There are many elements to residential roofing such as the parts, designs, and materials.
Then there is also the maintenance, repair, and replacement.
The physical aspects of a roof, the significance of roof maintenance and how to do it, and how to recognize the need of a repair or replacement and the costs.
Every homeowner should be familiar with the basics of residential roofing to know how to properly maintain their roof.
Important Parts of a Residential Roof System
There are multiple layers to a residential roof, each with a different purpose in protecting the house.
These layers can help protect against weather, temperature, and additional weight put on the roof.
Here are the major parts of a residential roofing system:
- Roof Covering – The top layer of the roof is the covering. One of the most common forms for a covering is shingles, but it can also be metal, clay, slate, wood, and more.
- Underlayment – This is the layer underneath the roof covering providing additional protection from weather damage.
- Sheathing – A strong base of wood boards that are attached to the trusses and joists of your roof. It prevents any bowing or sagging from the heavy weight of snow, water, or additional shingles. It helps distribute weight across the roof by covering the whole roof and is secured to the strongest beams.
- Flashing – The roof’s flashing directs precipitation away from sensitive areas of the roof and towards the gutters, preventing leaks.
- Ventilation – Roof ventilation can be set up mechanically or naturally, allowing air to flow through the attic to maintain the indoor temperature and prevent moisture.
- Roof Drainage – Drains are usually located at the lowest point of the roof with the purpose of moving excess water from the roof’s surface and preventing water damage.
5 Popular Roof Designs
Roofs come in many different shapes and sizes. The designs can be simple or complex.
Here are some of the most popular residential roof designs:
- Gable – This roof design is known as a peaked or pitched roof. It has two pointed slopes connected to each other in a triangular shape.
- Hip – The hip roof has four sides creating a rectangular look. The front and back facets are longer and are connected by narrow side facets that are the “hips” of the roof.
- Jerkinhead – This can sometimes look different but to be considered a Jerkinhead it has to have clipped peaks. Clipped peaks are when two sides come to a point and the point is flattened into a small triangular facet.
- Gambrel – The most common gambrel roof design has two symmetrical sides, each with two slopes, one slope steeper and one slope shallower.
- Mansard – A mansard roof has four sides, two slopes on each side, with one slope steeper and one slope shallower.
Common Materials Used for Residential Roofs
Materials used for the roof covering can give a house a whole new look and provide many benefits.
There are various types of roof covering materials such as:
- Asphalt – One of the most common and reliable residential roofing materials. Asphalt shingles are durable, relatively affordable, and simple to install with a lifespan of up to 25 years.
- Slate – Slate is rot-resistant, fire-resistant, and easy to maintain with a lifespan of 100 years.
- Metal – A metal roof is easy to maintain, lightweight, eco-friendly, and has a lifespan of 50 years or more.
- Clay Tiles – Clay tiles are durable, fade-resistant, fireproof, and come in many shades, shapes, and sizes with a lifespan of 50-70 years.
- Wood – Wood shakes are eco-friendly and can provide natural insulation that can reduce energy costs. It has a lifespan of 40-50 years.
The Importance of Roof Maintenance
Though routine care of a roof can cost money throughout the year, it’s not much compared to a sudden roof repair or replacement.
Residential roof maintenance is about taking preventative measures, providing you the peace of mind and security that any issues found during a routine check are being taken care of.
But without the occasional maintenance, those small issues could become larger issues later on, and even shorten the roof’s lifespan.
Simple Roof Maintenance Checklist
It is important to note the materials used, past issues and repairs, and the roof’s age. Check your roof each season and understand the status of your gutters, flashing, shingles, vent pipes, etc. Knowing the age and status of your roof can help you make the best decision when there’s an issue.
Checking the outside of your house, your attic, and the underside of your roof can help you catch issues earlier on. Especially after a storm, doing a roof check will help you find anything that looks abnormal.
If the roof and attic walls have dark spots, it’s a possible sign of a leak. If light is shining through the roof during the day, it indicates damaged or worn-out roof covering.
Check the condition of the attic’s insulation. If it’s damaged or worn, it will make regulating indoor temperature difficult.
Keep the roof clear of any debris or moss growth.
Debris can gather in the gutters and valleys causing draining issues, leaks, rusting, and the growth of mold, moss, and rot. Debris can be cleaned by hand, leaf blower, or other tools as long as it is removed gently and carefully.
Moss can grow beneath the shingles pushing them upward, creating space for moisture to get through, causing weakening, loss of shingles, leaks, and rotting.
Ask a Professional
Schedule a yearly inspection with a roofing contractor. This can reduce the likelihood of roof damage and prevent costly roof repairs.
Common Signs Your Residential Roof Needs to Be Repaired or Replaced
There are ways to identify if your residential roof needs immediate attention.
Here are some warning signs that you need to either repair or replace your roof.
- Sagging – If your roof looks like it’s sinking in, it can be from old age, improper installation, or damaged rafters. Depending on the severity, it could require repair or replacement.
- Discoloration – This might indicate shingles that are damp or damaged. If dark patches are present, there is a possibility of mold growth which will require repairing.
- Storm Damage – It’s best to schedule a roof inspection after a storm to check for damage. Finding broken or missing shingles and leaks early on will help you resolve them much faster and prevent further issues down the line.
- Higher Energy Bills – This is a sign that your heating and air conditioning is running more to maintain the indoor temperature. This could be the result of damage to your roof.
- It’s Old – The lifespan of a residential roof depends on the material used. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, it might be time to think about a roof replacement rather than continuing to repair it.
If you are ever unsure of what to look out for, a roofing contractor can be consulted on whether a roof repair or a roof replacement is required.
Residential Roof Repair and Replacement Cost
The average residential roof repair cost in the U.S. is $1,020, with a range between $378 and $1,700.
The average for a residential roof replacement however, varies much more, the normal range is between $5,100 and $10,000 but could go up to $30,000.
This is because the square footage, roof damage, labor cost, material, etc. can influence the final cost.
- Material – The type of material used can go from an affordable asphalt to more durable metal, to more premium-priced wood shake, slate, or tile. Depending on the material chosen, the total can add up quickly.
- Size and Complexity – The larger the size of the roof or the more complex the design is, the more material and labor that might be needed, in turn affecting the new roof cost.
Choose the Right Roof
With a roof repair or replacement going upwards of $30,000, a lot of consideration needs to be given towards the roof and the roofing company you choose for the job.
Such as understanding the different parts of a residential roof system, the designs and materials that can be used, the roof maintenance, and when a roof repair or replacement is required.
If you’re ever unsure of building, repairing, or replacing your roof, speak with a roofing professional today.