Atlanta Roofing Concepts and Issues

Most Atlanta homeowners begin their search for an Atlanta roofing contractor when they notice leaks in their roof. It's a good idea to get educated about the parts of your roof, roof repairs and what to look for in an Atlanta roofing contractor before you have to make a decision.

Flashing and loose nails. Two of the most common sources of leaks are problems with flashing and loose nails. Flashing is metal placed in trouble spots, such as sharp angles in the roof. Nails become loose when decking expands and contracts each time a roof is heated and then cooled, or each time the moisture content changes. With each expansion and contraction, the nails are pulled slightly out of their holes. Once a nail is pulled out of its hole far enough to puncture the shingle above it, a leak develops. Fortunately, over the life of a properly installed roof, nails rarely pop up far enough to puncture shingles.

Decking. The decking is what the roof is attached to. It is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board, which is an engineered wood product. Water leaking through a roof may cause the decking to rot. Because nails hammered into rotted decking will not hold, rotted decking must be replaced before a new roof can be installed. However, it is difficult to know how much decking, if any, must be replaced before the old roof is torn off. Therefore, many Atlanta roofing companies will give a firm estimate on the tear-off/replacement roof and a firm estimate per unit of decking which must be replaced.

Leaks. There are two ways to go about fixing leaks. You can tear off the old roof and replace it with a new one, possibly with new decking. Or, you can install a new roof over an old one. The second option can work if your Atlanta roofer uses the correct materials and the house has not already been re-roofed and the truss and house structure can handle the weight. Also, the decking must be in good shape. Since the only way to ensure that the decking is not damaged is to tear off the old roof, if you re-roof, you have to assume that your decking is in good shape. Here's where a reputable Atlanta roofing contractor will be able to tell you if re-roofing is an option.

Ventilation. The other big factor to consider when fixing your roof is ventilation. Attic ventilation is extremely important for lowering your electricity bills. Circulating air helps keep your attic cool in the summer. In the winter, circulating air helps prevent mold and mildew growth by minimizing attic humidity. The best ventilation systems are those systems which move the most air for the least cost.

The ridge-and-soffit vent system is one of the best ventilation systems available. It employs the natural rise of hot air to generate air flow much like a chimney. Cooler air enters the attic through the soffit vents in the eaves. This air is heated in the attic, rises, and exits through the ridge vents at the highest point in the attic.

Ridge vents are preferred by most Atlanta roofing contractors and shingle manufacturers because they are more efficient and cost-effective than turbines, standard roof vents and power exhaust fans. Ridge vents are usually installed when a new roof is installed. They consist of a pre-manufactured vinyl-dipped fiberglass mat that is installed on the ridge of the roof for the entire length of the house. The ridge vent is capped with shingles to keep it watertight and usually has built-in screens to prevent small animals and insects from entering the attic. Adequate soffit vents are required to make the ridge vents function effectively.

Roof life. Proper roof installation, decking quality, shingle life, proper ventilation, flashing quality and routine maintenance can really extend your roof's life. Routine maintenance includes inspection for problems, as well as leaf removal and gutter cleaning. Proper ventilation is essential because if the roof is not properly ventilated, most shingle warranties are voided. Among the various available grades of shingles, high-quality shingles are warranted for 40 years or longer. According to some industry sources, shingles rarely last for as long as they are warranted.