Chicago Flat Roof Company – Frequently Asked Questions
Roofing is one of the industries where questions can sometimes outweigh answers. This is especially the case when dealing with any amateur or fly-by-night operations. So, the first thing you should look for when dealing with a roofing contractor is their willingness to discuss the work and their recommendations with you. Any reputable contractor will want you to understand what’s under discussion and should have no issue with any questions you may have. Below, we’ve detailed some of the more common questions we get about asphalt shingles, flat roofs, and commercial roofing jobs. If you don’t see your particular question, feel free to contact us at (312) 667-4440 and one of our helpful, friendly staff will do their best to provide you with answers.
Chicago Asphalt Shingle Roofing
Three different contractors have given three completely different proposals for the same work. Which one should I choose?
While there are no definitive guidelines for identifying a good contractor from a bad one, you can use the estimates provided to learn a good deal about their practices. This information may be just the differentiation you need to separate the good from the bad. A good contractor’s estimate should include all of the following:
- Type, color & manufacturer of roofing material
- All materials to be included in the project (underlayment, protective membranes, etc.)
- Scope of work to be completed
- Plan for existing roof – removal or replacement
- Plan for flashing – reuse, new, type of material
- Ventilation work to be completed
- Identifies party responsible for repairing or replacing exterior landscaping or interior finishing damaged during roof work
- Specific installation method
- Targeted start & completion dates
- Payment methods accepted
- Warranty specifications
Of the three contractors I spoke with, I received three separate prices that are far apart in terms of pricing. Which one should I choose?
One of the best ways to determine whether or not a contractor is legitimate is through their pricing. If you get an estimate from one that is far lower than the others, often it’s due to their lack of insurance, licensing, or bonding. Worse still, they have none of the above. It’s a good idea to avoid the extremely low estimates altogether, but, if you’re determined to get a low price, ask the contractor for an item by item breakdown of their estimate. If they can fully explain it, then you may have found the deal of the century. Yet, it’s still a good idea to be very cautious. Making a mistake with your roofing can be very costly to remedy.
The contractor I’ve selected offers a 1-year warranty on my asphalt shingle roof. Is that the normal warranty in the industry?
When dealing with roofing and roofing systems, it’s important to differentiate the warranties involved. The asphalt shingles used in your project will come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers any and all defects in the product due to a manufacturing defect. Usually, these warranties are for the lifetime of the product, or at least a period of 20 years or more. Your contractor should give you a certificate upon completion that details this warranty. They will also offer their own warranty that covers their work on your project. This warranty can be for whatever term they choose, but most are normally at least one year from the date of completion.
My contractor put down the underlayment before leaving for the day and it rained overnight. Now, the underlayment is wrinkled. Will they need to replace it?
This all depends. If the wrinkling isn’t too severe, the underlayment will probably be fine to leave in place. If, however, the wrinkling is bad enough to show through when shingles are installed, you should have your contractor replace the underlayment before putting shingles down. If your shingles are heavy material, they may weigh down the wrinkles enough that they don’t show through.
The contractor doing my roofing laid the underlayment down over a week ago and hasn’t returned yet to complete the job. How long can the underlayment remain exposed without damage?
Underlayment’s primary enemy isn’t time it’s exposure to the elements. Once it gets wet, wrinkling and buckling are inevitable. If they become too severe, the underlayment will have to be removed and a new one put down before any shingles can be attached.
While my roof was being installed, the contractor left one side of my roof exposed and it rained. The water entered the home and damaged my ceiling and walls. Who is responsible?
This is an important question, and one you should think of before you sign any contract. You’re having work done to the covering of your interior. Any time this is being done, you run a risk of moisture making its way into your home. You must ensure this very circumstance is clearly defined in any contract you sign. Make sure that everything that can be covered in the contract is covered. If unsure, ask the contractor specifically before agreement is reached.
When my contractor finished the work and left, I noticed he reused the old flashing. When I call to report this, no one will return my messages. Isn’t flashing included in shingle installation?
Yes and no. Flashing is only included in installation if the contract includes it in the scope of work to be completed. If you signed a contract that did not specify new flashing, the contractor is within their rights to reuse the old flashing. This is why it’s so important to read and understand anything before you sign it.
What’s the best asphalt shingle for my roof?
One of the benefits to working with an experienced, reputable roofing contractor is the knowledge of materials and rooftops they bring to the table. There are two separate categories of asphalt shingle and the professional can match the right shingle to the specifics of your roof. This can mean the difference between a lifetime of worry-free performance and costly repairs year after year.
The contractor I hired is trying to use staples instead of nails when installing my shingles. Shouldn’t they be using nails?
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends that galvanized steel nails be used in shingle installation. It’s always a good idea, if uncertain, to check your local building codes and the manufacturer’s recommendations before allowing a contractor to make a unilateral decision about something so intrinsic to the process.
