For about a little more than one year I was considering to replace the roof of my house. Fortunately, the original roof of the structure had no apparent failure or any visible leaks but it was a little over 21 years old and on occasions I had to replace a tile here and there because we are sometimes exposed to storms of quite impressive forces. I had plenty of time to explore the issues of consideration for a new roof, the options, and experiences of neighbors, friends, and relatives. Finally I decided to take action. I preferred a local enterprise for doing the job and I checked on the Internet for businesses.
Here I will review my experiences with Soto & Brothers Roofing (S&B).
After calling S&B the Executive (Alvino Soto) came out the same afternoon (I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, not easy to find nor close to town) for a quick evaluation and he scheduled a complete assessment for the next day at 15:00 h. The following day at 15:00 h sharp the truck moved in and Alvino thoroughly inspected the conditions of the roof and adjacent structures and took the appropriate measures. Then he sat down with me and discussed his observations, reviewed different materials, the accessories required (vents, seals, barriers, types of shingles, and others). In discussing the different options Alvino carefully listened to my opinions and preferences, explained the appropriate pro and con and the costs without pushing any solution upon me. He let me make the final selection of materials. Finally he made an estimate of the costs. I was to consider the estimates and evaluations and contact Alvino upon decision.
With comparable materials, accessories, and warranties, the estimated costs for the whole project was substantially lower than that of two other competitors (up to 25%). I still was reluctant to jump into an expense of several thousand dollars without exploring every available option. So I called up S&B once more and asked them to consider just putting up a second layer of shingles instead of re-roofing. Again, Alvino came out at my earliest convenience (sharp to the minute), set down with me and patiently went over the advantages and disadvantages of each option, once again without pushing his preferences but leaving the decision finally up to me.
Without going into a complete review, here are several considerations to be taken when to decide between re-roofing or a second (or more) layer. The disadvantage of re-roofing is one and only one: costs. Depending on the project (predominantly size of the roof), there can be a saving of a few thousand dollars – nothing to cough at. However, the disadvantages are multifold: a. the weight of the covering, including potential snow build-up (depending on the climate) – the plywood panels might sag (depending on the distance of the rafters); b. microorganisms settled on the old cover might start working from underneath the new shingles; c. there is no inspection of potentials rotten areas on the plywood (the “deck” of the roof) and necessary replacement of weak spots; there is no replacement of the trimmings of the roof (i.e. the metal parts at the borders of the deck); d. the nails for the second layer stick out higher and do not have the same mechanical strength to hold down the tiles at strong winds; e. potential build-up of moisture between the layers may work in winter to unduly separate the layers; and others. Therefore, the companies providing the tiles do not grant any warranties (typically 30 years limited warranty).
After a thorough discussion with Alvino and careful consideration of the options I eventually decided to go for the new roof.
Being the Northwest in November, inclement weather interfered with the execution of the job. The supply company (that hauls the materials on the rim of the roof) could only deliver at the second try. Ice prevented them from stacking up the materials the first time. Snow and pouring rain further delayed. However, Alvino periodically called me and kept me abreast as to the prospect of the impending job, never let me wonder or guess what the next step would be and when.
On the day of a break in the weather, Alvino and his crew arrived at sunup. They worked with a determination, a steady speed, and apparently with skill and thorough knowledge of the job at hand until sundown – almost without a break or ever slowing down. I have the highest opinion of these workmen who did this backbreaking, dangerous job with such a positive attitude – even singing at times – up on that slanted roof hauling heavy loads, positioned in awkward postures, trotting instead of walking and always alert not to make a consequential misstep.
On the first day, half of the roof was finished and the other half was covered with the first layer. The next morning (Thanksgiving!) the S&B crew arrived again at sunup and kept working away in the same manner until the roof was finished (late afternoon, remember: Thanksgiving!). A mishap occurred: Without their fault, a skylight (21 years old) disintegrated. There was no way to get a new skylight the same day. The next morning, an hour after sunup, Alvino had already purchased a new skylight and installed it!
They cleaned up meticulously and made every attempt not to disrupt life and activities around the property (my three dogs became subdued from the constant banging of the nail gun and decided to retreat to the basement).
These people did an excellent job. The company took into consideration all my concerns, discussed professionally every option, selected the best materials or chose those I selected on my own responsibility, never pushed their choices, responded timely and adjusted their schedules according to the circumstances without delay. They exuded confidence and professionalism, and foremost consideration of the customer. Finally, the price I paid for the project was substantially lower than that estimated by other companies. This gives me only mixed satisfaction: materials being approximately equal it seems to me that these people did their superb job at a lower wages than the competition (also with less overhead).
It goes without additional comment that I cannot but highly recommend Soto & Brothers Roofing to potential customers. I am open to discuss details with anybody who feels inclined to do so.