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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Common Roofing Questions

  • How often should I have my gutters cleaned? You should clean them at least twice a year. If you have many trees in the area of your home you should clean them 3 to 4 times a year.
  • How Do I know if I need a new roof? You can usually tell with a visual inspection of the shingles. Look for cracks, peeling and any spots where the roof is leaking. If in doubt call a roofer for an inspection.
  • How long does it take to have a new roof installed? That depends greatly on your home and the pitch and design of your roof. Most residential roofs can be redone in two days but it could take as long as a week to complete your re-roof.
  • Should I worry about ice dams? Ice dams occur when snow or ice on the roof melts and flows to the bottom of the roof. It then refreezes and causes the water behind it to build up. This water then will often find a way into your home underneath shingles and in cracks. This can lead to extensive water damage. You should be concerned about ice dams if you have a roof in a colder climate with a very low pitch or have an older poorly insulated home. 
  • Why does a roof need ventilation? Ventilation helps remove the heat that builds up during the summer months and helps reduce moisture buildup under your roof. This helps your roof and shingles last longer by preventing the rooting of the wood and curling or distortion of your shingles.
  • What's The Difference Between 25 and 30 Year Old Shingles?
    Shingles are referred to as "25 Year" and "30 Year" because of the manufacturer's warranty. The difference in the two is the thickness which corresponds to the weight of the shingle. 25 year shingles are generally between 240 and 265 pounds per 100 square feet while 30 year shingles weigh between 265 and 300 pounds per 100 square feet.
  • What Causes Icicles Along The Eaves And What Can Be Done About It?
    The problem is a common one called "Ice Damming". Ice dams form when snow continually melts at the roof edge. When snow accumulates on a roof, the heat in the attic will cause it to thaw and the resulting water will run down to the eaves where there is no heat and it will refreeze. This can occur on a daily basis until large icicle form at the eaves. If no protection was installed when the roof was put on, the ice can eventually back up under the shingles and cause leaks. It can also get bad enough to rip the gutters right off of the building. Ice dams can allow moisture to damage attic insulation which reduces the R-value of the insulation and raises the energy bills, they allow water to penetrate wall cavities which can cause paint and plaster to peel and also rust nails, electrical boxes, or any other non-rustproof metal building material located in walls. There are three good ways to help prevent ice dams or the damage caused by ice dams. Proper ventilation will help maintain the ambient air temperature at the roof level thereby not allowing the snow located on the roof above the living areas of the home to thaw. Heavy attic insulation will help insure that very little heat gets into the attic. The installation of an ice and water protection membrane to the eaves and valleys of the roof which will help prevent damage, but doesn't treat the root of the problem, which is heat loss. Heat tapes are often used as a solution but rarely prove effective.
  • What will happen if I wait too long?
    If your roof is leaking, your repair bills will not only include the roof repair, but the cost of items associated with the roof leak.  For example: the repair or replacement of insulation, drywall, paint, furniture and flooring. Not to mention the longer you wait the more damage that can occur, which means more money out of your pocket.
  • Other signs you will need a new roof!
    The following factures will help you decide:

    Curled up Shingles:
    This can allow rain to get in and makes shingles easily susceptible to wind damage and/or other weather elements.
    Worn off granules:
    Granules protect the shingle from sunlight and water. If they are worn off, the shingle will deteriorate. Look for granules in your gutters or by your downspouts. You may also see dark spots on the shingles where granules are missing.
    Loose or missing Shingles:
    This can cause leakage.
    Cracked Shingles:
    A common cause of a roof leak.
    Nail Pops:
    Small holes where the nail has popped through the shingle. Also a common cause for a roof leak.
    Spots on your interior ceiling:
    May indicate that the roof is leaking or in need of a repair.
    Black or green Streaks:
    Mostly caused by Algae and can discolor your roof making it ugly.
    Age of your roof:
    Depending on the quality, most shingles last 10-25 years. If your home is the age as others in the neighborhood that are getting new roof replacement work, it may be time to replace yours too.
  • What are green roofs?
    Green roofs, also called “vegetated roof covers,” “living roofs,” and “eco-roofs” are thin layers of living plants that are installed on top of conventional roofs. Properly designed, they are stable, living ecosystems that replicate many of the processes found in nature.
    What are the major advantages of green roofs?
    Green roofs provide many ecological and aesthetic benefits, including:
    •  Controlling stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution,
    •  Improving water quality,
    •  Mitigating urban heat-island effects, cooling and cleaning the air,
    •  More than doubling the service life of the roof,
    •  Conserving energy,
    •  Reducing sound reflection and transmission,
    •  Creating wildlife habitat, and
    •  Improving the aesthetic environment in both work and home settings.