For the Homeowner
House corner and dormer trim: many times these areas are problem areas during reproofing. The new roof ice guard, felt paper and flashing all need to be installed behind the existing siding or corner trim. This requires removing or loosening the siding or trim in order to install the roof correctly. Many companies will avoid this because if the following:
- they do not want to be involved in hard to work with siding
- if they damage siding or trim they do not want to take the time to replace it
- contractors want the lowest possible estimate price so they do not include time or
- material to do the job properly.
One of the biggest causes of roof leaks is felt paper that is cut short of a vertical wall. This happens because the roofer does not want to deal with the time required or does not have the experience to know to turn the felt paper up the vertical wall before installing the roof flashing and then the roof material. When felt paper is cut short it becomes susceptible to leaks from driving rain or drifting snow. Properly turned ice guard and felt paper up a vertical wall will eliminate any chance of these leaks happening.
Improper nail placement for asphalt shingles can led to two main problems; leaking from exposed nail heads and cut shingled from angled nail placement. Many times exposed nails heads will not leak until the roof ages a few years and then the nail works the felt paper loose and then the nail beings to drip water into the attic. Nailed nails that do not sit flat will lead to ripped roof shingles during high wind weather. All roofing shingles provide nail placements lines with each shingle so poor workman ship is to blame for improper nailing.
When a roof is replaced all roof flashing should be 100% replaced. Reusing existing roof flashing will lead to improper felt application at flashing intersections. Existing flashing also has previous nail holes and becomes bent during removal. If a contract uses the term “replace as needed” then most likely all roof flashing will be reused. Have the roofing contract state that all 100% is to be replaced.
Job cleanup is one of the most important factors for a homeowner. Knowing that their property is being protected and looked after during construction is a mandatory requirement. All construction generates a sizable amount of both debris and dust but with a little forethought to the process much of the disruption can be eliminated. We spend the time beforehand to inspect landscape issue such as important plants to the homeowner or difficult yard slopes so these do not become problems during the construction work. We will construct protective boxes for plants if needed and lay down protective foam boards for decks and green houses. What you do not want is construction trash to be piled up during the job and then removed at the last day. Daily cleanup is important for both property protection and job safety.
Roof sheathing underlayment can differ based on the age and design of the house. Most common sheathing in this area is 1/2″ CDX plywood but it is common to find both particle board and also butted boards with a range of thickness. It is important during the initial estimate to examine the roof for possible signs of damaged sheathing such as dips or humps in the roof profile. The location and size of tree branches can also be a sign of possible sheathing damage. Letting the homeowner know of possible damage and then investigating it with an inspection in the attic will let the homeowner know beforehand what the sheathing repair costs will be and not be surprised during the roof replacement process.
Facia boards can be an unknown problem at many houses. Wood rot that is hidden by the gutters or simply painted over by painters can go undetected. Also many houses have sizable gaps between the top of the facia board and the roof sheathing due to initial framing errors and this allows birds and squirrels direct access into the attic. Even though a roof can be installed without facia board repair it is important to have this done at the time of roof work. Many times only a section of facia is damaged and can be repaired by remove the damaged wood from two truss points and installing new wood. Many factory bent drip edge flashings do not properly cover gaps at the tops of facia boards. This can be addressed with field bent drip edge flashing that properly closes up attic access from squirrels and birds.
Many houses have masonry fireplaces or masonry walls. During roof construction masonry chimneys that have either cracked mortar lines or damaged chimneys tops should be fixed. Many roof leaks are not actually due to roof flashing issue but to damaged masonry work that is directly above the roof flashing. We will spend the time during the roof process to inspect masonry areas to both recommend solution’s and provide repairs to damaged masonry work.
The broad use of exterior stucco walls in this area has caused problems with roof replacement. Since most roof flashing is run behind the stucco walls it can be a challenge to replace the roof flashing during the reroof process. Depending on how the stucco is applied and how much of the roof flashing is revealed will determine the best way to provide new secure roof flashing. With patience existing roof flashing behind stucco can be replaced and if this is not possible then solutions can be discussed with the homeowner to provide both the leak free and look that the homeowners wants. Removing the bottom edge of the stucco wall and installing base trim or cutting a groove into the stucco for new flashing to be run and then properly sealing the flashing cut can also be solutions.
Having good attic insulation can be the most effective way to lower home energy costs. Because the existing roof is removed down to the roof sheathing it is an excellent time to add more attic insulation. This can all be done from the exterior of the house be removing a few areas of roof sheathing and then installing new attic insulation without ever having to go thru the house. Hard to reach area of the attic due to framing on today’s houses can easily be reach from the outside.
Evaluating the ventilation of the attic is important while a new roof is installed. Many older homes do not have proper air flow in the attic and many newer homes do not have enough. Installing a passive ridge vent system that works with vented soffits is a good way to lower energy costs and also protect the new roof shingles. Installing an attic fan that is controlled by both temperature and humidity levels is also a possible solution. These fans should be wired directly to an on/off switch that is located with easy access to the homeowner.
Attics in many new houses are locations for HVAC equipment. Access to this equipment is sometimes a challenge. Install new attic walkways during the reroof process is a very good idea. Larger more secure sheathing can be loaded into the attic from the roof side than could be taken up into the attic from inside access. These walkways can also be extended to provide increased attic storage for home items.