I will go on the assumption that you will not, in fact, try to do this job yourself. Although replacing a roof is not what is described as rocket science, it offers plenty of opportunity to really mess up one’s house, and that brings me to the central purpose of your roof: to protect the rest of your house.
There’s probably no reason to replace a roof unless you know of a specific problem necessitating it. If you just bought the house, you probably have a house inspection report in hand. Hopefully it includes a significant section on the condition of the roof.
The good news is, there are plenty of roofing companies to choose from. The bad news is, there are perhaps too many! Getting into the roofing business is not that hard – perhaps all you need is a few ladders and tools, then go to YouTube to see how it’s done – but producing a quality result is a little more complicated. To the outsider, one roof may look the same as the next, but the difference between a good roofing company and a poor one is the difference between a cozy, dry home and a flooding problem in your kitchen. So let’s look at what to look for in a good roofing contractor:
The bigger question is, just how much of the roof is beyond repair? On the one hand, it might look really bad, but the roof tiles might be the only part of the roof that need to be replace, in addition of course to the waterproofing lining underneath it. But if the roof has been letting water in underneath that, the plywood could be rotten and even the rafters and roof infrastructure could be compromised. The further the damage goes into the house – likely in parallel to how long the roof and the house was neglected – the more work you will have to do.
The first thing to do, if you have not already done it, is to get a roof inspection. In some cases, you might get it for free, especially if there is a known problem and the roofer considers your business a possibility. Even if you do pay for the inspection, the typical roofing company will deduct that from the final charge if you give your business to them.
Roofing material have come a long way in the last few decades. And nowhere has been more impacted than in the Puget Sound area because of its weather. Although it doesn’t get below freezing so often in your Kirkland or Redmond neighborhoods, the almost constant dampness through a good half of the year takes its toll on the average roof. In a place like southern California, they might have different environmental challenges, such as a baking sun, but in Kirkland or Bellevue, it’s about moisture and cold mostly.
The Pacific Northwest, and the Puget Sound / Seattle area in particular, has one big challenge when it comes to roofs: Rain. Sure, there are places in the world that get more rain, but on the continental United States, it’s considered one of the wettest. Perhaps more important than that level of actual precipitation is how “damp” it is. Seattle is green because of the rain and because it stays wet often for a long time.
Only a few decades ago, it seemed every house in Seattle was either composite or shake. Now, there are dozens of different materials that can be used on a roof – and for numerous reasons – and countless manufacturers that have popped up to satisfy the market. With all these new roof material types and products, there are still some basics you can use on almost all roof material types to keep it in great shape, and in particular considering the typical weather we get in the Pacific Northwest.
My house in Shoreline gets a lot of salt water spray on the roof. How can I prevent damage and avoid having to replace my roof?
Any kind of water, in excess, puts pressure on a typical roof of the Pacific Northwest. Salt water adds another dimension to it because the salt introduces elements other than just plain water. If you Google the contents of seawater, click ‘images’ and you will see that a drop of seawater has many living organisms in it. The organisms won’t actually eat your roof or anything, but they prove that there are nutrients in the water that can feed other types of creatures when they get a chance to build up on your roof over time.
Assuming you have made the decision that you are planning to replace the roof on your home, or you are going to put a new roof on a new construction, there are several good questions you can ask your roofing company before you sign on the dotted line. Or at least, before the work actually starts.