What Louisville KY consumers should know about roof replacement before hiring a roofer (roofing company)?

There is no Licensing Requirement in Louisville KY for roofing companies.

Plumbers, electricians and HVAC professionals are required to have a certain education that allows them to do business here and the state regulates them. But, NOT so with  roofers, they are pretty free to self regulate. The roofing manufacturers primarily establish guidelines for roofers (roofing companies). However, not all roofers follow those guidelines. Therefore, the manufacturers provide certification for roofers to install their products. They also monitor those companies with certification.

STRONG ADVICE: Hire a roofer or a roofing company that is certified with a product’s manufacturer. The manufacturers always make sure that their certified roofers carry a certain level of General Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance. They provide education for business owners and managers. Some manufacturers like “CertainTeed” even test the installers. Plus, they conduct random inspections of work completed by their contractors and also send surveys to homeowners to rate the contractor.

Roofing is much more than just laying down shingles. A roofing system that gives you peace of mind takes into consideration horizontally driving rains, the ice damp effect, how temperature and humidity influences expansion and contraction of different types of materials, the way UV-rays effect the material’s deterioration and how chemical formulation effects the sealing ability of different roofing materials. There are special formulas that help to calculate attic ventilation.

Why is it important to consider a good warranty? Lately we have observed that homeowners insurance companies have been increasing the deductible for hail and wind damage to a roof. Even if your homeowners insurance has a $1000 deductible there still could be a different deductible for hail and wind damage. The deductible could be as high as 2% of the home’s value; that could easily be several thousands of dollars. For instance, if a house value is $500,000 the deductible for hail damage on the roof can be $10,000. Many homeowners are unaware of the type of coverage they have for hail and wind damage. Each policy varies as to what’s covered beyond the deductible. This goes for any homecare needs. It’s up to each homeowner to learn the specifics of their homeowners poicy and negotiate for the exact coverage you prefer. There is a lot of fraud on hail damage claims. A higher deductible is a tool insurance companies use to change the game. A higher deductible motivates the homeowner to seriously consider the quality of their roofing system. You can take on all of that responsibility or share it with a roofer (roofing company) and a manufacturer.

We all know well the ethics violations of some construction professionals, especially in Kentucky where the cost of living is low in comparison to other states and big cities. Sure, there are certain advantages in living in Kentucky and we love it. The low cost of living affects the price of roof replacement and as a result its quality. Often, there is a lack of quality in materials used in a roofing system and also in the workmanship. The general tendency in Louisville KY is to cut corners on a roof replacement in order to win a job by cheaper pricing. This price usually comes with a “Standard Warranty” sold as a “Lifetime Warranty”. The way these warranties are written they cover about 2/3 of the cost of replacement or repair of a roof just for the first 10 years in case there is a problem with the materials. After 10 years the warranty doesn’t cover the cost of labor. Many times it is hard to locate the companies that offer cheaper overall prices once the work is completed for any workmanship issues.

 Good Roofing Systems come with better warranties. It is clear that it is very important to hire a manufacturer-certified roofing company over non-certified roofing company. However, many times even certified roofers may not offer a ‘Best’ roofing system or a ‘Better’ warranty. In bidding against other companies, we at Roof It Right, well know that even good certified roofing companies in Louisville KY, reserve the option to offer a better roofing system with a better warranty, but offer only ‘Standard’ warranties. Why? In many cases the customer’s budget dictates how much a roofer wants to spent on the labor and materials. What does this mean for the homeowner? How much protection will they get with a ‘Standard’ Warranty verses an Extended Warranty, or in other words, one that has prorated warranty protection or one with non-prorated warranty protection?

