Carpenter vs Roofer: 5 Reasons it Matters Who Installs Your New Roof

Jayson DeVries Roof - edited

I read a roofing advertisement yesterday that said:

“Go for the cheapest option on you roof, it’s not like all your earthly possessions and your family are inside”.

It reminded me once again that it matters who installs a roof on your home.  The option of a roofing company or a licensed contractor/carpenter is more important that you might think.

Here are 5 reasons to consider hiring a licensed Fredericton carpenter to install your new roof:

1. Carpenters Understand Building Science

You might be thinking, “I just need a new roof not a science lesson!”  One of the most asked questions when talking with homeowners about a new roof is, “Why is it that ’25 year’ shingles only last for 10-15 years?”  The answer, in part, lies in understanding your home as a system.

When shingles heat up they deteriorate more quickly.  Shingles get baked off your roof when heat from the home gets trapped in your attic with no way to escape.  The heat pounding down on your roof is bad enough, without the underside of your shingles heating up too.  A carpenter who understands building science will look at two important factors:

1) How much heat is climbing into your attic? This is directly proportional to the amount of insulation you have above your ceiling.

2) How much heat is getting out of your attic? This factor is influenced by the amount of ventilation you have in your attic.

A carpenter with a working understanding of building science will give specific direction towards adding both insulation to keep heat out and ventilation to get heat out.

An additional unwelcome problem associated with high heat and low ventilation is the potential for mold growth.


2. Two Birds with One Stone

If you’re getting a new roof it means that your home is at least 10-15 years old.  If it isn’t the first roof replacement for the home, then your home is at least 20-30 years old.  Homes need ongoing loving care to help them age gracefully.

Over time style changes, building codes are updated and newer, more innovative products come onto the market. Getting a new roof installed is often part of the process of updating or repairing the house as a whole.

But who doesn’t have a wish list of things they’d like to do around the house from whole additions to incomplete “Honey-do” lists?  Hiring a licensed carpenter is a great opportunity to talk about your other ideas and get a free quote on future home upgrades.


3. The Roof System

A roofing company can address the roof covering but a carpenter can give a comprehensive overview and provide direction for the roof system in potential problem areas such as:

  • Insulation
  • Masonry
  • Ventilation
  • Sagging rafters
  • Water damaged sheathing
  • Structural damage under the roof
  • Soffit and fascia

Instead of having multiple crews on, in and around your home, a licensed carpenter with a good working knowledge of roofing and building science can speed up your project cutting costs along the way.


4. Greater Variety of Products

Many roofing companies specialize in one or two types of roofing products.  However, you may want to consider other options. Products have been popping up for the last 10-15 years that have had a chance to prove themselves in real world conditions.  Asphalt shingles have grown from a 3-tab dominated market to include architectural shingles with many high end designs and patterns to enhance the look of your home.

Metal roofing has expanded from straight steel sheets to standing seam, low and high profiles, European designs and individual steel shingle applications.  There are also many examples of composite, rubber and aluminium roofing.

Finding a contractor who has access to and experience with these new products will expand your options, and help you determine which product is right for your budget and the style of your home.

5. The Cost and Quality are Equal

The remaining factors in roof replacement tend to be the quality of the roofing install itself, the clean up at the end of the job and of course the cost!  In terms of the installation of asphalt shingles, quality is the same, a thorough clean-up should also be the same (although these do vary from company to company).

The final and most important factor is cost.  Will a roofer or carpenter charge more?  That depends on the company and their experience with the product you choose.

Considerable weight should be placed on the long term value of a proper roofing system installed with the rest of the house and relevant building science in mind. If all you need is a new roof covering, a licensed carpenter or a roofer will come out about even.  If you’re after long term value, product options and peace of mind about the complex system over your head, then maybe it does matter who installs your roof.