"A different roofer said we could just install another layer on my roof and not take off the current shingles. Do you do that too?"
Should a roofer remove the first layer of shingles before installing a new shingled roof?
Many roofers offer the option of installing a layer of shingles over a single layer of existing shingles on a residential home. The IRC codes also allow one lay-over roof on a single-family residential home. This means if a home has only one layer of shingles, it is safe for the homeowner to install a full layer of shingles over that roof.
Some people would argue that this just increases the water and weather resistance when it’s done properly. This is incorrect. Shingles are designed to work in a system. Modern asphalt shingles require a layer of underlayment; tar-based felt, synthetic underlayment, or rubberized synthetic underlayment is typical. A roofer must remove a few shingles to even see if an underlayment was installed on the first installation. If not, this is already an issue.
Also, flashings and counter flashings are difficult, if not impossible, to install properly on a lay-over. When the shingles land against an end wall or side wall, a flashing is required. Also, drip edge is required in many cities that have adopted IRC 2015 codes. If the original roof does not have drip edge, the original roof must be cut back and drip edge applied to the wood below. This causes the appearance of drooping on the ends and edges.
My practice of installing a professional and durable roof is to remove the entire roof system down to the plywood, inspect all of the wood decking and repair or replace any issues. Once the decking is solid and strong, we install a full layer of synthetic felt underlayment with ice and water shield in every valley, penetration, and flashing area. This layer of protection is sufficient to withstand rain by itself.
Once the underlayment is properly applied, the drip edge is installed on all eaves and rakes (the drip edge keeps water from running down and back around the shingle to the wood beneath, forcing the water flow to move out away from the home).
Starter shingles are used to create a starting edge for all shingles. The starter should be applied to all eaves, rakes, and gables. Some roofers cut corners here and use cheap shingles, they only use starter shingles on the eaves, or some don’t use starters at all.
Finally, use a good shingle. Do not cut corners on brand or material. If it’s done right, this could be the one and only time you buy a roof. Do it right. Remember, a roof is the most important thing you will install on your home.
Ventilation is arguable. Some prefer gable vents and no other ventilation. Some also argue for box (or "turtle") vents along the ridge. I prefer a solid ridge vent with soffit vents installed. If your home doesn’t have soffit vents, your roofer should take that into account and advise you to either install an after-market soffit vent system or utilize a different ventilation system to create good airflow through and under the shingles. Ventilation will increase the life span of shingles and help keep them looking good longer.
Once the vents are chosen and installed, hip and ridge caps should be installed. Do not allow a roofer to use standard shingles and cut them for ridge caps. The shingles are not meant for this purpose and they aren’t flexible enough for the bends they must make. Use designed hip and ridge shingles for this purpose and enjoy a long-lasting, worry-free roof.
Many upgrades are available. Ask your roofer about these. Some shingles offer streak resistance while others offer hail resistance. Class IV shingles are more durable and proven to withstand higher winds and hail storm damage. Some insurance companies even reward homeowners who install Class IV with a discount.
Metal roofs are another great option. From the classic rib-style metal panel to standing seam metal roofing, the metal panel roofing is by far the best roof a homeowner can install. It’s the most durable and longest lasting option available. Metal shingles also exist and offer a metal roof with a shingle appearance. This helps those homeowners with HOA restrictions who want a metal roof. Be sure to ask about these options.
Many options exist. Be sure to see as many as possible and make your home your protected castle. I have plenty of ideas to share.
It’s scary out there. If you as a homeowner don’t know what to look for, you could be taken advantage of by an inferior roofer. Read company reviews, talk to former clients, get referrals from friends, or walk onto a job site to inspect the work your potential company is performing. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
“We really liked the consultant who first came to see us to discuss our renovation. But after he left, the project manager took over and we felt like promises the consultant made weren’t kept.”
Many successful construction companies use the salesman/project manager approach. A salesman (or “remodeling consultant”) is the first point of contact for new clients. He meets with the clients to discuss the project, puts a proposal together and then asks the clients to sign the contract. After the clients sign the contract, a project manager (PM) takes over to perform the scope of work specified.
The problem with this approach is that the consultant is a salesman whose goal is to get a signature on a contract. Though the salesman may have the best of intentions and may have done his due diligence to provide an accurate estimate and submit a great proposal, sometimes the commitments he makes to the clients are more than the PM can fulfill. This often causes the clients to get caught in the middle between what the salesman promises and what the project manager can deliver.
During my time at L & L Contractors, we have always conducted client business with a one-point-of-contact approach. Every project manager is the single point-of-contact for his clients. After a client's initial call, a PM will contact him or her to set up an appointment. The same PM will arrive and discuss the project face-to-face during the initial consultation. After the scope of work is determined, the PM will personally write the estimate and contract for work to be performed. After the client signs the contract, the PM then initiates the work and manages the entire project. The project manager will continue to work with the client through the end of the project.
The biggest advantage to this approach is that the project manager alone is responsible for every commitment made to the client, from the initial meeting until the final walk-through.
Which approach do you prefer; working with a salesman first and then with the project manager or dealing with only the PM through the entire project?
This is how most installers handle an issue that arises during an installation. This can happen with any trade. The gas connection must be moved before the electric can be upgraded. Or, the lighting must be removed and drywall repaired before the wall can be tiled. This usually results in the client working with multiple contractors, managing the contractors’ schedules, juggling multiple crew schedules and work days. The client must also deal with call-offs and no-shows which cause delays for the multiple contractors involved.
The difference between an installer and a general contractor (GC) is that a GC has the ability and the skills to manage every trade involved with a project. Also, a GC typically has a list of qualified contacts for every trade. A GC is able to hire, manage, background check, verify insurance, warranty, and pay each trade without the client’s direct involvement. This gives the client a full-spectrum project without the hassle of getting deeply involved in the project.
A general contractor is even beneficial for single-trade projects. For example, a roof may seem like a single-trade project. However, if the roof is removed and rotten rafters are found, you may be headed for trouble. Without a framer in the wings, the roofer must tarp the roof and leave. Meanwhile, the homeowner must find a framer for the rotten rafters and then order materials. The framer may not be instantly available, so the roof may be exposed for a long period of time, risking more damage. Once the framing is repaired, the roofer must then be rescheduled. This may cause further delays.
Replacing countertops can be another risky endeavor. Without a plumber on call, most countertop installers are not qualified to disconnect or reconnect sink faucets or drains. The risk is high for leaks and a qualified plumber is required. I have seen the result of a handyman doing plumbing outside of his skill level and then, consequently, a homeowner incurring costly repairs due to a major leak. The repairs exceeded the cost of having a quality plumber scheduled at the beginning of the countertop project.
Every trade affects another. Every time a homeowner needs a repair or upgrade, he or she should be prepared for unseen and unknown issues which may present themselves.
So, to answer the question…yes, every project does need a GC. Homeowners have two choices for the position: hire a licensed, qualified GC for the project or become the GC themselves. If you are willing to take days off work, spend hours online and on the phone, and take on the risk for each tradesman, then you can definitely save some money by bypassing the GC. However, if you truly want professional, quality projects completed with less issues and less headaches, give me a call.