A residential property could have triple-reinforced titanium steel walls and it still wouldn’t be worth a darn without a sturdy roof. It’s through the latter that many problematic elements can enter a building, from wind to rain to ice to debris. And because of that, the roof must be adequately fortified and properly maintained, lest the integrity of the building – along with resident safety and property value – suffer.
Basics for Beginners
A novice with no roof-working experience nor time spent as a roof owner may justifiably know not where to begin in regard to taking care of one. Fortunately, there are myriad experts – from property managers to A/E/C professionals to trades persons who solely work on roofs – who can set them on the right path.
“A roof should be inspected every few years,” says Frank Sausa, Vice President of Altura Construction Company Inc., in Garfield. “If a leak gets severe enough, a homeowner’s ceiling can literally collapse. The most common cause of leaks that we see is when the rubber boot around plumbing vents deteriorates. Additionally, we often conduct repairs around chimneys, skylights and valleys, utilizing shingles, GAF, leak barrier ice and water shield, synthetic paper, step flashing, counter flashing, and, most importantly, kick-out flashings.”
Between formal inspections by a roofing professional, associations should be doing routine maintenance on their own. “Inspection of roofs should be part of the basic building maintenance and reviewed at a minimum of a few times per month, especially during and after heavy rains or snow,” says Dennis P. DePaola, Executive Vice President of Orsid Realty Corp., in New York City. “Not only should the roofing surface, pitch pockets and flashings be checked, but the floor below should be looked at as well in order to catch even the smallest amount of water infiltration as early as possible, before any major damage occurs.”
Of course, roofs are not ‘one size fits all,’ and there are variables that pertain to maintenance scheduling. “The age of the roof totally depends on the materials used,” notes Cindy Petrenko, Owner of Complete Property Management Services LLC, in Vernon. “Roofing shingles have different warranties ranging from 10 to 30 years. There are other products, such as clay, which is mainly used out west, or slate, which was more popular years ago, that can still be utilized. Then there are ‘flat’ roofs, with materials of torched rubber. And the pre-installation preparation, as well as the installation itself, have a big impact on the roof.”