Frequently Asked Questions

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How To Choose a Roof Contractor

Choosing a roofer doesn’t have to be complicated if you follow some basic guidelines and do your homework. Ultimately it boils down to finding someone you’re comfortable with, who can do the job at a price within your budget, and whose work won’t result in problems further down the line. Remember that cost should not be the only thing to consider when choosing a roofing contractor — the contractor’s professionalism and quality workmanship should also factor into your decision.
  • Look for a roofer who can diagnose your current problems (as well as spot potential problem areas that you might not have considered), and is knowledgeable about the particular type of shingle or other roofing product that you’re interested in.
  • Keep in mind that you’re looking for a fair price, and the roofer is looking for a fair profit for the work performed.
  • Keep in mind that you’re looking for a fair price, and the roofer is looking for a fair profit for the work performed.
  • Shop around and get estimates from several contractors.
  • An extremely low bid should raise questions: Why is one contractor’s bid so low compared to others? Are they using inferior materials? Cutting corners somewhere? Shoddy workmanship? Hiring illegal labor? Ask questions.
  • Is the contractor licensed? Ask to see a copy of the license. You can verify licenses by visiting the SC Secretary of State’s website
  • Determine whether the roofer is bonded and insured. We are bonded, and have $2 million of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance, which is more than most companies carry.
  • Verify the name and address of the business.
  • Can the contractor provide references? As of February 2010, we have 60 references on from previous clients throughout the Upstate. Our average rating is 4.62 on a scale of 5, with 97% indicating they would use us again or recommend us.
  • Does the contractor stand behind his work with a workmanship guarantee? We offer workmanship guarantees in addition to the protection you receive from the manufacturers warranty. Exterior Specialists also has the “Shingle Master Company” designation from CertainTeed, which allows us to offer their SureStart PLUS warranty which extends your warranty perior beyond the standard coverage.
  • Make sure you understand the details of the manufacturer’s warranty. Warranties vary depending on which product you choose.
  • Ask questions about various materials, products, brand names, colors, durability, life span, etc.
Get a detailed estimate in writing, which outlines some or all of the following items:
  • Total price of the job, including labor and materials.
  • Discuss how you will deal with unanticipated problems and additional costs that might occur, due to roof problems that are not visible at the time of the estimate, such as rotten roof decking, etc. Make sure both you and the contractor understand the process for changes to the work order.
  • Permits – are they necessary for your location?
  • Start and completion dates, including alternative plans in case of weather delays.
  • Materials to be used: brands, colors, etc.
  • Procedures during the job: work hours, approximate arrival and departure times, safety precautions, clean-up procedures, etc.
  • Payment terms: is a deposit required? when is final payment due?
  • Do you receive a lien waiver upon completion of the project?
  • Be sure to get everything in writing so that both you and the contractor are protected from misunderstandings.

Questions to Ask Your Roof Contractor

Here’s a list of suggested questions to ask any roofing company when you are getting estimates. How they answer these questions will help you decide whom to hire to work on your home. There may be other questions that are also important to you but this list will give you a good start.
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Where is their office located?
  • Can they provide references for work previously done?
  • Is there any pending legal action against the company?
  • What sorts of credentials does the company have? Are they certified by any of the major shingle manufacturers?
  • Will the materials used be installed according to the manufacturer’s written specifications?
  • Ask to see a copy of their license. In SC you can look it up online to verify that the license is active by going to the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation website and selecting “Residential Builders” from the drop-down menu.
  • Ask to see a copy of their general liability insurance and their workers’ compensation insurance to make sure both are active.
  • Ask about their process for handling complaints.
  • Find out when payment is due. Deposit? Interim payments? Final payment?
  • How long will the job take (estimated)?
  • When can they start?
  • What happens with weather-related delays?
  • Will an on-site supervisor be present at all times?
  • See also the “Before-During-After Checklist”.
  • Do they provide a written estimate that is detailed and itemized?
  • How do they handle unforeseen issues like hidden damage that is not visible at the time of the estimate? Is a revised estimate provided? How are work-order changes handled?
  • Do they provide a workmanship guarantee or warranty in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty?
  • Are permits required and who is responsible for obtaining them?
  • What happens in the event that damage occurs to my property? Who is liable, for what?
  • Do they use subcontractors, or just their own employees?
  • Do they provide a lien release upon completion of the job?
  • Does the company perform a thorough cleanup of the entire work area (removal of all debris, nails, etc.) once the job is completed?
  • The most important thing to remember is never settle for an oral agreement – get everything possible in writing.

