Frequently Asked Questions about Roofing & Roof Construction
Why are shingles so expensive compared to other building materials. I thought the slow down in housing has resulted in lower prices for all materials.
Shingle prices have increased 57.5% from March 2008-March 2009. There are two primary causes, 1. petroleum prices soared last summer and have not adjusted downward, and 2. a greater percentage of asphalt is being set aside for increased road construction due to the recent stimulus bills. Since asphalt is the main ingredient in shingles we can expect prices to remain high for the foreseeable future.
What is the difference between an Architectural or Dimensional shingle vs. a standard shingle?
The most commonly known shingles are the 3-tab or strip shingle that has a flat appearance on the roof. An Architectural or Dimensional shingle has an additional layer of shingle material laminated on top to provide a more interesting appearance on the roof. Architectural shingles typically have a more substantial warranty than standard strip shingles.
What are the black streaks/stains on my roof?
Algae. Algae is a plant like organism that attaches itself to the roof. It is more prevalent in areas with high humidity.
Will Algae damage the roof?
No, Algae has no proven effect on shingle life.
Why am I experiencing shingles blowing off?
There are several possible reasons that you are experiencing shingle loss. One is that the roof system is nearing the end of its life cycle. As the roof ages, the asphalt dries out making the shingle brittle and more susceptible to coming off. The second is improper fastening or misalignment such as “high-nailing.” In this situation, the fasteners were installed in the wrong part of the shingle which has a lower tear resistance.
What would cause a leak in my bathroom?
More than likely, you have a plumbing vent flashing boot that has failed. Our building codes require plumbing pipes that are designed to remove gases from our sewage systems. These pipes generally exit through the roof. They are kept watertight by installing a plumbing vent flashing boot at the point where this pipe exits the roof. UV rays will degrade the neoprene seal leading to a crack that will allow water to enter the house. Water will then run down the pipe and show itself on the bathroom ceiling.
What is the difference between a woven and cut valleys?
A woven valley is a traditional method of installing shingles in the valley by interlacing the shingles as you go up the roof. This method is fine when installing the traditional strip shingles. However, it creates a problem with Architectural shingles. These shingles are thicker and the weave causes them to “bridge” the valley resulting in a condition that allows water to migrate underneath the shingles. The cut valley prevents this condition and provides a cleaner aesthetic appearance.
How long will my shingles last?
This depends on the shingles and the climate. Today’s shingles carry warranties ranging from 20 years to lifetime. Generally speaking, you can expect the shingle to last within 5 years of the warranty period. For example, you might expect a shingle with a 30 year warranty to have a serviceable life of 25 years. The harsher the climate, the shorter the lifespan of the shingle roof system. Our South Eastern Climate is tough on roofs due to our high humidity, warm temperatures, and temperature fluctuation. It is not uncommon for roofs in our area to fluctuate 60 degrees in a 12 hour time period. These drastic temperature changes create addition stress on the roof system.
Why do I need ventilation?
Ventilation is crucial to the performance of a roof system. Ventilation eliminates heat, moisture, ice dams, and prevents mold. Proper ventilation will maximize the efficiency of your home and reduce heating and cooling costs. All major shingle manufacturers recommend adequate attic ventilation. The preferred method of ventilation is a combination of intake and exhaust achieved through the use of soffit and ridge vents. (Please visit our webpage on ventilation for further explanation.)
What is drip edge?
Drip edge is a perimeter flashing metal that protects the fascia and prevents wind blown rain from getting under the shingles. As water runs off of the roof, the process known as capillary action causes the water to adhere to the shingle and wick underneath to the plywood sheathing and fascia board. You can experiment with capillary action by attempting to pour water out of a glass. You will notice that water tends to hug the side of the glass rather than pour away from it. Drip edge is an inexpensive way to protect from expensive repairs down the road.
Do I need to check to make sure that my contractor is insured?
Absolutely. Any Joe-Contractor can provide you with a photo copy of insurance. This does not prove any thing other than the fact that he or she can use a copy machine. For all you know, he could have had insurance in the past but let it lapse in order to save a few dollars. You are now at risk if someone is hurt on your property or if workmanship issues lead to damage to your property. Roofing is a dangerous occupation and likewise results in expensive insurance requirements. Contractors often carry General Liability on their premises only or for occupations other than roofing. This type of coverage does not provide any protection to you, the homeowner. The only way you can be assured that a contractor is properly covered is to request an insurance certificate from the Insurance Company that names you on the policy.