Does Your Roofer Sound Like They're Speaking Klingon?

Every industry has its own language. IT folks talk about bytes, RAM, and Unified Non-Linear Networks, while cell phone experts discuss things like 4GLTE, VOIP, and ARPU. If you’re an expert in those areas, you’d have no trouble understanding the industry lingo, but if not, you could feel like you’re listening to an alien from another planet, unable to really understand what’s going on (and sometimes feeling a little helpless).

And being a homeowner doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an expert in home renovation. For example, I know a certain guy who (ahem) blogs about roofing and is the proverbial “guy you put on tool restriction” whenever renovations take place (confession: I’ve never even been on my roof. I mean, why would I, right?).

So, since we believe roofing lingo (and the entire roofing process, for that matter) shouldn’t sound like Klingon, here’s a handy guide that will help you talk-the-roofing-talk when speaking with your contractor. It could also help you avoid making a costly mistake when deciding which contractor you’ll entrust your roofing project to.

Ventilation - This refers to the ratio of cool air, or “intake”, coming into the attic, to warmer air, or “exhaust”, exiting. Have you ever seen roof shingles that looked ‘curled’ or even burnt? This is a sign that there is a hazardous imbalance in the intake/exhaust ratio of the home’s ventilation system. Poor ventilation can reduce the longevity and effectiveness of a new roof system, forcing you to replace it much sooner — and at a much higher cost. Always have your ventilation checked and invest in correcting it, if needed. It will pay off in the long run! Learn more about ventilation here.

Ridge Vent - This refers to a common type of ventilation exhaust system for your roof. Not all roofs are candidates for ridge vent and there are many types of ventilation exhaust systems available. Whatever the system, ventilation is a critical component in ensuring the longevity of your roof.

Ice and Water Shield - This is the material placed in all valleys and penetrations of your roof, some of the places most likely to leak. It’s designed to prevent water from leaking onto, and rotting out, your decking. Like Ron Burgundy, it’s kind of a big deal. Watch the "Leak Test" here!

Underlayment - Also known as ‘felt’, this is a layer of protection that is placed over the decking. In today’s day and age, underlayment is typically a synthetic material designed to prevent moisture from penetrating into the decking. But not all underlayment is created equal - watch the "Tear Test" here!

Class IV IR Shingle - The “IR” (Impact Resistant) refers to it’s impact resistant qualities. Are all IR shingles created equal? Yes; no matter who the manufacturer, the Class IV rating is based on testing standards of the Underwriting Laboratories (UL). A home with IR shingles is looked upon favorably by insurance companies and can even result in reduced premiums.

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