Installing a new roof on a home or business is a job that most property owners will need to accomplish at one time or another, and there are several things to consider about the issue. Because the time of year makes a huge difference as to the finished quality of a roof and also affects the price that is paid, informed consumers look into the issue and plan for the best results. While most roofing companies work throughout the year, there are several reasons why choosing to complete a project in the fall is the best idea.
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Addressing the Heat
The fall is the ideal time for a roof replacement because the weather is just warm enough to make installation easy, but temperatures are also cool enough to prevent the risks of damaging soft roofing materials. Most residential roofing products, like asphalt shingles, are easily damaged by installers during extremely hot weather, and the granules that protect the underlying asphalt-fiberglass mat may be compromised. Hot summer weather can easily reach temperatures on the top of a roof that are over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and when a person steps on roofing material with the wrong type of footwear, marked surfaces are incredibly common. During the fall months, temperatures are in the ideal range and ensure that projects proceed on a timely basis. While many people consider having their roof installed during the winter for a lower price, there are several concerns about roofing during the cold. The winter also poses a number of problems for installers because weather is usually too cold to ensure a flat installation of asphalt shingles. In addition, with heavy snow storms, jobs may be shut down for an extended period of time, and homeowners may have to wait several weeks to have their roofing project finished.
Avoiding Rain and Storms
At any time of year, rain storms and severe weather can impact a new roof installation job, and wise homeowners and experienced roofing contractors regard the fall as an ideal time for a project’s completion for several reasons. During the autumn months, the daily weather is generally mild and storm free. While rain may fall on an occasional basis, the chances that a job are shut down for an extended period of time are minimized. Having a roof installed in the fall months virtually ensures that homeowners can quickly have their project finished and return to daily living on a timely basis. For property owners who need to have their existing roofing material removed, the issue of wet and stormy weather is a prime concern. Because removing asphalt shingles is labor intensive and subjects a home to leaks, most contractors try to schedule their jobs for period of clear weather, like the fall.
Choosing the right time of year for a new roof depends on several factors, and the two prime issues have to do with temperature and the threat of storms. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can pose problems for a finished roof installation, and most people generally agree that the mild weather in the fall is an ideal period for re-roofing or new construction jobs.
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Efficient and good looking are two reasons why people cover and protect their homes with roofing. There are other benefits too. Slate come in numerous and naturally occurring colors, which can be attractively blended with other materials. The range of size and thickness is almost endless. Slate is water repellent, fireproof, and low maintenance, especially because it is resistant to the growth of moss and algae.
For all these reasons to buy slate roofing, it can still be a questionable investment because it is one of the most expensive roofing systems to install. So most people when considering slate as a new roofing system have to ask: How long will it last? This is especially important in the northeastern United States where winters can be long, harsh, and destructive.
Just how long can a slate roof be expected to last in the northeast? The American Society of Home Inspectors puts the longevity of slate roofing at 30-100 years. That makes it a good buy when compared with asphalt at 15-20 years, wood at 10-40, metal at 20-40, and clay at 20 years or more. That makes slate a good buy even with the most expensive installation price.
However, if you are considering slate, but longevity is a concern, do some research before installing a slate roof, especially in the northeast. Not all slate is the same and some roofs just are not designed for such a covering. So, begin your search for the right slate with a consultation with a contractor who knows the product.
Slate has been quarried in the United States since the 1850s from states in the northeast and Virginia. Vermont roofing slate, quarried in the Green Mountains, carries a life expectancy of up to 200 years and with proper maintenance is said to last indefinitely. The rate for Pennsylvania roofing slate, which comes in solid gray or multi-color patterns, has a life span of about 50 years. Slate from Buckingham County in Virginia, with its blue/black color and high mica content, is said to be one of the world’s hardest. The life span is averaged at about 175 years or indefinitely.
Ribbon slates have lines or ribbons of color that make them distinctive looking. Although some of these slates are very durable, care should be taken in selecting them. In some slates, the material that forms the ribbons of color has been found to be soft enough to weather rapidly.
