Frequently Asked Roofing Questions
Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that have come loose or a section of the roof system being damaged. A complete roof system failure, however, generally is irreversible and a result of improper installation, choice of materials, or the roof system installation is inappropriate for the home or building.
Before we can tell you how much your job will cost, we will need to know what it involves. We understand your concerns about the budget and keeping costs under control. We have the same concerns ourselves. Therefore, the best way to estimate a cost is to have Kelly Roofing Project Manager come to take a look at your roof. For a commitment-free certified roof inspection contact us.
This question could be interpreted in two ways, so we’ll answer each question.
1. Florida doesn’t really have a “bad season” for roofing work. Summer rains only slow down the process but won’t affect the work itself.
2. The second question might be put this way: “How do I know when my roof has failed?” Different roof types fail at differing rates and with different failure reasons. If you answer yes to any of these, it is time to replace your roof:
- Does the roof leak in numerous locations?
- Do leaks continue despite repeated repair attempts?
- Do repairs seem to make leaks worse or do new leaks develop after repairs?
- How tolerant is the occupancy to leaks? Low leak tolerance generally means the “failure” decision is reached earlier. It is generally better to reroof at the appropriate juncture, rather than pouring money and time into ill-advised repairs, but there are exceptions.
You have two basic options. You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system.
If you have already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, roof sheathing replacement may be necessary. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary. Additionally, manufacturers void their system warranty on re-covers and require a complete roof replacement. Recover systems only last about half as long as full reroofs as flashings, the most important part of a roof, are not replaced on re-cover applications.
Unlike standard 3-tab, or strip shingles, which are single layer in design, a growing number of shingles are multi-layered or laminated. These shingles are more durable and add pizzaz to your roof.
Most home improvement stores sell a mildew cleaner which can be applied to your roof with a sprayer. Mildew cleaners shouldn’t damage your roof in any way.
Wind-driven rain can cause sloped roof coverings to shift and lift. Rain can then be easily driven under the roof covering directly to the unprotected roof deck, where it causes leaks and damage to the inside of the home.
A roofing underlayment is typically a rubberized membrane that goes under shingles to prevent water penetration. It is the one piece of a roofing system expressly designed to be waterproof. Without a self-adhered underlayment, water from wind-driven rain can infiltrate under your roof covering and severely damage your roof—or even worse, the inside of your home. Non-adhered roofing underlayments typically provide only water-shedding protection to the roof (not waterproofing as self-adhered underlayments do). In the event of a hurricane, self-adhered membranes are a secondary water barrier to protect your interior from water damage. Insurance companies give discounts for SWB protection.
Typically, roof system problems are discovered after leaking or other serious damage occurs. Periodic (once a year) inspections often can uncover cracked, warped, or missing shingles and tiles, loose seams, deteriorated flashings, excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts, and other visible signs of roof system problems. Indoors look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard, and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.
Replacing a roof, whether on a commercial or residential building, is a labor-intensive project and, depending on the type of roof, could take anywhere from a few days to 2 or more weeks. The time involved is also substantially affected by the weather. Wind, rain, or even just the threat of one of these and will slow the process considerably. Careful planning and close project management can reduce some of the delays caused by bad weather.
Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful services ranging from 15, 20, even 25 years. Some roof system types such as slate, clay & concrete tile and metal systems can last longer.
The actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application, and adequate roof maintenance.
Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.
Most of the work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off of or through your roof.
Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. If you inspect your roof yourself, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber-soled shoes and stay on the ladder, (and off the roof system), if possible.
Fiberglass shingles are built on a core, or mat, of fiberglass reinforcement. Asphalt coating is applied directly to this mat and protective color granules are embedded into the coating. Fiberglass shingles carry a Class A fire-resistance rating from Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the highest rating available.
In some moist areas, algae can grow on shingles. Although it has no proven effect on shingle life, it does stain or discolor the shingle. Commonly called fungus, this algae staining can be unattractive. The algae-containing stains can be dramatically reduced by the use of special copper granules.
Gutters should be cleaned at least once in the summer and once in the fall or as needed.
Energy Star Questions
It is a reflective roof product that lowers roof surface temperature by up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building’s interior. ENERGY STAR qualified roof products save money and energy by reducing the amount of air conditioning needed to keep a building comfortable.
Roof products that meet or exceed solar reflectance, without compromising product quality and performance, qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. Manufacturers voluntarily sign an agreement with ENERGY STAR called a Partnership Agreement (PA) allowing them to place the ENERGY STAR label on the packaging of qualifying roof products. They can also use the label in product promotions and advertising for qualified products.
