As with just about everything in life, proper maintenance means a longer lifespan. This includes your roof. No matter what type of roof you have, you need to take preventative measures to ensure durability, protection and longevity.
There are several different roofing materials and styles that can be installed on a home or business. Covering all of the maintenance on these styles would take forever, so we will go over a couple of the most common roofing types and teach you exactly just what a Roof Tune-Up is.
The Most Common Roof Type – Asphalt Shingles
No matter the style, asphalt shingles are made up of composite layers of asphalt and fiberglass. Sprinkled on top and pressed into the base are what we see on the roof — colored ceramic granules. These shingles are nailed to a wood decking surface, and there is a small tar strip at the bottom to help seal one shingle to the next. There is a lot more science behind shingles, and I could write an entire blog on just the manufacturing of shingles, but this is the simple version to help you understand what we are working with.
Manufacturer warranties range from 10 to 50 years, but there are things you will need to look at every five years or so. Here is what we would look at for a standard asphalt shingle Roof Tune-Up.
Exposed Nail Heads: There should be a few penetrations sticking up from your roof. Vent pipes, vent boxes, electric poles and even the end cap shingles have exposed nails. These nails should have been covered up with a sealant at installation. The harsh weather and sun exposure can cause that sealant to break down. This exposes the nail heads to rust and, eventually, water penetration. These nails should be replaced or cleaned and resealed.
Rain Caps: Around the base of pipe vents and other cylindrical penetrations, you will find a rain cap, also known as a pipe boot. These boots must be flexible enough to lay snug and tight against the pipe so they keep rain from entering the home. Pipe boots also can become damaged from sun exposure. This is the culprit for the most common leaks we find in homes today. The caps should be inspected and replaced about once every five years.
Creased/Cracked/Missing Shingles: This generally happens when a gust of wind has lifted the shingle away from its tar strip and the shingle has bent over backward onto itself. Shingles can also get blown off completely. If you have enough of these you may qualify for a wind claim on your insurance. These shingles need to be removed and replaced with a new shingle.
Nail Pops: Nail pops occur when the nails used to secure your shingles begin to back out of their holes. The nail then lifts the shingle up, creating a hump. This is due to the continuous heating and cooling of the roof deck, which causes the nail to expand and contract. These areas make it easy for wind and rain to blow inside the protective barrier of your shingles. In a normal Roof Tune-Up, we would remove those nails and install new ones close to where the old nails were. We would then reseal the shingle.
Flashings: Flashing is the metal that is used along walls and chimneys to keep water from running into the home at those locations. Once installed flashings can normally last the lifetime of the roof. That is, they can if they are installed properly. Unfortunately, we consistently run across improper flashing. Because this is the second-leading cause of a roof leak that we find, we must put it on our list to check during a Roof Tune-Up.
Second Most Common Roof Type – Metal
Much like shingles, metal roofs come in several different styles. Most commonly you will see a “classic rib” style or a “standing seam” style. The “classic rib,” or “max rib,” style has exposed fasteners, which means you can see the screws. Most standing seam roofs have mechanically sealed seams, and the screws are hidden under the seams. You will still have some of the same issues as asphalt shingles when it comes to maintenance such as roofing penetrations. There are still boots that wear out and need to be checked. But here are some of the other things required to maintain with a metal roof.
Exposed Screws: Screws for metal roofs come with a small rubber gasket that keeps water at bay, but these gaskets do wear over time. It’s a good idea to have a contractor inspect the screws about once every seven years to make sure they are still tight and sealed well.
Closure Strips: Closure strips are small foam strips that go under the ridge cap and under the panel just above the eave of your roof. They are made to keep insects and water out of the raised sections of the metal panels. Insects are more of the culprit for damage here, as they can eat away at the foam or tear off small bits at a time. Generally, this is not a cause for a leak, but it’s definitely something we inspect on a metal roof.
Due to the strength and design of metal roofs they are much easier to maintain and can hold a very long time. There is a little more upfront cost with metal roofs, but the ease of maintenance and longevity could be worth it.
A new roof is not a cheap investment, and it protects everything you love. As with maintaining your car or your health, roof maintenance is something that should be seriously considered. If you have any questions about your roof, see anything that looks weird, or if you would like a free inspection to see if you are ready for a Roof Tune-Up, please call the professionals at L & L Contractors. At L & L Contractors, when it comes to roofing “We Nail It!”