Saturday, July 7, 2012

Is Your Roof in Good Shape?

Roofs are designed to protect a structure from the elements, especially water. They can be built using various types of materials such as slate, rubber slate, wood shake, asphalt and metal. Whatever materials are used, a roof will eventually wear out over time and need repair or replacing. Evidence of roof problems can include missing, loose, warped or buckled shingles and tiles, which leave the underlying roofing materials unprotected. Roof leaks are especially serious and should be immediately addressed to prevent dry rot and mold.

Certain factors can accelerate the deterioration process, including:

Design Issues

If a roof isn't designed correctly, it can lead to serious issues such as sagging and splitting, as well as water and sediment accumulation.

Improper Installation

The life expectancy of a roof will decrease when it hasn't been properly installed. You will also encounter issues similar to those found in a faulty design, such as poor drainage.

Poor Maintenance

Even when a roof is properly designed, maintenance is still required to prevent debris from clogging drains. Minor repairs may also be needed on occasion. When necessary fixes are ignored, it can result in more severe problems.


The condition of a roof will deteriorate over time under any circumstances, but certain weather conditions can facilitate the process such as rain, wind, snow and hail. The rate of deterioration is often determined by the type of roofing material used. As an example, natural roof materials will deteriorate faster than synthetic roofing. A roof can also decay due to exposure to pollutants and toxic chemicals.

Flashing Problems

Flashing seals and protects the joints and places where the roof intersects with pipes, chimneys, skylights, vent stacks and similar objects. There are many issues that can arise with flashing, including poor design, improper installation or fastening, poor adhesion and inadequate coating.

Roofs can be replaced at any time, even in wet weather. The process involves removing all of the existing roof shingles and paper. There may even be additional roof layers that need to be removed depending on the age of the house. Once this phase of the process is completed, any necessary repairs will be made. The next step is to lay down asphalt paper, after which the new shingles, followed by flashing and installing the ridge vent. The costs associated with replacing a roof will depend on the steepness of the roof, the size of the area that will need to be replaced and the roofing materials that will be used.

And remember, when hiring a contractor, ask to see his or her pocket license. Verify that the contractor is insured and carries workers' compensation. If you hire one that doesn't have workers' comp, you are legally considered the employer and can be held accountable for any job-related injuries. Once you've verified the contractor is licensed and insured, ask for references. Hearing what former clients have to say about the work that was done for them can be extremely helpful when deciding if you should hire them.

Having your roof regularly inspected by a professional contractor is an important part of the maintenance process. When roof problems are detected early, not only will the repairs usually be less costly, it can help prevent other types of damage to your home.

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