Preparing for complete roof tearoff

threedgradJune 15, 2006

I have to have my three layers of roof (including original 1926 shingles) torn off along with the orinal spaced boards. Replacing all this will be new plywood decking and the dimensional roof shingles in a charcoal blend.

I am getting a tree trimmer in here before the schedule roof work. Are there any other things I should prepare for? Supposedly he is bringing a 10 man crew in here to get the work done in 2 days. I will have to tell my neighbors since they are so close.

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Roofing material usually comes on a truck with a lift boom. - imagine a fire truck with ladder that has to be swung from the nearest drive or street and extended to your roof. Try to trim brances so that truck and boom can manuver and extend to over your roof to lift a pallet or two of roofing material up there. Otherwise its hard move heavy roofing from the ground up onto the roof.

If you were in a warmer climate I might say talk to the roofer before he schedules material about a White roof and maybe EnergyStar ratings. Be supprised how much electricity nice new cool roofs can save on a/c load.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:08AM
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I don't live in a warm climate which is one of the reasons that I am moving to a warm climate. The tree trimmer is coming today or tomorrow to give me an estimate. There are a lot of trees and bushes that need trimming while some just need to be removed totally. The roof goes on in 3 weeks.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 12:15PM
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If you have shrubs around the base of the house that are important to you, you might consider covering them with plywood temporarily, to protect them from falling roof debris.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 3:45PM
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Get your broad-brimmed hat and other sun protection out of the closet, and be prepared to PERSONALLY SUPERVISE THE WHOLE JOB, especially the first day, i.e. wood replacement. Call in sick if you have to. Roofers want to replace the least wood possible, while you obviously want only solid rot free wood underneath all that new tar paper and shingles. Oh, hold it, looks like you're having ALL the sheathing replaced anyway, eh? Hell, they'll still short you on something, fascia, gable vents, etc.

Also, you have to make sure they use the code/contractually required number of nails, the correct length and type (RING-SHANK???) of nails, and that the nails actually hit the trusses--D'OH! You might not be in a hurricane zone, but the amount of incompetent inexperienced (illegal immigrant) labor on roofing crews is high EVERYWHERE. Especially on the 10-man-crew do-it-in-2-days gigs. Count on only the foreman speaking English, and him being gone when sh*t goes wrong. Be prepared to stop the job, forcefully, and in Espanol!

You'll also have to insure they re-install ALL of the plumbing stacks, hood vents, and other thru-roof fixtures.

True story: I had a (vacant) rental quad-plex re-roofed, at the same time the interior was being majorly re-furbished. The contract spelled out 4 roof stacks (among others) for the kitchen range hoods, and 4 such galvanized stacks were delivered and placed on the roof, along with the whole pile of materials.

Comes the first day of roofing--tile and underlayment tear-off--incl. stacks--wood replacement, and "dry-in". Well at that time the 40-year-old grease-caked flex-ducts from kitchens up to the roof stacks had been yanked, and the new ones (and associated range hoods) hadn't been installed yet. Shouldn't make one dang difference, but Jose' looks through the holes (instead of at bill of materials), and seeing nothing connected, just rolls tar paper right over them!!! Luckily I was up there to call TIME OUT, pick up the shiny new stacks, and insure they were installed correctly. The whole day went like that... 10 hours keeping 9 idiots from destroying my property.

Good luck. You're on your way into hell and frustration. ;')

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 3:58AM
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Prepare for unexpected rain by investing in some large tarps and personally secure them tightly if needed. If you get a big downpour before the job is done, it will create all sorts of damage and result in replacing all attic insulation, drywall on the ceiling, and texturing if needed.

Been there :(

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 12:35PM
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Fixizin has a good point about being on the job. We've made that a practice over the years and it sure has paid off. Seems like there is always a question or something being done wrong that we need to address when having work done.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 9:52AM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Things you don't need to worry about when signing with a professional, qualified roofing company.

They speak English.

Water damage. A pro will not remove more than can be covered prior to the end of the day.

Doing it wrong. If you feel you need to be there for every shingle strip, you've got a serious problem.

Asking you questions. If your roofing contractor is asking you questions about the installation, be alarmed.

