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Should I Hire a General Contractor to Perform a Roofing Job?

by Dymon Brady

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As we have journeyed through a recession, many business tactics and standards have changed. Consumers are often interested in quantity over quality, choosing less expensive products in order to save money. Unfortunately, our desire to be efficient and economical can often backfire, as we end up spending more in the long run replacing our cheap products. This logic applies to roofing as well. Homeowners may opt for a contractor offering a lower bid, despite the knowledge that the company is not as experienced or qualified. They may end up spending much more in expensive repairs.

An ongoing roofing dispute illustrates this concept first hand. A church in Illinois hired an inexperienced roofing contractor to add to the roof, allowing water to drain away from the door and stairs. The roofing company made the repairs necessary, charging more than they had initially bid. The building owner was very disappointed with the job itself. The roof does not have a proper drainage system, and allows water to fall from the roof in sheets, defeating the purpose of the original repair. Another company has estimated that there are about $10,400 of additional repairs needed after this project was completed.

Recently, I was able to observe a similar experience. A man called and asked for a bid. We gave him a bid and talked to him extensively, throughout consecutive visits, about his options. He decided to go with a cheaper bid. We felt like he was possibly using our knowledge to get to the bottom of what he wanted and needed, then asked another, less experienced company to do the same thing we had specified for him.

Because I’d never heard of this company before, I did some research and found out the background of this company that beat us out of a bid. The company has been around since 1985. But here’s the catch. They aren’t a roofing company. They are a General Contractor who ran out of home building opportunities, and as a result, has turned to roofing. This is a very common thing these days because the housing market is so dry still.

The general contractors often win subcontracting bids like the one we submitted. This is because they have workers compensation rates based on general construction, not roofing. These rates are much, much lower than the rates that face roofing contractors. Their Liability insurance isn’t geared toward roofing either, but is usually based on subcontractors having coverage for the project which lessens their rate significantly on this insurance as well. Their overhead is just cheaper, so they can present very competitive roofing prices. However, roofing is an art, and homes that may contain valleys or eves may be a challenge to one who has only a general base of roofing experience, and no knowledge of the specific details involved.

The homeowner that hired this company started looking at the work as it was performed on their home and didn’t feel it was up to industry standards. He called me and asked me to come inspect the roof after this company was done and before payment was made. This puts us in a difficult position because any critique we give as “the competition” could be construed as self-serving.

After looking at photos and realizing that there were, in fact, some issues, I suggested that he talk with a roofing consultant. There were a lot of details done wrong on this roof and it would have been a huge expense for this homeowner in years to come. The consultant detailed some repairs to be done to the roof which included removing over half of the shingles installed and replacing them after correcting ice shield underlayment issues. Also involved in the repairs are new flashings on side walls. There were many more items discussed.

Our original bid was about $3000 less than the cost to perform the repairs as outlined by the roof consultant. This is unfortunate for the homeowner, as well as the previous contractor who still has not gotten paid for the project, and likely will not see any payment from this project.

There are a couple of things we can do to avoid situations like the one this man found himself in. First of all, keep in mind that anyone can write up a contract and detail what needs to be done on a reroof. But the roof will only be as good as the employees who install it, and the materials that are used. The other thing is, when asking how long someone has been in business, make sure you ask how long they’ve been installing roofs full time. Be careful because they can say they’ve been installing roofs for 20 years, but this might mean they installed a roof system 20 years ago, and have just dabbled here and there a little before trying to get into it full time within the last year. Make sure they have full coverage on liability insurance and the appropriate policy on workers comp to save you from legal battles in the future.

Brady Roofing is among the most competitive roofing companies that meets all of these standards. We strive to provide, honest, high quality work for you and your home. To receive a free estimate, contact us today at 801-487-5151.

Read through some of our past articles to find the best contractor for you:

Roofing Horror Story #257
How to Understand Your Roofing Contract:  What to Look For
Be Safe When Choosing a Roofing Contractor

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Ridge Vents vs. Turtle Vents: Which Ventilation System is Right for Me?

By Dymon Brady

One of the most effective things you can do to safeguard the integrity of your roof and save energy in your home is install proper attic ventilation. Ventilation works because it keeps attics close to the same temperature as the outside air.

We have talked about why attic ventilation is important in the past. You can read more about it in our post: Saving Money Through Attic Ventilation.

You may know perfectly well how important ventilation is! But, unfortunately, ventilation problems are another one of those subjects that offer hundred different solutions. So how do you know which ventilation systems are even effective? Out of those, which ones are preferable?

