Roof Over Your Head
The roof on your house is exposed to the elements
constantly and over the winter it can take quite a
beating. Spring is good time to inspect your roof to
determine if it needs repair or replacement.
When you look up at your roof do you see nice straight,
flat lines of shingle? Or do you see cupping, buckling,
loose or missing shingles? The latter are the basic
indicators that you should look at re-roofing your house.
Throughout the winter, if you saw snow rather than ice on
the roof that's a good thing. But ice indicates melting
snow caused by warm spots inside the attic. This process
can lead to ice dams and eventual structural damage. The
following information on re-roofing your home is courtesy
of the Manitoba Real Estate Association and your local
Do-it-yourself or not?
If you have determined your roof is in need of re-roofing
the first thing you will need to do is decide who will be
doing the work. Depending on the size and pitch of your
roof and, of course, your comfort level with heights, you
may want to hire a roofer to do the job.
Regardless of whether you hire a pro or tackle the job
yourself, you will need to choose what type of roofing
material you will use. Also if you do decide to
do-it-yourself, be sure to enlist a helper or two because
roofing is a big job.
Types of roofing materials
Shingles come in a variety of materials and colors that
can dramatically alter a home's appearance. The most
common shingles are asphalt. Asphalt Shingles are
reinforced with fiber-glass or paper and range in
durability from about 20-30 years.
Asphalt shingles usually have three sections or "tabs" per
shingle and an overall length of 3'. Most have dabs of tar
or roofing cement on front to hold down the shingle that
will lay on top of it.
Laminated shingles are becoming increasingly popular with
homeowners. Designed to add character, color and depth to
the roof, laminated shingles are made of multiple,
staggered layers of material-usually asphalt.
From afar, some types of laminated shingles give the
illusion of an expensive slate of shake covered roof by
incorporating angled or rounded tabs and shadow lines.
Laminated shingles are becoming installed much like
asphalt shingles, but because laminated shingles are often
thicker, they usually require longer nails or staples to
fasten them securely.
Other materials to consider depending on your budget and
the look you are trying to achieve are slate or wood
shake. Slate or stone shingles will probably last the
longest-about 100+ years, but they weigh about three times
more per square foot than asphalt. However, a slate roof
can create a colorful, hand crafted look that adds beauty
to the overall appearance to the house.
Because slate is a bit more difficult to work with and
less forgiving than asphalt shingles because they break
easily, you will probably want to hire a professional
installer. Wooden shakes are typically made of cedar,
spruce or treated pine. Hand-split shakes have a rough,
textured look on the front and often smooth on the back.
Wood shingles are machine sawed smooth on both sides.
Generally, cedar is the highest performing wood for making
shakes. But, treated pine shakes also perform well. Shakes
are brown or reddish in color when new, but usually fade
in the first year to a gray color.
Shakes normally last about thirty years before needing to
be replaced and throughout that time individual shakes/
shingles may shrink, warp, or splinter. How much shingle
The surface area of a roof is measured in "squares" of
shingles. Each square covers 100 square feet. However,
when you buy shingles, they're usually priced per bundle.
Calculate the number of bundles needed by measuring the
roof's square footage (length x width). Divide that number
by 100 to get the number of squares needed. Multiply the
number of squares by 3 (in most cases) or the number of
bundles it takes to equal one square. Again, in most cases
3 bundles = 1 square.
If you are going to "re-roof" you will need to strip the
old shingle from the roof. Basically, this means prying up
the shingles using a pitchfork or shovel. Before you begin
however, protect trees and shrubs near the house by
leaning up plywood sheets.
You will need a construction dumpster, pickup truck or
other container close to the roof. Toss the shingles
directly into the container to save from having to pick
them up later and prevent nails from getting lost in the
lawn. You may even want to build a temporary chute to
funnel the shingles into the container. If you're using a
pickup or trailer, be careful not to overload it. Pull up
any exposed nails instead of pounding them down and
replace any damaged or missing sheathing, fascia or
soffits. Once the roof is exposed, time and weather
conditions become very important factors. It's best to
only tear off as much shingle as can be replaced before
bad weather strikes. Be ready with temporary tarps to
cover the roof in case of rain.
Finally, if this all seems like a lot of work and you've
decided to hire a professional, be sure to shop around.
Prices can vary from roofer to roofer, so get quotes from
a few contractors before making the choice. Be sure to ask
if the price includes disposal and clean-up costs, and
have that written into the contract. Disposal costs for an
average sized roof can be fairly hefty.
Also check into warranties offered. Generally, higher
quality roof coverings have longer warranty periods, but
compare carefully. Don't necessarily be swayed by the
lowest quote. Look at the life expectancy and quality of
the products being offered before making your final