Roofing Materials: From Shingles to Slate

A new roof is one of the most visible and expensive home improvements you can make. So, you need to choose carefully when it comes to both the materials you use and the contractor you hire to do the work.

When do I need to replace my roof?

Don’t wait until your old roof starts leaking. By the time you notice a leak, structural damage has already occurred. You’ll have more extensive work to do, and you’ll pay accordingly. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How old is the roof? Many roofs last 20 to 25 years or longer. If you don’t know how old it is, consider having the roof inspected.

  • What does the roof look like? Check for irregularities in shingle lines. A sag indicates rotting sheathing. Pay close attention to where rain and snow flow to gutters.

  • Do you see pieces of asphalt in the gutter? That is a sign that shingles are breaking down.

  • Does the flashing around chimneys, vents or skylights show damage?

  • What does the attic look like? Check for evidence of leaks or moisture, preferably during rain.

  • Are the gutters sagging?

If any of these warning signs, hire a qualified roof inspector.

How should I hire a roofer?

A new roof is a major, long-term investment. Take serious steps to vet your roofing professional before hiring:

  • Verify licensing, bonding and insurance.

  • Ask for references from recent customers and check them. Make sure to talk to peo