Brady Roofing recommends installing soffit or drip intake vents. They are located at the bottom of the roof, by the eave. These are pretty easy to understand, basically if you have soffit and gutters, soffit vents are right for you. If you don’t, a drip edge vent will work perfectly.

The exhaust vents we install are ridge vents and turtle vents. This may be a more difficult decision to make. That is why I wanted to provide a comparison here for you.

Turtle Vents

Turtle Vents

Turtle vents, also known as louvers, are box-like vents that are installed as close to the ridge as possible. As air comes in through the soffit vents, the warmest air will rise up to the ridge. That is why it is important to have these vents installed as close to the ridge as possible.

Turtle vents must be spaced evenly throughout your roof to be effective, because they are not a continuous vent. Having them spaced evenly apart helps to avoid pockets of hot air and moisture.

Here are some additional pros and cons of turtle vents:

Pros:
– Relatively inexpensive to install
– Easy to install
– Easy to implement in old homes or buildings that already have static vents.

Cons:
– Not as efficient as ridge vents
– May be aesthetically unappealing
– More susceptible to developing leaks if not installed correctly

Ridge Vents

Ridge Vents

Actually, when using ridge vents, it is recommended to have 1 square foot of ventilation along the ridge for every 300 square feet of attic floor space. When using turtle vents, the recommendation changes to 1 square foot per every 150 feet! So you can see how you could end up using a lot of vents to cover the ventilation needs.

Ridge vents are our personal preference. They are virtually unnoticeable and may even add a touch of beauty to the roof’s ridge. But more importantly, ridge vents are more effective. This is because they are a continuous vent along the top of the roof’s ridge, releasing the hottest air in the attic with a vacuum-like effect.

Additional ridge vent pros and cons:

Pros:
– Allow a continuous flow of air.
– Reduces risk for ice dams and trapped moisture.
– More attractive.
– Dependable, will not leak easily.

Cons:
– More expensive.
– May not work with some roof configurations.

Obviously, unless you have a unique situation, we will recommend that you install ridge vents on your home for the best results!

If you have any questions about your attic’s ventilation system, or would like to request a free estimate, contact us today at (801)487-5151.

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Roofing Horror Story #257

by Stewart

I just gave an estimate to a man who had a brand new roof with a 40 year architectural shingle installed on it. Unfortunately, like many cases I have seen before, he hired a poor installer, which made the quality of the shingles completely useless. The roofer was inexperienced and high-nailed everything. In recent high winds, a third of his roof just ripped right off.

Roof blow off

This isn’t the first problem he has had with his roof, either. Earlier this year, he had a leak around the chimney. He called up the roofer, who simply told him that it wasn’t under warranty. This is an outrageous situation to be in for a roof that is less than a year old!

He is hoping that insurance will cover the disaster, and we hope they do, too! But more likely than not, the insurance company will refer him back to the poor installation of the roofer, and the roofing contractor has shown he is unwilling to act. This man may have to pocket the money and pay for a new roof.

It really is disappointing. There are a lot of roofers out there that will perform work that is less than desirable. It’s not the customers fault, they are simply trying to find the best deal on an expensive purchase. They see these bids from new contractors and they think “This is so cheap, it’s $2,000 less than any other bid!” And we truly do wish that those companies were reputable, it would save a lot of people frustration and wasted money.

However, this man spent $4,000 on his roof to install it the first time. Now he will probably be spending around $7,000 to get the roof fixed and installed the right way.

If you are already in this situation, I’m sorry to say, there is not a lot you can do. I have seen this happen too many times. In fact, some companies will go out of business because of situations like this, and then open a new company with a new name and a clean slate, only to repeat history on more unsuspecting customers.

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We understand how frustrating installing a roof can be, especially when money is tight. If you are receiving bids and you find a contractor that seems too good to be true, step away do a little research about the company. Ask the contractor for some referrals for where he may have gotten his roofing experience and training.

If you want a fail-safe way of choosing a roofing contractor, check out our Roofing Contractor Checklist below!

roofing contractor questionaire, checklist, requirementsAnd check out these other roofing horror stories:

Texas Bill Targets Crooked Roofers

Homeowner Horror Stories

Homeowner loses $4,000

State Capitol Offices Damaged in Roofing Project

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10 Best of Brady’s Blog

By Dymon Brady

Over the last week, we have completely organized our past articles.  Including this one, we have published 58 articles containing quality roofing information!  I wanted to provide an article highlighting our most useful and popular articles.  Here’s our top 10:


10.  How to Clean and Preserve Your Wood Shakes and Shingles

wood shakesWood shakes are beautiful on a roof, but they require a lot of upkeep and can even be damaged if they are cleaned too aggressively.  This guide helps homeowners to know how to clean their wood shakes and shingles correctly.


