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Residential Roofing 101

Published May. 20, 2020

Coronavirus Update: If your roof needs repair or replacement to protect your family and home, contact Citadel Roofing & Solar today. We are still performing roof work during the COVID-19 pandemic while taking every necessary precaution to keep customers and our staff safe.

Most of us know what a roof is by kindergarten—remember those early drawings of a square house topped with a triangle? But how much do you really know about your roof and, more important, how to fix it when the time comes? And the time will come. Unless you move frequently, you can expect to need at least one re-roofing during your home ownership years, even with today’s incredibly long-lasting materials.

Whether you’re planning a roof replacement down the road or have an immediate need, this article will tell you how to get started, choose the right roofing contractor and get the job done right.

How to Know When You Need a New Roof

If you had your current roof installed yourself, or if you bought the home with an existing roof warranty, then the warranty paperwork provided by the roofing contractor or the previous owner may identify the expected life of your roof.  If that’s not the case but you’re experiencing multiple leaks, then the situation is clear. iStock-104440723

To get some idea of how much life you roof still has in it, keep an eye on its condition (from a safe spot!). If you see cracked or loose tiles or shingles, it’s time for repairs or possibly replacement. Have a roofing contractor come out and assess the condition of your roof for you.

Types of Roofing Materials

When it comes to choosing roofing material, most homeowners start with aesthetics. You want the roof to complement the architectural style and color of your house. Factors like cost, durability and energy-efficiency also play into the decision for many.

Here’s a list of the types of roof Citadel installs. All of these are long-lasting, high-quality, fire-resistant roofs that can protect your family while enhancing the visual appeal of your house.

Note that all roofs should be installed by an experienced roofing contractor, to protect your loved ones, your valuables, and your investment.

Material  Features

Asphalt or composition shingles

  • Affordable 
  • Wide variety of colors and styles 
  • Quick to install 


  • Very long-lasting
  • Considerable variety of colors and styles 
  • Reflect sunlight for a cooler home 


  • One of the longest-lasting materials 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Can be reused and recycled 

Concrete tile

  • Wide variety of colors and styles 
  • Light-colored tiles reflect sunlight for a cooler home
  • Tiles are recyclable 

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

  • Designed for flat roofs 
  • Very energy- efficient 
  • Welded seams for durability and weatherproofing 

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • Designed for flat roofs 
  • Very energy- efficient 
  • Welded seams for durability and weatherproofing 

Roof Warranties

Attaching roofing materials to your home requires making numerous penetrations. Industry-leading techniques for sealing those roof penetrations are extremely reliable and, as a result, roof leaks are rare.

But roof leaks do happen even on properly installed roofs, due to weather damage, accidents (e.g. a tree falling on your home) or normal wear and tear over many years. That’s where warranties come in.

Your new roof should come with two warranties:

  1. A workmanship warranty from the installation company. For example, Citadel provides a 10-year workmanship warranty on our roof installations.

  2. A materials warranty from the manufacturer of the tiles, shingles or other roofing product, which range from 10 to 50 years in length. Most manufacturers offer extended warranties to provide peace of mind and enhance your home’s re-sale value.

Don’t under-estimate the importance of the workmanship warranty. Sub-standard installation practices from a careless or untrained crew can void the manufacturer’s warranty, leaving you high and dry (or wet?).

How Solar Can Impact a Roof Warranty

A poorly installed solar energy system can damage your roof and void the roof warranty. Read our blog post on How Roof and Solar Warranties Impact Each Other for tips on how to protect your roof when going solar so you get the most from both systems.

Cost of a New Residential Roof

The price tag for a new roof covers three main items:

  1. Materials: The roofing materials, water-proofing supplies and hardware
  2. Labor: The crew’s time to do the work; this takes longer for complicated or tricky roofs such as those with very steep pitch
  3. Permits: Cities and towns charge for the building permits and inspections required for a re-roofing project

The cost for your project will depend on which materials you choose, the size of your roof (larger roofs require more material and take longer to install), and the ease or difficulty of accessing and working on your roof.

Most homeowners pay cash for their re-roofing projects, but Citadel can help you secure a home improvement loan at a competitive rate through one of our financial partners if you prefer to finance the project.

Choosing a Roofing Contractor

The roofing contractors you contact should provide free estimates for your project, and those estimates should spell out very clearly what is included and excluded in the price. You want the estimates to cover all costs related to the job including materials, labor and any necessary local permits. And find out what type of service the company provides for any maintenance or repairs you might need down the road, especially emergency repairs.iStock-171361084

When choosing your contractor, consider:

  • Experience – Members of Citadel’s leadership team have installed tens of thousands of roofs throughout California
  • Licenses – The installer should have all necessary licenses
  • References from friends and family
  • Reviews on various home improvement websites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List
  • Service - It’s best if your roofing contractor has a Service department dedicated to roofing customer support
  • Respect shown by the roofing company: Did the company’s assessor explain or show you why roof your needs replacing, or just ask you to trust their expert opinion? Did the assessor and people in the office answer all of your questions thoroughly? Did you trust the person?

Also, only topnotch installers are listed in the directories of high-quality roofing material manufacturers, which have stringent criteria. Citadel is listed in directories including:

The importance of choosing an experienced, reputable roofing contractor can’t be overstated. You want the job done right the first time. Once the roof is up, it’s hard to gauge the quality of the work. So hire a company with a long record of quality work.

And the truth is, the quality of work from companies with ever-changing crew members fluctuates over time. Be sure your references are for recent jobs.

How Roofs are Installed

Re-roofing entails more than nailing materials to the roof. It also entails important weather-proofing and ventilation measures. The main steps in a home roofing project are:

  1. Remove existing roofing material
  2. Replace any dry rotted materials
  3. Install a weather-proofing layer
  4. Install metal flashings to waterproof the valleys where two roof sections meet, where the roof meets the side of the house if applicable, and where dormers and other obstacles meet the roof
  5. Paint flashings to match roofing color
  6. Attach the new roofing material
  7. Install ridge caps along the top peak(s)
  8. Clean up

Getting on the schedule of a high-quality, reputable roofing contractor can take a few weeks or a few months. It just depends on how full the company’s schedule is at the time. Once the installation starts, it typically takes three to seven days, although it can vary from that based on the size of your home’s roof, the condition of the roof (roofs in worse shape could require more dry rot repair), and the ease or difficulty of working on your roof due to its pitch (slope), access, and obstacles like chimneys and vent pipes. Simply put, more difficult installations take more time and attention.

The Crew That Cares

Roofing is a way of life for Citadel crews. Citadel founder Dieter Folk is a second-generation roofing contractor and all three of his children work for the company. Our roofing supervisors have been installing roofs on California homes for years, many for decades. That level of experience assures you we know what we’re doing.

But we also care about what we’re doing. We care about keeping our crews safe on the job. We care about your questions and helping you understand what your project entails. And we care about how your roof, your home, and the area surrounding our work area all look when the job is done.

Contact us today for your roofing estimate.

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Topics: Residential Roofing 101