Roofing 101

Let’s take some time and educate you on the basics when talking about roofing. Below is some good information that could help you when you are getting ready to call us or someone else for you home improvement needs.

1st off, there is NO SUCH THING as a maintenance free roof!

Every roof system on this earth created by man will need some attention down the road. The difference is, the product you choose for your roof covering might need maintenance sooner than another product….BUT YES, they all will need some sort of attention in time.

Shingles: Mostly found on residential homes and made of asphalt with fiberglass fibers. Generally there are 2 types, a 3 tab and an Architect shingle. Some roofers will ask you, what kind of shingle do you want, the architect or the 3 tab. The 3 tab is a flat looking shingle with 3 individual tabs that do not hold up well on windy days as they get older. The Architect shingle is thicker and is made of 1 solid shingle with glued pieces to give the shingle some depth when you look up at the roof…..thus the name “Architect”. So…whenever possible, go for the Architect shingle.

Metal Roofing: There are so many types of metal roof panels. The 2 most common types are the classic rib and the Standing seam. The major difference between metal roofs is this, do you want the roof panels held down with exposed screws and rubber washers that will rot after 8 years? Or do you want a metal roof panel that is held down with screws but then covered by the panel? The Standing seam panel is the best of the best and also pricey as well. The most common is the corrugated panel and the classic rib but these panels will require screws to be all over your roof instead of being hidden like the Standing seam panel.

Flat Roofing or Membrane Roofing: Mostly found on commercial buildings but this roofing product in short is either a black rubber compound like a inner tube on a bike, or a flexible PVC type product also known as “TPO” that is usually white. Both are good products but the TPO is the better of the 2. It can withstand more abuse and the seams will hold up a lot longer. The TPO also offers solar reflectance where as the black rubber roof absorbs the heat and will cook an egg on it during the year.

Roof Coatings: There are basically 2 types. Silicone and Elastomeric. If the roof does not have water standing on it meaning the roof drains real good, you can use the Elastomeric coating. But if there is any doubt, the Silicone roofing can be used on anything. It can withstand ponding water as well as stick to mostly any type of substrate (Metal, Flat roofing, shingles). If your going for the roof coating, using the Silicone product is the way to go.

Penetrations: Anything that sticks through the roof like a pipe vent, a metal vent box, a chimney, a fan, etc is called a penetration. Penetrations are the 1st thing to leak down the road as the roof system ages. Mostly the caulking that seals the penetrations will dry up or wear out and just need to be freshened up.

Pipe Boots or Pipe Collars: These things are a rubber type product that slips over the pipes that stick through your roof. Pipes and stuff are usually located on the backside of the roof so it doesn’t look so bad. Pipe collars are the the #1 cause of all leaks on a roof. If you get a leak in the kitchen or bathroom….9 out of 10 times it will be this pipe boot.

Attic fan, Gable fan and Ridge Vent: 3 different types of ventilation for the attic area. The Gable and Attic fan are usually controlled by a thermostat when the temps get hot in the attic the fan will come on. The ridge vent, this is the most common one on shingled roofs….it runs along the top of the roof from left to right. It allows air to rise to the top of the attic and flow right out as the temps get hot. There is no electrical stuff to worry about because the hot air rises naturally and flows right out.

The mess created by Roofing: There will be a mess no matter who does your roof. But, we like to call it an “organized mess”. I can’t speak for other companies but as for us, we leave your yard in better shape than when we got there. It is important to set your expectations during the roofing process that there will be nails in your yard, driveway and walkways. The key is the clean up. Guaranteeing a 100% nail clean up? No…sometimes nails get pushed down deep into the high grass and a magnet wont pick it up and you cant see it because the grass hasn’t been mowed? So we can guarantee your driveway, walkway and all hard surfaces will be perfect….but the grass? It’s tricky…yes, even with tarps put down in the yard.

How does the roofing material get to the landfill? Be careful of a company that wants to put a Dumpster in your yard. Most likely you will have it there a week before and a week after, who wants that? We bring our own Dump trailer that arrives the day we do the roof and leaves when we are done!

Warranties? Every Roofing company will promise you the world with a 100 year warranty. The truth is you should expect a 5 year labor and then 25, 30 years from the manufacture of the product. 5 years on labor is a good warranty because if it going to leak, it will be within this time frame. The key thing to a warranty is who do you trust? Do you think they will answer their phone in 4 years? So, just be careful when you read the fine print. If a company offers you 10 years on labor for a residential shingle job….I would walk away!!!

How to pick a company: Are you talking to a sales person or the business owner? This matters because the salesman will offer you everything under the sun to make that sale. A business owner is realistic and will tell you the pros and cons of the job, meaning you may pick a lesser product and you need to know the truth that it wont last as long as you think…..stuff like that.

Weather permitting: We won’t touch a roof if the weather man says it will rain in the afternoon. We see this all the time where a company will bring tarps and tear your roof open. We don’t like to play roulette with the weather, after all, I wouldn’t take that risk with my house, why should I with yours?