9.  Chimney Caps

Installing a Chimney Cap, Copper, Aged, Salt Lake City, Brady Roofing.

Installing a Chimney Cap

A beautiful addition to any home, our chimney caps are custom designed and fabricated just for you and your style.  See if a chimney cap is right for you!


8.  TPO Snow Fence

snow fence uninstalled

If you have had problems with heavy snow sliding off of your TPO roof, we have finally presented the solution for you.  An incredibly unique and professional option, these TPO snow fences are designed to blend in and keep the snow away from people and objects below.


7.  Health Risks of PVC Membranes

PVC

Learn why we have stopped installing PVC membrane years ago.  Discover health risks, studies, and alternatives to PVC.


6.  Installing TPO over a Metal Roofing: Increasing Energy Efficiency

6699192_orig

This article covers a unique roofing job in which we installed TPO membrane over a metal roof with flute fillers.  This has increased the R-value and the energy efficiency of the roof.


5.  Do I Need to Remove My Old Shingles, or Can I Roof Over the Top?

Do I need to remove my shingles or can I roof over the topMany people wonder if they can save some money by simply shingling over their old shingles.  This article will help determine how to save you the most money over the long run.


4.  Is My Gutter Leaking, or is it My Roof?

Is my gutter leaking or is it my roof

If you spot water leaking from your eaves, this article can help you determine whether to call a roofing contractor or a gutter contractor.


3.  A Comprehensive Guide to Shingle Quality and Selection

3 tab vs architectural in Weathered Wood

This is perhaps one of our most useful articles for homeowners looking to install a new roof on their home.  We explore options such as shingle style, warranties, expected life, etc.  Do you know what shingle you want to install, but can’t decide on a color?  Check out How to Choose a Shingle Color.


2.  Understanding Your Roofing Contract

what to look for in a roofing contractDo you currently have a stack of roofing bids and contracts to look through?  Because each contractor has a different style, you may feel as if you are comparing apples and oranges.  This article will help you understand which bid is offering you the best value.


1.  Should I Convert My Flat Roof to a Pitched Roof

flat roof conversionWith over 4500 views in the last year alone, this is by far our most popular article we have written.  If you are a home or building owner of a flat roof with more problems than benefits, this article will help you explore your options.


Do you have a roofing question that has not been answered in our blogs?  Send an email to me at dbrady@bradyroofing.net and I will try to answer your questions!  Also look through our Commercial Article Archive or our Residential Article Archive, or even find articles by category here.  Thank you for reading.

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Quality Control Checklist

We are excited to present our Quality Control Checklist Infographics.  Click on them for a larger image, or view our .PDF pages

Pitched Roof Quality Control

Flat Roof Quality Control

for more information.

Brady Roofing Brochure web-05 Brady Roofing Brochure web-04Brady Roofing Brochure web-05Brady Roofing Brochure web-05

 

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Selling a Home: Should I Invest in a New Roof?

Should I fix my roof

By Dymon Brady

In the past, we have addressed several ways that roof improvements can save you money in the long run.

Just a couple weeks ago we posted a guide to saving money by installing a metal roof.  Though it is a larger investment upfront, the roof will likely last 2-3 times longer than an asphalt roof, saving money in the future.

Remember our Cool Roofing Materials post, or the guide to earning up to $1500 back on your tax returns by installing an energy efficient roof?

Also, we have discussed saving money through attic ventilation.  Did you know that poor attic ventilation can actually cause your attic to get so hot that it can bake your shingles from the inside out?

Traditionally, we have focused on how to help the long-term homeowner get a return on their roofing investment.  However, many people who are looking into roof repairs and replacements are actually trying to make last minute improvements before they sell the house.  They will typically ask questions such as “Should I sell my house for less and let the buyer cover roof repairs, or should I repair or replace the roof myself?”

This answer is like many answers you will receive when selling a house: “It depends”.

First of all, while many ‘flipper’ buyers will discount the price of the home to allow for repairs, they will try to lower the price enough to make it worth their time fixing up the home as well.  This means that if you estimate your home needs $13,000 worth of roofing repairs, and your home is worth $150,000 with the repairs completed, they will most likely look to save more than that $13,000, lowering your selling price to around the $130,000 range.  It’s not worth their time to put in a new roof without getting additional money out of the home.

If you are marketing to home buyers looking to inhabit the house, keep in mind that a roof is not one of those “little repairs” that buyers expect when looking into homes.  They will usually accept costs like re-carpeting, painting, etc.  A home that needs a roof replacement may scare them away and make your home harder to sell.  If the roof is in really bad condition, a willing buyer may not even be able to get a mortgage to cover the home costs.

