Understanding Different Types of Roofs

In today’s world of technology, there seems to be an overwhelming number of options for any item you may consider purchasing, and roofing options are no exception. For many of us, the task of choosing the right type of residential roofing to fit our personal needs can be a bit daunting. A typical homeowner may not even know much about each of the options aside from the aesthetic properties. Here we will describe some of the most common roofing options and discuss the pros and cons of each type.

  • Slate Roof System
    • Slate is a natural stone that can be chiseled into thin, flat tiles. Slate roofs are made of these tiles, overlapped to form the roof. Because of the irregular shape and size of these tiles, this system is not considered the most waterproof, and therefore needs to be installed with a good slope to promote the water running off the roof instead of pooling between the tiles. Additionally, it is very heavy, and in some cases a roofing contractor may need to reinforce your roofing trusses to support the additional weight. A slate roof system runs in the higher price range, as well. The benefits to this type of roofing are it’s elegant and beautiful appearance, combined with an easy to maintain system which is highly durable and can hold up well in any type of weather.
  • Clay Tile Roof System
    • A clay tile roof is a staple for a traditional southern Mediterranean style home. Natural clay is shaped into forms with lips and channels that will direct the flow of water, then hardened by heating at extreme temperatures. This tile is both wind and moisture resistant, and provides a long lasting roofing option – potentially lasting 80 years or longer. While you may experience a single broken or cracked tile on occasion, this roof type is easy to repair and maintain, and provides a distinctive curb appeal.
  • Wood Shingle Roof System
    • Wood shingles are a somewhat more costly option, and is often found on higher-end homes. These shingles have a natural aged appearance, that many homeowners find very attractive. They are light weight, and easy to replace, but are susceptible to damage from insects and rot, and generally have a poor fire rating. The longevity of this roof type is determined by the type of wood used. Redwood and cedar roof shingles can last upwards of half a century.
  • Asphalt Shingle Roof System
    • Asphalt shingles are the most popular roof option, and the most affordable. These shingles are made of thin rubber-like sheets, cut to look like clay or stone shingles, and adhered onto the under-surface with adhesive or hot bitumen. They are durable, easy to maintain, and are appropriate for most any climate. They generally last around twenty to thirty years, and for a homeowner who is willing to spend a little more there is an upgraded thicker version available which will provide more durability. Another variation is an architectural shingle, which is essentially an asphalt shingle that has been laminated to provide more options in color and texture.
  • Metal Roof System
    • Metal roofing is an extremely popular option. In the past, this would have been most commonly found in an industrial setting, but can be used in any type of building, and has recently gained traction in the residential market. It is ideal for homes that feature a steep or flat roof line. Metal roofing is inexpensive, quick to install, lightweight, waterproof, and incredibly durable. Metal roofing has many design options,  with different colors, styles, and textures, in order to simulate other types of roofing. This option is a great investment from an insurance standpoint, and can be expected to last around half a century.

Ultimately, your decision will be based on a number of factors, including your budget, climate, architectural style, and personal taste. Before making a final decision, be sure to seek professional consulting from a seasoned local roofing contractor so you can make the most informed decision possible.


Spring Time Roof Tips

Winter can be extremely hard on your roof. Cold and changing temperatures, wind, rain, or even snow and ice depending on where you live, can all combine to wreak havoc on your home. Ice dams, caused by build up of ice and snow, can cause water to not drain properly, pooling under flashing or penetrating your shingles and leading to severe water damage. If you haven’t been the victim of ice, snow or other harsh winter weather conditions, you may have been lulled into a false sense of security, however. Warm temperatures during the day and cold temperatures at night can cause rapid expansion and contraction that can damage roofing membranes and metal components. No matter where you live, you should do a thorough inspection of your roof’s condition to be sure to stay ahead of any needed repairs or corrections.

