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8919670 Home Repair Handbook

8919670 Home Repair Handbook



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Published by zzznow3819

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Published by: zzznow3819 on Dec 15, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Most homeowners don't pay muchattention to their roof until rain or melting snow starts to leak through it—thenit demands immediate action. But ifyou periodically inspect your roof, youcan correct minor problems beforethey become serious enough to causedamage.Understanding the structure ofyour roof (see below) is the first steptoward diagnosing possible problems.On the facing page, you'll find directions for inspecting your roof from theinside and outside. If your inspection indicates that repairs are necessary referto pages 31-38.CAUTION; Tile and slate roofs areextremely slippery, and the materialscan break easily; metal and plasticroofs also tend to be slippery. If yourhouse has one of these out-of-the-ordinary roofs, it's best to leave inspection and repairs to a professional roofing contractor.A roof protects a house from damageby the elements, especially water.Roofs are designed to shed water; theparts comprising a roof combine to direct water off the roof and away fromthe house.
Anatomy of a roof
A typical roof (see illustration at right)begins with a framework of rafterswhich supports a roof deck (sometimescalled a subroof) consisting of sheathing and underlayment. The roof deck,in turn, provides a nailing base for theroof surface material.
The roof deck.
Though the type of roofdeck used can vary depending on theroof surface material, most decks haveboth sheathing and underlayment.Sheathing, the material that provides the nailing base for the roof surface material, ranges from solid plywood to fiberboard to open sheathing(used with wood shakes).Sandwiched between the sheathing and the surface material is theunderlayment, usually roofing felt. Aheavy, fibrous black paper saturatedwith asphalt, roofing felt is thick enoughto resist water penetration from outside,yet thin enough to allow moisture frominside the attic to escape.
The roof surface.
The material on theroof must be able to withstand wind,rain, snow, hail, and sun. A wide varietyof roof surface materials is available—the different types are discussed atright and on pages 31-33.The surface of the roof is often broken by angles and protrusions, allof which require weatherproofing—usually provided by the flashing. Madefrom malleable metal or plastic, flashing appears as the drip edge along theeaves and rakes of a roof, the collarsaround ventilation and plumbing pipes,the valleys between two roof planes,and the "steps" along a chimney ordormer. Less obvious flashing also protects other breaks in the roof, such asaround some solar panels and skylights. At the roof edges, metal, wood,or vinyl gutters catch water runoff andchannel it to the ground via the downspouts, which direct water away fromthe house and into the soil.
Types of roofing materials
Roofing varies widely in size, shape,and material. Traditional sloping roofsare usually covered with overlappinglayers of asphalt shingles, wood shingles or shakes, or tile, though you canfind such roofs covered with slate, aluminum, or galvanized steel.Flat or low-sloping roofs are mostoften surfaced with alternating layers ofroofing felt and asphalt, with a layer ofgravel on top. These are known asbuilt-up, or tar-and-gravel, roofs. Someflat roofs are covered with insulatingPolyurethane foam.
It's a good idea to inspect and repairyour roof in autumn, before the hardweather hits. Then examine the roofagain in spring to assess whateverdamage may have occurred during thewinter. If you discover problems, makethe necessary repairs, following the instructions on pages 31-38.
Inspecting from inside.
Begin an inspection in the attic, using a strongflashlight, a thin screwdriver, a knife,and a piece of chalk to examine theridge beam, rafters, and sheathing.Look for water stains, dark-coloredareas of wet wood, moisture, and softspots that may indicate dry rot. Markthe wet spots with chalk so you can findthem easily later on.If it's necessary to remove fiberglass insulation batts to examine thesheathing, be sure to wear loose clothing, gloves, goggles, and a respiratorfor protection.Next, turn off any lights. If you seeany holes above you, drive nails orpoke wire through them so they'll bevisible from the roof's surface. (In awood shingle roof, small shafts of lightcoming in at an angle indicate cracksthat may swell shut when the shinglesare wet.)
Inspecting from outside.
When youexamine the roof from outdoors, evaluate the condition of the roof structure,surface material, flashings, eaves, andgutters.To check the roof structure, standback from the house and look at thelines of the ridge and rafters. The ridgeline should be perfectly horizontal, andthe line of the rafters, which you canassess by looking along the plane ofeach roof section, should be straight. Ifeither sags, call in a professionalcontractor—you may have a structuralproblem.Next, inspect the roof's surface.Before climbing up on your roof, besure to read the safety tips on page 30.If you're at all nervous about going upon the roof, make the inspection from aladder, using a pair of binoculars. Don'twalk on the roof any more than is absolutely necessary; you can easily causemore damage.Inspect the flashings for rust spotsand broken seals along the edges. Ifyou have metal gutters and downspouts, look for rust spots and holes.Then examine the roof surface forsigns of wear, loose or broken nails, orcurled, broken, or missing shingles.Use a knife and screwdriver to testthe boards along the eaves and rakes.Scrape out any damage caused by dryrot, treat with a wood preservative, andfill the holes with wood putty If the damage is extensive, replace the boards andfinish them to match the existing areas.Roof leaks usually appear duringstorms, when you can't make permanent repairs. But you can take somesteps to temporarily divert or halt theflow of water, as shown below.Generally leaks begin at a roof'smost vulnerable spots—at flashings,where shingles are damaged or missing, in valleys, or at eaves. Often, thewater shows up far from its point of origin after working its way through layersof roofing materials and down rafters tocollect in a puddle on the attic or bedroom floor.During a storm, trace the course ofwater from where it's dripping throughthe ceiling to where it's coming throughthe roof. Drive a nail or poke wirethrough the hole so you can find thehole later when you get up on the roof.Once the roof is dry enough,check it thoroughly looking for weakspots that indicate a source for the leak.Keep in mind that the point where a nailor wire is poking through may be belowthe actual source. Make permanent repairs as described on pages 31-33.

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