You know you need a new roof, but where do you start? The most common method is to call three roofers to get independant proposals and then compare. But how do you know what to get proposals for? How do you pick a roof system that is best suited to your building? A step-by-step look at the various factors that affect the roof (and the needs of the building) is the best approach to answering those questions.
A good place to start is with the regulatory requirements that affect the roof. These include not only the building code, but also other things you may not have considered such as fire and energy codes and local ordinances. You should know the particular energy code for the building's location, and how the roof can affect the energy performance of the building.
A roof's aesthetics may affect roof choice, as well. Design review committees may dictate that a roof type not be used in certain jurisdictions. If you have setbacks, the appearance of the roof may be important as occupants will see the roof every day. Other local ordinances may affect working hours and noise reduction, which influences how a roof may be installed and when.
Don't forget the fire code. The location of the building within a fire district may dictate what class of fire rating is required. The fire rating needs to be checked carefully to be sure the whole assembly — deck, insulation and membrane — meets the description in the fire classification ratings. Often, roofers just throw on a Class A rated roof system. This means that if you don't need a Class A rated roof, you will spend extra money that you don't need to spend.
Tomorrow we will discuss how specific building characteristics should affect your decision of which roof system to have installed.
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