Things To Know Before Installing A New Roof in Ann Arbor, Michigan


Your roof provides your home with protection against the sometimes harsh conditions that Michigan weather can bring. During the summer, it helps maintain cooler interior temperatures, and in winter, it helps keep cold air out. If it is damaged, or has deteriorated over the years, it’s protective properties are diminished. If your roof is older, or is showing any signs of damage, it may well be time to replace it. However, installing a new roof in Ann Arbor, MI is a major investment, and it’s important that you understand some key points before you make the decision.

Typical Roof Lifespan

How long your roof will last depends upon the materials that are used. Typical asphalt shingle roofs are designed to provide protection for between 20 and 25 years. Shake and wood shingle roofing materials have a longer lifespan, somewhere between 20 and 30 years. Metal roofs are extremely durable, and can last as long as 50 years. The materials that last the longest, by far, are slate, copper and tile, which often last for 100 years, sometimes longer.

Signs Your Roof Needs Replacing

The number one indicator that you need a new roof in Ann Arbor, MI is the roof’s age. If yours is nearing the end of its predicted lifespan, or you’re not sure when the roof was first installed, consider contacting contractors for a new roof in Ann Arbor. Remember that over time, harsh weather and damage can shorten your roof’s expected lifespan dramatically. Here are some other indications that your roof needs work:

  • Water Leaks – If you notice water spots developing on your ceiling, or moisture forming along the walls, you could very well have a leaking roof. Most often, leaks occur in roof valleys, and around flashing. If there is a small leak, a repair should do the trick. Multiple leaks, or a large volume of water coming in indicate the need for a roof replacement. Inspecting a roof for leaks is a potentially dangerous job, so call a professional roofing company to inspect it, and make any necessary repairs.
  • Light Coming Through – Take a look at the ceiling inside your attic during daylight hours. Inspect the entire area carefully, looking for any signs of moisture, as well as cracks and openings. You shouldn’t be able to see any light coming through the roof boards. If you do notice light coming in, you can be sure that water also makes its way through. Don’t procrastinate, call in a roofer. The longer you wait, the more damage your home will incur, and the more costly the repairs will be.
  • Granules in Gutters – Take a quick look at the gutters around your home. Are there visible black specks collecting there? What you’re seeing are asphalt granules that have broken away from your shingles. Although it is perfectly normal for these granules to be lost over time, as a roof ages, the shingles tend to lose more granules. Track the amount of granules in your gutters, and if you see that it’s increasing, it may be time to call in someone to replace the roof.
  • Curling & Buckling Shingles – Sunshine can have a devastating impact on roof shingles, especially if they’re made of asphalt. Over time, it can cause them to buckle, curl and lift away from the surface. Inspect your roof from the ground on a sunny day. Take a good look at the sloping areas that get the most direct sunlight. If the shingles are flat and even, they’re still in good shape. If you notice any irregularity, or disruption in the flatness, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to replace them.
  • Missing Shingles – Even though roofs are typically meant to withstand high winds, heavy rains, ice, and snow storms these elements can be extremely harsh. After a particularly windy day, or once a heavy storm has passed, do a quick ground-level roof inspection. If you notice that there are any shingles missing, it may be a sign that your roof is failing. You may be tempted to climb up for a better look, but if the roof is damaged, doing so could be extremely dangerous, so stay off the roof and call a pro to do an inspection.

Typically, the signs mentioned above don’t just happen independently. For example, water and light leaks both show openings in the roofing materials. Likewise, shingles that curl and buckle are more likely to fall off than those that are firmly fastened to the roof.

Number of Layers

With the exception of asphalt shingles, most roofing materials are applied in a single layer. However, it is common practice to apply up to two layers of asphalt shingles to a roof. However, a third layer is very rare, and not recommended. For one thing, the more layers that are applied to the roof, the heavier it gets. Too much weight can cause structural damage. Additionally, any irregularities in the roof, like bumps dips, are more obvious when multiple layers are present.

Another issue surrounding more than one layer of roofing material is access to the roof’s decking and flashing is severely limited. Your roofer can’t get in and inspect them properly. the roofer can’t inspect and repair the decking and flashing underneath. Reputable roofing contractors in Ann Arbor, Michigan will generally recommend a full roof replacement to avoid any issues in the future.

Roofing Material Choices

The most common roofing material chosen by roofing contractors in Ann Arbor, and homeowners, is asphalt shingles. They are the least expensive, most readily available, and easiest to work with. They are available in a variety of styles and colors as well. They are also the best materials for roofs with a steep pitch, and for older homes that cannot bear the weight of heavier materials.

Wood shingles and shakes are another popular option. A variety of wood types are available and many are treated with fire retardant materials. Metal roofing is preferred by some because it is lightweight, durable and naturally fire resistant. Clay and concrete are relatively inexpensive options that offer a great deal of variety, and longevity. Slate roofing is the most expensive roofing option, however, they’re also the longest lasting.

Choosing A Roofer

Installing a new roof isn’t something you’ll be doing on a regular basis. In fact, most homeowners only have to take on this task once during their time in a home. It can be difficult to decide which company to go with, especially since there are several roofing contractors in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the surrounding areas. Choosing the one that’s best for you, and your project, is a matter of doing a little research and asking the right questions.

  • Personal Referrals – Friends, relatives, and neighbors are a great source for information about local roofing companies. If someone you know has recently had roof work done, ask them what they thought of the company, their work, and the end results.
  • Professional Referrals – Another great way to find a good roofing contractor is to talk to the people at the local lumber yard, home improvement big box store, or other tradespeople. They’ll be happy to give you their opinion of local roofers, and recommend one to you.
  • Online Research – Take the time to look up the roofing contractors that you’re considering online. Look for reviews from previous customers, as well as any information provided on sites like Angie’s List. You’ll get a good indication of the company’s reputation and quality of work.
  • Ask For References – Ask the roofing company for the names and numbers of people who have hired them for a roof installation in Ann Arbor. A reputable company will hand them over easily. Take the time to call these people, and also take a look at the work, if possible.
  • Shop For Quality – Not Price – Roof installation isn’t always cheap, and it may be tempting to go with the lowest bidder. While it’s understandable that you’d want to save money, the quality of the work, and materials used should be higher on your list of priorities than price.
  • Get Everything In Writing – It’s always a good idea to get a written estimate of the costs, time-frame, and details of the work that will be complete. In other words, no surprises. If you do this for each of the roofing contractors you’re considering, comparing them is easier.