Roof-Rite Inc. Blog in Southeast Michigan

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Know What to Expect Before You Hire

After many years spent fixing competitors' mistakes, Jim has seen it all, lots of shortcuts, all types of scams, and many under-handed business practices other roofers have used to get ahead while leaving homeowners in the lurch.

These articles are his answer, spelling it out so that homeowners know what to expect ahead of time and level the playing field for choosing a reputable, honest roofing contractor.

  • 03/01/2017 0 Comments
    Five Shortcuts Roofers Take That Hurt Your New Roof

    1. Recover vs. tear-off and replace

    This might be the biggest scam in the roofing industry. You hire a company to tear-off and replace your old roof with new shingles, meet the crew in the morning, and head off to work. You come home ten hours later to the crew just finishing your job. The roof looks great. What’s the problem? Well, while you were gone, the crew decided to not tear off your old roof. They installed new shingles over the old shingles, replacing the drip edge with new drip edge for a clean look, and called it a day. A “recover”.


    This scenario plays out more often than you think. Two or three times a month I meet a client who just replaced his roof six or seven years ago. The roof is in terrible condition – curling shingles, missing excessive amounts of granules, and worst of all, leaking. Why did it deteriorate so quickly?

    The answer is it was recovered. A recover causes shingles to age prematurely, loose granules, and curl. It’s also the leading cause of mold and fungus infestations in the roof. The only way to diagnose a mold problem is to tear up the old shingles and inspect the decking wood itself, so if this critical process is skipped during a recover, you simply never know.

    To properly inspect the roof after job completion (if you can’t be home during the installation), I would ask your roofer to remove a shingle from the center of a random section (because sometimes a “recoverer” will cut back the first three rows of shingles to eliminate a mounding effect). If you see decking, that means there is no felt paper installed. If you see old shingles, well, call the cops. And then me.


    2. Insufficient ice and water shield

    State law in Michigan requires a special underlayment called “ice and water shield” to be installed 24 inches from the inside wall at all the eaves on the roof. This prevents leaks in case ice backs up underneath the shingles from frozen gutters.


    That 24 inches doesn’t start until you’ve moved in past the overhang, the outside wall, the insulation, etc. If you have a two foot overhang, that means your roofer needs to install a minimum of 58 inches of ice and water shield to meet code. That’s 24 inches of overhang, roughly 10 inches of insulation and walling, and then the required 24 inches beyond the inside wall.

    Insufficient or improperly installed ice and water shield is a big deal – it accounts for roughly two-thirds of our roof repair business each year.

    At Roof-Rite, my crews install six feet of ice and water shield standard on every job. We also use it extensively in known problem areas like in closed valleys, up walls, and around skylights.

    Ice and water shield is expensive, so many contractors use it sparingly. I buy it by the pallet to reduce costs, but my mentality is this – it costs me much more to repair an insufficient job later than to do it right the first time, and I’m warrantying the workmanship on the roof for seven years. Six feet is a no-brainer.


    3. No starter shingles on eaves

    Shingles have an adhesive strip on the back that heats up (activates) in the sun and seals the shingles to each other. Starter shingles are special shingles that get installed at all the eaves so the first row of real shingles have something to which to adhere to and don’t go flopping about in the wind.


    I can’t tell you how many tear-offs we do a season with no starter shingles installed. It’s a lot. I always ask these homeowners if they have had problems with shingles blowing off, and they invariably tell me, sometimes quizzically, “Yes!” and I tell them that that’s about to change.

    At Roof-Rite, my crews install starter shingles not only in all the eaves (the edge of the roof the gutters run along) but also along all the rakes (the edges of the roof where the house ends). This provides extra strength to each row and gives the roof a much better wind performance rating.


    4. Staples instead of nails

    Some contractors will install shingles with staples from a staple gun, claiming it works just as well and is easier to install.


    This is a no-brainer. Which would you rather have, inch-and-a-half nails holding your shingles on or three-quarter-inch staples you can pull out of the decking with your bare hand?

    Staples have no place in roofing. Period. Always use nails.


    5. No felt!

    Felt underlayment (fifteen-pound weight) gets installed on a roof anywhere that ice and water shield isn’t already installed. It does two jobs: it protects the shingles from chemicals in the roof deck, and if by chance any wind-driven rain makes its way behind the shingles, it directs it harmlessly down into the gutters.


