Roofing FAQ

What is the expected reasonable lifespan of a roof?

Asphalt shingle roofing is designed to last about 20 years. If a shingle roof lasts 30 years, the homeowner is getting a good investment. With the Michigan weather elements, your roofing materials are simply aged and deteriorated after 20 years.

What should I look for to understand the age of my roof?

The roof starts to age from the time it is installed on your home. If you keep track of the condition it can help you from un-welcomed leaks or surprises. A few warning signs to look for include:

Patches or excessive loss of granules from shingles

Tiny little stones on the surface of shingles are called granules, which protect the asphalt from UV rays. If a large number of these granules are lost from the shingle, the asphalt dries out and loses the ability to remain watertight. You might find build up of these granules in your gutters.

Curling of shingles & Blistering on the shingles

The sun dries the shingle resulting into curling on the corner. Blistering and granule loss result in roof leaks. Both curling and blisters are closely related and are both caused by not having enough asphalt applied to the shingle. This is too typical of shingles that are produced to lower specs to meet pricing guidelines.  That is why we are very selective about roofing materials we use.

Shingles missing or blown off

Poor or faulty workmanship or improper installation on a recent roof can cause the shingles to fly away the first time winds hits over 40 MPH. Other factors include age of the roof. Shingles are fixed on the roof in two ways: by nails and then by seal strip. When shingles are nailed down properly, the sun and high temperature will seal the strip effectively gluing the shingles together. Over time this seal can break down and lose its ability to hold down the shingles.

What is the standard life of a roof and when should I expect to replace it?

There is no standard answer to this. There are many variables that effect the life of a roof. Certain guidelines are available to equip you with reasonable expectations.

How soon can you start?

Though every homeowner wants to know that upfront, it is difficult to give a standard answer. You will have an exact answer to that question once we prepare the proposal.

What type of shingles do you recommend?

We recommend and use GAF more than any other shingle. GAF roofing shingles are top-of-the-line asphalt shingles that offer a variety of styles and colors to complement your home and taste. We do not recommend or use local manufactured or non-certified shingles. GAF shingles are certified and fit into the budget, which is often the main concern for homeowners. Upon evaluating your roof, we’ll be able to make a recommendation specifically suited to your needs, budget, and home structure.

What about building permits and local rules?

Most common questions we get about permits for a roofing project are:

  • Do I need a building permit for a new roof?
  • If yes, who will be pulling the permit?

About 80% of the time a permit is required. Though it depends on the city or township of your home. If required, we can help you out and it will be part of your proposal automatically when we quote your roof. We can take care of all permits and necessary inspections.

However, we do not include the permit costs in our estimate because of variability of permit costs according to area.  Our team will go over any additional costs incurred by the permits with you. We hold great working relationships with the permit authorities and are experienced and familiar with pulling permits.
Most municipalities require a final inspection which we will make you aware of in advance of doing your project. Sometimes, an “open roof inspection” is also required to assure proper compliance under your shingles. Irrespective of the kind of permit or inspection required, 911 Roofing will ensure that you are at ease and you won’t have to be concerned about it. With us on your side, you don’t have to worry about hidden charges.

What preparation is required prior to the roofing installation?

It is recommend that you remove or secure any fragile items on the walls or ceilings inside your home. During the installation of your roof there will be some vibration on your walls and ceilings, which can cause the items to fall. We hold no responsibility for any such damage caused.

Our roofing team will commence your roof installation between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning on the scheduled day, we recommend that you move your vehicles out of the garage and onto the street the night before so that we do not intrude on your morning routine.

What measures do you take to protect my house from damage during the roofing installation?

Unlike other roofers, our team puts special emphasis on protecting your home during a roofing installation. Since every home is different and so are the measures taken suiting each home, there is no standard answer for this question.

The material haulers we use to transport the materials are loaded up for every job with an arsenal of protective materials deemed necessary that during the original inspection of your roof. We emphasise on appropriate care to be setup before the first crew member climbs the ladder to commence the roofing project.

Are you licensed and insured?

According to State law in Michigan, if you’re working on any roof other than your own, you are required to be licensed; both personal and business license are required.

Often the homeowner ask us about that and we feel happy that they are aware of the existing rules. Legitimate roofing companies carry substantial insurance coverage to protect you, their employees, their equipment and vehicles. You probably won’t have to ask a reputable roofer to see proof of their license and insurance, or at least you won’t with us because it’s a standard with every proposal we issue.

How many nails are used per shingle?

Recommended nails per shingle by most of the shingle manufacturers is at least four nails per shingle and six in high wind areas such as Florida and Oklahoma. The minimum number of nails are good enough for fast buck roofing companies, and using cheap roofing nails.

