State Roofing Buying Guide for Georgia
With the arrival of warm weather, many homeowners are setting up their calendar with home improvement projects. One that is important to your home’s energy efficiency is a new roof. A new roof is a big undertaking that requires preparation to ensure a smooth and successful installation. With this basic buying guide, you’ll have the information necessary to get the project up and running.
- Georgia Permits
- Georgia Contractor Hiring Process
- Climate in Georgia
- Roof Types
- Roofing Materials
- Federal Tax Credit
- Preparing the Property
- Be Prepared
- Benefits of a New Roof
Georgia Permits and Inspections
Checking with the building and development center for your particular city regarding a required permit and inspection is a must. To ensure proper installation by a licensed and insured contractor and to adherence to city building codes, a permit is needed prior to starting a roofing project. Many centers provide walk-in service as well as online application service for permits and for scheduling an inspection.
Contact your local government office to find out what steps you need to take to be in compliance with required rules and regulations. This is a step you don’t want to ignore as fines can be imposed for work completed without the proper permit. It can also become a problem if the installation is done by an unlicensed contractor and the installation doesn’t pass inspection. Avoid potential problems by making the call or visiting the website for your city before allowing any work to be started.
Georgia Contractor Hiring Process
There are many contractors to choose from but you want the one that brings experience along with the appropriate credentials, license, and insurance. A recommendation by a friend or co-worker is a good place to start but if that isn’t an option, contact local contractors/companies and schedule a visit to your property to give you an estimate. Request this from several contractors so you have a comparison of what they include in their estimate, fee wise, what they don’t include, terms for payment, warranty for installation and labor, and an anticipated date to start and complete the job.
The basic fees on the estimate should include the cost of the roofing materials, any additional supplies and materials, transportation, removal and site clean-up, labor, and the cost for any equipment needed for the job. The estimate will most likely not include permit and inspection fees, or repairs that are needed once the existing roofing is removed.
The estimate should be signed and dated. When you receive an actual contract, compare it to the estimate. Do not sign if there are any discrepancies, omissions, or added charges until they are fully explained and you are in agreement. If you are required to place a down payment, it should be fully explained what it covers in the contract with the remaining balance clearly outlined.
Ask questions if there is any part of the contract that is unclear. Also, it is recommended to check out the history of the contractor through the Better Business Bureau and to verify any contractor’s license you are considering using the free validation tool available at the Georgia Secretary of State Professional Licensing page.
Climate in Georgia
The state of Georgia has six distinct regions, varying climates, and each with well-defined seasons. Summertime temperatures are moderate ranging in the 80-degree range while winter brings cooler temperatures in the 40s with minimal snowfall. Overall, Georgia receives over 200 days of sunshine and approximately 100 days with precipitation. The humidity level is below the national average which means days can be muggy.
It’s important when choosing roofing material to know which type offers the best protection against the elements in your region. Consult with your contractor about material choice to ensure you select the best type for your property.
Roof Types in Georgia
The style of your home’s roof is a consideration when choosing roofing material because not all roofing materials work with every roof design. Additional factors in material selection process include price, durability of the material, how long the material will last, and if the material is high or low maintenance. The following is an example of several roof designs:
- Gable– a common roof style known for its signature inverted “V” design. This roof type provides good ventilation.
- Flat– a flat roof is one of the easiest to build and one of the easiest to access if repairs are needed. The roof must have enough pitch for water drainage. Flat roofs do require more maintenance to prevent build-up of limbs and leaves on the roof surface which can result in damaging the material.
- Pyramid– the name says it all. This style features a series of pyramids on designated roof areas.
- Hip– a hip style roof consists of a flat top and four sides. It is similar to the pyramid style.
- Other types of roof designs include A-frame, mansard, butterfly, bonnet, cross-gable, saltbox, skillion, and gambrel.
Roofing Materials in Georgia
Roofing materials come in assorted styles, types, and colors. You will want to choose the one that suits the design of your home. Discuss this with your contractor. Listed below are a few of the most common materials available:
- Asphalt shingles are considered one of the most popular roofing materials. The material works on most architectural styles and is one of the easiest materials to install. Asphalt is durable and resilient which accounts for its lifespan of between 15 and 30 years.
- Slate and clay tile roofs make a visual statement. Both are durable and known for their longevity. The tiles are heavy and require a separate frame to hold the tiles in place. Clay tiles last 50+ years and slate can last from 50 to 100 years.
- Fiber cement may sound like it would also be a heavy material but it is lighter than clay or slate due to its composition of clay, wood fibers, and cement. The material is fire proof, recyclable, and lasts from 20 to 30 years.
- Metal roofing material is also recyclable and available in stainless steel, copper, or aluminum and lasts up to 50 years.
Federal Tax Credit for Qualified Roofing
A new roof can be costly with prices ranging anywhere from $9,000 to $15,000 or more. The price is based on the materials necessary for the square footage of the roof plus additional costs such as labor, supplies, materials, and any equipment that may be needed. Properties having an asphalt or metal roof installed are eligible for a federal tax credit from Energy Star when using their products. Visit the Energy Star website for information about the requirements for the tax credit and how to apply.
Preparing the Property for Installation in Georgia
It’s recommended that prior to having a new roof installed, to take care of any exterior work which may require access to the roof such as painting the property, pressure washing, painting the trim, trimming overhanging tree limbs, replacing soffits or gutters, chimney cleaning or maintenance, or cleaning the gutters. Once the roof is installed, you’ll want to keep traffic on the roof to a minimum. This is especially true if the material being installed is slate or tile.
Be Prepared for Roofing Surprises
Like most any project, it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. An obstacle that can have an impact on the timely completion on the new roofing project is an unforeseen issue to the structure of the roof. Problems such as leaks or termite damage to beams won’t be visible until the current roofing material is removed.
Should there be any damage, repairs will need to be made especially when it comes to rotten or soft wood. This will increase the total cost since repairs are generally not included in an estimate. The extent of the damage and the amount of time it will take to make repairs can also impact the completion date.
Based on the square footage of the property, type of material, and any needed repairs are factors in the length of time the project can take. Generally, a new roofing project can last anywhere from 2 days to 1 week, sometimes longer, so plan accordingly and keep in mind bad weather can play a role in extending the project.
When the new roof is inspected, there could be problems that may prevent the installation from being approved. This goes back to the contractor section and why it’s important to choose only someone who has the appropriate license and experience in roof installation.
Benefits of a New Roof in Georgia
As noted, the cost of a new roof is a significant but well worth the investment and here’s why:
- If your home is well insulated and free of leaks around doors and windows, the energy efficiency in your home will increase. This can impact the monthly utility bill in a good way.
- The value of the property increases with the addition of a new roof.
- Nothing shouts “look at me” like a new roof that highlights the exterior of the property. A new roof adds instant curb appeal.
- Homes that may be going on the market have an extra selling point for potential buyers.
- Since both fiber cement and metal roofing is recyclable, the home is considered eco-friendly which is another positive selling point.
- In some cases, your homeowner’s insurance may offer a discount for upgrading the roof with hurricane clips, for example, to make the home more secure when dealing with high wind situations.
As you can see, there are quite a few steps involved with a new roof from day one. To keep the project running smoothing and in a timely manner, consider the information in the guide as a road map to a successful project. Throughout the project, stay informed, do research, validate credentials, and ask questions of your contractor along the way.