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Questions & Answers About Roof Issues

This month’s focus is on questions related to roof wear issues and replacement needs.

Q: How can I recognize when my roof system needs attention?

Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t realize they have a roof problem until after a leak occurs. Some interior signs of roof damage can be found by chance, but it is often hard to know when there is hidden damage. But doing a visual inspection at least twice-a-year can uncover obvious damage such as cracked, lifted or missing shingle; deteriorated flashings; excessive granule loss; and other visible signs of roof system problems. This inspection should also include a check indoors for stains, irregular or loose wall or ceiling finishes, peeling wallpaper or others signs of leakage, especially near chimneys or other roof penetrations. If you are unsure of how to properly inspect your roof, then it might be ideal to find a local roofing company to do this for you.

Q: How long can I expect my roof to last?

On average, any sloped roof system can be expected to last about 20 years, but the type and quality of the material, the methods of installation, local climatic factors, and degree of maintenance all play a role. Manufacturer warranties give some clue as to the expected service life of a roof. Heavyweight asphalt shingles can last up to about 35 years; slate, tile, and metal roofs can last 40, 50 or more years; but the service life of wood shingles or shakes vary widely. Roofs exposed to above normal amounts of sun, heat, or severe weather will have a shorter life than mentioned here, as will roof materials on low slope or flat roofs. Because of this, the likelihood of them needing to be repaired or re-sealed every couple of years is very high. But don’t worry, there will be someone in your area who will be able to help you should you need any work completing. For example, if you have a tile roof, then it may be in your best interest to get in touch with a company similar to who will be able to restore your roof back to its former glory so that you have a safe place to live. Depending on where you live and what type of roof you have, it can be completely normal for repairs to be carried out.

A good option here on roofing is Dormer Roofs (navigate to this page to learn more), as they look stylish and can last a long time, given that the right materials are used.

Q: I have an asphalt shingle roof that is 20 years old and beginning to show signs of wear. What is involved with replacement?

Typically there a two basic options: A complete replacement of the roofing, involving a tear-off of your existing shingle, or a roof-over, which requires only the installation of new shingles over the existing ones. If there are already two or more layers of roofing, you may need to rip off all the roofs before installing the new one. Even if there is only one layer, you may need to have it removed if the shingled do not lie flat or there are other conditions that would prevent the new roof shingles from being securely fastened to the roof deck and providing a flat finished appearance. A reputable professional roofing contractor should be able to give you some direction regarding what may be an option versus what is required. In many instances, building codes allow no more than one roof-over before complete replacement is necessary. However, in other cases, an assessment can be made based on the type roof structure and type roofing.

Q: If my roof leaks, should I just go ahead and replace it rather than worry about whether a repair will hold up?

It depends. Leaks can be caused by localized shingle damage or loose or lifted roof flashings (the metal or other type waterproof membrane at chimneys, vents and other roof penetrations). In this case, a proper repair should eliminate the leakage. However, if the roof is old, or wear is widespread, then regardless of the actual cause of the current leak, complete replacement may be feasible.

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