Do You Need a New Roof?

Your home's roof is critically important because it ensures the integrity of its structure and protects it from the elements. When it comes to repairs and replacements you want to choose the type of roof and a roofing contractor carefully. Think of your roof as an investment-the cheapest option is not always the best. Although there are several types of durable roofing, for most homeowners shingle roofs are the most economic and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. Shingle roofing materials are composed of a reinforced fiberglass mat and asphalt; however, modern shingle products can mimic the look of slate and wood cedar shake for far less money. Roofing materials have warranties ranging from 30 to 40 and even 50 years. Ideally, a homeowner will only have to replace a roof once or twice in a lifetime.

Steel is another very attractive option and it is becoming increasing popular. It has long been popular in industrial settings, but better styling and its amazing durability have drawn the attention of homeowners. The cost is greater but the roof will last more than twice as long and it improves property values. Most metal roofing manufacturers offer a transferable warranty. Steel or metal roofing also provides better energy efficiencies and holds up better against severe weather such as hurricanes, heavy snows, hail and even fires. Some insurance companies even give discounts to homeowners who have metal roofs installed.

Regardless of the type of roof you choose ventilation plays a significant role in the life of your roof. On shingle roofs the heat build-up in the hot summer months combined with cold winter weather will take a toll if not properly installed. Inadequate ventilation can cause problems such as ice damming and condensation may accumulate from frost and humidity. Proper air circulation prevents buckling, blistering, curling, and extremely rotting, and dramatically reduces the odds of leaks and repairs. Improperly installed shingles and ventilation may void the manufacturer's warranty.

Ventilation side, normal weathering of asphalt roofing shingles will not cause leaking, but problems such as aging or damaged flashings or wind damage may. It is important to repair damage quickly to prevent more serious problems such as rot. The best way to prevent serious problems is regular maintenance in the form of semi-annual or annual inspections. These inspections can catch problems such as collected debris (which has a tendency to store water), algae, loose shingles and problems with flashings. It is also a good idea to keep overhanging limbs trimmed back. Algae causes discoloration and it plagues homes all across the United States. Algae resistant shingles are one option, but for a roof that is not ready to be replaced a thorough cleaning with bleach and chlorine will remove it but it puts surrounding vegetation at risk and it is not the most environmentally friendly friendly process. Zinc strips are another good option. When rain washes over the strips the zinc is released and it washed the algae off the roof over time.