Some people just hire the wrong company or choose the lowest price which results in frustration. Hiring the cheapest is always the customer's fault.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 10:07AM
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"Hiring the cheapest is always the customer's fault."

We just finished having this work done (yesterday). And from our experience, Fixizin has some good points. If you want to be sure a quality job is done, *you* will need to learn how to do a roof and you will need to make sure they do it that way.

Michael also brings up a good point, but sadly, hiring a reputable company with an expensive bid is no guarantee of quality. We got three bids for our roof, and did end up going with the lowest bid -- for one-third the price of the highest bid, half of the #2 bid. (We provided materials for all.) Since DH is a professional remodeler, he knew he'd be up there supervising anyway. Turns out the crew we hired directly also does subcontract work for the most expensive company. But when they do that, the cost is just three times higher for the exact same crew... The only other difference is the waranty the expensive company provides. Nice - but if the roof is done right, you won't need it. And if it's wrong, it's a major headache no matter who pays for what.

They were competent roofers, and thanks to DH's close supervision, we ended up with a high-quality product for a reasonable price. Though not without frustration...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 11:03PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes


So, if your air conditioner breaks down, you study the principles of HVAC before you hire someone so you can instruct them on how to fix it?


    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 8:01PM
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I went through that a couple years back; it was a week in you know where. We didn't tear off my spaced boards and put up plywood sheathing because they weren't damaged, hope that wasn't a mistake. Two layers of shingles had to come off, three in some areas.

I did buy very high quality shingles and have two packs of spares in the garage, I got the kind that look more rustic, can't remember what they're called, not flat and all one shade like the ones before.

Yes, it rained and I had water running down my light fixture in the front hall among other things, but the roof by the time I replaced it was leaking in several places.

I do not envy you. If you work, you can't be there all the time. I didn't hire illegals, but lots of people out looking for work don't have transportation because of drunk driving. If you hire a regular contractor, you pay twice as much.

The last guy didn't have a truck for a cement job. It all matters on how the job progresses.

One thing I didn't like is that the guy I hired worked hard the first day the shingles were loaded on the roof (and I had to watch to make sure he spread the load), and then neighbors showed up and he subscontracted most of the rest of it out. Luckily he got a good shingler, but the neighbors ended up stripping the old shingles and he shafted them paywise. It was out of my control, but I hate that and would negotiate ahead of time so that wouldn't happen again.

Before it was over, there were a lot of things I didn't like, the disturbance, the loud radio playing (made them turn it down), other things I may not know about yet . . .I had the ridge vented but opted not to get the other vent things.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 3:06PM
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"So, if your air conditioner breaks down, you study the principles of HVAC before you hire someone so you can instruct them on how to fix it? "

No, of course not. -- But I'm glad that I've already studied enough about the principles of HVAC to know when I'm being fed a line of BS and can recognize shoddy or incomplete work. There's nothing like being well-prepared to assure you get a good result. And let's face it -- Roofing is not rocket science; it's not even HVAC science... And the skill level of the people doing the work varies from 'nearly none' to 'highly competent,' with the average consumer having very little to go on to know the difference.

ThreeDGrad - If you DO decide to pay more and go with a reputable company (and truly, I'm not recommending against it), one question I would ask them is if the people who will be on your roof are their actual full-time employees, or if they are subcontractors or part-timers. If they're subs, then odds are you're simply paying more money for the same crew you could hire on your own. If they're part-timers, they may not have been well-trained and are probably not very experienced. If they are full-time employees, ask for the names of the crew members and the length of time they have been with the company. That should be a big part of what they're selling for all that extra money.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 4:05PM
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My roof was also just done last week. After 3 rescheduled appointments, due to rain, the roofers finally made it last Friday & Saturday. It was really nice to get the three pallets of materials out of the driveway. They were delivered just prior to the first appointment and sat for 4 weeks. Like most homes that have cedar shingle, ours was built in 1928 and had 2 layers of asphalt roof shingle applied on top of that.

