Some of these items should have been evaluated during the bidding process but some won’t be apparent until the old roof is removed (reroofing) or the crew arrives (new construction). Here’s what you always need to look at before you start applying the shingles:
PLYWOOD: If the decking is wet or warped it needs to be replaced. There needs to be a 1/8” gap between all four sides of adjacent plywood or OSB, and many times this was not done when the decking was installed. Plywood clips are no guarantee of proper spacing. If the decking is butted tight, it may expand and buckle after you install the new roofing. To correct tight plywood or OSB, run a circular saw between the sheets. When installing new decking, temporarily place an 8d nail between the sheets to provide the necessary 1/8” gap.
BATHROOM FAN EXHAUST HOSES: These are almost always installed incorrectly, and you owe it the homeowner (or the builder) to fix them while you’re on the roof. I videotaped twenty attics over the last three years, and nineteen of them had bathroom fan hoses that were either laying in the attic or aimed at a roof vent. Three were buried under the insulation.
Incorrectly installed exhaust hoses are the leading cause of moisture problems in the attic. The water vapor condenses on the insulation and the decking causing rot and mold. These fans need to have hoses tightly connected to a roof or wall jack with a damper. Aiming the fan at a roof vent or laying it in the soffit accomplishes nothing.
EVALUATE THE VENTILATION: By the time a home is ready for a new roof, the soffit ventilation is almost always dysfunctional. Half of the time it was installed wrong in the first place, and even if it was installed correctly, it’s been painted over, clogged with dust or covered with insulation. I’ve about given up on soffit ventilation, but you need to at least evaluate its condition and let the homeowner know what it would cost to remediate it. Just to protect yourself.
Exhaust ventilation (and the previously mentioned exhaust fans) are another story. You can (and should) upgrade the exhaust ventilation by remediating the openings that are normally cut the wrong size and installing as much ridge vent as you can fit on the roof. Look for short circuits, where the homeowner has two competing exhaust vents sabotaging each other. AND GET THE BATHROOM FANS EXHAUSTED TO THE OUTSIDE!
INSULATION: Almost every attic needs additional insulation. The best time to add additional insulation (or at least prepare to add additional insulation) is during the reroofing process. With the deck torn off you can get at the problems, with lots of light and some fresh air. Blowing insulation through an opening in the roof is much easier than pulling the equipment through an access panel in the closet of the master bedroom.
I recommend showing the homeowner the condition of their attic when you’ve removed a little decking. They may ask you to remediate things and add insulation while you’re re-roofing. At the very least, you could map out the attic, do some simple prep work, and tell the homeowner that when they’re ready for insulation, you’re the company to call.
Deck repair, ventilation remediation and upgrading the insulation are all opportunities for extra revenues and enhanced customer satisfaction.
IF YOU PLAN TO REMEDIATE DEFECTIVE SOFFIT, DO IT WITH SOME SHEATHING REMOVED FROM THE BOTTOM OT THE ROOF DECK
IF YOU PLAN TO ADD INSULATION, DO IT WITH SOME SHEATHING REMOVED FROM THE ROOF DECK