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Roof: The Director of Water

Posted on December 17th, by parker in Residential Roofing. 1 Comment

Roof: The Director of Water

It’s the time of year for owners to give serious attention to roof maintenance.  We are entering the winter season and this is when your roof will likely experience the most stress.  Establishing a regular roof maintenance program will protect your investment and will ensure your roofing system is operating optimally.  Years of life can be added to your roof by identifying and fixing those small problems before they become big problem. Unplanned fixes result in the dreaded unplanned cash outlay.

The primary purpose of any roof is to redirect water.  Precipitation, in all its forms, is a roof’s #1 enemy.  Fortunately on the west coast we don’t worry too much about the hazards of snow but our sometimes legendary rainfall amounts do require vigilance in the maintenance of roofing systems.  These systems provide safety from the elements, protect our contents and the interiors of our homes, including expensive electrical systems.

There are two main types of roofing systems – low slope and steep slope.  The slope refers to the pitch of your roof.    In both roofing systems layers work to create weather barriers.  Low slope roofing is used in most apartment buildings while townhouses and single detached residential homes generally use a steep slope system.  In some buildings both systems are used.

Low slope roofs must be absolutely watertight to function properly.  No margin of error is allowed here.  To achieve this a roofing membrane is applied as a liquid or in prefabricated sheets.  A series of drains are located throughout the roof surface to prevent water collection.  The membrane is designed to create a surface that water can’t penetrate.

A low slope roof is easy to install, often less expensive and can over buildings of any horizontal dimension.  On the downside they can invite standing water.  Any slight structural shift may cause tears in the roofing membrane.  Either of these situations could create pathways for water to enter a building.

Steep slope roofs are constructed with overlapping roofing materials, creating a surface that, combined with gravity, removes water into drainage systems.  Asphalt shingles have proven their popularity over the last 100 years due to availability, effectiveness and cost.  Cedar shakes, metal panels, concrete or clay tiles and fibreglass shingles can all be used well in steep slope roofing.No matter how well designed and installed your roof is the elements will take a toll on it.  Living on the west coast we need to be aware of water that could be getting underneath shingles.  If unchecked this could lead to roof structure rotting.  This excess water could damage ceiling, walls, carpet and electrical systems.  High winds, like those we experience here on the south coast, can cause significant damage by lifting tiles, giving water a place to penetrate.  Condensation can form on your tiles if your attic is poorly ventilated.  Try to keep the temperature inside your attic close to the outside temperature.  Sun can damage a roof as well.  Damage will always be seen first on the sout

A roof will show symptoms of decay before you notice an interior leak.  A roof needs to be examined for cracks, bare spots, blisters, tears and any deterioration of flashing. Any of these things require immediate repair to prevent the problem worsening. Keeping your roofing maintenance schedule current is critical to maximize the lifespan of your roof.  Have your roof inspected in the Fall and Spring.  An experienced roofing company knows what to look for, has the tools to do the required repairs, guarantees their work and knows how to stay safe on the slopes.  You’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing that your roof can withstand whatever the elements hurl at you. Should you require any more information about our maintenance programs or need a repair check out our dedicated webpage here.

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