Your roof is a part of the house that is easy to take for granted until there’s a problem, and trust me—you do not want there to be a problem. One of the best, most important things you can do to prevent this is a yearly inspection, and the great news is that this is the exact right time of year to do that!
Winters are hard on roofs, with freezing temperatures, sudden thaws, and colossal amounts of snow that sometimes sit on them, so spring is when you want to get up there (or hire a professional to) and assess if there’s any damage. You’ll want to study your shingles first—are they splintering, curling or blistering? Are any loose or missing? Are you seeing a lot of the granules that are imbedded in the shingle asphalt (also check your gutters for these as that’s a telltale sign of loss)?
If the answer to the first question is “yes”, then your roof has come to the end of its lifespan and it’s time to consult with a professional about installing a new one.
Don’t panic—with the array of payment plans now offered, re-roofing your home has never been easier and it’s definitely a project you want to tackle as soon as you notice it’s time, rather than putting it off.
If shingles are loose, they can easily be secured with roofing cement (available in plastic and liquid forms) and roofing nails. If you’ve lost some shingles during the winter, these are not difficult to replace. You’ll want to tackle this project early in the morning before the sun has warmed your roof up, as the asphalt on the shingles and the sealant will be easiest to work with when they’re cooler and less malleable.
Make sure you have the right tools for this, including a roofers safety harness kit, something to pry the shingles around the missing area up with (a hammer claw or crow-bar work best), a good hammer, roofing nails, replacement shingles (buy more than you need as you should always try to have extras on hand), and shingle cement or adhesive (some shingles come with pre-applied adhesive, in which case you can skip this product).
The granules in asphalt shingles protect the shingle from the damaging elements. If you notice some shingles with substantial exposure, it’s best to replace those or look at corrugated asphalt roofing panels, which can be applied on top of shingles.
While you can re-granule in some cases, panels or replacement are usually your best, long-term fix. If the loss of granules is widespread and significant, check for other symptoms of damage—this may be a sign that it’s time to re-roof.
Some or all of these damages may be covered by your roofing warranty, so before you make any repairs, review whether your warranty is still valid and what it entails.
Other areas to inspect are yours chimneys, skylights, and vents to see if the rubber seals need replacing. Also take a look at your flashing, particularly in places where two roofing panels meet. If the water tightness there is not as it should be, you can reseal these areas using roofing cement—just make sure you also check in your attic for signs of water damage. It’s important that your roof is healthy from the inside-out.
If you find yourself in the market for a new roof, there are several things to consider in making your selection, including durability, longevity, warranties, cost, and aesthetics.
Asphalt shingles continue to be the most popular choice due to their very long lifespan (shake wood, slate and tile roofs have a shorter lifespan which is shortened all the more in climates like ours), the ease of installation (meaning a smaller installation cost—hooray!), the wide array of types (which also means a huge variance in price points), and a huge selection in styles and colours (if you like the look of a tile, wood shake or slate roof, they even now make asphalt shingles that when installed are visually indistinguishable from those roof types, but they’re way less money to purchase and maintain, and they’ll last a lot longer).
There are two types of asphalt shingles—organic and fiberglass. Traditional organic shingles are thicker and heavier, and are comprised of substantially more asphalt than fiberglass shingles. This makes them less eco-friendly and more costly. They are more flexible than their fiberglass counterparts, and are considered heartier.
Fiberglass shingles are the more popular option for most homeowners today. Comprised of fiberglass mat with a waterproof asphalt coating and ceramic granules, these are significantly lighter and have a higher fire resistance. They have a class A flame spread rating, whereas organic shingles have a class C rating, meaning there is more time to safely evacuate a house and extinguish a fire, which will not spread or burn as quickly on a fiberglass roof. Because they are nowhere near as absorbent as organic shingles, these also won’t warp over time. Fiberglass shingles tend to come with significantly longer warranties (usually around 25 years).
When selecting your shingle, also check out the wind rating (this will be labelled by wind strength, i.e. 60mph), which means they are calibrated to stay secure in winds up to that ferocity. This could be very important depending on where you live.
When it comes to a warranty for your roof, most manufacturers will offer one in the range of 15 to 30 years, depending on where you live and the shingle-type. It’s important to review the terms of your warranty before making installation arrangements, as many of them require professional installation to be valid.
The warranty should also be considered in making your decision about which shingle is right for you. Determine what happens to the warranty if you rent or sell your house, if the cost of labour is also covered for shingle repair and replacement, and what it covers (granule loss, curling, thermal splitting, etc.). Keep in mind that most warranties do not protect against severe weather.
Even with a newer roof, it’s crucial that you make at least one inspection a year (you should also take a peek after any intense weather).
Catching a problem in its early stages will save you money and prevent the damage from escalating. When you're in your home and you wonder what's up, you deserve to know that it's a secure and healthy roof!
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.