Right roofing contractor and roofing system - GAF vs CT

Besides the warranty what do I look for in a contractor? How do I know what I need and don’ need? My gambrel roof (with a flat covered porch) is approx 4100 sqft and at it’s life end. I know I need to replace the roof, how do I determine if I can wait another year or do I do it now? I got two estimates and I’m being given different recommendations. One Certainteed credentialed contracter said in addition to replacing the ridge vent, soffits, shingles I should “Fabricate and install aluminum fascia wrap over fascia board at top of mansard roof sections (front and rear) to protect wood trim in areas vulnerable to wood rot”. He would use the Certainteed Integrity Roof System. The other contractor said there were no issues with the vents but would replace them if I need. He recommed the Cobra ridge vent along with roof rhino U20 underlayment and CertainTeed shingles. The rest was more of the same. The MassSave inspector said there were no issues with my ventilation and recommended additional insulation. Now an acquaintance has recommeded I seek an estimate from a GAF certified contractor. Please help, this is a huge expense, I want to be an informed home owner and make the right decision. I recognize you pay for what you get and I want to make sure that I pay and get the right product. I appreciate any and all responses, thank you.

This is quite a loaded question. Unfortunately, there are perhaps too many variables involved to minimize your leap of faith. Anyway, here we go.

In the Silicon Valley of California with hundreds of roofing outfits, competition is fierce. Thus, customers and contractors are in a constant battle to understand each other and in turn, both acheive fair investments/profits.

“It’s not like buying a jar of mayonnaise.” - this is a service, not a product. The materials (vents/flashings) are important, but often secondary to the guys building the roof.

:hammer: Schedule visits from each contractor and attempt to find some that you feel as if they are on “your side”.
:hammer: Check for an active contractor license through your respective state.
:hammer: Insurance is paramount (workers’ compensation & general liability).
:hammer: Replace ALL flashings.
:hammer: Ventilation theories are simple, solutions are not. (Ridge vent may not be your best solution).
:hammer: CertainTeed vs. GAF vs. Owens Corning (Pick what you like. The shingles simply decorate your roof system.)
:hammer: Ask questions (find out why a contractor calls out certain products, and bounce these off the contractor on “your side”).

These are not flattering expenses💸, but you are likely protecting one of your largest investments🏡. Take your time and select wisely.

I just keep getting up,
SlippedOnTheRoofie

Thank you SlippedOTR, your info is very helpful. I will definitely follow your advice.

Do you have any advise on which is better - to use a contracter that has been certified by the company i.e CertainTeed vs not? I know the warranty is 10yrs for CT shingles if I go with an contractor that is not and 25 yrs for one that is a SELECT ShingleMaster? I was referred (landscape co.) to a roofer that is a subcontractor. He has a lot of experience doing roofing jobs for contracters that flip property, commercial & residential. He is providing a 10 year warranty on labor and whatever CT offers for their shingles. I feel like he’s on my side, although there is a slight language barrier and a concern that he may not be aware of the best solution for my roof & ventilation. The other contractor is a ShingleMaster, not on my side but had many local references, he recommend fascia wrap along with grinding out mortar and replace lead counterflashing for extra $1400.

Glad to hear the information was helpful.

Do you have any advice on which is better - to use a contractor that has been certified by the company i.e. CertainTeed vs not?

:hammer:We never needed it. We never desired it. But we carry Master Shingle Applicator™ status from CertainTeed. (This is because our competition has a leg up on us without it.)

:hammer:I personally do not think that a company should have to rely on a manufacturers warranty vs their own workmanship warranty.

:hammer:If your current top-dog has been in business longer than the workmanship they offer, this is a good sign.

:hammer::hammer::hammer:I think that you should really look into proper ventilation. This alleviates summer heat/winter moisture, which both fight the effectiveness of you insulation. (Mansard roofs commonly have knees walls that need venting. Achieve this by continuous eave venting and/or drilling of holes in frieze blocks to ensure proper eave to ridge ventilation, while also ensuring the proper ventilation through knee walls.)

:hammer:Language barriers can be common with good labor.

:hammer:Be aware that sometimes, not always, a heavily advertised and persuasive company with sales people might have incentives not quite in your interest. They may also carry the certification seen as “important”. They do not always align.

:hammer:Replace ALL flashings. Mortar work is no fun, but sometimes necessary.

:hammer:Wrapping fascia may refer to what we call nosing/drip-edge. This is likely a good idea. Continue your investigation.

Attach photos if possible. This will engage these lazy horses!

Sincerely,

SlippedOTR

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