FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common cause of roof leaks?
There are eight common causes of roof leaks which include:
- Nail Pops
- Old Metal Ridge Vents
- Chimney Damage
- Poor or Improperly Installed Flashings and Skylights or Chimneys
- Storm Damage (wind or hail)
- Old Age
- Misinstalled Shingles
- Missing Drip Edge or Starter Shingles
Can a misinstalled roof cause leaks?
- Improperly Nailed Shingles
- Wavy Shingle Rows
- Incorrectly Installed Flashing
- Exposed Nails
- Improperly Installed or Missing Starter Shingles
Can you replace flashing without replacing a roof?
Yes. You can reflash skylights, valleys, chimneys, walls, and pipe boots without a complete roof replacement. Replacing flashing without replacing a roof depends on the roof age and condition of the surrounding shingles.
It’s also important to note that if your shingles are discontinued you may have trouble finding the correct sizes to mate new shingles to old, please read the manufactures recommendations for the shingle on your roof. Even if the shingles on your roof are not discontinued, they may not match. Be more aware of shingle match in more prominent and visible areas of your home.
Are roof leaks covered by homeowners insurance?
Yes, roof leaks are covered by homeowners insurance if caused by storm damage such as wind or hail. Check with your insurance policy to make sure there are no exclusions regarding your roofing.
Interior damage to things like drywall or flooring is always covered by insurance, but roof damage is only covered if caused by a storm.
Can you caulk a roof leak?
Yes. You can usually seal a minor roof leak by caulking over the top of shingles or by gently removing the shingle and then sealing holes or penetrations underneath. Many of the adhesives can be face seal the shingles as well.
You can typically select either a polyurethane or silicone roofing caulk, but first, check your shingle manufacturer's specifications as some discourage using silicone caulking to seal leaks.
Should I repair my roof or replace my roof?
In many instances a roof or its components can be repaired. Holes, failing flashing around chimneys, gutter problems, and bad pipe vent boots are often the cause of a leak. And they can all usually be repaired.
Every roof has a "life." The life of your roof is "how long it should last under normal conditions." If you have an older roof, OR if your shingles or metal are failing in several places, your roof probably needs to be replaced.
And then there is the case of storm damage. Wind, rain, debris, trees can all cause major damage to a any roof. Knowing whether to repair or replace a roof with catastrophic damage will require a professional evaluation. If you choose us, we'll also help you with communicating necessary technical details to your insurance agency.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of roofing?
The most common types of roofing are asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and tile roofing. Asphalt shingle roofing is the most popular type of roofing because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Metal roofing is more expensive than asphalt shingles, but it is also more durable and can last for many years. Tile roofing is the most expensive type of roofing, but it is also the most durable and can last for centuries. Another roof type is slate roofing, which is a premium roof system made primarily out of natural slate tiles. The most inexpensive is roll roofing, which works well for utilitarian structures such as sheds, shops, barns, garages, and most types of outbuildings. Wood roofing is perhaps the oldest type used. It is a very good insulating material, but is high-maintenance and also flammable. Other roof materials involved include flashing, sheathing, roofing paper, roofing felt, tar, and nails.
What are the best methods for repairing a roof?
There are a number of methods that can be used to repair a roof. The best method will depend on the type of roof, the extent of the damage, and the budget. For minor damage, such as a few missing shingles, repairs can be made by simply replacing the damaged shingles. More extensive damage, such as large holes or cracks, may require patching or sealing.
How do I know if my roof ventilation is adequate?
There are a few key things you can look for to determine whether your roof ventilation is adequate. One is to look at the amount of soffit vents installed. If you have few or no soffit vents, it's likely that your roof ventilation is inadequate. Another thing to look for is the condition of your shingles. If your shingles are curling or buckling, it's a sign that your roof isn't being properly ventilated.
What are the most effective ways to prevent roofing problems?
There are a number of ways to prevent roofing problems, but some are more effective than others. One of the most effective ways to prevent roofing problems is to have your roof inspected regularly by a professional roofing contractor. This will allow them to catch any problems early on and prevent them from becoming bigger issues. Another effective way to prevent roofing problems is to make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clear and free of debris.
Who offers the best roofing services?
