It’s Important to Understand Roofing Materials When Choosing A Roof

If you are going to be choosing a roof anytime in the near future, this article is for you. Other than choosing a reputable, licensed and insured roofer the most important factor in having a roof installed is to understand roofing materials.

The roofing materials from which your roof is made are incredibly important. Understand, that even in mild SoCal, your roof will bear the “brunt of nature’s wrath”. While we don’ t have much hail, sleet, never any snow or freezing temperatures, the blistering sunlight can be the biggest problem for your roof. That and rain are the forces of nature that your roof must withstand.

What are the pros and cons of the roofing materials you have to choose from? Do you really need to know about construction materials for your roof? We think it is important for you to know…

Types of Roofing Materials

Know What Roofing Materials Are Best For Your Roof

Tile and Concrete for the Roof

Two of the most enduring roofing materials are concrete and tile. Both clay tiles and concrete tiles are available in an assortment of colors. They both have incredible durability and provide a contemporary yet old-school look and. Most clay and concrete tiles have a 50-year warranty. However, they are more expensive than asphalt shingles.

Asphalt for the Roof

Asphalt shingles are perhaps the single most common type of roofing materials out there. Asphalt can also be found in rolls, in built-up roofing and in other forms. Generally, these types of roofs are warranted for about 25 years, though they can last longer than that.

Single-Ply Roofing

Single-ply roofing materials are usually synthetic in nature. Single-ply roofing material is usually used for flat roof roofing systems. These offer strength, flexibility, and long-lasting durability. These single ply are pre-fabricated sheets which have the consistency of the quality of the products that are manufactured, the versatility in their attachment methods and therefore their broader applicability.They are considered to have greater durability than some other choices for flat roofs.

Metal Roofing Materials

Metal roofing has been a solution in areas where serious winter weather can create ice dams on the roof. Where in the past they were made of tin this material was replaced by steel and aluminum and copper can also be used. Metal roofs offer a very long life (50+ years).

Wooden Roofing

Wood shingles have been used since time immemorial. Called “wood shakes or wood shingles”, these add a stunning look to a home. Each wood shake roof is unique, as well, due to small variations in the shape, texture, color and size of the shakes. However, if these roofs are not properly cared for, mold, rot and fire can be serious threats. Wood shakes and shingles can last up to 30 to 40 years depending on the quality of shingles and installation methods.


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Why Hire a Licensed and Insured Roofer?

When faced with the need to re-roof, many homeowners are finding the costs to re-roof their home to be quite a bit more than they thought it would be. When looking for a way to cut costs, you may find it’s cheaper to not hire a licensed and insured roofer.

Roofing material is made from petroleum which seems to increase in price with every passing year. Labor cost is driven by an ever-shrinking work force (there are few technical colleges, if any, that teach roofing) that at the same time is rife with worker’s compensation insurance fraud.

And so, many homeowners, staggered by the costs (particularly in large urban areas where labor costs can be particularly high), are tempted to hire an inexpensive roofer who may not exactly be legal. And while it’s true an unlicensed and/or uninsured roofer is certainly going to be a lot cheaper, there are more reasons than meet the eye to think twice before you do.

licensed and insured roofer

Always hire a licensed and insured roofer.

What is a contractor’s license anyway? We assume a contractor knows a great deal more than just a roofer and that’s likely to be true, but with a contractor you are not only getting something of a guarantee that he has learned everything the state believes he should have, but he has to be bonded and he has to do a good enough job that people are not filing complaints against him with the CSLB.

Unlicensed roofers are inherently less established. Generally they are going to keep a lower profile, for pretty obvious reasons and you may not want a roofer who is difficult to find and moves around.

Roofing is a fairly destructive activity and is a major change to your home (in human terms, it’s like getting a major haircut) and things do go wrong. With an unlicensed roofer, you have little recourse if things go badly. If it’s a big enough mistake, and he’s not licensed and doesn’t have a reputation, he may decide to just walk away from the job, leaving you with, for instance, the wrong color roof, and a half done job.

