Tips for Replacing Your Roof

As a homeowners insurance Houston agent I learned a lot about roof replacement after hurricane IKE in 2008. My opinion is that it is very important to select a good contractor and that you should consider the type of materials that will be used.

The standard builder's grade shingle is typically a flat asphalt shingle, with a 20 year limited warranty. I had this type of shingle and the roof was still in fairly good shape after 16 years. Upgrades can include shingles with a longer warranty, algae resistance, dynamic look, and energy efficiency.

When I replaced my homes roof recently I went with GAF / ELK Timberline Cool Series shingles. This is top of the line for asphalt shingles, and included a lifetime limited warranty, algae resistance, dimensional look, and an energy star rating.

GAF / ELK has a place on their website to see what contractors have "Certified Master-Elite" status with the manufacture. If you use one of these contractors GAF / ELK will offer an improved warranty that extends to the installation (not just the shingles). Some of these contractors have additional manufacture certificates including "consumer protection excellence", "training excellence", and "installation excellence". I wanted to use one of these contractors if the cost was not a lot higher. After getting a couple bids a certified contractor cave me the best deal so I went with them. (Houston roofing contractors seem to be still busy from IKE! I had to call 6 six roofing contractors to get 2 bids.)

The contractor I selected was Ideal Roofing, LLP. My service representative was Scott Benzman at 713-896-1122. My roof size is around 1200 square feet and the total cost was $ 6,500. If I did not get the energy star upgrade, the cost would have been about $ 1,500 less. (A standard 20 year shingle would have been another reduction in cost.) It was a one day job and the installation looks great.

If you need a roof replacement here are some suggestions:

  • Get at least two bids and possibly more.
  • Be cautious about selecting a contractor. Consider using one that is approved by the shingle manufacture, and check their BBB rating.
  • Consider getting a shingle that is resistant to algae. In Houston if you do not get this you will probably see a black colored mold / algae growing on your roof in a few years.
  • Make sure your roof and attic have good ventilation. If not check with the contractor about correcting that.
  • If you plan on being in the home for a long time consider a shingle with an extra long warranty.
  • For the Houston area, my guess is that a shingle with the energy star rating will save enough to pay for the upgrade cost in about 10 years. Until the end of 2010 there is a tax credit up to 1,500 if you upgrade to an energy star rated shingle. (Maybe this will be extended?)
  • Some insurance company's offer a discount when you have a new roof so check with your agent.
  • If you live in an area with a homeowners association get their approval before the job is done.

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