Roofing Disasters And How To Avoid Them
The roof on your home is the first line of defense against the elements of nature, such as high winds, heavy rain, sleet and snow. Conducting a complete inspection-inside and out-each spring can help avoid costly problems later on. Look for these key danger signals that indicate your roof is not adequately protecting your home:
Water, water, anywhere?
A home inspection should start with a check for leaks in the attic. This can occur and be most obvious after heavy, driving rains. Also walk through each room of the house and inspect walls and ceilings. Ceiling spots can be another warning sign your roof needs repairs. And peeling of interior or exterior paint or wallpaper, sometimes from excessive moisture or high humidity, can be a sign of possible inadequate attic ventilation. If more ventilation is needed, it can be relatively easy and inexpensive to install-even if you don't need a new roof.
Crack down on cracks
The most common leak sources on the outside include cracks in flashing around the chimney and vents, or worn-out, decayed or missing shingles. Check your gutters for debris, including granules in the gutter. If you find an excessive amount of granules, it may indicate aging shingles that should be replaced. While up there, check for any missing, cracked or curled shingles. These should be replaced quickly to avoid structural damage to your roof deck and the interior of your home. If any shingles are blistered, decayed or "dirty looking," they need to be replaced, too.
If you find any of these potential problems and are in need of repairs, the first and most important step to take is to find a competent roofing contractor.
Poorly installed or constructed roofing systems waste American homeowners billions of dollars every year, according to GAF Materials Corporation, North America's largest roofing manufacturer. Fortunately, most risks can be avoided with a professional roofing system that's correctly installed, maintained and/or repaired.
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A Certified Roofing Contractor-Your best Choice
The life expectancy of your roof depends on several factors; type of roofing, quality of material, and exposure to harsh weather elements among the top. With regular maintenance and normal weathering factors, a roof can last anywhere from 10 – 100 years.
Common roofing material such as built up roofing usually lasts 12 – 20 years, metal roofing 15 – 40 years, wood shake or shingles 10 – 40 years, asphalt shingles 15 – 20 years, and specialty material like slate up to 100 years under good conditions.
Leaks start as small cracks in roofing material that may not be visible; water may collect in an adjacent area. To detect such damage, a close inspection of the roof may be necessary.
A certified roofing contractor can be called to avoid further damage to the roof, or personal injury to the homeowner caused by trying to inspect it his or her self. A roof inspection should be performed annually; constant weathering by sun, heat, rain, snow, hail, wind, and cold can cause roofing material to break down. A certified roofing contractor will know what to look for.
A roof and soffit system should be properly vented to prevent over-heating and moisture retention, two factors that can cause a roof to break down prematurely.
Selecting a Qualified Roofing Contractor
A certified, experienced contractor offers various services. From completely tearing off an old roof and replacing it with a new one, to inspecting and “certifying” an existing roof. The latter is a process in which the roof is inspected and “guaranteed” to function properly for a certain period of time; usually 2 years. The contractor takes responsibility for any necessary roofing repair during that period.
A certified contractor is knowledgeable of roof system types, materials, and installation procedures best suited to each project, and will ensure there is adequate venting.
Ask potential roofing contractors questions such as whether or not they are licensed and bonded. What liability insurance coverage they carry, and whether it is up to date. Ask which roofing product manufacturers they are licensed and approved by, for installation of products and warranty purposes. Also ask if they are a member of any regional or national trade organizations.
Several resources are available to find a certified roofing contractor; referrals, local government licensing agencies, and web sites that offer contractors for hire, or a list of contractors who are licensed and bonded.