There are many companies that offer roofing services, so it is difficult to say who offers the best services. However, there are a few things you can look for when choosing a roofing company. First, you want to make sure the company is licensed and insured. This will protect you in case something goes wrong during the roofing process. Second, you want to read reviews of the company online to see what other customers have said about their experience.
What should I do if my roof is leaking?
Locate the leak and place a bucket to catch the water. Remove any valuables from the area to prevent further damage. Contact a roofing company to tarp the affected area and assess the repairs.
Roof leaks caused by an aging roof or incorrect installation typically do NOT lead to insurance claims. Unless you have had a recent storm, a professional roofer should be your first call, not your insurance company.
Does a leaking roof need to be replaced?
Not necessarily. Minor roof leaks can be repaired without having a new roof installed. Leaks can be repaired without replacement. Old ridge vents, valleys, nails, flashing, boards, and shingles can all be fixed without completely replacing a roof. Leaks from improperly installed or missing underlayment, failing components, starter drip edge problems, or incorrect nailing pattern are instances that require a full roof replacement.
Can roof leaks cause plywood to rot?
How much does it cost to replace wall flashings?
Replacing wall flashings typically starts at $1000 and can be as expensive as $80-100 per linear foot. Usually to reflashing a wall only requires restep flashing it, but some jobs require counter flashing as well. Step flashing a wall requires tearing off all shingles against the wall, adding back a leak proof barrier ice and water shield against the roof deck (and up the wall if possible), and new step flashing on top of every new shingle that meets the wall.
Is it common for ridge vents to leak?
It is common for older style metal ridge vents to leak. Metal ridge vents require more face screws or face nails causing them to be more susceptible to leaks through fasteners securing them to the roof. Also old metal ridge vent are narrow, barely covering the opening created for hot air to escape from the attic, usually 4 in for the ridge cut, the old style metal ridge vents are only 5 in or 6 in wide. Modern ridge vents are plastic with shingles over the top and when properly installed should not leak.
What keeps ridge vents from leaking?
Modern ridge vents consist of a 4-foot plastic ridge vent which is then covered by shingles. The roof opening that is cut in a ridge is 4 inches wide for hot air to escape. Modern plastic ridge vents are between 10 and 13 inches wide so there is plenty of coverage over the openings in the roof. Also newer ridge vent styles do not have any exposed nails or screws like the old style metal ridge vents did.
How do you fix a leaking roof in the valleys?
Before completely replacing a leaking valley it is best to have a professional roofer ensure that it is not a localized issues like nail pop causing the leak. localized leaks are usually easier and cheaper to fix. Inspect the nails securing the valley, the nails should not be within a foot of the center of the valley (or as manufacture suggest) this will keep the valley from leaking through these nails.
Inspect the valleys to check for signs of wear or improper installation, and to confirm shingles aren’t getting crushed or broken by foot traffic in the valley. If any of these are present it might be necessary to replace the valley.
If valley replacement is necessary, remove everything around the surrounding the valley, install an ice and water barrier on the roof decking. Install the shingles with one of 3 options, a california cut, an open metal valley, or woven valley.
What causes roof valleys to leak?
Roof valleys can leak due to several reasons which include:
- Incorrect nailing (nails too close to the valley)
- Improper installation of underlayment or ice and water shield in valleys
- Damaged shingles surrounding the valley
- Nails popping thorough shingles near a valley
- Excessive foot traffic of shingle breakage
Can a roof leak be repaired from inside?
No, a roof leak can not be repaired from the attic space. Even if you were to caulk the space around a nail coming through the roof, the water would go further into the roof system, causing the leak to move elsewhere.
How do you fix a leaking roof around the chimney?
First, contact a roofing professional for a service call to ensure your leak isn’t a localized problem, such as a nail pop, missing sealant, or lifted shingles.
If your chimney flashing is too short causing a cap, the flashing needs replacement. The wood around the chimney should also be inspected for rot, with any rotten wood needing replacement.
Fixing a chimney leak typically consists of removing old shingles and flashing, replacing rotten wood, installing new ice and water shield around the perimeter, adding a new cricket if necessary, reinstalling step flashing, and installing counter flashing.
