5 Secrets to the Perfect Roof

A handy guide to understanding and evaluating your roofing bids.

Secret #1: Sheeting

Sheeting is the solid wood surface that your roof is built on.

How to do it right: You need a firm, weather-resistant and level surface on which to put your new roof. Your existing sheeting is one of the first things we look at when we inspect your house and write up your estimate. The sheeting you have now might be good quality plywood and may be fine.

Be aware that some contractors may bid low by not replacing bad sheeting. You might get a good price, but then have problems in the future. Similarly, if your contractor offers to replace your sheeting with chip board, press board or oriented strand board (OSB), he’s using a cheap, inferior product that can swell and break apart when moist.

What we recommend: If new sheeting is recommended, Valentine Roofing estimates projects based on 1⁄2” CDX plywood. If you have a shake roof, you might not have solid sheeting underneath. If that is the case, Valentine Roofing will add solid sheeting over the existing slats.

Secret #2: Underlayment

Underlayment is a layer of fabric-like material that is rolled out and stapled to the sheeting. It adds an important level of moisture protection between the shingles and the sheeting.

How to do it right: A high quality underlayment is just as important in preventing leaks as the roofing material itself. State and municipal codes require roofing underlayment to meet standards like fire resistance, wind uplift resistance, puncture resistance, and resistance to wind-driven rain. The weight and specifications of the material should be sufficient to provide protection for the life of the roof.

What we recommend: The highest quality underlayment is Safeguard 30® Hybrid Underlayment. This is five times stronger than a conventional 30 Lb. felt used by other roofers. It lays much flatter during the installation and does not bubble or shrink. This makes for a nicer looking, more effective roof. It is also the most difficult to tear which makes it the best at preventing leaks. Safeguard 30® doesn’t blow off in high winds and provides better traction for roofers so there is less slipping, which makes for safer jobsites. Valentine Roofing always applies this high-quality underlayment for composition roofs.

Secret #3: Gutter Edge Metal

The edge of the roof that is next to the gutter needs special protection. A strip of metal “flashing” is needed to protect the plywood.

How to do it right: A quality flashing at the gutter edge makes a big difference in reliability of your roof. The plywood next to the gutters is vulnerable to water saturation. Water that reaches the gutter can soak back up and result in moldy or rotting plywood on the eaves of your roof. To prevent this, gutter edge metal should be installed on every roof.

What we recommend: Valentine Roofing will always install a 26 gauge, corrosion-resistant, enamel-coated metal flashing in all places where the roof is joined by a gutter.

Secret #4: New Roof Flashings

In addition to the gutter edge flashing, your roof has flashings at many other critical points. These include fireplaces, the valleys in the roof, around skylights, around plumbing vents and anywhere roof and siding meet.

How to do it right: A common practice of many roofers is to replace some but not all of your existing flashings. This is not recommended. Re-used roof flashings are prone to leakage, and detract from the finished appearance of the new roof.

What we recommend: To be sure of what your roofer will do, look for these flashings to be listed in the contract: valley, roof-to-wall, step (sidewall), chimney (especially if you have a brick chimney), plumbing vent (be sure these are solid lead with a lead cap), and skylights if you have them. Valentine Roofing will always replace all existing flashings with new flashings.

Secret #5: Ridge Venting

Attic ventilation is an important part of every roof installation. The proper method of ensuring air flow in your attic is a ridge venting system. These are structures with molded-in air vents located under the ridge cap shingles. The system provides the desired airflow in the attic while maintaining watertight integrity.

How to do it right: If there isn’t enough airflow in the attic, mold may grow and plywood may delaminate and rot. Box vents can provide attic ventilation, but are prone to leakage and are unsightly. A ridge vent system provides better airflow than box vents and will not leak. It also gives your home a higher profile and a more attractive look.

What we recommend: Valentine Roofing will install a ridge venting system with every new roof.