Even if he is licensed, if you’re roofer doesn’t exist on the internet, then he doesn’t really exist. Find a licensed roofer so you have recourse against him with the power of the state. And find a roofer that is known and has a good (valuable) reputation that he doesn’t want to lose.

J and J Roofing in Los Angeles is both a licensed and insured roofer. Call us if you need work done on your roof.

Insurance. Last but not least is insurance. Roofers have two kinds. Workers compensation (workcomp), for labor injuries, and general liability, for everything else. Workcomp is the most important. If one of his guys takes a swan dive off your roof, God forbid, you don’t want the bill for it. General liability isn’t a must (it’s not legally required), but if you’re worth a lot of money, or it’s a commercial property it probably something you will want and it comes with a price. A roofer with general liability will cost more.

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J and J Roofing, Los Angeles, Earns Esteemed 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Why J and J Roofing Gets Super Service Award Award

Why J and J Roofing Gets Super Service Award Award

J and J Roofing has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2013.

“Only about 5 percent of the companies J and J Roofing competes with in SoCal are able to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a mark of consistently great customer service.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2013 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on

Matt is Why J and J Roofing Gets Super Service Award Award "Quality First"

Matt is Why J and J Roofing Gets Super Service Award Award Award “Quality First”

Angie’s List helps consumers have happy transactions with local service professionals in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to healthcare. More than 2 million paid households use Angie’s List to gain access to local ratings, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List Magazine and the Angie’s List complaint resolution service.

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Do Ultra Reflective Roofs Really Lower the Temperature in my Home?

Reflective roofs are often chosen to lower the temperature of a home or office building. Particularly in the Los Angeles basin, everyone is trying to figure out how to save money on cooling bills.

I have seen this debated just about everywhere and very often.  I am asked this question virtually weekly. In SoCal, we have a unique combination of architecture and sunny days which conspire to make some homes unbearably hot during the summer. This may not be a major issue in someplace like Seattle, but around here – it’s the topic de jour.  In some cases, the thermal transfer is so significant that even an appropriately sized AC system cannot keep up.  These usually involve homes that have no attic space (cathedral ceilings or open beam architecture), lots of windows, and so on, all of which is pretty popular around here.

There is clearly a disadvantage that many don’t immediately understand with such open architecture.  The airspace created by a normal attic acts as a buffer between the roof and the interior of a dwelling.  This thermal dynamic can be seen with something even more simple and perhaps well known, such as dual pane glass.  The airspace helps prevents heat from radiating into the dwelling and with good ventilation, can prevent it entirely.

But will an ultra reflective roof, which reflects more of the suns energy, actually translate into cooler temperature inside a home?

The short answer is yes, it usually will.  Circumstances will produce larger or smaller effects, as in the case mentioned above with an open beam ceiling.  In this case, where the ceiling of a home might actually be the wood deck upon which the roof is attached, it can produce a dramatic difference.  In cases where a black/dark shingle is used on an open beam ceiling, the heat radiating through is massive.  When a lighter shingle is introduced, the temps go down.

Where the roof is flat and there is a minimal airspace between the roof and the ceilings inside (usually about 1 to 2 feet) a reflective roof can produce beneficial results.

The reason why is fairly simple.  When a roof surface heats up, it will radiate/transmit that heat inside.  If there is an attic space, this can, and should be controlled with ventilation.

The point is that, in my experience, having an expensive, ultra reflective shingle on a normal home, with sloped roofing and a normal attic (the sort that at it’s highest points, at least 4 ft high), does not produce as much of an effect as can be achieved by simply having effective ventilation.  If you have good ventilation, even though the roofing may be transmitting a higher than ambient temperature into the attic, if proper/rapid air exchanges are happening, the ventilation will keep the airspace in the attic close to ambient temps.  Along with good insulation (critical), this is your best defense against a hot house.

