From roof installations to shingle repairs, at Roofing For Less, our experts are equipped to deal with every aspect of your roofing requirement. We operate with a keen focus on customer satisfaction and customer safety. We are a licensed team and offer our own 5-year labour warranty along with the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Call or email us for any queries and we shall address them gladly. You can also fill out the form below:
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Read some of our insightful posts below to take actionable course to prolong the longevity of your property.
Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor
A successful roof installation starts with choosing the right roofing contractor for you. We say this because you have to make sure your needs and wants are met throughout this process and they can vary in each circumstance. Most of this process is about using basic common sense and being aware of possible red flags that can alert you to possible future problems. Questions to consider: How long have they been in business? Do they have a physical location where they operate from? If not - why not - there may be a valid reason. Can they provide references or addresses of installations? Are they insured? What forms of payment do they accept? If the answer is cash only then run! Simply put, do your own due diligence.
You should first start with choosing a company that is local. If there are service issues that arise it is always easier to get a response from a local company and more likely to get a resolution from a local company than if you dealt with a company that is two hours away. We service a radius of about 100km around Orillia which extends to Barrie, Midland, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Simcoe, Muskoka and Georgian Bay areas. In keeping within our radius it allows us to adequately service customers or respond to emergencies in a reasonable timeframe.
Next make sure the company is certified to install the products they sell, if applicable, because if they are not then most likely any extended product warranties will not be valid. Don't just accept someone's word for it, actually contact the manufacturer or at the very least check online and make sure they are registered and/or certified.
Ask to see a copy of the general liability insurance certificate and check online at the WSIB website and go to the e-clearance section and search for the contractor and make sure they are “eligible for clearance certificates.” This means WSIB is current and up to date. WSIB does not provide clearance certificates to contractors for homeowners so a contractor would not be able to produce a clearance certificate for a residential installation but as a homeowner you could verify WSIB is up to date on your own by checking online.
Prepare yourself and your property for the installation. A roof installation is a messy and noisy ordeal regardless of how careful and professional the crew is. There is potential for flying debris to come off the roof at any time so best to stay out of the work zone and to remove anything you don't want to be damaged. Move vehicles out onto the street, relocate lawn furniture, flowerpots and ornaments and take any loose wall hangings down inside the house. It is not a good idea to plan a work conference call or think you will be spending a quiet relaxing day at home while the roof is being done. There are power tools, generators, compressors with noise and banging going on most of the time.
It shouldn't be about who is the cheapest. We don't strive to be the cheapest but to be the best installation company we can while maintaining quality and integrity providing a sound installation using products we have confidence in. Being one of the best and being the cheapest is not possible. It costs money to run a proper business with equipment, licensed, certified, trained and insured people doing the work and we don't want to compromise on quality. At the same time we constantly look at ways to keep costs down so we can pass along competitive pricing to our customers.
Finally, discuss your expectations with your contractor whether it's timelines, workmanship or product questions. It's important that you completely and fully understand what you are getting both in service and products and that you and your contractor are on the same page with the expectations. We at Roofing For Less strive to have a positive installation experience with all of our customers and can meet a variety of installation requirements to suit most individuals.
Vents, vents and more vents! Do we need more ventilation? What is the best type of ventilation? What are all these things sticking out of my roof? There are three categories of ventilation possible on a roof. Attic space vents, exhaust vents and plumbing vents.
As far as roof top and attic ventilation goes there are basically four options. The first option being the standard square low profile vents. They come in various sizes and ventilate a specified amount of square footage of attic space per vent. So once the square footage of attic space is calculated then depending on which size vent is chosen that will determine the number of vents needed. We are often asked are the low profile vents still effective when covered in snow and the answer is yes....they are designed to function even when covered in snow. These type of vents also come in vinyl/plastic and metal composition. We prefer to use the Duraflo brand.
The next type of roof vent is a turbo or turbine vent which now comes in different sizes and shapes and they also come in plastic and metal. The steel turbine vents are the ones most will be familiar with. Turbine vents operate on a bearing system and are required to be spinning in order to be ventilating. We prefer not to use turbine vents as the bearings like any other mechanical part can seize and stop working. Instead, we prefer to use turbo vents that have built-in baffles and do not require any motion to be ventilating. Both have a similar raised profile with a round top on a pedestal base. Turbines are available in metal while turbos are available in vinyl/plastic. Again we prefer to use the Duraflo brand.
A step up from the turbine or turbo vents is something called a Maxi vent - also made by Duraflo. It is a pedestal vent with a square top and can have various louvered tier levels for more ventilation per vent. Again, 3living in Ontario and especially our service areas of Orillia, Barrie, Midland, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka, Simcoe and Georgian Bay we experience some pretty large amounts of snowfall and sometimes it's best to have a higher profile vent on the roof depending on your pitch and attic space.
The "Cadillac" of roof venting is considered to be ridge venting. It is a cleaner look with less clutter on the roof but it is not always the best choice depending on your roof configuration and amount of actual roof ridge space available. Ridge venting is cut into the ridge or peak of the roof and ventilation is installed right in that area. If you have a cottage style roof then there may not be enough top ridge space for adequate ventilation. If you have cathedral ceilings in your home then generally ridge venting is your only option. Ridge venting comes in two forms - rolled and rigid. Rigid is just that and has the best chance of staying flat and clean looking along your ridge line for the duration whereas rolled ridge venting can become warped looking over time.
The last form of attic ventilation we will talk about is gable vents. These are vents that are in the peaks of the walls below the roof line. You can purchase many decorative gable vent caps in various shapes, sizes and colours. Octagon, square, rectangular, triangular and round are the most common shapes we see.
