Please share your roofing advice.
June 11, 2006 6:15 PM   Subscribe

Questions and advice about replacing a roof.

I have a couple of estimates for replacing my house's roof. There are currently two layers of shingles, which will be ripped off down to the decking and replaced with new shingles. Here are my questions:

1) 15# felt paper vs. 30# paper. Is 30# paper worth the extra expense? What benefits does the 30# offer?

2) 20 yr. shingles vs. 25 yr. shingles. Again, worth the extra cost? Is the year difference a warranty thing or is the 25 yr. shingle a better product.

3) Ventilation: I have soffit vents and vents on each end of the attic wall. There is an attic fan that does not work and some of the contractors suggested replacing it with a ridgeline vent. Will this provide adequate ventilation?
posted by Frank Grimes to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Ridge venting is the way to go, especially if you leave in the soffit vents. There are these foam pieces that can be put in which will redirect any condensation down to the soffits. Make sure they put those in to, if you live in an area that has high humidity.
posted by plinth at 6:49 PM on June 11, 2006

i don't know the answers to your questions too, but you should tell us what part of the country you live in ... the advice may be different in places that have winter
posted by pyramid termite at 6:50 PM on June 11, 2006

blot out "too"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:51 PM on June 11, 2006

2) Well, this all depends on type of area that you live in - In my area, hail and wind damage regularly occurs in the area that I live. We recently replaced a roof with insurance money from a storm that damaged our roof.

We've had our roof replaced twice in the span of 22 years, so you've got to weigh your insurance costs, etc for the area. If it were me, I would go with the 20 year shingles because I'm cheap. You've got to ask yourself how you plan on getting money or a new roof if they fail. Will a new roof be prorated? How much money will you have to pay if it's under warranty, etc. And will the roofing company/roofing shingle company be there in 20 years?

Additionally, depending on when your house was built, I would check to see if you have a dryer vent running existing to the outside. Houses in the 80's typically skipped out on putting a dryer vent that runs out to the roof and the just vent the lent and heat into your attic. I wished I would have asked them to run it out the last time I had my roof replaced. Food for thought.
posted by huy_le at 7:01 PM on June 11, 2006

Response by poster: The house was built in the sixties and it is in Atlanta (hot, high humidity). The dryer vents straight through the wall behind the dryer.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:15 PM on June 11, 2006

The felt is a last stop to prevent leaks. 15 vs 30 ? It's a choice that depends on the slope of the roof, and the type of shingle. Typical 3 tab shingle and a typical peaked roof? 30 should suffice. A 25 year shingle has more stuff...more substrate and more rocks (or whatever they are) on the surface. If you get a lot of rain, wind I'd go with the 25. Saying that I recently put 20 year asphalt shingles on my roof (New England) because of cost. The concensus is that Fiberglas roofing isn't any better than asphalt.
Tip: Choose a color that is very common. Makes repairs easier. Also ask the roofer to leave at least 1/2 bundle.
posted by Gungho at 7:59 PM on June 11, 2006

I would check to see if you have a dryer vent running existing to the outside.

You could make the same argument for bathroom, oven, and plumbing vents. It starts to be a lot of work though :P
posted by Chuckles at 8:58 PM on June 11, 2006

Since the felt is really what seals the roof from the elements, the shingles are there to protect the felt, suggest the 30 pound. The 25 year roof will look like it needs replacement in 20 years so generally a heavier felt will make up the difference in the 20 to 25 year shingle. Take the 20 year.

If you are going to live here for 20 years, I agree with the common color approach because shingles, no matter what grade, need some replacement. You might also get a guarantee for leak repair for 5 years if your roof has any complex angles. Instead of a reidgeline vent which is fairly pricey but works very well (money sems to be an issue) you might look into peak vents. They work better than a fan and the quantity is determined by the square footage of the roof.
posted by ptm at 10:34 PM on June 11, 2006

Ridge venting apparently doesn't work well with snow and ice - something to keep in mind.

Check out Ask the Builder, particularly Ridge and Soffit vents, Calculating Ventilation area of attic.

As for contractors, only call those contractors that friends, coworkers can recommend. Get three prices. etc etc.
posted by Brando_T. at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2006

I'm going to chime in late and say two things:
1. Regardless of how long the roofer says the roof will last, it will really last about half that long (so a 20 yr roof will last 10 years, etc).
2. If your roof isn't too complicated, and you know you're going to stay put for a while, consider a metal roof. They last at least 50 years (100 in some climates), and banks will give full price on them when you sell or finance. Also, they are actually faster to install yourself, if you are so inclined.
posted by dbmcd at 5:05 PM on June 12, 2006

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