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Dovetail Greene
Dovetail Greene, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 377
Experience:  Licensed Building Contractor & Certified Building Designer
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For the first time, I am getting my roof replaced. What should

This answer was rated:

For the first time, I am getting my roof replaced. What should I know -- look out for?

Good afternoon.

My name's Kel.

If you would help me some questions I can give you a better answer --

Where are you located?

How old is your home?

Is there any sign of decay or rot along the eaves?

What shape is the roof?

How much pitch does it have?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you need more info? Did you receive my answers?

I didn't receive any answers.

would you resend?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Cleveland, Ohio -- snow belt


Built 1952


When I had a gutter reattached, the guy doing it said the wood was fine. Nails had just worked out and weight of the ice bought down the gutter .


Not sure what you are asking. -- no leaks


I do not know the angle of the pitch but it is the same as the other houses in the area. There was only one snow storm in the past five years that made me wonder if the rood should have a greater pitch -- TWO FEET fell in 16 hours.



Just received your answers.

Thank you.

A few more questions and we'll be there.

You wrote you found some shingles in the yard.

Do you have any idea how old the roof is?

Are any shingles curled at the edges?

Do you have problems with ice dams?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think, the roof is original. I inherited the home 5 years ago. My family owned the home since the mid sixties. I do not remember any talking about roofs but I was working out of town -- so I cannot be sure.


No curled edges.


The only time I have had a problem with ice dams was with the two foot snow fall that occurred in a short time which is not common for the area.. The ice dam occurred where there was 90 degree angle.

The good news is -- you don't have the conditions which add to the price or can lead to expensive extras.

Check to see if roofers need to be licensed. Call the Inspections Department for Cleveland. Or Google 'contractor licenses for Ohio'. That should connect you to any state licensing authority. Those sites tend to have a section on 'How to hire a contractor'.

Talk with neighbors, friends and colleagues about roofing work they had done. Who do they recommend?

If you're starting from scratch google roofing contractors for your area. Pick three companies as close to your home as possible. Make appointments. Ask for references. I'm never insulted when prospective clients ask. Shows me your serious. Check the references. Ask about how easy were they to work with. Were they prompt? Most importantly : how did they handle conflict? Were there any extras?

You might invest in an Angie's List membership. That will allow you to screen companies more easily using the AL website.

You can also go to and post a request for an estimate. It's a menu driven system. You'll get contacted by up to 5 contractors.

Ask them how they handle concealed conditions. For example if they find any hidden rot. Make sure they include sweeping the property with a magnet for nails at the end. Go over carefully who's responsible for protecting landscaping.

Good roofers will make sure you have the proper amount of ventilation.

What other questions do you have?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your points -- much appreciated especially liked the magnet and how to handle unexpected rot thoughts. I am already a member of Angie's list.


Looking at roofs, I have seen some that are stained with what looks like rust. Is it the wrong kind of nails? What kind of nail should it be?


I do not remembered where I heard it -- but it was about how many nails should be used on each shingle. Any comments.


I assuming that different type of shingles cost different prices -- what material would you suggest be used for the best bang for the buck.


What type of material should be used for what looks like black paper that goes between the shingles and the roof?


What about solar powered ventilation vents? Good or bad idea? Both peaks currently have metal vents.


I am planning to use the information to evaluate the estimates I receive. If someone gives me a low price with shoddy/cheap material, I want to be able to understand.


Do I need to replace the gutters at the same time?

If the gutters are bent or corroded they can be taken down and reinstalled. If they're sagging hangers can be added to true them up.

Solar powered vents are a waste of money. It's good the peak vents are in place. Have the contractor make sure the screens on the inside aren't failing. Can let in bugs, bats and birds.

A membrane is used under the shingles along eaves. It's quite thick and has an adhesive on the back. It grabs nails and the joints seal. Makes it hard for water to get in under the shingles. Critical to protect against ice dams. Should extend two feet inside where the wall and roof intersect. After that tar paper is used.

Three tab shingles are the least expensive. The really cheap ones are quite thin. I prefer to use an inexpensive shangle. These have an extra layer of material, so they last longer and don't require careful vertical alignment, so they can be installed more quickly. They also add more visual interest to the roof.

The minimal nailing pattern for a standard 12" x 36" shingle is four nails. In high wind areas six are required.

Roofing nails MUST be galvanized. When they throw rust it's because a cheap nail was used and not sealed. Make sure any exposed nails have a dab of sealant over them.

One of the places roofers compete is on the quality of their warranty. READ it carefully. There's probably a statutory minimum, but check what the material warranty is and what the labor warranty is.

Remember : a contract is an agreement between two people. IF something isn't covered you can have it added. Same thing with something that advances the contractors rights over yours.

Dovetail Greene and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Phyllis. This's Kel. checking in to see how your roofing project's going. . .
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Doing more digging and learning. Like do I add new shingles to current or do have the current shingles striped.

Good morning Phyllis.


That may be a matter of law.

It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


Some jurisdictions will allow placing ONE layer of new shingles over ONE layer of old shingles. Provided the structure of the home can support the weight.


Call your building inspections department. Someone there can review the regulations with you and tell you what to look for in your attic.


Does this answer your question?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If legal, it is a good idea?

If the structure of your home is adequate and Cleveland allows it -- it's perfectly acceptable to put new shingles over old.


A good roofer will check the roof structure before applying the second.


Slightly longer nails are used to insure proper connection.