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Handyman Hints: From under the roof, to what's on top – The Kingston Whig-Standard

Having settled your attic’s ventilation issues by inserting attic vents along the perimeter, while taking advantage of having a few younger legs up there to top off your existing insulation levels with another 12 inches of fiberglass pink, where do we focus our attention next?
I would suggest having a look at your roofing shingles. Essentially, if they’ve been victim to ice dams for the past several winters, and have been further unsettled by an inconsistent attic environment, then they’ve been traumatized.
How bad is this trauma? Pretty bad – Maple Leaf supporter bad – and if you haven’t talked to a member of that fan base community lately, well I tell ya, they’re in pretty rough shape.
So, what does a traumatized shingle in need of replacement look like? Basically, asphalt shingles, or more exactly ‘fiberglass’ shingles, due to today’s asphalt shingle having a fiberglass matting, as opposed to the original ‘organic’ asphalt shingle, which had a felt type of paper weave as its base, are designed to lay flat.
As a result, if you’re shingles are lifting up as the edges, if they’ve curled, developed a wave, or are laying in a position that would be described as anything other than flat, then you’ve got a potential problem. Other signs of trauma would be missing shingle tabs, shingles displaying cracks in their granular surface, or shingles lacking in granular surface altogether.
Shingle discolouration? When airborne algae land on a shingled roof that is often wet and covered in shade for much of the day, black streaks, indicating these organisms are not just stopping by for a visit but have essentially taken over the neighborhood, are the result.
Good news regarding roof algae? It’s like getting a bad haircut, which means it only looks lousy, not really affecting the owner’s general performance. The bad news to algae? It’s like getting a bad haircut, waiting for it to grow out a bit, only to receive a second bad cut, keeping you in a perpetual state of bad hair days.
In other words, algae growth isn’t something that just goes away. Some homeowners don’t seem to mind having algae or its distant cousin moss, growing on their shingles. This could be mostly due to these organisms being such a nuisance to get rid of, or simply because the heavier moss patches are a convenient reminder to the neighbourhood as to which way is north.
Then of course there’s the shingles’ age, which, if they’re approaching 20-plus years, might suggest judgment day isn’t so far away.
The misleading aspect to roofing shingles is they can look really bad, but still be protecting the home. However, and just like you shouldn’t wait for your tires to bald and then blow to pieces while driving along the highway before deciding to replace them, you probably shouldn’t wait for spotting on the ceiling before calling your local roofer.
Therefore, if your attic is at an age, and at the point where it needs some modifications regarding ventilation and the recommended insulation boost in order to bring it into the 21st century, then it may be very well the time to replace your roofing shingles. Plus, if intake vents were lacking in the attic, you can be assured your exhaust venting is most likely in need of replacing or modification as well.
With older shingles being not so malleable, and as a result not so receptive to being cut or folded back in order to insert a new venting mechanism, in most cases it’s simply best to install new shingles, completing the attic and roof changeover, effectively protecting the home for the next 20-plus years.
If you haven’t shopped for roofing shingles in a while, well— it’s kind of like the Maple Leafs’ playoff success:, there have really been few changes in the last 50 years.
Other than the aforementioned matting conversion, which changed the definition of the shingle from ‘organic’ to ‘fiberglass’, the recipe regarding the shingles granular surface is relatively unchanged.
Next week, more on asphalt shingles.
Good building.
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