In some cases, the answer to “how long will a slate roof last in the eastern U.S.?” has to be: It depends. Maintenance is an important concern for longevity. However, with careful study of these generally highly durable materials and the aid of an experienced and knowledgeable contractor, the answer might be: Long enough to keep your home safe and you happy with the choice.
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A durable roof is one of the most essential, protective components of a home. Faulty roofs commonly result in water getting into the home, which can destroy the drywall, carpet, wood, and personal belongings. The moisture also promotes mold growth, which can be hazardous to the home’s inhabitants. Even a small leak can cost thousands of dollars in damages, so it is best to be proactive and know when to replace the roof before disaster strikes. Sometimes the signs that a roof is deteriorating are not blatantly obvious, and it is crucial to be aware of the more subtle indicators.
At least twice a year, perform a thorough inspection of the outer exterior of the roof. Be on the lookout for missing or damaged shingles. If the roof has even one missing shingle, this can be a warning that the tar strips are wearing out. This is caused by repeated exposure to the elements and granule loss. Shortly after, the roof will likely lose more shingles and increase the chances of serious water damage to the home.
Damaged shingles are a major warning sign that the roof is nearing the end of its life. Prolonged sun exposure causes the asphalt layers within the shingle to break down, thus warping its shape. Weakened shingles tend to coil onto themselves and take on a curled appearance. Curled shingles are likely to catch a gust of wind and fly off, which leaves an exposure for water to eventually leak into the house. Shingles with cracks are also more susceptible to blowing away, and serious cracks can allow water to seep into the home.
During biannual inspections, it is also important to look for shingles with dark spots. Discoloration indicates that the shingles are losing granules. Granules shield the roof’s asphalt layers from being weakened or deteriorated by the sun’s UV rays. Shingles that lose a large portion of their granules leave the asphalt unguarded and vulnerable to rapid erosion. Aside from discoloration, another sign of granule loss is brittleness and frailty of the shingles. Shingles in this condition often have slight cracks that only worsen with time. Eventually, this will lead to water damage.
While inspecting the roof’s color, also look for apparent signs of plant or fungal growth, as this also results in discoloration. Organism growth on shingles is a warning sign that water is building up on areas of the roof instead of being repelled. A moist roof results in an environment that is conducive for the growth of moss, mold, lichen, and algae. In chronically moist or tropical climates, this may not be a surefire sign that a complete roof replacement is necessary, but it is important to be certain. Moss and mold may result in loosened shingles, so removal is always required. It may be best to hire a professional, as some organism growths can lead to a very slippery roof.
In addition to inspecting the roof’s exterior, it is also pivotal to inspect the highest point inside the home, which is often an attic. Look around the attic for dark blotches, water spots, or any damp areas. Compromised roofs usually have an effect on the attic before the rest of the home. There could be shingle damage, or the underlayments may be worn out. Underlayments are supposed to protect against leaks and usually consists of tar paper, rubberized asphalt, or a synthetic. These are all vulnerable to wear and tear, especially with repeated sun exposure. It may also be a sign of deteriorated flashings. Flashings are thin pieces of impermeable material placed around the roof’s joints and seams to prevent water from seeping into the home. Another good way to check for signs of roof degeneration is to inspect the attic during daylight hours. Do not turn on any interior lights, and see if any rays of light are coming through. This indicates a roof that has holes or rotted sections.
The most commonly used shingle in home construction has been the 3 tab asphalt shingle. However, in the 1970’s, the architectural shingle was introduced. There are many differences between these two, but choosing the correct one is simple, once the differences are understood.
3 Tab Asphalt Shingles
These shingles are named for the three tabs that are created by two grooves, cut into each shingle. When on a roof, they have a flat, smooth appearance, and look like individual shingles. Because of their flat appearance, any imperfections in the roof line are easily seen. Care must also be taken in their application, so that the grooves in the shingles line up perfectly. Grooves that do not line up give a sloppy appearance.
Three tab shingles are made of layers of cellulose or fiberglass fibers, and asphalt. They are thinner, and lighter than architectural shingles, and easier to handle. The thinner construction of 3 tab shingles makes them more susceptible to wind, hail, and curling in high temperatures. Typical lifetimes for 3 tab shingle roofs are 20 years, and they can withstand up to 60 mile per hour winds.