Here are some helpful insights into just how to go about giving your roof a spring touch up:

  • Trim tree limbs.
    • You should never allow tree limbs to touch your roof. The limbs can scrape the roof shingles and loosen the protective coating, shortening the life span of the roof.
  • Inspect the shingles.
    • Loose, missing, curling, peeling, or otherwise damaged shingles should be replaced immediately. Hammer down any nails that may have poked up. Remove debris such as leaves or pine needles – these can trap moisture and add weight to the roof, or cause mold and mildew to grow, which will eat away at the roofing material and ultimately cause leaks.
  • Check your gutters.
    • Clear away any debris such as leaves and pine needles. Spring rains will not be able to drain properly if your gutters are blocked by debris, and this can lead to water damage. Be sure the gutters are securely attached and sitting snugly along the roof line.
  • Look for damage.
    • Inspect the flashing for damage such as cracked caulking or rust spots. Examine the soffits (metal or wood panels along the underside of the roof between the wall of the house and the roof line) and fascia (metal or wood boards along the roof line or behind the eavestrough) for any soft spots, holes, or otherwise damaged parts. Look for damage around the chimney and vents.
  • Ensure there is no water damage.
    • Carefully check for signs of a leak inside the home as well as on the roof. A leaking roof can ruin insulation, ceilings, walls, even cause structural damage if left untreated.

If you notice any issues, or are unsure how best to proceed, it’s best to call in a professional. Many companies will offer free inspections, and the pros know what to look for – which means you will be far more likely to identify a problem before it becomes a disaster.



What To Do When Your Roof Leaks

A leaking roof is something every homeowner dreads, and for good reason. While a small leak at some point in the home’s lifetime is to be expected as par for the course, they key factor is in how you handle the leak. It’s not just an inconvenience – if left unattended to, it can cause serious and substantial damage, or perhaps even cause injury to the structure’s inhabitants. The longer the problem is ignored, the more expansive the damage can become, potentially leading into a financial nightmare. Water rings may begin to appear on the ceiling, causing the paint to become discolored, or the plaster to warp and bubble. Additional damage may be done to adjacent walls. Furniture may be ruined. Insulation can be destroyed, causing inefficient heating and cooling resulting in higher energy bills, and even structural damage to the rafters, ceiling joists, wall framing, fascia boards and exterior trim may occur in extreme circumstances. Light fixtures and fans may become damaged, presenting a fire hazard , and mold (particularly black mold) and mildew can grow, leading to serious health concerns.

So, what should you do if you have discovered a leak? Well, the first step is in determining the cause of the leak, and this can be a tricky process. Often, the homeowner may assume the source of the leak is directly above the visible water source. Sadly, this is often not the case. The water may be running down the interior structures, or even be caused by condensation. In many cases, plumbing or air conditioning issues are the cause rather than a roof leak. You’ll need to do some sleuthing here to find the real source of the problem.

First, try to catch the leak in action – while it is raining or snowing. This is the most effective way to trace the water to it’s source, and far more reliable than tracing the stains themselves. If it’s not reasonable to wait for the weather to comply, you may choose to use a garden hose on the area you believe to be affected to confirm that the water enters the home from that location. The most common sources of a leaking roof are as follows:

  • Missing, damaged, or loose shingles, tiles or seams
  • Improper attic ventilation causing a buildup of condensation
  • Ice Dams preventing proper run off and forcing water to back up under shingles
  • Ponding water
  • Exposed nail heads
  • Skylight flashings
  • Wall step flashings
  • Plumbing vent flashings
  • Furnace or B-vent flashings
  • Wind driven rain
  • Built up debris
  • Chimneys

Rule out other causes, such as plumbing leaks, a/c leaks, condensation, or even pest infestation, to avoid unnecessary expense, then consult a professional. In some cases, you may need to make an emergency repair until the roofer is able to remedy the problem. Remove any items that may be further damaged, such as furniture, clothing, or other personal items during the interim.

While you can’t prevent all issues all the time, the best approach to caring for your roof is to have regular inspections performed by a qualified roofer, especially after a severe weather event such as a hail storm, heavy winds, or lightning. Be sure to keep gutters clear at all times, and remove branches that may damage your roof. With diligent maintenance and care, you can expect your roof to last a significant amount of time.



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