Common Reroofing Questions Answered:

For Maryland property owners, there are many reroofing options that are viable solutions, but by far the most common roof type is asphalt shingles. Below are some common questions that are important part of the reroofing process, and should not be ignored. For one reason, it’s required by law. And, secondly, it’s just good roofing practice. As of this posting, Maryland has adopted and follows the International Building Code 2015, the International Residential Code 2015, the International Energy Conservation Code 2015, and the International Existing Building Code 2012.

Is a roofing permit required in Maryland?

Maryland does not require a permit specifically for roofing. Because your roof is considering a covering, and not a structural component of the property, replacing your roof covering with a new covering does not require a permit. If you are making changes to the structural components of your house, or building an addition, then Maryland requires a permit. Local jurisdictions, neighborhood covenants, and historic areas may have special roofing requirements necessary for a specific area. It is important to check your local requirements prior to reroofing. Building codes and requirements are typically updated every few years. Therefore, be sure your project meets current code.

Do I have to remove my existing roof?

Maryland code allows a structure to have two roof coverings installed over the roof deck. The exception to this rule is slate or tile, where only one roof is permitted. So, if your roof has two or more roof coverings, its required that all the roofs be removed down to the roof deck before the installation of a new roof system. Failure to comply with this requirement would void most warranties, and insurance coverage may be limited or exempt for not meeting code. From a professional standpoint, it’s generally good roofing practice to remove the existing roof, even if it has only one layer. The recover process can hide many problems in the existing roof, such as moisture, damaged decking, poor installation, etc. These problems often result in the new roof either failing prematurely, or developing complicated leak scenarios where water infiltrates between the two roofs, rendering repairs very difficult and expensive.

Is ventilation required?

For shingle applications, the manufacturer’s require a certain amount of ventilation in order to receive their full warranties. If this ventilation is unachievable, the shingle manufacturer’s warranty is very limited. This is a common misunderstanding in the industry. Why? Because, many roof structure designs do not allow for the required amount of ventilation, and so, there many applications where the shingle roof is installed with limited ventilation or no ventilation at all. This scenario is common, but most often misunderstood is the warranty. Many shingle roofs are sold as 30, 40, 50 Year shingles, or even Lifetime shingles. This can be misleading, because if the ventilation requirement is not met, the warranty is typically limited to 10 or 15 years. As a result, too many times, the customer believes they are receiving  Lifetime coverage, when in fact, it’s a 10 year warranty. For other reroofing applications, it is important to follow the requirements of each manufacturer regarding their specific ventilation requirements.

Is insulation required?

The International Energy Conservation Code 2015 sets the energy code standards. For residential reroofing applications, the IECC 2015 says that if the entire roof deck is removed as part of the reroofing process, then the property owner is required to bring insulation up to current R-Value standards. However, if the roof deck remains in place, the property is exempt from current energy requirements. In other words, most reroofing applications do not require insulation because in most (not all) applications, the roof deck would remain in place. Furthermore, energy code requirements can be met with application unrelated to the reroofing process. For example, insulation can be installed from the interior, independent of the reroofing process. That said, the reroofing process is great time to examine your current insulation, and see if your property would benefit from an energy saving upgrade.

As a final reminder, it is important to check with your local authorities, your insurance provider, and your roofing professional to make sure your new roof will meet current standards.