Armchair Builder

New Roof: Builder Tips and Secrets to Save

New Roof Installation

New Roof

A family member recently asked what tips we could give for buying a new roof.  In her case, the new roof would be replacing an existing cedar roof.  As we put together the important considerations for choosing and selecting materials and contractors, we realized some of you might need this same information.  So, we have put together this article to share builder tips for saving money and getting a quality job when purchasing a new or replacement roof.

Roof Types

  • Asphalt Shingle:  This is the most common roof type for the average American home.  Because of this,we will focus our attention in this article on asphalt shingles.  They are cost effective, come in many different colors and looks and are relatively easy to install which helps keep costs down.
  • Metal:  Standing seam metal roofs can add a really nice architectural look to a home.  In addition, they typically last a long time (up to 50 years).  Metal roofing is typically more energy efficient during air conditioning season but may require snow guards to prevent large pieces of snow and ice from sliding off.  Metal does not work on flat or low pitched roofs.  Metal typically costs more than asphalt shingles but with oil prices rising (oil is the principle ingredient in asphalt shingles), the gap is narrowing.
  • Tile:  Clay and concrete tile are typically used in warmer climates.  The second most used roofing product, tile can be very durable even in harsh environments and helps keep your home cool because of the air flow underneath.  Tiles typically last longer than any other roofing material so even though they cost considerably more, the life cycle costs are relatively low.  If you are interested in energy efficiency, check out our previous article… Cool Roof.
  • Cedar:  These have a great look…and that’s where the good news ends.  Maintenance requirements are huge for even a relatively new roof.  Initial costs are high for both material and installation.

New Roof Considerations

Asphalt roofs come in many different flavors…you can choose color, style, and weight/warranty.  Here are some tips for choosing your new roof…

  • Warranty:  Asphalt shingle quality is specified by the warranty period.  You can buy a 20, 25, 30 year roof …etc.  You can even purchase a “lifetime” roof.   Our tip is this…get the highest number you can if you plan on staying in the home.  Half of the cost of a roof is in the labor…so it might as well last.  Even if you don’t plan on staying forever, future buyers will take the remaining life of the roof into consideration.  In addition, the longer warranty shingles typically have a heavier weight to them so they are more resistant to high winds.
  • Algae Resistant:  You will want to consider an algae resistant roof shingle if any of the homes in your neighborhood show discoloration or if you are going with a light colored roof.  The algae doesn’t hurt the roof, but it can be ugly.
  • Underlayment:  If you live in a cold climate where temperatures get below freezing, you may want to ask about rubber underlayment at the eaves.  By installing rubber under the new roof at the edges, you can eliminate problems with ice dams.  This occurs when snow gets up on the roof and ice forms, pushing water back up under the shingles.  Ice dams show up in your ceiling as water spots.
Flashing for New Roof

Flashing and Drip Edge

Questions to Ask New Roof Installers

  • Is all flashing and counterflashing included?  Flashing is used to seal up your roof at penetrations and roof-to-wall intersections.  When you have brick or stone on your home, counterflashing is installed on top of the flashing to seal it up.  Ask if the counterflashing is included and if it will be embedded into the mortar joints.  You don’t want to have to call another company to come out and do this.
  • Siding:  Ask if any of the siding or trim will need to be replaced when they are done.  You need to know what else may be lurking in the background that will cost you money.  If the roofer is good and your siding is in good condition, you shouldn’t need to worry about this.

    Counterflashing New Roof


  • Venting:  It’s very important to vent your roof properly for longevity of the shingles and energy efficiency of your home.  If hot air cannot escape in the summer, you will have higher air conditioning costs.  Ask what style of venting the roofer plans to use.  One of our favorites is ridge vents.  This vent goes along the ridge of your roof, leaving about 2 inches of roof open to allow air to escape.  The vent acts like a loose fitting hat to keep water from going in but letting air out.  Make sure your contractor has done the math to make certain the venting will meet minimum requirements.
  • Drip Edge:  Ask potential roofers what type of drip edge they are proposing.  The drip edge is the material at the edge of the roof that keeps water from dripping back under the shingle overhang.
  • Cleanup:  Make sure the company you hire plans on hauling all debris away.  You may also want to ask if they will use a magnet around the yard after completion to pickup any extra nails.  These can be dangerous when a lawn mower runs them over.

Huge Savings!!!

As always, be sure to get a minimum of three bids for your new roof.  This is critical to getting a good deal.  We have a great bid package that will help you save hundreds of dollars on your new roof replacement.  This package was created from years of builder experience hiring roofing companies to build and remodel homes.  This package helps you easily compare prices and make sure no quality items are forgotten.  For just $9.99 you can have this package full of builder tips and secrets for getting prices from roofing companies for your new roof replacement.  We include…
  • Subcontractor Information Sheet:  Gives you references, insurance company details (so you are protected if someone gets hurt), contact information, license numbers, certification that the person submitting the bid has authority to do so…and much more.  If you have a roof leak in the future, this will help you easily get in touch with your contractor.
  • Bid Sheet:  This document has each roofing company break down their pricing so you can see where your money is being spent.  How much is going to material?  How much does it cost to remove the old shingles?  The bid sheet helps you easily compare roofing company prices so you can find the best deal.  Have you ever gotten a proposal from a company to do work on your home and it was just one number?  How do you know what is included?  The bid sheet helps eliminate this problem.
  • Scopes of Work and Specifications:  Defines the quality you expect for your new roof.  If you don’t tell the roofer what you want, you probably won’t get it.  Show them you care and that you know what a quality job is with a detailed Scopes of Work and Specification.
Get your roof replacement bid package right now so you can save big money on your new roof.  By clicking below, you will be sent to our secure checkout through PayPal. Within minutes you will have the link to download the digital documents.  (you need Adobe Reader to view the documents…it is available for free online if you don’t already have it).

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To see more of our great building resources for saving money and building a quality project, check out our ESTORE.

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