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How To Decode What Your Roofing Contractor Is Saying

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Every industry carries with it a lot of terminology, and the roofing trade is one that has plenty going on. It's important, however, to know a little bit about what's being said in order to make an informed set of choices as a project moves ahead. Here are a few key concepts you should have in mind when trying to decode what a roofing contractor is telling you.


Of all the factors that determine how much a job is likely to cost, pitch is one of the most prominent. Calculating pitch is a simple math problem that requires you to determine how much the roof rises with distance. 6/12 is one type of pitch, for example, that rises half a foot for every foot you advance straight inward.

If you're comfortable using a ladder, you can talk a foot-long ruler along the side of the house to make a mark and then measure the distance upward from there until you hit the roof. Folks who have access to their attics can do the same thing from the inside. This can speed up the process of getting an initial quote for a job since you can relay the information over the phone.


Hearing the terms "re-roofing" and "roof replacement" may have you feeling a little perplexed. What makes the distinction meaningful to a roofing contractor is that re-roofing entails laying new materials over existing ones, while roof replacement calls for everything to be torn down to the supporting boards.

Re-roofing is generally cheaper, typically cutting about $1,000 off a project, but it adds around 350 to 500 pounds per time. Depending on a number of factors, especially expected peak snow loads, you can only re-roof a building three to 5 times before you'll need to perform a full replacement.


Eaves and valleys add complexity to a roof. Eaves are the parts that rise up from the roof, and valleys are where the sections of a roof converge. While they're visually appealing, eaves and valleys call for extra attention from a roofing contractor. The very top is called the ridge, but its shape rarely has an influence on costs. Depending upon the need to ventilate a building, the ridge cap may have to be designed or redesigned to let heat and humidity escape from the attic areas in an efficient manner.

Talk to a company like Melton Industries LLC to learn more.