Roofing, Siding and Gutters

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Roofing, Siding and Gutters

A roof is your first line of defense against the elements and as such, it should be completed as quickly as possible when constructing a new home. That way, other unfinished work below the roof can be protected from being damaged before construction is completed.

When deciding on what sort of roof is best for your home, you must factor in the climate and weather of your area - a steeper pitch will shed rain and snow quickly, and be less prone to leakage. However, it will also have more surface area, making it more expensive, and be more dangerous to climb on for maintanence purposes. A lower pitched roof will offer less wasted attic space and cost less to build. If you wish to retain snow on your roof for insulation purposes, a lower pitch is the way to go.

Aside from pitch, you'll want to consider the roof style, whether you'd prefer a simple gable roof or a more intricate roof with various intersecting planes. Remember - more surface area equals more initial cost.

Speaking of cost, quality roofing materials should be invested in up front. Cheap shingles or shakes not only look less attractive, they'll deteriorate over time. The cost of down the line reshingling and maintenance is best avoided by investing in superior materials at the outset. Whether you go with traditional asphalt, fiberglass, slate, metal or wooden shakes, make sure you get the highest quality that will fit in your budget, and that they are properly installed to avoid wind damage or water infiltration.

Ventilation is an important factor in keeping a roof healthy over time. A poorly ventilated roof is susceptible to rotting, mildewing and warping. Soffits and other vents can keep enough air flowing to insure the long-term integrity of your roof.

Flashing and sealing are other important components to keeping your roof watertight, especially around joints, chimneys, and other breaks and obstructions. Be sure to employ a saddle or other double flashing around chimneys and other obstructions that may collect leaves and debris.

A well-constructed roof does little good without a system to divert and drain water to a desired location. Your gutters should be equipped to handle more water than you think they'll need to. They should also have removable screens to prevent leaves, branches and even nests from accumulating and impeding water flow. Screens also make cleaning much easier - anyone who has ever mucked out several seasons worth of buildup knows this.

For colder climates, consider corrugated downspouts - they can expand when frozen without being damaged. When thinking about your downspouts, you may wish to divert some rainwater into a rain barrel for use in outdoor watering.

Many homes employ some sort of siding, whether wooden, aluminum or vinyl.

Aluminum is a sturdy, easy-to-maintain choice. It should, however, be backed by a reinforcing layer to prevent denting. Vinyl is more resilient, and won't show evidence of scratching due to the color of the material being molded thorough the entire siding panel. Both vinyl and aluminum can be shaped to have the appearance of the third major siding option, wood.

Wood can be employed in the form of shingles, shakes, horizontal or vertical siding. Virtually any type of wood can be made into siding, and hardboard and plywood are also practical options. Unlike vinyl and aluminum, wood will require regular maintenance, weatherproofing and possible painting, and is susceptible to pests, rot and disfiguration. However, you may find that the classic beauty of wood outweighs these potential drawbacks.