The cost of 3 tab shingles is less than architectural shingles, and they cover more area when applied, so usually fewer are needed to complete a job.
Low cost compared to architectural shingles
Larger coverage area
Less labor intensive
Shorter lifespan than architectural shingles
Wind resistance only 60 mph
Can be less aesthetically pleasing if uneven roof line, or badly applied
Architectural shingles are also called dimensional, or laminate shingles. They have a textured appearance that makes them look three-dimensional. These shingles were originally introduced to give the appearance of cedar or slate roofs, but with the advantages of a lighter and more durable asphalt shingle. Because they are textured, they break up any straight-line imperfections in the roof line, making them difficult for the eye to detect. They come in a variety of colors, and can be easily matched to any housing style.
The mat base used in the construction of architectural shingles is heavier than that used in 3 tab shingles. It is made of cellulose or fiberglass fibers, and asphalt layers, but can be as much as 50% heavier. The increased thickness makes architectural shingles more resistant to wind damage, up to 120 miles per hour in some cases, and hail damage as well. Some styles have inter-locking tabs, which increases their wind resistance. They can be susceptible to algae growth, so algae resistant shingles are recommended. Architectural shingles are typically guaranteed to last a minimum of 25 years, and can go as long as 50 years.
Architectural shingles are usually 20 – 40% more expensive than 3 tab shingles, due to their heavier construction. They also cover less area than a 3 tab shingle, so more are required to finish the job.
Durability, up to 50 years in some cases
Higher wind resistance, up to 120 mph
More aesthetically pleasing, especially for complicated roofs
Higher cost than 3 tab shingles
More labor intensive
Susceptible to algae growth
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Georgian style architecture, including Georgian style roofing, first originated in the year 1720, and is the name used by most English speaking countries to describe the architectural style from that time until 1840. Its name comes from the monarch King George the First and his three successors - George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom. These four monarchs represent the consecutive British rule from the summer of 1714 to the summer of 1830.
Georgian Architecture replaced the English Baroque style commonly found in Europe in the 1700s, with transitions taking place with works designed by the likes of James Gibbs, one of Britain’s most prominent architects at the time. While his style can be classified as Georgian, it also included detectable influences form the English Baroque style, as well as nuances likely informed by his time studying to be an architect in Rome. Other prominent architects who pioneered this style were Colen Campbell, Robert Taylor, and John Wood the Elder, the latter two being held responsible by many as key developers of this type of design.
The term “Georgian” is rather wide in scope, and so must be seen as the header of other distinct sub-styles. Among them are Palladian Architecture (inspired by Andrea Palladio, an influential architect from Venice), Gothic, and Chinoiserie. Also included are Neoclassical (seen as a response to the Rococo style), the Regency style (which can be seen in Regent’s Park in London), and Greek Revival, which occurred mainly in Northern Europe and the United States.
While Georgian architecture contains variable characteristics, some basic elements can be understood as standard. Among them are the tendency toward symmetry and what the European designers at the time referred to as “regularity” (adhering to classical rules). The most traditional materials for Georgian style buildings are stone and brick. The colors most commonly found in traditional Georgian buildings were red, white, and light brown. However, many colors are now found in modern homes that take cues from Georgian style architecture.
As for the Georgian style roofs, they are traditionally side-gabled (a triangular structure at both ends of the building), include a gambrel (a symmetrical two-sided roof with two downward slopes on each side) and are hipped (sides slope down toward walls of structure). The roofs also typically feature a chimney on both sides of the building.
Many modern homes can still be found with Georgian style roofs, which presents some advantages and challenges alike. This style still evokes a sense of historic significance, with its origin found almost three hundred years ago. For those with an interest in history and the story of design, a Georgian style soof is remarkable. Also, to many, it conjures the idea of elegance. Many prestigious properties feature Georgian style roofs, and therefore some associate this feature with class and grandeur. It remains, especially to those for whom symmetry is enticing, aesthetically pleasing.
