Asphalt shingles are the most common type of residential roofing in the United States. They can be constructed to look like slate, cedar or wood roofing and come in a variety of colors, textures, designs and profiles. They are not only cost-effective, but are also resilient and long-lasting.
Whether your home’s asphalt shingles roofing is brand-spanking new or has been in place for years, it’s critical to ensure that it was properly installed. The good news is that there are very simple techniques to determine whether your roof was installed correctly or incorrectly. But first, let’s look at the composition of asphalt shingle roofs.
Key Components of Asphalt Shingle Roof
- Starter strip shingles: Starter strips are used to waterproof the eave and rake edges of your home during a roof replacement. Colorless starter strips are common because roof shingles cover them. They are usually rectangular in shape, so they can be used with any shingle style. They’re also made of fiberglass-reinforced asphalt shingles.
Starter shingles covering the eve joints ensure your roof can shed water. This component has a sealant strip and is placed correctly on the roof. Rake-edged starters function differently. The starting strip stabilizes the raked roof. It also helps your roofer complete each layer of field shingles straight.
- Asphalt shingles: Asphalt shingles aren’t all tar. Shingles commonly contain mineral fiber and cementitious fillers. Most shingles include 5% to 35% asphalt. There are organic, algae-resistant and fiberglass shingles.
Organic shingles are created from waste paper drenched in asphalt. A thin layer of asphalt containing ceramic granules for ultraviolet (UV) protection can be applied as an adhesive. Algae-resistant shingles include ceramic-coated granules with a leachable coating to prevent your roof from algae-related discoloration. Fiberglass shingles are less flammable and contain less asphalt than organic shingles.
- Hip and ridge products: This is the last touch to your new roof. They connect two roof slopes. Because they can last as long as your roof’s shingles, they should match its appearance and color. Some roof shingles require specific hip and ridge shingles to work properly.
A range of shapes and thicknesses allows you to customize the look of your roof. Many high-quality hip and ridge shingles contain modified asphalt to improve durability and flexibility in cold weather.
- Underlayment: Protection from harsh weather is provided by underlayment. This component protects your roof from wind and water. This invisible layer of your roof is crucial. The main types are rubberized asphalt and non-bitumen synthetic underlayment.
Asphalt-saturated felt is waterproof, but not impervious to moisture.
Rubberized asphalt is a durable rubber-like underlayment. A peel-off membrane secures roof fasteners. In hot climates, it is also heat resistant.
Synthetic non-bitumen can secure decking and roofing. This underlayment is widely used due to its robustness and resistance to pests. Its high moisture resistance protects it from mildew, algae and UV rays
- Ice and water barriers: Storms can damage your roof. Ice and water damage are prevented by this waterproof underlayment. It has a modified bitumen adhesive back and a release film.
These membranes include a non-slip top surface to aid the installer’s grip. Using an ice and water barrier on your roof can help avoid a storm or wind-related leaks. Before installing these membranes on your roof, make sure your attic has appropriate ventilation.
- Ventilation system: Roof ventilation systems provide constant attic airflow. It lets hot, damp air out of your attic, keeping it cool. Hot attics can damage your roof and interior. Vents can be built in various locations on the roof to promote adequate air circulation.
Roof vents include ridge, static and gable vents. They create an external barrier to promote airflow and protect your property from the weather. Static vents are horizontal or covered apertures that provide appropriate air circulation. Gable vents are located at the attic’s ends and can be paired with other vents.
Ways to Tell if Your Roof Was Installed Correctly
- Roof Drip Edge Flashing
Poor contractors frequently try to fleece homeowners in this area. A roofing contractor should install drip edge flashing at all roof edges. The goal is to prevent water damage and bug infestations in the attic. Drip edges are required for roofing shingles, yet most homeowners can’t determine if their roofs have them or not. In reality, most people discover the issue when they have leaks or moisture issues.
If your room has a shingle roof, look to the gables and eaves. Each should feature a drip edge. Metal flashing is located between the shingles and underlayment. It is vital in removing water from the roof and ensuring gutters work properly. A professional roofer will always utilize a drip edge to protect the roof.
- Your Roof Appears Even and Uniform
Examine your roof after a roof repair or installation. Most people don’t inspect their roofs after a project is finished. After a roofing project, your roof should be uniform in color. An uneven appearance is a sure sign of a substandard roof job. Your rooftop is sinking, or the asphalt shingles are not consistent in color. Also, your roof should be made of the same material throughout.
- They Use Good Underlayment
Keep this in mind when installing the roof. If your roofer isn’t using underlayment, step in, and say something. An underlayment keeps the roof dry during construction, protecting the wood. Expert roofers always use synthetic underlayment. It outperforms felt-paper underlays. Newer synthetic underlayment lays flatter than traditional underlays.
- They Use Effective Flashing Methods
Water leaks cause the most home and roof damage. Roofers generally put metal flashing around leaking areas, such as pipelines and chimneys. Place it under the shingles, not on top. The same goes for chimneys. It takes two sheets.
Inexperienced roofers may also repurpose existing flashing materials. A reputable roofing contractor will never reuse flashing. True pros always replace rusty flashing and new vent pipes if existing systems fail. Overall, your roofers did a decent job if they thoroughly flashed the roof and waterproofed penetrations, saving you money on future repairs.
- They Clean Up After Themselves
The contractor should leave your home and surrounding area as they previously were. Vacant packages, worn shingles and excess materials are never left behind. A few will even bring their own construction dumpster.
Roofers should never damage lawns, trees, plants or bushes. This includes siding and windows. Great companies make mistakes, but they correct them before they become issues. If you find garbage or debris on your property or damage to your home, your roofer did not perform as promised.
When you’re ready to schedule a free estimate, contact Ben’s Construction Inc. We can discuss your roofing needs and provide you with a detailed, tailored quote for our roofing services, including gutter installation, roof repair and replacement. To get started, call us at (508) 962-2417, or complete the online form.