Frequently Asked Questions

Nashville's most frequent questions about Roofing, Siding, Rain Gutters and Home Insulation

Questions about Roofing

How much will it cost to replace my roof?

Probably the most asked question, and the answer depends on a number of factors:

  1. What type of roof is being removed, and how many layers need removing?
  2. What is the size of the roof and how steep is it?
  3. How many stories is your home?
  4. What materials do you want to use for the new roof?
  5. Is permitting required?
  6. What kind of warranty do you want, standard or extended?

With all of that considered, the average roof replacement cost in Tennessee is around $12,000 for asphalt shingles on a 3 bedroom 2 bath home

Do I need to get a permit to replace my roof in Tennessee?

The best answer to this question is, it never hurts to check with the local building department. In most cases, the answer will be no. But if the answer is yes and you fail to obtain the permit before beginning work then you may be forced to tear it all down and start over, which can be very costly.

Can I put new shingles over the old ones?

While there might be cost savings to installing new shingles over the old ones, it is never recommended. Doing so will void the manufacturer’s warranty on the shingles, and that could cost you big time. Also, most contractors will not warranty their workmanship if the customer insists on installing an “overlay”. So the short answer is, don’t do it unless you have absolutely no other choice.

What is the best underlayment for my roof?

The best underlayment provides a balance of these key factors: price, durability and life expectancy.

Traditional felt is the most cost efficient, but it is the least durable meaning you’ll get a bit less peace of mind knowing its up there. 

Meanwhile, synthetic roofing underlayment is more durable but also more costly. For some, the peace of mind is worth the cost.

What are the most common causes of a roof leak?

  • Degraded shingles & underlayment (old age)
  • Nail holes
  • Damaged flashing
  • Failed tar or caulk
  • Failed pipe boot
  • Animal damage

If my roof leaks do I have to replace it?

It is very common that a roof leak is the result of a single point of failure on your roof, as opposed to the entire roofing system failing. The real question becomes, is there enough life left in the roof system to justify repairing it instead of replacing it. Often that determination comes down to age and condition of the roof. If you’ve recently bought your home, as many have here in Middle Tennessee, then you may not know when the roof was installed. That’s when it is best to depend on a trained Legacy Exteriors Consultant to examine your roof’s condition and help you weigh your options.

How long should my roof last?

Asphalt shingle roofs typically last 20-30 years. Metal roofs can last 30-70 years. But the life expectancy of both types of roof can be reduced by any number of factors, including: weather conditions, nearby foliage, direct sunlight, and other factors, too.

Why does my roof look dirty?

It is very common that a roof leak is the result of a single point of failure on your roof, as opposed to the entire roofing system failing. The real question becomes, is there enough life left in the roof system to justify repairing it instead of replacing it. Often that determination comes down to age and condition of the roof. If you’ve recently bought your home, as many have here in Middle Tennessee, then you may not know when the roof was installed. That’s when it is best to depend on a trained Legacy Exteriors Consultant to examine your roof’s condition and help you weigh your options.

How do I know when my roof needs to be replaced?

Several factors determine when roof replacement is necessary, beginning with age. 

20 years is the typical threshold. Besides that, you might see lifted, cracked or missing shingles. And shingles with bald spots where the granules have worn off can also indicate that the roof is nearing the point of failure. Of course, if you see water marks on your ceilings or on the underside of the roof in your attic, then your roof is likely already past the failure point.

What questions should I ask before hiring a roofing contractor?

1) Are you local? It’s important to that your roofer be nearby in case you have issues later. 

2) How long have you been roofing? This is important, especially for complex roofing projects.

3) Are you licensed and insured? In Tennessee, a license is not required for residential roofing but having liability insurance is definitely a must for any contractor that you hire. 

4) What materials are included in my written estimate? If you are getting multiple estimates then it is important to make sure that they are apples to apples in terms of materials quality. 

5) Is there anything that may change the cost of my project once it is underway? This will help you to avoid surprises.

6) Who will be doing the work on my roof? Using subcontractors is very common in the roofing industry. If the company uses subcontractors, you should understand their relationship with their sub-crews and how long they’ve been partnered. If the company uses subs but has their own project manager supervising, that’s a plus.

7) How will you protect my property during work?  If you have a beautifully landscaped yard, it is important to make sure that all possible steps are taken to maintain it during construction. Even so, remember that it is a construction site and not all peripheral damage to the grounds can be avoided. 

8) Will I get a warranty for material and workmanship? You want something in writing to document what is covered and what is not covered, in the event that the roof fails. 

9) What are the payment terms for this project?  Most roofing contractors will require some form of down payment before ordering materials and scheduling their construction crew. But if you are asked for more than 50% down then it’s an indication that your contractor may have financial issues, and you don’t want them to spill over and hinder your project.

What is drip edge and when should I replace it?

Drip edge is a thin strip of metal, about 4 inches wide, that wraps around the outside of your roof. It covers the edge between your fascia boards, which are the vertical boards coming down under the edge of your roof, and the roof deck itself. Drip edge protects the wood from the elements, including bugs and pests, and it pushes water away from the facia board into the rain gutter. The best time to replace your drip edge is when you replace your roof. Doing it any other time increases the risk of damaging the roof system.