Some of the challenges of living under a Georgian style roof relate to its interaction with inclement weather. This style of roof is said to be one of the worst in terms of protecting a home from hurricane damage. The gabled nature of this roof allows it to easily peel off in high winds, and can even catch wind like a ship’s sail. Additionally, a Georgian style roof, with its hipped feature, often allows for very little space inside the roof. This not only cuts down on possible storage and/or attic space, but also may make it very difficult to gain access to this area for any maintenance or repairs.
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When installing a new roof on your home, there are several materials to consider. Metal, wood and asphalt are all available, but the region you live in will affect the building material you choose. The best choice in Maryland is asphalt shingles because they can handle the temperature range, including hot weather, snow and ice.
Popularity of Asphalt Shingles in Maryland
Homeowners in Maryland commonly chose asphalt shingles for a variety of reasons. The state does not typically see extremely hot temperatures, but it does experience higher temperatures in summer and freezing conditions when winter arrives. Asphalt shingles in this region last up to 30 years, and that lifespan is appealing to local homeowners.
Asphalt shingles are also one of the most affordable options. They carry a lower cost than copper or other metal roofs, and that makes them a top choice for homeowners who are on a budget. They also require very little maintenance. Unlike wood roofs that require regular care to keep them in top condition, asphalt shingles do not need regular maintenance. This helps consumers save money both on the installation and in the long run.
Available in a multitude of colors, asphalt shingles can be customized to suit your home. You can choose different colors, and you can also look for various styles that will match your home better. In addition to choosing shades that match your shutters or siding, you can also opt for asphalt shingles that mimic the look of wood.
The Cost of Repairs
Another benefit of asphalt roofs is that they can be repaired if they are damaged in a storm or with age. Dimensional shingles interlock and are not likely to blow off in a storm, but they are also relatively easy to replace is that should occur.
Shingled roofs are more likely to fail in the valleys and around roof protrusions. Head walls, skylights, chimneys and vents are protected with flashing, mortar and caulk. Over time, the mortar can give way, allowing the flashing to bend away from the structure and grant water access. Caulk eventually shrinks, cracks and fails as a waterproofer.
When you have a water leak in your home, the most time-consuming process is often finding the source of the leak. Checking caulk, flashing and other materials takes time, but it’s the only way to determine the source of the leak. Once the problem is identified, roofing professionals can replace caulk, fill in fresh mortar, reform flashing and replace damaged or missing shingles. The average cost of a roof repair is $700 to $800. Simple repairs that are performed quickly may cost less than $200, but more complicated ones can run well over $1,000 to take care of.
Cost of Replacing Asphalt Roofs
When more than 30 percent of a roof is in disrepair with missing shingles or other problems, you will probably need to replace the entire roof. This is a costly endeavor, but ignoring the problem will lead to water leaks, structural damage and even higher repair bills. There are several factors to consider when having a roof replaced. This makes it impossible for a roofing company to provide you with an estimate over the phone. They will insist on viewing the property first, and you should only work with companies that will take the time to do a thorough inspection and provide you with a written estimate.
Size of Roof – Shingles come in something called bundles or squares. Each square covers up to 100 square feet on the roof. The first thing a contractor will do is measure the various roof planes to determine how many squares are required.
Pitch – A roof that is very steep requires extra safety equipment and care. You can expect to pay a premium on these types of roofs. They also have more squares to cover, and that drives the price up.
Design – Valleys are the inside corner where two roof planes meet. If you have areas where two roof planes meet to form an outside corner, then you have a hip area. These areas all require special considerations to protect the corners from the elements. Skylights, vents, chimneys, head walls and other protrusions will also have an impact on the final price.
Removal – Removing the old shingles drives the cost of roofing up slightly, but not as much as you might think. You could try to save a little money by removing the shingles yourself, but you will still have to pay a fee for dumpsters and disposals. After pricing out both options, you may decide to that it’s well worth the price to have the professionals remove the old shingles.
Quality – You pay for what you get, and higher quality shingles do carry a premium. However, they are also more durable, less likely to sustain damage in a storm and more attractive. When you consider that cheaper shingles will have to be replaced sooner, the more expensive ones may become more attractive.
