Winter weather can be challenging for your roof and home. This satellite image from Live Science's article, With Climate Change, Expect More Monster Winter Storms, shows a low-pressure area (lots of snow) stretching from the Colorado Rockies in the west to Texas in the south and north to New England. While scientists can't prove a direct connection, most feel these storms will happen more frequently as global warming progresses.
Our homes are built to withstand typical weather patters. With more frequent storms, we're getting more wind, more flooding, hail storms, thunderstorms and lots more snow. We need to protect our homes from storm damage which may require replacing roofing and siding. When you replace a roof that is approaching end of life, you reduce the risk of needing roof repairs.
How Your Roof Keeps Your Home Dry
Your home's envelope, the exterior barrier that protects your home starts with your roof. All roofs, whether shingle or metal roof, is constructed to shed water. Roofing shingles are installed from the bottom up, with each successive layer overlapping the one below it. This allows rain water to cascade down from one shingle to the next, ultimately falling off the edge of the roof or into gutters that direct water away from the base of your home.
Each roofing material is made up of multiple layers to keep your home dry. Underneath your roofing material (asphalt shingles, cedar shake shingles, clay tile, slate or metal roofing) there are one/more layers of material to keep water from getting inside your home.
- Roof deck made of plywood sheets sits on top of the rafters.
- Over the roof deck is an underlayment that acts as a second barrier to stop wind-driven rain that gets under your shingles. Traditionally roof underlayment has been made of asphalt-saturated felt.
- In locations where ice dams are common, an additional layer of rubberized, self-sealing asphalt is installed on the bottom 3 feet of the roof and in valleys where the downward slope of a roof meets another section of roof.
More important than these details is understanding the layering that goes into the construction of your home, to keep everything dry and avoid costly roof repairs. Quality roof construction is a combination of using the right materials, following manufacturer directions and installing materials in the right order. Too often my handyman technicians are making repairs when the right materials were installed incorrectly allowing water damage to occur.
This same layering applies to every exterior home feature, not just your roof, to insure that water does not get into your house. Siding has similar layers and there's flashing around doors and windows to direct the flow of water. Even your foundation has a protective layer sprayed on plus drainage lower than your basement slab to reduce the risk of water penetration.
Plan Updates to Your Home's Envelope
While most people know when they'll replace their cars, few homeowners have a good understanding of when they need to repair the roof or replace it. By replacing a roof before you have problems, you can avoid problems and unnecessary repairs. Replacing your roof or siding will go more smoothly when you're not in the middle of an emergency. When you understand the projected lifetime of critical home features like your roof, you have time to research, plan and save so you can invest in the right products.
Your challenge when researching different types of roofing and siding products is that very few contractors install every type of material available. Roofing contractors will specialize in products from one or 2 manufacturers and the installation of metal and slate roofs is done by specialized roofing contractors. The table here is a guide to starting your research. Different materials are listed but within any product category, there can be huge variations in quality and pricing.
You can also read … Tips for Picking Your New Roof
Don't assume you have to install the same product you have today. Winter storms may indicate you need more protection and home products like vinyl siding and metal roofs are constantly improving to allow you to get the look of wood with fewer maintenance requirements, or less risk if you delay painting your house one year. Focus on your home, your lifestyle and find the best product to fit your needs.
Replace Your Home's Exterior Products Before Costly Repairs are Needed
Better Products Increase Your Home's Value
|Life Expectancy for Roofing Materials
|Asphalt shingles – 3 tab
|15 to 20 yrs
|Asphalt shingles – architectural
|25 to 40 yrs
|Lifetime dimensional shingles
|Warranties differ by manufacturer
|Wood shakes & shingles
|15 to 30 yrs, higher with proper maintenance
|50 yrs, depending on tile quality & weather
|Metal, standing seam roof
|20 to 50+ yrs depending on quality of metal & installation
|50 to 100 yrs
|Life Expectancy for Siding Materials
|20 to 50 yrs
|Wood clapboard or shakes
|10 to, 100 yrs, depending on material & maintenance
|Fiber cement (planks or shakes)
|50 yrs per manufacturers warranty
|50 to lifetime