Most homeowners, when faced with the decision of which roofing material to choose, will consider several things: the look of the material, the longevity, the safety and insurance aspects, and the value of the material. When each of these things is taken into consideration (along with the installation difficulty, local fire codes, and versatility), shingle roofing is often the winner.
Shingle roofs are currently the most common type of roof throughout Canada and the US because they provide significant value to the homeowner. By understanding basic and more in-depth maintenance for shingle roofs, common problems to watch out for, and requirements for choosing a shingle roof, homeowners can ensure that they receive the very best return on their shingle roof investment.
Deciding on a Particular Type of Shingle Roof
Even after the decision has been made to opt for a shingle roof, the homeowner must decide the specific type of shingle roof he or she will choose. There are 4 primary types of roofing shingles, including:
- Asphalt shingles
- Wood shingles
- Metal shingles
- Slate shingles
Each of these options have unique benefits and disadvantages, making it very important for the homeowner to thoroughly examine his or her options.
Asphalt Shingles, of all shingle types, are the most popular by far. They are affordable, available in a variety of colors and types, meet the Energy Star standards for a cooler roof which enables many homeowners to receive a rebate, and they have a lifespan of over 30 years.
Wood Shingles are incredibly beautiful, and over time, many believe they become more attractive due to weathering and wear. The color changes to a very pretty silver-gray, creating a very distinct look that many homeowners value. There are a variety of woods used for wood shingles, including cedar and redwood. Depending upon the type of wood used, wood shingles can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years.
Metal Shingles are very strong, meet most local fire codes, and aren’t difficult to install. They work very well for homes that feature extremely flat or extremely sloped roof lines, and are becoming more popular throughout the US and Canada. This popularity can be partially attributed to the longevity of metal shingle roofs; they can last up to (or longer than) 50 years.
Slate Shingles, while a bit more expensive than some of the other options, have a long lifespan (up to 50 years or more) and are absolutely beautiful. In addition, they typically meet local fire safety codes and look fantastic with virtually any style of home. For those who don’t want to invest in the higher price for authentic slate shingles, synthetic slate is available, although the lifespan isn’t quite as long as the real thing.
By choosing the appropriate type of shingle roof homeowners can maximize the return on their investment. Those in fire-prone areas may want to steer clear of wood shingles and opt for the more fire-resistant types, like metal or slate. Owners in areas prone to strong winds and debris may want to pass up the tile shingles and go with something a little less likely to break, such as metal shingles. Durability may be a primary consideration for investors that plan to live in the home for a few decades.
Inspecting the Roof on a Regular Basis
No matter what type of shingle the home’s roof is made of, the homeowner can increase the longevity of the roof and prevent small issues from turning into large ones by performing seasonal inspections. These inspections should be performed about once every 3 months, or after any severe weather. The homeowner will need to use a ladder to reach roof-height in order to thoroughly inspect the roof.
It is important to check for loose or broken shingles, inspect the flashings for any sort of damage, and look for anything else that may be out of place. Allstate Insurance Company recommends taking a look in the gutters to see if any shingles or shingle debris is present there. Homeowners who feel uncomfortable with climbing on a ladder in order to inspect the roof (or those that are physically unable to do so) should call a professional to have the roof inspected safely. Many simple inspections of this nature are offered at a very low cost or no charge.
Addressing Issues Immediately
During these regular inspections, any damage that is noticed should be taken care of immediately. Loose shingles, missing shingles and flashing issues need to be addressed so that a larger problem (like leaking or further damage) doesn’t occur. Made in the early stages, shingle repairs can be surprisingly affordable. However, if those repairs aren’t made right away and larger problems develop, the homeowner could end up needing an entire roof replacement.
Hiring a Roofing Professional for Regular Maintenance
While most shingle roofs are quite low maintenance and don’t typically need a lot of care, having a professional care for the roof on a regular basis can help maintain the quality of the roof and prolong the life of the roof. A professional should inspect the roof 1-2 times per year in addition to the quarterly inspections the homeowner performs; a professional can often spot things that might not be noticeable to a homeowner. It is highly recommended to call a professional for minor repairs, as well as preventative measures such as sealing the roof to prevent leaks.
An Additional Benefit of a Strong Shingle Roof
When homeowners make insurance claims in the case of bad weather, a huge portion of those claims are for roof damage. Therefore, many insurance companies offer discounts for homeowners who install new, stronger roofs that are damage-resistant. Justin Herndon, a spokesman for Allstate Insurance, says that Allstate will offer up to a 10% discount in some states for homeowners who install a new roof that is hail and wind-resistant. Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, recommends impact-resistant roof materials such as asphalt shingles, slate, tile or metal.
Homeowners install new roofs to make sure that their home’s integrity is sound; by properly maintaining and caring for that roof, they can ensure that their investment is sound as well.