Authored by Douglas Mefford in Home Repair
Published on 12-02-2009
Your home’s roof is one of the most important parts to keep maintained. Not only does it protect the rest of the structure from the elements of wind, rain, and snow, it provides a barrier from strong sunlight as well. One should never wait until their roof begins to leak to do repairs or, in a worst case scenario, replace the roof completely.
The homeowner should inspect his dwelling’s roof at least once every two or three years. Areas to look most closely are the flashing around chimneys and vents, and along the guttering. One should check for missing nails and replace them during the inspection. Check for worn shingle edges and mold and mildew growths on the roofing material. This is especially important if you have asphalt shingling on your home.
Unless there is some specific damage from a storm, this occasional inspection will help you find areas that may only need a less expensive repair. Age and the elements will, however, eventually lead to the entire roof structure needing to be replaced.
While it is possible to replace a roof yourself, it is recommended that you hire a team of professional roofers to do the work. Not only will the experience pay off in quality work, a professional team can have the entire job done in just a few days. This is vitally important in areas where dry days are not common.
Get estimates from several roofing companies. Usually the estimates will be in the same general price range. Get references so you can visit previous clients and inspect the roofer’s work. If a roofer does not want to give references, get a different roofer.
Once the work has begun, one should first remove all the old shingles and remove them from the area. Any minor repairs to the wooden subsurface should be made at this time. Whether you use plywood or boards will depend on the type of roof you have and the underlying structure. Ice dams should be installed in the guttering to keep freezing water from getting under the new shingles and damaging the roof in future winter weather.
If a new asphalt shingle roof is going on, you will want to lay down the asphalt paper to seal over the wood. Shingles must be put on from the eaves up to the peak. Nails should be used rather than staples as they will hold the shingles better and be less likely to work loose.
New flashing should be put around any objects that rise up through the roof. Caulk these pieces down good, as they are generally the first places to develop leaks. The roof ridge should be the last part of the new replacement roof you need to install. Asphalt roofing should easily last between twenty and fifty years. Tile roofing can last as long as sixty years and the more expensive metal roofing will usually be guaranteed for at least twenty-five of the potential hundred years it will last. As important a part of your home as the roof is, you should never stint on the materials or the workmanship you apply to its construction.