Wind/Hail Roof Damage Checklist

If you think you’ve got roof damage from wind or hail, grab a pen and paper and use this checklist while walking around the inside and outside of your house to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
  • Are there any tears in your window screens?
  • Do you have cracks in the windows, or any visible damage to caulking or beading around the windowpanes?
  • Is there any broken glass inside the house? Note where it is located.
  • Is there any damage to lawn furniture or outside decorations?
  • Any damage to porch screens, hot tub covers, etc.?
  • Inspect fences, swing-sets, decks and patios for marks, dents or scuff marks.
  • Check your HVAC unit for damage: dents to outside casing, fins, etc.
  • Do you have outside lights? Do they still work?
  • Check swimming pool for floating debris or other damage. Did you have to clean out the pool?
  • Check trees for broken limbs and/or fallen limbs.
  • Did you lose your electricity? Did you have food spoilage?
  • Walk slowly around the inside of your house and look for water stains on the ceiling. Particularly in corners, around light fixtures, and around the chimney.
  • Check the attic for water seepage or wet insulation.
  • Look at your roof for obvious signs of torn, curled or blown-off shingles, dented vents, dented gutters, skylights, etc. It’s probably best not to climb up on the roof at this point since walking on shingles might cause granule loss. Leave it to a professional to inspect close-up.
Schedule a Roof Estimate
  • An experienced roofer with a trained eye can find things that you might have missed.
  • Schedule a time when you can be there for the inspection.
  • Get feedback from the roofing contractor about the claims process. Share the notes you made during your walk-around.
  • If you’re comfortable with the roofer, agree to have your roof replaced if your insurance company agrees to replace the entire roof.
  • Get a detailed, written estimate for materials and labor from the roofer.
File Your Insurance Claim
  • Call your insurance company to report the claim.
  • Explain all aspects of the damage by referring to your notes.
  • If other homes in your neighborhood are already having roof work done, be sure to mention that.
  • Keep detailed notes of whom you talk to, including dates and times and summaries of conversations.
  • Tell the insurance agent or adjuster to call you before coming out to inspect your home so that you can arrange for the roofing contractor to be there also.
  • Let the insurance adjuster and the roofing contractor discuss the claim together.
  • Avoid being confrontational or angry with the adjuster. If they deny some or all of your claim you can still appeal. Ask your roofer if he can assist you with the appeals process.
  • If the claim is accepted, the adjuster will either give you a check on the spot, or will tell you when you can expect to receive payment.
  • Depending on your insurance company, you may not receive payment in full until all repairs have been completed.
  • If there is a mortgage on your home the check will be made payable jointly to you and your mortgage company.
  • Check with your mortgage company to see whether additional paperwork needed on their end.
When It’s Time For The Roof To Be Replaced
  • Clear the driveway for materials delivery.
  • Discuss with the contractor if and where any roofing trash containers will be placed during the job.
  • Take down hanging pictures, and remove valuables such as photos and loose items from bookcases and shelves. Vibrations from the roof installation may cause damage to some of these items if they are left in place.
  • Make sure that the contractor has access to live electical sockets outside for nail guns, air compressors, etc.
  • If you have pets, take whatever precautions are necessary to keep them out of the way during the installation.
When The Job Is Complete
  • Walk around to inspect the job. The contractor or on-site supervisor should do the walk-around with you.
  • Request copies of your warranty information.
  • Arrange to obtain a lien release.
  • Make final payment.
  • File all your paperwork in a safe place in case you need to refer back to it.

