Some thoughts for those homeowners considering a new roof. A basic overview.
I cannot remember seeing this before. I had noticed it from the ground, but as I climb up onto the roof for this home inspection, I notice that the wood shakes had been painted white. The paint was only sticking to a few places now, giving the roof a spotty look. The white would have reflected the sun’s rays, so it would have made the home cooler, but the color was going to eventually need to be repainted.
As I am driving to another neighborhood, I notice that many are trying to move away from the composite shingle roof to give their homes a better look. One solution was to stain the wood shingles green may have been a better solution for the white painted roof. Stain seeps into the wood, so it would last longer. One of the more interesting roofs was a chocolate brown tile. Clay tile roofs typically take a Spanish colonial feel in Houston with a reddish brown coloring. I even saw a homeowner who had poured asphalt over the roof with pebbles embedded into it, which is used for flat roofs, but his had a pretty good pitch.
Seeing these variations, I thought that if you are considering a new roof, you should have this information to help understand what your roofing options are. First, you will need some definitions/explanations. A “new roof” means that the sheathing over the frame has been replaced, as well as a new roof covering. The sheathing could be plain plywood or another sheet material. If you wish to improve the energy efficiency of your home, you should go for a sheathing that has an insulation on the side facing into the attic. This can make the attic a good deal cooler. It is a silvery foil material, but there is a paint version. I would be wary of anyone suggesting OSB board. Oriented strand board is being used more in home construction, and the material is inexpensive and strong, but if it soaks up water, it can swell. You can attach new shingles over existing covering, but you will not want to do this more than once. This practice is fine, but it adds weight to the framing. This added weight is transferred down through the walls of the home, so the damage can be to the framing and interior wall coverings (think cracks in the sheetrock). The next term that you should familiarize yourself with is “pitch”. This describes the incline of your roof. The greater the pitch of your roof causes water to flow off of it faster. The pitch is determined by how the roof is framed, so to increase your pitch, you will need to reframe the roof. The pitch also determines which material you can place on the roof for a covering. There is a tool to determine pitch, but you can do this yourself with a ruler and tape measure. This would be more accurate with a square, but you can obtain a close number by the following method. Take a foot long ruler, and hold it against the roof straight out, as level as you can. At the foot mark, use the tape measure to measure down to the roof, and not this distance. Many roofs will have around 2 1/2”. Your pitch will be 12: 2 ½ , which means 12 inches to 2 ½ inches, or you could say for every foot your roof goes up 2 ½ inches.
After knowing the pitch, and the difference between a new roof and a new roof covering, you can determine the material. Seeing that this post could become too long, I thought it better to refer you to some other posts on the topic of roofing on this site. I did think that staining wood shakes or shingles a light color is a clever means to accomplish a specific look, while helping to cool the house. Dark colors will absorb the heat from the sun, so you may want to look at finding a way to fit a light colored roof covering into your house’s style. Here are the posts: evaluating a roof written for real estate investors; and I just moved this post over from my other blog, which looks at signs that you may need a new roof.
For more articles about concerns with a roof, you can go to Roof Inspections in Houston page for more articles.