In your very informative articles about re-roofing, you stressed the importance of being specific about the type of roofing to be used.
You should have also advised being specific about the quality and method of laying down the underlay (sometimes called “felt"--laymen call it tar paper).
Ten years ago, we replaced our worn-out wood-shake shingle roof with CalShake (a lightweight synthetic fibrated concrete tile). We did a lot of homework and chose this material because we liked its rustic “shake” look, its longevity and light weight and especially because it is fireproof.
The roofer removed the old roof (neatly, actually!) but did not immediately replace it with the underlay. Later we found that this is standard procedure with qualified roofers. Our roofer started underlaying and re-roofing at the same time (it’s cheaper), when an unexpected late summer rainstorm hit. Since only one-fourth of the house was re-roofed, and there was not time to tent (as per contract), we suffered considerable interior damage.
But that’s not the end of the story. The six-year drought gave us unexpected reprieve from another problem, which showed up dramatically in last year’s heavy spring rains. The roof started to leak like a sieve.
An expensive roof, expected to last many years, should not fall apart in 10 years. We called many roof repairers and all agreed that the original roofer had saved a few bucks by using an inferior, thin, less-expensive felt (the quality of which was not specified in the contract) that has dried out and is disintegrating.
So warn your readers: Specify and get a guarantee for good quality underlaying material and insist this be installed immediately after removing the old roof.
La Canada Flintridge
The recent series of articles on re-roofing was balanced and informative.
In particular we compliment the general theme of the series encouraging consumers to take responsibility in the process of buying a new roof. That roof over their heads is responsible for protecting then entire structure including contents, and the selection of the contractor to put that roof on should reflect the importance of the outcome.
We would like to offer your readers one additional, local source of information for roofing concerns.
The Roofing Contractors Assn. of Southern California (RCA) has been serving the area since 1940. Our professional staff can assist callers in need of technical information as well a providing resource material. RCA also offers a contractor referral service as well as a free copy of our brochure “Why Should I Hire a Licensed Roofing Contractor?” Callers can reach RCA at (818) 579-1276.
LE ELLEN WILLIAMS
It was a surprise to note that roofing slate was completely left out of your article.
Roofing slate has been used all over the world for many centuries. It is probably the oldest and most time-tested of all roofing materials. Besides the very durable nature of slate, it is also very competitive in price and in fact the price is in line with all other materials and prices you have indicated. Slate is the answer to most of the roofing-related problems you have addressed--fire class, durability, variety, weight and cost.
Slate is the most widely used roofing material in the cold climates and particularly in New York and the New England states. In Europe, half of all roofing is done in slate.
California has been influenced a lot by the Mexican clay tiles, wood shingles and other man-made products. Slate was never available to the West Coast, due to the prohibitive cost of transportation. However, this has changed in the last decade, and California is going to see an explosion in the use of natural slate for roofing in the next couple of years. Today, roofing slate is available to customers at under $200 per roofing square, in more than 10 natural colors.
The writer is vice president of Southland Stone USA Inc.