Re-Roof in central Texas

Hi everyone,

My house has hail damage and I am getting bids for a re-roof. Greatly appreciate your help in answering the questions below.

  1. The original roof has 9 turtle vents. One bid I received was to replace the vents with 18 feet of ridge vents. The roof probably only has 18 feet of suitable ridge line. Will 18 feet of ridge vents provide enough ventilation? Another bid included putting in metal vents in place of the plastic turtle vents. Which approach is better? Do I have other choices? The house has 2 storys, each with 800 feet, and a 2-car garage. The estimates were for 22 squares.

  2. One bid was for Tamko Heritage AR shingles. The selling point to me was the anti-algae property. Does this product work well for preventing algae growth? Is there a better alternative?

  3. The city code specifies 4 nails and that is what most contractors do. Is there much benefit to using 5 nails? How about hand versus gun nails?

  4. What price differences can I expect between 30 year, 40 year, and 50 year shingles? I am considering GAF, Certainteed, or the Tamko previously mentioned.

thanks for your help.

you have 4 good questions lets see.

1 ventilaton is a difficult problem. but a simple amswer to it without setting a mob loose on my self is the rigde vent will look better and you will not have 9 holes in your roof. the performance should be the same.

2 allege resistance is not a secret many manufactures offer it it is just copper and zinc added to the shingles surface. it does not work for moss and lichens. they only guarantee it for 5 years.

3 if you are not in a high wind area it does not matter much. i think hand nailing is the only way to go. ( i know the mob is lighting their torchs now)

4 30 to 50 in the same brand should only be 30 dollars or so a square.

hope this helps

Thanks Hoss for your response!

I received a couple of estimates yesterday. One estimate indicated that the work will be performed using hand nails rather than nail guns. Is hand nails much better than nail guns? How likely is it to have nails improperly installed with nail guns?


its not that guns are bad people are.

the fist problem is speed. if you nail faster than the compressor can cycle the nailing is not uniform. under and over driven nails are common.
the second problem is the nailing strip on a shingle(the renforcrd part) is less than 1 inch wide in most shingles making it easy to miss.

there are roofers that maintain their equipment and know how to use it properly to avoid these problems. an inexperienced crew with a nail gun is a nightmare.

every roof that i have see fail prematurely was a nailing problem.

good luck

18 foot of ridge vent is really not alot of ventilation. It must first have soffit vents/ intake for it to even work. If the home has 2 different types of exhaust on a home they can short circuit each other making them dormant leaving the intake to basically become useless. Before i can answer your ventilation questions i would first need the legnth and width of your home and a small description of it before i can make a solid vote what way to go. But still most homes will require more than 18 foot of ridge vent. Please explain where in the roof is the ridge vent and where are the can vents please.

Hello. Hoss & GTP both answered your question, but I’m the sort that can’t leave well enough alone.

Also, I’m the only “regular” contributor here that’s in Central Texas…

—22 Squares doesn’t sound like a lot of roof, so 18 linear ft. of ridge vent might be about right. A 2 story house gets it’s square footage from the 2nd story elevation, so that kind of ridge line seems normal to me… especially on an 8:12. I will also guess you’re a hip roof vs. a gable (gables are the “basic” A frame type like you see in the bottom L of this page you’re viewing where the guy is working near the edge of the roof).

As GTP said, however, if you don’t have the right kind of INTAKE, then your exhaust isn’t being used correctly. In roofing, we work in “NFA” or Net Free Air & that’s a calculation based on intake & exhaust, combined with the volume of attic space you’re trying to ventilate.

Additionally, the vast majority of us here on this site prefer (especially for zero snow concerns in Central Texas) products like the GAF Cobra II or Cobra III for it’s exceptional air volume vs. the ones that look like a roll out Brillo pad.

—Slantback / turtle vents: get rid of them in favor of ridge vents. Have them patched in with plywood (some cheap co’s may try to fill them in with valley metal; beware).

-Depending on how your roofline lays out, a powered exhaust vent may be the best option for you. I install a lot of GAF solar powered attic fans (parts charge only when doing a total re-roof) & for the right application, these are the better way around a hot attic space.

—They are right; this shingle has about a 5 - 7% copper or zinc content to the shingle & @ best you can expect about 5 years before this wears out & doesn’t help. Just about every shingle mfg. has this option available these days. There IS an upgrade option that will last a lot longer in Shingle Shield zinc strips. They are placed under the hip & ridge cap shingles & the same idea applies as with the 5% copper; it rinses down the shingles & keeps the algae @ bay. The benefit on the aftermarket strips is they’re typically 99.5% zinc, so you get a much higher concentration of the good stuff. Drawback: they don’t always compliment a hip roof however if you have a 2 story hip roof, it might not be as noticeable.

—You mention Tamko; I install a lot of Tamko & find this brand as “installer friendly” as any other shingle on the market. I actually like the color options with Tamko & most customers are able to get the matching look they want but don’t always have to settle for the same color as the house next door (Resawn Shake or Golden Cedar, can I get a big “hello”??).

