Anyone have any roofing questions ?

91 Replies

It is safer for the buyer and sell to think in terms of functionality, how much life is left. This can have six categories.

Appeared to be in the first half of its useful life.
Appeared to be at the midpoint of its useful life.
Appeared to be in the second half of its useful life.
Appeared to be nearing the end of its useful life.
Appeared to be at the end of its useful life.
Appeared to be past the end of its useful life.

Second no one can say exactly what the age of the roof is.  Sometimes shingles are sitting in the warehouse for 2 or 3 years even before they are put on a roof.  Also, manufacturers because of the fluctuations in the oil prices, sometimes use lower quality materials.  The local weather plays a role too.  So, you can only go on what appears to be the case.  

The demarcation of a failing roof is the loss of shingle granules.  That's the beginning of the end. 

You also make a guess, like this, most roofs are going to last 10-15 years.  Years 1 - 3 the Roof looks relatively new, years 4-7 the sealant gets bad, granule loss takes place. years 7-10 shingles start to coming off, 11-15  shingles start to come off, leaks take place.  This is just a general idea.  I would recommend to add 4 years at least to the age of the roof.  As always it is safer to estimate more. If the house has gutters, take a look in it and if you will see a lot of granules , then the roof has aged.

What would you recommend for 30 year composite shingles? I've read terrible things about CertainTeed as well as Owens Corning and a number of other common brands. Complete with class action lawsuits and negative reviews galore. One of my houses is in a development that received a letter from the HOA about a settlement with CertainTeed for houses that were roofed with CertainTeed.

Sadly, every roofing company I've received a quote from recommends these known to be a problem brands. I don't want to spring for a metal roof because I won't hold the houses forever and don't want to pay twice as much for something that won't be worth it by getting metal roofing installed though I realize it's the superior roofing choice. Or so I've read. Seems tough as nails from personal experience. But as far as composite roofing shingles, what would you recommend? 

@Justin Stanfield you're awesome!

You just answered some back burner questions I had on my personal residence. I also love how you broke it down into functional time spans. Way to add value without being asked!! If you were in the RGV of South Texas I'd for sure hit you up on my next project.

Thanks again,


@Justin Stanfield

Welcome to BP. 

I just had a property inspection done on Tuesday on a 6 unit apartment building that I am interested in buying. 

There were many issues that showed up on the inspection report including a roof issue. So, roof is 5 years old. And there are 2 broken rafters and panel clips are not in all locations. 

My question is:

Would the roof need to be ripped off in order to replace rafters OR they could just be sister in. 

Appreciate your input.

@Justin Stanfield

Below is the exact wording from the report. 

"The roofing shingles are newer and in good condition. However, the roof framing has some serious problems and must be repaired. There is a large depression at the front left area of the roof. This is caused by 2 broken rafters in the attic. A heavy snow load could cause a collapse. Also on the back side some of the rafters are bowed and additional support maybe needed. The plywood / OSB does not have panel clips is all locations. clips are used to brace unsuppofied-panel edges when sheathing meets edge-to-edge without a rafter for support. Employ a carpenter and roofto work together to ensure the repairs are made."

Kindly let me know.

Generally, you should be fine if you just fix the rafters, however, it is concerning why the rafters are bowing.  Is it that it does not have enough support?  Or too much overload?

You would need to do two things.  

First, see how many layers of shingles are on the roof, just to make sure there is no overload on the roof. When rafters are bowed, it usually indicates an overload.   If there  are more than two layers on the edge, you need to redo the roof, and in that case, you would have to hire a carpenter, to fix the rafters first. If you see only two layers then hire a carpenter to fix the rafters, by adding support and chips and you do not need to do anything to the roofs.

If you need to just add support then it should not cost a lot.  If the there is overload then you may be spending some money. 

Please see the following article 

@Jack B, 

As you mentioned, every single manufacturer has been sued.  You have a few options.  

