Reigning Over Your Roof

River Springs Roof Tarp

The article below appears in the March Issue of the River Springs Newsletter:

I was born and raised in Edmonton and when I originally moved to the West Coast, I could not believe that it was possible to wear flip-flops and shorts through an entire winter and still be in Canada. When the rains would come in the winter and people would start complaining about all the rain, I would roll my eyes and use phrases like, "At least you don't have to shovel it" to try and point out to anyone in earshot that we really do live in the best place in Canada.

Of course, after over a decade on the wet coast, my tune is a little different now. In reminiscing about growing up in Edmonton, you are more likely to hear me say, "It might have been cold, but at least the sun was shining". Don't get me wrong, I'm not for a moment suggesting that I would like to move back to Edmonton (it is a great place to be from), but I now find myself browsing the vacation deal websites looking for some escape to sun.

One effect of a long, dark winter is that those of us without dogs tend to cocoon up in our nice warm houses and we don't see much of the neighborhood for a while. Now that the days are longer and the weather is improving, I've been getting back out on some walks and I've noticed quite a few tarps covering peoples roofs which suggests some of our neighbors had worse winters than others. If you are contemplating re-roofing, here are some things to consider:

Asphalt Shingles

These are the most common roofing products we have in River Springs. Asphalt shingles are made in many different quality and 'architectural' levels and the average life should be 15-25 years depending on the quality and installation. In general, River Springs houses are on a second or even third roof. If you have the T-lock style shingle (Google these for a quick image), you are fast becoming a re-roof candidate as these have not commonly been installed for over a decade. Consider using zinc strips when re-roofing to help keep organic growth under control and your roof looking great.

Roll Roofing, Torch-On, Single-Ply Roofing

I know all the roofers reading this are going to pull their hair out as there are many products wrapped under this designation but we have many homes in River Springs that have low-slope roofs for which conventional asphalt shingles are not suitable. The life spans on these systems can vary greatly. If your roof is over 10-12 years old and you are uncertain of its condition, having a roofing contractor give you a condition report and do a little maintenance now could save you from an expensive emergency repair or replacement.

Roof Flashings

Roof flashings are all devices used in your roofing system to direct water towards roof drainage. When flashings fail, they can cause big problems as they tend to direct or remove a lot of water from sensitive areas (around roof penetrations for example). Roof flashings should be replaced when a new roof is put on. This is not a good place to save money when re-roofing.

Final Thought

Opinions and costs from roofing contractors can vary widely. One may tell you to replace the roof now, others may tell you with a little maintenance, you have 5 years left. Never start a roofing project without at least 3 (or better 5) quotes.

By James Bell - Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc.