How To Choose The Best Roofing Shingles For Your Home

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Putting on a new roof can be very stressful when faced with so many options. Whether you are re-roofing your existing home or building a new home from the ground up, choosing the right roof is critical to the end result. This article will explain a few simple ways to selecting the right roof for your home.

What Type Of Shingles Are There?

First, the most popular type of shingle is the asphalt shingle. The asphalt shingle is by far the most common and there are many styles and colors to choose from. If you are living in the midwest, the asphalt shingle provides great protection against the elements and complements the look of the typical midwestern home quite nicely.

Metal, wood and slate roofs are also options, depending on the look you are are trying to achieve. They do each have their pro’s and cons. Metal roofs provide about the best protection against the wind, while real wood and slate shingles create a multidimensional look that is very upscale. The downfall of each of these shingles is they can cost a small fortune both for the product itself and the installation.

The Heavier The Shingle, The Longer It Will Last And Costroofers in arlington heights illinois

With asphalt shingles, you can choose a simple, three-tab shingle or a laminate shingle for a multi-dimensional look. The asphalt shingle consists of a fiberglass layer that is saturated with hot asphalt and embedded with colored granules as it cools. The more asphalt that is used, the heavier the shingle and the longer it will last. That is why some shingles have a 20 year, 25-year or 30 year warranty. The heavier the shingle, the longer the warranty.

Choose Your Color Carefully

To Choose Your Shingle, first think about what color would look best. You will want to complement the color of your siding, brick or stone that is on your home. White homes look great with black, charcoal or gray tone shingles, while beige, brown and tan homes look great with a natural color like burnt sienna, autumn brown, weathered gray or driftwood shingles, to name a few.

It Doesn’t Always Make Sense To Go Upscale

If you stand back from your home and look at your roof and don’t see too much of it, then it may not make sense to spend a lot of money on an expensive shingle when you can’t even see it. If, on the other hand your roof is a very prominent part of your home, then it can be worthwhile to invest in a more decorative laminate shingle.

A good idea is to look at as many pictures as you can of different roofs and try to get the best sense of what would work well on your home.

For more information about roofing your home, including finding the right contractor visit other roofing articles by Davis Roofing & Construction.

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The Critical Components Of A Good Roofing System

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A good roofing system incorporates a series of components that work together to protect the home. The shingles are just what you see. Underneath the shingles and at critical areas on the roof different parts of the system combat the many different ways that water can eventually leak into your home.

Components Of A Roofing System

A closer look at this residential roof reveals the critical areas that need extra protection

Roofing System Basics

1. The Roof Ridge Ridge vent on a roof
What Is It? … An intersection of two roof planes forming a horizontal peak.
What Component Does It Require? … A roof ridge shingle that is applied along all roof peaks to allow proper outflow of air from the attic.
2. The Roof Deck roofing system 2
What Is It? … The structural base for the roof, usually made of wood or plywood.
What Component Does It Require? … Most roof decks will have plywood at least 3/8-inch thick. The spacing of the rafters and the pitch of the roof are a factor in the thickness of the plywood required. 3/8″-thick plywood works well with rafters that are 16″ apart with minimal roof loads. The load of the roof varies depending on the pitch of the roof. The flatter the roof, the greater the roof load. Rafters spaced 20″ or more apart require 1/2″ or 5/8″ thick plywood decking. 24″-spaced rafters should have no less than 5/8-inch plywood.
3. Underlayment roofing system 3
What Is It? … A layer of protective material between the deck and the shingles.
Why Is It Necesssary? … The underlayment serves as an extra protective barrier between the roofing shingles and the plywood decking.
4. The Eaves roofing system 4
What Are They? … The lower border of the roof that overhangs the wall.
Why Is It Required? … Insures that rainwater falling on the roof is directed into the gutters and away from the house.
5. Ice and Water Barrier
What Is It? … A self-adhesive waterproofing membrane used along eaves and valleys.
What Does It Do? … Protects areas prone to water leakage against water infiltration from ice damming and wind-driven rain.
6. Metal Drip Edge
What Is It? … A narrow strip of noncorrosive metal used at the rake edge.
What Component Does It Require? … Facilitates water runoff.
7. Flashingroofing system 7
What Is It? … Metal strips applied with waterproofing membrane at junctions of different planes or around protruding surfaces such as chimneys, skylights, and vents.
Why is it necessary? … Provides extra protection at these critical areas where shingles do not extend.
8. The Hip roofing system 8
What Is It? … The intersection of two roof planes that meet to form a sloping ridge running from the peak to the eave.
What Component Does It Require? … Hip ridge shingles that are applied along the hip to create a water-tight seal at the junction.
9. Valleyroofing system 9
What Is It? … The intersection of two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff.
What Component Does It Require? … An Ice And Water Shield applied over the underlayment and underneath the shingles to prevent water infiltration due to shingle failure, ice damming and wind-driven rain
10. Undereave Ventroofing system 10
What Are They? … Intake vents located under the eaves of the roof that help draw cool dry air into the attic.
Why Are They Necessary? … Adequate air flow through the attic is critical to remove moisture build up that can ruin insulation and damage the wood framework. Air flows in through the eave vents and upward and out through the ridge or roof vents. Eave vents should always be kept clear inside the attic to allow proper air flow.

