A lot goes into the construction of a roofing system. Usually when a roof is old and damaged, a property owner doesn't notice it until there's a leak inside the building or visible damage to the outermost layer: the asphalt shingles. By then it is almost always the case that the entire roofing system needs to be replaced, because a roof is more than just a layer of shingles: it's a system of barriers that work together to protect a home from weather, ice, water, heat, sun, and more. When one of those barriers is compromised it means the entire roof is at risk. This article will provide some general knowledge on the various components of architectural asphalt shingle roofing systems so that you know how to evaluate the repair work suggested by your roofing contractor or, if there's an insurance claim for damages, your insurance adjuster.

Local Roof Repair Service or Full Roof Replacement?

These are two very different things. Any handyman or repairman can execute a simple roof repair, but this may not always be the best idea. Hanover PA roofing company JWE Remodeling & Roofing owner Jeff Erb warns that often times it is risky to just replace some shingles or patch a roof leak.

"If your roof is leaking, there is either significant damage or it is an extremely old roof - in either case, the best thing to do is replace the roofing system in its entirety. We are very clear with our customers that we cannot guarantee a repair will fully and adequately fix the issue. On the other hand, when we do a roof replacement and demolish the existing roof down to the roof deck, then we know that we are installing a full system of water barriers, leak protection, ridge vents, etc. and we are then comfortable backing this roof for 30 to 50 years: the same length of time the shingles are warranted by the manufacturer. When we do this, we know that our Pennsylvania and Maryland roofs are built to last". - Jeff Erb, JWE Remodeling & Roofing Contractors, Hanover PA

About half of the roofs in south-central PA and northern Maryland replaced by JWE are paid for by homeowners insurance. It is often the case that insurance companies will try to only pay for band-aid style roof repairs. Jeff Erb and his associated property damage insurance claims experts make sure that the insurance companies pay for the full replacement when it is needed. A full roofing system replacement always includes the following components. If your roofing contractor includes these components in your roofing scope of work, then you know you're dealing with a true roofing expert who is interested in installing the highest quality product.

Water & Ice Barriers: Important Parts of a Lifetime Roofing Systems

Under the asphalt shingles are important underlayment’s and seals that work to help protect your roof’s vulnerable areas.

Underlayment: Roofing Felt, Tar Paper or Synthetic

It used to be strictly felt paper or tar paper, but recently roofing manufacturers are using synthetic material as underlayment to sheath the plywood roof deck. This is an important part of protecting the roof deck from condensation and heat loss from within the building, so it also acts as insulation.

Ice and Water Shield & Drip Edge: Perimeter Barriers

These polymer-modified bitumen membranes protect the perimeter of the roof from ice and snow buildup. They are especially important in cold climates, where these membranes are sometimes called Ice and Snow Shield. Since most roofs melt from the ridge-down, the bottom edge of the roof are most vulnerable to being damaged from snow build-up, ice dams in the gutters, etc. Drip edge is a type of flashing that gets fastened to the edges of the plywood roof deck and helps facilitate water runoff from the rest of the roof, and channels water into gutters.

Ridge Ventilation: Vents and Caps

Most roofs are open at the top to allow heat to escape the attic. If your building doesn't have gable vents (vents on the siding towards the top of the peak of the building) then your roof probably has an open continuous roof vent system. The look is made complete with a cap-over-ridge system where matching shingles are "capped" over the metal/vinyl ridge vent for a more finished look.

Lifetime Architectural Asphalt Shingles & Starters

Finally, the lifetime-warrantied architectural asphalt shingles. These are far superior to 3-tab shingles in terms of both appearance and durability. In fact, JWE Remodeling and Roofing won't even install regular 3-tab shingles anymore. According to their owner, Jeff Erb, even when insurance companies only pay for 3-tab shingle replacements JWE provides the upgrade to architectural shingles for free. This includes starter shingles, too, which line the edge of the roof and help protect against blow-off from strong winds.

Conclusion: Look at the Details of Your Roofing Estimate

Go over the line items involved in the estimate from your roofing company. JWE of Hanover breaks down all the above components in the scope of work so their customers know exactly what they're getting. When you contact your roofer to schedule an inspection and estimate you can ask for their recommendations as far as replacing the current components and installing new ones. Don't settle for just simple repairs or adding a second layer of shingles. Make sure you're getting a full lifetime architectural asphalt shingle roofing system, and it'll be the last roof you ever need!

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.