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Fall, The Ideal Time of Year to Replace Your Roof

Installing a new roof on a home or business is a job that most property owners will need to accomplish at one time or another, and there are several things to consider about the issue. Because the time of year makes a huge difference as to the finished quality of a roof and also affects the price that is paid, informed consumers look into the issue and plan for the best results. While most roofing companies work throughout the year, there are several reasons why choosing to complete a project in the fall is the best idea.

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Addressing the Heat
The fall is the ideal time for a roof replacement because the weather is just warm enough to make installation easy, but temperatures are also cool enough to prevent the risks of damaging soft roofing materials. Most residential roofing products, like asphalt shingles, are easily damaged by installers during extremely hot weather, and the granules that protect the underlying asphalt-fiberglass mat may be compromised. Hot summer weather can easily reach temperatures on the top of a roof that are over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and when a person steps on roofing material with the wrong type of footwear, marked surfaces are incredibly common. During the fall months, temperatures are in the ideal range and ensure that projects proceed on a timely basis. While many people consider having their roof installed during the winter for a lower price, there are several concerns about roofing during the cold. The winter also poses a number of problems for installers because weather is usually too cold to ensure a flat installation of asphalt shingles. In addition, with heavy snow storms, jobs may be shut down for an extended period of time, and homeowners may have to wait several weeks to have their roofing project finished.

Avoiding Rain and Storms
At any time of year, rain storms and severe weather can impact a new roof installation job, and wise homeowners and experienced roofing contractors regard the fall as an ideal time for a project’s completion for several reasons. During the autumn months, the daily weather is generally mild and storm free. While rain may fall on an occasional basis, the chances that a job are shut down for an extended period of time are minimized. Having a roof installed in the fall months virtually ensures that homeowners can quickly have their project finished and return to daily living on a timely basis. For property owners who need to have their existing roofing material removed, the issue of wet and stormy weather is a prime concern. Because removing asphalt shingles is labor intensive and subjects a home to leaks, most contractors try to schedule their jobs for period of clear weather, like the fall.

Choosing the right time of year for a new roof depends on several factors, and the two prime issues have to do with temperature and the threat of storms. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can pose problems for a finished roof installation, and most people generally agree that the mild weather in the fall is an ideal period for re-roofing or new construction jobs.

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How Long you Should Expect a Slate Roof to Last in the Northeast United States

Efficient and good looking are two reasons why people cover and protect their homes with roofing. There are other benefits too. Slate come in numerous and naturally occurring colors, which can be attractively blended with other materials. The range of size and thickness is almost endless. Slate is water repellent, fireproof, and low maintenance, especially because it is resistant to the growth of moss and algae.

For all these reasons to buy slate roofing, it can still be a questionable investment because it is one of the most expensive roofing systems to install. So most people when considering slate as a new roofing system have to ask: How long will it last? This is especially important in the northeastern United States where winters can be long, harsh, and destructive.

Just how long can a slate roof be expected to last in the northeast? The American Society of Home Inspectors puts the longevity of slate roofing at 30-100 years. That makes it a good buy when compared with asphalt at 15-20 years, wood at 10-40, metal at 20-40, and clay at 20 years or more. That makes slate a good buy even with the most expensive installation price.

However, if you are considering slate, but longevity is a concern, do some research before installing a slate roof, especially in the northeast. Not all slate is the same and some roofs just are not designed for such a covering. So, begin your search for the right slate with a consultation with a contractor who knows the product.

Slate has been quarried in the United States since the 1850s from states in the northeast and Virginia. Vermont roofing slate, quarried in the Green Mountains, carries a life expectancy of up to 200 years and with proper maintenance is said to last indefinitely. The rate for Pennsylvania roofing slate, which comes in solid gray or multi-color patterns, has a life span of about 50 years. Slate from Buckingham County in Virginia, with its blue/black color and high mica content, is said to be one of the world’s hardest. The life span is averaged at about 175 years or indefinitely.

Ribbon slates have lines or ribbons of color that make them distinctive looking. Although some of these slates are very durable, care should be taken in selecting them. In some slates, the material that forms the ribbons of color has been found to be soft enough to weather rapidly.

In some cases, the answer to “how long will a slate roof last in the eastern U.S.?” has to be: It depends. Maintenance is an important concern for longevity. However, with careful study of these generally highly durable materials and the aid of an experienced and knowledgeable contractor, the answer might be: Long enough to keep your home safe and you happy with the choice.

