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Huyvan Home Improvement Tips

Ottawa Home Improvement Projects

Roofs – Home Improvement Tips – Issue #4


Winter is over and spring is here! Now that the snow is gone it is time to inspect your roof.  This has been one of the longest, coldest winters we have had in the Ottawa area and because of it, the ice and snow conditions were abnormal this year. Instead of the few winter thaws, where it would ease the snow build up on your roof, we just received more and more due to the ongoing cold temperatures. Roofs that were marginal or that had significant wear on their shingles had some leaking this winter. So spring is here and now is the time to get things done before old man winter comes back again.

How do you know if your roof needs to be re-done? We always recommend taking a good look from the ground first. If you see curled or missing shingles you know you have a problem. The best way to inspect a roof is to actually go up on the roof. Due to the fact that climbing a roof is dangerous we normally don’t recommend this, not unless you are experienced and follow proper safety procedures.  A home inspector or a qualified contractor can do the job for you and provide a written estimate for what needs to be done. Special attention need to be given to the underlayment of the roof. A steel roof or a shingle roof is only as good as the ice and water shield or other synthetic underlayment that have been installed. Normally, an ice and water shield should come, approximately 6’ up from the eaves, but by no means is this a rule of thumb.  Every roof is unique. Some roofs have a low slope that requires an ice and water shield to go over the whole roof before the shingles or the steel roof is applied. At very low slopes a torch-on or stick-on 2 ply membrane is recommended and does the best job. For roofs that have curves or special valleys and or dormers, extra ice and water shield will be needed to be applied as well due to extra stress from volumes of water and ice and snow conditions. Normally, a synthetic tar paper is a good underlayment from where the ice and water shield ends at the eaves, up to the peek. Today more and more people are going to a laminated shingle due to the fact that it has extra layers to resist wind and heat, at a minimal extra material cost. Architecturally they look better as well. Metal roofs are an excellent options as well. Sheet- steel comes in different corrugations and long lengths to help eliminate joints at mid-point of the roof. This type of roofing does not always suit residential applications. Metal shingles in steel or aluminum or more suited for residential applications. What some people don’t take in to account is that metal roofs are slippery and ice and snow can come off very quickly and cause injury in the winter time. Special attention needs to be given to installing snow stoppers for safety at doorways and walkways to prevent injury or damage to personal property. There are a few different types of snow stoppers out there that do the trick.  Of course we cannot forget about ventilation and insulation as well. Some older roofs will always have heat loss due to the way houses were engineered and built at that time. Wherever insulation values can be increased, especially in the attic at the top of the wall plate area, ice damming can be reduced. In order for your roof to last a long time there needs to be good upper ventilation in the form of a chimney, ridge, mushroom and or a gable vent . As well, if it is possible to also have lower ventilation through the soffit.

Yes spring is here, summer is coming and now that you have taken care of your roof it will give you peace of mind for the rest of the year.

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