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No other project is as crucial for protecting your home’s value as having a leak-proof roof. Yet a re-roofing job can be a nightmare, with your yard saturated with shingle bits and nails (probably leading to a flat tire), and dealing with unreliable roofers. Money magazine provides the following tips for hiring an ace crew:

  • Know when it’s time. Leaks can be repaired and missing shingles can be replaced. Replace your roof when you see widespread breaking, curling, cracking, or mossy shingles. Also look for areas where the granules have worn away.
  • Hire the right person. Get bids from 3 roofers, comparing not only their prices but their attitudes and approach. Then hire someone who is willing to (1) get a building permit, (2) remove only as much roofing each day as he can install by the end of that day, (3) lay protective plywood over patios and decks, and tarps over walls, lawn, and shrubs, and (4) clean the job site every night. He should install vents at the roof’s peak and under the eaves. Ask for all this in writing. Get references for him and for any subcontractor he plans to employ. Ask for his proof of liability and workers’ comp insurance. Ask your neighbors for references, or check online for ratings at a reputable site, such as at Angie’s List (a subscription site) or Service Magic (a free site).
  • Don’t cut corners. If you have two or more layers of old roofing, building codes require you to strip them off. But as long as you’re not planning on selling soon, it’s a good idea to remove a single existing layer. That will allow him to repair decking and worn flashing. In a cold climate, he can install an ice and water shield to prevent leaks when gutters freeze up.
  • Get the right shingles. No need to spend $50,000 for slate or wood shingles, but do get the best asphalt shingles on the market. Pay a little more for “50-year” shingles over the “25-year.” The warranties are useless, but the longer the term, the longer they will last. Architectural shingles cost a few hundred more than standard shingles, but their varied coloring and thickness add sophistication and beauty.

The above was summarized from the article “Redo Your Roof the Right Way,” in Money magazine, May 2012, p. 53.