Mike Holmes: Spring is a good time for a roof checkup
It's a good time to check out your roof. Depending on how it fared over the winter you may want to bring in a roofer for repairs, or a replacement.
Explore your roofing options and see what’s out there before you say “I do” to traditional asphalt shingles.
Checking your roof in the springtime should be a yearly item on your to-do list. You want to see how it handled a long winter of snow and ice – and if this is the year you do a roof replacement.
You want to inspect for obvious signs of damage like missing or buckling shingles, but even your eavestrough can offer a clue. If you see a large accumulation of asphalt granules in the gutters, that’s a sign your roof is on its way out. If you spot major wear and tear, it’s time to consider bringing in a roofer.
Start With the Right Pro
There are a lot of roofers on the market. A lot of them are good, but how do you know if you’ve found one of the good ones? It starts by asking the right questions. There are the standard questions; like are they licensed and insured?
You also want to ask subtle questions that give you a hint as to whether or not you’ve found a reputable roofer. Ask them about the scope of the work. If you need to reshingle your roof, you want to hear that the roofer is going to strip the old shingles off so they can look at the roof’s sheathing. The price for a real pro may seem shocking, but believe me, if you think the pro is expensive – wait until you hire an amateur and have to redo their work. Don’t forget to look up any reviews and ask for references.
Styles of Roofing
You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to your roof that go way beyond the traditional asphalt shingle. Explore some of your options, and you may decide that the right roof for you is something you’d never considered.
Typically, this will be your least expensive option. Everyone is familiar with your traditional shingled roof, so I don’t think I need to say much about it. Although they’re a good option, they wouldn’t be my first choice for roofing material. If you decide on asphalt shingles, make sure you’re choosing shingles that are high quality with a good warranty so they last as long as possible.
Fibreglass shingles are made from a similar material to asphalt, but are coated with a layer of synthetic glass fibre. This makes a fibreglass a more water and heat resistant alternative to your traditional asphalt shingle. If your roof has poor ventilation, fibreglass shingles will be more durable than organic asphalt because they can weather the extra heat created by bad venting. But that’s just a Band-Aid solution to a bad roof and should not be your deciding factor.
A metal roof is my favourite kind of roof. Why? It’s efficient and it’s built to last. A metal roof will last you 50 years and stands up against high winds, and extreme weather like hail as well as resist mildew, rot, insects, and even fire. They’re made from recyclable materials and that means we see less garbage in our landfills. Metal is a smart investment that will increase the value of your home and keep your roof in good shape for decades.
A few concerns I often hear about metal roofs are the noise factor, and its ability to attract lightning. A metal roof, properly installed is not any louder than other types of roofing. As for the lightning issue – a metal roof won’t attract lighting. Metal is a good conductor for electricity, which allows it to pass through with less resistance. It’s hard to predict the damage lightning can cause – but a metal roof isn’t more susceptible to damage than other roofing materials.
My garage features a green roof and I absolutely love it. My green roof improves my air quality, helps manage storm water runoff, and even provides some insulating R-Value. While it’s simplest to add a green roof during a new build, retrofitting an existing roof is possible whether you have a flat or sloped roof. You just need to make sure the structure can handle the extra load from the plants and soil on top. You’ll need the help of a structural engineer and/or an architect for that.
I love any kind of sustainable technology and think we should be building it into our homes wherever possible, but my favourite part about my green roof is that I don’t have to bring my lawnmower up there.
Like I said, for my home, I’m choosing a metal or a green roof every time. If you’re replacing your roof this year, start your planning early, do your research, and choose the right material to make sure you have a roof that works best for your home.
Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit makeitright.ca.