You build a house from the ground up. However, a roof protects your house from the top down. The roof should be a higher priority than redoing the kitchen, but it rarely is. Most people only think about the roof when they see a leak. You would rather catch it before that. I will explain why, and give you examples and pictures of problems that are going to get worse and simple ways to fix them. I will also show you why and when your shingles just need to be replaced. I will also show you improper installation techniques to avoid and to look for, if you are having someone else replace your roof, proper products to use and in the right places.
Since there are a lot of websites showing how to do it right. I will focus mainly on what not to do, so it will be easier for you to spot problems, but I will also touch on proper roofing practices.
Multiple pitch roof with both shingles and a torch down membrane
3 different types of roofs, multiple pitch architectural shingles, A steep pitch roof with 3 tab
shingles and a shallow pitch roof with standing seem metal.
Good roofing practices
NEVER use 15 lb. felt/tar paper. It NEVER lasts the life of even a 20 year shingle. Every roof that I have ever reroofed that had 15 lb. felt has shown that it will crack, split and deteriorate way before the shingles have failed. The purpose of tar paper/felt is to be a last chance barrier in case you lose a shingle or get a hole in them or from hail or a limb that doesn’t puncture the roof all the way through. Always use 30 lb felt or better. They make many new types of underlayment now. Choose the best underlayment for your roof.
Always use drip edge flashing. Nothing else protects the edge of the roof as good. It’s the cheapest insurance for your roof that you can get. And, NO, shingle strip (1” x 2”) is not as good. It does not go up under the shingle and across the edge of the plywood and protect it as good.
You would think that all roofers know how to do their job correctly, but I will show you some techniques that will fail. And it is surprising just how people treat/neglect their roof. These are from old and new homes around a salt waterfront neighborhood, both on the waterfront and interior homes.
The most important thing to consider is the environment your house is built in, ie, ocean front, interior properties, mountain regions, areas that see more than average rainfall or snow etc. All of these situations need special roof designs and materials that work best under those conditions. One size does not fit all. Consult reputable builders in your area to find out what works best for your conditions.The most important function of a roof is to divert water properly off of itself and to the ground. I’ve seen roofers that have been in the business for 30 years that haven’t figured this out. How do I know? I have had to go behind them and repair their work and “fix” the problem they left in the roof.