Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled a list of our most commonly asked roofing questions. If your question is not here, or if you need further clarification please don’t hesitate to contact us by email or by telephone at 514-695-2009.
Will I need a new roof if mine is leaking?
How do I know when I need a new roof?
Why is it better to remove the old roof rather than do an overlay?
What is a roof deck?
What if my roof deck shows signs of water damage or rot?
What if my entire roof deck is substandard?
How do I find a reputable roofer or roofing company?
What about safety?
Does the company provide a free written estimate?
Does Premier Roofing have enough experience in roofing?
Do you provide customer references?
Does Premier Roofing have adequate insurance?
What is an RBQ Permit and why does a company need one?
Are there any extra costs not included in my estimate I should know about?
Why is underlayment so important?
What is drip edge and how is it applied?
Why is ventilation so important?
What is ice back-up, ice dams, or ice-damming?
What can I do about preventing ice dams or ice back-up?
What is a dimensional or architectural shingle?
What are low slope roofs?
How do I measure the pitch or slope of my roof?
Should all the metal and vents on my roof be changed?
What are the following: Gooseneck Vent, Maxi Vent, Turbine Vent,
What’s the difference between 25-year shingles and 30-year shingles?
Do I need to peel the plastic cellophane tape off the back of the shingles?
What should I do if I have a problem or concern with my shingles?
What is the BP (Building Products of Canada) Certified Roofer Program?
Q: Will I need a new roof if mine is leaking?
A: First you must establish that it is indeed the roof that is leaking! Windows and chimneys can be the culprits when water damage occurs inside the home. If your roof only leaks in winter you may be experiencing ice damming or "ice back-up" and the problem may be due to ventilation and/or insulation and not necessarily a roof problem.
A qualified roofer should, in most cases, be able to pinpoint the problem. At that point, age and condition of the existing roof will determine whether repairing or replacing your roof is your best option.
Q: How do I know when I need a new roof?
A: In most cases, your roof will let you know when it is starting to show its age. Things to look for include shingles that are missing, cracked, or buckled. Curling is another obvious sign of deterioration that can pose an additional problem: a curled shingle can allow wind to get under and lift it. Shingles become brittle with age, and a lifted shingle is highly susceptible to breaking off and exposing the unprotected roof deck to the elements.
Q: Why is it better to remove the old roof rather than do an overlay?
A: An overlay is essentially a roof on top of a roof. Though most municipalities and building codes allow for applying multiple layers of shingles, it is not always the wisest nor -- in the long run -- the most economical choice. By not removing the existing shingles, the possibility of roofing over damaged or rotten wood is something to be considered. In addition, it is not always possible to properly install the paper and membranes that prevent ice infiltration and provide additional protection from moisture -- these components require a clean, dry surface to be applied properly. Overlayment can also shorten the life span of the new shingles (check manufacturer’s installation requirements for shingle warranty). The last thing to be aware of may be the most important for homeowners: curb appeal! Shingles that are overlayed will eventually take on the contour of your old, buckled shingles, and they may not lie flat or seal properly.
Q: What is a roof deck?
A: A roof deck is the sheathing upon which the membrane and shingles are installed. Generally it is plywood overlaid on roof trusses (the beams that hold your roof up) but in older homes it can also be boards or tongue-in-groove wooden planks.
Q: What if my roof deck shows signs of water damage or rot?
A: The area that is rotten will need to be replaced. When there is leaking it is usually isolated to small areas, generally next to chimneys, vents or valley areas. We include a certain amount of free wood replacement in our estimates which should be sufficient to cover most minor repairs.
Q: What if my entire roof deck is substandard?
A: Rarely does an entire roof deck need replacing. However, in some cases visual concerns (rolling or waviness) or dry rot may not be obvious until the removal of the existing roofing materials. This situation is the exception rather than the rule, but should it occur, the homeowners will be apprised of the situation immediately and all options will be discussed and agreed upon. Fortunately a qualified roofer can usually determine if a new deck is necessary prior to the removal of the existing roof.
Q: How do I find a reputable roofer or roofing company?
A: Word of mouth is the best way to find qualified, reliable roofers. The best place to start is by asking friends or family for referrals. Talk to neighbours and ask how their experiences were. Once you have acquired some names (preferably a minimum of three), request written estimates from these businesses. Don’t hesitate to ask for further references: a few well-placed phone calls now can save you a world of grief later! Researching a roofing company can be as easy as a few clicks on the "Better Business Bureau” website and as straightforward as entering an RBQ permit number to determine if a company is qualified. Using a BP of Canada certified roofing company is another way of assuring quality.
