James Jones
Created by James Jones
On Jul 4, 2019
Help Translate This Item

The best way to find a good roofing company will come from a basic understanding of the roofing process. Otherwise, how will you know when to confront the roofer if you see inconsistencies in the work? Yes, it is the roofing company’s job to handle the contracting, administration and construction of the project - but that does not mean that you should not know what goes into the roofing process. This article will hopefully give you a better idea of how roofing companies operate, and will ultimately lead you to more reliable roofers in your area.
A roof is arguably the most integral feature of a home. While the foundation is just as important, a building is not considered adequate shelter from the elements without a reliable roof. The initial construction of roofs is not as common a job for roofing companies as re-roofing jobs are. In some cases re-roofing is necessary because of improper construction- however, the truth is that roofs take the most damage from the elements and therefore require more attention than other features.

Roofing companies will often get called into jobs to first indicate any number of problems:

  • Is the roof sagging?
  • What is the condition of the main structural elements?
  • Are there any missing or incorrect parts?
  • How supportive are the braces?
  • What are the supportive structures?

Questions like these help roofing companies assess the condition of a roof. The frame of the roof is the most essential structure. The way the frame is supported by and braced by the rest of the building is crucial in understanding the condition of the roof. Common problems will occur in the supportive structures such as improper bracing that can cause trusses to add undesirable amounts of pressure to other parts of the structure. In some cases these conditions can lead to dangerous situations - however, a good roofing company will be able to assess your home thoroughly. Reframing issues are easily fixed by roofers by adding temporary supports to hold the weight while parts of the roof’s frame are replaced. In addition to replacing parts of the roof’s frame, reinforcements to the roof can also be made with sheathing and adhesives. These reinforcements can look like anything from kevlar straps reinforcing roof-to-wall connections or applying industrial-standard adhesives to rafter connections in the existing roof frame. If there is significant damage from weather or pests, sometimes a roofer will demolish the frame entirely and rebuild it. The slope of a roof is the most common factor in considering the reframing of a roof.

A good roofing company will be aware of special techniques and materials needed in different regions. In order for a building to withstand the pressures of water and wind, there are certain guidelines that a roofer must adhere to in order to maintain correct weight distribution within the structure. Unequal distribution of weight can cause the structure to fall in on itself with just the slightest disruption in its balance. Whether this means using techniques to withstand windstorms versus seismic activity will depend on where you live. Informing yourself on some of these basics of structural integrity as well as risk management in construction will help you understand why a roofing company may be ordering certain materials or suggesting specific jobs be done for your project. Knowing what the roofer is most concerned with will assist you in finding what roofing company may be reliable and efficient.
As mentioned before, a roof’s steepness affects its condition over time. However, there are some other leading causes such as earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, pests, molds and general structural decay that also contribute to a roof’s condition over time.

One of the most effective ways roofers deal with these factors is by using sheathing. Roof sheathing has a few functions - it can act as a protective layer that keeps out moisture, but it also works as a foundation to drive nails into and helps brace the house together against any forces like wind or seismic events. Plywood is the leading material of choice by roofers today for sheathing. In most cases, they are resistant to fire and in this way contribute to the structural integrity of the building as well as its resilience to multiple natural elements. When a roofer assesses your project they may only need to replace the sheathing and not even touch the actual frame of the roof or reconstruct it anyway.

Some of the other techniques and materials used in the roofing process include flashing, underlayments, insulation, and shingles. The main objectives of flashing and underlayments are to provide multiple protective barriers against snow or wind-driven rain. Water is the biggest risk in terms of roof conditions over time. In many cases, the flashing or underlayments are the last barrier between the weather and the interior of the home. In order to keep moisture out, various layers of lightweight materials are applied to create tight seals along the entire roofing structure. A combination of layering and adhesive techniques ensures a more reliable seal.
Insulation is used mainly for climate control in order to reduce energy consumption. Not only does it provide a level of indoor comfort, but it also protects against factors like the leakage of air, the formation of mold and general fire safety.

This leaves us with the last and most visible feature of the roof: shingles. This element is not only structural but it is aesthetically pleasing and must adhere to both construction standards as well as the homeowner’s opinions. Because of this factor, there are various materials to choose from when using shingles: wood, metal, slate, asphalt, tile, etc. Depending on the slope of the roof, some of these materials may not be available - however, each material has its own unique history of usage and benefits.

Hopefully having a better understanding of the complex process that roofing companies must go through will assist you in either planning your own project or simply identifying what roofing companies around you are the best. The materials that roofers use depend heavily on the needs of your project - with some more knowledge of the roofing process, you should be able to know when a roofing company may be charging too much for the job or not suggesting the best methods for your problems.