Most homeowners don’t pay a bit of attention to their roof until it starts leaking or they notice water stains on their ceiling. But, by the time you see visible issues with water most of the damage has already been done. If you really want to protect your home, there are some things you need to know about your roof to help keep it over your head and not leaking or causing damage to your home.
These basic tips from Colony Roofers, Atlanta roofers, will help you take better care of your roof and will give you a better chance to prepare for upcoming expenses and repairs.
Don’t worry if you’re not already aware of these things. You’ll be in the small percentage of homeowners that understand their roof after reading this guide. And if there’s anything you can’t quite figure out, the records on your home, an inspector, and a quick self-inspection will help you find it all.
1. The Basics – How Old Is Your Roof? Repairs? Inspections?
You should have records on your roof, whether you’ve owned your home for years or just moved in. Documentation about your roof will usually come with the house and can help answer many of these questions.
But the first thing you need to know is how old your roof is. The majority of houses have asphalt shingles that are good for about 15-30 years, depending on the location and the weather conditions.
After that, your roof will likely need replacement. So, you need to know how old your roof is to be able to anticipate those costs and move forward with replacement prior to sustaining damage to your home.
You should also know when your roof was last repaired, and the kind of repairs that were done.
Last, you need to know when your roof was last inspected. At a minimum, it’s recommended that homeowners get their roofs inspected once a year. Better yet, you should get your roof inspected in spring and autumn. That way you’ll be able to catch damage fast, both immediately after big storm seasons, and right before the next storm season begins.
In addition to the basics we’ve already listed, it’s important to know what kind of shingles you have on your roof. Not only does the type of shingle provide character and color to your home, different types of shingles have different properties and handle different types of weather differently.
The most common form of shingles are made from asphalt and fiberglass, which are designed to last about 15-25 years depending on geography and weather.
Here are some common types of shingle:
3 Tab Shingles:
These are the most common and are found on most homes. They are good all-weather shingles but do need replacement regularly. They are particularly prone to wind and hail damage and need inspection more urgently after those kinds of storms.
Also called laminated shingles, or lifetime shingles, these are a more durable variety of shingles that are a little more hard-wearing and less likely to be damaged. These shingles typically last longer than 3 tab, but it really just depends on the exact shingle your home has.
These are much less susceptible to wind and hail, requiring winds near 100mph before they are likely to come loose or start flapping and getting creased.
However, this more durable variety of shingles is also more expensive to install or repair.
These shingles are much less common anymore. They are considered defective and tend to get damaged and need repair and replacement long before their warranties are up.
If you have a home that was built with this type of shingle you need to pay special attention to your roof. Weather damage is more common with these shingles, and you’ll likely need to replace your roof much sooner if you have them.
3. Where Is Your Pipe Vent:
You pipe vent is a pipe sticking up from your roof, usually with a cover to prevent debris and leaves from getting into the pipe, that carries air into the pipe system in your house.
These pipes are necessary to keep your house’s piping working properly. But they can also be weak points on your roof and require a lot more care and attention than other places on your roof.
You should be aware of where this pipe is and should check on it from time to time. Cracks are common in the seal around the pipe, and it often needs a little extra TLC, even when the rest of your roof is fine.
Try to make a habit of checking on this pipe any time you go up to clean your gutters or perform other maintenance on your roof.
4. What’s Under Your Roof
Your roof system includes a number of other components underneath and around your shingles. All of these can impact your roof’s life . It’s important to have a good sense of the structure under your roof, and the accessories around it.
The major components that exist underneath your shingles are the underlayment, ice and water shield, and decking. The decking is typically plywood on which the waterproofing underlayment is attached. Ice and water shield is often used in the valleys of your roof or any other areas where large amounts of water may collect.
Ridge vents are a fantastic way to control the insulation in your attic, but not all attics have them. Being familiar with your roof’s structure can also help you plan for upgrades and improvements the next time you have to give your roof a serious repair or replacement.
5. Tar Paper of Synthetic Felt
The last thing you need to know is what kind of material you have for a layer under your shingles. Many people don’t know that your shingles allow some water to creep underneath. There is another layer of waterproofing between your shingles and the decking, which is the solid portion under your shingles and above the rafters.
The two most common options are tar paper and real or synthetic felt.
You need to know which you have, mostly so that you can anticipate damage and other issues. Tar paper is not 100 percent waterproof and can absorb water, creating moisture problems under your roof. Tar paper can also tear and degrade over time, leading to more leaks.
Felt is more durable, and is also 100 percent waterproof, making it the better option. If you need to replace your roof, you should also replace the tar paper if that’s what you have.
If you know these five things about your roof, you’re in much better shape. And you already know more than most homeowners about this critical part of your home!
These 5 things will not only help you take better care of your home, but they’ll also make maintenance and future repairs that much easier. This article was brought to you by Atlanta roof repair experts, Colony Roofers.