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What are the Subtle Signs that You Need a New Roof

A durable roof is one of the most essential, protective components of a home. Faulty roofs commonly result in water getting into the home, which can destroy the drywall, carpet, wood, and personal belongings. The moisture also promotes mold growth, which can be hazardous to the home’s inhabitants. Even a small leak can cost thousands of dollars in damages, so it is best to be proactive and know when to replace the roof before disaster strikes. Sometimes the signs that a roof is deteriorating are not blatantly obvious, and it is crucial to be aware of the more subtle indicators.

At least twice a year, perform a thorough inspection of the outer exterior of the roof. Be on the lookout for missing or damaged shingles. If the roof has even one missing shingle, this can be a warning that the tar strips are wearing out. This is caused by repeated exposure to the elements and granule loss. Shortly after, the roof will likely lose more shingles and increase the chances of serious water damage to the home.

Damaged shingles are a major warning sign that the roof is nearing the end of its life. Prolonged sun exposure causes the asphalt layers within the shingle to break down, thus warping its shape. Weakened shingles tend to coil onto themselves and take on a curled appearance. Curled shingles are likely to catch a gust of wind and fly off, which leaves an exposure for water to eventually leak into the house. Shingles with cracks are also more susceptible to blowing away, and serious cracks can allow water to seep into the home.

During biannual inspections, it is also important to look for shingles with dark spots. Discoloration indicates that the shingles are losing granules. Granules shield the roof’s asphalt layers from being weakened or deteriorated by the sun’s UV rays. Shingles that lose a large portion of their granules leave the asphalt unguarded and vulnerable to rapid erosion. Aside from discoloration, another sign of granule loss is brittleness and frailty of the shingles. Shingles in this condition often have slight cracks that only worsen with time. Eventually, this will lead to water damage.

While inspecting the roof’s color, also look for apparent signs of plant or fungal growth, as this also results in discoloration. Organism growth on shingles is a warning sign that water is building up on areas of the roof instead of being repelled. A moist roof results in an environment that is conducive for the growth of moss, mold, lichen, and algae. In chronically moist or tropical climates, this may not be a surefire sign that a complete roof replacement is necessary, but it is important to be certain. Moss and mold may result in loosened shingles, so removal is always required. It may be best to hire a professional, as some organism growths can lead to a very slippery roof.

In addition to inspecting the roof’s exterior, it is also pivotal to inspect the highest point inside the home, which is often an attic. Look around the attic for dark blotches, water spots, or any damp areas. Compromised roofs usually have an effect on the attic before the rest of the home. There could be shingle damage, or the underlayments may be worn out. Underlayments are supposed to protect against leaks and usually consists of tar paper, rubberized asphalt, or a synthetic. These are all vulnerable to wear and tear, especially with repeated sun exposure. It may also be a sign of deteriorated flashings. Flashings are thin pieces of impermeable material placed around the roof’s joints and seams to prevent water from seeping into the home. Another good way to check for signs of roof degeneration is to inspect the attic during daylight hours. Do not turn on any interior lights, and see if any rays of light are coming through. This indicates a roof that has holes or rotted sections.

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Architectural versus 3 Tab Asphalt Shingles

The most commonly used shingle in home construction has been the 3 tab asphalt shingle.  However, in the 1970’s, the architectural shingle was introduced.   There are many differences between these two, but choosing the correct one is simple, once the differences are understood.

3 Tab Asphalt Shingles

These shingles are named for the three tabs that are created by two grooves, cut into each shingle.  When on a roof, they have a flat, smooth appearance, and look like individual shingles.  Because of their flat appearance, any imperfections in the roof line are easily seen.  Care must also be taken in their application, so that the grooves in the shingles line up perfectly.  Grooves that do not line up give a sloppy appearance.

Three tab shingles are made of layers of cellulose or fiberglass fibers, and asphalt.  They are thinner, and lighter than architectural shingles, and easier to handle.  The thinner construction of 3 tab shingles makes them more susceptible to wind, hail, and curling in high temperatures.  Typical lifetimes for 3 tab shingle roofs are 20 years, and they can withstand up to 60 mile per hour winds.

The cost of 3 tab shingles is less than architectural shingles, and they cover more area when applied, so usually fewer are needed to complete a job.