What’s the best way to prevent and remove ice dams?
The best way to prevent ice dam formation is through regular snow removal services from a company like Chicago Flat Roof Company. Roofs can be steep and dangerous when covered in snow and ice – not to mention you could do more damage than good anyway. If you have an ice dam that has formed, it’s never a good idea to try to use a hose to remove it. This will cause more problems and could seriously injure someone if it causes a massive failure. Call a professional to come and take care of it. They have the tools and the techniques needed to remove the ice dam without damaging your property.
What’s the best way to clean moss and other buildup from my asphalt shingle roof?
The best method for do-it-yourself shingle cleaning is by mixing a mild solution of chlorine bleach and water, or using a mild detergent, and applying it gently to the affected areas with a sponge or handheld sprayer. Once coated with solution, rinse your asphalt shingles thoroughly with water until all the residue is washed away. Do not use a high-pressure water system. Do not use high concentrations of bleach. Do not scrub the shingles.
Chicago Commercial Flat Roofing
I have a flat roof on my multiunit building. What’s the best roofing material for me?
Flat roofing is a different ballgame than traditional pitched residential roofing. From the materials to the installation procedures, everything is different – including the expertise needed. In flat roofing, the installers’ skill is just as important as the roofing material you choose. Poor installation leads to pooling of moisture that inevitably causes leaking. You also need to think about biannual roof maintenance when you have a flat roof. This can help you avoid costly repairs down the road.
What’s the average lifespan of commercial flat roofing?
Most commercial and industrial roofing is expected to last somewhere between 10 to 30 years – depending upon the environmental factors at play. 15 years is a good average for commercial flat roofing in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. With proper inspections and maintenance, a commercial flat roof’s lifetime can be greatly extended.
How do I know what type of system is the right fit for my building and my budget?
While this question has no definitive answer, Chicago Flat Roof Company has more than 15 years of experience working with commercial and industrial clients in and around Chicago. In all those years, we’ve become the area’s leading experts on what materials and systems work best for particular types of structures. Our expertise gives us the knowledge needed to recommend multiple options to each client that take both their structure’s needs and their budgetary restrictions into account.
Will a commercial flat roof require maintenance?
Responsible property owners know that any roofing requires maintenance to stay in peak working condition. Flat roofing is no different. It should be checked regularly for overall integrity and any issues discovered should be repaired as quickly as possible. This proactive, preventative approach can keep small things from becoming large ones, so scheduling inspections and maintenance biannually or even annually can help avoid the pitfalls of major restoration or replacement.
Can flat roof systems be installed over old roofing?
A good contractor will never recommend installing a new roof over an existing one. There are just too many variables at play with the old roofing – even after a thorough inspection. While not recommended, reroofing is done and is an option as long as there are not already two layers of roofing system applied. Building codes forbid a contractor from applying a third layer to any structure.
Should a commercial flat roof actually be flat?
No. Flat roofing needs to have a slope implemented during the installation process. This slope facilitates the runoff of water from the rooftop. Without the proper slope, water will pool and, eventually, moisture will make its way into the structure. Sloping of the roof is so important that many manufacturers’ warranties are dependent upon it being present.
If my flat roof is leaking, is it necessary to replace the entire roof?
While this question is impossible to answer without seeing the roof leak in question, it’s safe to say that most leaking roofs do not need to be entirely replaced. Hiring a professional roofing contractor for repairs is the best thing to do. They should be able to inspect the leak and offer a solution far less radical than replacement of the entire system.
Is there a season best suited to roof replacement?
Working with an experienced roofing contractor means any time of year is a good time for roof replacement. They will be able to advise you on the best times in your specific area. While most materials have no temperature barriers to application, there are certain times of year when inclement weather and subzero temperatures are more common. Having your project planned to avoid those times is the best option, but roofing issues don’t wait for the best time to occur, so call a professional like Chicago Flat Roof Company as soon as you feel the need.
Are there tangible benefits to a white roofing system?
Yes. White roofing systems reflect sunlight. This reflective property can reduce temperatures by as much as 20%. This temperature reduction is passed on to the interior of your structure greatly reducing your cooling costs. Chicago is moving toward requirements for white roofing systems in an attempt to counteract the immense heating caused by asphalt and concrete.
What does a Chicago Flat Roof Company inspection include?
Roof inspections are the number one way property owners identify problems and the best way we have to showcase our expertise for a potential client. Each of our technicians is highly-trained and brings with them years of experience in Chicago area roofing. All of our Chicago Flat Roof Company’s inspections include the following:
- Accurate measurements of roof and wall areas
- Determination of roof type and manufacturer
- Roof system cross-section taken to determine composition, attachment, and deck construction
- Overall roof condition and life expectancy assessment
- Evaluation of slope and drainage
- Listing of observable roof and deck defects
- Report signs of leaking
- Photo documentation of all of the above
- Recommendations for repairs, maintenance, or replacement