1) Install the roof to get the warranty of the manufacturer, not just the craftsmanship warranty.  You can look up "Golden Pledge" from GAF on Google or 5-star warranty from CetainTeed. This will cost more obviously. I would not do this for a rental property or even a property I was going to sell.

2) Buy the shingles from Home Depot or Lowes, so you can inspect the shingles yourself, and tell the roofers, to make sure that each shingle looks good.  Usually, roofers can tell how good a shingles is by its look and feel, and how flexible the shingle is.  So, by buying from a place like home depot and seeing the shingles yourself, you have more assurance, and you can always take back a bundle if it is no good.  

Places like home depot, roofing supply stores, etc -- should not / would not be selling shingles that have come to be known to be defected.  

However, honestly, CertainTeed is a great company.  The chances someone would get bad shingles on a roof out of the blue are very low  In my career, it's only happened once, to one house, and the manufacturer replaced them.

3) Hire a company that is certified to work shingles from that company. So, for CertainTeed shingles hire a company that is certified with CertainTeed.  This makes things much easier if there are future problems.   

@James Syed, 

If the carpenter can't add the clip from the attic (there should be enough space to do so), it is not a big deal, the more important, and critical issue is the load, and giving support to rafters.

Hi Scott,

That is an extremely hard question to answer.  I recommend to buy based on purpose.  For example, is it a rental property?  In which case, the purpose is no leaks for as long as possible at an affordable cost.  Is the purpose beautiful colors and function?  Do you want a roof that is class 4 impact resistant to get insurance benefits?  For all these situations, I would recommend different brands.  

There is a whole range of roofing materials from metal to shingles.  With a whole range of costs.  

I can answer more specifics. 

We are getting a metal roof.  I want to buy the materials myself for my contractor to install. (so we can pay for how we would like).  But I am not sure where to buy?  I tried Home Depot, but it is going to take over a month for them to that typical?  I just purchased a house that needs its roof replaced yesterday.

We are getting a metal roof.  I want to buy the materials myself for my contractor to install. (so we can pay for how we would like).  But I am not sure where to buy?  I tried Home Depot, but it is going to take over a month for them to that typical?  I just purchased a house that needs its roof replaced yesterday.

What is a good cost estimate per sq ft for shingle vs metal replacement? Assuming that the metal is laid over the existing roof and or the shingles are torn off and re-shingled without any plywood replacement, just an estimate for future reference, also assuming the roof is standard design without very high pitches.

To Jennifer 

It's probably better to talk to a roofing supply company in your area.  When it comes to metal, you really do have a lot of different options.  Metal roofs fall into two major categories.  Exposed fasteners, and NonExposed fastener.  Exposed fasteners are when the nails are on top of the roof and exposed, and Nonexposed fastener are usually on the underside or covered.  The most popular non-exposed metals are called standing seam.  

If you are going to buy the metal material yourself, which I have seen many home owners do, and they make mistakes.  Make sure to get eaves, the drip edge, the underlayment, the ridge caps, etc.  

To Samantha

As a general rule, a non exposed roof will cost twice that of a shingle roof.  Whereas an exposed metal roof will cost almost the same as a shingle roof or a bit more.  

Talk to your local roofing supply company, let them to do the "take off" on the roof.  Meaning they will tell you all the parts needed.  Get a bid from at least 2 companies.  

FYI places like Barnes, etc usually will have exposed metals, in my experience, not that bad.  I have been called back because of leaks in exposed fasteners, but it was not a permanent problem.  

@Justin Stanfield

I have 4 townhouse rental properties with flat roofs for most of the roof surface and a mansard shingle roof for about 8 feet of the front of the house.  The flat roofs are mostly rubber torch down that are silver coated every 3 years.  One of them is a different material that I cannot specifically recall at the moment (bituminous.....) that I was told does not require silver coating.  They are all supposed to last about 12 years.  I've only owned them for 3 so far.

Are these good roof materials to stay with?  I replaced one flat roof about a year ago with another torch down roof on top for about $2,100.  It was 16' wide.  I don't remember the length.  I had a quote to replace the mansard shingle roof (about 16 x 8) for around $1,000 and thought that quote was high.