Manufacturers Warranties

There are only four major manufacturers in the US that produce asphalt shingles and supply Louisville KY. All are very reliable and reputable. They are:  CertainTeed, GAF, Owens Corning and Tamko. They all have ‘Good’, ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ product lines and warranties. And they all provide Certification to local roofers and roofing companies. But what if there is production flaw in materials? It has occurred in the past with all manufacturers. When a Homeowner files a claim against a Manufacturer, often times the deciding factor of whether or not the manufacturer  will pay for the mistake depends on whether or not the installation was done by one of their Certified Roofing Contractors. And whether that Contractor installed a Registered Roofing System with an Upgraded Warranty.

A ‘Standard’ warranty is usually a warranty for the shingles only (in this article we are discussing asphalt shingles because over 95% of residential roofs in Louisville KY use asphalt shingles). It doesn’t cover a whole roofing system. On average, depending on the manufacturer, a standard warranty only covers about 65% of a roof replacement for the first 10 years if there is a manufacturer’s defect. After the first 10 years the manufacturer defects warranty will cover about 30% of a roof replacement. Then that percentage decreases every year. ‘Tamko’ is the exception. They offer a 15 year non-prorated warranty. This warranty however doesn’t cover tear-off, removal or disposal of old materials. It also says: “if installed in strict accordance with instructions and has defects which has directly caused a leak” on 30 year dimensional shingles, they don’t cover labor costs and they prorate the materials after 15 years.

*’Tamko’ also has a ‘Master Craft’ warranty for their ‘Woodgate’ product. A ‘Tamko Pro’  Certified installer can install this with 30-year non-prorated warranty and it doesn’t change if it applies over multiple owner homes. It is better coverage and a Registered Roofing System. “Roof It Right” is a ‘Tamko Pro’ Certified Roofing Contractor in Louisville KY. this is in comparison to Owens Corning 20 year warranty for a roofing system that a certified contractor installed on structures other than single family structures and ‘CertainTeed’s 25 year warranty.

The Extended warranties that certified contractors can provide for single family homes keeps 80 to 100% of its value as long as you own the home. The more original manufacturer accessosories installed increases the value of the warranty. It can also include a 10-25 year workmanship warranty covered directly by the manufacturer. This is very important if a roofer or a roofing company should go out of business. ‘Best’ warranties cover 100% all roofing materials, flashing and labor for as long as you own the home.

Roofers warranties

Roofing contractor warranties may have different values. Legally roofers are obligated to provide a minimum 2 year workmanship warranty. 2 year and 5 year warranties are very common in Kentucky. Sometimes you may find companies that offer 10, 15, 25 and Lifetime workmanship warranties. With any warranty you should ask yourself ‘How good is the warranty?’ Many times we have customers that report not receiving return phone calls from previous roofers. Roofers can offer any warranty they want but if they are not available how can customers know if the warranties are trustworthy? First of all, if it is a storm chaser, no matter if they are local or not, any period of workmanship comes into question. When interviewing a potential roofer, ask if they do business more than 60 miles away from Louisville. It could be a mark of not reliable roofer (most roofing companies don’t have enough personnel to spread out too wide and still provide good customer service now and take care of potential problems down the road.

These days the internet is a strong tool to monitor the quality of any service providers in home improvement. Online reviews make roofing companies care about their customers if they plan on a long term career. So check the reviews of potential roofers. Check the positive reviews as well as the negative ones and try to ascertain if they will respond to you and correct all the issues in a timely manner. And, are they are willingly take responsibility to resolve any further issues. These are good signs of a trustworthy roofing company that will honor their workmanship warranties.

Some roofing companies have perfect reputations. They are that way because the owner is a good, self-motivated leader that keep his/her company working smoothly. But, what if for some reason they loose their motivation, come into poor health or decide to retire? Selling to an outside buyer can be an uphill battle. A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed that fewer than 20 percent of companies that go to market actually sell. This statistic is closer to 10 percent for contracting companies.

Fewer than thirty percent of businesses ever sell or transfer. According to the Family Firm Institute — an international association for professionals servicing family-owned enterprises reports:

  • Seventy percent fail to transfer to the second generation.

  • Ninety percent fail to transfer to the third generation.

