Home ownership is a heavy responsibility for any person. But in times of economic hardship how does one manage to balance the budget and proper maintance of ones home. In the coming articles we will be addressing a slue of problems with work around situations.
Example: A tornado comes through your neighborhood leaving a lot of wind and hail damage. Your roof was damaged, you have good and bad news because of the act of nature, and hopefully you have insurance. Now the nightmare begins you contact your insurance company and they tell you to get 3 bids from contractors.  You try to find 3 reputable contractors the prices are all over the board. Supper low a midrange and a high price bid. Now you have to decide which one you are going to submit to the insurance company. To do this you have a startling realization you have to learn how to roof your place before you can understand the jargon in the construction trades.

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of roofing.
A. Protect the house from falling shingles.
B. Remove all shingles, tarpaper, and roofing nails/staples.
C. Check roof sheathing, it may need to be re-nailed or replaced.
D. Note roof boards are not a uniform surface therefore the shingle company will not warranty and type of shingle on this surface. You can cover the board with 1/2” plywood than you are better off. And a warranty.
E. Remove all the siding that sites on the roof, (Where a wall surface stops at the roof) about 2’ up from the roof.
F. You are required to install an ice and water barrier on the roof at least 2’ up the roof past the outside wall line.  If you have a 2’ overhand on the house with a 4/12 pitch roof a minimum of 4’6” Ice shield is required. If you have a 12/12 pitch roof
a minimum of 5’2” ice shield is required.
G. I also run ice and water shield up the valleys and along all roof all edged where
flashing tins are used.
H. Install your valley tin next. Only use minimum expanding metals in the valleys never use aluminum any where on the roof.
I. After the metal valleys are installed, cut a piece of ice and water shield down the center install 1/2 of it on each side of the metal valley over lapping the metal by 3”. This is where most roofs start leaking; remember to start at the bottom when installing the ice and water shield.
J. Remember you get what you pay for I have use many brands of Ice and Water shield. The only one I now use and is the best is called “Grace” It bond to the roof decking but after many years it’s still pliable not brittle in other words it’s still sealing the roof decking from the water above.
K. Next cover the entire roof with tarpaper even the ice and water shield. Reminder ice and water shield will have water beading up on the topside of it. It’s a water barrier therefore you must remove the water from the underside of the shingle to do this install 1 layer of 15# tarpaper. This will wick the water out and allow the shingles to stay dry, making them last a lot longer.
L. Now you are ready to shingle the roof keep your lines straight both left and right as well as up and down. The shingle manufacture says to nail the shingles with 4 nails this will keep the shingle on the roof for winds up 60 miles and hour. If you use 6 nails per shingle you have greater holding power and can get a deduction on your insurance policy for a better job.
M. Going to a laminate shingle is much better than a 3 tab shingle because of how they are built and again some brands are a lot better than others I use Certainteed Land mark series with great results.
N. Make sure they don’t trash your yard, plants or bushes. Make sure they pick up all the nails; they will get all the debris.

With this information and reading your contract you should be able find a go contractor.

General Information

1. Does the contractor have liability insurance? If something goes wrong who will cover your loss. I heard of a roofing problem in the summer of 08 they tore off the roof and installed a new roofing system. It looked good it didn’t leak, but when the roofers were tearing off the old roof they inadvertently unlocked the furnace flue pipe 8’ below the roofline. When the flue pipe was re-shingled into place the pipe was 1/2 on and 1/2 off the lower pipe venting carbon monoxide into chimney chase and ultimately into the house attic. They didn’t find the problem for 5 months, thank God no one died. When Natural gas or LP gas is burned it gives off carbon monoxide and a lot of water. The water leaves the furnace at about 350 degrees; at this temperature it’s steam being forced into a cold attic with a lot of cold surfaces. When the steam touches a cold surface it changes to water or ice. In this case about 2 inches of ice crystals on under side of the roof decking, on the trusses and on the surface of the attic insulation.  A quick calculation looks like about 200 gallons of water frozen in the attic. Looking at this job after the facts all the insulation in the attic has to be removed the roof sheathing has to be checked for soundness and may have to be replaced as well as the sheetrock ceiling. You might need new flooring also if the ice melted before you removed it, because it will follow the wall stud cavities to the main floor and under your carpets, or cupping you hardwood flooring.
This is only 1 thing that can go wrong; there are many other situation I have heard about.
2. Does the contractor have worker compensation insurance?
If person falls or get hurt in any way while on your property (grass, sidewalk, inside your house, etc.) you’re at fault, unless the contractor has workers compensation insurance.

Rules for hiring a contractor:

General Information
1. Does the contractor have a state license to do the type of work needing to be done?
2. Does the contractor have liability insurance? If something goes wrong who will cover your loss.
3.  Does the contractor have worker compensation insurance?
If a person falls or get hurt in any way while on your property (grass, sidewalk, inside your house, etc.) you’re at fault. Unless the contractor has workers comp. insurance.

