Andy Engdahl is Roofing Specialist for United Home Experts and works hard to educate his customers about a proper roof installation process, good quality products, and how to receive the best warranties in the roofing industry.


A long lasting, high performance roof in Massachusetts is much more intricate and involved than what is in plain sight.  It is very easy and common to see a roof as basically a bunch of shingles covering your house.  To have a roof that will work and stand the extreme weather conditions in Massachusetts, it is very important to hire a roofing company that uses a proven roofing system.

A proper roof system will help prevent many of the problems associated with roofs in Massachusetts, such as ice dams. A roofing system is made up of many components that essentially work in unison.  The components that are part of a roof system include;

    • shingles
    • ventilation
    • underlayment

A strong roof system should always begin with removing the existing layers of roofing and inspecting the entire deck surface.  Sheathing that is has rot needs to be replaced. Next, ice and water shield should be applied six feet from all lower edges, eaves, dormers, in valleys and around skylights.  The ice and water shield provides protection from ice dams and prevents leaks from wind driven rain.  After the ice and water, a high performance fiber glass reinforced felt paper needs to be positioned on the remaining decking.  The fiber glass reinforced felt paper provides an extra layer of protection between the shingles and the roof deck.  Following the felt paper is a layer of starter shingles around the perimeter of the roof.   After the starter shingles are applied, high quality, strong warranty shingles should be placed on the roof.  The final step to a high performing roof system in Massachusetts is proper ventilation. There are various options for ventilating ones roof depending on the design of the roof.  A typical vent for a roof is a ridge vent.  The ridge vent works very well to prevent excessive heat and moisture. It is absolutely vital that a roofing company in Massachusetts follow a very similar roofing system as outlined above. The aforementioned roofing system should provide for a worry free durable roof for many years to come.

This video was put together by Weatertight Corp. a Roofing Contractor in WI.  The hosts Todd an Tod do an excellent job explaining the importance of roofing ventilation.

Proper Roofing ventilation is important in any climate – cold or warm.  The problems that can come with poor roofing installation are:

  • Mold
  • Deteriorating Insulation
  • Prematurly damaged roofing shingles
  • Ice Dams
  • Rotted soffits and fascia
  • Voided Roofing Warranty

roof 2 (1)Thinking that it might be time to make some upgrades to your roof?  Before making the decision, give this article a read.

In it, we’ll discuss how you can inspect your roof for wear and tear and decide if it’s time to take action.  Once you’ve decided to move forward, we’ll provide you with some handy tips on what to look for in a contractor.

Part 1: How To Spot Potential Problem Areas On Your Roof

Step One: Inspect Your Shingles:

A good visual inspection of your shingles is always the first step in uncovering if you will need roof repairs.  Firstly, look for the obvious signs of wear and tear – missing shingles, or shingles that are cracked or blistered.

For asphalt shingles, take a look at their coating and see if it is beginning to wear.

Step Two: Inspect Your Attic:

Once you’ve taken a good look at the shingles, and the overall roof quality, it’s time to go inside and take a look in your attic.  Here you want to keep an eye out for water damage or leaks.  Look for dark spots on your wood – this is usually an indication of water damage.

Once you’ve identified water damage, be sure to assess the condition of the wood.  If the wood is still firm, it’s safe to say the damage is not recent, and there’s no cause for alarm.  If the wood is soft to the touch, then it has been damaged by the water and you have an issue that needs to be addressed.

Step Three: Get A Professional Inspection:

Once you’ve completed the first two steps, it’s decision time – did you see enough problem areas that you’d like to get a professional opinion?  If so, it’s time to bring in a contractor for inspection.

Part 2: Deciding On A Contractor

But where to start?  First of all, research local home improvement companies and contractors.  Look for companies / individuals who are well established in the business.  Ask potential contractors for references or addresses where you can take a look at past work.

Here are some questions you’ll want to ask:

  • How does disposal of the old roofing materials work?  Is there an extra cost for that?
  • Can I see samples of the materials you’ll be using?
  • What is your timeframe for completion?
  • Will we require permits to do these repairs?

Once you’ve focused on a favorite company, it’s time to “seal the deal”.  Make sure a contract is signed that defines every detail of your work together, including the specific materials the contractor will be using.

Once the work starts, be sure that you pay for the materials at the time they are delivered to the site.  If you can be home through the process, that’s even better, as you can make sure there aren’t any surprises while the work is underway.

With these handy tips, you’ll have a smooth road to repairing your roof!

Many homeowners are interested in finding out how much does a new roof cost. You may also find our free roofing guide helpful.

