Re-Roofing Questions


#1

I’ve never had a roof replaced before, so I’m completely new to this. I’m located on Boston’s North Shore, Swampscott, to be precise, and I’ve had several roofers out to the house to give me estimates. After talking to them and looking over the estimates, I’ve got some questions:

  1. How many nails per shingle is standard? I have one roofer swearing that 7 is plenty, and another touting the fact that he puts 12 nails in every shingle.

  2. What weight felt? One estimate includes 20 lb felt. Another ($1,500 more) includes 30lb felt. What weight would you recommend, and is the added weight of 30 over 20 worth $1,500?

  3. How high up the roofline should ice protection extend from the gutter, and are there significant differences in the different kind of protection laid down? My understanding is that the ice protection is essentially a rubber membrane laid down underneath the shingle. Is six feet up the roofline enough?

  4. Do the advantages of having a large team come out and do the job in one day outweigh the disadvantages of less supervision and possibly diminished quality of work? I have one estimate from a well-established company that’s going to descend on the house with an army of 30 people and finish the job in a day (this is also the cheapest estimate). The other estimates I have are from roofers who will tackle the job with a half dozen guys and take 3 days. They caution that the more guys on a jobsite, the harder it is to supervise and the more likley you are to get shoddy work. Any thoughts on this? I have napping kids in the house, so my wife loves the idea of having only one day of disruption.

  5. **Certainteed or GAF (or other)? **I’m leaning toward a Certainteed 30 year architectural shingle because my wife really likes one of the slate-like blends offered by Certainteed. From looking around the web and on this forum, it pretty much seems to me that the choice between Certainteed and GAF is largely just one of personal preference. Am I missing something?

  6. Anything else I should be thinking about? The roofers I’ve met so far made a good impression and were quick to point out that there are no hidden costs (replacement of up to 150 linear feet of sheathing, replacement of some rotten facia board, boots on stacks, flashing on chimney, clean-up costs and debris disposal all included). With the exception of price and time to complete the job, I’m having a hard time distinguishing them. Is there anything else I should be looking at?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any help you can provide. This is a pretty substantial investment in our house ($7,300 - $8,800 are the current estimates), and I want to make sure I’ve covered my bases.


#2

steep pitch requires 6 nails per shingle,7 w/certainteed "independence, more could raise potential for future roof leaks,nailing in the proper area is whats more important--typically warranties require 15# felt for breathing purposes-ice &water shield should extend at minumum 2 ft. past the bearing wall,and around protrusions,and at wall junctures,pipes etc.-i prefer 5-6 man crew(less cooks)--i like certainteed and gaf-what i would be concerned w/ is getting the best value for my money vs.lower cost---30-40 yr.s is a long time to be sorry you thought you were saving money--some contractors are cheaper because they dont have proper liability or workmens compensation insurance–an accident on the job w/out this could mean much larger problems for you -GOOD LUCK—P.S-I ALSO PREFER TO INSTALL 3X3 METAL FLASHING BEHIND THE GUTTER & ONTO THE ROOF,AND YOUR GUTTERS SHOULD BE INSTALLED W/INSIDE HANGERS AND SCREW/BOLTS INSTEAD OFNAILS(SPIKES &FERRULES,IF POSSIBLE INCLUDE THE GUTTERS W/ YOUR PROJECT TO COVER ALL BASESAGAIN-GOOD LUCK


#3

I’m next door in Lynn but you’ve never heard of me because I cant bang out those roofs in a day. I’m going to say I don’t want to give an estimate so that I can provide an unbiased opinion on this.

1.) First of all 12 nails is just a ridiculous gimmick. I put six nails (storm nailed) on all houses, and eight nails (hurricane nailed) on the water. That being said, 12 nails is a gimmick. In most cases, the amount of nails I’m installing is above and beyond spec as it is.

2.) Don’t worry about the weight of the paper. If someone wants to waste the extra money on 30 lb. over 15 lb., thats fine, but it isnt going to change the final product of the roof.

3.) Ice and water barrier needs to be installed so that it overlaps the heated interior by 18". On a lower slope, some people may choose to put two rows, which is six feet, as an insurance.

4.) I do my homework and have yet to find a crew on the North Shore that is capable of doing a house in a day that actually has all employees covered by workmens comp. insurance, so aside from the fact that, yes quality will be lost in the form of high nails and other similar things, I’d be more concerned with my homeowners insurance policy than anything.

5.)Certainteed or GAF? I like Certainteed for many, many reasons, but I think their quality is similar. Tell them to put on what you want for the same price.

