Curling Shingles – A Key Sign of Roof Aging

Asphalt based shingles have four layers. During the aging process the two asphalt layers begin to contract around the base mat layer. The base mat layer is commonly a fiberglass layer and will not shrink. As the asphalt layers contract they will pull on the mat layer causing it to pull away from the layer of shingle underneath giving the edge a curl look.


Typical curling looks like this with shingle roofs:




It is rare to find curling in shingles younger than 12 years of age on a roof. If it does exist for young shingles, you may have a more serious problem than just the shingle. Curling in young shingles is commonly sourced from improper ventilation in the attic. Other causes include improper installation, poorly made shingle or even the wrong shingle type on your roof.


Curling with shingles older than 12 years of age is not uncommon, but it is a sign the shingle is in its second half of life. During the 2nd half of life, shingles deteriorate at an accelerating rate. Thus, it is a good idea to have your roof inspected by a certified inspector. Inspectors determine the remaining life of the roof membrane, identify potential or existing issues and provide guidance to the property owner of the next best set of steps to maintain roof integrity.


The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association trains and certifies roof inspectors across the country. If you wish to be placed in contact with a Certified Inspector, fill out this NRCIA Contact Form and a qualified inspector will reach out to you. 


Guide to Choosing a Professional Roofing Contractor

Having your roof repaired or replaced is a daunting endeavor. There will be four to six workers on your roof making noise and exposing your property to potential water intrusion if not conducted properly. The financial exposure is significant given the potential losses, and this is with homeowner’s insurance.

So how do you select a professional roofing contractor to minimize this risk and ensure that your roof project is executed in the best possible manner?

There are six key elements in selecting a professional roofing contractor.


Legal Name and Address

This is important for several reasons, primarily you need to know what is the legal name and address of the roofer that is responsible for your roof. This is required to validate their license and credentials. Furthermore, having the correct legal name provides the foundation of the financial exchanges between the parties. In addition, you need this information as it should match the third-party sources when you investigate this contractor’s legitimacy.

There are several indicators that the name is legitimate including letterhead, marketing materials, office location, and the next most important key element: insurance.



Every professional roofing contractor will provide insurance documentation with their proposal. A standard Accord certificate of insurance is customarily presented without you having to ask. If you have to ask for the insurance certificate after receiving the proposal, you may want to exclude this contractor from the selection pool.

The two minimum insurance policies required include general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Without either, the homeowner is liable for the respective claims associated with the property address if they arise.


License and Credentials

Most states in the US require roofing contractors to carry or obtain a license to perform construction work. In some states, it is a simple contractor’s license. A good ratio of states mandates the roofing contractor carry a specialty license to perform roofing work. Your roofing contractor should carry a license.

They should have TWO licenses. The first relates to construction, i.e. a contractor’s or roofer’s license as explained above. The second required license is a business license. For most states, it is referred to as a franchise license issued by the state’s Secretary of State; some states mandate this at the local level where a Commissioner of the Revenue issues business licenses. The key here is that your roofing contractor should provide copies of both licenses. The business license should match the legal name as explained above. Contractor licenses and specialty licenses are often issued to individuals and the state’s contractors license board will have a database to associate the individual with a company. 

Credentials go above and beyond licenses and demonstrate a higher level of professionalism with the company. Credentials include:

  * Certifications – such as those advocated by the NRCIA,
  * Safety Cards – OASHA 10 Hour Training and Fall Protection, 
  * Manufacturer’s Approval – required to issue manufacturer’s warranty for the materials,
  * Formal Degrees – engineering, construction 4-year institution or trade programs
  * Memberships – including membership in the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association 



A fourth key element is referrals from prior customers. Many roofing contractors provide testimonials on their website and the better organizations will include an e-mail address from that customer. Thus, you have an opportunity to ask questions and get an idea of the level of conduct and outcomes related to past projects.



It is common to receive two warranties when a roofing project is completed. The first comes from the manufacturer of the roof materials. Their warranty often extends to five years and on a limited basis beyond that period. The second warranty is for workmanship. This is the roofing contractor’s assurance that the labor cost associated with any callback is completely free. The best professionals include two communication contacts after the installation. The first is done 30 days after the install to verify no leaks. Customarily, the roofing contractor calls you and asks that you walk inside of the home looking for water stains or other indications of possible leaks. The second contact is physical and occurs after one year whereby the roofer stops at your home and walks around your property to inspect and look for any obvious issues that may have arisen during the prior twelve months.

