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To help you make an informed decision we've created the following list of questions you should be asking.

How do you know when to replace your roof?

This is the most common question we get. Most people are uncertain about when to replace their roof. Here's some information that will help you to inspect your roof. Climbing up on your roof, however, should be left to the professionals. It's a lot safer to do the inspection from the ground with a pair of binoculars to help you see any problems.
  • Curled up shingles - Allows rain to penetrate into your home. Wind can easily break them off.
  • Granules worn off - Granules protect the shingles from sunlight or water. When worn off, your roof will deteriorate quickly. Look for granules in your gutters or where your downspouts discharge. You may be able to see dark patches on your shingles where granules are missing.
  • Loose, missing, or cracked shingles - Prime source for leaks.
  • Spots on your interior - may indicate that the roof is leaking and possible evidence of ice back-up.
  • Organic build- up - Algae, moss, or dead vegetation can cut your roofs life expectancy in half.

What is roof ventilation?

Roof ventilation is a system of intake and exhaust that creates a flow of air. An effective attic ventilation system provides year-round benefits resulting in:
  • Added comfort inside the house
  • Protection against damage to roof materials and structure
  • Reduced energy consumption throughout the year
  • Helps reduce ice back-up

How does roof ventilation work?

A roof ventilation system provides the conditions that allow air to move. There are many types of ventilation systems in use today. The most commonly used type in Residential construction is the Natural Air Movement type. The Natural type utilizes two key elements to function properly; Thermal Effect and Wind.
  • Thermal Effect The Thermal Effect is the inherent property of warm air to rise. A well-designed system takes advantage of that movement in two ways:
    • Ridge Vent - Exhaust vents at or near the ridge.
    • Soffit Vent - Intake vents at the lowest point in the attic, typically in the soffit.
  • Wind By itself, Thermal Effect cannot create the high volume of air movement for effective ventilation. Thus, the influence of wind is the key element in a non-powered ventilation system.
It is also important to note that many homes have Gable End Vents. These are louvered openings which are placed on the exterior wall of the gable end of the roof. This old method of providing attic ventilation, has been replaced by more efficient means; Soffit and Ridge Vent. In most cases these gable end vents should be properly blocked-up, as they can short circuit the cooling effect by allowing air to travel from the soffit, up and out the gable vent. Thus, the upper section of the attic gets no ventilation. Failure to block these gable end vents, may result in a voided manufacturer's warranty.

All my estimates include ridge vent. Is that enough?

Installation of Ridge Vent alone does not create the required thermal effect to cool your roof. Most roofing contractors do not have the skilled carpenters and vinyl siders capable of installing the required soffit ventilation. They take advantage of the homeowners by misinforming them that they are "providing ridge vent per manufacturer's requirements." It is important to confirm that the proper ventilation system is being installed; consisting of Soffit and Ridge Vent.

OK, so I know Hancock Builders price includes the required manufacturers ventilation system and ABC roofing does not. Is it worth taking a chance with ABC roofing for the sole fact that their price is so much lower?

On average, it costs about 1015% more in labor to vent a roof properly. The life expectancy of a properly vented 30-year shingle is 30 years. However, the life expectancy of an improperly vented 30-year shingle is between 515 years... HALF THE LIFE AT BEST!

The extra money you invest now with a skilled expert such as Hancock Builders, will save you thousands down the road!

Improperly vented roof Properly vented roof

How do ice damns form and how do I prevent them?

What an ice damn looks like Does this picture look like your roof?

An Ice Dam is a build-up of ice that is primarily caused by poor roof ventilation. It forms near the eves or gutters as the result of interior heat escaping into the attic and through the roof decking. As the heat melts the snow and ice on the upper areas of the roof, it results in melt water. This melted water runs down to cold lower areas or eaves and, depending on conditions, can refreeze. Leaks will occur if the water finds its way under the shingles or behind fascias or cornices. Detail of an ice damnThese leaks are not caused by a shingle failure or defect, nor are they due to misapplication of the shingles. Furthermore these leaks are not covered by the manufacturer's warranty or by any contractor's workmanship warranty.

Although the condition is unpredictable and highly weather-dependent, the probability that an Ice Dam will occur on an unventilated roof is much higher.

