10 Things to Check Before Hiring a Roofer

1) Manufacturer Backed Transferable Lifetime Ltd. Warranty?

As a certified GAF installer, we include the GAF Weather Stopper System Plus Lifetime Ltd. Warranty on all our GAF roofs. Not many contractors can offer this and even fewer contractors do. Why not? First, you have to be certified. Second, you have to build to a specific standard, which we do. Third, it costs us money to provide the manufacturer’s Lifetime Ltd. warranty to our customers. The bottom line, when you select Baker to build your roof, you get more.

2) Factory Certified Installers?

We are a GAF Certified Contractor. This means that we have satisfied GAF’s (the largest roofing manufacturer in North America) qualification requirements and are able to offer even more to our customers (like the GAF Weather Stopper System Plus Limited Warranty with Lifetime Coverage . . . and it’s also transferable!)

3) Hand Nailing?

Most residential roofs are made with asphalt shingles. These shingles are held down with nails. There are only two ways to install nails – by hand or with a nail gun.

Hand nailing prevents nails from going in crooked and from being over driven. When using a nail gun, an installer cannot assess or adjust the amount of pressure needed for each nail. If a nail goes into a joist it will require more pressure than a nail that only goes into plywood. Plywood requires less force to penetrate and sometimes it has small void spaces or air pockets that require even less pressure. A nail gun will not account for this and will over-drive the nails into the asphalt shingle causing premature shingle failure.

What does this mean to you? It means your shingles will not have as much holding power because the nails will be pushing through and tearing the fabric rather than applying the proper amount of topical pressure.

4) Nails Per Shingle?

Many contractors debate the efficacy of this building standard and only adhere to it when required by local building codes which are usually on the coast. We would rather build to a higher standard and use the same standard in every neighborhood rather than try to adjust on every job. Most contractors only use 4 nails per shingle, which is the minimum required in all areas. We adhere to the Hurricane Nailing standard, which is why we put 6, by hand, on every shingle.

5) Cobra Ridge Ventilation System?

Rather than punching big holes in your roof with big, ugly, ‘whirlybird’ vents, a ridgevent combines the geometry of your home with the best of physics of thermodynamics to give you a passive, constantly functioning, aesthetically pleasing attic ventilation system.

Our Cobra Ridge Ventilation System is a product made by GAF and it’s part of our factory approved system that we install to qualify your roof for the GAF Weather Stopper warranty.

But we don’t stop there! Take a look at our photo gallery and see the difference between our standard installation and the workmanship of most other contractors. While there is probably not much of a functional difference between the industry norm and our higher standard, aesthetically, the contrast is easily seen.

This is yet another way we go the extra mile and pay close attention to detail. From an installation standpoint, it only takes a few extra minutes and a few dollars worth of materials to offer this kind of quality work. But the visible appearance (which most contractors do not appreciate) adds beauty… and in real estate, beauty is value.

6) Pro-Start Starter Row Shingles?

The perimeter edges of your roof are called ‘rakes’ and ‘eaves’ in the roofing industry. This is one of the most vulnerable areas to leaks and roof failures. The way to address this issue is to properly install high quality starter row shingles.

Starter row shingles have a special strip of adhesive strategically positioned to increase the hold down power of your shingles along the edges of your roof. Less reputable contractors cheat on this step by simply turning over a regular shingle and nailing it upside down. They justify this because all shingles have a small amount of adhesive on the bottom to help hold them in place. Unfortunately, for you the homeowner, this cheats you as well because regular shingles were not designed for this purpose. Their adhesive strips are not positioned in the right place for this purpose and they also do not have the amount of adhesive as a starter row shingle.

Bottom line, you’ll pay more for less, and are risking an expensive failure in the future because your contractor wanted to save a few dollars.

7) StormGuard Leak Barrier?

Another way for the average low ball contractor to cut corners on your roof is to use cheap or no reinforcement material in the valleys of your roof. The valley is where two fields or planes come together to form a “V” shaped channel.

When it rains, this is where the water will collect before running off your roof. More water means more opportunity for leaks to develop. The solution? Reinforce the valleys with some type of reinforcement material.

We use GAF StormGuard Leak Barrier. It’s very durable and easy to work with and it’s also part of the GAF roof system that we install to qualify your roof for one of, if not the best, manufacturer backed warranties in the world.

8) Superior Ridge Shingles?

Ridges are the geometric opposite to valleys (see above). The ridge is where two roof planes come together to form an “edge”. Almost always, this is where your roof will begin to breakdown first and we see it all the time. The shingles on an old roof may still be in “ok” condition but invariably there will be multiple places and types of wear and tear on the ridges of a home.

We recommend using a superior ridge shingle like TimberTex or Z-Ridge to help protect this part of your roof.

9) Proper Fasteners?

There are four different types of nails that we include in our roof installations. Underlayment, Ridge Vents, Ridge Shingles and Field Shingles all require different types of nails.

We believe that the best fasteners for your roofing system are as follows:

  1. SIX Roofing Nails (1 1/4″), APPLIED BY HAND, on every Field Shingle . . . (We NEVER use Nail Guns on Shingles).
  2. FOUR Roofing Nails (2″), APPLIED BY HAND, on Superior Ridge Shingles
  3. Ring Shank Plastic Cap nails on the underlayment
  4. Ring Shank Nails (3″) on Ridge Ventillation

Each of these fasteners have a specific function and purpose and yet are often overlooked by other roofing contractors.

10) High Definition Shingles?

From a contractors perspective, the materials cost difference between High Definition and regular shingles is minimal; we’re talking about less than 2-3% of the cost of the entire job. But the visible difference is dramatic.

We install High Definition shingles from GAF because they add more to your roof than just protection from the elements… they add beauty. And when you combine higher quality materials with superior craftsmanship, you get more than home improvement, you get home enhancement!

Click here to download a printable version of this list.


Have a question about any of these items? Get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to answer your questions!