However, if you are upfront with the buyer about the conditions, some buyers may actually prefer to have a say in what roofing material is installed on the roof.  It is not unheard of to be able to meet in the middle on costs, with both buyer and seller covering 50%.  You could list your house for what you feel it is worth fixed up, and offer a closing credit of 50% of the roofing costs.

Keep in mind that you may not be able to receive 100% back of repair costs when you sell.  In 2013, it was estimated that sellers receive 62.9% of their investment back when it comes to roofing repairs and re-roofs before the sale.

It is a good idea to get a solid opinion on the matter from both a real estate agent and a roofing contractor.  The condition of your roof, as well as the rest of your home and the housing market, will affect whether or not you should be the one to invest in the costs, or whether you should hand them to the buyer.

Brady Roofing offers free roofing estimates.  If you are interested in receiving more information, call us at 801-487-5151.

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Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

Self Fabricated Standing Seam Roof

By Dymon Brady

Here at Brady Roofing, we are excited to announce that we are going to start fabricating Metal Roofing Systems.  We have been installing metal roofing systems for 18 years, and now we will be able to fabricate the metal roofing panels we install.  We have a wide range of experience in fabricating our own metal materials for metal flashings of all types, chimney caps, gutters, and other roofing systems to compliment the metal roofing systems we’ve installed in the past.  We are excited to have the opportunity to make our Metal Roofing Division just as high-quality as our other roofing divisions!

Are you thinking of installing a metal roof on your home?  Like every roofing system, metal roofs have their own pro’s and con’s.

Financial

Many people are hesitant to install metal roofing materials, simply because the upfront costs are so high.  However, when comparing to traditional asphalt roofs, many metal roof owners actually save money in the long run.  This is because a metal roof can have a life expectancy of 50 years or more, with a lifetime warranty.   An average homeowner with an asphalt roof will replace their roof every 10-40 years.  A metal roof could very well be the last roof you ever install..

Another great financial selling point for metal roofs is that they may reduce your homeowners insurance, depending on what insurance company you are with and what policy you have.  Metal roofs are more fire resistant and hold up better in natural disasters than other roofing materials.

Naturally Energy Efficient.

Metal is naturally great at reflecting the sun’s heat.  This can be a huge selling point to people who spend a lot of money cooling their home in the summer.

Versatile

Metal is becoming more and more versatile.  We offer different shapes, colors and thicknesses of metal roofing such as shake, slate, standing seam, tile and of course, traditional shingles.

Metal shingles can also be made of many different materials such as:

  1. Zinc or Aluminum coated steel

  2. Stone coated steel

  3. Lead and tin coated soft metals

  4. Copper

  5. Aluminum

Watch for our next blog!  We will go into detail about the specifics of each of our metal roofing options.  We want you to have the perfect roof for your home or business.

Perhaps the only real con of a metal roof, is that it is not quite as popular in the Salt Lake Valley as a residential roofing material.  However, if you are sure a metal roof is right for you, it will make your home look unique and sophisticated, and you can enjoy the savings and dependability as well!  In Utah, metal roofs are the most popular on commercial buildings and residential cabins, as well as in areas with a lot of snow such as Park City.

Metal roofs are growing in popularity and beauty.  Call us if you are interested in having a metal system installed on your roof!  

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High Humidity in the Home

By Dymon Brady

Did you know it is possible for your home to form a “leak” from the inside?  People with constantly running humidifiers, indoor swimming pools, or other factors that raise humidity in the home, may inadvertently cause condensation to form in the attic or ceiling.  This has the same effect as a pot of water with the lid on.  Water will evaporate up, hit a barrier, form water droplets, and mimick a roofing leak.

Now, granted, this is an issue that not many people in Utah have.  However, that is what makes it so difficult to diagnose.  Here are some signs you can look for if you suspect that the humidity levels in your home are too high:signs of high humidty

If you see any signs of moisture or mold in your attic, call us and we will give you a free inspection!  801-487-5151.

Also, read our past post:  Is My Roof Leaking?  Or is it High Humidity?

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What is EPDM?

By Dymon Brady

If you are in the market for a flat roof membrane, you may have noticed the plethora of options, including some strange abbreviated names such as TPO, PVC and EPDM.  We have an article describing what a TPO membrane is, as well as PVC membrane and why we avoid installing PVC at Brady Roofing.  Now it is time to address a staple membrane in the flat roofing industry: EPDM.

