Rochester Roofing Questions & Answers

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Q. I have two layers of asphalt on my house. Do I have to remove them to install a new roof?

A. Unless the sheathing is compromised, a cheaper solution is to apply a new layer of shingles right over the old one. Done correctly, your re-roof will look as good and last as long as a complete tear off roof, for a lot less money.

Most building codes will allow two layers of organic or fiberglass asphalt shingles on standard roof pitches. You will need to check with your local town codes. Some areas allow up to 3 layers on roofs with step pitches.


Q. How much ventilation do I really need?

A. Adequate attic and roof space ventilation will insure energy efficiency. It will also help in the reduction of ice damage which will extend the life of your roof. The adequate amount of ventilation needed is relatively simple to figure. The Industry standard is every 300 square feet of attic space requires one square foot of intake ventilation as well as one square foot of exhaust ventilation. The best way to determine it is by running continuous intake soffit ventilation as well continuous exhaust ridge ventilation.


Q. What is the cause of icicles along the eaves & how can I prevent it from occurring?

A. Ice Damming is a terminology and the problem is quite common. As snow continually melts you will see ice dam’s form along the roof edge. The heat in the attic will cause the snow on the roof to thaw letting the water will run down to the unheated eaves enabling it to refreeze. This will continue on a daily basis until large icicles form at the eaves. Ice will eventually build up under the shingles and cause leaks, if no protective measures were taken when the roof was installed. Severe damage could possibly rip the gutters right from of the building. Ice dams can cause great damage if moisture damages the attic insulation. This causes the reduction of the R-value of the insulation which in turn raises energy bills. By allowing water to saturate wall cavities, it can also cause paint and plaster to peel, rusty nails and electrical boxes, as well as eroding other non-rustproof metal building material located within the walls of the dwelling. To prevent ice dams or the possibility of damage caused by ice dams there are three measures you can take. Insuring proper ventilation will help maintain the ambient air temperatures at the roof level. This will help prevent the snow located on the roof located above the living areas of the home to thaw. Heavy attic insulation will also help block heat that gets into the attic. Ice and water protection membranes installed into to the eaves & valleys of the roof will also help prevent damage. It will not treat the root of the problem, which is heat loss. Heat tape is frequently used as a solution, but is rarely proved effective.


Q. I’m thinking of changing my asphalt shingles color. I heard brown would absorb more heat than white raising the cost of my air conditioning. Is there a rating for heat absorbency?

A. It is a bit more complex than that, it depends on how well and if your roof is properly vented. Darker shingles are believed to keep the house warmer in the winter. Weigh all the needs do not simply focus on a single season. White or gray are called frost, the light tan are normally called autumn. The difference in the absorbency rate between the two is not very much.


Q. I just built a garage, and want to install the roof underlayment. Will it matter if it rains on this material? Do I need to install the shingles right away?

A. As long as you plan on installing shingles in the very near future it will not matter. However, if you are using standard tar paper and it gets rained on, you may see buckling or wrinkling begin to appear. This can be very difficult to deal with. If shingling within one week I would  hold off installing tar paper until that time. One big misconception is that rain will damage roof sheeting. Over a period it could, just as it would with wall sheeting but many newly constructed homes are left sitting for a few weeks exposing sheeting to the elements with no damaging effects. Try and get shingles installed as soon as possible.


Q. Do I have to get my roof repaired right away following a hail storm?

A. Provided your roof is not leaking, any hail damage should not cause you any problems.
If leaking you will need to have that roof repaired, any delay could void your warranty. Your roof may deteriorate much quicker than a healthy roof would. Getting the work done as soon as possible is highly recommended.


Q. Woodpeckers are pecking holes my roof what can I do?

A. Try mounting small magnifying mirrors flat on the house, magnifying side up where you noticed the damage.
You can also try installing mobiles that look like hawks, make them approximately 22 inches wing to wing and about 11 inches long. They can be homemade from plywood, cardboard or Styrofoam painted dark, hang them with fishing line from the eave in close proximity to the damage.
Another, is lightweight objects that will blow in the wind attached to plastic strips along the side of the house that the woodpecker frequents. Aluminum pie tins or pinwheels could be quite effective..
Balloons painted with crazy eyes can be flown around your house. And may be purchased at bird control companies.


Q. How do I know it is time for a new roof?

A. Roofs will usually last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, unless special materials and installation techniques were used. Replacement is warranted when shingles become blistered, torn missing or begin splitting. If the roof leaks, it may just need a repair to that specific area of the roof.


Q. What is a gravel stop and metal edge strip? What is its function?

A. The primarily the function of gravel stops and metal roof edge strips is to close off the edges of the roof. This prevents wind damage and blow offs. Another function of the gravel stop is to prevent the loss of aggregate surfacing around the edge of the roof.
Principal problems associated gravel stops and metal edge strips are mainly leaking through open or broken joints in between metal pieces, & splitting of the stripping felts at metal edges. It is these reasons, gravel stops and metals edge strips should be elevated out the water line whenever possible. This can be done by using raised wood nails and tapered edge strips. The use of interior drainage is always recommended and preferred. On the other hand, where water must drain over the metal edge, scupper cutouts are preferable to continuous edge drainage.


Q. How can I repair a leak until the roofing professional arrives?

A. First and foremost protect the interior from water damage. Collect the water in containers or by using plastic sheeting to protect the building in order to avoid further damage, never cover roof vents.
Try and remove excess water from the roof. Check the roof drains and scuppers being certain they are open and functional. A common cause of roof leakage and collapse are pools on the roof surface from clogged drains or scuppers.
Locate the main source of the leak. By trying to determine the source of a leak try and locate the point on the roof surface above the area of leakage inside the building interior. Check for any damage to the rooftop mechanical equipment, and then check flashings at the terminations and penetrations. If the system is ballasted, remove ballast from the immediate leak area, then inspect the membrane surface for any cuts, splits or possible punctures. Be sure to also check the seams in the roofing membrane.
Once the leak is located, use materials and procedures which will cause the least amount of damage to the roof.


Q.  What are some types of emergency or temporary roofing repairs?

A. Plastic roofing cement: This is trowel grade product. It is available in rain patch or wet patch grades. This is applied after the removal all the gravel or granules from the roofing surface. Never use liquid or pourable repair products. They do not work and may hinder the roofing contractors attempt to locate the source of the leak.
Sealant and roof tape: This method of repair may be used on smooth surfaces. This sealant is applied by cleaning the roof with alcohol or household cleaner. The next step is to apply the sealant.
• Duct Tape: This method is only recommended for PVC systems and is only a temporary fix.


Q. Why use flashing?

A. Flashing is used to provide a watertight junction between roofing materials and roof projections and other parts of the structure, as well as between the roof sections. Flashings are the single most vulnerable part of any roof. The importance of maintaining flashings properly cannot be overemphasized.


Q. The flashing around my chimney left a rust stain on my roof. How do I remove the stain without damaging the shingles?

A. A simple yet effective way to hide the discoloration is with sparsely applied spray paint. Obtain paint color charts first for comparison of the closest match.


Q. How do I know if I have a flashing problem or roofing problem?

A. Many early roof problems are usually flashing problems. By repairing the flashings or installing new flashings is usually all that is needed to make the roof watertight again. The vast majority of flashing issues are the result from inadequate flashing design or simply faulty construction. Many flashing problems can be totally eliminated by careful examination by competent inspectors during roof installation.


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