What Is Roofing?

Fort Myers Roofing is the exterior covering of a building to protect it from rain, snow, sunlight, and extremes of temperature. The varying construction materials have evolved over centuries and millennia.

The roof design process considers the criteria and requirements to select an optimal system. It then involves preparing specifications and drawings that communicate the designer’s requirements to a professional roofing contractor to execute the work.

The outer layer of a building’s roof protects it from rain, snow, sunlight, extreme temperatures, and other elements. There are a wide variety of roofing materials available. Some are natural, while others are synthetic. The choice depends on several factors, including the local climate and aesthetic preferences. A new roof can also add to the resale value of a home or business.

Typical roofing materials include asphalt shingles, wood shakes, and shingle-based tiles. Asphalt shingles are the most popular for residential roofing. They come in a variety of styles and colors. Some even mimic the look of other materials, like slate or cedar. Depending on the style, these shingles can last up to 50 years.

Natural wood roofs are another option, usually crafted from cedar, redwood, or cypress. The main difference between shakes and shingles is that shingles are sawmilled into uniform length, width, and thickness, while shakes are hand-split into thicker wedge-shaped slabs. Both provide a natural appearance and are highly insulators. However, they are less durable than other materials and may not be appropriate in areas prone to wildfires or moisture problems.

A new roof can also help improve a building’s energy efficiency. Modern shingles are designed with reflective coatings that help reduce the amount of heat the building absorbs. This can lower cooling costs during the summer and heating bills during the winter.

Other common roofing materials include concrete and clay tiles. These are often glazed and baked at high temperatures to prevent them from fading or cracking over time. They can be expensive, but they provide a timeless beauty lasting up to 100 years.

Another affordable roofing material is a membrane consisting of waterproof and fire-resistant sheets. These can be made of neoprene, PVC, or the popular rubber EPDM. Membrane roofs are suitable for flat or low-pitch roofs and can last up to 35 years.

A roof installation can also include insulation, which helps reduce energy expenses and environmental impact. The type of insulation used will depend on the type of roof and the climate in the area. A qualified roofing contractor can recommend the best insulation for your roof.

Whether you’re building a new home or replacing your roof, it is important to understand the roofing installation process. This will ensure you and your contractor are on the same page regarding expectations for the project. It also allows you to ask any questions you may have.

During installation, your contractor will first secure and protect your property. He will move any vehicles in your driveway or garage to avoid damage during the tear-off and installation. He will also place tarps over landscaping and plants to protect them from dust and debris.

He will then install the underlayment, a layer of felt paper on top of the plywood decking. The underlayment will be nailed to the wood with nails close together at the roof’s edge and then spread out more towards the center. The next row of underlayment will be nailed in the same way, except that it will overlap the previous row by at least six inches.

Once the underlayment is in place, your roofing professional adds ice and water protection. This thin layer of self-adhering material helps defend your roof from ice dams and rain that can drive up between the shingles. Some products, like ArmourGard by IKO, also act as vapor retardants.

Inspecting the roof regularly can help identify and correct minor problems before they become major ones. Depending on your facility type, you should make inspections at least once or twice yearly. Inspecting a roof more frequently might be necessary in locations where weather extremes occur.

Unless you are trained in roof repairs, it is recommended that you have a professional perform the inspections to ensure that all damage and potential problems are identified and repaired. In addition, the professional can recommend specific preventative maintenance procedures that will help prolong the life of your roof.

A basic maintenance procedure is to keep the roof free of debris and vegetation. This can be done by a regular cleaning schedule or by periodic removal of large areas of moss and algae growth using a pressure washer equipped with a high-pressure spray. Branches should be trimmed back from the roof, and any fallen leaves or other debris should be removed from drains and scuppers. Debris blocking drain lines or causing localized ponding can restrict drainage, accelerate membrane deterioration, and cause structural overloading.

The flashing, the metal strips that seal gaps around chimneys and where roof planes meet, should also be inspected. If the flashing is damaged, it should be replaced promptly to avoid water leaks.

Inspecting a roof is best done from a ladder, but you may need binoculars for some parts of the roof. A general inspection should include:

  • A look at the edge metal and shingle condition.
  • The condition of soffit vents.
  • Any other penetrations.

If you suspect that a penetration has been penetrated, a professional should be called to do an investigation and repair the penetration immediately.

Regular housekeeping surveys are generally required on most roof areas to keep drainage devices clear and to identify potential damaging conditions. These surveys should be included on a building preventive maintenance schedule and can normally be performed by building personnel. It is recommended that these surveys be conducted by a roofing professional at least once or twice per year for best results.

Keeping your roof in good condition protects the rest of your home from moisture and other problems. A sturdy, updated roof keeps out wind, rain, hail, bitter cold, intense heat and sunshine. It also insulates the house, making it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Replacing or repairing flashing, material laid around chimneys, and where roofing planes meet to prevent leaks are other important repair jobs for your roof. Flashing should be inspected periodically and replaced as needed.

Re-roofing is the simplest and least expensive way to restore an old, worn roof, but it doesn’t last as long as replacing a new roof. It requires putting a second layer of shingles on top of the existing ones, which can lead to an uneven appearance. New shingles may not match the color of the old ones, either.

Adding insulation is another cost-effective way to improve the performance of your roof and keep it looking its best. Roofing contractors can help you choose the type of insulation that is right for your home and climate, and they’ll install it correctly to ensure it works properly.

While the work can be demanding, it is highly rewarding as well. Many roofers enjoy their jobs because they have a tangible sense of accomplishment and because they are constantly improving the quality of structures that they build. It is important to note, though, that people who do not enjoy their jobs may find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance as they will likely spend too much time at their workplaces.

Regardless of whether a person decides to pursue a career as a roofer, it is recommended that they have good hand-eye coordination and are not afraid of heights. It is also helpful if they are organized, detail-oriented, and can follow instructions. In addition, those who wish to become roofers should be in good physical condition as they will have to lift heavy materials and work in wet conditions on a daily basis. Those who are not comfortable working with others should also avoid this profession since it requires collaboration on a large scale. Finally, roofers should be able to communicate well and work as a team because the work can be quite dangerous. Those who do not have these traits will likely become frustrated with their careers and leave the industry pretty quickly.

Christi Watson