Click 'Ask The Experts' to read articles I wrote for the Calgary Herald 2012 Home Renovation Projects & Maintenance. 

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14808 Parkland Blvd S. E. Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2J4X7
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Roofing Calgary: Tips To Ensure Your Roof Will Never Leak! 

1. Install a Complete Underlayment Before Having the Shingles Installed.

The most valuable proactive tip is to ensure that a good underlayment is properly installed and tested prior to the shingle installation. The best underlayment is an elastomeric, self-adhering Water/Ice membrane that will seal around the shaft of each nail or staple used during the shingle installation. These 36" or 42" wide rolls self-adhere to the deck as you walk in front and pull the release backing off from the underside of the membrane. The roof deck should be free of dust & debris, and all of the old nails should be pulled or nailed down. Any rotted decked should be fixed. Skylights should be correctly incorporated into the membrane as per skylight manufacturer directions.

2. Install Eaves and Rake Metal Protective Edging Along the Roof Perimeter.

The second most valuable tip is to have installed a good metal edge protection around the perimeter of the roof prior to the underlayment installation. This protects the deck from driven rain getting underneath the shingles and causing a future rotting deck problem; it also guides the runoff into the gutter at the eaves. Vinyl edging sometimes buckles and cracks. My fifty-plus years in the roofing business has proven to me that this properly installed combination of perimeter protection and underlayment protection will keep your roof dry even through countless workmanship deficiencies, unless the shingle installer purposely cuts or damages the underlay.

3. Install New Roofing Replacement Vents and Flashings With the New Roof.

The third valuable tip is to have new vents and flashings installed wherever possible with the underlayment before the underlayment goes through its 60-90 day testing period. The exception to flashing replacement is where flashings cannot be replaced because they are also behind stucco, siding, brick, or stone; but, if immoveable flashings are damaged a 'fix' should be resolved by installing 'cut down flashings' that can be inserted between these immoveable flashings. It is very important to use the proper sealants when incorporating this underlayment with flashings and/or vents. Manufacturer and distributor suggestions regarding this important procedure are all too often ignored.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why would a complete roof underlayment make a difference?

When a proper underlayment is correctly done the roof is impervious to damage from wind and rain, and a good testing period should ensue prior to the permanent installation of the shingles. Some times when it is too cold for the membrane to self-adhere special fasteners can be used; then, when it warms up (even months later) the membrane will still self adhere and the mechanical fasteners won't pose a problem.

  • Do we know this as a fact, or are we just guessing about this?

When I worked with Seal Roofing in Hollandale, Florida during the early nineteen seventies, this was the standard area procedure in order to allow Inspectors to check for termite damage prior to new roof installation. Often hurricanes and bad weather would occur, and months would go by before the new roof was installed. Rarely there was a problem. Seal Roofing used a double-felt underlayment with mechanical fasteners; but today's elastomeric membranes are far superior to the felt underlayment of that time.

  • Why not just rely on a roofing company to make this decision?

In 1957 Calgary, when I started on my roofing career, there were less than a dozen roofing companies. Apprentice roofers were expected to work with an experienced roofer for at least two years. The established companies did new roofs and the seasonal reroofs were worked into the mix. Roofers worked year-round, and stayed with their employers for years. Companies warranted their work for the life of the product. Today, there are more than two hundred roofing companies in Calgary. Very few roofing companies offer a lifetime warranty and most roofers seldom stay with an employer for more than 6-8 months. The scrutiny of a roofer's experience and ability is often covered in the question "How long have you been roofing?", and ends with the standard response of "A few years." Roofers are usually paid as sub-contractors, and when the re-roofing season is over, they are gone and the company must stand behind their workmanship. Most companies give their customers 2-5 years to find the workmanship deficiencies. We are one of the few companies offering customers a lifetime warranty, we don't hire sub-contractors, and we encourage long term employment.