After a long, laborious day in the rat race, home is the sacred place that allows us to leave our troubles at the door and recharge our batteries. Providing comfort, rest, and safety, a well-maintained abode spells peace of mind for homeowners and often translates into an appreciation of its real estate value. As the foundation for a structurally-sound home, the roof serves as the primary shield for residential occupants by providing shelter over their heads and protecting them and their personal effects from the elements - snow, wind gusts, hail, pounding rain, and sun. Being primordial, quality roofing should be a priority for all American households. Since it is an integral part of the home's insulation and weatherproofing system, a good roof helps property owners save on cooling and heating bills. A new roof can also work magic for curb appeal by beautifying the home's exterior.
Roof repair or replacement is imperative when any of the following signs are present:
- Noticeable leaks
- Torn or missing shingles, which increase the likelihood of water damage and of other shingles being carried away by the wind
- Old shingles, which could undercut their waterproofing potential
- Missing or rusted flashing (metal surrounding vent pipes, skylights, and chimneys), which can give rise to leaks
- Decaying downspouts, gutters, and splash pans
- Broken scraps of roofing and cracked paint
- Peeling wallpaper, discolored plasterboard, and deteriorating ceilings, which would suggest a leak
Since a new roof constitutes an important home improvement project and expenditure, homeowners should carefully research their options and shop around for a highly-qualified and experienced roofer. They may proceed by one of two methods: 1) covering their old roof with a new roof or 2) tearing off their existing roof and replacing it with a new roof. Consumers should select a new roof on the basis of four critical criteria: 1) durability, 2) cost, 3) ecological impact, and 4) aesthetics. The most popular types of roofs are as follows:
Red cedar roofing shingles not only enhance a home's appearance but also effectively resist rot and damage caused by severe weather and repels water. Although wooden roofs require maintenance every 5 years or so, they typically last twenty to thirty years before necessitating a replacement.
Although tile roofs are pricier than wood shake or asphalt shingle roofs, they are more durable than the latter (lasting 50+ years).
Instead of traditional shingles or tiles, this type of roof consists of vegetation and soil that are planted onto the surface of an existing roof. Some green roofs are covered with 2-4 inches of soil and smaller plants. These tend to resemble lawns, require little maintenance, and resist droughts. On the other hand, intensive green roofs are composed of a more diverse layer of plants and are therefore less self-sufficient and require more maintenance. Since larger vegetation is planted on intensive green roofs, the cost is slightly higher. The soil depth on those types of roofs is usually 6 inches to several feet depending on the home's architectural details such as gazebos and waterfalls, its support system, and the type of plants used. As with lawns, homeowners must ensure that their green roofs are watered, weeded, and fertilized on a regular basis.
A green roof is not only visually-appealing, but its plant life also boasts numerous economic and environmental advantages:
- Absorbs rainfall, limits soil erosion, and controls sewer overflow and flooding
- Ensures a healthier living space by filtering the air and pollutants from storm water
- Lowers temperatures, raises the amount of moisture in the air, and traps heat
- Provides excellent acoustic insulation
- Protects the home from high temperatures and ultraviolet rays and is twice as resilient as a conventional roof
- Cuts the costs of homeowners' energy bills by insulating the property and creating shade; and
- Boosts property value by improving curb appeal
Furthermore, the federal government extends tax breaks and grants to individuals who invest in a green roof.
Metal roofing, which is set up in the form of panels and is available in stainless steel, aluminum, or copper, is a practical and appealing choice. Homeowners may coat their metal roof by choosing from among a wide variety of paint colors. This type of roof, which usually offers a 30 to 50 year warranty, has twice or even three times the durability of other materials such as slate, clay tile, and asphalt shingle. Metal roofs can withstand severe storms, temperature changes, heavy snow, extreme heat, hail, and gusty winds without deteriorating and offer natural soundproofing. Homeowners should consider a light color for their metal roof since it will insulate their property in wintertime and reflect heat efficaciously in the summertime, thus contributing to reduced energy costs. Metal roofs are also non-flammable or combustible, making them ideal for areas that are prone to lightning. Finally, homeowners can augment their property's resale value by installing a metal roof.
Due to their versatility and affordability, asphalt shingles are the most popular choice of roofing material in the United States. They are well-suited for roofs with steep slopes, are low maintenance, and offer solid protection against the elements. Shingle roofs reinforced by fiberglass are even more economical, durable, and are tear and fire-resistant. Consumers may choose from a wide palate of colors and enhance their roof's appearance by coating its shingles with special laminate. They may also protect the roof from algae by purchasing shingles with zinc plating. Tin, copper, and aluminum shingles are lightweight and perform extremely well in cold climates
It is recommended that homeowners hire a trustworthy and competent roofer since roofing repair or installation can be a dangerous endeavor for a layperson. To obtain a ballpark figure, consumers should request bids from at least three reputable and licensed roofing contractors.