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Roofing Calculator with 5 Quick Questions

1. Roof Square Footage

Roof square footage plays a big part in determining how much your roof will cost, but there’s more to it than that. There’s even more to square footage than square footage! You need to know what sort of shingles you’ll use, the nature of your roof (pitch, complexity, valleys, etc.), and factors like dormers, which are roof windows that add extra space to attics and top floors.

To get a rough estimate of how many shingles you’ll need, you need to know how many square feet your roof is. To get that number, you just multiply the length and width of each one of your roof’s planes (this includes dormers). Then add the square footage of all your planes.

A “square” is a measurement of a roof’s surface. Each square is 100 square feet of roof. To figure out how many squares make up your roof, just take your roofs total square footage and divide it by 100. So, a 25,000 square foot roof is 250 squares.

You’ll also need an equal amount of underlayment for your new roof. So, a 250 square roof will need 250 squares of underlayment. Underlayment tends to come in rolls of four squares each, so a 250 square roof, you’ll need 63 rolls (250 ÷ 4= 62.5). Also, add 10% of all material totals, so we have room to trim.

You’re also going to want to know the slope of your roof. The slope is always an expression of two numbers: the rise and the run. The rise is a vertical measure, and the run is the horizontal measure. The run is always based on 12 inches, so you’ll always end up with numbers like “4 x 12” “5 x 12” “6 x 22” etc.

To make the math easier, let’s assume a typical A-frame roof with just two panes. If the whole wall is 36 feet long, then the run will be 18 feet since that’s the distance at which the run meets the rise. The rise is the length of the vertical line that extends from where those two panes meet to the run. Let’s say the rise is 12 feet. So the slope will be 12 feet by 18 feet. Rise over run means 8/12 is your slope.

Roof pitch is important because it impacts the nature of your roof in numerous ways. It informs how long the roof will perform over the long term, and how quickly water and debris like leaves and sticks will fall off the roof. The pitch of the roof may impact the materials that your roof is made out of, although, in the area services by Proven Roofing, fiberglass shingles are the most common choice.

As complicated as this may appear, it’s far less complicated than a more complex roof! But, don’t worry, you’ve got professionals like Proven Roofing to take care of the estimates and all the work for you! And one way you can tell is that we won’t advise you to make decisions that might make us more money because we don’t think they’re the right thing to do.

2. Shingle Layers

Known as a layover, a second layer of shingles used to be commonplace. These days advancements in shingle technology have made layovers unnecessary, which is for the best because layovers may potentially undermine the stability of your roof. If you were to consider a layover, it would only be to save money or to flip a house.

There’s much that makes installing a second layer of shingles difficult. To begin with, you have to deal with the first layer of shingles! This first layer will be resting on valleys, intersections, varying degrees of steepness, etc. These are already difficult to navigate; now double that challenge because you have to worry about a first layer of shingles!

Your second layer of shingles is also not going to look right because it’s not laying flat on your roof. This will make new shingles more susceptible to being blown off by the wind. Your roof is designed to hold a particular amount of weight. Additional stress and pressure may undermine the integrity of your roof rafter system or damage your frame. And shingles themselves are also not designed for a second layer of shingles to rest over them.

A layover will also not make your roof more waterproof. Your roof is already waterproof enough given advancements in roofing, and those advancements exist below your first layer of shingles rather than above them. A layover may actually make your roof less waterproof because it may conceal leaks.

The second layer of shingles may also hide signs of other forms of damage, or exasperate pre-existing faults. This could happen if your first layer is already growing mold or algae because the second layer will provide darkness for growth and seal in water as well. From afar, it’s sometimes possible to identify mold or algae growth because they leave dark streaks on your roof. A layover will conceal this. Lastly, over the course of installing the second layer, interactions with an already fragile first layer are likely to only make things worse.

If you need to cut corners while flipping a house, then a layover may be a way to save money. The problem is that you’ll be handing over responsibility for a full repair to the new resident, which is arguably unethical and may damage your reputation. Within the context of flipping a home, completely removing the first layer doesn’t take that much longer or cost that much more money, and a brand new roof can be factored into the asking price.

If saving money is a big concern, then there are many options to avoid a layover. You can arrange a payment plan, get a low-interest loan if you have enough equity in your home, get a cash-out refinance that will provide you with better loan terms and the money for the repair, and even reach out to charities, crowdfunding, and your local government. Although, if you can afford a full layover, you can likely make a full replacement happen too!

3. Complexity

Depending on your roof, a full replacement will take between one or a few days. These are the factors to consider:

  • Pitch: A roof’s pitch, as you know, refers to its steepness. The steeper the roof, the more challenging the job because of safety concerns. Steep roofs require special equipment and planning that a flat roof simply doesn’t need. A steep roof may also impact the cost.
  • Complexity: Each segment of your roof is known as a facet. The more facets your roof has, the more complex it is. A typical roof is an A-frame with just two facets (one on each side of your roof). The more facets, the more challenging the job!
  • Flashing: Flashing is made out of galvanized steel or aluminum and gets installed in the area where the roof meets a wall or around roof protrusions to prevent water damage. Flashing goes around chimneys, skylights, vents, dormers, and anything else that breaks up the way roofing material most often just touches more roofing material. Since flashing is so important, it’s installation demands time and care.
  • Valleys: A valley is any place where two planes meet. They demand more time to repair, simply because they provide an added challenge.

An additional issue that may complicate your full replacement is how long you’ve waited to get it replaced. Remember, all the symptoms of a roof in need of repair are actually symptoms that your roof should have already been repaired. So, if you wait too long, there may be a lot of unseen damage! Paint, insulation, electrical wiring, etc. All of these take time and money to repair!

