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Maxwell: June is a good time to plan for a new roof

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Q: What should I keep in mind as I make arrangements to have my roof reshingled? I’m hoping you can help me to make the right choices regarding shingles and underlay. Our current roof was done with 25-year shingles but they’ve failed completely after just 14 years. I want to do better this time.

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A: June is an excellent time of year to have your roof re-shingled because there’s enough outdoor heat to promote the sealing of shingles (with the promise of plenty more summer heat coming up), but not so hot that shingles become overly soft and easily damaged during installation. Underlay, shingle choice and application details are the three factors that matter most when it comes to a new roof. These days many roofers don’t apply any underlay before shingles go down, but that’s just laziness. Insist that underlay be installed over the roof deck; ideally, the kind meant to shed liquid water but allow water vapour to travel through and dry off. If for no other reason, underlay provides a second layer of protection in the event that shingles get torn off in a storm. Without underlay, your bare wooden roof deck will be exposed to the weather and will be able to shed nothing.

It sounds like the shingles you had installed last time were one of those brands that sold defective products a while back and were sued because of it. I have no reason to recommend GAF shingles except that I’ve never seen anything other than solid, stable, long life from them. A shingling friend of mine has installed 1,000 bundles a year for 15 years and has never seen or heard of any issues with GAF. If I were shingling my own roof, this would be one brand I’d choose.

When it comes to application details, non-technical homeowners need to rely on the experiences of others. Ask for and check at least three references from at least three homeowners who have had work down by the roofer you’re considering. If a roofer has been in the business more than five years and you hear glowing reports from previous customers, you‘ve probably got someone worth hiring.

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Leaky Cold Room Fix

Q: What can I apply to the inside of my basement cold room to stop water from coming in? There are droplets of water on the ceiling and running down the walls, especially during cold winter weather. We can’t store food in the cellar.

A: Modern basement cold rooms almost never work the way they’re supposed to for food storage and water is often partially to blame. Two kinds of water, actually. The droplets you saw during winter were almost certainly caused by condensation from the air as it came in contact with the overly cold masonry ceiling surface. With no soil cover over the porch floor up above, the ceiling of your cold room gets way too cold in winter.

In addition to dampness and moisture on the ceiling, you probably see frost sometimes during very cold weather too, right? The solution is to add the right type and the right quantity of insulation to the ceiling of your cold room. Go to baileylineroad.com/21262 for a detailed download that explains everything you need to do to make a modern cold room actually work.

Liquid water leaks from the surrounding soil and coming through the masonry of the cold room are another potential source of moisture. This is most likely to occur near the top of the walls and ceiling, but leaks can happen anywhere. The best waterproof paint I know of is called Drylok. It needs to go onto bare concrete that’s dry and room temperature, but it does work well if you put it on correctly.

Steve Maxwell has a lot of respect for well-built roofs. Visit BaileyLineRoad.com and join 32,000 people who look forward to his free Saturday morning email newsletter each month.

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