The workmanship warranty customarily extends out for two years and with higher quality materials, five years. There are exceptions to workmanship which include storms, hail, or tornados. In this case, they are defined as winds over 80MPH or hail storms causing a certain size of the hailstone. But in general, the workmanship warranty covers all other incidents or issues on your roof.


Resolution Process

Finally, you want to know the process to resolve any issues that arise. The better roofing contractors want you to contact them and give them access to the roof so they may investigate and determine the source of the issue you identify. Many minor items can be addressed right then and thereby the inspector. For more significant issues, the contractor will want to have the opportunity to correct the defect in a period such as within seven days. 

For egregious issues or differences, many contracts between the homeowner and the roofing contractor allow for an independent assessment of the issue paid by the contractor. Often the third party opinion is the position taken by the roofing contractor. The more professional roofing contractors will absorb the associated cost of repairs or cures if the third-party investigator determines culpability on the contractor. However, if the third-party investigator determines it is an act of God or homeowner neglect, the contractor will extend a proposal to make repairs. 

In this case, many homeowners feel slighted or disagree with the results; thus, they feel the roofing contractor is still at fault. In this case, many roofing contractors will allow the homeowner to engage their inspector and get a determination from that third party. The key here is that the second outside inspector is paid by the homeowner and not the roofing professional. Depending on the results, determines the follow-up steps.

Overall, a professional roofing contractor stipulates these steps of action in the contract forcing both parties to behave in a preset fashion.



There are six key elements required before engaging a roofing contractor to perform services on your home. They include an understanding of the legal name and address of the company; presentation of insurance certificates and licenses. Furthermore, professional roofing contractors will extend a warranty, provide referrals and stipulate the process to address problems once the project is completed.

If you want to hire a professional roofing contractor, then consider an NRCIA approved professional or authorized contractor. If you need your home inspected, use one of our certified inspectors or forensic inspector.


Contact us here: NRCIA Contact Form.


Difference Between an Estimate and a Proposal

Many roofing contractors offer a ‘Free’ estimate for services to your roof. From the homeowner’s perspective, this is a price to perform the services they explain. However, estimates are just that; in accordance with Webster’s Dictionary, estimates are “an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something”.

In general, you want an accurate assessment of what it will cost to perform the services and supply the materials to do the work on your roof. What you really want is called a ‘Proposal’.

There are two distinctly different methods to present the cost to perform roof repairs and replacements. One is an estimate, the other is a proposal. The following will succinctly explain the differences between the two.


Estimates are a verbal communication of value to the homeowner. In addition, estimates have restrictions and include:

1) Nonbinding, in effect, no offer is rendered with the verbal conveyance of value; AND

2) The value is typically plus or minus 20% of the final price.

The key is that estimates can be delivered over the phone to the homeowner. Many professional roofing contractors simply look at Google Earth and confirm your home’s attributes (number of buildings, height, surface area and logistics) and can easily identify the number of squares of work involved. The best roofing professionals use other software tools such as EagleView to quantify requirements. From here, they can easily and quickly estimate how much to charge. Again, it is verbal, nonbinding and generally within 20% of the final actual dollar amount.

If you want the exact amount, then you need a proposal.


Unlike estimates, proposals are written and require a physical visit to your property by an estimator. During the visit, the roofing professional will want to know your concerns and perform a physical evaluation of your roof. Modern day roofing contractors can prepare the estimate right there on the spot depending on responses to several questions they pose. Many use software to prepare a written offer to perform services.

Take note of the distinct differences with an estimate. Proposals are written and they are accurate. In effect, a proposal qualifies as the first step in creating a contract between two parties. Since most states require a written document between parties when dealing with real estate, a proposal qualifies for two of the required four elements of a contract. This doesn’t mean you are obligated, it simply means the roofer has initiated two of the elements.

By the way, the four required elements of a contract are:

      • Offer – what the written proposal states;
      • Consideration – the price of the proposal;
      • Acceptance – the homeowner must agree to the proposal and price;
      • Performance – either party must either do the work or pay a deposit.

The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association pushes for integrity, not only with the roof but from its members. The NRCIA advocates that its members prepare proposals as a pre-requirement to creation of a contract. In addition, the NRCIA stresses to its members the value of providing options to homeowners, primarily a minimum of three different price levels depending on materials, warranties and substitutions.

