Roofing Help – Q&A – episode 1

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We’ve got many questions from homeowners on our Ask The Roofer roof help desk, and here is the first batch of Questions and Answers.

In this episode, we will talk about roof damage, and should to replace port of your roof or the whole thing. We will discuss choosing between Asphalt Shingles and a Metal Roof. Lastly we will cover a very sensitive topic of choosing a roofing shingles manufacturer (GAF vs CertainTeed).

So let’s begin!

First question comes from Daniel about a roof damage:

Hi Leo,

My roof suffered some damage above the garage. Is it wise to replace shingles in only that particular area (400 s.f.)? Or do I have to replace the shingles on the entire house (1600 s.f)? My uncle, who is a retired carpenter, said that a future home sale could be negatively impacted by having roofing that is various ages. That is, I would have a new roof over the garage and my existing roof would be 15 years old.

Does that really matter to the average home buyer?

Leo’s answer:

Hi Daniel, thanks for reaching out to us.

My advise is to replace ONLY the damaged section of the roof – 400sq. ft. When you do replace it, try to match the shingles color and style as close as possible. It’s not difficult to match as most roof shingles across all manufacturers are “interchangeable” meaning the have very similar colors and dimensions.

I don’t recommend replacing the entire roof, because most homebuyers pay very little attention to the roof, as long as it does not leak. And roofing has some of the lowest ROI when you consider selling a home. So you will just waste your money and “gift” it to new owner. These are not just my words – I spoke about this topic with many successful real estate brokers and they all have the same opinion. Even if you install a metal roof, the ROI is not there.

Home buyers care about curb appeal and what’s inside – kitchen, bathroom, etc. If you will be selling your house, in my opinion it’s much wiser to invest in some Home Staging and just clean things up. Don’t waste money on new roof, if you don’t need it.

If you want to know how much a new roof on your garage will cost – my estimate is around $1500, and the whole roof is about $5500. You can use our calculator to get a more accurate number for your area. Basically, you are out of $4000 if you replace the whole roof.

If you need to find local roofers, try our free roof estimates page.

Good luck. Let us know what you decided to do in the comments below.

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Next question comes from Mike G about metal roof vs. asphalt shingles

We are trying to make the best decision on a house we rent out. It is a 4 br 2 ba brick home that we need to get re-roofed to keep our insurance active. The house has a 4 space carport which makes the roof area pretty large, about 4700 sf I believe.

There is one chimney from a fireplace. The question is whether to go with shingles or metal and if metal, what kind (standing seam or ?).

The quotes we have gotten are all between $14000 at the low end to $20,000 at the high end.

I don’t know a thing about metal roofing of any type and whether it wold be a better choice even if more expensive than shingles. I would appreciate some advice on which way to go to get the best return on investment for a rental home.

Leo’s answer:

Hi Mike, thanks for reaching out.

So first, in my opinion Metal is ALWAYS better than asphalt, but there are nuances.

1) A carport roof I assume is low slope – so in this situation you are better of doing a flat roofing membrane, such as PVC roof or Rubber EPDM.

2) On the main house, you can do Metal Shingles, Standing Seam or some type of exposed fastener system, such as R-Panel, V5 crimp, etc. Exposed fastener systems now are on par with asphalt shingles cost-wise.

I would not recommend stone-coated metal roof for many reasons.

Out of the 3 above, Architectural Standing seam is the most expensive, and exposed faster (R-Panel) system is the least expensive, with metal shingles being somewhere in the middle. For more details on how much these cost, see our metal roofing costs guide. Note that some exposed fastener systems are being sold as Standing seam, so it’s important to understand – real standing seam has not screw penetrations and all screws are hidden.

In your case, $14-20K quotes seem a bit low, so most likely you got prices for Exposed Fastener panels.

As for choosing what’s better for your home – I really like metal shingles. My second choice is standing seam. If your roof is VERY simple (no dormers/valleys/skylights) then you can go with R-Panels or 5 rib panels. They are ALL a good choice. So you should decide on looks, and cost. And I would not install asphalt shingles unless I absolutely had to (money constrains that is).

Two more things you need to know:

1) It is REALLY important to hire a metal roofing contractor with experience and good business ethics – these usually charge a little more. However don’t hire a big name company, because they ALL use sub-contractors, so you are paying premium price for lower quality. Hire an established smaller company, that is owner operated, and does not use subs.

I’m agains subs because they get paid by Square Footage, so the faster they work, the more they make. Thus you get lower quality.

2) R-Panels are not designed for complex / cut-up roofs. The problem is with flashing and panel structure. Also, you will need to Re-Tighten fasteners on any exposed screws system every 7-10 years, so look forward to maintenance costs if you chose this option.

If your roof is cut-up , best metal roof for you is Metal Shingles (steel or aluminum).

I hope this helps – I’m sure you still have questions, so feel free to ask in comments below.

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Last question for this episode comes from Ray:

I am trying to decide between CertainTeed pro and GAF hd shingles. which one is the better shingle to use. please shed some light on this it is tough.

Leo’s answer:

Hi Ray, thanks for reaching out.

So this question can get me into troubles with above mentioned companies, but still… There have been multiple Class Action lawsuits against GAF for their shingles failing prematurely (as early as after 1 year), and according to court documents, they kept on making these defective shingles for almost 10 years, while the Class was active. In the end, Class was settled behind close doors, and no information was disclosed. This was not the only Class Action against them.

Here is the summary of Class Action agains GAF for it’s Timberline Shingles. Unfortunately, the media does not cover these things, so it was very hard to dig up info on this.

So knowing this I can’t recommend GAF shingles. At the same time, I don’t know of any Class Actions against CertainTeed, but they might (and probably do) exist. So my answer – go with a metal roof if you can – an Exposed Fastener R-Panel costs the same as asphalt shingles, and will last much longer, and are cheaper to install than shingles.

And if you absolutely have to go with Asphalt Shingles, I would go with CertainTeed, for the lack of knowledge of any lawsuits agains them 🙂

Do you have questions about roofing? Ask Leo

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Author: Leo B
For over 20 years Leo has run a successful roofing business in New England, specializing in metal roofing, as well as cool flat roofing technologies. Having replaced and installed hundreds of roofs in New England, Leo has first hand experience with pretty much every residential roofing material and roofing manufacturer available in the US.
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