While most homeowners do not have any experience with construction, it would behoove the homeowner to perform a little research over the course of one afternoon in order to become familiar with the process and materials involved when replacing a roof. The internet is a useful tool for just that purpose.
Standard roofing materials in the past included shingles, roofing felt or paper, roofing nails, and galvanized flashing. While many of these materials have not changed, there are newer types of materials such as peel-and-stick flashing and plastic trim.
Peel-and-Stick flashing is actually a waterproof tar membrane that is used on roof joints, edges, and corners. An interesting and beneficial quality of this material is that it has the ability to self seal should it be pierced by a roofing nail. In northern climates where snow and ice can prove to be a problem, it is especially crucial that joints are sealed effectively from the seeping water and ice. This newer flashing makes this sealing mush faster and easier.
Plastic trim, which is actually cellular PVC, is another newer roofing product that can also be used on other parts of the home. After mitering, routing, and being painted, this material is virtually indistinguishable from genuine wood by professional carpenters. The huge advantage of using PVC is that it is impervious to damage such as rotting, warping, and fading.
There is more than the quality of materials used by roofers. Proper detailed installation is also key. An excellent example of this is the starter strip of shingles placed at the eaves edge. Many builders in the south place the shingles bottom edge exactly at the edge of the roof sheathing. They are relying heavily on the flashing along the edge to prevent water seepage and damage from occurring. It’s much wiser to have a slight overhang of a quarter inch to 3/8 of an inch just in case gutters are present or a future possibility.
When re-roofing involving dormers are involved, special attention must be given to where the dormer meets the roof sheathing. Flashing should be extended up the sides of the dormer a good amount to prevent snow fall and ice from creeping up under the siding. The outside of the siding may need to be sealed as well depending on the siding material and the climate of the region.region.
Quality is determined by the little details that usually go unnoticed by most contractors and homeowners. Many of these details are only apparent in the middle of the roof installation so it is a wise idea to ask questions before choosing a contractor. The key to a solid and long lasting roof is the quality and type of materials as well as the installation methods. Different climates and regions of the country will dictate which materials and installation methods are best. An experienced contractor which provides local references should be checked out. This is the best way to get a good picture of what is in store. Often the lowest quote is not the best option, so the homeowner should be diligent in checking references of past jobs.