In summary, there differences between an estimate and a proposal. Estimates are VERBAL, NONBINDING and an APPROXIMATION of the price to perform roof repairs or replacements. Whereas proposals are WRITTEN, ACCURATE and FORMAL OFFERS to the homeowner to render services.

If you desire to engage a roofing professional to perform work at your home, consider using an NRCIA member. Simply click here and fill out the contact form, an NRCIA member will contact you within 24 hours: NRCIA Contact

Roof Pitches – A Basic Understanding of Impact With Proposals

Your roof pitch plays a critical role in determining the cost to replace your roof. As the pitch increases, the volume of materials needed increases at an increasing rate. In effect, the cost of the roof goes higher at incrementally increasing rates.

Look at this basic illustration of a roof pitch.

As the pitch increases, more surface area is required to meet the rise of the roof. Look at the angles of various roof pitches here to grasp the change.

The change in the roof pitch adds two additional costs. First are materials. At a 5/12th’s pitch, material requirements to satisfy the rise change are 9% greater than on a flat surface, a 1/1 pitch. At 9/12th’s pitch, it takes 25% more material to cover the additional rise.

The second cost that is directly tied to the roof pitch is labor. A 5/12th’s pitch or lower is considered ‘Walkable’ which means the labor crew does not have to implement additional safety requirements. Once the pitch reaches 6/12th’s (1/2); the crews are required to exercise additional safety protection, specifically fall protection. This additional requirement significantly increases the amount of time to do the work. In effect, on a 7/12th’s pitch, the additional safety standard adds about 20% more time to the labor. At 9/12th’s pitch, compliance requires more than 50% additional time to properly comply with safety and the additional work associated with the extra materials.

So why do roofs have different pitches?

In general, a roof needs at least a 3/12th’s pitch to get rain moving as runoff at a fast enough pace so as not to pool on the roof deck. Depending on where you are located in the country, determines the more common roof pitch for your home. In the Southeast, 5/12th’s is quite common. But up North, higher roof pitches are required in order to reduce and/or prevent snow accumulation which is additional weight for the roof structure. 

Thus, your roof pitch greatly impacts the proposal prices presented to you. The additional cost of materials and labor, especially at the higher pitches, can make your roof replacement much more expensive per square foot than your neighbor’s lower pitched roof.

If you desire a quality proposal from a professional roofer, use an NRCIA member. Contact a professional roofer by filling out this contact form: NRCIA Member Contact for a Proposal

Certificate of Insurance – What to Look For as a Homeowner

No other step is so important as the roofing contractor providing insurance when it comes time to perform work on your home. Your failure to ensure that coverage exists exposes you to the possibility of a lawsuit. Think about this for a moment. You have workers on the roof of your home and one of them falls and requires medical care. Who pays for that accident?

If your contractor isn’t carrying insurance at the time of the accident, the cost falls on you. Many home policies only cover $5,000 of medical care for accidents around the house. Do you really believe that the costs for medical care for somebody falling off your home is going to be less than $5,000?

How do you know if your roofing contractor has coverage? What do you look for to verify coverage?

The primary document every contractor should put forth without being asked is a Certificate of Insurance (commonly referred to as a COI). It looks like this:

This is a nationally recognized form called the ‘Accord’ presentation format. Here are the four critical parts to review:

Block 2 – The name of the insurance broker managing the contractor’s insurance. The agent is in Block 9.

Block 3 – The name of the roofing contractor. This should match the name of the contractor you want to engage and to whom you will make payment for services.

Block 5 – This reflects the actual coverage. As a homeowner, you want two critical pieces of insurance. One is general liability coverage, which is always marked with an ‘A’, is typically the first insurance presented. At the bottom of the page (commonly marked with a ‘C’) is Worker’s Compensation Insurance which covers injuries sustained when a worker falls off the roof or steps on a nail etc. 

Check that the policies are in force during the time the work will get done on your property; there are two columns reflecting effective date and date of termination. DO NOT LET YOUR ROOFING CONTRACTOR RENDER SERVICES IF THE INSURANCE HAS LAPSED!

All legitimate professionals will have insurance in place and the date range is always within the time frame of services. If the work is nearing the limits of the date range, professional contractors provide both the current Certificate of Insurance and the future coverage form which is typically provided about two weeks prior to lapsing of coverage. 

