With a Calgary Winter just around the corner, it is still not too late to give your older roof a Fall ‘Tune-
Up’! Roofs past their prime often have loose flashings and vents which allows water and/or ice to creep beneath the protective roof covering. It is best to secure flashings & vents by removing any lifted nails and installing appropriate-sized screws. Skylights, chimney boxes, and fireplaces often have dried, cracked, loose, or missing caulking that can be removed (if still there) and replaced with fresh caulk. Loose, cracked, or missing shingles should be replaced; metal valleys should have the shingles lifted and resealed because caulk hardens with age and ‘breaks in the sealant’ can occur to allow water & ice to enter past the sealant barrier, and then not be able to find an exit.
Once this happens, a dirt trail is established which helps future water to more easily discover the entry into the valley and then onto the roof deck. Older shake roofs are particularly vulnerable to ‘age leaks’ because the oils in the felt that is installed with every course of shakes is ‘boiled’ or washed out over time, and the felt turns back into ‘water-absorbent-paper’. The felt disintegrates, and/or rots. As your shake roof breaks down and turns into much more ‘smaller sized shakes’, the ‘cracks-on-cracks on- cracks’ that now appear will allow water to pass through to the roof deck, and then into the attic.
Standard shakes are 24”, and are installed with 10” exposure, which means that there are nails through each shake at approximately 11” and 22”. Traditional shake roof repairs are affected by ‘removing old shakes and installing new shakes …however, while the nails at 11” high can be removed, but the ones 22” high cannot; therefore, roofers rip out the old shakes, and ram in the new shakes – destroying the felts protecting your roof and creating new cracks-on-cracks on- cracks in the process, which will eventually turn into leaks. A much better way to repair an old shake roof is to install 12” ‘shims’ in-between such crack-on-cracks, thereby retaining the integrity of the felt protection.
If you are cognizant of an ageing roof problem, but you’re not quite ready to replace it, an inexpensive ‘Tune-Up’ with a 5-year NO LEAK warranty might be a logical alternative, thereby extending the life of your roof. Have a good Winter and call ‘An Expert’.