Tell me who the companies are, I’ll tell you if they’re straight up or not. I don’t care if I get sued, I’m homesteaded. I can give you some recommendations right now; Len Gibelys (Peabody) guys do a fine job, never met the man just going by what I see. Aspen Roofing in Salem is good, I worked for him 12 years ago and can speak for his quality and character. Dan Clemens out of Lynn will get her done quick and has all the right insurances. He and his guys are ugly, but don’t let em scare ya, he’s a big teddy bear.


#4

of course you could have just called Severance & Gallant that lost $12000 to get on the front cover of your little phone book… but who ever heard of them. :smiley:


#5

I missed something about question 2 before… no, 30 lb. felt is not worth $1500 more, it wont even COST $1500 for the product and may even be FASTER to put on, since it wont tear as easily if a breeze comes while theyre installing it. Another gimmick. Overcharging for a useless product.


#6

Severance - I really appreciate your unbiased advice. The companies I’m looking at right now are:

  • William Trahant Roofing (1 day job, 20lb felt, lowest estimate)

  • Mavros Painting & Roofing Co. (3 day job, 30lb felt, 7 nails/shingle, middle estimate)

  • VSR Roofing (3 day job, 30lb felt, 12 nails/shingle, high estimate)

  • Olympic Painting and Roofing (estimate pending)

  • Frontier Roofing (estimate pending)

Thanks, again. Much appreciated.


#7

Trahant Roofing-- more brand new trucks than U.S. citizens. There is no workmens comp. on illegal aliens.

Mavros-- I don’t know much about them, saw them pop up in the last three years. Never seen them working, I only see their trucks around.

VSR-- Seen their signs around. I don’t theyre a huge operation and the BBB has 3 complaints on them unanswered in the last 3 years.

Olympic Painting and Roofing-- doesnt get anymore illegal than this. Same as Trahant, but he takes it one step further, he registers all of his trucks in New Hampshire to avoid vehicle insurance too.

Frontier-- If I became a cripple I would probably choose them of these guys if the price is reasonable. They have a business location, a business telephone number, they claim a normal amount of employees (not 2), been in business since 1992, have 1 complaint that was administratively closed with the BBB (unreasonable customers are out there).


#8

Hi,

If you put 6 nails in each shingle. You actually have 12 nails in each shingle. Because each nail actually goes through the shingle that you are nailing and the shingle below it.

We have a company here that actually tells people that.


#9

i sometimes see the painting and roofing scam in my area…they call it this, but their insurance certificate says “painting” so that they can show insurance, but it is misclassified, and does not cover roofing operations. If it were me, I would toss the painting and roofing companies out the window.


#10

mr kurth,
when you have a member of this site near you
i recomend you at least try to get him/her to do your
roof.
save yourself some trouble.

gweedo.


#11

i actually did a roof today in which the customer found me here.


#12

Thanks for the plug gweedo. No calls came in though so I shut down roofing operations until April, bought a house with the intent of flipping so I’m literally self employed right now. No bosses whatsoever. I’m not playing this hungry winter roofing game anymore, its not worth my time or the headaches. Besides, I would never hire anyone that bad mouths another company :smiley: I would never say any of this during an estimate. I’m just a private citizen with eyes right now.


#13

Thanks for the plug gweedo. No calls came in though so I shut down roofing operations until April, bought a house with the intent of flipping so I’m literally self employed right now. No bosses whatsoever. I’m not playing this hungry winter roofing game anymore, its not worth my time or the headaches. Besides, I would never hire anyone that bad mouths another company :smiley: I would never say any of this during an estimate. I’m just a private citizen with eyes right now.


#14

—Most importantly, go get a solid look @ all the insurance(s) that your prospective contractors might have.
—If permits are required in your county / city / state, have specific provisions to this effect been discussed or mentioned?
—Back to insurance - don’t be afraid to call the insurance co’s who issued the policy & make sure the coverage is correct for this kind of project as well as still in effect (amazing things can be done with a scanner & image editing software these days).

—Ask to have a blank copy of the contract that all of your prospective contractor(s) use. (shouldn’t be that bad a thing because unless a contract is countersigned by a co. rep, it shouldn’t be enforceable, i.e. a total reroof for 1/2 the prices you’ve been quoted).
—Read every little detail on the contracts & every page, front & back. Look for specific provisions in the event of failure of the roof.
—Ask if there are additional forms that go along with the sales process & if there are, ask for a blank copy of these as well (things like statements of suitability for repairs based on the condition of the house, a form that details a pre-roofing interior checklist to look for & identify cracks in the drywall, delicate things on super sentive glass shelves, etc.).

Other omissions…

**Help us out a bit more… so that we may help you.

  1. How many squares? 30 people on a residential roof sounds insane!

  2. What pitch(es) is / are the slope(s)? (If you know.) **If it’s a steep pitch, is anyone suggesting an improved kind of hip & ridge cap shingle, **i.e. one that will work better over time & not split due to a matched 9:12 or better slope tie in?