Are chimney leaks covered by homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance covers interior damage caused by chimney leaks, but not exterior damage to the roof, unless the roof damages are caused by wind or hail damage from a storm. Misinstalled roofs and chimeny flashings are not covered by homeowners insurance.
Will storm damage cause roofs to leak?
Yes, hail can cause holes and craters in your shingles. If your roof is leaking due to storm damage, contact a roofing professional immediately, as it will need to be tarped or shrink-wrapped as quickly as possible. Insurance will typically pay for this since they want to protect the property from further water damage.
Does hail damage cause a roof to leak?
Yes, hail causes holes and craters in your shingles or knocks off granules or shingles, exposing roof felt and leading to leaks. If left unrepaired, water can spread throughout the roofing system and cause further damage. Contact a roofing professional immediately to have your roof tarped or shrink-wrapped.
Skylights & Sun Tunnels
How much does it cost to have a skylight installed?
The national average for a skylight install is around $1,500. Skylight installation costs can differ from case to case and depend primarily on the skylight type and steepness of your roof.
This pricing does not include any additional inside labor.
How much does it cost to install a skylight?
A skylight can cost between $850 and $2500 depending on several different factors, such as how many skylights you’re installing, the steepness of your roof, and where you live.
The style of skylight is also a factor, does the skylight have a blind, is it venting, does it have a rain sensor all these variables can lead to additional costs.
Do skylights add value to a home?
Skylights may not add value to a home other than the materials and labor costs to install them. However, it can add interest in your home from individuals who value them. If you’re considering installing skylights before selling your home, consult a real estate specialist before making a decision.
What are the downsides of skylights?
Some of the challenges skylights present include poor insulation, potential moisture and leaking issues, heat gain and loss, and an overabundance of light. When well thought out and installed properly, these issues can be negated.
How much does a flat roof skylight cost?
Flat roof skylight installation costs are higher than a pitched roof. You can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 for skylight installations on a flat roof.
Can you install a skylight yourself?
While you can install a skylight yourself, there are several areas of knowledge necessary, including carpentry and roofing. Because a small mistake can be costly to fix or cause leaking, having a professional install your skylights is recommended.
Do all skylights eventually leak?
No. When properly installed, skylights will usually last between 15-20 years without issues. Seals and flashing around the skylight are typically the first areas to deteriorate.
What do you put under a skylight?
Prior to installing a skylight, ice and water underlayment should cover the sides of skylights and 6 inches around the exterior around the roof deck. Flashing is then installed around the skylight.
Can you install skylights on a corrugated metal roof?
Yes. Skylights can be installed on a variety of roof types, including corrugated metal.
Are skylights ever a good idea?
Skylights add natural aesthetics to a home. Skylights can also add energy savings by reducing artificial lighting and electricity especially in large factories.
Do skylights cause problems?
The most common problem associated with skylights is water leakage around the seals or flashing. Skylights can also cause excessive lighting and heat in areas, so their placement should be well-planned.
Do skylights weaken the roof?
No. When installed correctly, skylights will not weaken your roof or cause any damage. Please see local codes or framing illustrations for how to properly cut and reinforce roof joists and rafters to accommodate new skylights.
Are skylights hard to maintain?
No. Skylights are easy to maintain and require, at most, cleaning of glass and debris on roof surrounding the skylights twice a year.
How do you maintain skylights?
To maintain skylights, keep debris such as small limbs or leaves clear of the area on the roof around the skylight. You can use a household cleaner to keep the glass clean. Be sure the nails that are around the skylight and in the flashing are not lifting up, if this appears to be the case please call a local roofer to tack them back down.
What is the life expectancy of a skylight?
When properly installed, skylights can typically last up to 15 years. The life expectancy of a skylight also depends on what type of skylight you have and the amount of weather exposure.
What Are Sun Tunnels?
A sun tunnel, sometimes called light pipes or sun tubes, is a cylindrical tube that channels light from your roof into your home. Sun tunnels come in a variety of options, and you can install them on almost any roof with a slope between 15 and 60 degrees.
What are the drawbacks to sun tunnels?
Sun tunnels have a few major drawbacks, which include:
- Lack of lighting control
- Limited styles
- Roof slope limitations
- No light at night or when cloudy
- No outside views
- Lack of ventilation
How long do sun tunnels last?
