Myths about Roofing

The roof over your head protects you and your family from the elements. Knowing what to expect from your roof and how to properly maintain it will help save you from roofing emergencies that might cost you a lot of money. When it comes to your roof, preventative measures go a long way in warding off disaster. With all the information about maintaining your roof, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

Myth # 1 – Shingles do the waterproofing for your roof.

A roof is made of five main components – covering, sheathing, structure, flashing, and drainage. The most visible part of the roof is the shingles. Shingles are designed to shed water, not protect the roof’s structure from water damage.

When someone refers to “sealing the shingles” (asphalt roofing systems) often homeowners think that this means that once sealed, the shingles protect the roof from the effects of moisture. “Sealing the shingles” actually means the tar strip on the underside of an asphalt shingle has been activated so that it “melts” onto the shingle beneath it to prevent the roofing tiles from being lifted by the wind.

The sheathing or roof deck protects the structure from the elements. Before shingles or roofing tiles are attached, the decking is covered with an underlay membrane that acts as a protective shield (waterproofing) against any water infiltrating the shingles.

 Myth #2 – The roofing system is separate from everything else.

It is a mistake to think of your roof as an independent system separate from the other interior (e.g. attic ventilation) and exterior systems (e.g. the gutters) of your home. All systems must work together if your home is to function optimally, keeping it warm, safe, and dry.

The same can be said of the roof and the gutters. Many homeowners view the gutter system as something entirely separate from the roof. In reality, they must work together to create an efficient drainage system that keeps water out. For example, when the gutters aren’t well-maintained, they can leak or overflow, causing roofing issues.

Myth #3 – Brands of roofing material type are similar to each other.

Common roofing materials include clay, metal, asphalt, and tile. A clay roof is different in appearance than an asphalt roof. But even within the same type of roofing material, brands and manufacturing techniques can vary. In short, for example, not all asphalt shingles are the same. Textures, colours, and thickness differ from one manufacturer to another, impacting its effectiveness as a roofing material for your local climate, style of home, etc. Some manufacturers offer asphalt shingles with specific features such as tar strips, more UV granules for added protection against the sun, or mold-resistant finish for roofs in wet climates.

Myth #4 – Absence of leaks means the roof is fine.

The fact that there are no leaks or the roof has never sprung a leak in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that the roof is fine. Leaks often take months, even years, to become visible because it is often difficult to determine where they start.

The absence of leaks isn’t a good measuring stick of roof health. Keep in mind that leaks are only one kind of problem a roof can experience. This is one of the main reasons annual roof inspections are a good investment – sometimes only a professional roofing contractor can tell you if any part of your roof needs repairing or replacing.

Myth #5 – Roofing warranties are all the same.

Unfortunately, all roofing warranties are not all the same. Sometimes, homeowners get taken by surprise because they think they are fully protected when something goes wrong, only to find out that they will have to pay labour costs to get the roof replaced or repaired.

Many roofing warranties come with restrictions or stipulations that, when not adhered to, can void the warranty. To avoid unexpected expenses, make sure you understand what your roofing warranty will and will not cover and any conditions you have to meet (e.g. have the roof professionally inspected once a year) in order to maintain the warranty’s validity.

Myth #6 – Anyone with basic DIY skills can do minor roof repairs.

Most do-it-yourselfers know the limits of their DIY skills. While they might understand that installing a new roof or replacing an old one should be done by expert roofing contractors, they might think they can handle minor roofing repairs. As mentioned above, some roofing problems are only visible to roofing professionals who know what to look for and how to repair them.