Posts Tagged ‘roof leaks’

What Are My Roofing Options?

February 15, 2011

Roofing Guide

Asphalt shingles—used on an overwhelming share of the U.S. residential roofs—can be reinforced with fiberglass materials. Fiberglass-reinforced products are more durable and dominate the market.

Fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt and mineral granules. They are available in architectural grades and a variety of colors that offer a textured appearance.

Wood shingles and shakes are typically made from cedar, redwood, and southern pine. Shingles are machine-sawn; shakes are hand-hewn and rougher looking. Their natural look is popular but brush fire concerns limit their use.

Slate is quarried and applied mostly in the northeast and comes in different colors and grades. Considered virtually indestructible, it is, however, more expensive than other roofing materials.

Synthetic roof products simulate various types of traditional roof coverings, such as slate and wood shingles and shakes. A point to consider: Although synthetic roof products may simulate the appearance of traditional roof coverings, they do not necessarily have the same properties.

All roof systems have five basic components:

Structure: the rafters and trusses that support the sheathing.

Deck/sheathing: the boards or sheet material that are fastened to the roof rafters to cover a house.

Underlayment: a sheet of asphalt-saturated material used as a secondary layer of protection for the roof deck.

Roof covering: shingles, tiles, etc., that protect the sheathing from weather.

Drainage: the features of the roof system’s design, such as shape, slope, layout, etc., that affect its ability to shed water.

Flashing: sheet metal or other material laid into the various joints and valleys of a roof system to prevent water seepage.

Ventilation is Key

One of the most critical factors in roof system durability is proper ventilation. Without it, heat and moisture buildup in the attic area combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, roof shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness.

It is important never to block sources of roof ventilation, such as louvers, ridge vents, or soffit vents. Proper attic ventilation will help prevent structural damage, increase the life of the roofing material and reduce energy consumption.

In addition to the free flow of air, insulation plays a key role in proper attic ventilation. An ideal attic has:

  • A gap-free layer of insulation to protect again heat gain or loss
  • A vapor retarder under the insulation to stop moisture from rising into the attic
  • Enough vented spaces properly allow air to pass in and out freely
  • A minimum of 1 inch between the insulation and roof sheathing

Roof Enemies

Sun: Heat and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time.

Rain: When underneath roofing, water can work its way to the deck and begin to cause rot.

Wind: High winds can lift the roof edges and force water underneath.

Condensation: The buildup of relatively warm, moisture-laden air in a poorly ventilated attic promotes decay of the wood sheathing and rafters.

Moss and algae: Moss can grow on wood shingles and shakes if they are kept moist by poor sunlight conditions or bad drainage. Once it grows, moss holds even more moisture to the roof surface, causing rot, and its roots actually work their way into the wood.

Algae also grows in damp, shaded areas on wood or asphalt shingle roof systems. Besides creating an ugly black-green stain, algae can retain moisture, causing rot and deterioration.

Trees and bushes should be trimmed away from the house to eliminate damp, shaded areas, and gutters should be kept clean to ensure good drainage. Tree branches touching the roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials as they are blown back and forth. Leaves retain moisture and cause rot.

Missing or torn shingles: No longer complete protection.

Shingle deterioration: When shingles get old and worn out, they curl, split, and lose their waterproofing effectiveness and are more easily blown off, torn, or lifted by wind gusts.

Flashing deterioration: Many apparent roof leaks really are flashing leaks around chimneys, vents, skylights, and wall/roof junctions.

How long can you expect a roof system to last?

The condition and lifespan of your roof system will depend on the type of roof system you have, the effects of the local environment. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, asphalt shingles generally last 15 to 20 years; wood shingle/shakes, 10 to 40 years; clay/concrete tiles, 20+ years; slate, 30 to 100 years; and metal roofing, 15 to 40+ years. Most top-of-the-line roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties.

When selecting a new roof, cost and durability are tops, but aesthetics and architectural style are important, too. The right roof balances these four considerations.

To discuss all of your options, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor today!

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This Year In Minnesota Has Turned Out To Be The Mother Of All Ice Dam Winters

January 20, 2011

Minnesota property owners and homeowners have never seen ice dams as severe as we’ve had this year. The result has led to a surge of insurance claims for rotting ceilings and walls, collapsing roofs other problems.

For Minnesota property owners this has shaped up as a really bad catastrophe year. We keep hearing the same thing over and over from property managers and homeowners: “I’ve lived here a long time and I’ve always had ice dams, but they’ve never been this bad and they’ve never caused roof leaks until this year”, referring to surging ice dam claims on top of damage from 104 tornadoes in the summer. The worst year for ice dams was in 2001, when insurance companies paid out $50 million in losses. This year has been as bad or worse.  It turned from the garden variety of ice dam winters to the mother of all ice dam winters.

