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Mistakes to Avoid When Replacing Your Roof

For many Delaware homeowners, a time comes when replacing their residential roof is no longer an option. Time and weather can take their toll on your roof. As years go by, shingles can start to deteriorate and leaks can form. This can lead to decay or damage that can’t be repaired with replacing the roof. When this happens, it’s time to get a new roof on your home.

Replacing your roof is a considerable financial investment, so the more efficient and mistake-free the process, the better. Costly errors not only increase your bill, but also lengthen the project’s duration. This can inconvenience your family and shorten your new roof’s lifespan.

It’s important to work with construction companies that have experience with roof replacement. It’s also important to know what are the most common roofing mistakes. Knowing the mistakes and how to choose a roofing contractor can help you avoid these problems.

What Are Common Roof Replacement Mistakes?

To avoid expensive surprises and errors, it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for. Here are some of the common mistakes that occur during roof replacement projects, and what you can do to prevent them:

1. Using Mismatched Roofing Shingles

One common mistake is using mismatched asphalt shingles that make your roof look uneven and incongruent. This mistake often happens when roofing contractors get their shingles from multiple suppliers and don’t pay close attention to which ones they’re installing.

Make sure your roofers are utilizing asphalt roofing manufactured by the same supplier for your project. If you’re using a good quality contractor, this should not be a concern. This is only likely to become a problem if you’re hiring a contractor that cuts corners to save money.

2. Overlaying an Existing Roofing System

Installing a new roofing system without first tearing off the old one is always a risk. Some jurisdictions will legally allow you to overlay your roofing system once. After that, it’s a requirement to rip off the old roof before installing a new one.

However, even if overlaying your existing roofing system is legal, it’s not usually advised. Your roof deck may contain weaknesses, gaps, and other problems that you can only detect by removing the existing roof and inspecting what’s underneath. Adding extra weight with an additional layer of shingles can also damage your home’s roof structure and walls.

3. Underlayment Issues

Underlayment is the layer of water-resistant material installed directly on your roof deck before you apply other roofing materials. It’s important for moisture protection.

There are three main types of underlayment: asphalt-saturated felt, rubberized asphalt underlayment, and non-bitumen synthetic underlayment. Each of them, to varying degrees, protects against severe weather and elements. For example, rubberized asphalt underlayment is waterproof while the other two materials are water-resistant.

Using the wrong underlayment or improperly installing underlayment can cause wood rot in wooden houses and can also lead to premature failure of the roof. Hiring a contractor with a lot of experience should prevent this problem. A contractor that knows how to handle roofing materials should not have trouble installing underlayment properly.

4. Improper Use of Roofing Nails

There are several nail-related errors that could cause future roof failure, including: the nails are too short, the nail heads are too small, the nails are driven in above the self-sealing strip, or an incorrect number of nails per shingle is used. It’s important that all the materials you’re using for the roof installation — including nails — are in good shape and applied properly.

Improper use of roofing nails is a common problem that occurs when homeowners perform their own roof repairs or replacements. Hire a contractor to get the work done for you.

5. Too Short or Long Overhang at the Eaves

Shingle overhang along the eaves should be no less than 6mm and no more than 10mm. If the overhang is too short, water can infiltrate the roof deck and leak within the structure. If it’s more than 10mm, the shingles can be blown off during a severe storm or high winds.

You can avoid this common mistake by adding a drip edge flashing to protect the edges of the deck. Flashing can prevent water infiltration, deter insects from entering the structure, and support shingles to keep them from breaking and sagging. Even if your old flashing looks to be in good shape, you shouldn’t reuse it when you’re replacing your roof.

6. Not Adhering to Roof Slope

You should choose materials based on the specific measurements of your roof, including its slope. For example, the recommendation for installing wood, asphalt or tile shingle roofing systems is to have 4 units rise per 12 units of run. If your materials don’t suit the slope of your roof, you risk water leaking into and corroding your structure.

7. Neglecting to Get a Roofing Permit

If you’re replacing your entire roof system, you may need a permit from your local municipality. Before you start your project, you should check the relevant building codes and secure a permit if you need one. Otherwise, you may face potential consequences such as fines, refusal of insurance coverage, or forced removal of your new roof.

Even if you do install an unpermitted roof, you may run into trouble when you try to sell your house. Home buyers often shy away from homes with unpermitted work.

Hire the Right Contractor

When you’re interviewing roofing contractors, ask questions about their experience. Be sure to get references. Get a detailed bid from each contractor you’re considering, and then compare the bids closely so that you know you’re making an apples to apples comparison.

When you’re talking to roofing contractors, ask them questions about the details of your job. Find out things like whether they will clean up the mess after the work is done, whether they recommend installing insulation in the attic at the same time that you install a new roof, and whether they will do that work for you. If you are getting insulation installed in your attic, it’s best to have a contractor do it to ensure that the attic remains well-ventilated. Improper installation of insulation can cover up vents and stop air circulation, which can lead to problems with moisture and mildew.

Roof Replacement in Delaware

One of the best ways to avoid these common roofing mistakes is to hire a qualified construction crew to handle the roof replacement on your Delaware home. The professionals at Bromwell Construction use high-quality materials and apply them correctly so that your roof replacement is done right the first time and you can have peace of mind that you will get the maximum lifespan from your new roof. Want to know more about installing a new roof on your home? Check out our roofing cost guide.