The warranties from the various roofing manufacturers will always be good regardless of the status of the certified roofing company. GAF has been in business for over 125 yeaars, CertainTeed over 110 years, Owens Corning 75 years, and Tamko over 70 years.

At Roof It Right we will match any price from a local certified contrator and offer the ‘Best Warranty’. This is a lifetime, non-prorated warranty with a 25 year workmanship warranty on a Certainteed roofing system that includes asphalt demensional shingles with all original Certainteed accessories for single-family residential homes. Use code CTLIFE when taking this deal.

Insulated and Ventilated Attic

Attic Ventilation –  An important component of a proper roofing system is ventilation. The lack of proper ventilation will void the shingle warranty. Ventilation can be natural by wind through the exhaust vents (box, ridge or gable vents) or forced by electrical or solar fans on the top of the roof and through the soffit or deck intake vents on the bottom of the roof. With proper ventilation hot air and humidity will not accumulate in the attic and on the roof deck. Hot air will flow out and extend the life of the roof deck and asphalt shingles. The formula used for a properly ventilated attic space using different types of vents is: 1sq. ft. of 50/50 intake/exhaust for every 300sq. ft. of attic perimeter. The manufacturers provide ventilation formula guidelines to their certified contractors, and then the contractors provide the ventilation specifications they used when they register the extended warranties with the manufacturers. This is another reason to only use a certified roofing company. For more information go to www.lomanco.com and click on “Vent Resources” or on the “Ventilation Calculator”.

Attic ventilation

General about attic ventilation

Ridge vent

Box vents

If there is no soffit vents

Lomanco Ventilation Calculator


Roofing terms illustration

Not that long ago we came across a very interesting fact when we helped one of our customers to make a  decision about power vents or solar vents. His concern was whether or not solar vents would provide the necessary air exchange cycle in his attic. We discovered that standard power vents have 1300 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and solar vents have 500 CFM. According to Lomanco the leading ventillations manufacturer in our area, air in the entire attic space should be exchanged or renewed every 6 minutes. It is easy to figure out how many fans and intake vents are necessary with forced air ventilation. But, what about static vents such as box vents, ridge and gable vents? Some states like Oklahoma and Kansas have high wind velocities. In Kentucky the avarage wind speed in the summer time is 6.63 MPH. So reliance solely on windpower isn’t always possible. We cannot depend solely on windpower if there are periodic low winds or no wind. So, for the best results in ventilation you might consider fan vents.

There is a down sides though.  Attic fans are winners, but they do not last long (5years). That means you will need to stay on top of the attic fan maintenance.  If you won’t use a fan vent then use a static vent and make sure you have enough intakes.

The other down side is that a powered attic ventilator will depressurize your attic and pull conditioned air out of the home and into the attic through ceiling cracks. The net result is powered attic ventilators increase rather than decrease cooling costs. As the cool air is being sucked out of the house through the ceiling, hot exterior air enters the house through other cracks to replace the exhausted air. So, the air conditioner will work harder than ever as it struggles to cool all that entering outdoor air. Also, powered attic ventilators can depressurize a house enough to cause water heaters to backdraft. The solution is to seal any air leaks in your ceiling and to add more insulation to your attic floor.

Attic ventilation is not a substitute for insulation. Unless you have sufficient insulation (R38 is the code enforced in Kentucky) the radiant barrier (foil) on top of the insulation and the baffles between the insulation and the roof deck that provide air flow from the soffit intake vents to the top exhaust vents, the EnergyStar roofing materials, won’t do much.

Insulated roof deck – What do you need to know about roof replacement if a portion of your roof has an insulated deck? Insulated deck or cathedral ceilings are common. According to the roofing manufacturers, insulated roof deck lets heat accumulate in the shingles causing premature aging. Thus, all asphalt roofing manufacturers exclude that portion of the roof from their extended warranties. If that portion of the roof is covered with shingles, then the typical warranty covers material defects and labor to replace it in full for the first 10 years. Thereafter, it will exclude labor and depreciate the materials. If most of your roof is spray foam insulated roof deck extended warranties may not be needed for you. Although a whole roofing system is highly recommended. There is an alternative viewpoint on the matter of insulated deck. For more information, go to “Insulated deck and Green Building Advisor”.

