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Weather Proof Your Roof: Five Must Ask Questions for Your Contractor

It may still be early in the fall but it’s never too early to start preparing your home for the winter. While you may not be ready for the arrival of snow and ice, the bigger concern is your roof prepared. With the recent uptick in severe weather, it s important to know how to keep a home protected from Mother Nature. The good news is that with the right contractor and the right products your home will stand up against winter’s extreme weather.

Here in the United States and beyond, extreme weather is the new normal, so the usual repairs are no longer an op- tion. Every home must be constructed to withstand wind-driven rain, snow, ice and everything else that Mother Nature brings. Therefore, it is critical to make sure your home is waterproofed properly to prevent future damage and costly repairs. Selecting an educated contractor and the proper construction materials now will make a big difference in the future of your home and bring you peace of mind.
So, how do you ensure you have hired the right pro and that your roof will stand up to this winter? Ask your contractor these five questions about snow and ice dam protection before they tackle your roof repairs:
1. If they are re-roofing, will they be using roofing underlayment’s?- The complete roof system consists of multiple layers—not just the shingles. Singles are the exterior layer and they are not enough to keep the water out. What makes the difference and protects your roof from water damage caused by ice dams is the roofing underlayment, which is installed underneath the shingles. Roofing underlayment’s perform many functions in a roofing assembly, but first and foremost, they serve as the last line of defense between homeowners and the damaging effects of water infiltration. Be sure your contractor uses quality waterproofing underlayment’s. While use of an underlayment is required by building code, there are multiple product types that can be used.
2. What type of Underlayment will they use?-The answer you want to hear is that y our contractor is using self-adhered underlay- ments, especially at the eaves and at the critical detail areas. Self-adhered membranes come in a roll form and consist of a layer of adhesive and surface material, usually either a non-skid film or a granular surface. Not all self-adhered underlayments ar ethe same. There is a wide cariation in quality and performance. Some seal around the fasteners used to attach the singles, which helps prevent the water behind an ice dam from leaking into your house.
3. What type of self-adhered underlayment will be used on your roof? Granular or Film—Surfaced? While granular-surfaced membraned usually cost less, the film-surfaced varieties are considered the higher performing product. In addition to forming better laps, shingles installed over a film-surfaced underlayment will not adhere to the underlayment surface. This means future roofing projects can be completed more easily and less costly.
4. On what parts of the roof are they planning to use the self-adhered membrane?-In cold weather regions they should certainly apply the membrane along the eaves and in all valleys on the roof. This is a basic requirement of the building code. Additionally, you can help your roofer protect other potential trouble spots by pointing out areas, where leaks have occurred in the past.
5. Can I install a self-adhered underlayment over the entire roof to avoid future leaks? -If the attic space is well ventilated, it is possible to cover the entire roof with self-adhered membrane. Your contractor will be able to advise if a full coverage with self- adhered membrane is a good choice for your home. With these answers you will ensure your roofer is using the best materials at the right places to prevent leaks from future ice dams.


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