When deciding whether to inspect your roof, do a repair, or walk on your roof for any other reason, there are several steps you can take to ensure your safety. These safety procedures are often overlooked, causing accidents that can affect a person and their family for years to come. However, if you invest just a small amount of time in the Bexar County area educating yourself of the potential dangers of your roof, you may avoid these incidents all together.
Homeowners seldom think about the roof over their heads until they encounter a roof leak problem. Then the question always comes up: should they get a tear-off (roof replacement) or just get a shingle overlay that just covers over the old roofing? A roof is comprised of four elements: the main roof, the eaves, the fascia board and the gutter. A house without eaves can cause as much water damage as a house without a roof
Roof valleys are a frequent source of leaks in older houses. Installation procedures differ depending on the roof type and materials used. We will look here at the basic installation of an open lead lined roof valley.
A roof valley is basically a gutter set between two meeting pitched roofs. Depending on the roof area it serves, the valley is the exit point for a large volume of water so extreme care should be taken with installation. If the roof has been leaking for a while or if there are any signs of rot, you will need to start by replacing the valley boards. Lead sheet is not self supporting and should be placed on treated roofing boards of sufficient strength to hold a large person. (Most roofing contractors are big guys!) Fit boards of sufficient width to accommodate the lead plus 100mm either side. This will give you something to nail the roofing batons to.
The top of the valley boards should be at the same level as the top of the roof rafters. If you lay the boards directly on top of the rafters it may cause the roofing tiles to kick up and restrict water run off. You will need to cut the valley boards to fit in between the rafters. Support the valley boards with studs or noggins. The valley should finish on an even plane at the eaves. It should not kick up higher than the bottom rafters. If it does, you will need to cut the fascia board or adjust the gutter to suit. It is a good idea to fit a tilting fillet each side of the valley. This angled strip of wood runs along the valley length and should be a minimum of 150mm from the centre of the valley. It should sit no higher than the roofing batons with the thinnest end closest to the centre of the valley.
It is common practice to fit a single sheet of roofing underlay the entire length of the valley. The adjacent roofing underlay will rest on top of this sheet. I recommend you use one of the new advanced synthetic underlay materials. The older bitumen based felts are fine for normal roofing situations but are not suitable for valleys. Over time the bitumen will bond the lead to the boards and restrict thermal movement. You should ensure you buy lead of a sufficient grade/code for valley applications. This should be between 1.80mm and 2.24mm thickness. If you are unsure ask your roofing merchant of the correct grade. The lead should be cut into sections no larger than 1.5 meters in length to allow sufficient thermal movement. Bend a welt into the lead 25mm each side. This acts as a last line of defence for water penetration. It also has the added benefit of stiffening the lead, which makes carrying it up the roof a lot easier.
Starting at the bottom of the valley, dress the lead neatly onto the valley boards and over the tilting fillets. The bottom of the lead should allow correct drainage into the gutter. Fix two rows of nails at the very top of the flashing. Use copper or stainless steel nails. Never use galvanised or aluminum nails which will just react with the lead and corrode. I recommend you use the minimum amount of fixing possible to hold the lead in place. If you over fix lead sheeting it will eventually split due to thermal movement. So don't nail the sides. When you have successfully dressed the first sheet you can move up the roof laying subsequent sheets. Overlap each sheet a minimum of 150mm. On lower pitched roof valleys you will need to increase the lap. Where the valley ends at the ridge, you will need to dress the lead so it can sit neatly under the ridge tiles. You are now ready to start fixing the batons and laying the roofing tiles. The key points to remember are to keep the sheet lengths down to 1.5 meters and don't over fix. If you follow the procedure outlined and take care with the dressing you will produce a durable maintenance free valley.
What is true when considering roof repair cost? Should you hire one roof repair company over another simply because the cost is less? Is it better to get estimates from 2 or three or ten contractors? How do you know who to trust. Big companies or smaller local companies? And most important, do you need a roof repair or will the damage cost much more than a fast in-and-out repair and lead to major renovations?
Unfortunately most home owners opt for the lowest price. Does this work? Yes, sometimes. You can receive some excellent service from small local roofing businesses. You can also receive excellent service from some of the big hitters, you know - the roofing companies that have been around for 80 years or more.
But true cost is not about age or size - it is about quality service, dedication, proven track record, excellent referrals (word of mouth goes a very long way), and finally the ability of the roof repair company to understand WHY your roof needs a repair in the first place!
Bottom line - if you really want to get excellent service, top-notch roof repair, fast and reliable service, you need to pay for it. If a roof repair business charges money to inspect problems on your roof so you can have your roof repair handled right, pay the cost of the initial visit to your home.
Think of it this way: A lessor roof repair company will not have the confidence to charge an upfront cost to visit your home because they do not value their time enough. And you will pay the cost anyway, one way or the other. Guaranteed. Be smart and don't short-change yourself. Pay for quality.