Things to Consider with a Steeply Sloped Roof
Sometimes finding a roofer can be a challenge in itself, especially if your home is not a straightforward job perhaps due to its age, or location, or if you have a pitched roof that has a very steep pitch. Steep roofs do create issues that need to be considered in the planning stage very carefully due to the safety issue. When you are hiring your roofing contractor the key to getting someone who can do the job right is to know what to ask them. Here are some points about steeply sloped roofing and things to ask your contractor before you hire them.
Defining pitch and steepness
The term pitch refers to the slope of the roof i.e. how sharp or wide is the V your roof makes. This is called the ‘rise over the run’ looking at the width in feet and the number of inches the roof rises in relation to that. The idea of creating a steeper slope is to ensure gravity allows water and snow to drop off the roof naturally. You see steep roofs more in housing structures than commercial. Flat roofing, since it does not have the steepness for the water to run off, is covered and sealed with a membrane that is waterproof. Flat roofing is more commonly used for commercial structures.
Where you are in the country, the age of the building and its design can all affect how steep the roof is. In areas that receive a lot of snow for example the roofs are steeper as it is dangerous to let snow build up as it can lead to damage to the roof and the structure, and water staining. By having a stepper roof the owner does not have to go up there in dangerous conditions to remove some snow in winter to save their home. Installing shingles can be a really tough job because of the steepness. Find out the different types of shingles available the which one is the best.
Working on steep roofing
There is no doubt that you need your roofing contractor to have certain skills and experience for working on a steep roof. If this is the first remodeling or repairs you have had to think about the pitch of your roof may have not been something you had to consider until now. There are three key expectations you should have of a good roofer.
- They should have the correct equipment. Most of the time it is impossible just to walk on a steep roof so things like roof jackets and staging and other specialized equipment is needed to work safely. You want a company that already has that kind of equipment as that indicates a level of experience and knowledge you can trust. If a roofer you are thinking of hiring has to rent this equipment it means it is not something they often if ever have done. They will also pass on those rental costs to you so you are getting someone with less experience who may cost more!
- Show that they understand the architectural impact a building’s roof has. When you look at a building those with steeper roofs often stand out. Therefore things like architectural touches, roof precision and the quality of materials used will stand out. A firm who understands this will ensure you roof has a great visual impact.
- Have the skill to estimate materials needed. Any roofer of skill should have engineering and math skills that help them determine the materials they will need. With steep roofing they need to be able to work out the angles, the pitch and give accurate estimates in the quote they give you.
Determining whether your contractor is up to the job
Here are some questions you can ask those you are considering for the job to better determine if they are the best qualified to do so.
- Do you own the right equipment to do this job like roof jackets and staging?
- Have you worked on other steep roofing?
- Can you show me references for previous customers who also owned houses with steep roofs?
- Has the roof material manufacturer certified you to install this roofing system?
- What is involved in setting up the equipment and what will the schedule be?
- What do you do about roofing debris?
- What insurance do you have?
- What warranties do you give?
When you are clearer about the particular needs of remodeling a steep roof you can go about asking the right questions to ensure you get someone who is offering the right kind of skill set. Whether you have simple repairs, need some new shingles, or you are having something more complex done it should be done by a roofing contractor who knows what they are doing.