Albany NY Roofing Questions & Answers

Find the answers to all of your roofing questions here. The #1 website for roof repair and roof installation in Albany, NY.


Q. I have two layers of shingles on my house. Should I remove before installing a new roof?

A. If your roofing layers are compromised you will need to remove them. If the sheathing looks intact, you can apply a new layer of shingles over the old one; this will save you time and money. If done correctly, your new roofing layer will look as good as a totally new roof and last just as long. Before adding another layer to your roof, check with your local counties building codes. Generally counties allow two layers of fiberglass or organic shingles on standard pitched roofs, but some counties allow up to 3 layers on a roof with a steep pitch.

Q. How much attic and roof ventilation do I need?

A. To ensure energy efficiency and save money it’s important to have adequate attic and roof space ventilation.  Proper ventilation can help reduce ice damage and helps to extend the life of your roof.  The proper amount of ventilation needed is fairly simple to calculate. The industry standard states that for every 300 square feet of attic space you have, one square foot of intake ventilation and one square foot of exhaust ventilation will be needed. Run continuous intake soffit ventilation as well as continuous exhaust ridge ventilation for the best results.

Q. What causes icicles to form along the eaves & how can I prevent it from occurring?

A. Heat from the attic causes snow and ice to melt on your roof, the water then runs down the unheated eves and freezes up forming icicles. This is called ice damming and is quite common, especially in older roofs with steep slopes.  Ice dams and large icicles will form on a daily basis along a roof’s edge if the problem goes unfixed.  Ice which builds up under the shingles can damage a roof or home by causing leaks if no protective measures were taken upon installation. If left untreated ice can rip the gutters right off of a building. Another concern with ice dams is the damage they can cause to attic insulation. Moisture can leak into your attic compromising insulation and reducing the R-value of the insulation which can raise energy costs. Moisture can also leak into wall cavities, causing plaster and paint to peel, electrical boxes to rust, and other non rust proof metal surfaces to erode.

To prevent ice dams from forming and avoid causing home and roof damage there are a variety of measures that can be taken.  First, insure proper ventilation is available; this will help maintain the ambient air temperatures at the roof level and prevent snow and ice from thawing and causing damage to your home. Second, be sure to use heavy attic insulation as this will trap heat inside your attic and prevent it from melting ice or snow on the roof. Lastly, ice and water protection membranes can be installed into to the eaves & valleys of the roof will can help prevent damage. It will not treat the root of the problem, which is heat loss. Heat tape is also frequently used as a solution, but is rarely an effective long term solution.

Q. I’m thinking of changing my asphalt shingles color. I heard white shingles would reflect more heat than black shingles lowering the cost of my air conditioning bill. Is there a rating for heat absorbency?

A. It’s not as simple as that, it depends on if your roof is properly vented, and if it is, how well it is vented.  Darker shingles help to absorb heat and are believed to keep the house warmer in the winter. White or gray shingles can help to reflect heat and are thought to help cool the house in summer. It’s important to weigh all the different options and not to focus on just one season. Though there is some difference in absorbency rate between the two colors, each color has its benefits depending on the season.

Q. I just built a garage and want to install the roof underlayment. Do I need to install the shingles immediately after? Will it matter if it rains on the underlayment material?

A. if you’re planning on installing the singles in the immediate future, it won’t matter. However, if you are using standard tar paper and it gets rained on, you can see some problems.  The rain can cause the tar paper to buckle or wrinkle which can compromise the integrity of your roof. The safest bet is to hold off on applying tar paper if there is a risk of rain. A common misconception is that rain will damage roof sheeting. If left out in the rain for an extended period of time rain will damage roof sheeting, but it will be unharmed if left out in the rain for a few weeks. Any longer than that and you may start to see damage.

Q. Do I need to get my roof repaired immediately following a storm?

A. First check to see if your roof is leaking, if so get it repaired immediately, failing to do so can void any warranties you make have on your roof. If your roof isn’t leaking, you can wait to have it repaired, but don’t wait too long as your roof may deteriorate much quicker while damaged.  It’s highly recommended to get the work done as soon as possible to avoid potential complications.