Many contractors include the auto policy coverage, property coverage (their equipment and tools) along with specialty coverage such as an umbrella policy or errors and omissions policy. 

Policy Limits – In block 5, at the far right-hand side are limits of coverage. Each state is different in what is required as a minimum level of coverage. And yes, many contractors try to keep costs low by selecting the bare minimum required level of coverage. As for general liability, their level of coverage should cover the cost to replace your home in case they cause a fire or water damage wrecks havoc on your home and belongings. Most contractors will have no less than $1,000,000 as coverage.

With worker’s compensation insurance, coverage should never be less than $500,000; but the best roofing contractors include $1,000,000 as the coverage per incident. Again, imagine a critical accident whereby one guy is falling and he grabs his fellow worker for stability and the two of them end up on the ground injured.

The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association advocates for policy limits of $1,000,000 for both general liability and worker’s compensation. If you want to get in contact with a member that serves your area, fill out the contact form here: Contact an NRCIA Roof Professional


What to Expect at the First Meeting With Your Roofing Contractor

As a homeowner, you are concerned about the integrity of your roof. Is it leaking? Will it start leaking soon? Many questions exist and you need someone to provide answers. Well, a professional roofing contractor will provide answers. The better trained professional roofers listen to your concerns, evaluate the situation and then if necessary provide a proposal to you to resolve the problem.

The following sections describe and illustrate what you should expect during that first meeting with your roofing contractor.

Listens to Your Concerns

After arranging a time to meet at your home, a professional roofing contractor will text you ahead of time to alert you that he is on his/her way to your home. Upon arrival, customary pleasantries are exchanged and the roofing contractor should ask three critical questions.

    1. What is it about your roof that concerns you?
    2. When was the last time any form of roof repair or replacement occurred?
    3. How can I help?

A professional will listen and after your response to the help question, they will guide you towards the appropriate answer. This process includes describing the current type of roof on the structure then the various types of options customarily found in your area for a roof. If they are well-prepared, he/she should provide brochures that explain these types of roofs and their corresponding benefits and drawbacks.

Once done explaining and illustrating the types of roofs commonly used for your area and structure; the roofing professional will move on and ask permission to evaluate the roof.

Evaluates Your Roof

 This step typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to conduct. Many roofers will actually get up on the roof to walk it and get a closer look at the existing condition of the materials. They’ll investigate by inspecting flashing, collars, drip edge and valleys. They will take measurements and review your current air flow system for the attic.

Most of this work is done on the outside; sometimes though, they may request access to your attic. This is to discover leaks but more importantly look at the roof structure and the underside of the roof deck (the planking materials used to support walking on the roof).

Once done, they will report back to you to explain and discuss with you the current condition of your roof. In many cases, you may only need minor repairs; commonly due to maintenance failures. Many homeowners are unaware that roofs do require regular maintenance; at least every five years the roof should be inspected and critical points are either recaulked or replaced (such as pipe boots).

From here, a roofing professional will ask if it is OK to provide a proposal for services.

Submits a Proposal

The better roof professionals currently use customer management software and they have access right there at your home to load the information into their software. If you respond that you are interested in receiving a proposal, many roofing contractors can prepare this for you on the spot. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to load the measurements and roofing layout and then generate a proper proposal. Often, they will e-mail it to you and complete meeting by explaining and answering any questions or concerns you may have. In some situations, the roofing professional will have to get answers prior to issuing a proposal to you. But they often will explain to you why and get a proposal to you within one business day. It is rare for it to take longer.

With this proposal, a professional roofer will include copies of their business license, insurance compliance, contractor’s license and a copy of the contract. When they submit the proposal to you, they will schedule a phone meeting to answer your questions and explain the next step in the process. 

As with any roof, this is an exterior function and as such, weather plays a big part related to scheduling and completion. The roofer will cover this too during the proposal submittal.


The key here is that this is all about integrity. The integrity of your roof and that of the roofing professional. Roofing professionals should listen to your concerns, ask appropriate questions and identify solutions to your problem. Before submitting a proposal, a roofing professional investigates and evaluates your roof. This allows them to have accurate information to load into software to prepare a proposal. The best roofing professionals provide three pricing options: good, better and best.

