It is said that roofing is one of the single biggest non-elective home improvements that a homeowner will make in his lifetime. It can be of equal importance to pros — designers, specifies and contractors — for many reasons.
From an appearance point of view, roof style can make or break the appearance and curb appeal of a project. It is an aesthetic element that should meld with the style of architecture of a project and should feel like an integral part of an entire package. The best product for a project should include consideration of the base color, color variation (“flashing”), layering and shading, pattern and exposure. This will then lead to specific product material choices — asphalt, metal, concrete, slate, etc.).
Your client’s budget will ultimately dictate the product that’s used. For example, natural slate may be your choice and the most aesthetically pleasing for your project, but it can be pricey and, coupled with the extra roof framing labor and material required, may be a budget buster. So, a more affordable, slate lookalike composite may be an acceptable alternative.
There are two main aspects of construction that can keep builders up at night — leaks and squeaks. For our discussion on roofing, the latter doesn’t really apply. However, when it comes to leaks, the roof takes the cake.
A good, leak-free roof doesn’t simply consist of the roofing material. Rather, it is comprised of a roofing “system.” The system consists of waterproof underpayment, metal flashings at valleys, wall to roof connections, chimneys, plumbing and mechanical vents, watershed details, and other areas. The system also includes the right fasteners, starter shingles (where appropriate), hip and ridge material, high and low ventilation and product-specific trim elements that complete the installation. So, whether you are installing roofing yourself or having it installed by a roofing professional, you should be buying an installed roofing “system” rather than simply a roof.
Inferior or improperly installed underlayment and improper flashing almost always result in damage-causing roof leaks that increase customer service calls, cut into your profit and compromise customer satisfaction.
Keep in mind that good ventilation will extend the life of a roof, prevent ice dams and leaks, improve your customer’s comfort and lower their utility bill.
Work with a roofer who understands roofing “systems” and consider investing more in the installed product. The modest increase in cost to give your customer the best will prevent expensive and embarrassing profit-robbing callbacks and yield big dividends in customer satisfaction.