Q. Woodpeckers are damaging my roof what can I do to stop them?

A. A number of options are available for protecting your from unwanted critters. Woodpeckers are often looking for insects in your roof, so spraying an insecticide to kill them can help deter woodpeckers. Another solution is to use hawk decoys, placing a decoy on the roof can often scare away woodpeckers. Bird repellent that is available at most home improvement stores can be used as well. The repellent works well to discourage woodpeckers from damaging your roof.  Be sure to test the repellent out on a small portion of your roof before applying, as it may discolor your roof. Lastly, woodpeckers can be scared off by noise. Clapping, banging pans or yelling can all work to drive woodpeckers away from your roof.

Q When should I replace my roof?

A. Roofs typically last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, though metal roofs generally have a longer life span. Replacement is necessary when shingles become torn, split or begin blistering. If the roof leaks, you need to address the problem, it may just need to be repaired or you may need a new roof. Contact your local Albany, NY roofing contractor to get a quote.

Q. What are metal edge strips and gravel stops? Why do I need them?

A. Gravel stops and metal edge stripping are used to seal off the edges of the roof. When properly installed they help to guard against wind damage. Additionally they prevent water from running under the roof and prevent gravel from washing away in adverse weather conditions.

Gravel stops should always be elevated away from the waterline if at all possible. Leaking can occur between broken joints in between metal pieces and should be checked periodically. Scupper cutouts can help in draining water over a metal edge, though interior drainage is generally recommended.

Q. How can I stop a leak until a roofing professional arrives?

A. First, you need to protect the interior of your home from any water damage. Collect water that is leaking in buckets and use plastic sheeting to help seal off the leak. When covering the leak, be sure to avoid covering the roof vents. Inspect the roof drains and scuppers to make sure they are functioning correctly. Drains and scuppers can become clogged and this may be the source of the leak. Determine where the leak is occurring within your house, if possible match up this location with the roof’s exterior surface. Placing a plastic tarp down or extra shingles on the roof in the leak area can prevent further water damage from occurring. Be sure to fasten your plastic tarp down so it doesn’t blow away. The leak can also be sealed with plaster for a temporary fix. Be sure to inspect flashing material as it may also be loose, replace the flashing if necessary. If the damage to the flashing is more severe, duct tape can help in sealing the area until a professional arrives.

Q.  What are some types of temporary or emergency roofing repairs?

A. There are a few different ways to repair a roof temporarily. First, plastic roofing cement can be used to seal a leak. It comes in both rain patch and wet patch grades. After clearing gravel and dirt away from the problem area, apply the roofing cement to the problem area and let it dry. Be Avoid using liquid and pourable repair products, they often don’t work very well and can prevent contractors from locating the source of the leak.

A second option is sealant and roof tape. These repair options are most effective on smooth surfaces. Clean the area with a household cleaner and remove any dirt or debris that may be present. Next, apply the sealant and let it dry. Lastly, duct tape can be used in a pitch. Locate the leak and place a few pieces of duct tape over the area. This method is only a temporary fix and is only recommended for PVC systems.

Q. What is flashing and do I need to use it?

A. Flashing is one of the most vulnerable parts of a roof. Flashing is a thin layer of waterproof material which helps to prevent water from leaking into places it shouldn’t be.  Flashing is very important to maintain in order to keep a water tight seal on your roof. Check your flashing periodically to assure it’s in proper working order.

Q. I have rust stains from the flashing around my chimney. How do I remove the stain without damaging the shingles?

A. Spray paint can be used to address this issue. Be sure to obtain a paint color chart and match the color of your shingles up with the correct spray paint color.

Q. How do I know if I have a roofing problem or flashing problem?

A. Roofing problems are often the result of a problem with flashings. Installing new flashing or repairing existing flashing can reestablish a watertight covering on the roof and prevent leaking or other damage to your roof. Many problems associated with flashing are simply from faulty construction or a bad design. Inspect roof flashings to make sure they are properly installed and provide adequate waterproofing.

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