Ninety percent of the energy in the United States is generated by burning fossil fuels, which creates the air pollution associated with smog, acid rain, and global climate change. By reducing the amount of energy needed to cool buildings, ENERGY STAR qualified roof products help reduce the production of these air pollutants.
Additionally, reflective roof products can help reduce the “heat island effect,” a phenomenon in which cities can be 2 to 8 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. Such heat islands occur, in large part, because many buildings and paved surfaces are designed with dark materials which absorb heat from the sun.
This heat is released at night, causing the air temperature to remain high. The resulting elevated temperature leads to an increased demand for air conditioning in buildings, increased fuel use for vehicle air conditioning, increased levels of smog, and associated increased levels of heat-related and smog-related health problems. Installing reflective roofs helps reduce the heat island effect, decreasing the amount of smog in the air and benefiting the entire community.
Energy savings from installing ENERGY STAR qualified roof products will depend on the geographic location and climate where it is installed, existing insulation levels in the building, the type of roof it replaces, the type of roof installed, and how well it is kept clean and maintained. In general, cooling energy savings can be as high as 50 percent. Additionally, a reflective roof can reduce peak cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent. As a result, building owners may be able to purchase smaller, less expensive HVAC systems.
Will installing an ENERGY STAR qualified roof product save me money no matter where I live?
Homes and buildings located in hot and sunny climates will realize the greatest energy and cost savings. So, people living in southern geographic areas that use more air conditioning will see greater reductions in their energy bills than people living elsewhere in the country.
An energy-efficient home or building has both reflective roof surfaces and adequate insulation. But, you will notice greater savings on your cooling bills if you install ENERGY STAR qualified roof products on a building with a lower level of roof insulation. However, when installing a reflective roof while constructing a new building, doing a major renovation, or replacing your whole roof system, you should consult with your contractor to maximize savings by making sure an optimum level of insulation is installed.
ENERGY STAR understands that the water tightness, durability, and longevity of a roof are the primary concerns of building and homeowners. These participating manufacturers must back their compliant roof products with warranties that are comparable to their other roof products.
How can I find ENERGY STAR qualified roof products?
The ENERGY STAR label will appear on roof product packaging and advertisements. If you are installing or replacing a roof on a commercial or residential building, be sure to ask your roofing contractor or manufacturer about ENERGY STAR products.
Products bearing the ENERGY STAR labels are more energy-efficient than standard products, thereby saving energy and money. In general, ENERGY STAR qualified products include appliances, HVAC equipment, office equipment, residential lighting, and even homes to reduce energy costs by at least 30 percent.
ENERGY STAR roof specifications are not restricted to any particular type of roof product. However, ENERGY STAR expects that, at least initially, metal, single-ply membrane, and roof coating products will be most widely represented.
Benefits of ENERGY STAR qualified roof products include:
- Saves Money and Energy. According to EPA, about $40 billion is spent annually in the US to air condition buildings — one-sixth of all electricity generated in a year! ENERGY STAR qualified roof products reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings and can reduce energy bills by up to 50 percent.
- Downsizes Cooling Equipment. A reflective roof can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15%. As a result, you may be able to purchase a smaller, more efficient, and less expensive cooling system.
- Decreases Pollution in Urban Areas. Reduced energy demand means less burning of fossil fuels, which results in less pollution from power plants. Also, ENERGY STAR qualified roof products help to reduce the heat island effect.
Increases Roof Product Life. ENERGY STAR qualified roof products maintain a more constant temperature and reduce thermal shock, which occurs when cool rain hits a hot roof, causing a sharp drop in temperature. During temperature changes, a roof expands and contracts, causing stress and degrading the roof.
In general, building owners will save the most money on energy bills by installing an ENERGY STAR qualified roof product if their building has the following characteristics: high air-conditioning bills, a large roof surface as compared to the building’s overall size, lower levels of insulation, and/or a location in a hot, sunny climate. The most cost-effective time to install an ENERGY STAR qualified roof product is when re-roofing, constructing new buildings, or maintaining a roof by applying a coating.
Due to normal wear and tear, some degradation of roof reflectivity can be expected, particularly within the first few years after installation. Flat roofs may accumulate more dirt and debris because their slope is not great enough to allow washing by rain. Following maintenance procedures minimizes degradation and maximizes energy savings. Consult your roofing contractor or product manufacturer to learn more about recommended maintenance procedures and schedules.