Top 5 Roof Repair Mistakes To Avoid
After decades on the job and over 300,000 projects strong, we learned a lot about the most common roof repair mistakes and the best ways to fix the culprits threatening the structural integrity and longevity of your roof and home.
As one of the most visible parts of your exterior curb appeal and one of the most important aspects of your home, your roof deserves only the best in skills, experience, materials and methods. Before your next roof repair job, consider the top five mistakes to avoid.
- Covering old shingles with new ones.
Amateur roofing contractors notoriously install new shingles on top of old ones for two simple reasons: to cut corners and save money. Smart roofers roll up their sleeves and do the job right, removing all the old shingles and replacing them with new ones.
“Surface repairs” may boost your roof’s curb appeal. But like most quick fixes, the lazy method does little to solve the real problems.
A roof repair done right means removing all damaged shingles to inspect the roof deck and sheathing for fragile areas, and to evaluate the structural integrity of the roof membrane.
Skimping on this signature step risks building on an inadequate or faulty base, creating more places for moisture and dirt to collect and fast-tracking the path towards damage and deterioration.
Old, curled shingles can show themselves through the new layer. Multiple layers of shingles can add weight to your roof, harming your home’s walls and roof structure. Overlays usually just mask the real problems, and stripping the roof in the future means dealing with two layers instead of one.
The bottom line: hire a professional and save yourself the headaches.
- Reusing old flashing.
Flashing plays a key role in the health and longevity of your roof. It’s that thin sheet of metal around chimneys, skylights, vents, and other projections intersecting with the roof that keeps moisture out of your roof and home. By channeling moisture away from critical and vulnerable areas, flashing protects your roof from water intrusion and a world of potential damage.
Old flashing can appear to be in good condition. But beneath the surface, flashing can wear down and falter on its ability to suspend the flow of water away from your home. It’s all the more reason roofers should do the job right—without cutting corners to save money—by installing new flashing.
Smart roofers also know how to spot other common problems including misaligned, improperly overlapped or insufficiently fastened flashing. When it’s time for a roof repair, replacing (rather than reusing) all the components ensures effective and long-lasting protection for your home.
- Neglecting attic ventilation.
More than just an assembly of shingles, a roof is an entire system composed of many components. Like many homeowners, you might be surprised to learn just how much the health of your roof hinges on the attic and its ventilation system.
Proper ventilation helps keep the temperature inside your attic and home close to the temperature outside. When the daytime sunlight makes your roof too hot in the summer, moisture can build up from the decking and damage your shingles. It’s the simple reason no roof repair job would be complete without an inside-out attic inspection.
- Incorrect roof installation and materials.
Skimping on materials is another way amateur roofers cut corners to save money. But the reality for many roofers is their limited access to high-quality materials. Only roofers with exclusive partnerships with industry-leading brands can access professional materials designed to suit your roofing system.
Other factors of botched roof repair jobs include incorrect fastener length and nail placement. Poorly attached decking, underlayment and shingles allow wind to raise the shingles, causing moisture to work its way through the layers. Without a moisture protection barrier installed properly underneath the shingles, you run the risk of leaks from rain, snow and ice.
The most critical roof repair mistake amateurs make is ignoring the manufacturer’s specifications. Failing to follow the guidelines can void the manufacturer’s warranty and significantly hike up the cost of future jobs.
- Doing the job yourself.
The only roof repair mistake more costly than relying on an amateur is doing the job on your own. The DIY roof repair puts the health of your roof and your own safety in harm’s way.
Without the right tools and equipment, even small repairs involving lose shingles, damaged flashings and holes in your roof present unique challenges. And with an untrained eye, you risk overlooking the underlying issues.
The DIY route does have its advantages: mostly, saving you money. But the extra out-of-pocket buys you key advantages from the best materials to the safety measures to the different installation techniques and most importantly, the contractor’s warranty that can protect your roof and home. The end result is a functional and damage-free roofing system built strong to last a lifetime.
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