What To Look Out For
When Choosing A Roofing Company
The GTA is ripe with options for roofing contractors. Every season, thousands of homeowners have their roofs replaced, and most perform their due diligence when selecting a roofing contractor. Unfortunately, many homeowners wind up with improper installations, voided warranties, and expensive problems following a new roof install. While there are many reputable roofers out there, shoddy workmanship and low-cost options have dominated the market in recent years. The most frustrating part for homeowners is that they often don’t realize there’s an issue with their new roof until it’s too late.
Here are some common roofing issues prevalent in and around York Region.
Counterfeit shingles are rampant in York Region. It’s impossible for a homeowner to tell if their shingles are counterfeit because you won’t know until the first issue after installation. The only real indicators are the lack of a tar strip (helps seal the nails and bind the shingles to the roof deck) and the weight of the shingle itself (much lighter than real shingles), which homeowners won’t see because the materials are delivered the day of your roof replacement and installed by the roofers. To avoid having counterfeit materials installed on your home, thoroughly examine the quotes you receive and do an apples-to-apples comparison between them. Then, ask questions.
For example, if you receive three quotes –$4,000, $8,000 and $10,000 – ask what the difference is between the $4,000 quote and the $10,000 quote. What materials are being installed? Where does the roofing company buy their materials? Are they certified to install these materials by the manufacturer? What warranty are you provided in the event of any deficiency?
Sure, the $4,000 quote is the most appealing from a cost perspective, but if this quote is claiming to use the same materials, provide the same warranty and offer the same professional install as the $10,000 quote, you might want to dig a little deeper and be cautious of the materials being used on your project.
Warner Roofing is a Certified Installer of Owens Corning shingles and a Preferred Installer of BP shingles, meaning that we are approved by the manufacturer to install their products according to stringent specifications that guarantee both the product and labour warranties in full. We buy our materials from Gibson Building Supplies in Aurora, which is one of the few building suppliers that house their materials indoors and away from exposure to the elements.
Racking is when shingles are installed straight up the roof rather than being installed using the stair-step method. Racking is a completely unacceptable practice because it lends itself to problems and significantly reduces the life expectancy of your roof. Common issues with racking include cracking shingles, granular loss, leaks, improper nail placement and missed nails, blow-offs, incorrect colour blending, and a completely voided warranty.
Racking is often used by roofers who want to complete a job as quickly as possible, likely because they are paid by piece work and not a fair hourly wage, and those that are not certified directly from a manufacturer. Again, review your quotes thoroughly and pay extra attention to the materials and cost of the project. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Warner Roofing only uses laminated architectural shingles from Owens Corning and BP Canada. There is no racking whatsoever on our projects, as doing so would not only void your warranty but remove our status as a preferred and certified contractor. It’s also just not the right way to install shingles on a roof.
Racking of architectural shingles
Racking of architectural shingles
Proper shingle install – no racking
Ridging the Bundles
Ridging the bundles refers to draping bundles of shingles across the ridge (or peaks) on a roof. This is often done to save time and have the shingles easily available for the installers. The problem with this is that ridging bundles can warp, bend or even crack the shingles before they come out of the package! These are then installed on your roof. This is not a correct procedure and often causes problems with your roof from day one.
At Warner Roofing, we never ridge the bundles. When materials are loaded on to the roof they are strategically placed across the slopes and laid flat. This ensures that your shingles are in perfect condition when installed on the roof.
Ridging the bundles in York Region
Ridging the bundles in York Region
Properly loaded materials
Safety & Insurance
Many roofing contractors believe that having little or no insurance is not a big deal because in the event of an accident, the homeowner’s insurance will cover them. This is not the case at all! In fact, if you have a roofer perform work on your home and they fall or injure themselves, you are 100% liable for their accident. You should never have any roofing contractor perform work at your property without proof of adequate insurance, WSIB and a Working at Heights certificate. You also need to ensure that the roofers are protecting themselves and your property. Securing ropes and wearing harnesses are required for any work at heights, so if your roofers aren’t “tied-off”, get them off your property right away.
In addition, there should be measures taken to protect your property during a roof install. Properly guarding all windows, gardens, BBQ’s and air conditioning units is key during a roof replacement. If none of this is present during your new roof install, good luck getting the roofing company to pay for any damages.
If a roofing quote looks too attractive (i.e. much cheaper than other quotes), keep in mind that the reason for such an appealing price may be because insurance are safety practices are not factored into the figures.
Warner Roofing carries $5M in liability insurance, updates our WSIB quarterly, and pays for our employees to receive Working at Heights training. We’re also outfitted with ropes and harnesses when working on your roof. This is standard for our company and we don’t cut corners when it comes to our safety and yours. We also work hard to protect your property and your neighbours when we install your new roof. We lay down tarps and plywood to protect your windows, garages, shrubbery, BBQ’s and air conditioning units, along with your neighbours as an added level of protection and piece of mind. At the end of the project, we clean up to the point where, aside from your beautiful new roof, you’d never know we were there.
Unsafe roofing – no ropes, no harnesses, no protection
Unsafe roofing – no ropes, no harnesses, no protection
Proper protection from Warner Roofing
How Much Does It Cost To Replace My Roof?
This is a very common question, yet, the answer is nearly impossible to provide without physically seeing your roof. Quoting for a roof replacement encompasses many variables. It doesn’t matter what the square-footage of the home is; it doesn’t matter what your neighbour paid for their roof. What matters are the types of materials you elect to have installed, their quality, the condition of the existing roofing system components, and the pitch of your home.