I spoke several times to the roofing company so that I would know what to expect. There were going to be 10-15 guys on the site. The company supervisor would not be on site all day, but the jobsite forman was there and that was the person we would speak to for questions/ concerns. While the forman spoke to the guys in spanish, he spoke english well. I found that the entire crew was polite, professional and respectful to our concerns and property. The forman let us know when someone was working in the attic (removing debris and vacuuming the attic), and any one else asked for permission to come into the house mainly to use the bathroom. They removed the debris into a container truck (not a dumpster that would be left on site). They would provide protection for my front and side gardens (consisted of plywood and tarps draped from the roof). The roofers would clean the site including the neighbors driveway & our attic (which I had removed 75% of the things stored up there.) We refered to our contract several times to ensure that we were indeed getting all of the things listed, such as ice shield, new flashings, ridge vent etc. The guys were wonderful and they worked the job smart, completing the upper roof and being sure the house was weather tight for the evening. (slight chance of a sprinkle) If it there is a possibility of rain, the roofers should supply tarps. They are liable for damages while working on your home, including water damage from the roof being open.

One thing that we were sure was addressed was where the roof met the siding on our dormer. The existing roof is thicker than what the new roof would be and we wanted to be sure that new flashing would be installed under the existing vinyl siding and the new roof. Otherwise there is the possibility of water leaking into the wall/roof.

Through the entire process either my husband or myself was home to keep an eye on things. My husband went up on the roof several times to make sure what was going on and that the details were all going together properly. The only thing that concerned me was the fascia boards. Since there was moss growing on the ends of the exposed cedar, I was concerned that there might have been a water issue. But all was good and any fascia boards that had to be replaced were taken care of.

I would note that I obtained the roofer from a referal from my office (construction) and our subcontractors. We did pay more than we would have liked, but we received first class service and a beautiful job. The fact that the guys actually vacuumed the attic once it was enclosed, did a great job picking up debris around the house and also did a nice job protecting my garden, I was thrilled. It also did not hurt that we bought the crew breakfast and lunch. A little respect goes a long way.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 3:29PM
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Things you don't need to worry about when signing with a professional, qualified roofing company.
They speak English.

LOL!... if by "they" you mean the phone receptionist, the owners, and the foreman, then yes, but I guarantee you that anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, the actual grunts will be "No habla Anglais". If in your mild Ohio clime you actually have guys named Rob and Phil swinging the nail guns, well, lucky you. But roofing in So-Fla is the 8th Circle of Hell type job, 8 months of the year... Rob and Phil didn't apply. ;')

Some people just hire the wrong company or choose the lowest price which results in frustration. Hiring the cheapest is always the customer's fault.

I *AM* talking about the top-shelf guys! Oh yeah, big names, longstanding reps, licenses you can lookup on the state website, shiny brochures, testimonials from local big-wigs and hospitals, the whole nine yards, baby! THAT is the only way one DIYer has a chance supervising a 10-man crew. Hire the low-cost hosers, and you'll wind up with a botched job even if you're supervising.

... and that was BEFORE the last 2 wicked hurricane seasons!

PS: The job I'm referring to was in 2003, and the city "inspector" never went up on the roof! Well, OK, for the final tug-on-the-tiles check the city subbed it out to... a private couple who DIDN'T SPEAK ENGLISH!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 10:27PM
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My next door neighbor here in RI had a 35 architectural shingle put on after a tear off of a single layer of standard 3 tabs. Company with a top rep and price to match. The crew did an excellent job with meticulous clean up every day. I doubt they had 100 words of English between them.

Is this one of these jobs that Americans won't do? Six summers of putting on asphalt roofing paid 75% of my college expenses to an Ivy school. College price increases being what they are, the same labor today would pay about 40%. Its hard, dirty and dangerous work, but it sure paid well. And even covering 40% of a private college's expense is no mean feat. However, roofing as a real job for the long term would have worn me out.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 10:33AM
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Is this one of these jobs that Americans won't do?

Largely, yes, especially in the sub-tropics... makes you old before your time... plus breathing those healthy all-natural TAR fumes... never seen an OSHA inspector at a residential roofing job. ;')

Its hard, dirty and dangerous work...
However, roofing as a real job for the long term would have worn me out.