Attic Inspection – Roofers won’t just look on the roof, they will also look inside your home at the attic. This allows them to see if there might be water damage to the roof decking, problems with mold or ventilation issues inside the structure. They will correct all of these problems when replacing your roof, and that is taken into account with the price.
A simple roof with two opposite planes that covers a small to modest home will easily run $8,000 or more for professional installation. As the roof becomes more complex and larger, the price will rise. However, it’s a necessary investment to protect your home and ensure that it remains dry in a storm.
You can save a substantial sum by installing the roof yourself, but it is best to turn the job over to professionals. Incorrectly installing a roof can void the warranty, and it won’t last as long if certain steps are not taken during installation. When calling for roofing estimates, talk to several companies. They will do an inspection of the home, and they should be willing to provide you with written estimates. You can then use the information to choose the right company for your needs.
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Driving through Maryland and glancing at the roofs of houses won’t show visitors red tiled roofs. That is a shame because terra cotta roof tiles are not only pretty, but they typically outlast the building they are roofing. It is not uncommon to take away the rubble of a building that has fallen in and use the red roofing tiles on another incarnation of the building. Red tiles have been proven to last several hundred years.
A remarkable property of red tiles is that they are fireproof. This meant something in the early years of the country’s building, because people remembered the fires that obliterated London and Boston in the 1600s. In fact, that was how fire codes were established. People built using the natural clay deposits found in Georgia and Southern Maryland. In time, however, terra cotta tiles, which are quite heavy, gave way to wooden shingles. Houses and other buildings didn’t need such heavy framing to hold wooden shingles.
The typical Maryland roof is protected by black shingles for a few reasons other than fire. The Maryland climate is volatile, given its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and the Shenandoah Mountains. One would think the mountain chain would protect Maryland from the vestiges of weather patterns coming from Canada and the West. Instead, the mountain range exacerbates any weather patterns hitting Maryland.
Another reason is hurricanes. Some hit the Carolinas and then travel across the states before they run out of steam. Other hurricanes roar up the Chesapeake Bay, doing untold damage before pouncing on Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and points north. These storms demolish houses, so a terra cotta roof would do the homeowner no good. Trees will fall onto houses and rainwater would pass through unimpeded. Terra cotta is a porous material, not waterproof unless it is glazed.
One more reason Maryland homeowners prefer a black shingle roof is snow. Snow sits atop a house until it melts and runs off the roof into the gutters and drainpipes. If a roof were composed of terra cotta tiles, the glaze would keep the tiles from absorbing the water from the snow. However, it would seep between and under the tiles, damaging the support of the roof. Eventually it would rot the wood sheath underneath the tiles.
This is a concern due to the way the tiles are applied to the roof. After the framing is completed and the roof is sheathed, the red tiles are applied. The tiles come in different shapes, most of which to not interlock to make them waterproof. In that case, a waterproof material is laid underneath the tiles. The tiles are then applied beginning at the eaves, with each course overlapping the previous. This prevents leaking and guides any water toward the eaves, where the moisture will escape via gutters.
Indeed, since red tile is porous, if it is not glazed there is a danger of cracking and breaking during a freeze. Ice build-up beneath the tiles causes cracking and breaking when the tiles thaw. All this is nothing compared to the danger of mold and mildew caused by the moisture being trapped under the tiles. Professionals would be required to clean the roof and remove the mold and mildew, then seal the roof tiles.
It is much simpler for Maryland homeowners not to use terra cotta tiles to roof their homes. The durability and soundproofing qualities of terra cotta tiles cannot be denied, but the disadvantages to a Maryland homeowner also cannot be denied. Red tiles are better suited to a hot dry climate than to one as volatile as the Maryland climate.
The Maryland homeowner should also keep in mind that red tiles are quite heavy. It would be costly to build enough support into the roof to hold the terra cotta tiles. Added to this would be the cost of repairing storm damage to the roof.
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The path to becoming a licensed roofing contractor in Maryland begins with working as a subcontractor for a general contractor. Interestingly, a general contractor for new home construction only needs to register and does not need to be licensed in the state of Maryland. If working for a contractor, a subcontractor does not need to be licensed.