4. Make Sure All Subcontractors and/or Any Person Coming Onto Your Property Has Legal Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance.
5. Does this person have the brains to pull off this type of job?  Watch out there a lot of cons out there calling them contractors only wanting to separate you from your money.
6. Can he/she prove what is being said in writing; a contract that protects you the Homeowner?
7. A lot of people have go good intentions but no knowledge or life experience to draw from.
8. There are 3 classifications of quality of work
A.  Poor and well below sub standard workmanship
B.  Just Average on workmanship
C.   Excellent work- any worker just above average ends up excelling to excellent static because of the person himself, I’ve seen this time and time again.

9. 2nd Classifications of motives.
A. Money is a good motivator
B. The lack of money is a poor motivation
C. Lack of time for said job or out of on contracts personal bills
D. The only job available this one, actually scores just above average
E. Actually caring for his work and the client.

Now is the contractor your hiring going to hire subcontractor with substandard work or money problems? Remember this your project is to be a work of art not a novel of science fiction.

Insurance companies- claims

Insurance agents sell you on the fact that when you sign up with an insurance company you will have full coverage minus the deductible. You set the deductible amount than this sets the payment schedule. In Minnesota if you have hail damage on the roof and/or siding the insurance company only has to replace the damaged sides of the roofing, and siding on the sides that were damaged. Even if the color does not match from old to new roofing and siding, this is the Minnesota law. Another clever word the insurance companies use is “depredation” they use this word in a cleaver way to avoid payment of funds. Example a house was build 15 years ago with a 25-year shingle they say 3/5’s of the shingle life is gone. The insurance company call it depreciation the roofing job costs $3,000.00 x deprecation (3/5) = $1,200.00 minus the deductible is the check they give you. Yet the coverage you bought for insurance was full replacement value. What they have done is swatted the phrase (% of funds until completion) with the word (deprecation). When the roof is completed, and you force them, then they will pay the balance of the deprecated funds being held, But not the bill incurred by the homeowner. What do you mean? The actual bill for a new roof costs $11,000.00
Yet when you have to have your roof torn off and reshingled because of hail. The insurance companies don’t play fair. The insurance company gives you enough money for the homeowners to reshingle and side the buy themselves with no contractor help. The money you got from the company is enough to pay for the permit and supplies only.
Have fun. .
Minnesota requires that the building contractor must be licensed to work in Minnesota. To get a license you must have 7.5 hours of schooling a year.
Liability insurance must be above 300,000.00, and Workmen’s comp. Insurance.
The contractor has a lot of overhead that must be spread over the 250 working days for the year.

Yet with construction there are always rough weeks were we have to work 60-80 hours and other weeks there is no work. On the average we work 35 hours a week because of this the office overhead has a shortfall of funds Taking money out of the owners pocket lowering his wages.
With the way the insurance companies are paying out funds to get theses houses fixed. Good contractors will not fix insurance claim houses, leaving the door open for poor quality and scam artist contractors willing to do these jobs. Hugo city hall is very upset about the poor quality of contractors working in their city. They can’t figure out how to get a better caliber contractor to do these jobs.

Giving the buildings a face lift

The old look

The 2 apartment buildings were built in the mid 60’s. They had flat roofs that were leaking badly the owners needed to do some thing. A new flat roof would cost the same price as pitch roof with shingles, but the didn’t want a standard 2′ over hang.

We came up with a 6′ over hang with a Frank Loyd Wright Look to it by installing custom gutters built at a 45% angle on the faces as well as the exposed facisa board was rotated at a 45% angle.

On the under side of the overhang known as the soffit we install steel sheathing 24’x 30″ grooved soffit panels w/ baked on paint for a symbol of quality showing the area they the owners take pride in their buildings.

On the roof it self they wanted to draw more attention to the building, so we striped the roof with lighter shingles and hip lines.

If you would like to look at the project it;s located in South St. Paul south of 494 and 1 block west of Concord St. Just on the other side of fury motors (auto dealership) and can be seen from the freeway.

Why can I see big rectangles on the roof and why are shingles curling?

How humidity curls shinglesImproper sealing around heating, plumbing, and electrical penetrations allows air to flow into attic spaces.

This air carries high a volume of humidity with the air, and as it comes into the attic, if the temp is below 32° it freezes onto the underside of the roof sheathing and the trusses.

During the spring thaw, it compacts the insulation, sags the sheetrock ceiling, and stains the ceiling.

When the humidity level is high it enters the edges of the roof sheathing, swelling the edges giving the look of big rectangles on the roof. If the back side of the shingles get wet then the shingles curl.

The exterior of the house must have air, trees overhanging the house stop air movement and keeping the humidity level very high.

This will cause the roof to fail 5-15 years earlier than it should.