  3. **Gable or hip roof? “Simple” profile or is the roofline really, really cut up? ******(This might mean the house takes longer to do)…

  4. One story or two? (or more?)

  5. Is anyone stating specifically in their estimate they will be removing all the felt? If this hasn’t been mentioned @ all, then they probably aren’t taking all the felt off.

  6. Are you getting Starter Strip, or do they intend to do a “3 Tab Flipped” under first course? Starter is better, BTW.

  7. 20 # felt?? Did you say TWENTY pound???:shock:

  8. Do any of them provide a tire puncture guarantee as a part of their cleanup process? A nicety, for sure, but it says they will cover any damages or leftover debris.

  9. You state “boots” for pipes. Does this mean lead jacks or 3 in 1’s or EPDM boots? I’m a fan of LJ’s… last longer, less chance of cracking. Will they be putting silicone over all exposed nail heads? Are they painting all exposed pipes & existing gas flues to match the shingle color?

  10. Does anyone have provisions for ridge vents or any other kind of attic ventilation?

  11. **Does anyone have a manufacturer’s extended warranty coverage? I.E. GAF Master Elite Extended Warranty, ** that transfers to the shingle mfg’s liabilty instead of the contractor…

  12. Do any of them have a warranty trust?

  13. What about cold weather installation? Has any of them discussed how it might look, what to expect & how long you might have to wait for it to lay back down?

  14. What kind of deposit, if any, is being requested?

  15. **What kind of provisions are being made for inclement weather during the project? **What if you get a job started on Monday & it is expected to be a 3 day project… but on day 2 it starts to rain?

  16. **Do you have a chimney? **If so, what is being done to accomondate the siding or masonry & the turnback metal or step flashing?

This might keep you busy for a little while…**


#15

NOW he sees my frontcover ad (as I didn’t give him my number):smiley: . Got a call tonight, missed it as I forgot to take my phone with me while I payed a bill at Sears. This is frustrating to me though, spent 12,000 dollars and got 4 calls all year. I wouldnt advertise at all, except, with me on the roof and only hiring real roofers that I can trust with families, we get about one roof done a week on a usual week. This doesnt create a whole lot of word of mouth. I haven’t worked since November roofing. I got 2 calls in that time. How do I stay on the roof and generate more buzz? Help anyone?


#16

You need to use all forms of advertising @ your disposal; things that don’t cost a lot. As of right now, I only pay for truck magnets (2’ x 3’) & business cards. Over time, it builds.

I advertise in Craigslist - send me an Email or PM & I will send you a link so you can see how it looks.

When I hand out business cards, I always give two - one to keep, one to put on the fridge or to a co-worker, family member or friend that might ask.

I offer a 25.00 referral fee to any customer who hands my name off to another customer & I complete the job. IMO, any more is going to make one or both of them (new & old customer) suspicious that the cost for this is coming out of the new customer's pocket & besides, word of mouth should go further on it's own. I usually do the 25.00 in the form of a gift card to a restaurant.

Call old customers every 2 years & offer to do a free inspection of the roof, especially if there’s been any kind of adverse or out of th eordinary weather. Keeps your name in front of them. If the phone # goes dead or incorrect, try to stop by in person & introduce yourself to the new homeowner; tell them that you’ll warrant any concerns they might have (don’t EVERuse the word “problem” because then they may wonder what problems you might have in mind). Hand out two biz cards to the new homeowners. Offer to do touchups every 5 years or so to any paint on the lead jacks so they’ll stay good looking.

Mail out surveys to your customers about 6 months after the roof completion; it’s a good way to keep your name in front of the customer & it’s just soon enough to allow them to remember the entire process. FOLLOW UP on what the surveys say. If there is anything that deserves correcting by the survey, hand write a note back to the customer stating you fully intend to address this concern (snail mail it on day one, call on day two & let the letter show up on day 3).

Go out of your way to provide a high level of customer service & you’ll be surprised how the good news travels… but it DOES take time.

If you get mail from realtors offering all their ‘usual’ marketing stuff to get you to sell your home, collect their info & mail / Email info on your company. Get on some kind of list for ‘preferred / reccomended’ contractors with all these real estate agents.

Bore the crap out of your friends & family by ALWAYS keeping your ‘roofer face’ on. If you’ve got co. Tshirts, always wear them. Have something on the back that says something like

XYZ Roofing
Stop Me and
Ask me for a free estimate

Don’t wait for someone to ASK for references, provide them UP FRONT to every customer. Give them a sample representation… ref’s from a LONG time ago scattered up to recent (name, phone #, address, color & type of shingle, insurance co. name or cash, any extra repairs). Do NOT wait for them to ask. Really; doesn’t the phrase “References upon request” sound kinds goofy? To me, that’s like saying “good news only if you wanna hear good news.”