If you have a flat roof or open beam architecture (where in many cases insulation isn’t practical) an ultra reflective roof can make a big difference and is probably worth the money.  There are some shingles made that are considered ultra reflective but which also don’t cost a lot more or cost the same as ordinary shingles – many manufacturers have them.

My next segment will cover insulation and ventilation which in many cases can be as much or more important in reducing the heat in your home than ultra reflective shingles.


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It Rained… Free Roofing Estimate or Roof Check?

We offer a Roof Check and a Free Roofing Estimate. How do you know what you need?  The Rains Came, the Los Angeles Roofs are Leaking, is Yours?

The rains arrived in Los Angeles. The roof is leaking. Why would a homeowner or the owner of a building want to pay a $155.00 roof check instead of just getting a free estimate?

At J and J Roofing, which services all areas of Los Angeles, including Northridge, Los Feliz, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Silver Lake, Encino, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills and Glendale, you can have a free estimate if your roof is leaking, in order to find out why and to help you decide on the best solution for your leaking roof.


Free Roof Inspection Los Angeles

Why an Annual Roof Checkup is a Good Idea


But, if you prefer, we can do a roof check. First, if you call around you will find that because of the rising costs in the construction industry, many companies charge more than that, just to show up and give your a repair bids.  When we get approval to do a roof check, we virtually always end up being able to perform needed maintenance, saving us overhead so we can pass the savings on to you.  Again, if there is nothing to do, we won’t charge the $155.00 and will chalk it up to a courtesy visit.  Or if there is far too much work to do under the purview of routine maintenance, you’ll get a free estimate.  Why a $155.00 roof check instead of a free estimate?

Exceptions would be large commercial buildings or extremely steep roofs and the like. If your roof does not qualify for the $155.00 service, we’ll just give you a free estimate on what needs to be done, so no sweat!

Free Estimates
Our unique approach to your estimate:  We have always believed that people don’t like to be pressured into big decisions and over the years have learned this is indeed the case. So our method is simple: We come out, estimate your job by taking measurements, digital pictures and talking to you, and then we leave.We email, fax or mail you your estimate.

We never try to sell a client “on the lawn” or hand out a generic carbon copy form with a price on it and some loose specs. You get an exact price and fully worded scope of work with all the details, in writing for your review, which you can sign when you are ready.  And now it’s up to you… Free Roofing Estimate or Roof Check?

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Are you Waiting to See a Roofer Now?

Why are you waiting to see a roofer? Well, living in SoCal is pretty heavenly because the weather is awesome and it hardly ever rains. For a homeowner, the roof seems an unlikely worry – because of that.  Right?

But what about when it does rain? Can’t you just get a roofer to head on out a few days after it rains? Honestly, unless you are a top client with multiple homes, a friend or family member of a roofer or just plain lucky, you will have to wait weeks to meet with a roofer.

Rain on Roof Means Waiting to See a Roofer

Rain on Roof Means Waiting to See a Roofer

Why? J and J Roofing is one of the top roofing companies in SoCal.  – with five estimators who are mostly all family and a large team of roofing professionals –  the phones rang off the hook after that last rain. They can only see so many people in a day (because they also have to send out estimates to the ones they do visit.)

To put it in perspective, if there’s no rain in a week J and J will get 20 or so new phone calls from people wanting to have their roofs inspected. If it SoCal gets ½ inch of rain or it’s a bit windy that might jump to 50 or 70 calls.

But when it rains more than an inch, like it did a few weeks ago, hundreds of calls come flooding in. First on Wednesday night it rained one inch and over 200 calls came in on Thursday and Friday alone. Then it downpoured on the weekend and another few hundred calls came in over the next week. (It’s impossible to keep track of the exact calls after a rain like that.)

Did your roof leak with that last rain? If not, this means that you should call and schedule a roof check now. If you did find leaks, call and get a free estimate from one of our busy estimators. And either way, realize that you will need to wait a week or two.

An annual roof check is just good planning. At J and J Roofing, for $155.00 we will inspect your roofing system and do any minor maintenance that we find is needed.

