Homeowners would rather play with the décor of the living room than they would pay attention to what is happening above their heads. The roof might not be as glamorous as other parts of your house but its importance requires you to know at least the basics about roofing. Once you start reading and learning about types of roofing, the materials, and caulking, you will fall in love with the brick tile of your roof. What is more, you might want to improve the roof so your grandchildren will be safe (and dry) under the same roof just as you are right now.
The weakest link
The weight, the shape, and the surface area your roof covers are all factors when it comes to installing and maintaining the roof. However, if you are aiming for the longevity of the roof structure, then you need to tend to the weakest link in any roof. These are openings that are the places that the roof most usually starts to leak at. This is because the shape of these openings does not match the shape of the tiles or the shingles.
For instance, air vents are usually circular in shape and skylights cover a large surface area which means that there is more room for error by the roofer. However, any experienced handyman and even a homeowner can use a caulk gun to fill any holes around the opening on the roof. The trickiest of openings are perhaps chimney because they require a double layer of caulk, as well as flashings.
Materials used for roofing
There are numerous types of materials of roofing in the market today, so we’ll list only the most common ones used predominantly in residential roofing.
The oldest roofing type is clay tiles that were used in ancient Mesopotamia. Their distinctive orange color of the earth they are produced from is characteristic of many periods of human history. They can be either flat or shaped like a half-cylinder. Since they are made at high temperatures, they are quite heat-resistant. However, a strong storm can rip them off if they are not installed properly.
If clay tiles look well on colonial-style buildings, then asphalt shingles have quite the opposite effect on modern houses. However, their cost and availability make them a popular roofing material nevertheless. They are best used on flat roofs and terraces because of their water-tightness. Their “ugliness” can be somewhat assuaged by painting them in vivid colors.
Metal roofs are mostly used in commercial buildings because they are cheap to install. Aluminum and steel roofs are fireproof and last a long time if they are protected against corrosion. However, living under a metal roof can prove unbearable unless proper insulation is installed. That is why copper roofing and cladding is gaining popularity on residential structures. Cooper roofs have an impressive lifespan and they possess the charm of organic aging that few other roofing materials have.
Another age-old roofing material is wood. Shakes and shingles made from wood are also making a comeback nowadays. However, they are not recommended for areas prone to fires, as they burst in an instant when caught by the blaze. When it comes to longevity, if the wood is impregnated correctly, you should worry about wear and tear, even after several decades.
The less important and the more important parts
There are numerous parts of a roof and names for those parts that it is futile to list them all. Flashings, anchors, shingles, valleys, drip edges, and gutter are just some of the parts of a typical roof. However, you needn’t know the roofing terminology in order to conduct minor repairs and more importantly, regularly maintain the roof.
Perhaps the most important parts of the roof in a homeowner’s view are the gutters and the downpipes. They are responsible for directing all the rainwater or thawing snow efficiently into the sewage underground. That is why you should inspect and clean them several times a year if the gutters are unobstructed. A leaf pileup or a stray football can clog the gutters and cause major flooding inside the house.
Now that you know a whole lot more about roofing, you are ready to correctly asses the state of your roof. Perhaps only the gutters need cleaning but you might want to change the material your roof is made from entirely. If you decide on the latter intervention, then keep in mind that hiring roofers off-season can save you hundreds of dollars. Just make sure that the winter period is dry enough that the roofing company will have enough time to lay a new roof, which usually takes up to 4 days, depending on the size of the roof.
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