We spend a lot of time thinking about ways to re-think our interiors and spruce up our outdoor spaces, but it’s important to address a sometimes unsung aspect of the home: the roof. As any homebuyer knows, a well-constructed and cared-for roof is a tremendous asset that can add architectural interest, in addition to the obvious functional attributes. Therefore, it’s important to know what to look out for when it comes to maintenance and materials. Here, the experts from Palm Beach, Florida-based Carpenter’s Roofing & Sheet Metal outline the key components to keeping your roof in good shape.
Understand the elements. For centuries, natural products including slate, clay, and copper have been used on roofs. These materials clearly stand out, and combine to provide a lasting value and unique look for your home.
- Natural slate comes in a variety of colors depending on the ancient components of the sediments when the rock was formed, and it is quarried out of the earth and then manually cleaved, cut, and split to various thicknesses, sizes, and textures. If properly installed, slate roofs are considered by some in the industry as a 100-year roof.
- Clay has been in use since before the Roman Empire. When choosing clay roof tiles, there are many factors to consider; since they are manmade, there are more choices available in terms of shape, color, and texture. While most people think of barrel tile when they think of a clay roof, clay has been used for centuries to make flat “shingle” tiles, as you might see in the United Kingdom and other northern European countries.
- Slate and clay roofs are often enhanced by the functional and architectural use of copper. Architectural sheet metal ornamentation is seen in elements such as copper roofs on bay windows and towers, as well as copper gutter work, weather vanes, and finials.
In addition to the natural products listed above, common roofing materials in use today are imitations of the historical natural products—asphalt shingles or cement tiles are often seen on roofs throughout neighborhoods alongside their natural counterparts.
Know what to look out for. An important structural element, your roof protects you, your family, and your belongings. Therefore, it’s important to have a maintenance plan and know the warning signs.
- Recognize the invisible leak. Many roof leaks go undetected because they do not reveal themselves inside the home. Often, the leak will only present itself on the soffit, fascia, or exterior wall. This is generally evidenced by brown or amber color staining on the exterior wood trim and walls of the house.
- Don’t ignore signs of trouble. Early warning signs of an issue may include moisture on a ceiling, wall, or outside an overhang. Additionally, there might be pieces of roofing material on the ground around the home. If you notice moisture or deterioration, call a roofing professional right away.
- Invest in an annual maintenance plan. Having a reputable roofing contractor regularly attending to your roof throughout its lifecycle can allow you to head off trouble as early as possible, and will help extend the lifespan of your roof. Planned maintenance will address items such as broken or loose tiles, and removal of debris from roof drains and gutters before they become a problem that causes interior damage. It would also include an examination of the chimneys, skylights, solar panel mounts, etc., and flat roofs would be examined for blisters, splits, and bare spots with exposed roofing felts.
- Hire an expert with years of experience. It is important to find a roofing professional who has a longstanding foundation in your community and who will utilize the best methods and resources to insure a long-lasting roof. The goal should never be to find the lowest-priced option, but to seek true quality irrespective of the cost.
TSG Tip 216 from Jason Lovelady, President, Carpenter’s Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., and Joe Hart, Vice President, Carpenter’s Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., in West Palm Beach, Florida. Carpenter’s Roofing & Sheet Metal is featured in The Scout Guide Palm Beach.