Shingles Have Limitations

Are there specific recommendations for the use of shingles on low sloped roofs or steep roofs?

The term slope is illustrated in the box to the left for clearer understanding of low, standard or steep sloped roofs. It is strongly recommendation to not use shingles on slopes below 2 inches 12 pitch (2/12). This is a very common mistake seen on many roofs in Louisville KY. Some roofers ignore this rule and it causes leaks that require significant repairs. If you believe that a part of your roof has a slope under 2/12 pitch and a roofer proposes a shingle application, ask them to prove that your roof has more than a 2/12 pitch slope. Also, if the roof is between a 2/12, and 4/12, but 4/12 isn’t included, all manufacturers require underlayment installation (ice and water shield, but different type of felts) installed with a 19″ overlap. Where ice dams are not used it is always recommended to use 2 layers of roof deck protection.

What if a slope is below 2/12? Below 2 /12 but not more than 4/12, there is a product that roofers in Louisville KY use called ‘modified’ on low slopes. To get a better understanding about this product please watch the Owens Corning DeckSeal video to the right. DeckSeal is a new product that Owens Corning just released and it is equivalent to the product Mule-Hide sells at ABC roofing supply for years. GAF Liberty is about the same product too but they don’t have the ready to seal strips on the end of the rolls like you see in the video. Be aware that a roof should have a minimum slope of 1/4 in 12 pitch otherwise the manufacturer won’t warranty it. The typical warranty on such products is 10 years if just a cap sheath was used. Never use just one layer of cap sheath above a living area. An inadequate roofer is likely to do it and leaks are almost guaranteed. When base and caps sheaths are used a 12 years warranty can be expected. There is a 15 year warranty for 2 bases and 1 cap sheathes. Metal roofing could be use with proper underlayment, edges and penetration flashings. In Louisville it is very common to see ‘Classic Rib’ agricultural panels (designed for barns) with exposed fasteners (drilled through the panels) on residential roofs. These roofs fail faster than asphalt roofs. Vinyl (PVC) and plastic (TPO) single ply membranes are another alternative.

What would the solution be if there is not a positive slope and water is ponding? The only solution is a PVC membrane with heat welded seams (same like a liner in the pool). The best product produced is by IB Roofing System. Their materials warranty will cover any ponding water. The warranty for 50-mil membrane is15 years, for 60-mil is 20 years and for 80-mils is 25 years. Typical commercial applications are white membranes. There are several color choices in 80-mil for residential roofing. Roof It Right is a local IB Roofing System Authorized Installer in Louisville KY. Only IB Roofing Systems has PVC membrane with ChemGuard which is the best application for all restaurant roofs.

What about steep slopes? If a portion of your roof has a slope above 21in 12, a special installation technique required for shingle applications is usually neglected by roofers in Kentucky. Roofers should use roof cement to seal the shingles if the installation is to be done right. It is a long process that costs more money, but it is well worth the investment. Thanks to Owens Corning SureNail Technology Owens Corning Duration shingles can be nailed without the time consuming sealing process. And the warranty remains the same. Roof It Right is a Preferred Owens Corning Roofing Contractor in Louisville KY.