Defense against ice damns

The combination of these three steps will ensure a reliable defense against ice dams.
  • Install adequate attic ventilation
    • Intake and exhaust vents must be positioned so they assure continuous airflow along the underside of the roof sheathing.
    • Intake vents must be located so there is little possibility of rain or snow infiltration.
  • Install adequate attic insulation
    • It reduces heat loss, which is the key factor contributing to the creation of ice dams.
    • It diminishes the energy impact of having cold air flowing through the attic.
  • Install waterproofing shingle underlayment
    • Installing waterproofing shingle underlayment (Winter Guard) can minimize or eliminate water infiltration into the building structure. This barrier must be installed along the eaves and up the roof at least two feet beyond the interior wall. Of these three steps, the use of Winter Guard waterproofing shingle underlayment is the only warranted remedy.

How many years have you been in business?

Sounds like a simple question, but most contractors over represent their true level of experience. We've been in business since 1977.

Are you a licensed contractor in Massachusetts? What other certificates do you have?

Hancock Builders is a Massachusetts registered home improvement company. We also have three State Licensed Construction Supervisors, three Certified Master Shingle Applicators and one Certified Quality Master.

Are you a BBB accredited business?

Hancock Building Associates, Inc. has never had a single complaint with the Better Business Bureau in over +30 years doing business.

How many men are on your roofing crew? How long will my roof take to complete?

The correct size of the roofing crew depends on the size of the job, but generally it ranges between 3-4 men. Quality suffers when you put 15 men on a normal size roof.

Again, it depends on the size of the job. Generally it ranges between 3-5 days. To those companies that say they'll do your house in one day, we reply "What's the rush? Take your time and do the job right".

Do you subcontract the work?

"Your warranty is only as good as the company behind it". Hancock Building Associates, Inc. employs our workers year round. Did you know most companies subcontract roofing out to unskilled workers who get paid by the amount of roof they get done in a day. When winter comes these companies have no employees to service customers... they don't even answer the phone!

Do you pull the building permit?

Yes! Hiring a contractor who doesn't pull a permit or tells you to pull your own is the biggest mistake you can make. The permitting process is there for your protection. A building inspector can be your best friend if you run out of recourse with a contractor or a licensed remodeler.

Do you have workman's comp. or liability insurance?

Hancock Builders is FULLY INSURED. This is one of the most important requirements of the contractor, because without one or the other, you could be liable for someone's injuries while they work at your home. So, do yourself a favor and ask for valid proof of contractors insurance. Hancock Builders includes all Licenses, Insurance, and Workman's Comp. affidavits with every contract!

What is your standard payment schedule?

We take a small deposit amount of $500 for your typical jobs. The deposit is 100% re-fundable if you cancel per Massachusetts law. We get half the balance when we start and half when we finish. You should never pay for a large deposit up front.

What is the difference between a manufacturer's warranty and the contractor's labor warranty?

The manufacturer's warranty is typically limited to defects in the product that result from the manufacturing process. It is not a negotiable instrument. The manufacturer does not allow the contractor or salesperson to act as his agent to make any changes in the printed document. Furthermore, the standard manufacturer's warranty will be pro-rated. This means that in the event that a shingle is determined to be defective, the compensation you receive will be a ratio of the material cost of the shingle, to the life expectancy of that particular shingle. The contractor's warranty is about the workmanship and services they provide. It is an instrument embodied by the job agreement or contract. Terms of the contractor's warranty can sometimes be changed as a result of negotiation between the parties. Hancock's standard labor warranty for general construction is in place for 10 years within the contract date. Therefore it is very important that the difference between the job contract, which typically includes the workmanship warranty and the manufacture's warranty, is well understood by the contractor and explained to the homeowner.

CertainTeed's SureStart® PLUS program is a very beneficial asset to you, the homeowner. Hancock Builders is proud to have achieved the highest certification in this program; 5-STAR coverage. This means that for every CertianTeed roof that Hancock installs, the homeowner gets an added level of assurance from a National company. Hancock's 5-STAR roof receives an extended labor warranty of up to 20 YEARS (Based on install of 30-year shingle) from the manufacturer. Furthermore, this warranty is not pro-rated; it is a dollar-for-dollar replacement from CertainTeed.