Recently I visited potential client who were upset because they needed a new roof after only eleven years. When they built their home, they had installed a good quality dimensional shingle that should have lasted 30 years. Unfortunately, after only a third of that time, their shingles were in bad shape and were cracking and discolored. Even worse, some water had worked its way into their attic due to ice dams this past winter and they now were concerned about mold.
They had received a couple of estimates for a new roof, but had not moved forward with the work because they really hadn't gotten a satisfactory explanation as to what caused their roof to fail as soon as it had. Until they understood what was going on, they didn't feel comfortable spending money on a new roof that they feared could once again need to be replaced before its time.
After spending a little bit of time examining their roof and attic area, the problem was apparent. The ventilation in their attic was just not what it needed to be. They had a ridge vent to allow hot air to escape, but they had no supply source, no vented soffit. Meaning that there really was no air flow through the attic. H0t humid air was allowed to sit in the attic day after day, summer after summer, ultimately ruining the shingles. I explained that Legacy Remodeling could solve this problem by cutting ventilation strips into the soffit on their home, providing a source of replacement air for the hot air that needed to vent out the top. Furthermore, we could add an attic exhaust fan that would turn on in the event that the attic temperature rose above a certain level.
I also explained that when we installed their new roof we would be sure to install proper flashing for all valley areas and around any pipes, as well as adding an extra 36" inches of ice and water guard to the normal 36" that is usually included. By taking these steps, I was confident that we would be able to prevent further water infiltration into their attic.
To the customer this was a really big deal. The first two guys they had over to give them an estimate had no idea what aged their shingles so fast, or how to stop it. Knowing the cause and now the solution, the homeowner now felt comfortable allowing us to move forward with the project.
My point here is that there is a lot more to a roof than simply nailing on shingles. There is a perception that installing a new roof is as simple as a few bundles of shingles, some buddies and beer on a Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, this misperception has the effect of putting a lot of unqualified roofers into the market, especially here in PA, where contractors must register, but are not tested or licensed for competence.
A roof and attic are a system and must be approached as such. From the under-layment to the insulation, it is important to address all of the aspects of a roof system. By doing so, you will be protecting your home from damage, you will maximize your investment in a new roof, and you will also create a more energy efficient and comfortable environment.