Velux brand sun tunnels come with a 10-year warranty for the acrylic domes and a 20-year warranty on the solid reflective tubing.
How much light does a sun tunnel let in?
The packaging says 200 square feet for a 10 inch sun tunnel. Another way of equating sun tunnel illumination is a single sun tunnel generates the equivalent of 3 100-watt incandescent or 15-watt LED light bulbs.
How often should skylights be inspected?
Generally, you should have your skylights inspected annually. A contractor can inspect your skylights and your roof at the same time and perform preventative maintenance to ensure your skylight lasts longer.
Do you need planning permission to install a sun tunnel?
In Tennessee, you typically don’t need a building permit to install a sun tunnel. The exception to this would be if the tunnel passes through two fire compartments or supporting structures that need alteration for the installation.
Are sun tunnels a good investment?
While sun tunnels won’t necessarily increase your home’s value, they are a cost-effective way to bring extra light into your home. They are also easy to install, energy-efficient, and can minimize heating and cooling loss.
Which rooms are sun tunnels most beneficial in?
Rooms on the interior of your home that don’t receive natural light, such as hallways, closets, and small bathrooms, can benefit from installing sun tunnels.
What side of the house is best for skylight?
East-facing roof skylights deliver the greatest amount of light and solar heat in the morning. West-facing skylights supply afternoon sunlight and heat. Skylights that face north provide consistent illumination with minimum heat gain.
Should skylights be east or west?
The placement of skylights depends on what time of the day you want the maximum amount of light and solar heat. East-facing skylights are best for morning light and heat, while west-facing skylights are best for afternoon light and heat.
Can you put a skylight anywhere?
No. Skylights should be installed in areas where the structural integrity of your home is not compromised and not anywhere near a valley or a chimney. Skylight manufacturers also have a minimum slope requirement in their specifications, so the area of your roof must meet these.
Should skylights face south or north?
North facing skylights provide a solid balance of soft light all day with little to no glare. South-facing skylights offer the most heat gain and light during the winter months.
Do You Want Your Skylight Roof to Be Flat or Have a Dome?
Domed skylights are generally for larger custom sizes. Domed skylights prevent water and snow buildup and provide slightly more light. Flat skylights offer more choices in material selection, such as durable acrylic or energy-efficient glass.
Why are some skylights domed?
Domed skylights prevent water and snow buildup on their surface and are often stronger utilized for larger sizes of skylights.
Can skylights be flat?
Yes. Flat skylights are set seamlessly on your roof and come in tempered safety glass, and laminated glass.
What is a domed skylight?
Domed skylights are acrylic domes or bubbles best chosen for flat roofs or roofs with low slopes, such as commercial roofing. They are always custom built and generally used for larger skylight footprints.
Which skylight is best?
Velux is the most popular brand of skylights in North America. There are many options available when selecting skylights for your home or office building.
Fixed, curb-mounted glass skylights are best for a residential roof that is flat or has a low slope. Fixed, deck-mounted glass skylights are best suited for roofs with slopes greater than 14 degrees. For regions that see ample snowfall, glass glazing is recommended. Domed skylights are usually preferred when the placement is in a small area or where sitting water is a concern.
Are vented skylights worth it?
Vented skylights open and allow outside air in. Vented skylights allow airflow, while fixed skylights do not. The ventilation offers a fan-free way to naturally cool your home.
We recommend the vents with rain percussion sensors that will automatically shut the skylights in the event of rain.
What are the different types of skylights?
There are three main types of skylights: vented, fixed, remote control, hand cranked, curb, and deck mounted are all adjectives to describe different skylights. Each of these comes in different shapes, including arched, domed, flat, and pyramid. Skylights can be deck-mounted directly onto your roof or curb-mounted, which raises them several inches about your roof.
Are skylights good for ventilation?
Fixed skylights do not open and thus provide zero humidity control or ventilation. Vented skylights, however, can open, either by hand or remotely, and can help reduce excess humidity and condensation.
Do sun tunnels make the room hotter?
No. The heat from sun tunnels is minimal when compared to skylights. The heat from sun tunnels is less than an electric light produces.
