4 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor

Posted on: 15 December 2021

If you have never talked to a roofing contractor before, you may not know what to expect or what questions to ask. Here's a guide of questions to ask to get that conversation started. 

1. How long will a roof last?

How long a roof lasts depends on what material it is made out of, including:

  • Asphalt shingles. Traditional asphalt shingles last anywhere from 15 to 30 years. They are a common choice for homeowners throughout the country.
  • Metal roofing. Metal roofing is a more expensive option than asphalt shingles, but the material lasts longer, up to 70 years or more. 
  • Clay tiles. Clay tiles are popular in the desert southwest because they hold up better than asphalt in extreme heat. Clay tiles are known to last up to 50 years.

In addition to material, weather plays a major part in how long roofing materials last. The more extreme the weather is, the tougher the roof needs to be.

2. Do you have to tear off the old shingles?

Believe it or not, your roofing contractor may not need to tear off your old shingles. In some cases, they can just re-roof right over the old shingles, saving you time and money. Your roof needs to be in good shape, however. This means that the existing shingles must be in decent shape and firmly attached to the roof. Additionally, the plywood underlayment needs to feel solid underfoot. 

It should be noted that local code may prohibit how many times this can be done, as well as if the process is permitted at all. You should definitely ask your roofing contractor any questions if you aren't completely sure, though.

3. Is the underlayment solid?

Be sure to ask your roofing contractor about the underlayment as well. Your underlayment is the layer of plywood that is the base of your roof. When a home is constructed, plywood is laid first, then roofing felt (and possibly an ice barrier) covers the plywood, and finally, asphalt shingles are installed on top of everything. The shingles and the roofing felt act in tandem to protect the plywood, but they can get damaged over time. 

Your roofing contractor will be able to tell the condition of your underlayment by walking on your roof. When the plywood is damaged, your roof feels soft and squishy instead of firm and solid underfoot.

4. Will your choice of rood affect my homeowner's insurance policy?

While your roofing contractor is not an insurance expert, they probably know that fire-resistant roofing products will net you a discount on your homeowner's insurance. Metal roofing, clay tiles, and even some asphalt shingles carry Class A fire ratings and are resistant to stray embers. Talk to your insurance advisor for specifics. 

Knowing what to ask and why can help you understand your conversation with your roofing contractor and help you make educated decisions when replacing your roof. For more information, reach out to a roofing contractor near you.