Until this year, ice dam problems were more evident in older houses in first-tier suburbs. This year, even newer suburban houses have problems because the snow is deep and blocking roof vents where warmer air usually would escape.

If your building has experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.

My Roof Leaks. Do I Need To Have It Replaced Completely?

November 4, 2010

My Roof Is Leaking

Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that have come loose or a section of the roof system being damaged. A complete roof system failure, however, generally is irreversible and a result of improper installation or choice of materials or the roof system installation is inappropriate for the home or building.

What Are My Options If I Decide To Re-roof?

You have two basic options:

You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system.  If you’ve already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, check with a professional roofing contractor.  In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete roof replacement is necessary.

Tornado Hits Albert Lea Minnesota

June 18, 2010

Roof Repairs, Roof Tearoffs, and Roof Replacements For Minnesota Homeowners

The tornadoes that formed in the sky above Minnesota Thursday PM were Kansas-size twisters, in some cases nearly 1/2 mile wide, large, long-lasting, violent tornadoes, more common in Oklahoma and Missouri than the Gopher State.  A few were multi-vortex (wedge) tornadoes, so big and fat they didn’t even resemble typical tornado funnels.  A multi-vortex tornado is composed of 3-8 mini-tornadoes, all rotating around a common center.  If one of those violent vortexes passes overhead total damage is all but insured.  This accounts for crazy stories: one home flattened, while the home across the street suffers only minor damage.  To see the video of the tornado that hit near Albert Lea click here.

Roof Repair

We all know how Minnesota weather can turn nasty without notice.  Spring storms are especially troublesome and we often are in need of minor to major roof repair.  Repairing a roof is the process where an existing roofing system has suffered damage, or aged or additions and adjustments are made to it.  

Re-Roofing – Tear off and Recovers

Re-roofing is the process of installing a new roof when a roofing system fails.  Roofing system failures can be caused by a number of factors, including age, severe weather, poor workmanship, defective materials, improper specification of a roofing system, abuse and failure to maintain the roof properly.

Roof Maintenance

Maintenance involves the physical inspection of an existing roofing system to determine its current condition, detect weakness and failures and identify any potential future problems.   Through a program of regularly scheduled annual or semiannual roof inspections, homeowners can protect their roofing investments by seeking to identify damage in its early stages.   Early detection of leaks and roof system failures make it possible to repair and extend the life of a roof system, which is significantly less expensive and time consuming than replacing an entire roof.

If your property has been affected by storm damage (hail or wind) or if you are wondering if your property has been damaged by a recent Minnesota hail or wind storm, contact your local roofing contractor.  It is crucial that you find a credible contractor that is trained in storm damage insurance negotiation.

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Take Care Of Your Roof And It Will Take Care Of You

June 15, 2010

Roof Maintenance  

It does not matter if your roof is wood shake-shingles, comp shingles, tile, hot mop or whatever.  Your roof needs you.  Roof maintenance should be done seasonally or at least semi-annually.  Before harsh winter sets in again is a good time.  Walk your roof slowly and inspect it thoroughly one section at a time.  Get rid of all leaves, branches, twigs and any other debris.   An electric or gas blower does this job nicely. 

Look for broken or missing shingles, shakes or tiles.  Nail down or replace shakes that are curled and sticking up.  Replace shakes that are exposing felt between shakes. Nails sticking up should be driven down.  Trim tree branches hanging within 4ft of roof.  Clear gutters and downspouts by spraying water with a hose.

Pay particular attention to roof protrusions and where different sections of roofs meet or intersect with walls.  Most roof leaks develop in these areas.  Roof protrusions are anything that sticks thru the roof, such as pipes, vents, chimneys etc.  Remove cracked or dried out caulking and replace with a good polyurethane caulking.  Use a wire brush if necessary and make sure surface is clean and dry.  Seal loose bricks and mortar in chimneys.  Dab some roof cement under any loose comp shingles.  

Listed below are the top 5 leak causing areas on a roof

1. Chimneys
2. Roof mounted AC units
3. Roof mounted solar panels
4. Dormer vents, heat vents, and plumbing vents
5. Valleys and crickets

Inspect the ceilings and walls on the inside of your home.  In most cases a spot on the ceiling will tell you that you have a leak.  In more extreme case the sheetrock will actually cave in.  The first sign of a roof leak should be fixed immediately, before extreme damage occurs.  Take care of your roof and it will take care of you.