The roof is an important structural component of buildings and needs regular inspections to prevent leaks and other problems. Roofer West Chester PA can spot potential issues and fix them quickly before they cause damage or become more serious.
Those interested in becoming roofers can learn through a trade school, an apprenticeship program, or on-the-job training. They also need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.
There are many roofing materials to choose from that accommodate varying degrees of effective weatherproofing for different lengths of time. The primary factor in deciding what roofing material is right for your home or building structure is the climate, as well as any specialized functions that may be required (such as energy efficiency).
Typical residential roofing materials include wood shingles and shakes, asphalt shingles, or tile. Wood shingles and shakes are made from natural woods, typically cedar or redwood. These are attractive and affordable options that are durable in most conditions, but they do not last as long as other roofing materials. Similarly, asphalt shingles are inexpensive and durable, but they do not provide as much insulation as other roofing materials.
Metal roof panels are an attractive and durable option. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to match any design aesthetic. Galvanized iron or copper are popular choices, but steel with a high-quality baked-on coating of mineral granules is becoming increasingly common. These coated steel roof panels are fabricated to mimic the look of traditional asphalt shingle or wooden shake roofs and can last up to 50 years.
A more costly option is a built-up bituminous roof. These include a base sheet attached to the roof substrate, one or more felt ply sheets, and a surfaced cap sheet. Asphalt and coal tar are the most common bituminous roofing materials, but other options such as rubber, EPDM, or PVC membranes are also used. Generally, these membranes are installed in layers, and the seams are heated to fuse the mopping bitumen to a rubber-like substance that is then topped with aggregate, minerals, protective or reflective coatings, and a smooth surface.
There are also single-membrane flat-roofing systems that are commonly used on commercial buildings. These include EPDM, PVC, and TPO membranes. These single-membrane systems can be either reinforced or non-reinforced and are installed on flat or low-sloped roofs by lapping and nailing.
Another type of flat roofing system is high-density spray polyurethane foam, which can be sprayed onto any roof to provide waterproofing and insulation. This is a highly sustainable roofing material that can be used on low-sloped roofs.
If you’re planning to have a new roof installed, your roofers will begin by removing any old shingles and underlayment. They will then install ice and water barriers, as well as felt paper. The felt paper acts as a protective layer against moisture and also helps to keep the sheathing dry.
They will start at the drip edge and begin running the underlayment up to the ridge of the roof, overlapping each row and nailing it down with cap nails that are spaced about six inches apart along the edges and spread out more towards the center. This is repeated for each row until they reach the ridge vents, which are important for air circulation in your attic and preventing winter ice dams.
Lastly, your roofers will waterproof the valleys, which are the areas of the roof that meet each slope to form a “V” shape. They will apply underlayment and felt paper to these areas in much the same way as they did with the rest of the roof. They will also add flashing around any areas where leaks might occur, such as the chimney, skylights, and stack vents.
In addition to replacing missing shingles, a roofer will repair damaged areas of the roof. This might include caulking or re-sealing a vent boot, repairing broken shingle sealants, or replacing damaged flashing (thin sheet metal around parts of the roof such as pipes). A roofer may also re-roof a home in need of a new look simply by adding a second layer of shingles on top of the old ones. This is often cheaper than a full replacement. Start at the stained ceiling and trace back, looking for a trail of deteriorating insulation or rotting boards. Also check the eaves, valleys, and drip edges. All these can be repaired with simple solutions.
To re-seal a leaky vent boot, cut a piece of tar paper (6″x6″), apply construction sealant on both sides, and press it into place.
A good roof maintenance program involves the regular inspection of shingles, flashing, and other components of the roof to look for signs of material wear or damage. This inspection should be done at least twice per year, preferably in the spring and fall. Having these inspections performed routinely and documented allows for early detection of problems that can be corrected before they escalate into major repairs.
A roofing professional can inspect for damaged shingles and other parts of the roof, such as flashing around chimneys and vent pipes, and check for rust on metal roof surfaces. A professional can also re-caulk areas of the roof where caulking has been removed and lost due to weathering or other factors.
It is also important to inspect for moss and other plant growth that can cause moisture problems on the surface of the roof or underneath the shingles. A professional can use a fungicide spray or a copper-based product to kill moss and other plants on the roof. In addition, he or she can clean downspouts, ventilation, and eavestroughs to remove debris that can build up on the roof, such as leaves and branches.
During a roof inspection, it is also a good idea to inspect interior ceilings and walls for water damage that can be caused by leaky or damaged roofs. If a leak is discovered, it is recommended to get it repaired right away to prevent further damage and mold or mildew inside the house.
It is important to trim trees that hang over the roof on a regular basis, especially in hurricane- and tornado-prone areas. Keeping these trees trimmed minimizes the chances that they will break during a storm and cause damage to the home or even fall on the roof. A roofer can also clean out drains and gutters on a regular basis to ensure that they are not clogged with debris or blocked by tree limbs, which can result in water back-up or leakage.