Finally, as mentioned in the insulation blog it is important to have good soffit and baffle ventilation as well. If you have an older home with solid wood soffit you should consider have holes cut into the soffit area approximately every 2-3 feet and either cover the holes with soffit vents or replace the wood area with ventilated aluminum soffit.
Other types of roof vents are related to plumbing and exhaust. A plumbing stack is usually a black plastic round tube you see protruding from the roof. It sends the bathroom gases out of the house. At the base of the stack is a plastic or neoprene gasket that should be replaced when your shingles are replaced. Exhaust vents are used to exhaust moisture from either your bathroom fan or kitchen fan out of the house. Sometimes these areas are ventilated through the soffits. It you have shingle failure close to a plumbing stack or exhaust vent area your attic space should be checked to make sure the connections have remained intact and that warm moist air is not being exhausted solely into the attic space instead of up and to the outside.
Ensuring your roof has adequate ventilation is one of the major and key components to maintaining shingle warranties and extending the life of your roof. Visit http://www.canplas.com/duraflo/ for more information.
The Importance of Proper Insulation
The next components of your roof we'd like to talk about are ventilation and insulation. They are separate components and insulation is not exactly a roof "component" but without knowing and understanding its function and importance and how it relates to ventilation could cost you your warranty and greatly shorten the life span of your shingles. Nothing shortens the life span of a roof more than improper ventilation and insufficient insulation. In this blog we will focus on insulation.
Living in Ontario and especially our service areas of Orillia, Barrie, Midland, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka, Simcoe and Georgian Bay we experience some pretty extreme weather conditions and your protection from the elements has a lot to do with insulation. You want your attic space ideally to be the same temperature as outside to minimize shingle damage. So it should be freezing cold in the winter and not cooking hot in the summer. Ventilation and insulation play a key role in achieving this.
It is important to make sure you have adequate and sufficient insulation not only for the energy performance of your home but also for the life span of your roof. And your insulation should be checked every 3-4 years as it can compress or shift in the attic. If insulation compresses it may lose its R value or insulation properties and if it shifts it can cover over areas such as baffles which in turn affect amount of ventilation. Blown-in insulation should be 8-12 inches deep as a general rule. Depending on type of insulation (blown in, bat or foam) the required levels vary so it is good to know what your own requirements should be. The blown insulation is what we most commonly see and sits on and in between your roof joists just above the ceiling portion in your home in the open attic space. Some people think the insulation goes right under the plywood on your roof. This would only be the case if you have a cathedral ceiling and even then there's still an open cavity requiring ventilation.
Is it possible to have too much insulation? Yes it is! Too much insulation can create a greenhouse effect within your attic space causing condensation and sweating and what appears to be a roof leak as water drips through and into the house. This can be resolved by either removing some of the insulation or adding more ventilation. Gable vents, if possible, are a good choice in this scenario.
What are baffles? Baffles are the vents that come up from the side of the roof line where over hang starts and meets the soffit area. They are meant to help with circulation of air and ventilation of the attic space. Sometimes insulation can shift and cover over these areas making them ineffective.
So before addressing your ventilation concerns and making sure your roof is properly ventilated it is of equal importance to check your insulation.
Synthetic Paper vs Tar Paper
Staying on the topic of roof underlayment, the next subject we would like to talk about is synthetic paper vs felt or tar paper. Are they necessary? What's the difference?
Both synthetic paper and felt paper are an additional underlayment to ice and water shield. They do not go on top of ice and water shield but instead they go on all roof areas not covered by ice and water shield so essentially the remaining area of your roof. Their functionality is the same to help the shingles breath and prevent the wood deck portion of the roof from absorbing any tar or moisture from the shingles themselves as well as to provide a smooth and flat surface for the shingles to lie on top of.
Tar or felt paper is the traditional and "old school" underlayment used under your shingles. It is a good product and provides some water resistant properties should you have shingles come off and leaving the roof exposed. It can break down, crumble and even rot in time so it's not a totally weather-proof product. It's not the best choice for roofs with direct southerly exposure or shallower pitch roofs as it will break down faster under the shingles than synthetic paper.
Synthetic paper is the new and improved underlayment system. It is made of a polypropylene material that has much better water resistant properties with some even being waterproof and manufacturers stating that a roof can be left covered in synthetic alone for up to six months. The brands of synthetic paper we typically use are Stormtite, Roofguard-Cool grey, Deckgard, Suredeck or Rhino. Synthetic paper is about double the cost of felt or tar paper. The installation method and labour required is the same so overall cost difference to your estimate between the two adds about $200 to the average roof if choosing synthetic over felt. Roofing For Less' opinion and recommendation is once you have decided you want as an underlayment then spend the extra money on the synthetic paper and take the upgrade. We rarely recommend felt or tar paper and only install it if tight budget constraints are present. Synthetic paper is also lighter in weight than tar or felt paper.
In some cases an underlayment is mandatory. If you have a board roof then you must have an underlayment of some sort to create a smooth surface and to protect against moisture under shingles which is more likely with a board roof than plywood covered roof. If you want the extended warranties that the shingle manufacturers offer then synthetic paper is mandatory - felt or tar paper does not qualify. If you have a shallower pitched roof 4/12 to 5/12 then you should have an underlayment. Any roof with a pitch 2.5/12 up to 4/12 should have ice and water shield. Any roof below a 2/12 should have a flat roofing application.
Underlayments were also absolutely necessary with the older organic asphalt shingles. With the recent shift to the sole production of the laminate fibreglass shingles with most manufacturers, you can get away without an underlayment if cost is the main priority. The laminate fibreglass shingles do not contain the same amount of tar and other organic properties that the asphalt shingles once did so there is less chance of moisture retention and tar absorption onto the wood deck surface.
Synthetic paper or felt/tar paper is never a bad option and in all situations serves to preserve and extend the life and improve the appearance of your roof.