The Best Roof Replacement
(And How To Get It)
By IntownRoofing, Last updated Oct. 16, 2018
I think you'll agree that getting the best roof replacement is NOT easy.
Or is it?
Well, as it turns out, if you follow a few rules it will simplify what may seem to be a daunting task.
Let us help you learn everything you need to know to make an
informed choice in repairing or replacing your roof!
Don’t Ignore These Warning Signs On Your Roof
The Shingles Are Missing
Structurally, there isn’t a problem with replacing a few shingles.
But, as the old shingles have been faded by the sun, the replacement shingles will not match.
Usually, you end up with a roof checkered with differently colored shingles.
Until you grow tired of replacing the shingles one by one or a bigger issue presents itself.
There Are Granules in The Gutter
Sometimes after a storm you may find a small amount of granules on the ground. They are only loose, extra granules that have fallen off.
If you recently had a new roof installed, don’t worry about a few granules in the gutters.
But if your roof is older, that could be a sign that your shingles are deteriorating as granules help keep the sun off the asphalt.
Depending on the age of the roof and amount of shingle loss, you may need a new roof.
Your Roof Is Close to Or Over 20 Years Old
An asphalt shingle roof has a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years. Even if your roof does look good from the ground, there could be a problem that you can’t see.
It depends on your roof’s condition, but it could take 5 to 10 years before you need a new one. If your neighbors are starting to replace their roofing, you should probably think about it as well.
Shingles Are Covered with Moss
Moss readily grows on roof shingles, and most commonly in the spaces between the shingles where the spores collect.
Once established it acts like a sponge, soaking up and storing rainwater which can then damage the roof sheathing below.
If left untreated, it can lead to costly repairs and even a new roof installation within 5 to 10 years.
The Shingles Are Cracked
The shingles usually crack due to wind damage.
You can replace a few cracked shingles but if the cracking is random throughout the roof and not localized to one particular area it’s a sign you may need to get a whole roof replacement soon.
3 to 5 years.
The Shingles Are Curling
Shingles can curl in two ways: if the center of the shingle is concave, the shingle is cupping and if the edges become turned up, it’s described as clawing.
The most common cause is wear from weather. Curled shingles indicate that a potential leak is on the way.
Between 1 and 5 years, depending on the amount of curling.
Sunlight in The Attic
If you can see sunlight in the attic, there could be a leak in the roof.
Check for water stains and if you find any, watch them over a few rainfalls. If they grow larger or change shape it means you have a leak.
You should call a professional to have a look, but if there is structural damage or larger leaks it might be wise to replace a whole roof.
Sagging Roof Line
A sagging roof line suggests that there is some kind of structural issue.
There could be a problem with water damage, inadequate roof joints or even the supports in the foundation.
Not much, you should call an expert as soon as possible.
Be Weary Of Adding A Second Layer On Your Roof
Most cities allow a maximum of two layers of shingles, but the experts say it’s best to strip the roof down to the deck before installing a new roof, so it can be inspected.
Although the roof can be inspected from the attic, experienced roofers argue that removing the shingles to inspect the deck from both sides lets them see if there is any rotting wood that should be replaced.
+ Low cost
+ Easy to install
+ Good fire resistance
+ Resistant to winds up to 130 mph
+ May contain zinc or copper to inhibit algae growth
- Short lifetime (three-tab shingles)
- Need periodic cleaning
- UV protective granules can be dislodged during bad weather
Metal Panels and Tiles
In the last few decades, metal roofing has gained increasing support from both roofers and homeowners.
What was once a corrugated tin roofs on barns became a high-tech answer to the need for a durable, fire-resistant and lightweight roof.
The most popular type is standing seam roofing which come in pieces around 16 inches wide and up to 20 feet long while metal tiles are mostly used to mimic the look of wood shingles.
+ Quick installation
+ Little to no maintenance
+ Good fire resistance
+ Resistant to strong wind and heavy hail
+ Very long lasting (sometimes lifetime warranty)
- Higher cost
- Need for frequent cleaning due to leaves
Its reflective coating can reduce cooling cost by 10% to 15%.
Wood Shingles and Shakes
Although they have an alluring traditional look, wood shingles and shakes aren’t as popular as they used to be due to concerns about fire and the declining quality.
They are usually 16, 18 or 24 inches long and have random widths. Wood shingles are relatively smooth while shakes are deeply grooved and have a more rustic appearance.
+ Traditional look
+ Long lasting (warranty up to 50 years)
- Must be cleaned from moss and lichen
- No fire resistance unless treated
- Can be damaged by hail
- Prohibited by some building codes
+ Less time consuming
+ Lower cost upfront
- Won’t last as long
- May not look as good
- Adds more weight to the roof
- It becomes harder to inspect the roof
- Inability to apply ice and water shield
- Frequently voids manufacturer’s warranty
Protect Your Roof With Underlayment
Roofing underlayment is a material that adds an extra layer of protection between the roof deck and the shingles.