I did look at several other flat roof materials.  Most were a panel type of construction that was advertised as significantly better (last longer, more reliable) and significantly more costly (around $8,000) for the flat roof.

thanks, Jim.

In short, if these are rental properties, I would not change anything.  Modified bitmen or torch down will cost around $350 - $700 / square -- depending on where you live and the brand name and most important, how many layers.  

@Justin Stanfield

Hi Justin.

We just closed on a 4 unit rental property with a city pre-sale report. There is no record of a reroof so the city is asking for a roof contractor or equivalent to certify the roof is in good condition and that there are no layers under current roof and were removed.

My home inspector noted in home inspection report that it has a little less than half of it's serviceable life left. 

How is this roof inspection done and what would it cost.

I'm in Southern California, South Gate, and would like any local help. 



Should be between $150 to $350 depending on how high your roof is.  

Basically, you get a roofer to go on top of the roof.  Check out the roof.  Afterward, he writes on the letterhead of the company, the property in such and such place, owned by such and such person is in x condition and will last x amount of years or the amount of life left.  Some pictures would be good.

"A little less than half its life" is not that bad.  If a roof lasts 20 years, then a little less than10 years are left

When a roofer gets up there, they are going to look at things from purely a roofers perspective, which is all the wrong things on the roof.  So, you want him to NOTE, there are no leaks.  If he does point out something that will cause a leak, you should take care of that.  But if there is no leak, I would not worry too much.   If you can get the roofer to agree that around 5 to 7 years is left, you will be in good shape.  

The city should be considered with the functionality and safety of the roof, not the aesthetics.  


Thank you for the details of the inspection. I feel much better knowing what they'll be looking for, and am pretty confident it should pass and it shouldn't be a big inspection. 


Hello ! We have a 7ft x 7ft low pitch plywood and 2ft x4ft lid over our well. The lid sits on a 3 sided poured foundation that juts out from our basement. The lid is under our deck so it sees little direct sun. There is a seam in the plywood on the lid and it's insulated underneath because we live in the Northeast. What would be the best way to cover the plywood lid to insure long life of it? The lid lifts up and off for access to the pump, so adding too much additional weight to the lid would be something to avoid if possible. Not being up on the latest roofing materials, we'd greatly appreciate suggestions for a quality water tight covering.Thanks for any suggestions !!

heres what i got on my roof in south florida where hurricanes come..yikes...need an expert opinion..bought house 3 years ago

Im looking at the wind mitigation report. here it goes

1. Asphalt /fiberglass shingle---permit 02/2014

2. Built up.

3. Plywood/OSB roof sheathing with a minimum thickness of 7/16"inch attached to the roof truss/rafter (spaced a maximum of 24" inches o.c.) by 8d common nails spaced a maximum of 6" inches in the field. - OR- Dimensional lumber/Tongue & Groove decking with a minimum of 2 nails per board (or 1 nail per board if each board is equal to or less than 6 inches in width). -OR Any system of screws, nails, adhesives, other deck fastening system or truss/rafter spacing that is shown to have an equivalent or greater resistance than Sd common nails spaced a maximum of 6 inches in the field or has a mean uplift resistance of at least 182 psf

Minimal conditions to qualify for categories B, C, or D. All visible metal connectors are: Secured to truss/rafter with a minimum of three (3) nails, and Attached to the wall top plate of the wall framing, or embedded in the bond beam, with less than a 1/2" gap from the blocking or truss/rafter and blocked no more than 1.5" of the truss/rafter, and free of visible severe corrosion.

4. C. Single Wraps Metal connectors consisting of a single strap that wraps over the top of the truss/rafter and is secured with a minimum of 2 nails on the front side and a minimum of 1 nail on the opposing side

5. C. Other Roof Any roof that does not qualify as either (A) or (B) above.

6. NSR

not sure relevant to roof

A. WOOD FRAME: 14% (Gable ends) B. MASONRY: 86% C. OTHER: %

can you break it down in lamens terms? 

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