Roofing Tips

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Types of Roofing
Shingle roofing is one of the most popular roofing materials in America due to its low cost and easy installation. Shingled roofs provide strength and flexibility and are installed in an overlapping fashion to direct water flow off the roof. Shingled roofs are available in variety of composition, size and color.
Conventional built-up roofing membranes have been used for over 100 years. These roof systems consist of a distinctive layering system comprised of multiple layers of reinforced felts and waterproofing bitumen. These layers are typically adhered using hot asphalt as a bonding agent. However, compatible cold adhesives may also be used. To finalize this system’s waterproofing components, a surfacing of gravel, mineral cap sheets, or smooth weather resistant coats are applied. This system provides a strong resistant barrier against the weather and its elements.
Roof coatings are utilized in various applications within commercial and residential roofing. Aluminized coatings are used on newly installed roof systems as an additional barrier against water absorption and protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Aluminized coatings are also used as a maintenance “tool” to prolong the life-span of an existing roof system. If repairs are needed to asphalt based commercial roofing, emulsion coatings are used. Also included in the coating family are elastomeric coating systems. These elastomeric based systems consist of combination of highly flexible saturants, fabrics, and UV resistant finish coats. When installed as a complete system, coatings have a manufacturer backed guarantee and can also offer similar durability and flexibility characteristics found in a waterproofing membrane.
Standing-seam metal roofs have been popular for centuries. Metal roofing is durable, requires little maintenance, and is energy efficient. Some of the appeal of metal roofing is its availability in a variety of designs, styles and colors to complement any type of architecture. Furthermore, this type of roofing system is economical and attractive. The most common metal of choice for metal roofs is galvanized steel. This steel is coated with a layer of hot-dipped commercially pure galvalume steel. Galvalume steel combines the metallic coatings of both aluminum and zinc. Both galvanized steel and galvalume are coated with Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000 finishes protecting against corrosion for up to 20 years. Galvanized and galvalume steel are available in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 20 to 29 gauge steel, or .032 to .040 aluminum. Galvanized and galvalume steel metal roof systems carry a twenty year finish warranty with some manufacturer’s offering 10 to 20 year weather-tight warranties.
In the late 1970’s, a unique polymer blend and fabric reinforcement roofing material, known as modified bitumen, was introduced into the commercial roofing industry. Since its induction, modified bitumen has gained the reputation for being a strong, high performance membrane. Modified bitumen roof systems are typically applied in multiple layers and adhered by either hot asphalt, torch-welding or cold adhesives. These membranes also have a variety of surfacing options, ranging from manufacturer surfaced cap sheets to smooth surface coatings. Each system is specially formulated for high durability and performance.
Single ply systems are the “flexible choice” for today’s roofing needs. These single ply roofing membranes offers many advantages to contractors, owners and architects. Various manufacturers and guarantees are available ranging from 10 to 30 years.
How to Make Your Roof Last

A roof is a major investment, so it’s smart to do whatever’s necessary to make sure it stays in good shape.


Regular inspection and preventive maintenance will keep small problems from becoming big ones. It’s smart to hire a roofing professional to check things out on a regular basis, and do all the necessary maintenance.

If you decide to climb up there and check the roof yourself, there are a number of problems to look out for:

    • Standing Water – When water is ponding on a roof, it means there is improper drainage, and water can begin to damage structures. It may be necessary to install roof drains, or clear obstructed drains that are already in place.
    • “Alligatoring” and Blistering — When cracks appear in the surface of a built-up roof, cold weather can create channels that hold water.


The free flow of air around and under a roof is critical to its durability. Without it, heat and moisture build up and can cause shingles to buckle and rafters to rot. Never block off your roof’s louvers, ridge vents, or soffit vents, even in the winter. Attic ventilation prevents structural damage, increases the life of your roofing material, and increases the comfort level of the rooms beneath the attic.

Use these links to educate yourself:

NRCA’s Information for Homeowners

NRCA’s Information for Building Owners