Welcome to our blog. This page is important because many people in the roofing business have absolutely no business being in the roofing business. The huge amount of negative customer reviews on the Internet is mind boggling. You need to stay away from these folks (aka Cowboy Roofers*) and know how to get the best roofing job for the best price possible. This blog will help you do that with fun, informative, and educational factoids about all aspects of roofs and roofing.
*Cowboy Roofers are the folks you should avoid hiring because they put their interests above yours and are marginally to moderately skilled at best. Cowboy roofers give a bad name to the roofing trade and worse yet they give a bad name to the large number of quality-oriented roofing contractors out there. Check out our Hall of Shame for examples of what happens when cowboy roofers get on your roof.
If you have a question that you would like SuperRoofer Joe Sardotz to answer in his blog or FAQs, please complete the Ask SuperRoofer form. Visit Joe's Contact page if you would like Joe to provide roof consulting and inspection services for you.
In 1930, Edmond Fitzgerald built a cedar shake roof on his home that lasted 70 years. (He also built a great lakes ore carrier that did not last through a November gale as well as his roof did.) Good materials and good construction methods are why the roof was durable.
In 2000, Matt Millen of Millen Roofing Co. published a case study of this exceptionally good roof, with topics including Roof Deck, Slopes, and Climate; the Shingles; Underlayment and Interlayments; Fasteners; Flashings; and References.
This roof in Lake Oswego had to be redone. The specifications for the install were clear and the contractor knew it would be inspected. The ball was really dropped here. (Click images below for larger views in new window. Scroll down to read the rest of the story.)
Removal of damaged plywood overhang due to use of too-long nails
Replacement of damaged overhang plywood
New roof (second install)
New roof (again)
What was wrong? Lots!
The contract specified 30lb felt, 15 lb was used.
Edge flashing used was not as specified.
Vents and pipes were not laid in sealant.
At least 85% of nails were either set too deep, blown through (indication of air gun malfunction), at an extreme angle, and/or improperly placed. This does not occur if a roof is hand nailed.
All manufacturers are very specific about fastening, and even though a little 'wiggle room' is allowed, this was not even remotely close. Way too much wiggling! Also, the roofers used nails that were too long at the exposed overhangs, which damaged the plywood such that the owner demanded it be done again. Two days after the job was completed, the new roof was torn off and done again. The difference between the two installs was like night & day.
This incident created a lot of unnecessary stress for all parties, cost the roofer a lot of money, and was an embarassment for the company and the roofers themselves. Just a bad situation all the way around.
Do it right: First time, every time!
The moral of this story is: "Do it right the first time! Do it to manufacturer specifications. Do what the contract says."
Don't let this happen to you. I hate to think of how many badly done new roofs are out there and how many property owners have no clue about it. Have Oregon Roof Consulting inspect your new roof!
Which is better: Synthetic underlayment or traditional felt underlayment? Bottom line: Underlayment is a vapor barrier.
Synthetic underlayments are a good product, but the advantage is primarily to the installer:
Synthetics are lighter in weight, so a 1000 sq ft roll weighs about what a roll of standard 15lb 400 sq ft asphalt-saturated felt weighs.
Organic (traditional) felt underlayments will 'breathe' whereas synthetics will not. Many roofers prefer 'felt' for this reason.
Synthetics will not wrinkle overnight like felt will, so the roofer does not need to slice the felt the next day to flatten it out, which saves a little time. Note: If the felt receives 15 minutes of sunlight, it will flatten out. If the roofer covers the felt with a tarp at the end of the workday, it will remain flat overnight.
Synthetics cost more money than standard felt. Of course that cost is passed to you but the roofer has one less time-consuming issue to deal with (time is money) so the profit margin can be higher with synthetic underlayment rather than with felt.
Simply stated, synthetics are more expensive than felt, lighter, and can be quicker and easier for the installer to use. Traditional felt is less expensive than synthetic underlayment, is a little more sensitive to the elements though it can be easily managed with a little extra care.
Composition can be used on slopes less than 4/12 down to 2/12, but NOT lower than 2/12. ALL manufacturers require an ice and water shield peel-and-stick membrane on these applications. Otherwise part of their material warranty is void.
The only ice and water product that warrants the ‘Gasket Effect’ is made by Grace. Their product attaches to anything that penetrates it, so leaking and ice damming cannot occur. With this membrane, standard underlayment is not needed. There are cheaper ‘entry level’ membranes, but they can’t touch the performance of Grace Ice & Water Shield.
Residential and commercial roofing project consulting in Oregon; Portland Metro, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Washington State; and the Pacific Northwest area. Offering professional roof consulting, inspections, project monitoring, and certifications for property owners and homeowners.
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