Materials Checklist for The Do-It-Yourselfer

For the do-it-yourselfer, it can be easy to overlook some of the things you’ll need for your roofing project. Here is a materials checklist to help you avoid those extra trips to the store.
We’ve also got downloadable installation guidelines for all shingle products from CertainTeed, GAF, Owens Corning and TAMKO. Click the “Navigation” link above to select the information you need.
  • Shingles
  • Shingle Accessories
  • Felt Underlayment
  • Flashing
  • Ventilation Products (roof vents, ridge vents, attic rafter vents)
  • Roofing Nails
  • Caulk
  • Gutter Protection
  • Ice or Water Barrier
  • Plywood Roof Decking

Do I Need To Be Home When My Roof Is Installed

You should ask your roofer whether you need to be home when your roof is being installed or repaired. In most cases you don’t need to be home, but ultimately it’s your decision. Here are some things to consider:
  • Roof work is noisy and for that reason alone some people prefer to leave and come back at the end of the day.
  • Talk with the roofing company before the work begins to determine whether they will need access to the inside of your house (i.e., do they need to get upstatirs or into the attic for any reason? Skylights?).
  • Are they going to need access to electrical power inside the home, or do you have outside outlets available for their tools, nail guns, air compressors, etc.?
  • Do you need to turn off alarm systems?
  • Will anything inside need to be moved?
  • Will pets need to be contained away from the work area?
  • Do you feel like you need to be home to make sure proper care is taken to avoid damage to flowers, shrubbery, trees, gardens, etc.?
  • Do you feel comfortable enough with the company, its reputation and its employees to let them inside your home while you’re away?
Based on these and other factors, you’ll have to decide whether you need to be home when you’re having roof work done. Discuss these and any issues with the roofing company when you’re getting the estimate to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings when they arrive to begin the job.

Do I Need?

  • Do I Need To Be Home When My Roof Is Installed?
  • Do I Need To Be Home When My Roof Is Installed?
  • Should I Remove Old Shingles Before Installing New Ones?

Do I Need To Be Home When My Roof Is Installed

You should ask your roofer whether you need to be home when your roof is being installed or repaired. In most cases you don’t need to be home, but ultimately it’s your decision. Here are some things to consider:
  • Roof work is noisy and for that reason alone some people prefer to leave and come back at the end of the day.
  • Talk with the roofing company before the work begins to determine whether they will need access to the inside of your house (i.e., do they need to get upstatirs or into the attic for any reason? Skylights?).
  • Are they going to need access to electrical power inside the home, or do you have outside outlets available for their tools, nail guns, air compressors, etc.?
  • Do you need to turn off alarm systems?
  • Will anything inside need to be moved?
  • Will pets need to be contained away from the work area?
  • Do you feel like you need to be home to make sure proper care is taken to avoid damage to flowers, shrubbery, trees, gardens, etc.?
  • Do you feel comfortable enough with the company, its reputation and its employees to let them inside your home while you’re away?
Based on these and other factors, you’ll have to decide whether you need to be home when you’re having roof work done. Discuss these and any issues with the roofing company when you’re getting the estimate to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings when they arrive to begin the job.

Do I Need To Be Home When My Roof Is Installed

It’s important to get a written estimate for your roof repair or installation, and homeowners who work full-time might be tempted to call several roofers to request estimates that they can compare later. Sometimes that can end up as a regrettable decision.
Here are several reasons why we prefer to meet with you in person when we do a roof estimate:
  • It’s important for both of us to feel comfortable with each other, and it’s much easier to determine that in person as opposed to just talking on the phone.
  • Regardless of which roofing company you choose, you want to be sure you’re getting an apples-to-apples comparison. Are they using the same types of materials, with similar warranties? Has one company budgeted for lowest-price shingles when what you really prefer are architectural shingles?
  • Does one estimate include labor for a tear-off, while another doesn’t? If one estimate is way out of line (either high or low), you’ll want to find out why.
  • In order to provide a reliable estimate, a good roofer will want to do a thorough inspection. This might include entering your yard through a locked gate, getting on your roof and/or inspecting your attic. You may also need to turn off alarm systems.
  • You will most likely have additional questions that didn’t occur to you during the initial phone call. All of these issues can be clarified in a face-to-face meeting, and it will be much easier for you to make an educated decision about which estimate is the best fit for you.
  • We’re be glad to answer all of your questions, and work with you to design a solution that fits your budget and your timeframe.

