Covering Your Roof Issues
Putting a safe roof over your head isn’t necessarily a one-time deal. Shingles stain, condensation collects, and high winds carry roofs wherever they please. That’s where the TOHcrew’s knowledge and your sweat equity enter the picture. Here, we cover roof-related scenarios to help prevent future mishaps, like a missing roof.
Spot a Failing Roof
Q: How do you know when an asphalt shingle roof needs replacement? Are there clues to look for before telltale water stains appear on our plaster ceilings?
—Pat, Plymouth, Minn.
A: Tom Silva replies: There are several clues, and the biggest one is age. If your roof is more than 20 years old, there’s a good chance it’s due for replacement. But younger roofs can fail too, so it’s a good idea to inspect a roof at least once a year. Don’t use a ladder, though. Binoculars are easier and a lot safer, and you can spot most problems from the ground.
Here’s what to look for: numerous shingles that are lifting up, cracked or missing, with curled edges, or with smooth dark areas, which indicate that the protective granules have worn off. Also, go into the attic on a sunny day and, with the lights off, check the underside of the chimney and the stack vent. If you see little pinhole spots of light, the flashing is shot—another indication that the roofing might not be in good shape.
While you’re in the attic, scan the underside of the roof sheathing for any new signs of water staining since the last inspection, as well as any soft or moist spots, which tend to show up after a heavy rain. If these problems are widespread, it’s a sure sign that you need to call a roofer.
The Importance of Roof Pitch
Q: Everything being equal (ventilation, shingle type, climate, etc.), which roof will last longer: one with a steep pitch or one with a shallow pitch? Seems to me a steep hillside erodes more quickly than a low slope, so I’d think that roof shingles would wear out more quickly on a steeply sloped roof.
—George, Oglesby, Ill.
A: Tom Silva replies: It’s difficult to say. On one hand, a steep roof is less likely to collect leaves and other debris that hold moisture against the shingles and invite the growth of moss and algae. On the other hand, that same roof in an unshaded area facing due south will take the full brunt of the sun, which is hard on any roof.
Actually, factors other than pitch have a greater effect on shingle durability. The side facing your worst weather typically fares worse than the leeward side. Likewise, a roof system that isn’t vented properly and allows heat to build up beneath the roofing has a shorter life than one that is vented.
Lightweight Roof Protection
Q: Why is felt paper used in roofing?
—Bill, Pleasant Hill, Miss.
A: Tom Silva replies: Felt paper is typically used in most roofing as a release between the two materials, wood and asphalt. Years ago, it was used on roofs because when sap would come out of the wood, it would break down the “backside” of the asphalt shingles and cause them to deteriorate, which isn’t a problem anymore. But I also think of it as a lightweight protection against any damage on a stormy day. Let’s say a shingle or a tile should break in a storm. If the roof has a layer of felt paper over it, it has got some protection that will resist the driving rain at least for a little while. But you need a different weight of felt depending on the type of roofing product you’re using.
Read the full article here: 29 of Your Toughest Roofing Questions Answered http://bit.ly/2mtZUkd