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene PolyMethylene.  But for the rest of this article, we will simply call it EPDM.  It is a synthetic rubber roofing membrane composed of natural gas and oil combined with diene to create a flexible membrane.  When formulated correctly, it can be extremely durable.  This flexible material is then dusted with talc, or a similar dusting agent, and cured to ensure it’s durability against sunlight, moisture, roof-top traffic and temperature extremes.

EPDM, by nature, is black.  Many manufacturers have created a white on black EPDM membrane to help this material become more energy efficient.  This is a viable option.  Just be aware that a white on black membrane is just that: a black membrane covered with a separate white material and then laminated together.  The white portion of the membrane tends to wear away, leaving the EPDM black again by the time the warranty period is up.

Are you trying to decide between installing TPO or EPDM on your roof?  We have created a quick infographic for you to help you compare the two products:

TPO EPDM Infographic

Read on for an in-depth comparison.

Price

TPO is actually more expensive upfront for the material than EPDM.  However, the installation process is less expensive because TPO can be welded with hot air, while EPDM is installed via adhesive.  Overall, TPO tends to be less expensive.

History

EPDM has an excellent track record.  In fact, it was introduced as a roofing product over 50 years ago.  When installed correctly, EPDM is known to be dependable and durable, especially outperforming other products in cold climates.  TPO is a relatively new product, and has been reformulated several times.  However, in the last 12 years it has shown indications of fulling lasting it’s warranty period.

Energy Efficiency

A roof’s energy efficiency has become more and more important to our environmentally conscious customers.  The truth is, how much money an “energy efficient” roof will save you is directly dependant on wheher your building has more ‘cooling days’ (days where you run the air conditioner) or ‘heating days’ (days where you run the heater.

Because EPDM is typically black, it will help to keep your building warmer in the winter, while raising cooling costs in the summer.  If you have more ‘heating days’ EPDM could be a great choice for you.  TPO is typically white, and so will lower cooling costs in the summer and probably raise them in the winter.

Installation Process

As mentioned earlier, TPO is easier and less expensive to install than EPDM.  However, either membrane can be effective if they are installed correctly.  EPDM is attached at the seams via an adhesive.  The installation process begins much as it does with TPO.  We roll out the material and then fasten the membrane to the roof.  Then the work begins on the seams.  These seams must be primed, taped, secured and brushed off with a broom before they can finally be rolled with a tool and combined together.  When installing TPO, we simply roll out the material, fasten the membrane, and then weld the seam.

It is worth mentioning that EPDM comes in much larger rolls than TPO, which means less seams.  Because the seams on a roof are the most vulnerable areas for leaks, it has been argued that EPDM may be less prone to leaks.  However, we believe that if the roof is installed correctly, this is less of a concern.  TPO roofs have 3-4 times stronger seams than EPDM because they are heat welded.

Maintenance

EPDM is known to be an excellent option for roofs that require a lot of traffic because of the nature of the material.  However, be aware that if an EPDM roof does happen to be punctured, it can be extremely difficult to locate the area of the leak.  Some punctures are near impossible to locate unless it is a warm day after it has just rained, allowing the water to move up through the punctured area.

A TPO roof may require walking pads to ensure that high traffic areas are not worn down or punctured.  If a puncture does occur, they are easily located and repaired.

In conclusion, EPDM is an excellent choice for cold climates or for roofs that require a lot of traffic on them. This material is durable and time tested.  If you are looking for long term security, EPDM may be the roof for you.  It is true that no matter what material you choose for your roof, the quality will depend on the level of expertise of the installers combined with the quality of material.  Contact Brady Roofing today for a fast, free estimate, and we can help meet your needs!

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Lowest Prices of the Year!

alejandro roof sep 15 small print

By Dymon Brady

We are excited to announce the lowest prices of the year in our Crazy Christmas Sale!

This is the perfect time of year to finish up those last minute repairs before your roof becomes permanently covered with snow!  All repairs are eligible for these big savings!  The size of the roof will determine the savings amount.

save up to400 ON REPAIRsave up to 1000 on a reroofTPO snow fences

Looking for something bigger?  We are also offering huge discounts on full re-roofs.  This offer applies to both commercial and residential roofs.

Take a look at our products page for some ideas of what we could do for you and your home or building!

We also are offering snow fences for TPO roofs.  In areas of moderate to heavy snowfall, such as Utah, it is recommended that TPO roofs have a snow retention system installed to prevent injuries or damage from falling snow.  See our TPO Snow Fence post for more information.

For a limited time, we are offering these snow fences for only $11.50 / ft.

To take advantage of these limited time offers, request a free estimate today!

TPO snow fences

 

 

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