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Experienced Roofing Contractor

Ask an Expert: A 17-Year Roofing Pro Shares What Every Homeowner Should Know About Roof Replacement, But Doesn’t

October 9, 2017 / Author: Colin Gibson

Welcome to the first in our Ask an Expert series, where we’ll be interviewing contracting pros to get answers to common customer questions. Our expert today is the Roofing Manager at Edmunds Home Improvements, Steve Wilcox.

Colin: How long have you worked in roofing?

Steve: I believe it’s been just over 17 years.

Colin: For a person with no previous roofing knowledge and who is not inclined to go up on their roof to look around, what is the best way to determine when their roof should be replaced?

Steve: The best indicator is the age of the roof. Once your roof is between 10 and 15 years old, it’s time to have it inspected. After 15 years, you’re likely looking at a replacement.

Colin: If you were to reroof your home today, what shingle would you use and why?

Steve: The best value for your money is the IKO product line. Reason being is that all product lines are now essentially the same, the only difference being colour. Every manufacturer is selling fibreglass-asphalt 1-piece laminate shingles in the “architectural” style.

So first things first, you want a Canadian-made shingle, if for no other reason than they are less expensive than American shingles that have to be shipped long distances over the border. Canadian manufacturers also offer a better warranty. Both American and Canadian companies provide a limited lifetime Warranty (LLW) of 50 years. However, American manufacturers only cover the full cost of labour and materials for 10 years, after which the warranty is prorated over the remaining 40 years. Canadian companies extend the full coverage period to 15 years.

When you use the entire IKO system, which includes synthetic roof deck covers, ice and water shield, hip, ridge, and starter shingles, IKO extends the full coverage period for another 5 years [to a total of 20 years full coverage, and 30 more years prorated]. They are also the only company that includes shingle removal and disposal in addition to labour and materials during the full coverage period.

Out of all the shingles – which are essentially the same product – IKO offers the best warranty, at the same price as comparable Canadian shingle manufacturers.

Colin: What advice would you give to homeowners looking to contract a roofer to reshingle their home?

Steve: There are a few basics. Look at the length of time they’ve been around: the longer, the better. Everyone is online today, so check out sites like HomeStars and the like for reviews from past customers. Get your friends’ and neighbours’ opinions.

A big one is insurance. If a contractor doesn’t have WSIB insurance, then you can be held liable for anything that happens to them while they’re on your property. You don’t want an uninsured roofer falling off your house and suing you when he hurts himself.

Colin: Why can’t I just shingle over my existing shingles?

Steve: This is the old grandfather practice, and it’s a bad idea for a lot of reasons. If we don’t remove your old shingles, we can’t know what state your roof deck is in and won’t know if it requires replacement. Old shingles are frequently warped, which would cause newer, laminate shingles to buckle [bend]. This can cause water to flow sideways and underneath shingles or flashing, causing leaks. Additionally, manufacturers won’t warranty a roof that was installed over old shingles.

Colin: Why should homeowners use metal valleys instead of steel?

Steve: While not as bad as roofing over your existing shingles, closed valleys are not recommended. They wear out considerably faster. And worst of all, they may void your warranty.

Colin: What one thing should most people know about reroofing their home, but don’t?

Steve: It’s always better to deal with one person who is responsible for every aspect of your roof. Some organizations have a salesperson whom, once the contract is signed, you will never hear from again. And again, after the crew has finished the job and made a mistake, the crew leaves, and you’re left to deal with a service department. This can become frustrating for homeowners, because nobody wants to take responsibility for the project as a whole.

At Edmunds, you’re going to work with a single person who is accountable for the entire reroofing process.

Have questions we didn’t answer? Give us a call at 905-472-0276 to book an appointment with Steve today.