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Make careful choices when contracting out for new roof

The Baltimore Sun

Putting a new roof on your house is a job you want to contract out.

It's specialty work that can also be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.

Jamison Brown, a home inspector with Amerispec Home Inspection Service -- amerispec.net -- in Virginia, offers these tips:

Get a good contractor --Always choose a licensed roofing contractor, not a general remodeling contractor. A remodeling specialist subcontracts the work out, and that opens a can of worms, Brown said.

Get a permit --Require the roofing contractor to take out a permit to make sure it's installed around code requirements in your city or county.

Get good results --Have the original shingles and roofing felt, called underlayment, torn off and go with a total replacement.

Get a good foundation --For roofing felt under your shingles, you can go with 15 or 30 pound. Seal siding walls, valleys and penetrations with a water-resistant membrane such as Ice and Watershield.

Get quality shingles --If you go with the standard three-tab asphalt shingles, choose 25-year shingles that resist the growth of roof algae, which is a dark brown or black stain that affects many parts of the country. If you go with laminated or architectural shingles, choose at least a 30-year shingle. Require your contractor to use nails, not staples, to secure the shingles.

Get better pipe collars --Standard collars around plumbing vents extending out of your roof often wear out before the roof is five to 10 years old. Ask your roofing contractor whether better options are available.

Get it inspected --For about $150, a certified home inspector can make sure your roof was installed according to code and contract.

Kathy Van Mullekom writes for the (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press.

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