Q: What about safety?
A: We are completely committed to safety in all aspects of our day-to-day roofing activities. All of our workers are fully covered by CSST and are appraised of our work and safety procedures during the hiring phase. On site, all employees are supplied with safety belts and harnesses.
Q: Does the company provide a free written estimate?
A: We will provide an estimate in writing which includes the materials to be used on the job, the work steps involved, the cost and any other relevant information pertaining to your roof. We will also include a copy of all appropriate insurance papers, several sheets of references and a complete list of our terms and warranties.
Q: Does Premier Roofing have enough experience in roofing?
A: We have been in business for twenty-one consecutive years with Andrew Lamothe at the helm. Prior to starting Premier Roofing, Andrew spent years learning the trade first-hand. Starting as a labourer, he worked his way up to apprentice shingler and, upon completing his union apprenticeship, became foreman of the crew. Now, twenty-one years later, Andrew still oversees every aspect of every job.
Q: Do you provide customer references?
A: Premier Roofing offers a list of references from dozens of customers that includes names and phone numbers. We do not edit or cherry-pick our referrals so any of our previous customers may be included at any time on our referral lists.
Q: Does Premier Roofing have adequate insurance?
A: Premier Roofing carries $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars) of liability insurance. Our employees are also fully insured in the event of an accident on the jobsite by the CSST of Québec. If a roofing company is not properly insured, the homeowner or the homeowner's insurance company becomes liable for personal injury claims and damages to the home. This insurance must be renewed annually, so be sure to ask for proof that it is up-to-date when in doubt.
Q: What is an RBQ permit and why does a company need one?
A: An RBQ (Régie du bâtiment du Québec) Permit is a permit issued by the provincial government and all businesses in Québec must have one to operate. In order for a business to qualify for a permit they must first show that they are bonded and solvent. Permit-holders must then prove themselves qualified in three separate categories: safety, administration and practical application. It is a long, in-depth process and those who operate illegally are likely not capable of satisfying all the necessary requirements. They may also feel the effort is unwarranted if they only plan to operate for a short time!
Q: Are there any extra costs not included in my estimate I should know about?
A: We stand by our quote! No hidden extras or surprises. Our estimates always cover the cost of redoing the agreed-upon area completely. There are only two reasons a price will be changed: first, when upgrades are requested (for example, six feet of ice and water membrane instead of three, or perhaps thirty-year architectural shingles instead of twenty-five-year standard ones). Secondly, when hidden problems are found that were undetectable prior to the removal of the old shingles and paper, such as excessive amounts of rotten sheathing. The homeowner is always consulted prior to any changes being made.
Q: Why is underlayment so important?
A: Underlayment is a layer of protection that is applied to your roof deck prior to the installation of shingles. Premier Roofing uses a self-sealing ice and water shield on the eaves (front edges) of your roof, which helps to protect your home from water penetration due to ice back-up and wind-driven rain. Fifteen pound (15 lb.) tarpaper is then applied to the rest of the roof deck for two reasons. First, in the event of shingle damage or loss, it will temporarily prevent water from penetrating the deck. Second, it acts as a moisture (vapour) barrier preventing condensation from damaging your roof deck.
Q: What is drip edge and how is it applied?
A: Drip edge consists of eight (8) foot lengths of aluminium that are applied to the eaves (front edges) and rakes (side edges) of your roof. Drip edge is very important and should not be skipped. On the eaves, it is applied under the ice and water shield to prevent rain water from curling around the edge of the roof, running down the facia and eventually rotting the wood. On the rakes, it should be applied over the fifteen pound (15 lb.) tarpaper to prevent wind-driven rain from blowing under the paper.
Q: Why is ventilation so important?
A: In Canada, minimum requirements prescribed in the National Building Code must be respected. In addition, shingle manufacturers have their own ventilation requirements needed to validate their warranties. In all cases, the most stringent applicable building codes must be followed. Aside from warranty issues and building bylaws, ventilation is necessary to prevent excessive heat from building up in the attic during the summer. Too much heat can lead to blistering, buckling or curling of the shingles. In the winter, adequate ventilation is necessary to help prevent ice back-up (also known as ice dams).
Q: What is ice back-up, ice dams, or ice-damming?