    Felt is not as expensive as ice and water shield, but it adds up quickly because it’s installed everywhere. Many contractors see this as an opportunity to save money and not install it because it’s hidden at job completion. Insist on proper felt installation.

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  • 03/01/2017 0 Comments
    Creative Ways to Use Your Tax Return for a Brand New Roof

    Buy New Roof With Tax Return

    As summer approaches, many of us are considering home improvement projects. The snow has melted and we can see the toll the harsh Michigan winters have had on the exteriors of our homes. We have our tax returns to spend and events planned for our backyards. Where should we start?


    Where to Start With Home Improvement

    From the contractor’s point of view, it is always better to start from the top down. If you decide to enhance your landscaping before you tackle your siding, or outside painting, you take a chance of damaging those freshly planted pansies. The siding installer could step off his ladder into your bed of blooms. The roof is a large project that needs to be considered first. Not only do you have to worry about your garden, but if you paint or replace the siding, you could chip or scuff the side of the house when the old tiles come down.


    The Best Time for Replacing Your Roof

    What homeowners need to understand about replacing the roof is that it is a large construction project. The average home has approximately 7,000 pounds of shingles on the roof that need to come off. There are thousands of nails that have to come down along with the shingles. The best time to get it done, with the least amount of disappointment is during winter or spring. Start with the Roof. Replace or refresh your attic ventilation. Sometimes these can be done at the same time. Replace your gutters. Replace your siding or paint, and lastly, start your landscaping.


    Replacing Your Roof…Safely

    Remember that Roofing is also a very dangerous profession. No matter how much a crew follows correct safety procedures, there is always a possibility that one of them could lose their footing and in an attempt to save themselves from falling, or perhaps drop a tool. That tool could damage a light fixture or break a branch on your favorite bush. But, in the long run, it is better to break a branch. The consequences from a fall could be deadly. A bush can be replaced. All of the roofing crews at Roof-Rite attend a mandatory annual safety meeting. In addition, they have professional safety gear available for all types of jobs. By being a fully insured roofing company with both liability and worker’s compensation insurance, we help to give our customers peace-of-mind. Finally, our professional roofing crews take all possible precautions to ensure the safety of the workers and the homeowners’ property during a roofing project.


    Overlooked But Important Items for a New Roof Installation

    1. A couple of items that are sometimes overlooked when a new roof is being installed:
    2. Be sure to install baffles at ventilated areas in your attic when you are installing insulation. This will ensure that the intake ventilation that your roofer installed is allowing for airflow intake.
    3. When painting the exterior of your home, be sure not to paint over the soffit vents, clogging the airflow of intake ventilation.
    4. Move any items in your yard or garden that are of value to a safe place. This will avoid any damages to your priceless garden trinkets or lawn furniture.
    5. Be sure to ask your roof contractor to make sure your bathroom vents are venting out of your attic area. The average family produces 3-4 gallons of moisture every day. Moisture in your attic can result in many damaging results, including, but not limited to mold.
    6. Tell your contractor about areas of concern, so they can specifically protect your property.

    If you are interested in receiving a Free New Roof Estimate we encourage you to Contact Us or call us at (877) 451-ROOF today.

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  • 03/01/2017 0 Comments
    Replace Broken, Leaky, and Decaying Roofs This Spring

    Replace Old Roof This Spring

    Take advantage of your tax returns early this year and get a brand new roof with our 12 months, same as cash financing, for new roof installations.


    Is your roof looking like it’s on its last leg? Are you dealing with leaks or crumbling shingles? Do you notice that your home just doesn’t have the same luster as your neighbors?

    These are all signs that you may be due for a new roof on your home. Now, with Roof-Rite’s 12 months same as cash financing, you can protect your biggest investment, your home, without having to sell the farm! The tax season is upon us, and many people see this as the perfect time to be able to afford the most important home improvement projects, such as a new roof. Why wait for Uncle Sam when you can take advantage of our 12 month same as cash financing and possibly prevent any further damage because of that old roof?

    For immediate assistance with your roof, or, to speak with one of our project managers for more information please Contact Us today!

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  • 03/01/2017 0 Comments
    Five Reasons Replacing Your Roof in the Winter is Actually a Good Idea!

    Reason #1 Roofers Work in the Winter!

    People are often surprised when I tell them that we install roofs throughout the winter in Michigan. Isn't it cold? Isn't there snow? And ice?


