Spring, summer and fall are arguably the best roofing seasons; it is a common misconception that you cannot do roofing year round. Although Pennsylvania’s heavy winters can slow down the process due to less daylight hours and adverse working conditions, a full roof installation can be accomplished. Every season presents its own set of weather related challenges and it is our job as roofing professionals to know how to work through them safely 365 days a year.
Different roof types fail at varying rates and with different modes of failure. To save you some time, here is a list of general clues indicating roof failure:

  1. Does the roof leak in several locations?
  2. Do leaks persist despite repeated repair attempts?
  3. Do repairs seem to make leaks worse, or do new leaks develop after repairs?
  4. How tolerant is the occupancy to leaks?
  5. Low leak tolerance means the “failure” decision is reached sooner. It is generally better to reroof at the appropriate moment, rather than pour money and time into ill-advised repairs, but there are exceptions, which means a thorough inspection is essential to the process.

The following may indicate that your roof needs replacing:

  • Missing, cracked or curling shingles
  • Wood shakes are dry, curling and splitting
  • Metal is rusting or pitting
  • Slate is discolored, fracturing or falling off
  • flat roof seams are separating, curling or “alligatoring”
  • Rubber roof seam de-lamination tears
  • Blistering or peeling paint
  • Shingle, sheathing or siding decay
  • Leakage in the attic or chimney after heavy rains
  • Stains on interior walls or ceilings
  • Increased energy bills
  • Rotten fascia or soffit
Not necessarily, it really depends on the leak. Sometimes the cause is a misplaced flashing, storm damage, a branch poking through, or lack of proper ice and water shield. Most often a complete roof system failure will come from an older roof or an improper installation. Your best course of action is to call a roofing professional for a full inspection or the problem. Only nonprofessionals will try to sell you an entire new roof system when you don’t need it.

Most of the work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through your roof.

Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring seasons to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris.

If you feel qualified to inspect your roof, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber soled shoes and stay on the ladder, (and off the roof system), if possible.

A good procedure to follow is to inspect your roof annually. This practice can uncover cracked, warped, or missing shingles and tiles, loose seams, deteriorated flashings, excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts, and other visible signs of roof system being compromised. Look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard, and peeling wallpaper as indoor signs of damaged roof areas.  Also, closely examine all trees growing close to your home, as the branches  can scratch or gouge the roof when blown by the wind and the accumulation of leaves and debris can also retain moisture and cause rot.
You have two options: tear off your existing roof system and complete a full replacement (re-roof) or, just (re-cover) your existing roof system with a new one. The latter option will initially cost less because it requires less labor, but the fact is that a re-cover will only last half as long as a full replacement roof. The reason being that flashings are not replaced in a (re-cover) installation.
It is important to know that if you have already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, roof sheathing replacement may be necessary. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is mandated. Additionally, manufacturers void their system warranty on recovers and require a complete roof replacement.
Unfortunately, there is no general rule of thumb for determining the cost of a new roof system. Every roof is unique in complexity, size, roof system type, finish selections, geographic location of the building, availability of material, and local labor cost. The best way to estimate your cost is to have a Nauman Roofing certified specialist take a look at your roof.

After a roof consultation to decide the materials and specifications for your new roof, you will want to look at 2-3 quotes from reputable roofing contractors in your area. Members of the National Roofing Contractors Association operate on a professional level and are good candidates for this task, you can visit their website to locate local members.

While making this decision, please keep in mind that price is only one factor and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship. According the Better Business Bureau, out of 8 million filed claims 80% of these came from customers choosing the lowest price.  A company that will stand behind the work they do along with upgraded warranties from the manufacturers will not always be the lowest bidder for your project.

Most steep slope roofing systems have a lifetime warranty but some have 25 and 30 year options. Flat or low slope roofing systems will last from 15 to 30 years.

Actual roof system lifespan can be influenced by several factors: local climate, proper design and installation, material quality and suitability, and preventative roof maintenance.

The roofing product manufacturers that Nauman Contracting works with, such as GAF, Carlisle and Englert, offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives before making any purchase.

