Q: How can a home owner recognize when a roof system has problems?
A: All too often, roof system problems are discovered after leaking or other
serious damage occurs. Periodic (twice-a-year) inspections often can uncover
cracked, warped or missing shingles; loose seams and deteriorated flashings;
excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts; and other
visible signs of roof system problems. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored
plasterboard and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.
Q: My roof leaks. Do I need to have it replaced completely?
A: 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.
Q: What will a new roof system cost?
A: The price of a new roof system varies widely, depending on such things as
the materials selected, contractor doing the work, home or building, location of
the home or building, local labor rates and time of year. To get a good idea of
price for your roof system, get three or four proposals from reputable contractors
in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced
with the quality of the materials and workmanship.
For each roofing material, there are different grades and corresponding prices.
There also are a variety of styles and shapes. You need to look at the full product
range and make a choice based on your budget and needs.
Within the roofing profession, there are different levels of expertise and
craftsmanship. Insist on a contractor who is committed to quality work.
Q: What are my options if I decide to reroof?
A: 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 replacement is necessary.
Q: How long can I expect my roof system to last?
A: Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years.
Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer.
Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local
climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design,
material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.
Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products.
Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial
obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.
There are a number of things to consider when selecting a new roof system. Of course,
cost and durability head the list, but aesthetics and architectural style are important, too. The right roof system for your
home or building is one that balances these five considerations. The following roofing products commonly are used for steep-slope structures.
Asphalt shingles possess an overwhelming share of the U.S. steep-slope roofing market and can be reinforced with
organic or fiberglass materials. Although asphalt shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around much longer,
fiberglass-reinforced products now dominate the market.
Organic shingles consist of a cellulose-fiber (i.e., wood) base that is saturated with asphalt and coated with
colored mineral granules.
Fiberglass shingles consist of a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt, and mineral granules.
Asphalt shingles' fire resistances, like most other roofing materials, are categorized by Class A, B or C. Class A
signifies the most fire-resistant; Classes B and C denote less fire resistance. Generally, most fiberglass shingles
have Class A fire ratings, and most organic shingles have Class C ratings.
A shingle's reinforcement has little effect on its appearance. Organic and fiberglass products are available in
laminated (architectural) grades that offer a textured appearance. Zinc or copper-coated ceramic granules also can
be applied to organic or fiberglass products to protect against algae attack, a common problem in warm, humid parts
of the United States. Both types of shingles also are available in a variety of colors.
Regardless of their reinforcing type and appearance, asphalt shingles' physical characteristics vary significantly.
When installing asphalt shingles, NRCA recommends use of shingles that comply with American Society for Testing and
Materials (ASTM) standards-ASTM D 225 for organic shingles and ASTM D 3462 for fiberglass shingles. These standards
govern the composition and physical properties of asphalt shingles; not all asphalt shingles on the market comply
with these standards. If a shingle product complies with one of these standards, it is typically noted in the
manufacturer's product literature and on the package wrapper.