A: The simple answer is that ice back-up is a constant cycle of snow melting and refreezing at the eaves (edges) of your roof. How this actually works is more complicated. During the winter your roof will eventually become covered in snow, and too much heat in your attic will cause your roof deck to warm up. Warmed from underneath, the bottom layer of snow will start to melt and water will begin to trickle down to the eaves of your roof. When it reaches the unheated overhang the water starts freezing and icicles begin to form. As the ice builds up, it forms a dam which prevents water from escaping off the roof. This process can be exacerbated if water in the gutter should freeze, as the gutter itself will then act as an immediate dam. As the ice backs up under the shingles, it eventually reaches the heated section of your roof. Once this occurs, the meltwater becomes trapped due to the ice. As it is blocked from running off the roof, it will instead run into the roof, causing leaking and damage.
Other aggravating factors can include bright sunlight, insufficient ventilation or insulation as well as poor building design.
Q: What can I do about preventing ice dams or ice back-up?
A: Figuring out why your roof is prone to this phenomenon will help determine the level of success you can achieve in alleviating it. Although each house is different, they all can benefit from following as many of these steps as are practical and financially feasible. The first step should be to install a vapour barrier above the warm space of the house. Second, the attic should be properly insulated. Third, adequate ventilation in the form of both roof vents and soffits (eave vents) should be provided to allow an escape for any remaining heat. In some rare cases where the problem is structural it may simply not financially viable to redesign or rebuild the roof. In these cases, keeping it free of snow and ice may be your last best defence. Knowing this does not necessarily mean that you should grab your ladder, shovel and axe! The risk of falling or damaging your roof is very serious concern, and so such work should be left to a licensed, insured roofing company.
Q: What is a dimensional or architectural shingle?
A: Architectural shingles are designed to give the appearance of slate or wood shingles at a cost that most people can afford. They come in many different styles with a wide variety of colours. They are also known as three dimensional shingles or laminate shingles.
Q: What are low slope roofs?
A: Low slope roofs are generally considered to have a roof pitch of 3:12 or 14° or less.
Q: How do I measure the pitch or slope of my roof?
A: Professionals will refer to your roof in such terms as 2:12 or 7:12. This simply means that for every 12” your roof extends from the peak it drops 2” or 7” in height respectively. The higher the first number, the steeper the roof. The best way to measure the slope is to take a level and extend it out 12” from the peak of the roof. Then, measure down to the roof deck. Whatever that measurement is will denote the pitch of your roof.
Q: Should all the metal and vents on my roof be changed?
A: As a general rule Premier Roofing changes all existing metal on the roof for two reasons. First, most accessories on a roof are as old as the shingles themselves and so have been exposed to the elements for just as long. In addition, they will all have old nail holes. If you have just installed a new vent for whatever reason in the last few years, it is possible to re-use it depending on its condition. The long and short of it is that you want your entire roof to last at least twenty years.
Q: What are the following: Gooseneck Vent, Maxi Vent, Turbine Vent, Plumbing Vent?
A: Gooseneck is a type of vent, named for its shape, that is used to exhaust heat from kitchen or bathroom fans. A maxi vent is short for “Maximum ventilator”, a brand of roof and attic vents. Turbine vents are literally roof vents that spin. Occasionally they can be the cause of leaking if, for whatever reason, they are unable to turn. Plumbing vents are the sleeves (sheaths) that fit over the plumbing exhaust pipes that extend through your roof.
Q: What’s the difference between 25-year shingles and 30-year shingles?
A: Each type of shingle comes with its own warranty. However, generally speaking, the heavier the shingle the longer it's warranty. The more layers of waterproofing material (fibreglass and asphalt), the thicker the shingle will be and the longer it will last.
Q: Do I need to peel the plastic cellophane tape off the back of the shingles?
A: There is no need to peel the cellophane tape off. It is there simply to prevent the shingles from sticking together in the package. The sealing strip on the shingle will bond once it has been warmed by the sun.
Q: What should I do if I have a problem or concern with my shingles?
A: You will be required to get in touch directly with the manufacturer. You will need to provide proof of purchase (i.e. an invoice from the contractor who installed your roof or the store receipt if you purchased the singles yourself) to the manufacturer who will then guide you in the process of filing a claim.
Q: What is the BP (Building Products of Canada) Certified Roofer Program?
A: As explained on the BP website:
This unique program is reserved for select roofers that meet stringent criteria. These include:
- a minimum of 5 years as a legal entity;
- possession of all the legal permits necessary to practice as a professional roofer;
- a minimum of $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars) of insurance as well as Workman's Compensation coverage;
- a reputation of quality workmanship and integrity.
To become a BP Certified Roofer, your roofing company must be staffed by highly trained professionals. All your crew chiefs and supervisors must be trained and evaluated in accordance with our published systems requirements and product installation procedures. 80% is the minimum score we will accept in the rigorous testing of know-how and ability.