Should I Remove Old Shingles Before Installing New Ones

When replacing a roof, homeowners sometimes get conflicting advice about whether to tear off the old shingles or simply lay new shingles on top of the old ones. It can be tempting to cut corners and try to reduce labor costs by avoiding the tear-off, but you should definitely talk to a professional roofer first, because the decision depends on several factors and you don’t want to make an expensive mistake. Most asphalt shingles have a lifespan ranging from ten to thirty years, depending on the quality of material (some luxury shingles offer 40- or 50-year warranties).
While it is not uncommon for someone to lay a new roof over an existing shingles,here are some things to consider:
  • Building codes in some locales prohibit laying a 3rd layer on top of two existing layers. Check with your roofer or your local building codes office for specific requirements in your area.
  • The existing layer should be thoroughly inspected before a decision is made — if the top layer is cracked, wrinkled, buckled or damaged in any way, the new layer won’t lay flat and most reputable roofers are not going to want the potential liability. You also need to look at the shingle manufacturer’s warranty to make sure your warranty isn’t voided by laying new shingles on top of existing ones.
  • Added weight is also a factor — can your roof structure support the added weight? A square of shingles (covering 100 square feet) weighs between 250 and 450 pounds depending on quality of material. A 2000sf roof, for example, would require at least 20 squares, placing 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of additional weight on your structure.

How Questions

  • How Long Does It Take To Replace a Roof?
  • How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Roof?
  • Why Does A Roof Need Ventilation?
  • What Can I Do About Algae Discoloration?
  • How to Tell If I Need a New Roof?
  • How Often Should My Roof Be Inspected?

How Long Does It Take To Replace a Roof

That’s a question everybody asks, and it’s an important one. The answer is, “It depends.” Here are a some things to keep in mind:
  • The best answer will come from an experienced roofing contractor after he has looked at the scope of your job.
  • Simple roof replacements might take several days, and complex jobs can take a week or more. Weather is always a factor — wind, rain, snow, freezing temperatures or even the threat of any of these can delay or slow down the process. Plan on being flexible in your expectations to account for weather-related delays.
  • Homeowners can also play a role in how long it takes, because some homeowners will insist on being home whenever work is being done (see related article Do I Need To Be Home When The Roof Is Installed), and when you combine that with weather delays it can complicate the scheduling process.
  • Keep in mind also that reputable roofing companies will give you their best good faith estimate, but not every detail is written in stone. Unforeseen complications can and do arise, especially for things that were not visible during the initial estimate. For instance, they may have estimated the job and bid according to tearing off your shingles and replacing with new ones, but once they arrive and begin tearing off the old shingles they find lots of rotted plywood decking and recommend new decking to protect the terms of your warranty and prolong the life of your new roof.
  • Finally, don’t try to cut things too close time-wise. If you’ve got a big event planned at your house, or a vacation scheduled, and you’re trying to get the roof replaced beforehand, make sure to give yourself (and the roofer) enough time to get the job finished without stressing everybody out. Otherwise, it’s best to postpone to job until a later date.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Roof