The complexity is also apparent in all the different ways that you may be able to identify that your roof needs repairing:

Granules: Shingles are waterproof because of fiberglass. When shingles get old, the fiberglass falls off, and you can see granules around your house (your gutter run off spot is a great place to spot some granules). Fiberglass coming off also makes your roof more susceptible to other forms of damage.

Worn/Damaged Shingles: Old shingles get brittle, and then they start to crack, fracture, and fly off your roof. You can often see these signs on your lawn.

Algae/Mold: Once the shingles are no longer waterproof, they become a breeding ground for mold and algae. Debris like leaves and sticks on your roof increase the likelihood of algae/mold growth.

Flashing/Cement Damage: Roof cement and metal flashing prevent leaks where the roof meets walls or chimneys. If you see cracks or rust, it’s time to replace those parts and likely your roof! After all, they were both likely installed at the same time.

Luckily, Proven Roofing will give you a free detailed estimate of how much all this costs, and we’ll do a thorough look through to uncover as much damage as we can. One way to identify a good contractor is how in-depth their estimate is, and if they come in a company car to deliver it. If someone shows up in their personal car and only says, “I can do this for 15k,” you should find a different contractor!

4. Material

Shingles have become much more resilient in recent years. In the past, shingles had a rectangular, flat appearance and were called three-tab shingles. They’d be good for about 20 years. These days, the bulk of shingles are architectural shingles (also known as laminate shingles). They have more contours, different colors, and can last between 30 and 50 years. They’re designed to look like cedar shakes, which means they look like old cedar roofs. They’re bumpy and look like a bunch of little shingles as opposed to a single rectangle. They’re also thicker thanks to the multiple layers that provide extra texture and dimensionality.

Proven Roofing gets its shingles from GAF, a manufacturer of high-quality roofing material. They come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but you’re unlikely to need to use it. This warranty is effective if the product is defective and leads your shingles to blow off, crack, peel, grow model, etc. This may happen if the shingles are accidentally stored in an extra cold state and are delivered brittle. Or if the adhesive strip that binds shingles to your roof lacks stickiness. It’s even possible to get shingles that are just lacking in fiberglass! But these are all uncommon.

It’s important to note that homeowner’s insurance is different from the manufacturer’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance is what kicks in if the damage is the result of an act of nature and not defective materials. The insurance company ultimately decides what counts as an act of nature, and if that act of nature is to blame. To file your claim, your roof cannot exceed its intended lifespan. You’ll also have to maintain your roof responsibly. That may mean regular inspections by licensed professionals, which you can get for free if you just ask a roofing company for an estimate (since they want your business, the company will provide the estimate at no cost). In some cases, you’ll also have to trim nearby trees.

GAF products are purchased at specialty stores like ABC Supply, Allied Building Supply, and Universal Building Supply. They all require accounts, so they’re not the sort of store anyone can just walk into. They also require knowing what you’re talking about to not end up making bad decisions. The employees at such establishments aren’t trained to explain the nuances of roofing to laypeople.

There’s a lot of materials that people mistakenly think a roofer may use. Silicone and caulk, for example, have no place on a roof. Thanks to its slick advertising, FlexSeal has also been purchased by many misguided folks hoping to avoid dealing with contractors. The commercials for FlexSeal may be highly watchable, but the product is not suitable for your roof!

You should also take the time to appreciate that a full replacement with quality materials performed by quality labor will save you money in the long term.

5. Labor

Proven Roofing only works with employees who have specialized training. This is a claim you can confirm by checking our reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, and The Better Business Bureau. We’re also happy to provide you with past clients who can serve as references, or invite you to observe one of our ongoing projects.

Proven Roofing is particularly proud to have earned the title of Master Elite from GFA. GFA makes all of the materials, so you can expect the same manufacturer’s warranty on everything. Although, as we said, you’re unlikely to have to use that warranty since most issues with a young roof have more to do with labor than materials. While the ideal combination is of both quality materials and laborers if you have to choose one go with quality laborers. We have faith in our labor and provide a workmanship warranty for this reason!

We also value our employees. While we tell people to replace their roofs before they need to replace their roofs, we know that not everyone is that lucky. We also know that an emergency can hit at any moment. But we won’t put our employees on your roof during dangerous conditions to protect both them and the materials.

The ideal temperature to install a roof is between 50 and 80 degrees. In part, this is because shingles are secured to the roof using both nails as well as by adhesive strips that are activated by the radiant heat of the sun. Adhesive strips won’t seal if it’s too cold, and until they do, they’re susceptible to blow off. They will seal eventually, though. Also, if it’s too cold, the shingles become brittle and may get damaged from the pressure.

If it’s over 85 degrees, your roof will feel 130 degrees because shingles are beacons for heat. Our employees couldn’t even touch a shingle without a glove! Then there’s a risk of smudging, which is what happens when the fiberglass on the shingles just comes off because of how hot it is. And, most importantly, at that temperature, merely being on a roof is a safety risk, and we don’t want to endanger our employees.

You may have read all that yourself and thought, “I can fix a roof myself!” Chances are you can’t. You need to know your way around a roof because you could very easily lose your sightline and fall off. You may improperly secure your ladder and fall off or get stranded. You may also purchase a bunch of materials and equipment at Home Depot that you only discover when it’s too late that you don’t know how to use it. A professional roofer wouldn’t get their materials at Home Depot. And they definitely wouldn’t use FlexSeal!

How are we so certain that you can’t fix the roof yourself? Because of the number of jobs we take that start right after an amateur’s attempt ends. At least you’re not alone. Others have made the same mistake, and now you’ve got us to fix it for you!

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