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Crowning Touch Often a New Roof

May 31, 1997|From Associated Press

Most people give little thought to their roof until one of two events occur: It starts to leak, or it looks so shabby that it needs to be replaced.

In one sense, this is how it should be. There's enough to maintain in a home without worrying about your roof. In another sense, it overlooks the fact that a roof can go a long way toward improving or changing your house's appearance, and this has never been more true than today. There are more roofing materials than ever--you don't have to settle for standard black shingles. You have your choice of color, texture and, of course, price. Furthermore, there's no reason your roof can't be worry-free. Today's roofing products combine durability with good looks.

OK, so we've settled the fact that you need a new roof. With a little research, you can install an asphalt-shingle roof yourself. On the other hand, it's hard work. Besides, other types of roofs require professional installation, so you may have to hire someone. Picking a contractor is as important as choosing the right roofing. Here are a few words of advice:

Ask for as many references as you can get. Check that the contractor has a license if you live in a state that requires it (not just a business license but a license for the trade). Ask to see insurance and bonding certificates.

Review the contract carefully. Any home-improvement contract should be specific. It should cover when the work will start and when it will be completed (depending on weather), the complete cost (including the disposal of roofing debris) and the specific type and color of roofing to be installed. Incidentally, the word "square" will probably come up in the contract or in your discussions. A square is 100 square feet of roofing.

Ask the contractor if the existing roofing needs to be torn off, because some communities allow no more than two layers of shingles on a roof. Also ask if the deck or portions of it need to be replaced.

Finally, ask about the roofing's fire rating (Class A is most resistant to flames, Class B is next, followed by Class C). Some communities permit only Class A and B roofing.

All this makes the process sound more complex than it is. It all boils down to this: If you are going to go through the expense and the mess of having your house reroofed, you want the job done right. Speaking of mess, make it clear that the job site be as clean after the job as before it. This should include using a magnetic sweep or dragging a magnetic bar over the driveway to catch roofing nails.

For more information on working with roofing contractors, contact the National Roofing Contractors Assn., 10255 W. Higgins Road, Suite 600, Rosemont, IL 60018.

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