    My guys' first priority on every job is their safety and the safety of their fellow crew, homeowners, and pets. And they're especially cautious when working in winter conditions. But I think every roofer would tell you he'd rather be up on a roof in February in thirty-degree weather brushing snow off your roof than sweltering in 100-degree heat in July. (I estimate it's about twenty degrees hotter on a roof than it is on the ground so that 100 feels like 120!)

    Hydration is easier in winter. And deck brooms, high-powered blowers, and a little sodium chloride make short order of even the worst snow.


    Reason #2 Shingle Granules Are Less Prone to Damage

    Shingles are made of asphalt and have small ceramic granules embedded into the asphalt to make them waterproof. Walking around on a newly installed roof invariably shakes some of these granules loose. When it's very hot outside, the granules tend to flake off easier because the asphalt holding them on to the shingle expands, so installing a roof in the winter actually reduces the immediate wear on your new roof.


    Reason #3 Less Chance of Damage to Landscaping

    The guys installing a new roof are going to war. Physically, they're battling fatigue and dehydration. Mentally, they're constantly reconciling the need for their safety with the need to get work done. Just being on a roof is work, and then you have to work on top of it.


    My guys take great pride in tearing off a roof in a way that does not cause damage to your home and landscaping, but there is not a crew in this world who can put a roof on your house in a way that you not to be able to tell the difference in your landscaping afterwards.

    Winter roofing helps reduce the impact on your landscape because bushes, shrubs, and trees are in a dormant state with reduced foliage. Flowers aren't in bloom. Grass isn't lustrous. Small pieces of shingles are easier to spot in the yard. A lot of little things add up here.


    Reason #4 Problem Areas Are More Visible

    A roof needs to be ventilated to keep air moving from the soffits (near your gutters) to the peak of the roof (ridge vent). It's important to move moisture out of the roof to prevent mold and fungus from developing.


    Melting snow on a roof is a big indicator of improper ventilation. The snow on your roof should not melt, because the warm, moisture-laden air from the house is being vented away from the roof and out the vents at the top of the peak.

    If you see snow melting on the roof, the ventilation in that area needs to be addressed, and this is much easier to see in the winter.

    Winter is also a great time to see how water moves on the roof, whether it pools anywhere, and to spot potential ice dam areas.


    Reason #5 Easier Scheduling

    Because of the myths associated with winter roofing, fewer people roof in the winter. This makes it much easier for most roofers to schedule your job across dates that work for you, rather than when their busy season schedule permits. This can be important if you want to be home during the process, or if you prefer to schedule the job at a time when your children are going to be in school and away from the home.

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  • 03/01/2017 0 Comments
    Five Things Every Contractor Should Provide Before They Start Work

    1. Builder's License

    A builder's license is issued by the state of Michigan to ensure the contractor is competent to replace your roof. It exists to protect homeowners from inexperienced roofers who typically won't invest in earning a builder's license. In most cities, a builder's license is required to pull the appropriate permits from the local municipalities, and, without a permit, no work can legally take place at the residence.


    Under no circumstances should you ever allow someone without a builder's license work on your home! I provide a copy of my builder's license with every proposal packet so my clients know that I'm the real deal and that all the appropriate permits will be pulled for their project.


    2. Insurance Paperwork

    Roofing is the third most dangerous occupation in the world, so liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance are both requirements for a roofing company. Your roofer's liability insurance protects your home and landscaping, and worker's compensation is critical in case a worker is injured while working on your home; without it, the injured worker could seek damages from your homeowner's policy.


    I provide copies of my insurance certificates and my insurance company's phone number so it can be verified. I want my clients to have complete peace-of-mind when it comes to choosing me as their residential roofing contractor.


    3. No Deposit

    No reputable roofer would ever take a deposit up front. If your roofer is asking for a materials deposit, this is a red flag that he isn't established enough to carry his own insurance and builder's license. This is a good time to double-check things and put it in a call to his insurance carrier to make sure things are on the up-and-up.


    4. Better Business Bureau rating

    The Better Business Bureau issues ratings for businesses and allows consumers to search its database for those ratings when, say, choosing a contractor. I include this information in my company's proposal packet because I want my clients to know that Roof-Rite carries an A+ rating with the BBB. All reputable roofing companies have a BBB rating and should provide you with their rating up front.


    5. Angie's List Rating

    Angie's List is a pay service that works much like the BBB, but specifically for contractors. They, too, have a rating system, and for the same reasons, this should also be disclosed by any reputable contractor.

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