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What you need to know when considering a new roof
If your roof is older than 15 years, it’s probably time to replace it
We may need more than just a roof over our heads to be happy, but a leaky roof is sure to make anyone miserable.
With 25 years’ experience and a trades qualification ticket in roofing, Andrew McDowell, owner of 21st Century Roofers, provides a primer on what you need to know when considering a new roof.
The primary determination is the age of the roof. Start looking for warning signs once your roof is 15 to 20 years old. Cedar shakes will crack and curl or be missing caps, and shingles might lack granules or be curling and buckling. When you find loose shingles in your backyard when you’re cutting the grass, it might be time for a new roof.
The majority of roofs are asphalt (90 per cent) or cedar. There are also eco-friendly roofing shingles made from recycled rubber tires. When deciding on material, look for a roofer who is certified as a contractor by the roofing manufacturer. Look at your budget and see what fits in with that budget. Cedar is often converted to asphalt due to cost and lack of performance.
Don’t focus just on price; look at the quality. Look at their track record and how long they’ve been in business. Check the Better Business Bureau or the new www.homestars.com, where customers rate their contractors. Look at their truck, how they dress, if they address their customers properly. Read the quote to make sure all the product used is inside the [by] same manufacturer and that they are not using cheaper, non-warranty vents or shingle underlay. And check for insurance, both WCB and liability.
Prices range from entry-level shingles to premium ones, and with both you can still get lifetime warranties with approved contractors. Costs vary depending on material used and the size and type of roof you have. Asphalt might be $2 to $5 a square foot, depending on the rate of difficulty. If you can walk on your roof, it will be easier for the roofer to do the work. If the slope is steep or the material has to be carried in by hand, that will drive costs.
Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.