Some Answers to Common Roofing and Siding Questions



Roofing Questions & Answers

The following are questions and answers that we have found common from many of our clients and visitors. We will continue to list them here as the list grows. If you do not find your question(s) answered here, please contact Lukas Roofing and one of our associates will gladly assist you during our regular business hours.

Question: How much will it cost to replace my roof?

Answers: There are several factors that must be considered in determining the cost of your roof:

A. Does the roof need to be torn off ? If so, factors to consider include:

  • Whether the roof has shake shingles,
  • If there are two layers of composition shingles,
  • If the composition shingles are curled or very brittle, and
  • If there is dry rot.

B. What is the pitch and square footage of your roof ?

How to determine or calculate roof pitch or roof slope or roof angle: Let's say the pitch is 7/12. So what does this mean? The 7 means that the roof rises 7" for every 12" it runs. Usually, the measurements are taken from on top of the roof. Simply mark a level at 12", hold it perfectly level and measure from the roof surface to your 12" mark, this will give you the rise. Be careful with this method as a roof with many layers of shingles, or any type of roofing that is irregular can give you less than precise results. You might see pitch referred to as "7/12", "7-12", "7 to 12", "7 and 12", "7 on 12".
Rule of Thumb: if the roof is approximately 4 & 12 pitch with normal overhangs (1 1/2 - 2 feet), and if the home is a single story, multiply the square footage of the home by 1 1/2 to get the square footage of the roof.

C. How accessible is the roof for work and delivery trucks?

D. How "cut-up" is the roof?

For example, are there:

  • Valleys
  • Skylights
  • Dormers
  • Solar systems
  • Sprinkler systems, etc.

E. What type of material do you want installed?

Material types to consider are:

  • Composition (30, 40 or 50- year)
  • Metal
  • Shake
  • Tile
  • Tar & Gravel
  • Modified Bitumen

Question: What is a square and how much area does it cover?

Answer: A term used by the roofing industry to indicate an amount of roof area equal to 100 square feet (10? X 10?).

Question: After obtaining a signed contract, could there be additional expenses?

Yes. When estimating a job, the estimator is unable to see what additional problems there might be below the roofing material. A few of the problems unable to be seen are:

  • Improper framing
  • Dry rot
  • Existing nailing problems from previous expansion and contraction, etc.

Question: What is a ridge vent and why might I need it?

Answer: It is a type of roof exhaust vent that ventilates the attic along the ridge or hip line where the roof deck has been cut back; works in conjunction with soffit vents under the eaves.

Question: What is an ice dam and how does it form?

Answer: Condition formed at the lower roof edge by the thawing and re-freezing of melted snow on the overhang. It can force water up and under shingles, causing leaks.

Question: What is step-flashing?

Answer: Individual small pieces of metal flashing material used to flash around chimneys, dormers, and such projections along the slope of a roof. The individual pieces are overlapped and stepped-up to the vertical surface.

Question: What is felt?

Answer: A very general term used to describe composition of roofing ply sheets, consisting of a mat made of organic or inorganic fibers, unsaturated, impregnated with asphalt or coal tar pitch, or impregnated and coated with asphalt.

Question: What is roofing cement or mastic?

Answer: A general term for a variety of trowelable mastics, asphalt or tar, which are used during roof construction and repair.

What is a collar?

Answer: A conical metal cap flashing used in conjunction with vent pipes or stacks usually located several inches above the plane of the roof, for the purpose of shedding water away from the base of the vent.

What is a vapor barrier?

Answer: A membrane which is placed between the insulation and the roof deck to retard water vapor in the building from entering the insulation and condensing into liquid water.


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