What is the best type of roof?

Many factors play into the answer to this question, including appearance, life-expectancy, and cost. Asphalt shingle roofs are typically the most economical, and there are several levels of shingle quality you can consider if you want to upgrade your roof. Metal roofs can add curb appeal and they do last longer in most cases, but the cost will be higher and they have some drawbacks as well, like being louder during a rainstorm.

What is drip edge and when should I replace it?

Drip edge is a thin strip of metal, about 4 inches wide, that wraps around the outside of your roof. It covers the edge between your fascia boards, which are the vertical boards coming down under the edge of your roof, and the roof deck itself. Drip edge protects the wood from the elements, including bugs and pests, and it pushes water away from the facia board into the rain gutter. The best time to replace your drip edge is when you replace your roof. Doing it any other time increases the risk of damaging the roof system.

How long does it take to replace a roof?

For an average size home (1,500 – 2,500sq/ft) a professional roof replacement project can be completed in 2 days or less. Larger or more complex roofs may take 3-5 days.

Questions about Siding

How do I know when my siding needs to be replaced?

Chipping, cracking, waviness, and discoloration can all be signs that your siding needs to be replaced. The job of home siding is to deflect the elements while providing curb appeal to your home. If your siding fails to do either of those things, then it’s probably time to consider replacing it.  

How long does it take to replace my home siding?

Most home siding replacement projects take about a week to complete. Of course, larger or more complex projects take longer. Things that make a project more complex might include: high elevation walls, lots of corners and trim work, numerous small sections requiring a lot of cutting, obstacles to work around such as decks or balconies, etc.

What are my siding material options?

Options for siding materials include vinyl, wood, and fiber cement. Each has pros and cons, which we outline for you here>> on our siding page.

What is housewrap?

Beneath the siding on your home there is a plastic-like material called housewrap. It’s purpose is to create a second layer of defence against air and water leaks.

How much does it cost to replace siding on my home?

Siding replacement costs vary greatly depending on the siding material being removed and what material is replacing it. A person with an average size home, using average grade materials can expect to spend about $9,500, on average. You could easily spend double that if you want only the best.

Questions about Rain Gutters

Why are my gutters leaking or overflowing?

Your gutters are too small for your roof size and/or pitch, or debris has built up in your gutters blocking water from draining properly.

What are the best rain gutters?

The best gutters are ones that effectively funnel water away from areas it might cause damage while adding aesthetic appeal to your home. Beyond that, life expectancy and cost are the two most important factors to consider. The most expensive option would likely be an oversized copper gutter system, while the most economical option would be standard size vinyl or aluminum gutters. The majority of homeowners go with something in between.

Can my gutters be repaired?

If your gutters are leaking or overflowing just one area it is likely they can be repaired or just partially replaced to avoid damage to other parts of your property. If your gutters are dented, damaged, or if there are a number of areas in the gutter system with issues then you could end up spending nearly as much on repairs as you would replacing the whole system.

What will it cost to replace my rain gutter system?

The cost to replace your gutter system will depend on the total length of the gutters in linear feet, plus the number and length of downspouts, and of course what material you decide to use. The average home has about 150 to 250 linear feet of guttering, and the national average cost for a full system replacement is about $1,250.

Questions about Home Insulation

Do I have enough insulation?

Knowing if you have enough insulation begins with knowing what type of insulation you have. Each type provides a different rate of performance in terms of R-value. Also, several different areas of your home should be insulated. So you may have enough in one area but not enough in another.

How long does insulation last?

Framed walls are most often insulated with fiberglass batts, which can begin to shed insulation after 15 to 20 years. Modern attic insulation can last several decades in optimal conditions, but it can be damaged or begin to degrade in as little as 15 years. Spray foam insulation can last as long as 80 years.

Which insulation has more chemicals in it?

The two types of insulation with the most chemicals in them are cellulose and spray foam, but the chemicals are different between them. In cellulose insulation, about 20% of the material is fire retardant chemicals. Whereas with spray foam, chemicals are used to form the insulation itself and in some cases the tiny foam bubbles are filled with chemical gasses that reduce heat transfer.

What is the best insulation for my attic or walls?

There is no insulation out there today that is rodent or insect proof. Even spray foam, which wouldn’t seem like great nesting material, can be chewed through by animals looking to make a home in your attic. In some extreme cases of insect or animal infestation, it may be necessary to remove your home’s insulation completely and then perform pest control before installing new insulation. Pest prevention begins with properly maintaining the exterior of your home, and it may also include the enlistment of a pest control service.

What is the safest type of insulation?

All forms of insulation available today are considered safe for the home. Each does present its own set of “risks”. Some are more fire retardant, and others are better suited to block moisture intrusion and minimize the risk of developing airborne mold spores. Some are more environmentally friendly, while others offer a bit of cost savings. So the answer to what type is the safest really comes down to the individual and their own risk/benefit analysis.