While a home's roof is one of its most important elements, many people lack even basic knowledge about roof installations. Residential roofing is available in a wide variety of materials, and while they share important elements, each type of material has some specific requirements for a proper installation.
Probably the most common materials used for roofing are asphalt or fiberglass shingles. Typically, shingles are less expensive than materials like steel or tile, making them attractive for average homeowners. There are still different price points for shingles, depending on the quality level. Professional roofing contractors generally provide homeowners with options, explaining the different elements of each design and how those elements affect the looks and longevity of each product. Companies like Certainteed and GAF, among others, supply several different quality levels of their products to allow homeowners to select styles and colors that meet their budgets.
Professional roofing contractors know that selecting even the very best shingles offered does not guarantee a leak-free roof. Even roofs with the very best shingles are subject to leaks if the shingles are not properly installed. Less than professional installers often fail to follow industry standards, especially with flashings. Flashings at roof valleys and around openings in the roof are often improperly installed, leaving water a clear path into a home's interior. Experts take precautions to ensure that all roof openings are properly flashed, and pay special attention to areas around block or brick chimneys, as those areas commonly cause problems for inexperienced or careless installers.
A quality roofing contractor, in regions where snow is common, will also pay special attention to the edges of roofs where ice commonly builds up. If ice buildups are an issue, knowledgeable roofing installers work with homeowners to not simply repair the roof, but to eliminate the causes of the ice buildup. A quick look in the average attic where ice buildup is common will generally reveal a need for modifying the way insulation is installed or adding more insulation. The contractor may also recommend adding or modifying gutters to further reduce icing.
When a roof is damaged by wind, hail or other storm damage, roofing contractors should be contacted immediately to analyze the level of damage and determine what steps are needed to repair the damage. Roofing that was not installed correctly is almost always subject to more damage than a roof installed by true craftsmen, and when improperly installed materials are damaged, the cost of repairs may be significantly higher, as all the incorrectly installed material may have to be replaced. Damage must always be repaired as quickly as possible to reduce the threat to the property's interior areas. Leakage will quickly destroy insulation and sheetrock, increasing the cost of repairs and the inconvenience for homeowners.
Any roofing material, when properly installed, will last for many years with minimal maintenance. As a rule, homeowners should consider installing the best materials possible. While budget limitations often enter into the picture, selecting a quality roofing material is generally advised, as better materials are not as prone to weather damage and will normally last longer than lower grade products. Roofing contractors can explain the advantages of selecting premium grade shingles.
Many commercial roofing products are also prone to storm damage, and should be inspected frequently to make sure areas problem prone areas are kept properly sealed. Inspections should be conducted after any severe storms, but never less than annually. As with residential properties, properly installed commercial roofs protect buildings from water damage far more effectively than ones that are not properly installed.