Looking for roofing information? Class is in!

With all the class action suits being directed towards the asphalt roofing industry, one might wonder what the heck is going on.

Now, is there a real concern regarding the future of asphalt shingles? In a nutshell, no, there is no concern. And, before we all fall into despair, since 90 ;ercent of the homes in Cornwall and area have roofs covered with asphalt shingles, know this. There are presently class action suits against Crayola, whose washable colored bubble mix is apparently about as washer friendly as lead paint, and Reebok, whose easy tone shoes don’t actually tone the body, unless you run in them like any other fitness shoe, and Vita Coco, the makers of a coconut water sports drink, as well as a slew of others.

I was quite shocked by the Vita Coco accusation, since for the longest time I’ve been depending on the magical, revitalization powers of the coconut, keeping a few of them in my hockey bag, cracking them open with my skate, then drinking that god awful liquid before hitting the ice with the oldtimers. Apparently, the Vita Coco people were somewhat overstating the rejuvenating contents of its drink.

Needless to say, in this world of communication and legal networking, class action suits are as common as popcorn at the local theatre. However, we can’t dismiss the fact that a lot of asphalt roofs have worn and failed prematurely. When that happens, compensation from the manufacturer is certainly deserved.

The present day class action suit deals primarily with roof failures relating to organic asphalt shingles, which were a felt backed product that ceased being produced in 2010. Today’s asphalt shingles are referred to as fiberglass shingles, because of the fiberglass weave that’s since replaced the felt. What we do know is that asphalt shingles, when properly installed under the right conditions, are the best value, and offer the best protection against our harsh, four-season climate.

When I travel, I look at roofs, and get quite envious of the ceramic, slate, and clay tile roofs found in those warmer parts of the world. And, there’s no doubt those products would look spectacular on our homes. But, they wouldn’t last two seasons without crumbling. Cedar shakes? Beautiful, but extremely costly, while being very prone to developing algae and mold. And, with cedar’s irregular surface, good luck finding, or repairing, a leak. Steel roofing? Great option, but with labor included, becomes three to five times the cost of asphalt shingles. Plus, steel roofs don’t last forever, and are subject to the same poor performance issues as asphalt if the substrate materials aren’t adequate, or the installation is performed by someone other than a professional.

So, we’re left with good ol’ asphalt, a product that’s been protecting Canadian homes for over 100 years.

Three key points to remember about today’s fiberglass asphalt shingle. One, they have to be installed on spruce plywood, or an approved OSB roofing product, along with a layer of synthetic underlay underneath. Therefore, if you’ve got a boarded roof, cover it with a 3/8″ spruce plywood. Installing fiberglass shingles directly on a boarded roof will eventually have you joining the class action people. Two, if your roofer is suggesting you save on dumping charges by installing your new shingles over the existing ones, kick him in the nail pouch. Today’s fiberglass shingles require an absolutely smooth and solid surface, something only plywood, not 1X8  planking, and certainly not an existing 20 year old shingle, can provide. Furthermore, leaving the old shingles in place adds about 4,300 pounds to the truss load, basically equivalent to parking a 1970 Pontiac Bonneville on the roof once the job’s done. Finally, choose a Maxivent unit as your roof’s means of exhausting air, with continual soffit venting as the intake. In order for an attic to be effectively vented, which in turn will provide a consistent environment for your plywood underlay, you need adequate intake and exhaust venting.

Good roofing.

As published by the Standard-Freeholder
Handyman's Hints Standard-Freeholder Cornwall Ontario by Chris Emard

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