The cost to replace a roof will vary tremendously depending on the type of roofing material used. Asphalt shingles dominate the market with approximately 80-90% national market share according to various industry statistics. Metal roofs, slate, tile, and cedar shake are more expensive but can add a distinctive look to your home and in some cases increase market value when you’re ready sell. This shingle comparison chart provides a quick summary of the advantages of each type of roofing material. Here are some estimated figures on roof replacement costs using various materials:
  • Asphalt Roof – for the do-it-yourselfer, just the materials to replace asphalt shingles on an average one-story ranch house will run about $800-$4000 depending on roof square footage and the quality of materials used. Although this is a wide price range, keep in mind that there are several grades of asphalt shingles (i.e., good, better, best) and are usually classified as traditional 3-tab, premium, designer, architectural, ultra-luxury, etc. Warranties on asphalt shingle roofs can range from 10 years to lifetime. If you decide to have a professional install the roof for you, labor costs can vary from $1800 to $8000 depending on: location, square footage, roof pitch, whether the old shingles are removed or simply covered over, and whether new plywood sheathing is necessary. Compared to other types of roofing material, asphalt is faster to install and easier and less expensive to repair.
  • Cedar Shake Roof – Real wood shakes are beautiful but they require ongoing maintenance, they can be susceptible to fire, and in some cases don’t last as long as other roofing materials. Costs for an average one-story ranch home can range from $5000 to $20000. Some manufacturers offer composite, rubber or plastic shakes made to look like wood, and ashphalt shingles now come in lots of beautiful colors that mimic the look of real shake.
  • Metal Roof – Metal roofs have become more popular because they are lightweight, long-lasting, fire-resistant, available in numerous colors, and don’t rot. Costs can vary widely depending on whether steel, aluminum or copper is used. On an average one-story ranch home, steel can run from $5000 to $20000, aluminum from $10000 to $25000, and copper jumps up to $20000 to $40000. TAMKO offers a line of steel shingles (see the TAMKO links at top of page) that mimic the look of wood, tile or slate. They’re very durable and offer a different look than traditional metal roofs.
  • Tile Roof – Tile roofs have a distinctive look, come in many colors and shapes, are fire-resistant, and are impervious to insects and rot. You have the option of using concrete tiles which can run $7500 to $22000 for an average one-story ranch home, or ceramic clay tiles which would be $12000 to $21000 for standard shapes and colors. Custom colors and shapes can add to the cost. Tile roofs are very heavy and sometimes require structural reinforcement to handle the added weight.
  • Slate Roof – That’s sort of a misnomer since slate roofs almost never need to be replaced except in cases of severe neglect. For homeowners considering upgrading, slate offers these advantages: it is a highly distinctive look, can last a lifetime when properly installed, and can add to the resale value of the home. It’s expensive, and installation can take weeks or months depending on the size and complexity of the job. Not every contractor specializes in slate so be sure to look for someone experienced. Costs for a basic one-story ranch home can vary from $20000 to $80000, and larger homes exceeding 3000sf might be anywhere from $30000 to $100000+, depending on the quality of slate used and the complexity of the job. Like we mentioned for tile, slate is very heavy and may require structural roof reinforment to handle the extra weight. GAF’s TruSlate is a popular alternative …. a genuine, hand-quarried slate that is thinner at the top (the portion that slides under the tile above), cutting down significantly on overall weight.

Why Does A Roof Need Ventilation

Most people don’t fully understand the role that roof ventilation plays in extending the lifetime of a roof, and underestimate its importance in preventing related problems. The purpose of roof ventilation is to keep air circulating and to reduce moisture accumulation. According to the American Institute of Architects, approximately 90% of homes throughout the United States have moisture levels that are too high.
Effective ventilation:
  • Allows outside air to circulate through the attic
  • Keeps attic area dry and cool
  • Helps to prevent rotting and mildew to roof rafters and plywood roof decking
  • Prevents moisture build-up in attic insulation
  • Reduces heat build-up in the attic
  • Reduces attic moisture and condensation
  • Prevents build-up of ice dams in cold climates
All major manufacturers require proper roof ventilation as part of their warranty requirements.
Generally Accepted Roof Ventilation Requirements
If you do a lot of reading on this subject you’ll find that: (1) the benefits of roof ventilation are undisputed, and (2) experts and industry associations will have different opinions about which types of ventilation are best. As a general rule, one square foot of vent area per 300 square feet of attic flor space is recommended. And where you live can make a difference — adequate roof ventilation for a home in South Carolina might be different from that of a home in another part of the country.
Problems Caused by Inadequate Roof Ventilation
  • Achieving the right balance is important. Too much ventilation can be a problem because too many roof vents represent additional spots where leaks can occur. Too little ventilation causes moisture and humidity build-up during cold months, and puts a drag on air-conditioning and energy efficiency during hot months.
  • Poor ventilation causes moisture buil-up in the attic. Moisture turns into condensation and if left unchecked will eventually cause rot to rafters and roof decks. Excess moisture can also get trapped between underlayment and shingles, causing them to warp or buckle.

