What to Consider for Your Next Roofing Project, According to Jaime Westenbarger
Your roof may be the single most important component of your home, although it doesn’t always get the glory it deserves. While a quality roof is essential to protect the structural integrity of your house and its contents, there are ways to make it a standout feature that is both functional and even fashionable, says Brentwood, Tennessee’s Jaime Westenbarger, director of sales for Bluebird Roofing.
However, replacing your roof is more than just about swapping out old shingles for new ones. Not only should the shingles be of high quality to withstand adverse weather, there are other important elements of a roofing system that must be considered.
Good materials may cost more, but they will save you money and headaches down the road while protecting your biggest investment, explains Jaime Westenbarger.
Choose Your Roofing Type
There are several options when it comes to what you want to replace your current roofing materials with, notes Jaime Westenbarger. For example, you could go with the popular asphalt shingle, but you should also consider the type of weather in your region and how long you expect the roof to last for. If you want shingles made for the long haul, you should request laminated shingles, which are more expensive than standard shingles due to a fiberglass base.
However, asphalt shingles are not your only option. You could also opt for slate shingles, which not only add curb appeal to your property, but also are very durable and fire resistant. Meanwhile, cedar shingles provide a more natural appearance and are available in different styles, while also allowing ventilation and preventing moisture buildup. You may also be interested in metal roofing in steel or aluminum, which is both durable and stylish. While you can expect certain high-quality shingles to last up to 25 years or more depending on your region, metal roofing can endure for 50 years or more in many cases.
Like houses, roofs need a strong foundation. That is where starter strip shingles come in, which are initial shingles that can offer good protection against windstorms, reducing the risk of shingles flying off. Starter strip shingles are installed on the roof before the second layer of shingles, which are visible parts of the roof.
You may also want to consider getting ridge cap shingles installed, which offer protection against leaks and potential blow-offs. Ridge cap shingles are specifically designed for the ridge of the roof, which is an area that must be protected well from the elements.
Go Beyond the Shingles
They call it a “roofing system” for a reason, notes Jaime Westenbarger. It means there are several components of a roof working together to provide proper ventilation and longevity.
For example, before the shingles are secured into place, there’s usually plywood decking for reinforcement added along with an underlay coating that protects the wood decking from the elements.
A quality roofing company will install vents that allow ventilation of the attic — one way to prevent ice damming that can damage roofs. Then there’s aluminum or steel flashing on joints that helps direct moisture away from any roof openings including vents.
While the roof has several other components to ensure proper function, you can’t forget about the gutters, notes Jaime Westenbarger. The gutters are essential to redirect rainwater from the base of your home that can also freeze and become a slipping hazard. Incorrectly installed or blocked gutters can end up damaging roofs and siding from overspill.
In short, a quality roofing company will recommend the best roofing system components for your home.
Beware the Lowest Bidders, Warns Jaime Westenbarger
The old saying “you get what you pay for” applies to the roofing industry. If a potential roofing company you’re considering only talks about how to save you money, then you might want to think twice about choosing them. They may skimp on materials, which will seem good in the short-term but won’t do you any favors down the road. They might also lack experience.
According to Jaime Westenbarger, common items left out by cheap and unscrupulous contractors may include drip edges, ice and water shields, and starter shingles. He notes that these contractors will also commonly neglect to change out old vents or waterproof boots around pipes with new ones in order to save costs.
If these items are left out, it can easily reduce the price by sometimes thousands of dollars, but at the cost of a roof that is not properly installed and may not even qualify for the manufacturer’s warranty.
At the very least, make sure the roofing contractor is properly insured in case of a mishap and try to get references from third-party sources to help you make a hiring decision. Roofing is an involved process and you should choose a company like Bluebird Roofing that takes pride in the work.