Current trends in roofing

Due to the often turbulent weather, many people in metropolitan Atlanta will consider replacing their existing roof system. Replacing a damaged roof is one of the most important projects a homeowner can do to protect their most valuable and often most valuable investment. At first glance, a roof replacement may seem like a relatively simple project with very few options. In reality, there are actually several things a homeowner should consider before undertaking this type of project. Since this will likely be the last time you replace the roof on your current home, it’s worth spending a little extra time considering all of your options.

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Before you get too caught up in selecting some of the items suggested below, you might want to consider a few key factors that can influence your decision-making process:

Neighbourhood – If you are considering replacing your roof, chances are some of your neighbors have already done so. Before getting too into the details of selecting a product and contractor, take a walk (driving is expensive these days!) down your street to see what your neighbors are doing. While you have the final decision on how to improve your home, adhering to the neighborhood’s standards will generally help optimize your return on investment for that project.

Covenants / HOAs – Some neighborhoods with homeowners associations may have restrictive covenants that specify what type of building materials you can use, including roofing materials.

Future plans – How long you plan to stay in the home can play a key role in the remodeling decision-making process. While it never makes sense to sacrifice quality on a remodeling project, your future plans may affect the kind of investment you’re willing to make.

Once you’ve thought about these items, you’re ready to move forward with the decision-making process:

Type of clapboard:

There are two predominant types of asphalt shingles available today, “3-tab” and “Architectural”.

3-tab shingles have two notches in the bottom edge so that when laid on a roof it looks like three smaller shingles. When viewed on the roof, 3-tab shingles have a recognizable, repeating pattern. Architectural shingles (also known as “dimensional” or “laminate” shingles) have an extra piece of shingle laminated to them to give the impression of thickness and texture when viewed from the ground.

Architectural shingles also don’t have the same regular pattern as 3 tab shingles and give you a more custom look. When considering this type of option, you can also choose from several variations of architectural shingles, called specialty or designer shingles, that give the look of other roofing materials (slate, cedar shingles, etc.) while giving you the reliability and durability of an asphalt shingle . Many of these specialty shingles are designed to last longer than standard architectural shingles and so have even longer product warranties.

If your roof slope is shallow (20 degrees or less), the type of clapboard is probably not a strong visual element of your home. From the ground up, the clapboard color will be most predominant. So – for a shallow pitched roof, a 3-tab clapboard is probably a good choice. If you have a roof with a steeper pitch (more common in newer homes), the roof is most likely a more predominant architectural feature. In this case, the clapboard pattern is highly visible and the roof itself may be the first thing people see as they drive down the street to your home. So – for a steeper pitched roof, you may prefer architectural shingles.

Colour: Choosing color for any home improvement project can be both an exciting and stressful decision. For best results, your new roof color should match the rest of your home’s exterior, including the siding or brick color and matching trim. If you are unsure of the clapboard color, there are several methods to ensure that you will be happy with your color decision:

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1. Look at houses similar to yours. Look specifically for homes with similar architecture and rooflines.

2. Simulation Programs – Many manufacturers and some contractors have access to computer simulation programs that can model different types of shingles and roof colors on your home. While these programs are a useful tool for comparisons and narrowing down choices, keep in mind the limitations when viewing colors on a computer screen or in print.

Additional details to discuss with your contractor:

Attic Ventilation – A well-designed attic ventilation system will keep your attic cool and dry by allowing cool outdoor air to enter your attic through your eaves or soffit and releasing warm, moist air from the vents usually located at or near the ridges on the roof. Not only can a poorly ventilated attic cause premature aging of your roofing system, it can also cause damage to siding or exterior paint, warp the roofing material, allow mold growth, and even increase energy costs. To work properly, the intake and exhaust vents must both work properly to carry the cool, dry air into the attic while venting the hot, moist air. A roof replacement project is a perfect time to reassess your ventilation system and make changes to improve performance. A skilled roof replacement contractor can help you determine your ventilation requirements and whether any changes need to be made to your current system.

Mold protection – What are those black spots on your roof???? Those spots are actually a fungus in the air. This fungus grows and is attracted to roofs with the following properties:

– Areas with moisture or high humidity (anywhere in Central Georgia!)

– Areas with a lot of shade (usually northern exposures or under trees) The good news is that many shingles are now manufactured with an algae inhibitor (usually copper granules) that will help protect your new roof from this fungus for years to come!

Processes and products – If you haven’t guessed it by now, installing a roofing system is more than just nailing a bunch of shingles to your roof. How clear is the process the contractor will use? Will they strip the existing roof shingles? Will they clean up when they’re done? Which products are used as subfloor? What comes in the valleys? A good contractor will be thorough and explain the whole process.

Guarantee – A new roof system will last 20+ years if installed correctly. In recent years, manufacturers and contractors have teamed up to offer warranty programs that can provide homeowners with assurance over the life of your new roof. The fact is that roofing problems are rare, but when they do occur they can be very difficult and expensive to fix. A good warranty program should cover both material defects and improper installation.

Choose the installer:

While much of this article focuses on the product choices available to you when you replace your roof, this is only part of the story. It is just, if not more important, to choose a reputable contractor to install your roofing system. When looking for a contractor, here are some factors to consider:

Correct and current insurance coverage:

  • If you’ve been on your roof lately, you know that roofing can be a risky business!!! Check with the contractor’s insurance company to make sure they have adequate and current coverage (check for both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance).

Experience / Certification:

  • How long has the contractor been around?
  • Does the roofer have certifications in the roofing industry?
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  • Is a deposit required or is full payment due upon completion of the project?

Project timeline:

  • How long will it take the contractor to complete your roofing project?

Clear proposal and contracts:

  • All contracts must be in writing and must clearly describe what exactly will happen.

Warranty – What kind of warranty does the contractor offer (both for product defects and workmanship)?