What Can I Do About Algae Discoloration

Algae stains are caused by airborne particles and look like mold or mildew.
If you see stains or discoloration on your roof (like these photos), they are usually easy to remove by following these steps:
  • Protect bushes and shrubbery around the perimeter of house by covering with plastic.
  • Combine one cup of trisodium phosphate, one gallon bleach and four gallons of water in a bucket or hand-held sprayer.
  • Spray the stained areas and let the solution sit for ten or fifteen minutes.
  • Lightly rinse with water and/or use a soft scrub brush for stubborn areas. Try not to remove the protective granules on the shingles. Avoid using a pressure washer for this reason.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.
  • When finished be sure to rinse bushes and shrubbery thoroughly to remove any remaining solution before it dries.

View Roof Stains

How to Tell If I Need a New Roof

Discoloration and Algae Growth
If you can see discoloration on your roof, it’s often caused by algae growth. Algae appears as a dark brown or black color and can look like your roof is streaky or dirty. People sometimes assume that it’s just tree debris or dirt. Algae is caused by airborne particles which settle on your roof over time, and usually occurs in hotter climates. Although algae discoloration can be ugly, fortunately it doesn’t affect the performance or life of your roof. Algae can be hard to remove, but the discoloration can be lightened by spraying a solution onto the affected areas and letting it sit for 10 or 15 minutes before rinsing. Combine chlorine bleach, trisodium phosphate and water (one cup TSP, one gallon bleach and four gallons water). DON’T SCRUB (and avoid pressure washers) because that can remove some of the granules from your shingles. After rinsing be sure to spray the bushes, grass, and tress around the edge of your house, to dilute the mixture and avoid damage to shrubery. Keep in mind that while this may improve the overall appearance of your roof, it is a temporary solution and discoloration may re-occur. And if you are considering a new roof, ask your roofer about algae-resistant shingles.
Damaged or Improperly Installed Flashing
Problems with flashing are usually caused by: improper installation, dents from nailing, older roofs that have become dried or cracked, or settling. An experience roofer can replace damaged flasing and shingles in the affected area, and/or advise you about possible unseen damage from leaks caused by improperly installed flashing.
Buckling looks like big wrinkles on your roof, and the most common causes are: (1) new shingles installed over older, rough shingles (2) moisture build-up due to inadequate ventilation (3) roof felt or wood underlayment that was installed incorrectly (4) movement in your roof. If it’s a ventilation/moisture problem, talk to us about adding ventilation to your attic space. Once the ventilation problem is solved it may take a little while for the excess moisture to escape, but after that your roof should lay flat. If it’s a wrinkled felt problem, the solution is to remove the shingles in the affected area, cut/replace the wrinkled felt, and replace necessary shingles.
Shingles Are Curling
Curled shingles can be caused by: loose nails, lack of adhesive coating on the backs of shingles, ventilation problems, or not enough fasteners.
Blistering is often caused by excessive moisture in the shingle. If blisters dry out in the sun and crack open revealing the asphalt, the shingles need to be replaced.
Missing Shingles
Missing shingles are caused by high winds, improper fastening, or simply old age. Missing shingles should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid leaks and potential water damage.
Spots on Your Ceiling
Ceiling spots are caused by leaks in your roof. Check for: (1) damaged shingles (2) damaged flashing around chimneys and vents (3) eaves for backed-up water from ice dams (4) inspect attic area for leaks in the roof deck, and inspect the rafters for “travelling” leaks that move away from the original source.
Shingle rot is usually caused by moisture in the mat at the core of the shingle. It’s often seen in organic-based shingles. Consider replacing with fiberglass-based shingles.

