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We usually only think about our roof once there’s an issue, typically a leak. However, when you keep your roof in good condition you can avoid a lot of potential damage to your roof and in turn your home. It also allows significant issues to be addressed at the first sign of trouble. That’s why I recommend including a roof inspection at least once a year, although I prefer twice, once in the fall and once in the spring.
Why is springtime a good time for homeowners to do a preliminary check of their roofs? Because you’ll be able to better assess any damage that may have occurred during winter.
It’s best to get a pro to look at your roof, as they have the appropriate equipment to investigate it thoroughly and safely. New drone technology also helps speed up the process of roof inspections.
Ice and snow damage is particularly prone to happen to flat roofs. According to the National Research Council of Canada, a roof should withstand a minimum snow load of 21 pounds (9.5 kg), per square foot, roughly two-and-a-half feet (. 7 metres), of packed snow. It’s important to keep snow and ice under control to prevent pressure damage or melting snow from potentially creating rot or leaking into gaps, with proper maintenance.
As the snow melts, keep an eye out for any branches, leaves, moss, or dirt that need to be removed. By keeping your roof clear, water can evaporate and drain off, reducing the likelihood of leaks and the need for future repairs. When in doubt, hire a professional to clean your roof, as doing so yourself could be risky and result in damage.
Metal roofs can last up to 50 years, but they still need regular maintenance and eventually will need to be repaired or replaced. Look for signs of rust and deterioration of the metal or damaged panels and, of course, signs of leaks.
I continue to see more and more metal roofs on residential homes; however, the most common roofing material is still asphalt shingles.
Asphalt roofs typically last between 15 and 25 years, depending on the materials used and upkeep. An old asphalt shingle roof is easy to spot. Look for missing, broken or cracked shingles, or dips and valleys on the surface. Also, check for holes or damaged flashing around chimneys, vents or skylights. These visible factors can be warning signs that you need to get your roof checked out by a pro and maybe even need to have it replaced.
If there is minimal damage or it affects only a small area of your roof, there’s no need to replace the entire roof before its time. It can occasionally be patched or fixed. A fallen branch or high winds may have damaged shingles and this is a reasonably easy and inexpensive job. Even if your roof has leaks, they can be repaired, primarily if it originates from an isolated location.
But what if you need a new roof? What should you expect from your roofer?
A reputable roofer will offer a contract with information on adequate ventilation, flashing, shingle installation, underlayment, and repairs to the sheathings or rafters.
Here are my two tips. One, always remove the old roof. Two, use a high-quality water and ice underlayment.
The first step involves stripping off the old shingles (I bet there’s more than one layer), felt paper and flashing, using a roofing shovel or a pitchfork. Once that’s complete, your roofer can thoroughly inspect the roof decking for rot or water damage and replace any sheathing with new material. After the decking has been inspected and repaired, the underlayment is installed.
A well-ventilated roof will aid in preventing moisture buildup, which can result in mould growth and other problems. Verify that the installer has adequately accommodated the roof’s ventilation, using ridge vents, box vents, turbines and soffit vents, to name a few. Flashing is also important as it safeguards sections of your roof where water is likely to enter, such as the areas around the roof’s edges, valleys, skylights, vents, and chimneys.
Finally, it’s time to put down your shingles. Be sure your installer follows the manufacturer’s instructions for shingle installation with the proper nails and nail patterns. I highly recommend using algae-resistant or high-wind-resistant shingles.
Using a trustworthy roofing contractor is important as they will work with you to ensure you have all the required paperwork, including permits, clean up the construction site, and remove any debris and any old roofing materials. Using high-quality materials on your roof and keeping it well-maintained will help protect your home for many years to come.
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