There are few things as important to get right on a house as its roof, a building's most critical layer of defense against water, wind, and sun. From flashing to roof vents, and sheathing to shingles, this comprehensive project guide covers everything you need to install or repair a durable, weathertight roof on any home.
Tools and Materials
Tool up for any roofing job and learn how to choose the best materials for a long-lasting installation. This chapter begins with an overview of the full range of roof-covering options, from asphalt shingles to wood, metal, slate, and tile, and then guides you through the sometimes-confusing world of membranes and underlayments, vents and flashings. You'll find information on pneumatic nailers, the preferred tool for installing most roof coverings these days, as well as invaluable tips on handy helpers like shingle cutters and aviation snips.
Roof Replacement and Reroofing
Depending on the condition of the existing roof covering, you may need to tear off the old roof before installing a new one. Although you can save money in the short term by just going over what's there, in many cases it's best to strip the roof down to the sheathing and reroof from scratch. It may also be the code requirement where you live. And once you've removed the old covering, you may find you have to patch the sheathing if there's any rot or damage. Don't worry, you'll find all the advice you need in this chapter of the guide.
Roof venting is one of the most poorly understood aspects of building and remodeling. Get it wrong, and you may run into problems with ice dams or excessive energy losses. Get it right, and your house will be more efficient in any climate. But do you even need ventilation, and, if so, what's the difference between soffit vents, ridge vents, and gable vents? Let the pros provide the answers and lead you through every step of the installation process.
To state the obvious, one of the main functions of a roof is to protect the house against the weather—primarily, by shedding rainwater to keep the building dry. The parts of a roof that are particularly prone to leaks are the valleys formed where two roof planes intersect, or where the roof abuts a vertical surface such as a wall, a chimney, a skylight, a pipe, or a vent. Learn from the experts as they explain the right way to install underlayment and drip edge, and how to flash all the critical potential leak points.
Installing Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles are still by far the most popular roofing material in North America, and their quality is improving all the time. In this chapter, you'll learn how to estimate the amount of material you'll need to cover the roof, how best to lay out the roof, and how to install asphalt shingles (including four ways to shingle a valley). The guide also provides valuable information on windproofing your shingle roof so that it will withstand extreme weather conditions.
Installing Other Types of Roofs
Asphalt shingles aren't for everyone. Depending on the age and style of your house, a more traditional material like cedar shingles, slate, or tile might be more appropriate. And if you live in an extreme climate, your choice of roofing material might be somewhat narrower. In this chapter, we'll show you how to install the full range of non-asphalt roofing options, including metal roofing and the special challenges of low-slope EPDM roofs.
Roof Maintenance and Repair
A number of premium shingles come with extended (or even lifetime) warranties these days, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will never have to make repairs. Storm damage from a fallen tree, the natural aging of some roofing materials, or faulty installation in the first place can all take their toll. In this final section of the guide, our roofing pros will show you the telltale signs of roof failure to look out for and walk you through the process of replacing a shingle and repairing a roof valley, as well as less common tasks like replacing a damaged roof slate.