We use GAF specified 6 company nails per shingle, which may further increase depending on the area and steepness of the roof. We use 1¼ inch hot dipped galvanized nails, ring shanked for extra “bite” versus a smooth shank that is less secure. Nails are installed by an air driven nail gun, assuring shingles are secured fully. Each nail actually goes through two shingles; the one that is getting nailed and the one underneath it. Thus, actually every shingle is getting secured by 12 nails.
Our installation method will endure hurricane velocity winds exceeding 130 MPH, a velocity you should not ever have to worry about in Southeast Michigan.

Should I be concerned about nails?

911 Roofing will conscientiously clean up the work site after every repair or replacement project. However, we do not guarantee that we find every stray nail.
We do, however, use meticulous methods to assure your yard and driveway are free of loose nails. After the final cleanup, we sweep your property with two different magnets to remove loose nails. A small, handheld magnet is used around shrubbery and flowerbed areas. A larger, roller magnet on wheels is run completely around the perimeter of your home to make sure the yard is free of loose nails.

Our cleanup process on your roof and gutters includes hand cleaning and a leaf blower to remove loose debris and nails. However, it is possible that a nail could be missed, particularly if it goes unnoticed or partially down a downspout without clearing the end to be removed during ground cleanup.

Are my gutters going to be left clean after the job?

Absolutely, we actually clean your gutters twice! Your gutters are cleaned by hand after your old roofing material has been torn off, followed by a leaf blower to remove fine debris. After installation of the new roofing material, another cleaning is performed and your gutters are cleaned a second time.

With these procedures in place, you’ll realize two things: first, our attention to detail in removing debris from your roof and gutters; second, you’ll naturally wonder about roofing nails. Our next previous deals with this issue and the steps we take to minimize the chances that any stray roofing nails are left in your yard.

Our commitment is that the only evidence we leave behind that a roofing company has been on your property is a new roof. We strive to remove any other souvenirs.

What is synthetic underlayment and why is it better than felt paper?

Synthetic underlayment is a high tech, high performance layer of material installed prior to the shingles on areas of the roof decking not covered by ice and water shield (the importance of ice and water shield covered in another post). The purpose of underlayment is to absorb asphalt from the shingle and provide an extra level of water resistance.

Until more recent years, felt paper was the standard. However, advancements in roofing technology have brought about the synthetic underlayments which consistently outperform and out test traditional felt paper.

Underlayments themselves are required by most shingle manufacturers and recommended by ALL of them. Synthetic underlayment is the better choice, offering better performance and more advantages.

Many of the advantages of synthetic underlayment are the quality and performance but it also has some hidden benefits that help you get a better quality roofing installation. It lays flatter and resists wrinkling to reduce labor costs, won’t tear and sacrifice performance as work crews walk on it, holds up during exposure even in high wind conditions, and even increases safety for workers by reducing the likelihood of slipping on it.

Is ventilation important?

This question is among the most important you could ask your roofer. Proper ventilation has numerous benefits and solves multiple problems. It saves you money on your heating and cooling bills, extends the life of your roofing, and even protects your health by preventing mold that would otherwise form in your attic and under your shingles.

Let’s start with the heat factor. A 90° summer day does not equal a 90° attic but a 140° attic without proper ventilation. This doesn’t just escalate your cooling bills. Imagine the stress placed on your asphalt roofing shingles which would buckle and fail prematurely. Proper ventilation is your solution to this problem.

Just like the excessive heat creates problems, so does the cold without good ventilation. The interaction between the cold outside and the heating inside your home creates the perfect formula for condensation unless proper ventilation is used to cancel out this issue.

Are ridge vents better than box vents?

It’s not so much a question of which is better, but a question of which is better for particular types of roofs. For example, if your home has cathedral ceilings, the ridge vent is the only viable solution. On a roof where four slopes converge to a single ridge, box vents are the best choice.

Many homes are designed where either a ridge vent or box vent will work equally well. Considering the fact that ridge vents are more aesthetically pleasing, our recommendation would be the ridge vents.

What are ice dams?

The condensed answer is roof leaks aggressively in the process of happening, and beavers have nothing to do with it. Next comes the what, how, where, and why.
It begins with the interaction between warm and freezing cold air. Heat always seeks cold. In the summertime, understanding that principle helps you realize it’s the heat coming in rather than the cool getting out. In the wintertime, most people think the cold air is getting in when it is really the heat going out.

Your attic and roof is the battleground for this heat transfer. Warm air from your home seeking the cold begins melting snow on your roof in the process. The water, being faithfully obedient to gravity, runs down to cooler edges and eaves where it freezes in ever increasing layers forming an ice dam.