Trussed roof vs. hand framed roofs

Truss roofs have a lot of benefits going for them. They are manufactured and dropped on site for installation. They can span great distances as well as having many different configurations; from a low pitch to extreme pitches as well as having vaulted ceilings barrel ceilings or stepped and pan ceiling all these can be incorporated into a truss.

Trusses give you a basic frame work to build from Trusses in and of them selves are great for a track house slap them up and install the roof sheathing than your off to the next job site.

On a custom home trusses are like a beams we use for a bridge it in no way follows the finished shape of roof structure.

Example if you want a pan, barrel or even a vaulted ceiling a lot extra framing must be done to get the finished look.

As is true on the exterior, they don’t make dormers in trusses or any type of valley all these types of decorations are all hand framed above the trusses.

The draw back with trusses they don’t give you a perfectly flat surface to install your roof sheathing or sheetrock onto. The most trusses very 1/4”-3/8” while I’ve had some come out that were off by 3/4”.

Now what can we do by code we can not cut them so we have to strip the rest of the trusses up to the height of the highest truss. A lot of extra time because some one was lazy at the truss plant.

The truss plants say there is no deflection in there trusses.

But I’ve seen on a 26’ girder truss holding up a hip set, have a deflection of 1/360 or over 3/4” pushing the interior wall down that had no load bearing below them cracking the sheetrock and racking the interior doors to the point I had to cut the top of the door so it would close.

The nice thing about hand framing you have flat surfaces to work with you can modify and rafter, or roof jack as you go.

The down side you are limited in span as to thickness of the lumber that’s being used.

Roofing is one area on the building that no one pays attention to.

This area of the building can save you a lot of money down the road if done correctly
For Example:

  • A low sloped roof creates a lot of heat in the attic pace oh about 25° and by adding dark colored shingles you can raise the temp 25°-75° hotter.

    With this type of roof you need a lot of air moving in all the truss/rafter spaces from the eve (soffit) to the ridge (peak) of the roof to do this a continuous vent installed in the soffit works great allowing air into all the truss/rafter spaces.

    The next thing is to keep a minimum of 1″and more is better of air space form the roof sheathing to the insulation install a spacer to maintain this area.

    At my place a have minimum of 14″of air space making my roof attic stays within 5° of the exterior temp. Keeping the shingles cool, that will lengthen the life of the shingle as well as the roof sheathing.

  • By changing the roof slope from a 4/12 (12 inches horizontal and 4″ vertical gives you the slope of the roof.) to a 5 or/ a 6/12 pitch you create in the attic a chimney affect making the attic work for you it actually pulls the air from the soffit vent and draws it into the attic with much more ease, as long as you give it a way out.

    I personally like wall vents for attic areas, and they give charm to the house at the same time.

    If you can give it 1 square foot of air for every 250 square foot of roof, this will work great most guys install roof vents as to code 1 vent every 250 SF of house.

    Remember you may have big overhangs that have to be cooled and the vents they are using only let out 61 qubic inches of air they are short by almost 2.5 times more vents are needed.

  • Note all roofs are required to be vented garage, porch, even unfinished areas need venting, this will shave our roof and make it last longer.
  • Changing your design of roofing to a wood shingles, shakes, or even tile roofing, will cool down the attic space.

    The asphalt type shingle absorbs heat and is designed that when the heat hits it, it re-melts the shingles into a uniform sheet of rock and tar.

    On a wood shingles the wood acts like insulation and repeals the heat. A wood shake is a little different oh it repeals heat but it also has air gaps around each shake making the even cooler.

    In doing so you can put in a smaller AC conditioner saving you on electric costs in the future.

  • There are new products out there that create electricity or heat your water for your house ether by water or electric solar panels with shapes and sizes no longer matter.
  • Roof damage – storm

    Roof damage from an Oct. storm in the fall of 05, the house was built 1 year earlier.

    The insurance company told the homeowner to get at lest 3 bids, The house has 40 square roof all at 8/12 pitch (steeper than the average house) The bids are as follows; More…
    1 – $11,000.00
    2 – $15,000.00
    3 – $18,000.00
    4 – $27,000.00
    Which one is the right bid?
    # Back ground information; Did you know that if the contractor does not have work’s comp insurance on him and/or his employees and if one of them get injured re-shingling the house. The homeowners and their insurance company are liable to pay his or their medical bills.

    When the house was built with today’s prices the cost would have been $14,363.81.

    Shingle prices have gone up because of oil prices.

    Now the shingles must be removed from the roof, a dumpster is required, rain and snow protection prior to roofing add in wages and work comp (for roofing the rate of work comp is 100% of wages) if the wages are 25.00 per hour the contractor has to pay out $ 56.75 per hour for payroll.

    Then to stay in business you must charge a profit 10% this gives the homeowner a real warranty because the owner knows the business shall be in business next year. ( good management)

    So the right price is number 4. $27,000.00