Newbie with roofing Questions

Hi all. Newbie to roofing here, but I am moving to a 21 year old home that needs a new roof. It is a cedar shake roof and there is probably about one year of life left based on a roofer that came by to look at it. i am planning to replace the roof with a regular asphalt shingle, and will likely do so in the spring when the DC weather starts to warm up a bit. The roof also has 6 sklights of varying sizes and I would like to replace those as well while I am at it.
Could you advise on what I must see on the works order or contract (besides price and the brand and type of shingle and sklight). In other words, what are the other things that a good roofer should do? I would like to be smart about this before I call roofers to give me estimates.
Thanks in advance

I like to see the gutter apron and drip edge replaced, these are the flashing that run under the shingles and into the gutters and under the shingles and over the rake boards. Another good flashing to replace at this time are chimney flashing and sidewall.The wood shingles tend to take a toll on these, if they are not rotted they will probably be close, or just grossly discolored. We run two rows of ice and water shield on the eaves (Grace or Henry) and one row on the sidewalls and up the valleys. NOW if you are looking for a shingle to last and to look its best (Maybe you have a steep roof with the majority of it showing from the driveway)look at Certainteed Presidentials. If not you can use a quality shingle like a 50yr Gaf-Elk or a new shingle out is called the Malarky Legacy. Now this shingle was designed to be installed in Alaska and will seal in low temps as well as hold up to a salty breeze. Other things to look at that may have been over looked in the past when the house was built or in past roofing jobs is the ventilation this is very important to keep the hot moist air out of your attic cavity and to help extend the life of your roof. Just visit and look at some of them venting solutions. Hope that helps.

It’s all about a Specification, not a scope of work. The scope of work is typically written on a one to two page estimate with roofer’s logo stating - type of material, contractor warranty and maybe some other details. This is fine, but not all there is. The manufacturer who makes the roofing material (not the installer) has written specifications (instructions) for installation of all their material in all types of climates and roof conditions. If you simply ask your roofer to provide you with a copy of the manufacturer’s specification he will use with his bid(s), he should have no problem getting that for you. If he tells you that he writes his own specs than do not accept that response. After he starts work, whether or not he minimally follows that Spec is anybody’s guess. Hopefully you can trust him at his word or reputation, or hire a roofing consultant to check on the installation and methods.

Make sure they use a good quality plywood 1/2"min.Standard grade is fine.Proper nailing of the plywood is also crucial.Replacement of all flashings and pipe boots,as already mentioned.Make sure contract has a set amount for any rot replacement.Some companies like to ding you hard if not discussed before hand.Just make sure contract states everything you want, garbage removal ,type of nails used,brand of shingles,type of ridgecap,etc,etc.Also make sure it states they need your permission to do any extras(unforseens)over X amount.Its better to be safe then sorry,for you and the contractor.

A good roofer should go into your attic, take picture, and tell you what is wrong with your attic ventilation. Ventilation might not seem like part of your roof, but if you have improper ventilation it can void your shingle’s warranty.

Also, ask your roofer to give you a good-better-best bid so you can see what they consider ‘top notch’ work on your roof. A good roofer can give you 3 different quotes and explain to you why one quote is better (and more expensive) than the other quote.

6 skylights, tell them you want all new flashings on those, front pan, step flashing and back pan. New protrusion (plumbing stacks, bathroom vents etc) flashings aswell.

If you can afford it, check out the Presidentials as Brody said, but they are pricey, and they have a distinct look over regular laminates.

Ask your roofer what they would put on there own house, if they answer IKO, get a second opinion.

Thanks for the many replies. I will be sure to look/ask for these things when I get written estimates. For those recommending Certainteed Presidential, why so? Its a lifetine roof, but most roofers I have spoken to have mentioned that the roof will look old after 30 years anyway and it doesn’t make sense to put on a lifetime shingle.

Most here are quoting for Certainteed Landmark shingle. Is that good? What is the % delta between a Landmar shingle versus Presidential? How are some of the others like Landmark Special or Landmark Premium?