State Roofing Buying Guide Michigan
All across the U.S., property owners are gearing up for warmer weather. With that comes home improvement projects, both big and small. After the snow, ice and freezing temperatures are a thing of the past, for another year, it’s time to think about areas that need updating. One part of the property that goes to the top of the list is the roof. If the covering isn’t working properly, your home or business is susceptible to higher utility bills as well as interior damage due to leaks from weak, worn out, or damaged roofing material and possibly internal structural damage. This state roofing guide provides a checklist of the basic steps you need to consider when planning on having a new roof installed.
Checklist in Preparation of a New Roof in Michigan
- Michigan Climate
- Permits and Inspections
- Contractor Tips and Validation
- Types of Roofs
- Roof Material Selection
- Benefits of a New Roof in Michigan
You may not realize it, but the climate plays a role in roofing material selection. To put it simply, while all materials have particular attributes, some work better in a particular region than others. Below is an overview of the Michigan climate. With this information you can discuss with your contractor the material that will provide the best coverage that is applicable to your property’s roof style.
On average, Michigan receives sun-filled days 170 times per year and days with measurable precipitation 126 days. The average summertime temperature hovers in the low 80-degree range. Winters can be brutal with average lows in the mid 14-degree range and estimated yearly snowfall at 59 inches. The average snowfall for U.S. cities is 25 inches annually. The comfort index for humidity is 57 out of 100, which is higher than the U.S. average of 44 out of 100. This is a good rating level as some states have a significantly lower humidity rating leading to extremely muggy days.
Permits and Inspections
Permits and inspections are not an area you want to avoid because it can cost you additional money in fines, additional fees, and/or removal of the already installed roofing. With only a very few exceptions, a permit is needed whenever a new roof is being installed along with an inspection, once when the existing roof is torn off, and again once the new roofing is completely installed. Both ensure the roofing has been properly installed according to your cities building codes, zoning codes, ordinances, regulations, or any other rules that may be in place for your area. A permit needs to be applied for and approved prior to the first shingle being removed.
There are situations when new roofing cannot be installed if certain conditions apply. For example, if the current roofing material is two layers thick, it must be removed before new material can be installed. Another situation is if the roof is in disrepair and deteriorated or water soaked. Both conditions will prevent the roof from being structurally sound for new roofing. In Detroit, for example, if the existing roof has wood shake, cement-asbestos tile, clay or slate material, it must be removed prior to new installation.
For information about the requirements for your city, contact the planning, building or development center. These departments are usually found at the official city website. If in doubt about the requirements for your city, ask the customer service representative for help. Many cities provide online permit application services and fee payment for your convenience.
Contractor Tips and Validation
- Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for a recommendation if they’ve had a new roof installed.
- If a recommendation isn’t an option, contact local contractors for an estimate. Set up an appointment for the contractor to visit the property and provide you with a signed and dated estimate that includes all applicable fees.
- Ask about any other costs the contractor may have such as site clean-up and material removal that are a separate charge.
- Discuss how the contractor will handle any unforeseen problems and potential costs so you aren’t surprised should a situation occur.
- Check each contractor’s work history with the Better Business Bureau. You want to know ahead of time of any unprofessional behavior, bad reviews, or law suits due to incompetent installation.
- A tool you’ll want to take advantage of is the online search option at the Michigan Contractors License Directory. Use this free tool to validate that the contractors you are considering have the appropriate license.
- Once you choose a contractor, the next step is checking over the contract for any discrepancies. Do not sign a contract if there is any portion that is unclear, if pertinent information is missing, or has been altered without your approval.
Types of Roofs
The type of roof is a factor in the type of material that can be installed. For example, you wouldn’t have wood shakes installed on a flat roof. For this type of structure, the roof should have a minimal slope for water drainage. Flat roofs are susceptible to pooling as well as debris such as leaves, small branches, or limbs resting on the roof requiring manual removal. This is another area to discuss with your contractor if you are planning to change from one type of roofing material to another. What you want may not work with the roof design.
Examples of roof types include:
- Cross Gabled
Roofing Material Selection
Material type, style, and color are the things you’ll be determining when making a choice for your property’s roof. There are many to choose from each with its own positive and negative attributes. The following provides information about a few of the most common material types:
- Asphalt shingles, aka composite shingles, have a proven track record as one of the most popular material types. Asphalt is less expensive than several other types, known for its durability and easy installation. Asphalt shingles can last up to 30 years.
- Wood shingles have a long life expectancy of 25 years. The material is available in southern pine, cedar, or redwood and more expensive than asphalt. Check with the city if wood shingles are allowed in your city. Due to fire codes, not all states will approve installation.
- Metal roofing is one of the recyclable materials. Metal is more expensive than shingles but it provides excellent coverage, prevents entry to the underlying wood structure by wood-boring insects, and is eco-friendly. Metal is available in copper, stainless steel, and aluminum.
- Slate and clay tiles are a solid covering. The stone material is heavy but durable and tends to be on the high end for cost. Both have a long life span.
- Rolled roofing is used on property with a flat roof. This may be the entire roof or a portion of it. While easy to install and relatively inexpensive, rolled roofing requires more maintenance than the other materials.
Having a budget in place and financing set is another important step. The cost of a new roof, depending on the square footage of the roof, roofing material, labor for installation, equipment, and supplies can range anywhere from $6,000 to over $20,000. This estimate does not include additional fees the contractor may have. It also doesn’t include any repairs that may be required before new roofing is installed.
One of the options for financing a new roof is using the equity in your property for a home equity loan. Another option is a home improvement loan from your bank or credit union. Private lenders are also an option but the interest rate may be higher than what you’ll receive at your lending institution. While a credit card is convenient, monthly interest fees can end up costing more than a simple interest loan.
The U.S. Department of Energy funds the DSIRE site that has multiple listings for available programs including residential and commercial loans, grants, and incentives. Keep your eye open for rebate programs for attic insulation, if you are planning to include this along with a new roof.
The Energy Star website has information about the requirements for applying for a federal tax credit for those having either an asphalt or metal roof installed.
There are a few things to consider that can have an impact on the roofing project:
- It is recommended that any exterior work or repairs that require access to the roof be taken care of prior to new roof installation such as cleaning the gutters, trimming overhanging branches, or having the chimney repaired.
- Unforeseen situations arise such as bad weather that can halt the project. Have a contingent plan in case the completion date is extended.
- Also have a money reserve available for unexpected expenditures.
- You may have an opportunity for a homeowner’s insurance discount with certain upgrades put in place with the new roof. Hurricane clips and specific nail patterns are two processes that may earn you a discount. Contact your agent and find out before the project starts.
Benefits of a New Roof in Michigan
A new roof is a significant investment that can pay off through the years. You can expect a return on investment when the project is completed properly by professional roofers. Other benefits include:
- Immediate increase in property value.
- Property is labeled as “green” and “eco-friendly” when roofing material is installed that can be recycled.
- Immediate curb appeal.
- Improved energy efficiency when all other areas of the property – doors and windows – are caulked and sealed preventing leaks.
- A new roof is a positive selling point when marketing a property up for sale.
With such a monetary investment at stake, having a plan of action for a professional roofing project is important. Communicate with your contractor, ask questions, do research, and be prepared every step of the way. These steps will help guide your project to a successful completion.