Tell every customer you service that when the process is complete, you intend to put them on your reference list & want them to be as satisfied as possible.

Instead of a bigi fat yellow pages ad (which is dead to most people these days) get a good website up with enough bandwidth that will allow you to host a fair amount of images. If you do want the ‘traditional’ mediums like print, go with the newspaper in smaller ads peppered all over the newspaper in every section. Simple things like “XYZ roofing, licensed / insured / bonded, one gazillion years in business” followed with a phone # & / or website location.

Think of it like this… when was the last time YOU cracked a phone book to find some kind of phone # or a reference to something you were loooking for? Exactly… that’s why you should @ most have a single line ad in the phone book & devote yourself into trying to get listed on other sites (like this one).

When you have biz cards made up, get some for your consistent & longer lasting crew chief’s; their name, their cell phone but YOUR logo, address & office phone #'s.

Get on the list or make contact with apartment complex maintenance people. Explain how a ‘real’ roofer is often better than a general handyman guy. Try to get them to contact YOU for repairs instead of some other company.

Those are my suggestions…


#17

Ranch Hand, that is one of the most non-critical and helpful answers I’ve ever had to any question I’ve ever asked here. We actually share a lot of ideas, I just have probably slacked on a couple of details that you mentioned. You’re absolutely right. I like the “can-do” attitude and everything you’ve said can happen with very little money just like you say. One small thing though, is that if you’re working every day then you cant be on the roof and keep them satisfied and still follow through with all those steps. So what is the bottom line? Do I become an uninvolved salesperson making promises, or a roofer with integrity that can promise? This is a legitimate choice. Seems to me roofing isnt making me rich the way I’m going, but I want to prove I can do it right, that it can be done right. If it was easy, then I would be rich, I promise.


#18

Actually, hate to disappoint, but I still haven’t seen your ad. :slight_smile:

I got your number from the BBB site. Anyhow, even if you’re not roofing these days, I very much appreciate the useful information. Thanks again.

[quote=“RanchHandRoofing”]Instead of a bigi fat yellow pages ad (which is dead to most people these days) get a good website up with enough bandwidth that will allow you to host a fair amount of images. If you do want the ‘traditional’ mediums like print, go with the newspaper in smaller ads peppered all over the newspaper in every section. Simple things like “XYZ roofing, licensed / insured / bonded, one gazillion years in business” followed with a phone # & / or website location.

Think of it like this… when was the last time YOU cracked a phone book to find some kind of phone # or a reference to something you were loooking for? Exactly… that’s why you should @ most have a single line ad in the phone book & devote yourself into trying to get listed on other sites (like this one).[/quote]

Seriously. I’ve had a lot of work done to my house since I purchased it last August. Never once have I looked in the phone book to find a contractor. It’s all about word of mouth and Internet presence. Good luck!

And RanchHand, I’ll chew on all that info you provided, as well. Again, thanks much.


#19

this is part of the reason im here, to learn and to teach. I’m still paying a huge yellow pages ad, but I’ve finally come to accept the internet presence aspect. I didnt think it would work for local businesses, but more people reference the internet than i gave credit for. I’m still thirty and making money everywhere I can legally. I’m not panicked yet.


#20

If you’re so busy that you are on a roof every day of the week, then sure… you can’t be two or three places @ once. Some of these things aren’t daytime operations, anyhow. I get my biz cards from VistaPrint & order them in batches of 250… when I’m down to my last 50 or so, I reorder. Same would go vor your crew Chief or whoever else you get biz cards for.

As for being in two places @ once, do you ‘really’ need to be there when the field is being laid down? Do you have ONE crew chief guy or crew leader that you trust implicitly to do the right thing every time? Give him a financial incentive… (him only with occasional spiffs for the crew). IMO, the most important part is the tearoff & doing repairs to the roof deck. Once the felt is dropped & chalk lines are snapped (sorry, G-Tape) & valley is laid in (base metal), the rest is up to the crew for a solid layout.

The three things that bug me the most & can easily be corrected is when they don’t paint the lead jacks valley tips when it’s felt only (I hate overspray) & felt isn’t laid over the eaves & under the rakes. Oh, that & high pop nails or low set nails (under the reveal).

You have to find a good balance between being on the roof & working new customers / drumming up new business. I have a guy I’m grooming to be a job foreman & good roof measuring guy… I have a co. who owns rental properties & also does flips; I’m not afraid of losing his biz to anyone else & I give my measuring guy $ 50.00 for each sale we make of his sketches (with a form to fill out with all the required numbers on things like starter & drip edge, how many squares of 2 story, pitch, etc.). This allows me to meet with a customer, go over any specific areas of concern & do two things @ once. the hard part here is in finding “just the right guy” that you can trust to not screw things up.