—If installed correctly, a shingle with 4 nails actually gets 8 in total (4 in the ‘nail line’ will place 4 more in the ‘headlap’ of the one below). I see no reason for 5 unless you are in a hurricane prone area.

—Hoss discussed this hand nailing vs. guns & I am a nailgun user. You said you have a hand nail quote; if you’re in the Austin area, I have a guess as to who the co. is; the initials “M.C.” might match the co’s name. You will hear a lot of disparaging things about gun nailing, but even multi million dollar houses get gun nailed roofing.

-IMO, so long as the compressor is of a correct size & there aren’t too many guns working off of it @ one time, coil nails are proper. Of course there is the occasional high or off angle nail & that’s what we use hammers for. I would safely guess that 95% of all roofs done nationwide are done with coil nailers & there doesn’t seem to be any nationwide backlash.
Note: One reason Hoss doesn’t see many (any) hand nailed jobs that fail is because your typical hand nailed roof (vs. repair job) is being done by someone who is much more skilled in roofing vs. someone who just bought a coil gun yesterday & already has a handyman special bubble compressor.

—One of the problems with any gun user is when they “arc” or “fan” the nails. Get on your knees like you’re installing a 3’ long shingle & take your R hand (most folks are R handed) & reach across your L side, then Left Center, then Right Center & then R… see how your reach changes? If the installer doesn’t pay attention, they will maybe only hit the nail line with 2 of the 4 shots.

—You said you have a hand nail quote; if you’re in the Austin area, I have a guess as to who the co. is; the initials “M.C.” might match the co’s name. You will hear a lot of disparaging things about gun nailing, but even multi million dollar houses get gun nailed roofing.

—A 50 Year shingle is going to cost you 2x or more of the price of a 30 year. It’s thicker & typically will come with a Class IV hail & wind resistance rating & while that’s good for your insurance rates (both in the policy premium for wind & hail endorsement AND in the deductible should you ever have to file a claim), it takes awhile for this to pay off.
-If there is a possibility you’re going to sell the house within 15 years or so, then you will probably NOT get the return on an investment of a 40 or 50 year roof. You should be installing this for your own preferences vs. any other benefit.

—I typically suggest my customers select a shingle based on the style & color they prefer. I know some of the regular contributors on this site lean towards other brands, however I haven’t seen any big differences. One sidebar: ELK used to be considered the higher priced shingle on the market, however since GAF purchased them about 6 months ago, their costs have been lowered & a lot of us here are guessing / expect this brand to go away or be totally absorbed.

—Your contractor doesn’t want you to know this, however here in Central Texas, the typical price per square on a Tamko 30 Year shingle is in the $ 46.00 to $ 50.00 range (3 bundles of 30 Yr = 1 square). You can expect $ 80.00 per sq on a 40 year & around $ 100.00 per square on a 50 Year ELK (4 bundles per square).

Now for a little bit of other info, because shingles aren’t the ONLY area to pay attention to:

—Felt. If your contractors haven’t @ least provided an OPTION for felt removal, I suggest you re-read your insurance estimate because chances are, they’re paying for this but your contractor won’t do this portion of the work (“It adds a 2nd [or 3rd, depending on the prior roofs] to your house” is a common statement). Really, if you’re even remotely considering a 40 year shingle this tells me you’re interested in the long term results out of a better quality roof. Why not take advantage of the limited chances you get to see what the total condition of the roof deck is like? For a 22 Square 8:12 roof, my “full felt” option is typically $ 300.00 & this is primarily to cover the cost of 2 extra men on the roof to aid in the work.

—Pitch & your ridge cap. If you can, take a look @ the ridge cap shingles that you currently have (not hips, ridges). Chances are, you’ve got some splitting because an 8:12 or steeper roof will ‘flex’ a typical 3 tab shingle that’s used for hip & ridge over time, this ‘flex’ will cause a split down the center of the shingle. For about 50% more, I suggest you look into upgrading to a “Z Ridge” or some other color matching ridge cap shingle that’s designed for steep slopes.

—Pipe penetrations. There’s a little bit of disagreement on here, but I’m a fan of lead jacks vs. “3 in 1” or “AutoCaulk” type pipe boots. I have yet to see a lead jack fail but often the rubber seal on a 3 in 1 shows a split in the rubber grommet that creates your weathertight seal.

—Drip edge. If you don’t have any, get some. If you DO have it, make sure it’s the DL (“lip” variety). This provides a nice supportive edge to the underside of your shingles & prevents condensation from damaging your fascia or wooden drip edge.

—Starter Strip. “Old school” is to take a 3 tab shingle, trim off a few inches from the L or R end & then turn the shingle upside down (tabs to the top, solid headlap to the edge, not color side down). The drawback is that it places the sticky line a bit too high & you don’t get the benefit of a “true” starter course that will keep the shingle held down in higher wind conditions.

Let us know if you’ve got any other questions. It sounds like you’re trying to be a knowledgeable consumer & that’s the best kind.

i got a blind ditto to ranchhand.

should be good advise.