Roofing for Your Home

Roofing for Your Home

The first thing that I want to encourage you to do is make sure you choose a competent Roofing Contractor. Take your time prior to construction and check their references. We had a couple of leaks and our contractor honored his 5 year warranty and fixed them promptly.

Roof Decking

I am going to take a little time to talk about Roof Decking (Sheathing). You have a several choices in roof decking. You can put up straight particleboard (chipboard), standard CDX plywood or what we chose TechSheild.

TechSheild Radiant Barrier Sheathing reflects heat back out of the attic. If you look in the picture above of the attic during construction you will notice the TechShield has a shiny bottom side. This shiny side is a reflective barrier that radiates heat back out of the attic lowering the temperature in the attic. This of course lowers power bills in the summer. TechShield is more expensive than regular plywood but will pay for itself in energy savings.

A few things to watch out for when your decking is installed:

  • Make sure the decking is installed to the edge of the roof and under the flashing. Our decking in a couple of sections was one inch short and the roofing shingles sagged into the void after the first summer, causing a leak at the lower edge of the roof in two places. We had to tear out the places and repair them. If I had caught this during construction it would have been easier. By the way my roofing contractor did this at no charge under warranty. Choose your Roofing Contractor carefully.
  • Make certain that the Drip edge or Flashing is installed properly. The first drip edge was installed improperly and would have leaked. Often the contractors will get in a hurry and that is when mistakes happen.
  • Cover your Decking as soon as possible with roofing felt to keep it from being damaged by rain. A couple of rainy days won’t damage it, but a couple of weeks will warp and swell the edges causing an irregular roof.
  • Ridge Vents

    Install ridge vents to help heat escape out of the attic. Ridge vents run the length of the roof ridge and are usually made of plastic. The vent is designed to let hot air out and not let water or debris in. Make sure this is part of the bid price for your roofing project. Ridge vents make a big difference in your cooling bills in the summer.

    Roofing Felt

    Roofing Felt is the black material that you see the roofer’s roll out and nail down prior to installing roofing shingles. I would encourage you to ask your roofer to use 30# felt instead of 15# felt that is commonly used. 30# felt offers more protection and is more durable. Also request they use roofing felt nails with the large plastic heads. This will hold the paper better and tearing will be minimized if a strong wind comes up prior to the roofing shingles being installed.

    Roofing Shingles

    Roofing Shingle Advice

  • Buy a high quality roofing shingle. Labor is the most expensive item when installing a new roof. Using a cheap shingle will cost you more later. Usually your roofing contractor will bring you samples of what he normally installs for you to look at. Do some research and find the color and texture of shingle you want. The three prominent manufactures of composition roofing shingles are Elk Corporation. Certainteed and GAF Corporation. We chose Elk roofing shingles because they had a good record in our area and we liked the architectural look.
  • Have your roofing contractor hand nail the roofing shingles. If you do let your contractor talk you into using air nailers to install your shingles do not let them use staples. Many areas have banned staples because they damage the shingle and in high wind the shingles pull away from the staples.

    The preferred method is hand nailing. Why? Because far less damage is done to the shingle. If the air nailer is set to high it actually will tear the shingle around the nail and later it will cause problems. As the shingles age the damaged portion weakens and the roof will start to leak around the nail.

  • Minimize foot traffic on your roof. Shingles are not made to be walked on continually. Once they are installed stay of the roof as much as possible.
  • This is a little off the roofing subject but on the roof. Make sure your plumber uses leaded roof jacks. Roof Jacks are the covers that go over the vent pipes that protrude out of your roof. Plastic roof jacks are cheaper and they don’t last. After 5 years or so they break down and start leaking causing roof damage.
  • Make sure you watch your roof for leaks carefully for a while for any leaks. I made it a point to be in the house in heavy downpours during construction after the roof was completed. I found a couple of leaks prior to the sheetrock going up that would have done damage.
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