Depending on what part of the country you live in or the age of your house, you may be facing special challenges when hiring a roofer. One common problem is finding the right company to work on a steeply pitched roof. Steep roofs present unique issues from project planning to safety concerns. By asking the right questions before hiring a roofer, you’ll ensure you’ve made the best choice to get the job done safely and efficiently. Here’s what you need to bear in mind if your house has a steep roof.
What is a steeply sloped roof?
The slope of a roof is also referred to as the pitch – how many inches the roof rises in relation to the width in feet, sometimes called “the rise over the run.” In layman’s terms, how sharp is the “V” of your roof? Steep slope roofing is designed to use gravity to pull water and snow off the roof naturally. Flat roofing may instead by sealed with a waterproof membrane to protect the house. It’s most common to see steep roofs in residential settings, while many commercial roofs are flat.
Depending on the age of the building or the region of the country, some roofs are steeper than others. This is particularly true in high snow areas, where it can be dangerous to let the weight from snow accumulate on the roof. Doing so leads to water staining, roof damage, and even structural problems. Steeper designs also help avoid precarious situations, such as owners having to shovel their roofs in the winter.
Challenges of roofing steep buildings
Working on steeper roofs requires specific skills and experience. You may not have stopped to think about these issues if you haven’t undertaken a roofing remodel before. A good roofer must:
- Have the proper equipment: It’s often impossible to walk directly on steep roofs. Instead, specialized equipment such as staging and roof jackets must be used. The best companies for these jobs already own this equipment because they have experience with these roof types. Those that need to rent it will likely pass the cost onto you, resulting in a more expensive effort.
- Be able to estimate materials: Determining the materials needed for any roofing project requires strong math and engineering skills. With sloped roofs, the ability to calculate pitch and angles directly impacts the accuracy of materials estimates and your service quote.
- Understand the architectural impact of a roof on a building: Steep roofs are often highly visible to people looking at the building. The quality of materials used, precision of the roofing, and integrating architectural touches such as designer shingles all impact the final results. The more experienced the firm you hire, the better your roof will look.
Questions to ask your roofer
With these issues in mind, there are a number of questions that you can ask roofing companies to help determine if they’re the right fit. Some potential questions include:
- What experience do you have working on steep roofs?
- Do you own the equipment necessary to complete this job?
- Can you walk me through the equipment set up and schedule?
- What professional insurance do you have for your business?
- Can you provide references of previous customers that you’ve completed steep roofing jobs for?
- How do you keep the surrounding grounds clean of roofing debris?
- Are you certified by the roof material manufacturer to install this roofing system?
- And perhaps most importantly, what types of warranties do you offer?
Understanding the requirements of a steep roofing remodel will help you ask the right questions of potential service providers. Whether you simply need new shingles or are looking for a more complex roofing project, a good evaluation process will make sure that you hire the residential roofing company that’s best for your job.