How Often Should My Roof Be Inspected

Most professionals recommend that a residential roof be inspected twice a year, in Spring and Fall. It’s better to catch problems while they’re small, before they turn into big, nasty, expensive repairs.
While some homeowners might not want to spend the money for a professional inspection twice a year, as an alternative you could have your roof professionally inspected the first time and then maybe every two years thereafter. During the interim you can perform visual inspections in Spring and Fall to look for any obvious warning signs of deterioration.
If doing it yourself, keep these tips in mind, and write down any areas of concern:
  • Inspect your ladder first to make sure there are no weak or damaged rungs or rails.
  • Make sure the ladder is on firm, level ground.
  • Secure the ladder at the top to prevent if from sliding left or right.
  • If you’re worried about the ladder scratching your gutters, wrap old towels around the tips of the ladder before laying it against the house.
  • Extend the ladder 3 or 4 feet beyond above the top of the gutter, and angle it back from the house about 1 foot for every 4 feet of eave height. If it looks or feels too steep when you start to climb, it probably is. Get back down and angle the bottom of the ladder further from the house.
  • Use both hands while climbing.
We recommend that homeowners not climb onto the roof for several reasons:
  • Walking on the roof can loosen the granules on asphalt shingles, which reduces their protective value.
  • If shingles are old, curled, blistered or craked, walking can break or tear the shingles and expose the house to leaks which weren’t present before.
  • Rotted roof decking that is not visible to the naked eye can collapse and cause you to fall through.
  • Most types of roofing material (asphalt, metal, tile, slate and shake) can be very slippery even on moderately-sloped roofs, and this is magnified on steeper pitches.
  • A set of binoculars is very handy and can eliminate your need to climb on a roof.
Outside Visual Inspection
  • Look for curling, blistered, torn or split shingles. A few bad shingles can be repaired inexpensively, but if the overall appearance is poor, it’s probably time for a roof replacement.
  • Do you notice any loose or missing shingles?
  • Are there exposed nails, or nails that are rising up above the shingles? These can be a source of leaks.
  • If you see dark patches on an asphalt shingle roof, this is an indication that the granules have worn away.
  • Look for granules in your gutters and on the ground at the base of the gutter downspouts. Some granule fall-off is normal, but if you notice a significant amount (along with dark spots on the roof), that’s a sign of an aging roof.
  • Stand in the yard and look for any signs of sagging, wrinkling or buckling across the overall expanse of the roof.
  • Check for any debris accumulation in roof valleys, which can block normal water runoff and cause leaks if water backs up underneath shingles.
  • Check areas where the ridges and hips meet.
  • Look for loose flashing around vents, pipes, chimneys, skylights, and satellite dishes.
  • If you have dormers, inspect the areas where the vertical sides of dormers meet the roof. Flashing in these areas should be in good shape or can be a source of leaks.
  • If you get lots of rain, regular removal of wet leaves and debris that collect in certain areas of the roof will prevent mildew accumulation and discoloration.
Inside Inspection
  • Inspect the attic for any signs of leaks. Dark spots on rafters or on the underside of the plywood decking can indicate that water is penetrating inside. Also look for moisture around vents, pipes, chimneys, and skylights.
  • Test dark spots to see if they’re still wet. Try pushing a sharp screwdriver into the wet spot — if the wood is soft it’s rotten. If the wood is stained dark but is dry and firm, it might be a stain from an old leak that was previously repaired.
  • Look for any signs that the plywood deck is sagging between the roof rafters.
  • Look for wet or damp insulation. This can be caused by outside leaks, or by excess moisture accumulation in the attic due to insufficient ventilation.
  • Can you see any pinpoints of light shining through the roof? If sunlight can get through, water can get through.
With regular inspections and proper care and maintenance, your roof can last for a long time.
If you’ve got concerns about anything you’ve found, give us a call at (864) 436-1099 to discuss it. You may or may not need an estimate but it’s always nice to have a second opinion from an experienced professional.

What To Do?

  • What To Do About Roof Discoloration & Algae Stains?
  • Before, During and After Your Roofing Job?

