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Quality Roof Details

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Roof Installation in Progress

A lot of folks think that a roof is a “no brainer” when it comes to design and installation.  The thought being, you just hire a good roofer and the rest will take care of itself.  Well, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In reality, there are many different parts that make up a good looking, defect free roof.  And if you’re not careful when planning your new home’s roof design, you may create defects that will haunt you for years.

The photo above was taken last week of a home having a new roof installed in Colorado.  There are several bad design features in this roof that made me stop and take a picture to share with you.  From ugly vents on the front of the home, to potential leak problems, this roof could use a makeover…not just new shingles.  Let’s take a look at some of the items you will want to consider with your new home’s roof.

Snow Effects

If you are building a home in a climate that has the potential for heavy snow, you will want to avoid a roof design that will trap ice and snow.  The area where two roof planes meet is called a valley.  If you look at the valley in the center of the picture, you see a flatter area where the roof planes meet.  Experienced builders will tell you this valley will have a tendency to hold the snow in place…even after it begins to melt.  The good news is they are installing a rubber underlayment on the entire roof to help prevent leaks.  The bad news is the roof design will trap snow that could eventually cause leaks and early deterioration of the roofing materials.

Ugly Vents

The photo above was taken from the front of the home.  You can’t see the rest of the building, but I can tell you it’s a very, very nice custom home.  The big ugly vents installed on the front side of the roof detract from an otherwise great design.  These big, metal pipes are b-vents that carry carbon monoxide from the furnaces and or hot water heaters to the exterior of the home.

In most cases, these vents can terminate to the backside roof plane with some minor adjustments.  If your heating and air conditioning contractor tells you this isn’t possible, you may want to look for alternatives appliances.  Both furnaces and hot water heaters can be power vented to allow the termination in a less conspicuous location (i.e. an outside wall).

One other note regarding the vents coming up through the roof…you want as much separation as possible from the valleys.  Looking at the right vent in the photo, we see it has a couple feet separation from the bottom of the valley.  We don’t want large amounts of water to be directed toward openings in the roof as it increases your leak potential.  So keep any roof penetrations a good distance away and up slope from the path of the water coming down the valleys.

It’s Not All Bad

The best thing about the roof installation in the photo is the rubber material they are installing under the shingles.  This underlayment seals up the roof surface to help prevent damage from melting ice and wind driven rain.  Talk to your roofing contractor to see what options are available along with the associated costs.

Michael Luckado

Michael Luckado has built, remodeled, and repaired thousands of homes across the U.S. He co-founded ArmchairBuilder.com to help people save money and time creating their dream home.

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