Davis Roofing and Construction, Inc. provides free estimates and answers to your roofing questions in the Chicago Area of Illinois. Call 888-761-3881 to speak with an expert about your roofing needs! Or, leave us a message on our contact page after hours and we’ll call you back as soon as we can.

For more information about roofing your residential home, visit another article about what you need to know when re-roofing your home.

Learn more about Owens Corning™ Roofing products that make up the Total Protection Roofing System visit the Owens Corning Website at www.OwensCorning.com

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Five Roof Leak Protection Tips For The Winter Months

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It’s winter in the midwest and even though it has been a relatively mild one so far, you still want to make sure your roof is protecting your home from roof leaks when the inevitable rain and snow arrive. If you are not comfortable with climbing up on the roof, you can look through a pair of binoculars for a close visual inspection of your shingles or, you can also have a certified professional come out and do the inspection.

Protecting Your Home From Roof Leaks In Winter

1. Check The Roof Sub Structure To Make Sure It Is Sound

 

The roof sub structure is the plywood decking material that is placed over the framework of the roof prior to the application of the underlayment and shingles. The wooden decking material can begin to rot if water has leaked under the shingles in the past. Check the plywood decking for signs of warping. If warping has occurred, you will want to get a professional roofing contractor out to make sure the damage is not extensive.

2. Check The Roof’s Flashing Areas

The flashing areas of the roof are located in valleys, around chimneys, skylights and other penetrations such as vent pipes and side walls that join together with a lower roof plane. These areas are the most prone to leaking so you want to make sure the shingles around them do not appear torn, bent, tattered or broken.

The shingles in the valley area shown in this picture are cracked and broken, indicating it is time for a roof replacement.

3. Inspect The Overall Roof and Gutters

Another critical factor in the integrity of your roof is keeping it free from debris both on the shingles and in the gutters. Clogged gutters can cause them to back up and force heavy rainwater up underneath the shingles. Eventually this water will find its way through to the roof decking and into the attic of your home. Inspect the entire roof as well. If you’ve found a pile of leaves in a valley area, these will need to be removed right away to prevent damage.

4. Consider Having Heavy Snow Removed From Your Roof

Getting up on a ladder to remove anything from a roof after a heavy snowfall can be dangerous. It is best to call a professional for help. If snow has really piled up several feet it can be beneficial to remove it from the critical areas mentioned above including in valleys, along roof lines and eaves. Underneath heavy snow melting will occur. The melting snow can turn to ice and back up under the shingles. If snow is especially several feet deep in valley areas, it can be beneficial to remove it.

If you live in a heavy snowfall area, you may want to consider installing electrical wires along the eave edges to help the snow melt off. This is particularly helpful where snow can accumulate more than 2-3 feet or more every winter.

5. Check The Attic For Condensation

Most people forget that your roof can also be inspected from the inside by looking in the attic. Taking a flashlight, see if you can spot heavy condensation, ice or frost on the underside of the roof decking. If this is the case, your roof ventilation is probably not adequate.

