After reading a few industry expert articles we noticed “This Old House” had a fantastic Q and A article on roof replacement. We believe prior to calling a license contractor you should be aware of potential problem’s and learn about roofing issues. The more informed you are the more likely you’ll have an idea of what need’s to be done and avoid the possibility of getting taken advantage of. There’s a few Q & A’s posted here, but we recommend checking them all out on their page. Hope this can help you out. Remember if you have checked the web and need a license professional maybe it’s time to call Total Roofing & Construction.
1. 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.
2. Q: A friend recently mentioned in passing he thought some of the “flashing” on my roof looked as if it were in rough shape. Can you explain exactly what roof flashing is?
—Britney, Fort Worth, Texas
A: Tom Silva replies: Flashing is just material—usually aluminum or galvanized steel—that’s used over joints in roof and wall construction to prevent water seeping in and causing damage. Depending on the style of your house’s roof, you probably have it in the valleys, around the chimney and pipes, and around any dormer windows or skylights. Most damage shows up either in flashing that’s deteriorating due to weathering and oxidizing, or in flashing that has come loose.
I can’t say for sure without seeing your roof, but most flashing problems can be patched or repaired fairly easily. Professional roofers typically cut and shape their own flashing from sheet metal, but the most common flashing pieces also come pre-formed and can be applied without much difficulty using caulking or roof cement.
A word of warning: Because of the danger involved, I never recommend people do work on roofs unless they are professionals or they’re used to being on roofs and are familiar with the one they’re working on. So if your flashing needs any significant repairs, consider hiring a contractor to do it for you.