In order to enter into a contract with a homeowner to modify or remodel a roof on an existing structure, a Home Improvement License from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission is required. Home improvement refers to any modification or alteration to a single family home or to the individual living quarters of a condominium. It does not refer to any improvements made to the common areas or buildings associated with the condominium.
In order to apply to the Home Improvement Commission for a roofing contractor’s license, an applicant must pass a written test with a score of at least 70 percent. The test covers all laws and regulations applicable to the home improvement business. The application for taking the written test requires an applicant to submit the following to the commission:
1) Proof of two years of experience in “home improvement work, construction, and/or related education.”
2) Proof that the applicant’s business is financially solvent.
3) If the business is a corporation, the articles of incorporation must be submitted with the application to take the written test.
4) If the business is using a trade name, proof must be submitted with the test application that the name is available and registered.
5) Proof that the applicant’s business carries liability insurance in the amount of $50,000.
6) Proof of Worker’s Compensation Coverage or explanation that the applicant is not an employer required to provide such coverage.
7) If the applicant has a criminal record of either a felony or misdemeanor “relating to a home improvement transaction” the criminal record of the conviction must be submitted with the application.
8 ) Submit a $150 licensing fee along with a $20 application fee.
9) Include the work history and provide names of the contractors the applicant has worked for.
10) The application must be signed declaring, under penalty of perjury, that all the information is correct.
Some colleges offer a test preparation course. The MHIC offers free seminars to help with the application process. Neither the course nor the seminar is required. They are only offered to assist those who feel they could benefit from them.
If the applicant does not pass the exam the first time, it can be retaken. The second application can be made 21 days after notification that the applicant did not pass. If subsequent retakes are necessary, 60 days must elapse between the notification date and reapplication.
No temporary license will be issued and the license must be renewed every two years. At renewal, a fee is charged and a credit check performed. If there are any problems with the credit check related to the business, the contractor will be given an opportunity to explain.
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In most states in the US, roofing contractors need to obtain a license to operate. The license regulations vary between states. Becoming a roofing contractor in Delaware requires aspiring professionals to obtain a roofing license. Obtaining a license involves more than just making an application to get the certificate.
The first thing that applicants or aspiring roofing contractors need to do is to train to be roofers. This is obviously the first step in the process. There are various institutions in Delaware where apprenticeship or construction courses are offered. Taking the course makes an apprentice eligible to undertake the licensing exam. Though people do not require college degrees to be roofing contractors, they should however, have advanced knowledge on roofing in order to pass the licensing test. Most state community colleges in Delaware offer construction or vocational courses in roofing.
It is also important to obtain a personal injury and property insurance policy. Roofing contractors in Delaware require liability insurance to protect the assets of their clients. The aspiring roofing contractor is required to attach proof of insurance when applying for a contractor’s license in Delaware.
Before filling out and submitting the application forms, inquire from the licencing board if a bond needs to be posted for the license. It is also essential to secure the bond and license application fees beforehand.
Application forms for a roofing contractor licence can be obtained from the Division of Professional Regulation or The Licensing Board. The forms have various questions. Some of the questions are of a basic nature requiring information about the applicant. There are also specific questions about the roofing service that will be provided by the applicant. All relevant areas should be filled and the completed forms submitted to offices of The Licensing Board.
When the applicant is through with the paperwork, they can embark on passing the licensing exam. The exam covers different subjects on roofing including roofing types and other technical aspects involved in roofing. On passing the roofing contractor’s exam, the applicants only have to wait a few days to get their license. A Delaware roofing contractor’s license is valid for two years after which a contractor is supposed to renew it by going through the roofing test again.
There are a few tips that can help with getting a roofing contractor’s license. The applicant needs to make sure that they contact the licencing Board to inquire about the requirements needed to get a roofing licence because the regulations and requirements may change with time.
It also important to prepare adequately before taking the exam. The money spent on the license application and exams are not refundable if a candidate fails. Being a licenced roofing contractor in Delaware does not mean that the contractor can work in the same capacity in other states. In case a Delaware contractor wants to work in or expand to other states, they will have to undergo the licencing procedures of the relevant states.
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