Make sure that your attic insulation does not extend over the soffit areas along the inside perimeter of the attic. Soffits provide air intake holes where fresh air is allowed to come up into the attic and ventilate up and outward through the roof vents at the top. When air is stagnated in the attic, the moisture from inside the home does not have a chance to escape and can freeze or cause frost. When melted, it drips onto the insulation. When moisture drips onto the insulation, it reduces its effectiveness and will allow more heat to escape from your home. Your attic should not be any warmer than the temperature outdoors during winter, and this is achieved through proper attic ventilation.

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Most Important Questions To Ask Your Roofing Contractor

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When it’s time to get a new roof put on your home, you will want to call several roofing contractors to obtain estimates. But what questions should you ask when they get there? How will you know the right contractor to hire for the job? Here are some tips and suggestions on the hiring the right roofing contractor and making sure they are well qualified to do the job.

Question: Are You Licensed?

Most states require all roofing contractors to be licensed in the state the work is being performed in. It is best to research what is required in your state. Be sure the contractor’s license is up to date. If anything goes wrong with the job, the roofing license if very important.

Question: Do You Have Workman’s Comp Insurance?

Insurance can be expensive and some roofers may try to cut this out to save money. Employers are required by law to carry workman’s comp insurance. What can happen if you hire someone that doesn’t have this insurance? You could end up paying thousands of dollars for their medical bills since the accident happened on your property.

Question: Do You Carry General Liability Insurance?

The roofer’s liability insurance will cover any damage to your house or property caused by the contractor while the job is in progress. For example, if a bundle of roofing shingles falls and comes flying through your window (it has happened) you could end up paying the bills for repairs.

Question: Will You Remove The Old Roof?

If you only have one layer of roofing shingles on your roof, you can decide if you want the single layer removed or if you want the new layer applied over the existing layer. If the existing layer is removed, the job will be more expensive. Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples and all roofers are quoting on the same work.

Question: Will You Install A Drip Edge When You Install The New Roof?

A drip edge is a critical component of the roofing system. The drip edge is generally made of aluminum and extends past the edge of the roof to guide the flow of rainwater directly into the gutter. Water damage can occur if the drip edge is missing or not installed properly.

Question: Will You Install An Ice And Water Barrier?

Roof leak barriers help prevent leaks due to water damming, wind-driven rain and damaging ice dams. Ice and water shield is applied at eave and rake edges and in valleys. These are the areas most prone to water leakage. It is also recommended around skylights, roof dormers, chineys, vent pipes and other flashing areas.

Question: Does The Roofing Company Have A Local Address?

Many contractors will only list a Post Office box on their business card. Make sure they can provide you with an actual street address and phone number. If it takes the crew an hour or more to get to your home from their location, you may not get the most prompt response time or the best service.

Question: Will The Company Provide References Or Referrals From Previous Jobs?

It is perfectly fine to ask for photos or addresses of previous jobs. Also request phone numbers of some previous customers so you can check on customer satisfaction.

Question: Does The Company Have A Workmanship Warranty?

A roofer who stands behind their work will provide a workmanship warranty that generally lasts one year. You mainly want to know if the roofer will stand behind their work. Problems with application will show up early and you want to make sure the roofer will return to fix any issues with workmanship that arise.

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Top Five Things To Know When Roofing Your Home

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Time For A New Roof Installation?

You moved into your house many years ago and everything was looking well-kept and in good shape. But time marches on and you are beginning to notice your roofing shingles are looking a little old and deteriorated. If your existing roof is more than 20 years old, it may be time to consider re-roofing your home.

Here are five things you should know before you begin calling contractors about the job.

1. Do you know if your existing roof is a single layer of shingles or a double layer?

If it is a single layer, you may be able to cut costs and add on one more layer over the top. If it is already a double layer, you will need to have a complete roof tear-off. With the complete tear-off, the roofing contractor will strip off the existing shingles right down to the plywood decking. Occasionally once the roof decking is uncovered, it may also be in need of repair or replacement, especially if the roof had leaked at some time in the past.

2. When you are choosing your new shingles, there are several different types

Most of them are asphalt-covered fiberglas shingles, but some are higher-priced such as slate shingles or real wood. Generally, the asphalt shingles are used on most homes.

