The Basics of Roofing

Roofing is the process of covering a building’s exterior with materials that protect the interior from rain, snow, sunlight and extremes of temperature. Without roofers and their expertise, buildings would be susceptible to leaks, structural damage and diminished energy efficiency.

Choosing the right materials for a new or replacement roof is an important decision. There are several types of shingles, each offering different features and benefits. Many homeowners choose to re-roof using the same material they already have, as this can save on costs. For new roofs, the type of material selected can also affect the home’s energy efficiency.

A new roof can add significant value to a home, especially if it uses an eco-friendly material like solar shingles. While the initial investment may be higher, these shingles provide long-term savings on electricity bills. In addition, solar shingles qualify for federal tax credits.

When a homeowner is considering re-roofing, it’s a good idea to meet with a few roofing contractors for estimates. It’s important to look for a contractor with experience and a proven track record. Inquire about the contractor’s warranty, bonding and Better Business Bureau rating. It’s also a good idea to ask the roofer to explain any extra charges that may be included in the estimate, such as hauling away and disposing of the old roofing materials.

Before a roof can be covered with shingles or another material, it must be constructed on a sturdy base. The sheathing or decking is the flat surface — typically oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood — that’s fastened to the rafters. If the sheathing is damaged, it needs to be replaced before re-roofing. The rafters are the internal beams that extend from the eaves to the peak of the roof.

The shingles or other material that cover the roof¬†find out about are held in place by an underlayment, which is a layer of waterproof material that goes over the sheathing and under all other layers of the roof system. A quality underlayment can help prevent water leaks, and it’s available in a variety of materials, from felt to synthetics.

A leaky roof can lead to wood rot, mildew and other problems inside the house, so it’s vital that any repairs be made as quickly as possible. A leaking roof can also allow water to seep into the insulation and cause further damage. For these reasons, a roof should be inspected regularly by a professional, especially after storms or in areas with high winds. If you suspect that your roof is leaking, contact a local roofing contractor to schedule an inspection and repair work as soon as possible. A full roof overhaul is a great opportunity to address any other issues with the sheathing or rafters as well.