Common in Pennsylvania, this weather can cause unexpected damage on a sloped roof. If wind is blowing heavy rain against the side wall of your house, it can cause your roof coverings to shift over time. If your siding and windows are not sealed in properly, the water can enter from there and leak down through your flashing, causing a siding leak which can be harder to identify.
Most home improvement stores sell a mildew cleaner that can be applied to your roof with a sprayer. The right algae cleaner won’t damage your roof. Pressure washing is WILL damage your roof so please avoid this method.
It is best practice to clean your gutters annually. Nauman Contracting recommends that gutters be cleaned and inspected during the spring and at the end of fall. When water cannot drain properly going into winter, ice and snow will build up and put unnecessary strain on your roof which can cause more damage.
Similar to the question about cost, there are several factors that can effect a project’s deadline. Size, complexity, weather conditions to name a few. In ideal conditions the average residential roof replacement will take 2 to 3 days. If there is strong wind, rain, or suspected storm the process can take 2 or more weeks. The completion of a commercial roofing project is harder to determine. The time frame is dependent on whether the old roofing system will require a full tear-off or overlay.
Some municipalities require a permit, some do not. You can contact your county’s Building & Permit Department and they will tell you the requirements for replacing a roof.
Unfortunately, for all the honest and professional roofing contractors in the market, there are just as many roofers that want to give consumers a run for their money. Consider the following points before you hire a roofing contractor:

  • Go out of business: When a roofer goes out of business there is no recourse or warranty; leaving customers to pay again. Sadly, there are many roofers who do this every few years, only to open a new business in a similar name. It’s an illegal practice that isn’t enforced. Protect yourself by verifying how long the license holder has qualified the business.
  • Change license qualifier: Some roofers will purposely change license qualifiers every year to erase their warranty obligations and license complaints. When a customer calls the licensing department or BBB to check on a roofer’s complaint history they are misled into believing the company has a clean record, simply because the qualifier is new.
  • Under-Report Sales to an Insurance Carrier: Insurance premiums are based on volume. To save money, roofers will not report accurately. Trouble arises if damage occurs during your job. After the insurance company performs an audit and discovers the fraud, they will deny the claim and leave you paying the bills.
  • Under-Report Wages to Insurance Carrier: This is the most widely abused cost savings in roofing today. By under-reporting wages, paying employees cash and pretending to be exempt from worker’s comp roofers immediately cut 25% off their labor price. Wonder why some bids are lower than others? This is the most likely reason. Without proper coverage, you could be paying the medical bills.
  • File Workman’s Comp Exemption: exemptions are NOT allowed for workers. Only one (1) person in the company can file an exemption, the owner. Everyone else must be covered under worker’s comp. Roofers have one of the highest injury records in the workplace today. The last thing you want is a lawsuit because an employee was injured on your job and the roofer didn’t have that employee covered properly.
  • Not installing roof to code: Very few roofers actually know the latest codes. Every day new roofs are installed that are already obsolete. Worse, homeowner’s insurance companies are looking for any excuse to drop coverage. That’s why they are using their own inspectors to perform such thorough inspections. Don’t be a victim. Make sure the roofer you chose is active in code updates and can prove to you they know the law.
  • Failing to use system components: Manufacturers look for any reason to limit their warranty liability. The easiest way is to claim another product was used outside their specification. Roofing systems today are tested as assemblies. If all the correct components are not used exactly as tested the manufacturer will void their warranty. Watch to ensure the products used match brands.
  • By not pulling a permit: You want an official record the roof was replaced to prove to your insurance carrier so they don’t drop coverage. Permits today are hundreds of dollars. By not pulling a permit the roofer saves money on permit fees, but also knows there is no one checking the work and will cut corners.
  • Selling you a roof system that requires yearly maintenance to keep the warranty: In our opinion this is a scam. A year after the new roof is installed you’ll receive a call from your roofer informing you the required yearly inspection is due. Refuse and you’ll receive a letter from the company revoking your warranty. Accept and you’ll pay 5% of the new roof cost every year for the dog and pony show. Good roofing companies will