Question: I have received estimates ranging from $10,000-$25,000 to replace the roof on my home. How do I know which roof estimate is right?

A: The world of home renovation is vast and full of a broad range of questions and concerns. Think of a bathroom remodel- a bathtub installation isn’t just hooking up new pipes. The same applies to roofing, and there is actually a whole roofing system that needs to be built and maintained in order for a roof to do what it’s supposed to do.

If I were to be restrained to just one piece of advice to give homeowners about selecting a roofing system that is best for them, the one avenue that I would guide them to is purchase an ENTIRE roofing system that’s warrantied under one manufacturer.

Now, in our many years of roofing in New England, some of the most unforgiving weather in the country, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that purchasing a Roofing System is more important now than ever.

What are the 6 parts to a Roofing System?

6 parts of the GAF Roofing System

All six parts are vital to the longevity and the functionality of the roofing system.

  1. Leak Barrier Protection
  2. Synthetic Roof Deck Protection
  3. Starter Strip Shingles
  4. Lifetime Shingles
  5. Cobra Ridge Vent
  6. Lifetime Ridge Cap Shingles
  1. Leak Barrier Protection 

What Is It?

Leak Barrier Protection creates a seal that helps keep water out at the most vulnerable areas of your shingle roof in Boston (at the eaves and rakes, in valleys, around chimneys, etc.). It’s a simple task that can dramatically ensure the stability of the weather proofing properties of the roofing system.

Why Use It?

We use GAF’s Weather Watch as it has a granular surface that is much safer to work on with Steep Slope roofing. Now in New England, a leak barrier is a must, but roofers rarely use it to prevent future leaks.  Master Elite Roofers must place Leak Barrier Protection on all vulnerable areas of the roof that are prone to moisture or leaking.  That means the application of leak barrier protection is not just at the ice dam areas of the roof.  Leak Barrier Protection is additionally applied around chimneys, sidewalls, seams, valleys, ventilation pipes/boots, ridge vents, skylights, tunnel lights, dormers, etc.

Bottom Line:  We at Coastal Windows & Exteriors do 6’ of leak barrier protection to protect your home against roof settling and extreme weather, whereas many other companies do 3’. 

  1. Roof Deck Protection

What Is It?

Deck Armor is a synthetic second layer of protection for your home.  As a GAF Master Elite Roofer, we only use GAF Deck Armor for our customers’ homes.

Why Use It?

Deck Armor is 600 times stronger than conventional felts, meaning the likelihood of it tearing while on the home is extremely low.  Also, it lays completely flat, limiting the premature buckling of shingles on the roofing system.  Deck armor is water resistant and helps protect from water infiltration during heavy wind driven rain and aggressive storms.  Deck Armor is a permeable underlayment.  What that means is that it is breathable.  Not only does deck armor protect your home from the exteriors elements, it will also help reduce trapped moisture.  With a perm rating of 16, Deck Armor will prevent your home for getting roof rot– which is the failure of a roofing system from moisture becoming trapped in the roof deck by a non-permeable underlayment and poor ventilation.  This will cause most roofs to prematurely fail, so we would say that a Synthetic underlayment like Deck Armor is crucial for your home.

Bottom Line:  If you want a second layer of protection and a permeable underlayment to prevent roof rot make sure you request Deck Armor for your home.

  1. Starter Strip Shingles

What Is It?

Starter Strip Shingles are important for the application of roofing shingles as they increase the longevity of the roofing system with prevention of shingle blow off up to 130 mph.  They are the first layer of shingles to go on the roof.

Why Use It?

Rake Starter Strips are one of the most overlooked parts of a Roofing System.  Some contractors try to use a cut-up strip shingle as the ‘starter’ course on your roof. Unfortunately, cut-up shingles may not have properly positioned adhesive to ensure adequate wind resistance.  Using this high-quality pre-cut eave/rake starter strip is a cost-effective alternative that has adhesive that will tightly lock your shingles in place to help prevent blow-off.

Bottom Line:  A great way to give a homeowner piece of mind from worrying about shingles blowing off their home during a Nor’ Easter.

  1. Lifetime Shingles

What Is it?

A lifetime shingle is made to protect your home with the best combination of weight and performance that modern technology can deliver.  All with a 25 year labor warranty and lifetime on the shingles.  Plus the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval!

Why Use It?

For a homeowner to get the maximum lifetime warranty of the shingle on their roof, it must be a part of their homes roofing system.  GAF shingles offer advanced protection against wind and fire resistance, a high definition shingle for a look to impress and Stainguard protection against lichen and algae.

Bottom Line: Choose America’s #1 selling shingle for the right combination of beauty, performance and reliability-which gives you the best value in roofing today. 

  1. GAF Cobra Ridge Vent

 What Is It?

We use a GAF Cobra Ridge Vent on every job as with the support of soffit ventilation is the easiest and most cost effective way to remove excess heat and moisture to protect your roof from premature deterioration.

Why Use It?

It also prevents roof rot in your attic or roof deck, minimizes peeling and extends the life of exterior and interior paint.  A Cobra Ridge Vent limits the growth of harmful mold and can safeguard your attic possessions against mildew damage.  It can guard against ice damming in our harsh winter climates and promotes energy efficiency by reducing excessive heat in your attic.

 Bottom Line:  Having the appropriate attic insulation, baffling, soffit vents, and ridge vents is your home’s best bet against having ice dams occurring on/in your home.  In New England, this is extremely important for homeowners.

  1. Ridge Cap Shingles

What Is It?

Installing a ridge cap to a roof is the last task completed on every roofing job and it must be done correctly to prevent leaking.  They are premium shingles that enhance the beauty of your home while guarding against leaks on the hips and ridges.

Why Use It?

At Coastal we use TimberTex Premium Ridge Cap shingles and they are a fantastic option because they match the performance of your new roof (unlike using typical 20 or 25-year cut-up strip shingles as your ridge cap), accentuate the natural beauty of your newly installed architectural shingle roof, offer multi-layer protection at the highest-stress areas of your roof (the hips and ridges) and provide a striking and higher-quality alternative to using cut-up strip shingles as your ridge cap.

Bottom Line:  Want your roof not to have a mis-matched look at the top?  Make sure you request TimerTex ridge cap shingles to enhance the beauty of your roof while giving you ultimate protection.

So there you have the breakdown of what really needs to go into your home roofing system. These steps can look like a lot on paper so it might feel a little intimidating. That’s where we come in. Feel free to call or email me for a FREE roof evaluation or with any questions at 978.304.0495 or

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Stephanie Vanderbilt, owner of Coastal Windows & Exteriors, is your local home improvement resource. With a passion for education and helping others love the home they live in, Stephanie would love to answer any questions that will help you make your home beautiful, warm, safe, and energy-efficient! Stephanie’s next column will appear in The Manchester Cricket on May 26, 2016.

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Coastal Windows & Exteriors has an absolute commitment to the highest ethical standards. This means never engaging in high-pressure sales tactics and always putting homeowner education first. To learn more call us at (978) 304-0495 or contact us  to find out why roofing in Beverly, siding, windows, entry doors in Boston or bath systems can be cost-effective energy-saving home improvements for your home.