It serves as an additional drainage plane for water that has penetrated the outer roofing materials.
There are two most common types of roofing underlayment:
FELT ROOF UNDERLAYMENT
+ LOW COST
+ FAST AND EASY INSTALLATION
- SUSCEPTIBLE TO WIND OR RAIN DURING INSTALLATION
SYNTHETIC ROOF UNDERLAYMENT
+ MAXIMUM POSSIBLE PROTECTION
+ RESISTANT TO WIND AND RAIN DURING INSTALLATION
- HIGHER COST
Ventilate Your Roof
Few things are as important as a proper roof ventilation.
Without it, your roof can be seriously damaged by moisture and rot.
In many cases, unsuitable ventilation can even void an asphalt shingle manufacturer’s warranty.
Space Needed for Ventilation
Most building codes require a ratio of 1 to 150 ventilation space to attic space. For example:
let’s say there is an attic space that measures 30 feet by 50 feet
which yields a total area of 1500 square feet
this (1500 square feet) should be divided by 150
for a total of 10 square feet of ventilation space that is needed
To recap, you should divide your total attic area by 150 to get the ventilation space needed.
Types of Ventilation
A ventilation strip that is placed at the ridge line of your home.
A 1-inch-wide strip of roof decking is cut out on both sides of the ridge line prior to the installation.
There should be free movement of air around the ridge vent with no objects obstructing the vent.
The soffit vents allow the air to flow from the soffits to the ridge vent.
It is important that any system of ventilation in your roof has an entry and an exit point for air flow.
You should review the soffit area of your home for soffit vents.
Also, to prevent the attic insulation from drifting into the gaps and restricting airflow the insulation baffles should be installed.
Whole House Fans
Fans and vents installed on the roof system to draw out the air from the attic.
They can be controlled by a switch or a thermostat that automatically vents the attic space.
You should consider the solar powered options depending on the location of your home.
Louvered vents that allow the air to exit the attic space while preventing the rain and snow from blowing back inside.
They are installed at the gable end of the building.
Insulate Your Attic
Attic insulation is used to protect the attic from negative consequences of a difference in temperature between the roof and the outside air, especially if there is snow.
During winter, in an uninsulated attic, the heat from the rest of the house will rise through the roof and melt the snow.
The water will then run down to an unheated eave where it will freeze and form an ice dam.
This will prevent the water from running off and it might rot the decking or leak into your home.
The cost of attic insulation installed is around $1.50 per square foot and it will actually pay for itself in about 5 years due to lesser heating costs, not even counting the possible roof repairs due to ice dams.
Use The Right Roofing Materials
These are the most widely used roofing material in the US. They consist of two layers of asphalt with a fiberglass mat in between.
They have tiny stones, or granules, embedded in the top to protect the shingles from the sun.
There are two main styles: three-tab and architectural.
Three-tab shingles are thinner and have slits at the bottom to look like three separate shingles while architectural shingles feature multiple layers which makes them thicker and longer lasting.
Asphalt shingles can be recycled and some even have a reflective coating which could reduce cooling costs.
Harvested in a sustainable manner, production uses minimal fossil fuels compared to other types of roofing.
Better insulation resulting in lower energy bills. It can be recycled into mulch if no pesticide has been applied.
Clay or Concrete Tiles
The most common type of clay or concrete tiles is the S-shaped, or Spanish style, but there are plenty of others to better match your individual home’s architecture and style.
Tile roofing is particularly heavy so the frame and decking may have to meet higher structural standards.
Clay tiles are usually heavier than concrete but they offer outstanding durability and are generally warranted for at least 50 years.
Concrete tiles are a newer but have great potential, they are made with new types of additives and are becoming more lightweight while maintaining strength.
+ Fire resistant
+ Suited for dry climates
+ Long lasting (sometimes lifetime warranties)
- Concrete tiles attract moss
- Can be damaged by hail
It can be reused and recycled into new building materials.
Slate is generally known as one of the highest quality roofing material. It is the longest lasting, does not burn and has a unique and beautiful appearance.
On the other hand, it is expensive and difficult to install.
The most popular variants include Sea green, Unfading green, Pennsylvania black, Peach Bottom, Buckingham and New York red slate.
+ Unique appearance
+ Does not burn
+ Lasts up to 150 years
- Difficult to install
It can be reused and its longevity means that it creates less waste than other conventional roofing materials as roofing waste accounts for more than 5% of total waste sent to landfills.
To Sum It Up:
1. Study your roof for possible damage
2. Think twice before adding a second layer of shingles
3. Add an extra layer of protection with underlayment
4. Don’t forget about adequate ventilation
5. Insulate your attic to prolong durability and lower energy bills
6. Choose the right materials for your roof