Roof Discoloration & Algae Stains

Roof stains are fairly common and can be caused by a variety of factors which are discussed below. You can also view examples of roof stain photos to get an idea of what to look for.
Some people mistakenly think the presence of roof stains means they need a total roof replacement. That may or may not be the case — some of these problems can be fixed with a simple cleaning instead of a total replacement. The flip side is that a cleaning is a waste of money if roof damage has already occurred because of the staining. Check with a reputable contractor to determine your best option.
Typical causes are:
  • Algae, Mold or Fungus Stains – Algae stains usually appear as dark black spots or streaks. Sometimes referred to as mold, mildew or fungal stains, they’re common in shaded areas and in parts of the country with moderate to higher humidity, and less common in very dry, low humidity areas such as the Southwest. These substances occur naturally in the air and are hard to prevent, particularly on asphalt shingles becuse the limestone particles used in many shingles act as food. Removing algae stains is a simple process, but be careful not to scrub too hard (and avoid power-washing) because that can remove the granules from the shingles.
  • Stains caused by product defects (also known as extractive bleeding) – If black or dark staining is present across the entire roof surface, it could be a product manufacturing defect known as extractive bleeding. It’s caused by dark pigment from the asphalt shingles leaching to the surface and running down the roof. It’s best to get this looked at immediately because in many cases it is covered by your manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Dark stains caused by deterioration of leaves, twigs and branches that have remained on the roof for too long. – Accumulation of leaves, twigs and organic debris on the roof creates stains because the rotting, decaying debris causes growth of fungi and algae. If you see debris piling up on the roof (especially in valleys where it’s protected from wind blowoff), it’s worthwhile to use a leaf blower or broom to get rid of it before it starts decaying and causing stains. If you use a broom, make gentle sweeping motions to avoid removing granules from the shingles.
  • Chimney– and soot-related stains – usually visible as dark black stains alongside and directly below the chimney with little or no evidence on other areas of the roof.
  • Rust stains – usually brown or red stains caused by rust runoff from metal flashings, antennas, metal mounts on satellite dishes, chimney caps, etc. Most rust-related stains are cosmetic, but are worth investigating to make sure the rusted areas (particularly flashings) are not leaking or about to leak, which can cause major roof damage if not corrected.
  • Moss and lichens – Moss and lichens are easily identified by a greenish color and typically appear in roof areas that receive little or no sunlight or stay in the shade for most of the day. The main problem with moss growth is that it tends to hold moisture, which accelerates shingle wear and decay, especially during cold months when the moisture freezes and can damage the granules on asphalt shingles. Lichens can grow roots which penetrate the surface of shingles, causing tiny holes and allowing moisture to seep in, causing deterioration to the undersides of shingles and ultimately damaging the roof.
  • White or light-colored stains – usually caused by paint residue runoff from surfaces above the roof level, such as gables and dormers.

Before, During and After Your Roofing Job

  • Keep your driveway clear for materials delivery and a debris container.
  • Upon delivery, check shingles for color accuracy and damage.
  • Make sure shingles are kept dry and protected from rain.
  • Park cars away from the house.
  • Turn off automatic sprinklers at least one day prior to repair or installation, and keep turned off for the duration of the project.
  • Move all outdoor furniture from decks, etc. to the middle or rear of yard.
  • Disable your alarm systems because hammering and vibration may trigger alarms.
  • Move outdoor potted plants away from the house or into the garage.
  • Cover swimming pools and hot tubs.
  • Make arrangements for pets to stay out of the way.
  • Remove all pictures and wall hangings, and remove breakable items from all shelves. Hammering and vibration can cause items to fall.
  • Cover items in attic with tarp or plastic.
  • If you will not be home during the job, make sure the crew has a contact number (work phone, cell phone, etc.). Make sure crew has access to outside water and electricity.
  • Nails and/or debris may be present around the perimiter of the house during work — please be careful until cleanup is completed.
  • Keep children and pets away from the work area. Use caution when when leaving the house to avoid falling debris.
  • On a tear-off you can expect some dirt and dust to fall into your attic. Please cover boxes and valuables with plastic or dropcloths.
  • Bad weather is always a factor in roofing jobs. On any given day, crews will not remove more shingles than they can replace or protect with felt.
  • Although we perform a thorough cleanup when the job is finished, there is always the possibility of missed nails that have settled down into the grass or fallen into bushes.
  • If you have not already received them, please contact us to obtain copies of your Workmanship Warranty and Manufacturer’s Warranty.
  • Check gates/fences before letting pets back outside.

Schedule a free estimate & receive a full service inspection & consultation. Estimate for: New Roof or Replacement / Roof Repair / Storm Damage / Gutters, Siding


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