Ask Roofing Contractors in Pittsburgh, PA
The process of purchasing and installing a new roof is brimming with considerations large and small. The costs and quality of the results are directly related to decisions made before and during the process. Before you make any decisions, be sure to get answers to your initial questions from experienced roofing contractors.
Pittsburgh, PA, residents trust Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC for quality work and honest, transparent service. We’re happy to offer roofing advice and roofing tips relevant to your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us at our Russellton location for a free, in-home estimate or for answers to any other questions you may have about your roofing, shingle, or remodeling projects.
Below, owner Robert Jermalowski provides expert roofing information about how a job is done correctly and to the customer’s complete satisfaction. Topics range from signs you need a new roof, what to ask and look for in a roofing contractor, information about warranties, documentation, and much more.
10 Signs That You Need a New Roof
This 10 point checklist will help you to determine if it’s time for a new roof. If your asphalt shingle roof shows these signs, it should be evaluated by a professional roofing contractor. Call the roofing experts at Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC to get a professional evaluation of your roof and to determine if your problems are shingle, flashing, or weather related.
- Missing Roof Shingles
Dislodged shingles or shingles that have been blown off the roof surface indicate that your roof’s asphalt shingle is losing its tar seal. When this happens asphalt shingles will become loose and have the tendency to flip up or off in even the lightest wind storms. Once the tar strip loses its seal not much can be done with the old shingle. Temporary tar sealing will work in the short term, but is not guaranteed to fix the problem permanently. Replacing the missing tab shingles is an option, but you need to be careful depending on the age of the roof. Mixing new asphalt shingles with much older, worn out asphalt shingles may cause other problems. Always consult an expert roofer like Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC before making costly repairs that may not work rather than getting a new roof.
- Missing Granular on Roofing Shingles
On a new roof, asphalt based shingles have a granular covering to protect the tar surface and give the shingle its attractive appearance. Over time, the granular surface of the asphalt shingle loosens and wears off. Once worn down to the asphalt base, the asphalt shingle will tend to dry out and crack exposing the underlying roof. Once the granular surface has worn from the asphalt shingle base, the shingles must be replaced.
- Curling Roof Shingles
Curling is generally caused by poor ventilation or a dried out asphalt shingle base. Once this curling process starts, nothing can stop it. Eventually the curled pieces break off which may cause the roof to leak. When a roof reaches this stage it is important not to walk on it if possible. Walking on it will dislodge the curled pieces will make them break off from the asphalt shingle base. Many inexperienced roofers will attempt to inspect a roof with curled shingles. Before doing a full roof inspection, Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC will discuss any damage risk from walking on your roof.
- Blistered Roofing Shingles
At this point the shingles have had it. They are cracked, bubbled looking, and, in most cases, dislodged from their seal and original roof placement. This is another instance where everyone should remain off the roofing surface in order to avoid further damage to your existing shingles. Under these conditions, Doing It Right Home Improvements would recommend a completely new roof.
- Multiple Layers of Shingles
When I started in this business back in 1984, it was common practice to install an asphalt shingle roof over an existing asphalt shingle roof. The manufacturers at that time even provided directions on how to do this type of installation. That has all changed and no reputable roofer would even consider installing shingle on shingle roofing now. Doing so will void your shingle warranty. What the roofing manufactures found is that the first layer of shingles actually cooks the layer or layers of shingles installed over top of them. We can attest to that since we have found up to 5 layers of shingles on some roofs. This will decrease the life span of the new shingles installed thus costing the consumer thousands in the end. Always remove all shingle and other roofing products down to the wood deck surface before installing a new roof.
- Algae Growth on Shingles
The growth of brown or black algae on your asphalt shingles will not hurt your shingles’ performance. It doesn’t look very good, but it will not affect the shingle surface. After 30 years in business, Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC has never replaced a roof due to algae growth. Any replacement was either for appearance or because of condition of the underlying roofing material unrelated to algae. Removing the algae is optional and can be done using a bleach solution, however, bleach does remove granular as well and so we don’t recommend it.
