I need a new roof. I always knew I would have to invest in my roof. I was hoping that I would have a bit of time after moving in before having to shell out the cash for this, but alas... I am feeling that I should maintain this aspect of my home as soon as possible. Why?
Well I used to live in a basement apartment before I bought my home. It was lovely actually. It was mostly above ground in that only the back part operated like a typical basement apartment with the tiny windows near the ceiling. The rest of the apartment was dug down and the the front had wonderful floor to ceiling windows. I really enjoyed my time there actually -except for the basement flooding issues the homeowners had over the first several years that I lived there. They fixed it, but I became obsessed with humidity and detecting it. So -I know when a home feels damp. My new place feels slightly damp.
Trying not to set off alarm bells in my mind, I am taking a methodical approach to this. I have a hydrometer that reads between 65 and 71% humidity upstairs with all the doors and windows closed. If I open them it will drop to 55-58%. This still seems high considering I have a furnace also running. The most logical cause to me is my roof. We had an enormous amount of rain every day a while back and that is when I started noticing this. There is also a smell that I don't like when the house is all sealed up. That is another story as it actually turned out to at least partially be my washing machine. Still more to learn about and investigate is the general venting and air qulity in my home, kitchen (no current venting) and bathroom (new and well functioning venting exists) and a possible HRV system.
For now I am focusing on my roof as I know this needs to be addressed and it may help my situation, but it may not be the underlying issue at hand at the moment. I see no way to know for sure unless I open the roof and have it replaced.
- Get at least 3 estimates
- Get your estimates in writing
- Get and check references
The jury seems to be out about venting and flat roofs. Roofing code says you must vent, but with flat roofs it seems tricky. There often isn't space to vent effectively and in theory if you eliminate the space for air flow altogether some feel there really is no need to vent as there will be no air to vent. My concern is that there is evidence of past water if not present water in my roof. I want it dried out and sealed or vented if necessary. I want to make sure there is no mould up there now, and if there is I want it removed. I also don't have a lot of cash to spend on this and it is looking like I could spend 10k on this depending on what is found or done. This isn't what I was prepared for so early with this home.
This is something else I always intended on investigating when the time came to replace my roof. I have also read some interesting concerns about insulating a flat roof -mainly around ventilation. Seeing as there is only so much space in a flat roof, you have to be careful with the type of insulation you choose to add. Apparently you want insulation that doesn't have to be ventilated. The last thing I want is a nice place for mould to grow. Just read this to see how challenging this all can be even for the professionals. I seems batt insulation needs ventilation and likely vapor barriers as well, but rigid polystyrene insulation does not need venting and there there is blown insulation which would seal of any air/ventilation possibilities negating again the need for ventilation. I think.
What to do when hiring a roofer
Did you know that if your roofing company does not have adequate insurance you are liable for any injuries on the job?
A note about insurance
When hiring a roofer or contractor or sub-contractor, make sure each carries public liability and property damage insurance. If you really want to make sure the insurance is valid -check with the insurance agency to verify that the policy is still effective and will be throughout the duration of your contract. If your roofer is a one man business -he/she may be exempt
Here are some things to make sure you follow-up on when you choose a roofer:
- Ask to see a copy of their license and insurance
- Make sure insurance covers all workers on your job
- Discuss a time line for the job
- Discuss removal of debris, protection of your gutters and landscaping, clear times when workers will be on your property (not too early or too late -weekends or not), materials used and their warranties -discuss the full job
- Get these project expectations in a written contract
- Only one roofer suggested insulating and venting were both absolutely necessary for my roof
- They all described the basic work the same way, using the same materials and methods
- One suggested insulating or venting was likely was not necessary and tricky and that venting could not be done properly on my roof
- The third said they wouldn't know if insulation or venting was necessary until they opened up the roof
- Only one said they could do a cover roof and not remove the current roof and apply a new roof over top -the other two did not recommend this
- I still am unsure who to go with