“Just give me a ballpark figure”. No problem! If you can provide me with the pitch of your roof and the condition of your deck, ventilation, valleys and flashing, and I’ll be happy to give you a projected cost. If you can’t do this, then don’t accept any “ballpark” figure – have a professional roofer come to your property to see the roof. Only then can a proper quote be provided for your review. Every home is different, even if the square footage is the same. If your roof line is different than your neighbours, that will affect the cost of the roof replacement. If you choose higher quality materials with a much longer warranty, this will affect the cost, too.
Warner Roofing provides free estimates for roof replacements, along with different systems options. One of our Roofing Consultants will come to your property to see the roof, take measurements, get a sense of the condition of the existing system components, and prepare an estimate that is final (no hidden costs or surprises!).
Shoddy workmanship is not limited to roofing, but it is arguably the most difficult to notice because most people aren’t climbing on their roofs! Shoddy workmanship in roofing is often the result of inexperience, cutting corners, focusing on quantity over quality, and a lack of proper installation methods.
At Warner Roofing, our team has over 20 years of roofing experience, and as certified and preferred contractors, you can rest assured your roof will be done right. We focus on quality, not quantity, only employ professional installers that have completed our rigorous training program, never re-use materials, and take photos throughout the project so you can see the new roof install every step of the way.
I just want my shingles replaced!
When most people think of their roof, they think of the shingles. But shingles alone do not make up a roof! Replacing just your shingles and ignoring the other components of the roofing system will decrease the life of your roof, and result in premature repairs that can be costly. Your roof is a system comprised of 8 equal parts that all work together – shingles, underlayment, valleys, ventilation, flashings, deck, insulation, and eavestroughs.
Shingles come in many materials, sizes, styles and colours. They are most commonly made of asphalt, fiberglass, metal, slate, wood, and synthetics. While the most visible component of the roofing system, shingles are only part of what keeps you safe and dry. Shingles are not waterproof – they are designed to protect the frame of the home and guide water down the slope of the roof and into the eavestroughs. Replacing only your shingles might give your home a fresh, new look, but most manufacturer warranties are immediately void if only the shingles are replaced.
Underlayment consists of two elements – ice and water shield, and synthetic paper. Ice and water shield needs to be installed at a minimum of 3-feet up from the eavestroughs per the Ontario Building Code, in all valleys, and around chimneys. Its purpose is to protect the lower part of the roof from water penetration and ice backing up under the shingles and causing damming. The remainder of the roof needs to be wrapped in synthetic paper, which acts as an added barrier against leaks, protects the plywood, and helps the shingles bind to the deck when installed. For many shingle manufacturers, without proper underlayment their warranties are void.
Valleys are seen where two planes of a roof intersect. There are two types of valleys – closed and open. Closed valleys are where the shingles meet at the intersection, while open valleys have a custom piece of sheet metal installed in the plane that the shingles butt up against. For the most part, either system is acceptable, however, closed valley systems often wear out much quicker than open valleys because water, snow and ice sit directly on the shingles as opposed to on the sheet metal. Open valleys also help guide water away from the roof much faster than closed valleys.
Ventilation is arguable the most important component of a roofing system. Yet, it’s often the most overlooked. Simply put, if your roof can’t breathe, it’s not going to last very long. Ventilation consist of fresh air intake from the soffits around the perimeter of the home, and warm air exhausting out through the roof vents. Improper ventilation will significantly reduce the life of your roof and can be seen in many forms, including an inadequate number of roof vents, incorrectly placed roof vents, blocked soffits, hoses venting into the attic, etc. If you just replace your shingles but don’t attend to your ventilation, you’ll likely start to see signs of shingles curling, cracking and blowing off, along with the potential for mold and mildew to grow in your attic and spread throughout your home.
Flashings are pieces of metal installed at various points along your roof, such as around protrusions, against walls, dormers and chimneys. Their purpose is to create a water-tight seal and direct water away from an area, along with creating an esthetic appeal to your roof. Too often, people re-use their existing flashings when replacing their roof. While it may be slightly cheaper to go this route, the issues that can arise are far more significant. Re-using old, warn, rusted or dented flashings impedes the ability for the component to do its job, which generally results in leaks, animal damage, and more money out of your pocket to fix the deficiency.
The roof deck (or plywood) is what the shingles and underlayment sit on. This is the frame of the roof and needs to be protected. If you don’t inspect your deck and just replace your shingles, you’ll have no idea of the condition of the plywood and that can lead to expensive repairs.
Adequate insulation in your attic is key to balancing the ventilation of the roof and extending its life. It also aids greatly in reducing heating and cooling costs. If you don’t have enough insulation in your attic, the extreme heat in the summer and sub-zero temperatures in the winter can warp and damage the framing of you roof, which can lead to issues that effect the longevity of the roofing system, along with the quality of air you and your family breathe every day.
Eavestroughs are situated at the base of the roofline around the perimeter of your home. Their purpose is to collect water from the roof and guide it to the downspouts for drainage. If your troughs are blocked, they can start pooling and leaking, or worse, the water can backup underneath the shingles and cause damage to the deck or ice damming in the winter. It’s important to clean and inspect your troughs twice a year, and ensure that any issues are attended to promptly. There’s nothing worse than spending the money on a new roof and leaving old and degraded eavestroughs in place because chances are that these troughs are going to cause you expensive problems in the near future.
Every roof replacement with Warner Roofing includes a full system replacement. We not only replace your shingles, but we inspect the deck, replace any plywood necessary, inspect your attic and inform you of our findings, use all new metal roof vents and flashings, use an open valley system, and install ice & water shield and underlayment to protect your roof and your home for decades to come.
If you have questions about your roof, require an inspection, or are in need of repairs, contact us today!
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Wonderful from start to finish. Fantastic communication, accurate quote, reasonable price. More inclusions in the price than all but the highest bidder, for much less. Workers were courteous, clean up was excellent. Follow up was incredible - including TWO trips back to make sure our satellite dish was working again! Very, very pleased.