There are also several types of asphalt shingles, including 3-tab straight shingles and “laminate” or “architectural” shingles that simulate the look of wood shingles. The basic 3-tab shingles are the lower price point and will most likely last from 20-25 years depending on the quality of the product purchased. The laminated shingles provide a multi-dimensional look and are thicker than 3-tab shingles, with warranties that go up to 30 years. There are many colors and styles to choose from and you can look online at several manufacturer’s websites to review the options.

3. When contractors arrive to estimate the roofing project . . .

they will measure the area of your roof to determine how many shingles need to be purchased and applied. Roofing shingles are measured in “squares”. One square of shingles is the quantity needed to cover 100 square feet of roof area. Once the contractor measures the square footage of roof space on the home, they will add on a certain amount for waste, overlap and cutting around corners, eaves, rakes, chimneys and other elements.

Roofing shingles are sold in bundles and the number of bundles per square will vary depending on the thickness of the shingle. For the typical three-tab strip shingle, three bundles will cover one square of roofing area. For thicker, laminate shingles it may take 4-5 bundles to cover a square.

The upgrade to a laminated shingle can be well worth the additional cost as it will not only add to the overall curb appeal of your home, but it will also last longer. They can be a great selling feature if you are considering a move in the future.

4. Make sure the application of a weather-shield layer around the edges of the roof, is included.

This is very important around edges, in valleys, eaves and rake areas as well as around chimneys where flashing is used. The weather shield layer will provide extra protection against interior water leakage by shielding the roof decking from moisture caused by ice damming in winter. Ice damming occurs when snow piles up on the roof edge. Under the heavily-piled snow ice will form and melt from the freeze/thaw cycle. This water will have a tendency to travel upwards on the roof, finding its way underneath both the shingles and underlayment and eventually through the decking and into the home.

The weather barrier layer should extend up at least three feet from the edges of the roof. In this picture you can see where the weather barrier is applied underneath the roof shingles.

5. How To Find The Right Contractor.

First, you can begin by asking friends, neighbors or co-workers if they have re-roofed their home and if they had a good experience with a reputable roofing contractor. You can also obtain a good contractor from a shingle manufacturer’s website. For example, Owens Corning manufacturers excellent quality roofing shingles and lists the names of contractors that are part of their OC Preferred Contractor listing from their website.

Your roofing contractor can also help you by providing references of other homes completed in your local area and by showing you examples of certain shingles that you may be considering. They can also recommend the best style and color options that would look the best on your home.

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Ten Tips For Proper Gutter Maintenance

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Gutters are a vital component of a quality roofing system and need proper maintenance to keep rainwater flowing in the proper direction.

Clogged gutters can easily force water onto the fascia board and can eventually
cause rotting.  Even worse water can get dammed up and find its own path into the interior of the home, so keeping them free of leaves and debris is a top priority throughout the year.

Here are ten suggestions that will help insure free-flowing
gutters during the heaviest of storms.

Do Not Rely Solely On Gutter Guards

There is no shortage of gutter protection items on the market, but there aren’t any that are absolutely foolproof.  This is particularly true if you live in a heavily wooded area. If you have gutter guards, they still need to be inspected and cleaned out occasionally.

Spring Clean Your Gutters

Check your gutters in spring and clean out tree seeds, leaf buds, small sticks, branches and falling tree blooms.  It is always surprising how much can accumulate and cause an
overflowing situation during a rainstorm. This is especially true if there are trees overhanging the roof.  Certain trees can also leak sap that can act like glue to bind the debris together to create an obstruction.
It’s a good idea while you are inspecting and cleaning your gutters to take note of the condition of your roofing shingles.  If your roof has not been replaced in more than 20 years, your home could seriously need a new one.

Summer Check Up

Sometimes we experience extremely dry weather in the summer and this can cause some leaves to fall prematurely.  Pay attention during heavy storms to make sure the water is
flowing through the gutters and not over the top of them.  If you see a waterfall effect, it is time to get back up on the ladder and do some more cleaning.

Fall Gutter Cleaning

If your home is directly underneath trees, you may need to clean out your gutters several times during the fall season.  Make sure to clean the gutters early enough to that you are not climbing a ladder during icy weather.  You may need the help of a garden hose,and it is not advisable to use the hose during freezing weather.

