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Need a new roof? Thinking about tackling your roof replacement yourself? Think again! There are major reasons–from safety to roof performance–to leave installing new shingles to the pros.

Roof shingles are just one of those things that eventually need to be replaced. Even with today’s highly engineered roofing materials, you’ll find the average life span of an asphalt roof is typically only about 35 years. When the time comes to replace your roof, many avid do-it-yourselfers tend to take the “how hard can it be” approach and tackle their own roof replacement. But if you’re considering that route, make sure you think it all the way through before grabbing the nail gun–roofing installation/replacement gone wrong can have some serious repercussions for your health and the safety of your home.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that between 2008 and 2009 (the last year for which statistics are available), some 890,000 people went to the emergency room for fall-related injuries. The simple truth is that getting up on the roof to replace your shingles is dangerous. Especially if you have a multi-story home or a steep roof, you’re putting yourself at risk for a major fall if you try to handle your own roof installation. Professional roofing contractors are both trained and experienced, and they have the know-how to handle the heights safely. If you’re still not worried about the safety risks, remember, that you’ll be doing a lot more than just walking around on the roof: tearing off the old shingles, rolling out new felt, handling the new shingles and nail gun, etc., are all hard jobs that can easily throw your balance off. And just a momentary shift in balance can mean you’re headed to the ER with a broken leg or worse!

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Beyond the safety aspects, it’s also important to keep quality in mind. Your roof is what protects your whole house from the adverse effects of water damage caused by precipitation, so it’s particularly critical that this project be done right. Roofing installation has many steps, from putting down the felt underlayment to actually nailing down the shingles themselves. Add in ridge vents and installing flashing around chimneys and vent stacks, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed fast. Each step has to be done correctly and at the right point in the process or you risk making a mistake that could lead to water penetrating your home.

With do-it-yourself projects like painting or gardening, typically the worst side effect of a mistake or incorrect approach is aesthetic (dripped paint or dead bushes, for example). However, when roof installation isn’t done right, it can mean water leaking into your home. And with water comes possible structural concerns as well as mold and its related health issues.

So it’s just not worth it. Instead of trying to be a weekend warrior with your roof, call in the pros instead. You’ll reap the benefit of safety for your home as well as yourself by letting professional roofers handle the project. Roofing contractors have the training and tools to get the job done right, so don’t hesitate to call them in for your roof replacement today.

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7 Essential Tips for Commercial Roofing Maintenance and Protection

Roofing repair companies range from reputable contractors who perform excellent work to unreliable contracts who perform poor work, and sometimes fail to finish the job. Knowing the difference between these types of contractors can be difficult during the bidding phase. This is why it is important to research each contractor to see if they have the right credentials and experience for the job. Before hiring a provider of roofing maintenance, be sure that the contractor has the characteristics below.

Licensed, Bonded, and Insured

Hiring a contractor that lacks a contractor's license, bonding, or insurance increases the risk for receiving poor workmanship, not being compensated for property that is stolen during the project, and not being compensated for a personal injury or property damage that occurs during the project. Before hiring a contractor, ask to see proof that they are licensed, bonded, and insured to perform roofing.

Experience Working with Individual Roof Types

Whether the roof is composed of shingles, tiles, or metal panels, a contractor should have experience installing and maintaining each type of roof. A common misconception among homeowners is that roofing repair companies specialize in repairing and maintaining all types of roof systems. Providers of roof maintenance often work with more than one type of system. However, unless they specialize in working with individual types of roof, they may not offer the best service.

Has a Physical Business Location

Reputable contractors typically have a physical business location. Roofing contractors have every reason to establish a physical business location that contains a business office and a facility for storing equipment because roofing companies succeed by developing a strong customer base that generates returning customers. Contractors who lack a permanent location often travel from mediocre job to mediocre job that never lead to the development of a solid customer base.

Strong References

A contractor should have an impressive list of references that testifies to the excellence of his or her work. If the contractor does not, the logical conclusion is that their work fails to impress his or her customers. Great references are a direct result of great work. If a contractor has bad or no references, find a different contractor.

Willing to Put Everything in Writing

Before the contractor begins work, the terms of the project should be put in writing, especially the completion date, the terms of the work order, and the total cost of the project. If a contractor refuses to put an important aspect of the project in writing, finding a different contractor who will honor the terms is the safest idea.

Conclusion

Buildings require roof repair for various reasons, including weather damage, the effects of aging, and improper installation jobs. However, the quality of the repair depends on the credentials and experience of the contractor who performs the work. If a building needs roofing repair, be sure to hire a provider of roof maintenance who displays the characteristics listed above.

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