Roofing Questions / Answers on Shingling New Roofs and Re-Roofing

Tips for Determining if You Need a Roof Reshingled, How Much it Will Cost, and Where to Find Reputable Roofing Contractors

By Mark J. Donovan

The roof is a vital organ of a home or any other building, as it protects it from rain, snow and ice. Consequently it is imperative to check and maintain your roof regularly to make sure it is in tip-top shape. Often homeowners have an out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude when it comes to their home’s roof, until they see water dripping down from their ceiling and walls during a rainstorm. Don’t let yourself wait until this happens, as it can cost a fortune in water, and mold and mildew damage repair. Carefully inspect your roof a couple of times each year, and if you see roof damage or wear repair it quickly.

Listed below is a series of common roofing questions along with answers that can help you determine if it’s time for a new roof.

When is the best time(s) of the year to inspect a roof?

Fall and spring are the best times of the year to inspect a roof. Inspecting your roof in the fall is wise so that you can make any roofing repairs prior to the onslaught of winter. Inspecting your roof in the spring is also a smart decision as you can assess if the winter weather has damaged your roof in anyway. Ice dams are notorious for damaging roof shingles near the roof eaves.

How long is my asphalt shingle roof expected to last?

It depends upon the type of shingles installed, how they were installed, your local climate, and if adequate attic insulation and venting are installed. Shingles are sold with lifetime warranties that range from around 15 to 40 years. My personal experience is that you can expect them to last for about 75 to 80% of their lifetime warranty. The life of the shingles is also dependent upon if and how other elements of the roofing materials were installed, such as ice and water shield, drip edge, and flashing. Also, proper roof nailing is critical for ensuring that the shingles don’t get blown off during wind storms.

Notice the ice and watershield installed during this Asphalt Roof Shingle Installation.

Finally, to ensure maximum shingle life it’s important that there is good ridge vent and soffit venting to allow the heat of the attic to be easily eliminated from the attic during the hot summer months. High attic temperatures during the summer can dramatically shorten the life of asphalt shingles. Similarly, it’s important to have plenty of attic insulation to prevent warm moist air from rising up in the attic in the winter time. Warm moist air in the attic during the winter months can lead to the formation of ice dams which can destroy roofs and cause major water leaks.

What should you do if you see cracking, curling, cupping and fishmouthing on the shingles?

If you see cracking, curling, cupping or fishmouthing it’s time to re-roof your home. These are all symptoms of a roof that is nearing the end of its life and that could possibly lead to roof leaks at any time.

What should you do if you see a missing a shingle or two?

You can temporarily slide a new shingle up underneath the shingles just above the missing shingle(s). This will at least prevent a roof leak until you can call in a roofing contractor. Alternatively you can replace the individual asphalt shingle yourself, however it takes a little skill and the right tools and materials.

What should I do if my roof has many leaks?

Temporarily cover the entire roof with a large vinyl tarp. Then call in a roofing contractor to inspect the roof to see what should be done. Most likely the entire roof will need to be re-shingled. The roofing contractor should also inspect the roof for any structural damage due to the severity of the roof leaks.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet

Where Can I Find a Roofing Contractor?

Your best bet is to check with friends and neighbors in your area that have used a roofing contractor recently and who can vouch for them. If you’re unable to go this route then your next best solution is to use one of the national contractor referral companies. These companies have a database of contractors throughout the entire country that they’ve done background checks on and have fully screened. Their service is free for the homeowner. Simply fill out their online form and 3 to 4 roofing contractors in your local area will contact you. Again, there is no obligation to use any of these contractors. If you’re interested in this service go to “Find Roofing Contractor”.

How much will it cost to Re-shingle My Roof or to Install a New Roof?

Prices of course vary with the size of the roofing project, the type of roof, and how many pipes and chimneys protrude from it. Also local labor market and supply conditions also impact roofing costs. However, for a rough asphalt shingle roofing cost estimate please see my “Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimator”. It provides options and costs for various asphalt shingle types, as well as input fields for roof size, number of pipes and chimney sizes, as well as a number of other factors. Overall it will provide a fairly accurate roofing cost estimate.

How Can I be Sure I’m Hiring the Right Roofing Contractor?

Contractors are a special breed. Their business men who are also skilled craftsmen, however business acumen and craftsmanship can vary greatly from one to another. The best advice I can offer you is to buy my “Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet”. It provides you with a detailed questionnaire on the various types of questions to ask prospective roofing contractors. The way the questionnaire is written you can simply provide a copy of it to the prospective roofing contractors for them to fill out. You can then compare their results with my advice and recommendations section in the remainder of the bid sheet. Also, by having prospective roofing contractors complete the same questionnaire you can do better apple-to-apple bid comparisons. If you decide not to use my “Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet” then the most important advice I can leave you with is always check multiple references on prospective roofing contractors.

For more help on Shingling Your Home’s Roof, see’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won’t end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimator

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