Or, if our inspector finds that you actually need more than a simple roof check-up (which has happened regularly), we will give you a free inspection and send an estimate to you. You owe us zilch and you have no obligation to get the work done from us.

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Does No Rain Mean No Roof Leaks?

Southern California’s severe drought will eventually bring a bit of chaos that few outside the roofing trade would have ever predicted. The general idea for most people is if I don’t see a leak, I don’t have a leak. Does no rain mean no roof leaks?
On the west coast we’re experiencing a severe drought, which of course means no rain. No rain means no one’s roof is going to leak but what you may not realize is that we’re headed for a real “Armageddon of Leaks” where something like 5 to 10 times the normal amount of leaks are likely to occur. When all the roof leaks happen at the same time the roofing industry is not going to be able to handle them in a timely manner.
By timely manner we mean – get ready to wait months.  Back in 2005-2006 when we had a particularly wet winter, roofers were backed up six months and people calling in for estimates were getting answering machines with messages that broadcast “Sorry, we’re not taking new clients until further notice.”
The reason why is remarkably simple.  First, let’s bear in mind that a leak exists whether there is rain or not.  The rain simply shows you where it is.  Then ask: What causes roof leaks?  Well, all sorts of things can but really. The primary ingredient to roof wear and tear is the good ole sun. And on the west coast, Los Angeles in particular, we have lots of sun, lots of older homes, and years with no appreciable rain.

Roof Leaks are Caused by the Sun

The primary ingredient to roof leaks is the good ole sun!

Most leaks are not going to rear their heads in a minor rain.  Most leaks take a good steady rain to actually show up and this can be for many reasons.  One thing, for example, that prevents a leak from actually showing up is insulation in the attic, which may soak it up.
When Los Angeles gets its first real, serious rain, there is going to be a flood of phone calls the likes of which we’ve never seen.  Thousands, upon thousands of people are going to call all at once, and the roofing industry is not going to be able to handle it.  Roofers are not the power company – an industry that can pull resources from other states even.
So it’s important to get your roof checked now.
At J and J Roofing, for $155.00 we will inspect your roofing system and do minor maintenance.  Or, if there is too much work to do within the scope of a simple roof check-up (which happens often), we’ll just do a free estimate and send it to you – you’ll owe us nothing and there’s no obligation.
Make sure that the next decent rain is not when you discover that your roof leaks!

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What is the Best Replacement for a Shake Roof?

If you have an old wood shake or wood shingle roof and you’re considering replacing it, there are a few things you need to know about the replacement for a Shake Roof.

First of all, most cities won’t allow you to replace it with another real wood roof, particularly since most of the LA areas is considered a high fire zone. So you’ll be obliged to find an alternative.  The most common alternative is your typical asphalt composition shingle. But two other choices are a lightweight concrete tile or an artificial shake (usually a thin, cementious fiber blend or a polymer plastic). Both of latter are very expensive – roughly 2 to 3 times the cost of a composition shingle.

One major cost may be the need to re-sheet your entire deck with plywood, so that it is a solid wood deck, which is required by code.  Chances are your old wood shake/shingle roof was installed over what’s called an open-spaced deck.  Typically it’s composed of 1×6 deck boards spaced about 4-5 inches apart.  This was possible because wood shakes are stiff planks of wood and would overlay these gaps without posing any sort of issue.  However, these gaps don’t work with some more modern materials. More importantly, a solid wood deck is a code requirement almost everywhere I know of and this will generally add costs of around $1.50 a square foot.

The most common and cheapest replacement is the tried and true comp shingle.  If you must have a more genuine look, then the next up in cost would be a lightweight concrete tile but generally, unless you have engineering saying you can have a heavier roof, it must be a truly lightweight tile (6 pounds a square foot or less) and most tiles are not.  Your typical installation costs will vary by region and how complicated and/or steep your roof is and the specific product chosen but a rough chart here can give you some idea.  The tear off will run about $0.40 a square foot, plywood about $1.50 a square foot, composition shingles $3 a square foot, cement tiles about $ a square foot and artificial shakes about $6 a square foot.

