Home Information Guide

Each week we share an important guide about caring for your home.

See this week's guide

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Weekly Home Information Guide

COMPOSITION ROOF

On going home maintenance is the key to pride of ownership. Each season thousands of homeowners prepare their homes for the summer/winter seasons.

THE ROOF

Safety first! If you feel at all uncomfortable have a competent tradesperson perform all tasks especially for roof repairs or replacement. Never walk on a wet or steep roof and keep all ladders well away from overhead service wires.

Roofs old and new need care and maintenance year around. Over 80% of homes in North America have composition shingles (asphalt/duroid) as a cladding of choice. The two main types are glass and organic. Both have asphalt as a base but are constructed differently. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Overall, the fiberglass shingle (carrying a class A fire rating) has proven to be the better material suited to our west coast climate as opposed to organic (duroid) shingle.

Until recently shingles were classified by weight per square and now the trend is to classify by years of warrantee. Composition shingles come in various colours, designs and weights. The lifespan of a typical composition shingle roof is 20 to 25 years. This, of course, is dependent on many factors such as colour, roof style (slope), thickness, sub-base, attic/roof ventilation, type of nails and maintenance being the most important factors. There are others. Light coloured shingles last longer as they better reflect the harmful UV rays of the sun.

A visual examination or the roof surface every six months after high winds, heavy rains, wet snow loads and fallen branches will aid in assessing the overall condition of the roof especially for a new roof.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Look for broken or missing shingles, bare spots (where the surface granules have worn away), blistering, cracked field shingles, clawing, cracked ridge shingles, repaired areas, worn valley shingles, cupping or buckling. Moss/needle/leaf buildup is of particular concern. It takes about 8 to 10 years for moss to take hold. The best method of removal is to carefully hand remove it. Rusted flashings should either be repainted or replaced. All roof penetrations are subject to periodic movement and may induce unnoticed water/moisture damage. Pay special attention to the foot traffic pattern both to and from all chimneys.

WHEN TO RE-ROOF

Consider roof replacement if the total damaged areas is more than 15/20% as the current problem may have unseen larger underlying conditions or about 75% of their guaranteed lifespan. The best line of defense is to consult a qualified asphalt shingle roofer. Obtain written quotes, what is to be done, timeframe to completion and payment schedule. There are many colours, designs and warrantee periods to choose from.

Many factors will govern your choice. Chief among them are steepness of the roof, architectural style of the shingle, quality of workmanship, soundness of the structure, and the timeframe you intend to live in the home.

More than one roof cladding should be discouraged, as the amount of time the moistures generated in the home will take to evaporate to the atmosphere and possibly do unseen damage. Often, as seen on older home there is the original wood shingle (possibly painted) covered with one or two layers of asphalt/duroid roofing with no regard to their overall condition when applied. This can lead to rafter failure and/or roof collapse not to mention the lessened lifespan of the newest (topmost) roof.

Owning a home is probably the largest single investment a person may make in their lifetime and to ensure that the home does not prematurely deteriorate the homeowner is urged to have a yearly maintenance schedule. Simple tasks undertaken on a seasonal basis will help prolong the health of the home and its occupants year after year.

We recommend that a qualified roofer/tradesperson do all tasks as they offer quality materials, proper installation requirements and a written guarantee.

Know that, for peace of mind, the care and attention you give your home will serve you well year after year and in comfort.