Tough Roofing Questions Answered

It can be difficult to get answers about your roofing issue. Most people don’t have the number of a roofing company handy, nor do they feel comfortable calling people up to pick their brains.

And perhaps that’s as it should be. It’s hard to solve a problem without looking at the roof, and that costs time and money. But at the same time, advice given without full possession of the facts can steer you wrongly.

On the other hand, there’s nothing saying you can’t learn from other people’s situations. So with that in mind, we’re going to run a few questions from clients and hopefully they’ll go a little ways towards clarifying other roofing problems you might be experiencing.

Leaking Porch Roof

I bought a nice two-story 1920’s house with a newer (1960s) porch on the ground floor. Unfortunately, it’s leaking where the roof meets the wall of the house. Are there any options beyond reroofing the whole porch?

The short answer is yes. But no doubt you’d also like to know why.

The reason why is because water can be ridiculously inventive in finding a path to the ground. It would be extremely difficult to find where the water is getting in, because it’s often a long way from where it’s coming out, and not in a straight line.

Add that to the fact that you’re dealing with a 50-year-old addition. I’m sure the building has been through several re-roofs since then, but additions are always prone to problems. The most important thing to do is to make sure that the flashing is well-anchored under the siding of the adjacent wall. The flashing is very likely where the leak is coming from, and there’s no easy way to fix it than to install a new roof on the porch.

How Much Does Pitch and Sun Affect Shingle Longevity?

I’m looking at having a workshop built on my property. What’s the best pitch to use to get the most life out of the shingles?

All other things being equal, the pitch of the shed isn’t going to affect the longevity of your roof much. With two caveats: it can’t be too flat (don’t go less than a 4:12 pitch) and if it’s under a deciduous tree and will collect a lot of leaves, steeper is probably better. Unless you’re going to be diligent about keeping the leaves off it, they will harbor moisture and potentially cause problems.

But actually, the thing that damages shingles the most is the sun. The sunward side of a roof will wear out far faster than the other side. With that in mind, you may want to design either a lean-to roof with the high side facing south, or arrange for a gable end to face south.