Do I need a re-roof?

It is almost never a bad idea to re-roof.  There are several benefits to a new roof.  Likely the most appealing is the warranty.  We will address warranties in another section.  The first thing that a homeowner/building owner should address is whether or not they need a new roof.  Typically a when a leak shows itself it prompts the phone calls to roofers.  It is important to remember several items and building components can cause a roof leak.  Many of these components will NOT be addressed by replacing the roof.  The last thing that any home owner or building owner wants to hear after they have spent thousands of dollars is “it is not the roof.”  Educate yourself about building components such as canalees, clerestory windows, roof drains, parapets, skylights, downspouts, drip edges, gutters etc.  Understand and insure that the “leak” will be addressed in the scope of work being proposed.  

How to get estimate

Prior to hiring a roofing contractor several questions should be asked:

  • Can you determine the cause of the leak(s)?
  • Will the work you are proposing solve leaking?
  • If not what will?
  • Does your company have general liability and workman’s compensation insurance?
  • Are you licensed by Construction Industries Division? (check CID for complaints)
  • Who is your supplier for the material you are installing?
  • Are you certified to install these roof systems?
  • Can you provide references at least 5+ years old?
  • Please provide a detailed explanation of the warranty you are providing?
  • Will a permit be obtained, what is the cost?

Word of mouth is always a very solid way to get an idea about how a contractor has performed for other homeowners and building owners.  It is always a good idea to get at least 3 estimates.  Make sure to meet the estimator to evaluate the type of individual they are and the company that they represent.  Ask about products and why they recommend the products.  Compare the pros and cons of each system and the costs.  Check references.

Do I need a Permit?

If a re-roof is being completed in the State of New Mexico a permit is required.  A permit is not required for maintenance and repair work.  Local building departments may have slightly different view on whether or not a permit is required for repair work.  Contact CID to find out if a permit is required for your scope of work.  It is almost always a good idea to get a permit.  It allows you to insure that a third party will inspect the work and make sure that the specifications were followed. 

Do I need to remove my existing roof?

Code requires that removal take place if one of the following conditions exists:
 If (2) existing layers of roofing present.
If granular fill was used in current roofing assembly (pumice, dirt, etc.)
If substrate/decking is damaged or saturated
Re-roofing over existing roof is permitted if these conditions do not exist.  Keep in mind that the substrate may require additional work to meet the specifications that the manufacture recommends.  Core samples should be taken and results should be photographed and saved in roofing records.


The key to solving flat roofs is simple.  Don’t make them flat.  This does not mean every roof should be a steep pitch roof.  It simply means if you are going to go thru the re-roof process consider spending more money on creating extra slope.  Ask the contractors how they are going to create slope.  There are three approved ways to create slope.

  •  Creating slope in the framing above the ceiling is one common way roofers or builders will install slope.  Rippers can be used to create slope from one side of the roof to the other.  This method is labor intensive but works very well.  It will be a bit more expensive and does not add any additional r-value.
  • Tapered rigid insulation sheets.  This method involves the using sheets of insulation with a slope built into each piece.  The pieces are then put together like a puzzle insuring positive slope is created.  This method also provides added r-value.  There are different types of tapered foam are available.  They each provide different r-vales per inch.  It is important ask your contractor what type of rigid insulation is being specified.
  • Spray applied polyurethane foam (SPF) is commonly used to create roofing as well as slope.  SPF is very popular and affective.  One down fall of SPF roofing is that it is extremely applicator sensitive.  It is important to make sure the company is certified to install SPF roofing systems.  


Warranties can be complicated.  Make sure you read the fine print.  Keep in mind warranties are provided to protect the contractor as well as the home/building owner.  The length is often the first thing that we think about as consumers.  The longer the term, the better, right?  In some cases, yes.  Often a contractor will advertise lifetime warranties.  In the fine print these warranties are available as long as the current customer lives in the home/building.  It is also common for the contractor to require that “maintenance” be completed to continue the warranty.  If the maintenance is not completed the warranty is void.  Maintenance costs can be as much as 25% of the initial cost of installation.  Some contractors will require maintenance every 2-5 years.  Ask for firm price for the full term of the warranty with maintenance costs included.  This will give home/building owners an accurate picture of how much the real cost of the roof during the warranty period will be. 

What does the warranty cover?

Read warranties carefully.  It is often the understanding of the customer that the warranty covers any type of leaking.  This is not the case.  The warranty will typically only cover the actual cost to repair the leak, if the leak is a result of a roofing failure.  Remember other components can cause a leak.  Prior to hiring a contractor ask these questions:

  • What happens if a leak occurs?  
  • How long will it take to respond?  
  • What costs does the warranty cover?
  • Give me an example of items not covered by the warranty?
  • Are there additional costs to continue warranty?
  • Is this a manufactures warranty?
  • Who is the Manufacture of the products proposed?


It is not unlikely that a roofing contractor will require money up front prior to getting started.  Be wary of contractors or individuals who require large amounts of money just to get started.  Typically 30% prior to start is reasonable.  Make sure payment terms are clear prior to getting started.


The information in this sheet is meant to help consumer avoid costly mistakes that can be made when selecting a roofing contractor.  There are several qualified roofers in the New Mexico region.  Doing research and asking the righ questions will insure your roofing project is a success!