Roofing FAQ

Are you choosing a roof for your new home and wondering which type to get? Want to learn more about roofing damage and repair? Get answers to anything you want to know about roofing right here!

What is the best roofing material?

Well, it really depends on your personal preferences.

  • Standing seam metal roofing – if your top priorities are durability and minimal maintenance
  • Cedar shake roofing – if you want a more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly roofing material
  • Slate roofing – if you’re interested in a roof that will last for a long, long time and is highly resistant to warping, rotting, fire, insect damage, etc.
  • Asphalt roofing – if you want roofing that complements any style of home and is a truly economical choice
  • Copper roofing – if you want a beautiful, unique look for your home and an extremely durable roof

Should I remove my existing roof before installing a new one?

Though it may seem strange, this question pops up quite frequently. Although an overlay can save you some money, it’s usually a good idea to remove your old roof because with an overlay, you can run into problems like incompatible shingles and a shorter lifespan. If your existing roof is not in good condition, definitely avoid getting an overlay.

How do I know if I need a roof repair or a new roof?

There are several signs that indicate you probably need major roof repair – or even a full roof replacement. Some of the many signs include:

  • Higher-than-usual energy bills
  • Leaks or excessive moisture in the attic after it rains
  • Water stains on the ceiling
  • Moisture around vents and chimneys
  • Development of moss, algae, mold, or mildew
  • Buckled, curled, or missing shingles

Learn more about roof repair and full roof replacement.

Should I get a roof repair or full roof replacement?

You may need a new roof, not just a repair, if:

  • Your roof is more than 25 years old or so, sometimes more depending on the material (metal roofs can last 40 – 50 years or more!)
  • Your shingles are old and there are missing granules (granular surface of the shingles)
  • Your damage is too extensive and a repair isn’t enough (this usually happens after a fire, tornado, etc.)

What can I do to protect my roof?

There are a few different ways you can protect your roof. If you have a flat roof, you can waterproof it. A cupola is a viable ventilation solution (protecting your roof from wood rot, peeling paint, and other issues that could cost you money). It’s also important to keep your roof clear of debris. If you don’t feel comfortable getting up on a ladder and clearing the roof yourself or are unable to do so, our Maryland roofing contractors can take care of it for you.

You can always call us to find out other methods of roof protection. There are more specific answers depending on what type of roof you have!

What is roof waterproofing?

Roof waterproofing is a service Shanco roofing offers to help keep your roof from leaking. The most common methods involves applying a water-resistance “membrane” to the surface of the roof.

Do I need roof waterproofing?

Typically, only flat roofs need waterproofing, but if you’re unsure, call a Shanco representative today.

What is the most energy-efficient type of roof?

Metal , slate, and cedar shake roofing are pretty energy-efficient, but the climate you live in and the type of insulation your home has are the two main factors that will dictate how efficient your home is.

When should I clean my gutters?

It’s impossible to have completely clear gutters – over time, your gutters will accumulate all sorts of debris – leaves, sticks, tennis balls, dirt – you name it! Buildup like this is normal and shouldn’t pose any problems if you clean your gutters!

You should probably clean your gutters at least twice a year. The best time to clean gutters is in the fall and in the spring, after all the snow and ice melts. If you can’t or don’t want to do this yourself, a professional roofing company can easily take care of it.

How long do roofs last?

It depends on the material! Metal roofs can last for about 20-40 years. A slate roof can last anywhere from 40 to 100 years. Asphalt roofs usually last 15 to 25 years. And of course, a roof that is better maintained will last longer and look a lot better!

Are there any repairs I can do myself?

There are some simpler repair jobs you may be able to do fairly easily yourself, like replacing missing or damaged shingles and fixing your gutters (if you know how to do so properly). However, it’s recommended that a professional roofing company handles your roof repairs since they can do it in the most safe and efficient manner.

Why should I get a chimney inspection?

As smoke rises through your chimney, it cools and causes a buildup of oily, tar-like residue called creosote on the interior surfaces of your chimney and the flue. Not only can creosote have a negative effect on your health, but it also creates a fire hazard, as it’s extremely combustible and can reduce airflow through the chimney. A chimney inspection can prevent creosote deposits from accumulating to dangerous levels.

Note: If your chimney smells, especially during the summer months, this could indicate creosote buildup.

What are some fireplace and chimney maintenance and safety tips?

Just doing quick inspections of both the exterior of your chimney and your fireplace is a good way to prevent creosote accumulation. There are other good fireplace and chimney maintenance and safety practices you should follow, such as:

  • Making sure your chimney cap isn’t damaged or getting one if you don’t have one
  • Cleaning your chimney immediately if you notice a buildup of black soot or oily substances
  • Using a fireplace screen and keeping the hearth area clear of combustible materials
  • NEVER burning pressure-treated wood (which can release toxic fumes)
  • Making sure your carbon monoxide detector works

How do I find good roofing contractors?

Nobody really likes to hear this answer, but finding good roofing contractors requires some homework! In general, reputable roofing companies:

  • Are licensed and insured
  • Can provide references
  • Have a lot of experience installing, repairing, and replacing different types of roofing
  • Can give you good answers to any questions you ask
  • Provide written contracts and agreements

You should do some research and pick two or three companies to “interview.”



see what our happy customers are saying

"Our roofing repair went fantastic! Shanco's roofing installation crews were very neat. We didn’t know anyone was here when they cleaned up after the job."

-Gaithersburg, Maryland


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