If you are need of a professional roofer, please fill out the contact form at this link and a roofing professional will contact you soon to arrange the first meeting. Contact an NRCIA Roof Professional

Good, Better and Best – Roofing Contractor Proposal Standard

As a homeowner, you should only expect the best from your roofing contractor. Professional roofing contractors present proposals with three pricing structures: good, better and best. Well prepared proposals clarify the respective value the three price points provide.


For homeowners, each price point provides distinct advantages over the other two. Your decision model as to which price point to select often ties to the respective value advantages you seek. The following three subsections help homeowners understand the decision model applicable to assist in choosing which price point is your optimum selection.


Decision Model for the ‘Good’ Option

Naturally, the good option has the lowest price point of the three selections. It is enticing to immediately select this price point due to human instinct to select the lowest price. If you are interested in this price point, please be sure to select this value only for any of the following reasons:


First, your goal with the roof replacement is to meet the minimum standard required to fulfill a legal obligation such as placing the home on the market for sale or to comply with your community association standards. This includes a townhome restriction.


Secondly, and the most common is a budget limitation. Since this price point is the lowest of the three, it also means the quality of materials used are generally the minimum required by industry standards or life expectancy of the roof. In general, the materials used are for the 25 year life expectancy requirements; the lowest in the industry. In addition, many roofing contractors will limit their respective warranty, especially the workmanship aspect of the warranty to around one year. To acquire a longer term workmanship warranty or even manufacturer’s warranty requires a higher price point found with ‘Better’ and ‘Best’.


A third reason for selecting the ‘Good’ price over others is for rental property. It is normal to seek the lowest price to meet the minimum requirements of maintenance related to rental properties. In order to maintain cash flow based on market rents, landlords choose this price point for roof repairs or replacements.


Finally, a fourth reason exists to choose this price point over the others. The life expectancy of the structure is limited; thus a higher price point would waste dollars that could be used for other structural purposes or to minimize capital investment in property that has a short window of time before demolition or full restoration.


At this price point, the decision model is driven more by the lower price than actual value a homeowner derives from a roof. The window of time for the roof’s purpose is short, often less than five years; thus, there is no need to acquire greater value. However, when value is important, upgrade the roof to the better price point.


The ‘Better’ Price Point

The better price point typically includes the longer life or higher quality of the roofing materials installed. Often the roofing materials will have no less than 30 year life expectancies. In addition, roofing contractors use a thicker or non-felt based underlayment. Common examples include synthetic underlayment such as CertainTeed’s DiamondDeck.


This higher grade underlayment in combination with a longer life top layer of shingles, shake or tile provides the best protection from extreme foul weather. Whether your home is located in a hurricane zone, tornado alley or way up in the northern parts of the US where ice is common; choosing the better price for the upgrade in materials is a must.


If you want true protection from the elements, select this price point. This price point provides the best option within the range of materials available associated with one of the three most common roofing materials.


In general, many roofing contractors will extend their workmanship warranty to no less than two years and often many will include a one year check-up as a part of this price point in the proposal. Thus, as a homeowner, this price provides the absolute best in materials and a higher level of protection related to labor.


So why choose a higher price point?


The ‘Best’

The ‘Best’ price point with a proposal is different, not due to its higher price but due to the additional details, quality and of course warranty involved. Professional roofing contractors add tremendous value at this price point. First, all the roofing materials are of the highest quality and selection. For example, instead of traditional shingles, this price point may include architectural shingles.


In addition, more options are available at this price point for roof looks. For example, the roofing contractor may include the option to choose one of the three different looks: 1) woven, 2) closed-cut and 3) open. The proposal would include photos of each allowing the homeowner to choose the look they desire. Other options include roof ventilation systems, replacement of soft roof deck spots, style of flashing and more. In effect, this price point allows the homeowner the ability to get a look on their roof they desire.


The most important value this price point provides is warranty, especially workmanship. Many roofing contractors include a five year workmanship warranty with a one year return inspection and a five year inspection with reports to the homeowner.


For those reading this article, this price point is the perfect selection if you plan on living in your home for more than 10 years. In addition, there is greater sense of security knowing that your roof has been installed under the most rigid requirements; it is no longer there to prevent water intrusion, it is there to add value for looks and long-term protection.


Choose this price point when you need the most out of the looks and quality of your roof.


For a qualified roofing job, select an NRCIA authorized Roofer or Contractor to install your next roof. Click here to make contact with a qualified roofer in your area: Contact an NRCIA Roof Professional