Your roof has multiple antagonists over its life. Water, wind, snow, ice, and storm damage are the biggest enemies of your roof. Water intrusion in any form is a major culprit. Whether it is from rain, snow, ice, or a poorly ventilated roof that traps humidity all of them can promote premature roof damage and aging.
Water and humidity are the arch enemies of wood. If water penetrates or gets underneath shingles and pools it can cause wood rot, mold, and mildew. Each of these is an open invitation for wood-destroying insects like termites or carpenter ants. Your roof can have multiple barriers to moisture depending on the age of your roof.
The average homeowner looks at a residential roof and sees shingles, but a professional roofing company is looking at the layers of the roof that not only include the shingles but the underlayment. Each layer provides additional protection to your roof. Modern roofing has multiple layers for protection. There is a leak barrier, starter strip shingles, roof decking, proper ventilation, and edge cap shingles. These various layers work together to form a water seal for your roof.
These layers can be broken down into various stages of roofing:
Framing is the first layer. The framing provides the foundation for the remaining layers of your roof. Framing consists of wood or metal which supports the weight of your roof. Framing balances the weight distribution of your roof so the final weight is balanced and not punishing one section of the roof more than another. This is why professional roofing companies want to get below the shingle so they can inspect the framing both on top of the roof and from the attic. They will inspect for signs of water intrusion, mold, mildew, or wood rot. In many cases, your roof will not need framing repair, but you want to make sure it is inspected to rule out water intrusion or damage.
Insulation is the second layer from the underside of the roof in your attic. Insulation helps keep your home cool during the summer months and warm in the winter. Under-insulation can cost you utility bills and also contribute to the deterioration of the roof layers above if it is not the right amount of insulation.
Roofing ventilation is vital to ensure the proper amount of airflow is traveling through the attic during hot and cold months. Ventilation provides an escape for hot and humid air in the summer months that if trapped can cause moisture damage over time leading to costly repairs.
The roof deck is the plywood that ensures the connection of the framing between the roof trusts and joints. It provides a layer of protection for the layers above.
A water barrier goes on top of the wood roof deck and framing. This is a layer of protection to prevent water from intruding onto the wood surface underneath the underlayment and shingles should a heavy storm push water deep into the roofing surface.
Roofing underlayment provides an additional layer of protection underneath the shingles and on top of the roofing deck. It creates a smooth surface so shingles stick to the roof, form a more uniform shape, and fight blown off shingles in storms.
The starter strip is critical for the rest of the shingle layout and application. This strip is applied below the underlayment and it seals the edges and sides of the roof. It defends the edges against storms, high winds, and rain to help maintain shingle integrity during strong weather conditions.
Shingles are the final layer of the base roofing protection. They provide protection against harmful UV rays and premature aging due to water, ice, and snow. Shingles are fiberglass that provides protection and the look and feel of your roof exterior.
Ridge caps help keep rain, snow, and excessive moisture out of the roofing system. They run along the top of your roofline, but their positioning forces water, snow, and ice away from the roof system due to its position against the slope of your roof. Ridge caps also vent the roof so heat and moisture can vent from the attic maintaining a property attic humidity level.
Additionally, flashing provides layers of protection for the previous layers of roofing. Flashing is metal and is installed around chimneys, pipe venting, and other areas where seams or breaks between the shingles and the roofing exist. They are sealed with roofing tar or silicone that forms a water barrier so water cannot intrude into the seams or crevices that meet the shingles.
The multiple layers of a roofing system are vital to protecting your home. Having an annual roofing inspection by a reputable roofing company will ensure proper maintenance and extend the life of your roof. For example, your shingles may be fine upon inspection, but the roofing professional may find you need repair to your flashing around the chimney or other roof venting. Getting ahead of trouble before it becomes a problem is critical in regular roof maintenance.
At Gilstrap Roofing we have been serving the Upstate longer than any other roofing contractor accredited by the Better Business Bureau, spanning four generations. We live, work and play here so we have a lot at stake when it comes to providing quality roofing with certified crews.
Brian Gilstrap, President
Greenville, SC 29611