The roof (or rooves) is the upper covering of a building or structure, protecting it from rain, snow, sunlight, and temperature extremes. Roofing provides an attractive, finished appearance to a home.
Many types of roofing are available, from simple asphalt shingles to slate and metal. There are also options such as green roofs, which incorporate vegetation to help moderate temperatures.
Roofing is the outer layer of protection for a building, whether it’s a home, apartment, warehouse, or church. It is constructed in various materials to defend against rain, snow, sunlight, and temperature extremes. Choosing the right material for a roof depends on climate, aesthetic preference, and cost considerations. Some materials are naturally weatherproof, while others are designed to reflect or absorb sunlight for energy efficiency.
Historically, the most common residential roofing material has been shingles. These are available in a broad range of colors and styles, but the primary consideration for homeowners is longevity. Asphalt shingles can last up to 50 years, and are relatively inexpensive when compared with other roofing options.
Shingles are made from a wide variety of natural and manmade materials. They are often reinforced with fiberglass or organic cellulose, without changing their appearance. Some shingles are also coated with algae-resistant chemicals or fire retardants to enhance their performance.
Other types of roofing are also available, including clay tiles, concrete, metal and membrane. Depending on the climate and the specific construction of a house, these roofs may be more appropriate than traditional shingles.
A clay tile roof can be very attractive and is highly durable. These roofs are heavy, however, and require extra support from the structure underneath. They can also be difficult to install.
Concrete is an alternative to clay, but it’s much heavier and can increase the cost of installation. Metal roofing is more expensive than other roofing materials, but it can add value to a home and resist damage from hail storms.
Membrane roofing is an affordable option for low-sloped or flat roofs. It is available in a range of watertight materials, such as Neoprene, PVC and the popular rubber EPDM. These materials are fitted to a base of tar paper or another non-porous sheeting.
Traditionally, thatched roofs were constructed from plant stalks or branches in overlapping layers. Today, thatching can be achieved with synthetic products such as hay or straw, or with other more durable materials such as rice straw, water reed and raffia palm leaves.
The roof is the protective covering of a home or building, designed to keep out rain, snow, sunlight, and other weather. It also helps to control heat and sound. Roofing requires construction and installation of a variety of materials, including shingles, tiles, metal sheets, and other types of material. The contractor may also install gutters and flashing. Flashing is material used around chimneys, at valleys, and wherever roofing planes meet to prevent leaks. Replacing or fixing flashing can be an inexpensive way to fix a leaky roof.
For shingle roofs, the contractor will first put down underlayment, a layer of felt paper or another waterproof material. Then, he will attach the first row of shingles to the underlayment with a pattern that alternates close nails near the edge and those farther apart towards the middle. The second row of shingles is then installed over the first, with the contractor nailing it down at a different pattern to further reinforce the roof.
For flat or low-slope roofs, there are a number of options for treatment, including single-membrane systems like EPDM and rubber, thermo-polyolefin (TPO), PVC, and metal; high-density spray polyurethane foam insulation; and asphalt shingle replacement. Ask potential contractors if they are certified with a manufacturer, such as GAF, which provides specific training for its installers.
The roof is an integral part of the structure and requires regular maintenance to extend its life. Routine maintenance procedures can be performed by facility staff, or they can be contracted to roofing professionals. Performing maintenance on a regular basis can help catch problems early, before they become serious.
Maintenance procedures can include cleaning drains, scuppers and gutters; removing debris such as gravel, leaves, tree branches and other foreign materials from the roof surface (these items restrict drainage and accelerate membrane deterioration); and re-flashing openings in penetration base flashings and roof field flashings. Repairs to deteriorated caulking should also be made promptly, as this is the most common source of leaks.
Keeping an eye out for bubbling or blisters in the roof surface is another simple maintenance procedure. If you notice these areas, call a local qualified contractor to patch them as soon as possible.
Regular inspections of the entire roof should be conducted by a trained professional, preferably on a biannual basis. During these inspections, damage caused by extreme weather should be assessed and repaired as soon as possible.
In addition to these routine inspections, it is a good idea to perform housekeeping surveys on most of the roof areas monthly. These surveys should include checking for blockage of drains and scuppers, as well as checking the condition of retaining walls. It is also a good idea to keep trees and other vegetation trimmed back from the flat roof surface, as they can scratch and puncture the membrane.
The frequency of surveys and the number of people needed to perform them will vary depending on the location and size of the building. For example, in a large facility, it may be necessary to assign this responsibility to the mechanics responsible for day-to-day building preventive maintenance activities. Typically, however, more extensive repairs and repairs to roofs covered by a warranty are referred to roofing professionals.
Unlike giving your living room a fresh coat of paint or replacing cabinets, repairing or replacing your roof is an expensive project that should be carefully considered. Taking the right steps can save you money in the long run while ensuring that your home is safe and comfortable.
The first step is to conduct a thorough inspection of the entire roof surface. Look for any shingle that is damaged, missing, thinning or curling. It’s also important to check the flashing for any cracks or breaks. Flashing is usually made of metal that’s been bent to the shape of a roof and then fixed with either nails or sealant. A leaking or missing piece of flashing can cause serious problems so it’s important to replace it quickly.
Once you’ve found any damage, the next step is to assess the situation and decide whether a repair or replacement is appropriate. If you’re unsure how to proceed, contact a professional roofing contractor. They will be able to recommend the best course of action for your specific situation.
If you do choose to go with a repair, you’ll need a variety of tools for the job. Start with a good quality tool set that includes a pry bar (for prying and leveraging sheathing, flashing, drip edge), a claw hammer, pliers, a utility knife and shears for cutting shingles and other materials. Lastly, you’ll need tarps and magnetic tools for picking up any discarded nails and other metal debris.
Remember that if you’re going to repair flashing, you must remove the old piece and use it as a guide for removing and bending a new piece of flashing. You’ll also need to determine if the old flashing was fixed with nails or sealant and replicate that on the new piece. Once the flashing is in place, you can cover it with a layer of roofing cement or tar to protect the area from moisture and rain.