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Things to know before replacing your roof

So you’ve decided that you do indeed need to replace your roof. Before you get started in the process, there a few things you need to consider.

How many layers of shingles are legal?

In most places of country, the maximum layers of shingles you can have on your roof is two. A second layer is helpful for extra protection. In some areas, you are allowed up to three layers of shingles. This can be especially helpful in areas prone to harsh rain, winds or snow. However, the more layers of shingles you lay, the more weight your roof must be able to handle. So you’ll want to make sure your roof can support the weight of two or three layers of shingles if that is in your plans. In any case, you will always need to check the local building codes to know exactly how many layers of shingles you are allowed.

Strip the roof down or re-roof completely

After determining how many layers of shingles you’re going to lay, you’ll need to decide which of the two you’re going to do:

  • Lay the new layer(s) of shingles on top of the existing layer(s)

  • Remove the existing layer(s) of shingles completely and then lay the new layer(s).

While leaving the existing layer on will save you the expense of removing it, the finished job may not look as nice if there is damage to the existing shingles, such as curling or buckling. To ensure the nicest look when you’re done, you may want to consider completely removing all existing shingles and then lay the new layer(s).

There are different type of shingles

While shingles come in a variety of materials, the most common are asphalt, and of asphalt shingles, there are two types:

  • Fiberglass: This type of shingle has a fiberglass core and is surfaced on both sides by asphalt and covered by a layer of tiny stones and gravel that protect the shingle and give them some color for aesthetics.

  • Organic: These have a saturated felt core

No matter the type, all shingles are graded according to the length of their warranty. Generally, shingle warranties are for 20, 30 and 40 years. Concerning the physical appearance of asphalt shingles, most of them look fairly similar. An exception are architectural shingles, which are made to look more appealing than plain shingles. If the appearance of your shingles is important to you, you may want to consider architectural ones.

In the case a shingle goes bad before its warranty expires, you should be compensated for the shingles, but the shingles only, not an entire new roof. Generally, the cost of the shingles is about ¼ of a full roofing job. The cost of the shingles increase as the length of their warranty increases.

Some shingles are labeled as mold resistant. If you live in a particularly humid client, you may want to consider these. But of course, a “mold resistant” shingle doesn’t mean you never have to provide any maintenance or check for water or moisture damage to your roof or attic.

How do I make sure my roof is properly ventilated?

Use of vents generously: ridge vents, roof vents and soffit vents. The soffit is the under part of the overhang of your roof. However you vent your roof, just make sure that is is sufficient to vent out water vapor and heat. This will prevent mold from growing on your roof and in your attic.

Is it necessary for me to have both a drip edge and an underlayment of an ice and water shield?

Both of these are indeed necessary. A metal (generally aluminum) drip edge provides an even straight edge to your roof, and it can be situated so that water drips from the roof to the middle of the gutters, along the entirety of their length. This is actually a vital part of planning your roof because a drip edge that is not positioned correctly can lead to your gutters overflowing. The existing flashing around your chimney, valleys and other areas of your roof is generally left intact.

Regarding the underlayment, an ice and water shield is vital to prevent leaks from ice dams. Some roofers only install six feet of ice and water shield, because they feel it is enough to prevent leaks from ice dams. They also feel that covering the entire roof will keep it from breathing. Conversely, other roofers say that covering the entire roof with the shield while also adding sufficient ventilation will still allow the roof to breathe.

What color should my roof be?

Most roofs are black because that color goes good with any house color. Black also keeps tall houses from looking like they’re soaring into sky, while making low houses feel snuggled to the ground. Black roofs do of course absorb more heat, especially in the summer, but as long as the attic is properly ventilated, the heat absorbed by the roof should make little difference to the temperature in your home. In some southern climates, light-colored roofs are more common because they reflect heat.

A helpful hint:

If you’re going to re-roofing, that’s a good opportunity to install a ridge vent and to lay zinc strips just below the full length of the ridge with three inches showing. This will allow rainwater to flow down the roof, bathing the shingles with bits of dissolved zinc which can help to stop mold, algae and lichens from growing on your roof.

Also, here’s a great article from the National Roofing Contractors Association on how to get the most for your money on a new roof.

Reliant Construction has decades of experience in home remodeling. Contact us to get advice or a quote on roof work.