I need to replace my asphalt shingle roof, but I know next to nothing about roofing. Could anyone here fill me in on best practices and give me some tips on selecting a roofer?
My house was built about 1870 and has a hip roof with a board-and-spacing roof deck. The current roof deck is newer that the rest of the house, but still 70-80 years old. Originally, the house had a mansard roof, but it was replaced with a hip roof after a fire, in the '30's or '40's. I've only spoken to one roofer so far, and he told me that it's possible, given its age, that the wood decking is punky and may not hold nails well, in which case he'd have to put down plywood.
My questions are:
1) Would it be better to bite the bullet and put down the plywood anyway, given the age of the roof decking? I don't want the roof to fail prematurely, and I'm thinking about installing solar PV panels in a few years (when more efficient ones are available because I have limited south-facing roof space.
2) My house is woefully under-insulated. Would adding exterior roof insulation be cost-effective? I currently have some foam insulation under the roof, but not it's nowhere near the recommended R38 minimum for this area. (I can't add more insulation under the roof because the rafters aren't deep enough.) How expensive is it (ballpark)?
3) What should the roofing proposal include? The one roofer I talked to sent me a proposal that seems very vague and generic. I realize roofers don't want to spend a lot of time on proposals, but a more detailed proposal should take much effort in the computer age. Shouldn't it specify EXACTLY what products would be used? This one just says "30 year architectural shingles by Certainteed , or equal". I went to the Certainteed site, but I couldn't figure out which product he was referring to. (I could call and ask him, of course, but at this point I'm pretty sure I'll go with someone else.)
3) What questions should I ask their references?
4) What else do I need to know?