Slope defenition

Slope visual illustration

SureNail Technology

Owens Corning Modified bitumen membrane

Slope visual illustration


Insurance Claims

Should you turn in a claim or not? We have noticed in recent years insurance companies are providing more education and guidance for their adjusters resulting in adjusters denying more claims. They state that the roofs are not qualified for a replacement under their insurance policies. For your claim to be accepted often you need the advice and recommendation from a qualified roofer that can prove that there is storm related damage or maintenance issues. There are instances when a roofer might misrepresent the maintenance issue or storm damage. Ask the roofer to show you pictures and use your own judgement in ascertaining if there appears to be actual damage. False claims could negatively impact your scores with the insurance company and can result in higher premiums and deductibles

Insurance adjusters use a standard formula to determine how much to pay for claims. Their calculatons are always for a standard roof replacement. And, by Kentucky state law they are obligated to match the same roofing system with the same warranty. But what if your roof was installed by a certified roofing contractor who used premium materials and you must get a comparable replacement using a certified roof contractor? The insurance company won’t know if a certified roofer installed the previous roof. Remember, manufacturing companies provide the best warranties to only certified roofers. So, It is likely the cost of the replacement will exceed the adjusters calculation. What should be done? If your roof was installed before by a certified roofing contractor it is important that you prove the value of your roof.  You will need to look at the warranty registered with the original materials manufacturers. Then, it will be good to collect estimates from 3 certified roofers. These should be given to the insurance company for review. If you can prove that your roof was not standard but premium by means of the warranty your insurance claim can be changed.

How much of repair/replacement will Insurance Companies typically cover if there is wind damage?

If just a few shingles are damaged or blown off the insurance company will cover replacing those missing shingles after the deductible. If several shingles are damaged or blown off a portion of the roof insurance will cover a new roof for that portion after the deductible. It may be more advantageous to use the manufacturers warranty to pat for these small repairs. Why? Because there isn’t a deductible to be paid with a warranty. If you are the original owner and the roof is less that 15 years old the each  maufacturer will cover its products under warranty. However, if multiple manufactures were used for various parts of the damage you will pay for replacement of materials used not under warranty. So, you will need to determine which course is most cost effective for you – deductible, warranty or out-of-pocket in some combination. There are definite advantages to having a roofing system installed using one manufacturer for every component.

If the shingles are damaged or blown off on a majority of the home the insurance will cover a new roof for the entire home after the deductible. It is important to remember that if you have records from your last roof replacement and it is within 15 years, the manufacturer will cover repair/replacement without you having to pay the deductible, although it will calculate that based on the coverage you have. A Roofing System warranty is a much better warranty. Shingle only warranties cover 100% to replace shingles and labor (not including tear off) within the first 10 years. After 10 years only the depreciated cost of the shingles are covered and without labor. Workmanship could be included as part of a roofing system warranty, but never apart of a shingle only warranty. So, if shingles are blown off because they weren’t nailed correctly then neither the manufacturer nor the insurance company will pay for it regardless of who the roofer was. There could be slim to no chance of finding the roofing company that did the original job, not to speak of storm chasers or out-of-town roofers. That’s why you should ONLY hire the company that is registered with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro.

Last thing: it is the law in KY and IN that roofing companies CANNOT cover or compensate in any way for the insurance deductible.  In fact, this is the first sign of a roofer who will cut corners on the materials and/or labor. The right roofers usually do it right in every aspect. That’s why they have enough work from customers who value high quality work and pay for it. We hope that you are one of those homeowners! We want to assure you that Roof It Right is one of the very few companies in Louisville KY that has complete certifications with all major shingle manufacturers as noted on the pages of this website!

 According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, you can increase the value of your home by an average of 5% with a new GAF Timberline roof and a median of 7% with a new GAF Designer roof. For example, if your home value is $250,000 and you are replacing the roof with a dimensional shingle and the cost to replace your roof is $10,000 the value of the home won’t change. But, if you invest $5000 more the value of your home bumps up to $267,500. This means that the money spent for this roof will go back into your pocket when you sell your home.

Roof It Right is a GAF WeatherStopper Certified Contractor in Louisville KY. GAF is a leading manufacturer in the roofing Industry with 125 years experience. GAF Timberline are the only shingles that have the Good Housekeeping Seal and the Woman First Choice award. As a certified roofer with each we recommend Woodland, Woodglen and Camelot II as a designer choice from GAF, Highland Slate and Grand Manor from CertainTeed and Berkshire from Owens Corning.