Because we are in the home improvement business we often forget how much we know about our services and how little many homeowners know. I recently had a question from a roofing customer that I thought was interesting.  She asked, “how come some ridge vents are installed all the way to the edge of the roof while others are not?”  See the ridge vent photo below to see what she meant.

2 ridge vents


The answer is strictly one of aesthetics.  The venting in the roof should never be cut all the way to the edge but that doesn’t mean you can’t install the vent cap all the way to the edge.  We cut the vent in the roof decking (sheathing) to within a foot or 2 of the edge and always install Shingle Vent 2 right to the edge because most people think it’s a cleaner look.

If you are considering a roofing, siding or window or painting project we always provide a free, no-pressure estimate.  Request one here.


location_epdmWhen it comes to roof leaks in New England, flatter roofs generally have more problems.  Flatter roofs on areas such as porches, dormers, additions, and commercial buildings deal with slower drainage, more water pooling, and more wind-driven rain issues.  All of these can lead to roof leakage and serious damage.

We are constantly asked by home and business owners, what we recommend for lower slope roofs in our service area (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Southern New  Hampshire).  The answer is almost exclusively EPDM Rubber Roofing systems such as those made by RPI® or Genflex®.  EPDM is designed not to easily deteriorate.  It withstands damage from ozone, UV, heat, frost, and other environmental factors that typically have a damaging effect on flat roof products such as rolled asphalt, tar, and sheet metal.

Besides being very resistant to the elements, the major benefit of rubber roofing is the ability to minimize seams.  EPDM comes in various different sizes that can be installed on all types of roof surfaces.  Wherever seams are necessary, as long as they are properly sealed, they will perform as good as the rest of the membrane.

If you are having issues with a low-pitch roof area, or are concerned about it Contact Us to give you a no pressure estimate.

Check out our Rubber Roofing Section for more info about our low-slope roofing systems.

The news these days speaks mostly of recession, the suffering economy, struggling industries and individual businesses.  Given the state of our country’s economy one would expect that the Home Improvement Industry will also suffer.  However, that may not be the case.

In New England and other parts of the country, new construction housing has all but come to a halt, and housing sales in general are down significantly from the first half of this decade.  In the past most families occupied a residence for an average of 5-7 years.  But in a difficult economy that number is rising.  Many homeowners are choosing to sit tight in the house they currently reside.  This is great news for the Home Improvement Industry.

This phenomenon should positively affect established and professional remodeling and replacement contractors in 2 significant ways.  The first way is that essential systems that tend to break down over time such as roofing, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, windows, and appliances, still need to be replaced.  In the past some homeowners may have passed the cost and duty of replacing these systems to the next owner.  But in many cases that is no longer an option.

The second way home improvement companies in New England may reap some benefits is the “don’t move improve” mentality.  Instead of upgrading to a newer larger home many people are opting to add on or remodel their existing home to suit their families needs.  These types of projects often include additions, finished basements and attics, low-maintenance siding upgrades, garages, and kitchen and bathroom remodels.

Homeowners still need to do their homework and consider carefully who they hire.

Although well established companies will survive this tough season, less professionally run businesses and “fly-by-night” contractors most likely will not.  If you are interviewing a contractor and they seem desperate to have your business and do not have a list of recent references to provide, consider this; There’s a high likelihood that contractor will not be around for the long run.  Do you want someone handling a project for you that will not be able to honor any warranty or service any issues that might arise it the future?  Furthermore, consider the low level of workmanship you will receive from someone who is barely making money, if any, on your project.  They will cut any corner possible.


Most people assume they only have one option when it comes to replacing their roof, and that is asphalt shingles with either a fiberglass or organic base. However, there are many other less common options available for roof replacement. The question our customers ask us is, “are these roofing types right for my home?” Here is a list of pro’s and con’s for each category to help you decide.


A base material combined with either an organic fiber mat or fiberglass core. Each type is impregnated with asphalt and coated with mineral granules to add color and texture. An adhesive back combined with nails is the fastening method used.

Largest variety of color and style, Many warranty options through certified companies, Generally the least expensive optionLess impact resistant than some other options, Does not reflect heat


Once limited to low-slope structures, standing seam steel roofs can now be used on steeper roofs as well.

Durability, practically maintenance-free, heat reflectiveAesthetics are not pleasing to most people, more expensive than asphalt, Noisy, Limited options


One of the oldest forms of roofing in New England, it is still used today on certain more traditional homes and in specific neighborhoods.