Yep, Dept. of Labor rates roofing as the #1 most dangerous occupation, whereas law enforcement officer is about #20. You probably had steep pitches to deal with in RI, whereas in FL you have wicked sun, lots of lightning, the hot-mop tar business, and heavy concrete tiles. Fatigue leads to accidents.

PS: 'brushworks' sounds like someone who read about getting a roofing job done in Reader's Digest... or was that 1 consumer in 1,000 who got a no hassle job the first time.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 3:08PM
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Lots of good advice given above. Would like to add one personal piece though. First, it will be your best opportunity to truly inspect all of your duct work and other attic goodies. Bright and wide open. If your attic is full of possessions, junk, etc., it's the most PERFECT time to clean it out. There will probably be a large dumpster placed within tossing distance. My former H and his friends were able to stand tall in the attic (no bumbing heads in tight spaces) and just toss the stuff straight from the open air attic into the dumpster. Was nice, cool and easily accessed for a change.

Take advantage of no decking while you have it. It's great!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 8:04AM
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Happened on this a little late, but, thought I'd add my 2cents worth.
Definitely take a little time to see how a roof should be done properly and to code. You will feel more comfortable when searching for a contractor. Even if you think you have a good contractor, everyone does things differently. Some think certain things don't matter, therefore, they don't use them. What you don't know can hurt you. Building codes change too.
Find out who will actually be doing the work, and if they speak English. Even in MN many roofing crews are Hispanic and communication can be a problem. Lots of workers are also just doing a summer job and may not have the experience that the owner does. We put an addition on our home 8 years ago which involved residing and reshingling the entire house. The shingles were stapled not nailed, which I guess can be ok but the staple gun had too much pressure and many of our shingles blew off in a strong wind as the staples went too far through to hold them. Our builder didn't use any homewrap on the siding either. I thought it should be done but the builder said it wasn't necessary and my husband didn't think it was either. Not to mention that the budget was already larger than we had planned. Now, 8 years down the line, it is actually code to have a housewrap. I'm wondering what the sheathing is going to look like underneath. Hopefully we won't have to replace it all when we reside(due to hail damage).

These are just some of the things that we didn't know any better about. I am much more concerned about learning as much as I can before hiring someone now. It will help me get a quality job, peace of mind, and a fair price. That Home Site has been a tremendous help. There are just so many things that one doesn't even know to ask about. Thanks to everyone that contributes to this site!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 11:51AM
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Great info here... I'm going to have to go through the roof thing here in the not too distant future, so thanks for the advice. In the past few years I've had two trees taken down on my property, one whent horriably wrong and I got taken for work that was left half complete and was never able to get a satisfactory solution. The crew had not a word of spanish spoken, but the crew of the second tree removal had 80% of the crew spanish speaking and they were more professional and cleaned up after the job was done leaving me 100% satisfied with the job. That's just my own experience, which obviously is much different as on a tree outfit you normally have one guy in the bucket truck doing the cutting while the rest of the crew is doing the heavy lifting, raking etc. I ended up being much happier with the second crew and would call them again anyday over the first.

I do have a few questions. What does one do if they can't stand heights? I can't even get the courage to climb the ladder to clean the gutters out on my two story, which is a full three story on the walk-out basement side of the house. There is no way I'm going to be able to climb up to the roof to inspect the roof to be sure all flashing and vents etc are installed and the roof is good to go. What does one do in this type of situation?

One thought I had was to ask a good neighbor friend of mine to come over and give it the once over in my stead. I might go that route, but that likely won't happen until the job is complete, meaning there won't be anyone on the roof durning install.

Thanks for all the thoughts into this adventure they call roofing... at least (crossing fingers) once taken care of we won't have to worry about it for many a year.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 1:17PM
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Hello-could you tell me how much all this cost? I am going to have to do the same. Thanks a lot.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 2:23PM
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$11,473.18 Approximately.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Thank you so much .... I forgot to ask the square footage involved?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:37AM
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You would be better off getting real world estimates from reputable roofing outfits in your area. It's just not the square footage, but roof line, condition of the flashings, condition of the sheathings, etc that make yours unique compared to others. Pricing also varys by region.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 10:49AM
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