Many Different Methods For Cleaning Gutters


A makeshift scoop from an old milk carton can easily be created to scoop out debris, or you can use a small garden shovel.  It is also possible to use your hands if you wear heavy gloves.  Running water is a good choice, however you will likely need a pressure washer to force any wet, rotten gunk out.   If you choose this method, take care to keep the water stream away from the shingles as it could easily force them loose. A leaf blower can also be used to remove debris, however it is advisable to wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect your eyes and lungs.

Make Sure You Feel Safe On A Ladder


To clean out any debris, you will need to climb up on a ladder and scoop out the debris.
If you do not feel confident using a ladder, call a professional tohelp.  Never climb out onto the roof itself and try to clean gutters that way.  Never work on the roof in wet,
icy, or windy conditions. Be sure to wear non-slip shoes, and never lean over the edge. If you are not experienced in roof maintenance, you may find yourself making an unexpected trip to the emergency room, so think carefully about using the ladder.

What To Do With The Muck

When cleaning out gutters, you may find yourself picking out lots of decomposed debris or “muck”. If you hang a bucket up on the ladder with you, it is easy to dump the muck right into the bucket.  From there you can add it right to your compost pile.  Another option is to put down a tarp over your shrubs and just throw the gutter contents down as you go.

Run Water From A Garden Hose To Check For Clogs

Once the debris is cleared, it is helpful to take a garden hose up to the gutter and run water through it.  This will test if any clogs are still lingering.  If you do not see water coming out of the downspout, then you will need to go back and remove more debris.

Check For Leaks Or Gaps In The Gutters

As you are cleaning out the gutter, visually inspect them for obvious holes or cracked caulking at the seams.  If you find cracked caulking that has peeled away, the gutter must be completely dried and a bead silicone will need to be applied to seal the hole and keep water from getting in behind the gutters.

Inspect And Replace Spikes And Rivets If Necessary

Another thing to inspect are the spikes that go through the gutters through the fascia board and into the rafters directly behind it.  These spikes can easily work there way
out of the hole and will need to be replaced to insure the gutters are securely
fastened.  Also check the rivets on the downspout to make sure they are nice and tight.  A rivet gun along with new rivets would be needed to fix the rivets if they are loose. These can be found at a local hardware store.

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5 Key Signs Your Roof Needs Replacement

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We attend a lot of home shows throughout the Chicagoland Area and homeowners are always asking “How Do I Know if I Need A New Roof?”. So here are 5 key ways to determine if your roof needs replacement.

  1. Inspect your roof by getting a pair of binoculars and looking closely at the shingles.  Asphalt shingles will begin to curl up around the edges when they worn.  If many shingles on your roof are showing this sign of heavy wear, it’s time to call an expert roofer to talk about a new roof.
  2. Inspect your shingles for loss of mineral granules. Severe loss of these granules can mean that your roofing shingles have deteriorated, are defective or have suffered from hail damage. But either way excessive granule loss can indicate that it’s time for a new roof.  The mineral granules protect the asphalt coating on the shingles from UV deterioration.  Once the shingles lose an excessive amount of granules, the asphalt coating will most certainly deteriorate.  Once the asphalt deteriorates, it is no longer waterproof and can no longer prevent water from entering through the shingle and seeping into the home.
  3. Look for bare patches on the shingles where both the granules and the asphalt coating have worn down.  If you see these “bald” patches over any part of your roof, it is definitely time for repairs or even a completely new roof.
  4. Inspect the shingles for tears, cracks, buckling or areas where the asphalt is showing through.  Any tears or cracks will allow more water to penetrate the shingles and because of changing temperatures the asphalt will most certainly deteriorate.  Buckling up of the shingles can allow water to enter under the shingle and penetrate the roof.  Any spots where the black asphalt is showing is also a sign that the shingles are in need of replacement.
  5. How old are the shingles?  The normal lifespan for the flat, “3-Tab” asphalt roofing shingles is 20 years.  For multi-dimensional, architectural shingles the lifespan can go up to 30 years or longer.  If your roof has not been replaced in over 20 years, its expected lifespan may be coming to an end and the time for a roof replacement could be close at hand.
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