What is the best roofing system on the market?
There is not one a single best roofing system; each solution should be customized for each project. There are eight major families of roofing. including steep slope (inclusive of shingle, tile, shakes, etc), built up roofs (inclusive of asphalt and coal tar), modified bitumen roofs (APP and SBS varieties), metal roofs (standing seam, architectural, and pre-engineered), coatings (acrylic, silicone, ceramic, etc), sprayed-in-place foam roofs, thermoplastic single ply membranes (PVC, TPO, EP, CSPE, etc) and thermalset single ply membranes such as EPDM.
Each of these roof systems has its own distinct advantages. A critical factor to a successful roofing project is using a contractor who is both familiar with and capable of installing each type of roof system, and who can provide you with the right recommendation for your project. Your contractor should evaluate your facility and the particular roofing characteristics of the building to then suggest the system(s) that meet your needs.
What should I look for when selecting a roofing contractor?
Any roofing system is only as good as the contractor who installs the roof. The very best components of a roofing system can be specified yet if installed by an average contractor than the results of the project will be average. Roofing projects are dependent upon on the contractor. The roof itself is fabricated on your building and those areas such as roof projections, edge details, penetrations, walls, and other areas of the roof requiring workmanship will determine the success of the project. With this in mind, it is always important to look for a contractor who has a proven track record with multiple years of experience. It is also important to look to a contractor that has the ability to install multiple roof systems so they can work with you to select the best roof system for your specific needs. Criteria such as a written safety program, a drug tested work force, uniformed employees, and the use of their own employees versus sub-contracting are all important. Financial strength, years in business, and like type references are also worth serious consideration.
A final suggestion in selecting a roofing contractor is to ask for references that have had problems. All roofing contractors have had jobs that have leaked. The difference between the good contractors and the bad contractors is how they service the client after any problems arise. Calling a few clients that have required attention after the initial installation is a good way to measure the contractor’s commitment to his clientele.
What type of warranty should I buy and how do they differ?
There are multiple warranty types and lengths available. A buyer should always consider the exclusions that are written into each warranty and determine if these exclusions are acceptable.
No Dollar Limit Warranties are not restricted to the original purchase price and allow for price increases due to inflation and other cost factors.
Non Pro-Rated Warranties hold value throughout the life of the warranty term. This type warranty is not discounted as the roof ages and holds the same value in the first year of the warranted term as it does the last year.
Total System Warranties cover every aspect of the roof system. This varies from material warranty that may only cover replacement materials and not the labor to install the new material.
Single Source Warranties are structured in a way that there is one party responsible for the both workmanship and material of the entire roof system. This covers all aspects of the roof system and the related workmanship required making any needed repairs.
Before investing in a roofing system, take into consideration the reasons why the previous roof has failed, how long the building will be owned, what the current use and potential future use of the building may be, and who they want covering potential future needs. Remember, all roofs leak. The question is will be inside or outside of the warranty period.
How much and what type of roofing insulation should I have installed?
The insulation component of a roofing system serves multiple functions, specifically to provide:
- Insulating properties or R-value (R-value is the measurement of a materials ability to resist heat transfer)
- An acceptable substrate for the waterproofing membrane(s)
- Compressive strength and resistance to roof traffic
- And slope for proper drainage.
The type and the amount of insulation used varies with roofing objectives. There are many types of insulation including fiberboard (non-coated, one side coated, six side coated, and high density), perlite, densdeck, expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, fiberglass, glass foam, and others.
What are my maintenance obligations once I have the new roof installed?
The owner’s maintenance obligations on the new roof can vary from nothing more than keeping drains and gutters free from debris to extensive preventative maintenance programs. Each roof system and manufacturer has set requirements that are the responsibility of the building owner. It is suggested that the owner understand and know these obligations prior to purchasing the roof so there is a clear understanding of the total cost of roof ownership.