Roofs are a tricky aspect of homes, since they are such a necessity and yet the average homeowner doesn’t know all too much about them. That’s why we, at Pennsylvania Homes, interviewed Gary Subers of S&S Remodeling Contractors, Inc. to get inside, professional information on how to know exactly what’s happening with your roof.
About S&S Remodeling Contractors, Inc.:
S&S (Subers and Sons) was started in 1953 by my Grandfather Walt and his two son’s Walt and Ray (my Dad) in Havertown. In 1960 they moved to our current location in Brookhaven Pa.
We have always been a full service exterior remodeling company:
- Window and Door Replacement
- Sunrooms and Screen Enclosures
What Are Visible Signs a Roof Needs Repair?
Obviously, a leak would be a tell tale sign. Leaks usually occur at flashing points, where shingles meet walls, chimneys or other objects protruding from the roof such a plumbing and bathroom vents. Most leaks can be repaired as long as the shingles haven’t started or have already reached their useful life. As a shingle ages,the chemical properties in the shingle begin to dry out causing granules to come lose and shrinking, cracking and cupping appear.
Consequences of Ignoring a Damaged Roof?
Neglect causes leaks that lead to drywall or plaster damage, wet fiberglass insulation and mold. Perhaps the most costly condition associated with neglect is the roof’s sheathing and rafters. The most common roof sheathing is plywood. This is made up of thin veneers of wood glued together to form a structural sheets of lumber. Wetness trapped under old shingles can delaminate the veneers of the plywood making it spongy and no longer capable of holding nails. This can also lead to rotted rafters which are the “bones” of the roof. Both of these conditions can be very costly repairs, sometimes adding up to twice the cost if the roof were attended to in time.
How Often Should a Roof Receive Maintenance?
Years ago, it was common for shingle manufactures to only rate products for 15 to 20 years. Most 3 tab shingles or flat shingles only had a 15 year life expectancy. Improvements have been made today where it is not unusual to rate some of the better dimensional or architectural shingles for 30 and even 50 years. Shingles now have copper coated granules and algae inhibitors that extend the life and beauty of the roof. Even with today’s improvements, you should have a reputable company check your roof every 5 to 8 years for flashing and sealant maintenance. .
What New, Durable, Roofing Material is Now Available?
Most commonly asphalt/fiberglass shingles are the choice of most homeowners. If purchased from a reputable manufacture such as GAF, Certainteed, Owens Corning, Tamko (there are others) they represent the best value and a cosmetically appealing roof lasting for years with sometimes little or no maintenance. Also available are traditional cedar shake, slate, and standing seam or metal pan roofing.
For Homeowners Whose Roofs Needs Repairs, Where Do They Start?
My biggest advice to homeowners is to find a reputable company who offers repair services. Unfortunately the roofing business is saturated with companies that don’t understand proper flashing and installation techniques. Since most homeowners won’t go up on the roof to check the work it is critical they use a company they can trust. Local accreditation services such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List is a good start. Keep in mind, most contractors don’t want to repair shotty work from a “fly by night” roofer. Always hire a professional with proper accreditations and repairs won’t become necessary.
How Can Homeowners Tell if Their Roof Needs Repairs or Replacements?
If homeowners know the age of your shingles (and if the homeowners didn’t actually contract the job, most home inspection reports would have an estimated age), then, a good rule of thumb is if the roof is no more than 75% through it’s useful life, a repair may be okay. For example, if your roof had a 30 year shingle installed 15 years ago, then it’s only ½ way through its useful life. Generally, a leak in this case would be caused by improper flashing or storm damage. If a “roofer” tells you you need a new roof, get a second opinion from a reputable company.
Additional Roofing Advice?
As a full service remodeling contractor, we have consumers ask us for estimates on a variety of home replacements, repairs and full remodels. If a roof is at all questionable, I always suggest making that item your top priority. It protects every other asset below it (which is everything in your home). We know that we (S&S Remodeling Contractors) are not the only company out there. We fight every day to make sure we continue offering quality products and professional installation at fair and reasonable prices. Make sure the remodeling contractor you choose has a good history and reputation and is in good standing the better business bureau. Even if they say they stand behind their work, their warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if they are out of business.