Shingles! There are different types of shingles for different areas of the roof.

Roof vents and venting. Your roof and attic needs air circulation to do its job and keep mold and mildew at bay

Gutters and downspouts. You know what those are, right?

It’s a little sale pitchy, but the folks at Owens Corning explain roof parts and the buying process more concisely than I can the video below. I’m posting it because it is a good primer if you find yourself in the expected situation of buying or repairing a new roof and don’t have my trusted resource of a DIY Dad and a DIY Father in Law. The Owens Corning web site has some good general information about preventing ice dams and roof repairs too.

We got lucky when we had to replace our roof. Husband and I researched contractors and narrowed our list by talking to neighbors about their experience. We checked the Better Business Bureau before we talked the roofers on our short list because we were in a situation where some not so scrupulous people swooped in because a large amount of homes in our area had storm damage. Finally, we got at three bids to compare and choose who we thought would do the best job and be the best return on investment. Our choice was necessarily the cheapest bid.

Our roofer didn’t take advantage of our roof system naivete either and only repaired and replaced what Ike ripped up when he raged through town.

Fortunately, our homeowner’s insurance covered all of the costs and paid on time.

It wasn’t as painful as it could be because we did our homework and hired a good company. But every time the skies darken around this time of year, I hope I don’t have to go through it anytime soon.

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Disclosure: Owens Corning didn't pay me or give me goodies to post this video or links to their site. In fact, I'm not even sure what brand of supplies my roofer used on my new roof. I should probably check that out, huh?


Anonymous said...

Ha ha now you post this info. One thing you have to ask too about your roof is make sure you get a Warrenty on parts and labor. You can also check Angie's List for some qualified vendors as well. You can reduce expenses by buying your materials from Home Depot/Lowes. in fact, go to Giant Eagle, everything you need in gift cards then go buy your supplies. Not only do you save money but you then get free gas with your Giant Eagle card!

Mary said...

This is good information to have - Thanks for posting it! Hope I won't need it for a lo-o-ong time.

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