A Beautiful Composition Shingle Replaces a Shake Roof

A Beautiful Composition Shingle Replaces a Shake Roof

Composition Shingle to Replace Shake Roof

Composition Shingle to Replace Shake Roo

There are some very nice, higher-end composition shingles that replaces a Shake Roof and cost somewhere in between which are meant to emulate shake and are a very nice alternative to the real deal. But whatever you choose, make sure your roofer gives you some addresses to go out and look at installed product so you can see what it looks like in real life, and not just on a brochure or sample board.

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Why Hire a Professional Roofer for your Roof Repair?

Are you a DIY guy (or gal)? The past decade has created a whole new age of “Do It Yourself” guys and gals. Just open up Google, ask the DYI genie how to fix your broken ABC and viola! you have step-by-step instructions to fix your broken ABC!  So why not hire a professional roofer?

In many cases you can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. From fixing a leaking pipe to replacing your broken lock and the many, many error messages on your computer… But, pulling out the ladder and climbing one or two stories to inspect and repair a roof is a DIY that actually must be left to the professionals.

Why? Climbing up and standing on a sloping roof, one or two stories above the ground could be considered one of the more dangerous activities a DIY can get himself into. If that does not dissuade you, consider what might happen if the repair goes wrong – rain will likely pour into your home, possible assault from pesky rats, mice, squirrels, and all their friends.

1. You probably don’t know how to carry out roof repairs properly:

Matt Glass Professional Roofer

Matt Glass, Professional Roofer

That isn’t a value judgment. Most people don’t know very much about roofing materials or emergency roof repairs. You may be able to spot a damaged shingle, or a missing one, but there may be a roof problem that you can’t see, something underneath that a professional would know to look for. If you tackle the fixing of a leaky shingle roof, for example, you may simply be covering up a bigger problem that will only be obvious later on. If that’s so, the sad fact is it will cost you a lot more in the long run.

There’s an old saying; “every roof is tight while it’s dry.” It could be that you will put off repairing your roof during a dry summer, for example. Then one day it rains and you discover you have a leaky roof. This is not the best time to repair a leaky roof as you will probably do everything wrong. A roof leak should be examined carefully, and repaired properly.

2. You may end up using the wrong roofing materials:
You probably decide to do your own roofing maintenance or roof repairs in the expectation that it will cost a lot less and save your money. With this in mind, you will probably choose roofing materials that are not up to the job, or ones that will deteriorate quickly. This usually ends up being a false saving as it often actually costs you more eventually.

Another common problem with inexperienced DIY roofers is using the wrong roofing sealant, or using it in the wrong place. Around your chimney stacks, for example, you need mortar to calk and seal. Sealants can’t stand up to high temperatures and as a result they fail if you use them as a sealant around a chimney stack.

3. You will most likely miss spotting some of the important damaged roof areas:
This is simply down to inexperience. A professional roofer can spot thing you will miss, simply because he has been doing the job for decades, most likely. he can spot flashing problems a mile away, and damaged roof shingles with his eyes closed (well, nearly). He’s forgotten more than you will ever know about drainage and gutters, the problems with low sloped roofs, and steep sloped roofs, and all the different types of roofing there are too. He knows how your house works, and that’s why he’s a professional and you are not.

4. You may seriously injure yourself:
Every year the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports hundred of accidents that result in death that involve high ladders and heights. On top of that there are also thousands of injuries sustained, some very serious indeed. Roofing companies employ professionals who have been trained in the use of high ladders, and who are familiar with working high up. A man who spends all week working at the office, then decides to climb 50 feet up to the top of his roof on Saturday to do a bit of roofing maintenance, is really asking for trouble. Working on a roof can be dangerous.