Pros

Low cost compared to architectural shingles
Larger coverage area
Less labor intensive

Cons

Shorter lifespan than architectural shingles
Wind resistance only 60 mph
Can be less aesthetically pleasing if uneven roof line, or badly applied

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are also called dimensional, or laminate shingles.  They have a textured appearance that makes them look three-dimensional.  These shingles were originally introduced to give the appearance of cedar or slate roofs, but with the advantages of a lighter and more durable asphalt shingle.  Because they are textured, they break up any straight-line imperfections in the roof line, making them difficult for the eye to detect.  They come in a variety of colors, and can be easily matched to any housing style.

The mat base used in the construction of architectural shingles is heavier than that used in 3 tab shingles.  It is made of cellulose or fiberglass fibers, and asphalt layers, but can be as much as 50% heavier.  The increased thickness makes architectural shingles more resistant to wind damage, up to 120 miles per hour in some cases, and hail damage as well.  Some styles have inter-locking tabs, which increases their wind resistance.   They can be susceptible to algae growth, so algae resistant shingles are recommended.  Architectural shingles are typically guaranteed to last a minimum of 25 years, and can go as long as 50 years.

Architectural shingles are usually 20 – 40% more expensive than 3 tab shingles, due to their heavier construction.  They also cover less area than a 3 tab shingle, so more are required to finish the job.

Pros

Durability, up to 50 years in some cases
Higher wind resistance, up to 120 mph
More aesthetically pleasing, especially for complicated roofs

Cons

Higher cost than 3 tab shingles
More labor intensive
Susceptible to algae growth

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Emerging Roofing Trend – Georgian Style Roofing

Georgian style architecture, including Georgian style roofing, first originated in the year 1720, and is the name used by most English speaking countries to describe the architectural style from that time until 1840. Its name comes from the monarch King George the First and his three successors – George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom. These four monarchs represent the consecutive British rule from the summer of 1714 to the summer of 1830.

Georgian Roof

Georgian Architecture replaced the English Baroque style commonly found in Europe in the 1700s, with transitions taking place with works designed by the likes of James Gibbs, one of Britain’s most prominent architects at the time. While his style can be classified as Georgian, it also included detectable influences form the English Baroque style, as well as nuances likely informed by his time studying to be an architect in Rome. Other prominent architects who pioneered this style were Colen Campbell, Robert Taylor, and John Wood the Elder, the latter two being held responsible by many as key developers of this type of design.

The term “Georgian” is rather wide in scope, and so must be seen as the header of other distinct sub-styles. Among them are Palladian Architecture (inspired by Andrea Palladio, an influential architect from Venice), Gothic, and Chinoiserie. Also included are Neoclassical (seen as a response to the Rococo style), the Regency style (which can be seen in Regent’s Park in London), and Greek Revival, which occurred mainly in Northern Europe and the United States.

While Georgian architecture contains variable characteristics, some basic elements can be understood as standard. Among them are the tendency toward symmetry and what the European designers at the time referred to as “regularity” (adhering to classical rules). The most traditional materials for Georgian style buildings are stone and brick. The colors most commonly found in traditional Georgian buildings were red, white, and light brown. However, many colors are now found in modern homes that take cues from Georgian style architecture.

As for the Georgian style roofs, they are traditionally side-gabled (a triangular structure at both ends of the building), include a gambrel (a symmetrical two-sided roof with two downward slopes on each side) and are hipped (sides slope down toward walls of structure). The roofs also typically feature a chimney on both sides of the building.

Many modern homes can still be found with Georgian style roofs, which presents some advantages and challenges alike. This style still evokes a sense of historic significance, with its origin found almost three hundred years ago. For those with an interest in history and the story of design, a Georgian style soof is remarkable. Also, to many, it conjures the idea of elegance. Many prestigious properties feature Georgian style roofs, and therefore some associate this feature with class and grandeur. It remains, especially to those for whom symmetry is enticing, aesthetically pleasing.

Some of the challenges of living under a Georgian style roof relate to its interaction with inclement weather. This style of roof is said to be one of the worst in terms of protecting a home from hurricane damage. The gabled nature of this roof allows it to easily peel off in high winds, and can even catch wind like a ship’s sail. Additionally, a Georgian style roof, with its hipped feature, often allows for very little space inside the roof. This not only cuts down on possible storage and/or attic space, but also may make it very difficult to gain access to this area for any maintenance or repairs.

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