Traditional appearance for older homes, Long lastingRequires reinforced roof to handle the weight, Difficult to repair, Limited styles and colors, Very expensive

Start here if you’re in need of a roofing contractor in MA.


The composite slate market is on the rise in the roofing industry. Lamarite® Slate composite shingles seem to be leading the pack.

Accurately resembles slate tiles, Less expensive than slateLimited styles and colors, Few roofers in New England have experience with it


Interlock roofing is a composite roof system made mostly from recycled materials.

Durability, Longevity, more variety than other types of roofing except asphaltAesthetics, Much more expensive than other options, short track record



Natural aesthetic beauty for country style homesQuality and longevity can vary significantly, attracts moss and algae, more expensive than asphalt roofing

Find out how much does a new roof cost.

roof_knowledge_curled-shinglesThere are many manufacturers of asphalt roofing materials in business today, such as GAF and CertainTeed, and they offer many different types of shingles, from 3-tab to architectural, from designer to luxury shingles. The most popular type of shingle being used today is the 30-year architectural. Most people have the misconception that “30-year” means “I am covered by the warranty on my shingles for 30 years”.  Unfortunately that is far from true.  The term “30-year” has nothing to do with the performance of the shingles and most roofing companies are only able to offer their customers a 30-year limited material warranty through the manufacturer.

If during the 30 year period the shingles fail, the limited warranty offered by the manufacturer only covers the homeowner if the manufacturer determines such failure was caused by material defect. The manufacturer would then pay the homeowner a certain pre-determined amount generally not exceeding $.40 per square foot on day one of the warranty, and then prorating equally from that time.  However, if it is determined by the manufacturer that the problem is not from defective shingles, then the warranty is void.  There are many other limitations which void the warranty such as an improperly vented roof deck, improper nailing, and failure of the surface to which the roof is applied.  Even if one is successful in claiming this type of warranty, the homeowner still has the burden of hiring a roofer, pulling a permit, disposing of the shingles, and purchasing any other miscellaneous materials needed for the repair or replacement.

But there is some good news! Some manufacturers make it possible for certain roofing contractors to achieve a level of certification allowing them to offer more inclusive warranties. For example, CertainTeed offers the “ShingleMaster Company” and the “SELECT Shingle Roofer” certifications. There are very strict requirements for a company to be awarded any of these statuses. A CertainTeed “SELECT Shingle Roofer” company, CertainTeed’s highest level of certification, for example, is able to offer homeowners 100% of the costs of the repair for 20 years, including tear-off and disposal of the old shingles, new materials, labor and workmanship.  So fellow homeowners, when hiring a roofer, do your homework. Find out the exact details of the warranty being offered to you.  You don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in your new roof, just to find out the hard way that your investment went kapoof!

One of the questions we are asked frequently from homeowners is “how much does a new roof cost?”  As with most home improvement cost questions, this one can be difficult to answer, but this article should offer some insight into how much it will cost to replace your roof in 2012. With the rise of home improvement material costs regularly, it’ll be very important to speak with your trusted roofer for the most accurate prices.

Tip #1 – Most online roof calculators are completely inaccurate.  Use the table below for a general idea of residential roofing costs. But keep in mind the only true way to know is by getting a roofing quote.

Cost of Installing Asphalt Roofing

This table should give you a general idea of the cost to install new asphalt roofing.  The factors listed below this table may also affect the price. Note: These costs do not necessarily include the cost of permitting or garbage removal which can vary based on the project.

Pitch & Height of Roof / Complexity of Installation

Low-Pitch / Basic Install

Medium-Pitch / Average Install

High-Pitch / Complex Install


$3,500 – $5,500$4,500 – $6,500$5,500 – $7,500+*


$5,500 – $7,500$6,500 – $8,500$7,500 – $9,500+*


$7,500 – $9,500$8,500 – $10,500$9,500 – $11,500+*


$9,500 – $12,500$10,500 – $13,500$11,500 -$14,500+*

Extra Large

$12,500 – $17,000$16,000 – $19,000$17,000 – $25,000+*

Cost of Different Roofing Materials

This pricing spectrum gives a general idea of the cost difference between the various types of roofing materials including the cost of installation.  These cost differences can vary based on location, present cost of asphalt, aluminum, and other products, and more factors highlighted in the section below.

Roofing Prices

By far the most commonly installed roofing material is asphalt shingles which are available in 3-tab, Architectural, and Designer Architectural (or sometimes called Lifetime Architectural Shingles).  There are, however, other roofing materials available in most parts of the United States including: Slate, Inter-Locking Metal, Wood Shingle, Standing Seam Metal, and more.