You most likely do not have the right equipment for the job. There are times when a ladder is right for the job, but at other times you may need scaffolding. Do you have the right size and type of ladder? Do you know what it is? Do you have the right protective work clothes, and the right kind of boots for your safety? Most DIY enthusiasts don’t. Often they get away with it, but sadly, sometimes they don’t.

5. Professional roof repair contractors will do a better job than you will:
Unless you have a lot of experience in roof repairs, this will be the case. You buy peace of mind when you get the services of an experienced, professional roofing company. You will know they have done the job properly, and that’s what makes roofing companies worth every penny they get.

And that, my readers, is why you should hire a professional roofer for your roof repair.

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How to Negotiate with a Roofer

That dreaded time has come. You need to replace your roof. Now you should know how to negotiate with a roofer. First of all, roofing is fairly different from most other trades, and certainly different from a general contractor. A GC will tell you what things cost because his pay, which is usually a percentage of the overall costs, is predicated on that in the first place. Other service trades often charge for a visit, whereas roofers don’t (unless it’s something specific, like an inspection for a property purchase). So, asking a roofer to break down his material and labor is probably not going to happen and, in any case, it is fairly pointless. It’s not going to really help you negotiate.

If you want  to negotiate with a roofer to lower his price, first start by getting 3-4 reputable roofing companies to bid the exact same thing. Make sure they all have the same sort of insurance (if only one guy has general liability for instance, his price is probably going to be higher). If their prices are all about the same, then you’re probably dealing with a fairly bottom line figure. It’s a very competitive industry so, roofers will often send out their best price. If the prices were 8000, 7800, and 7750, then ask all three of them if they will do it for around 7400.

One of them may bite on that figure, or, you’ll at least get them to tell you what their bottom dollar is. If you start too close to their original figure, you don’t leave a lot of room to negotiate and anyway, you won’t know how low they could have gone if you only ask for 200 off.

If you particularly like one of the roofers, then let them in on it. Tell him you’ve got three bids, you’re budget is really 7400, and you’re asking all three if they can do it but you wanted to give him first shot at it. If he can do it, or, if he’s really that slow, he might take it, especially if you’re nice.

Don’t be surprised if they all say “I gave you my best price.” It really is possible, especially in the summer. In the middle of winter, it’s probably not his bottom dollar, but, you cannot expect him to come down too much either. In the winter, you’ll only be able to get them to knock off about 2% or so. In the summer, you might get 5% but the more important point is that the starting figure you’ll get in the summer is already going to be 5-10% lower than the winter price.

Don’t try to strong arm you’re contractor. This really doesn’t work, at least, it doesn’t work with me at all. However, if you’re honest, up front about what you can do, and especially if you indicate that you like us and want us to do the job – we really will give you our best shot (why wouldn’t we?).  It may not work out, someone may undercut is by too much, but there will be no hard feelings.

Most roofing contractors are just that, contractors, and they don’t have a background in sales and rarely employ any sort of “sales” techniques. A good roofer will usually tell you honestly what he needs to make in order for the job to be worth his while.

The only thing you need to be sure of yourself is that you’re in the right ballpark. If you like a roofer, and he seems honest and he is insisting that what you’re asking for is really too low, then just make sure you’ve got solid numbers from other roofers before you tell him “sorry, it’s not low enough.” I’ve seen some pretty unfortunate things happen when a person who really wanted to hire me ended up hiring someone else, after I insisted to that person that there is no way the other roofer could honestly do the job for that amount. I found out later (when the homeowner called me and begged me to finish the job) that the whole deal went south right in the middle of the job and they ended up in court. The roofer had mis-measured, it was a high dollar job, and he walked out in the middle of the job rather than face the greater loss of finishing it up.

Last but not least, you can ask the roofers for their measurements (in an effort to be sure everyone is bidding the right amount) but don’t be surprised if they avoid giving them to you. It’s not that they don’t want to help you but they came out for free to give you the estimate, and their not in the business of helping you help another (probably inexperienced) roofer get his proposal squared away and correct.

Bottom line, use these steps in order to effectively negotiate with a roofer.

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