- Flashing and Caulking Damage
Most flashing products are made of aluminum, copper or tin. The latter being the most susceptible to water damage. Most flashing problems are repairable; however, don’t accept caulking as the fix all for your roof flashing problems. Most flashing problems are caused by incorrect installation or from the flashing being dislodge from its original place due to ice, water or wind. Caulking is used to “pretty up” the edges of the flashing and is primarily a mask. If flashings are incorrectly installed any leaks are usually caused by flashing issue and not the caulking job. I suggest a complete roof evaluation before you spend any amount of money on costly repairs.
- Roof Buckling
One of the main causes of roof buckling is poor roof ventilation. Most manufactures also site poor ventilation as the # 1 cause of premature shingle wear. When heat and moisture are trapped in an attic space, it causes severe damage to the roof truss system and the roof sheathing deck. Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC always performs an attic inspection prior to replacing any roof. We check for proper ventilation and recommend additional vents if required to prevent roof buckling on your new roof.
- Water Damage and Rotting Roof Wood
About 75% of all asphalt shingle roofs that we replace each year have some sort of rotting or water damaged wood that the homeowners are not aware of. The professionals at Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC take pride in our ability to spot those areas even before the roof surface is removed. Finding the signs of water damaged areas is key in evaluating a roof. Low spots in the roof surfaces or funnel areas, sagging or out of place lines of site are just some of the determining factors in spotting damaged areas. We recommend measuring the damaged area and then doubling the replacement radius.
- Water Marks / Interior and Exterior
Let’s face it. If you find a water mark on the ceiling of your home or in the soffit area off your roofing overhang you have a water infiltration problem. That does not necessarily mean you need an entirely new roof. Doing It Right Roofing, Siding, Remodeling LLC will make the necessary assessment of the water mark and determine if it is related to a shingle, flashing, gutter, or maybe a chimney problem. Most homeowners call a roofer for leaks that are usually not caused by what the homeowner originally believes to be the problem. Correctly diagnosing the problem and implementing a good solution could save the homeowner thousands in unwanted repairs and keep the remaining untouched areas from future damage.
Choosing a Roofer or the Right Reasons
Choosing the Right Roofer is like choosing any other specialist, like the right dentist or doctor for your family, at least it should be. Would you take your children to a dentist that worked out of his basement? Would you recommend a doctor that worked out of his car? Okay, maybe it’s a little extreme to compare roofing to a medical practice, but it does get you thinking doesn’t it?
Let’s face it; our homes are our most valued personal possession. We work long and hard to afford them. The last thing any of us need is a bad roof installation, with roofing that either needs repaired or replaced again in a few years. Although I am a contractor, like you I am also a consumer. I battle the same question and answer game as all of you when hiring people to help me.
Everyone asks the same basic questions that have been asked for the last 50 years:
- How long have you been in business and doing this?
- Are you insured?
- Do you have a license to perform this work?
- How long will the job take?
- Will you work straight through until the job is complete?
These are important questions and should be asked of any roofer you consider hiring. But there are other, more important questions that will let you know what type of roofer you are dealing with and what kind of roof you will get.
- How will this roof be installed?
Answer: The answer should always be by manufacturers’ specifications. Installing roofing to the manufacturers’ specifications ensures that whatever is being installed will meet warranty & installation requirements giving you the upper hand in any warranty claims or installation failure disputes. Most important get that in writing in your contract.
- How will the ventilation of my attic space work and affect the roof performance?
Answer: There will always be an intake at the gutter or roof end line and an outlet at the roof peak. This item is not open for negotiation. Without either item the warranty will be null and void, period!
- How will you handle the gutter end line where the roof edge meets the fascia board?
Answer: We will install a roof to fascia apron or a roof to gutter apron at that end line. We have all dealt with ice dams and icicles over the past couple years in the Pittsburgh area. The leading cause of most ice dam leakage is that apron. Properly installing that apron will prevent the melting ice from backing into your living space like it tends to do here in Western PA. Unfortunately, we have no control over icicles.
Now you know what to ask to make an informed decision when it comes time to have your roof replaced. Choosing the right roofing contractor can make the difference between a quality roofing job and more follow up work after the installation. Remember, sometimes it’s what’s under the roof that you don’t see that’s most important.