Where do you install most sun tunnels?
The most common location sun tunnels are installed in hallways and bathrooms. Sun tunnels work best when placed in interior rooms that do not receive much natural light.
Where should a sun tunnel be placed?
Sun tunnels should be placed in interior rooms that do not receive much natural light, such as small bathrooms or hallways.
How many sun tunnels do I need?
Sun tunnels come in different sizes, which allow for more or less light. The number of sun tunnels you need depends on their type, size, length, and sun angle. The dimensions of the rooms you are installing sun tunnels in also factor into how many tunnels your home needs. Lastly, room reflectance is also a factor. A roofing contractor specializing in sun tunnel installation can help measure and calculate the exact number of sun tunnels you need given these factors.
Can you have a sun tunnel on the ground floor?
Yes. In many instances sun tunnels can be run through a mechanical chase or closet in the second floor to direct sunlight to the ground floor of a home.
How much will your sun tunnel cost?
Sun tunnel installation can cost between $900 to $2000 depending on the steepness and height of your roof and the type of frame of your home. This cost does not include any new drywall, paint, or alterations to the home's frame that may be involved.
How is a sun tunnel installed?
After measuring and planning the location of sun tunnels, you’ll need to decide the type of sun tunnel you plan on installing. To begin the installation, your roofing contractor will cut holes in your ceiling, roof deck, and roofing material.
Next, a ceiling ring is installed and secured inside, and flashing is installed and secured on your roof. To install roof flashing, roof shingles are removed and replaced later. After rough holes are cut, the sun tunnel section is assembled and lowered down through the flashing, and tapped after confirming the tunnel section requires no further adjustments.
The dome is then installed and secured on top of the sun tunnel. The sun tunnel is then secured to the ceiling ring. Finally, the diffuser and trim ring is installed to cover the tunnel itself from the inside.
Will a sun tunnel let in as much natural light as a skylight?
Skylights generally provide a greater effective light distribution than sun tunnels. This is because sun tunnels are not a direct window to the outdoors. However, because sun tunnels magnify light they are more efficient at capturing natural light. Sun tunnels typically provide around 15-22m of effective light distribution, depending on the size of the sun tunnel.
Will a sun tunnel qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Credit?
Yes. For qualifying sun tunnel and skylight expenditures installed from 2022 to 2023, homeowners can use IRS form 5695 to apply for residential energy credits. The federal tax credit is 30% of material costs and doesn’t include installation labor costs.
What sun tunnel sizes are available?
Sun tunnels are available in 10”, 14”, and 22” diameters. The size you choose will depend on your home’s framing type, sun tunnel type, and sun tunnel design.
How many Sun Tunnels can I have on my roof?
The maximum amount of sun tunnels you can have depends on the size of your roof, the framing of the roof, and what size sun tunnels you use. When planning and measuring your roof, sun tunnels should be placed in between trusses, away from roof valleys, and away from obstacles, such as ductwork, electrical wiring, heat exchanges, and roof supports.
How long does it take to install a sun tunnel?
A local roofing contractor can typically install your sun tunnels in a single day.
Are sun tunnels easy to install?
Compared to other alternatives such as skylights, sun tunnels are the simplest natural sunlight product to install. Because you are cutting and resealing a hole in your roof, it is recommended to have a professional install your sun tunnels to prevent damage or issues caused by improper installation.
How long does it take to install a solar tube?
A single, rigid solar tube can be installed in a single afternoon.
Which is better skylights and sun tunnels?
Skylight and sun tunnels both have pros and cons that come down to the homeowner's personal preference and budget. When deciding, you’ll want to take into consideration several things including:
- level of desired energy efficiency
- installation cost
- degree of control over light and heat
- ease of access
- style, look and feel of lighting feature
- excess heat from UV rays
Are solar tubes better than skylights?
Solar tubes going through a single floor are less expensive to purchase and install than skylights and can provide natural light to your home. They are typically better for areas that don’t receive much or any natural light, such as hallways, closets, small rooms, and bathrooms.
Solar tubes are diffused and therefore only illumination, not a roof window like a skylight is.
Can you see the sky through a sun tunnel?
No. Sun tunnels do not allow for a view of the outside. The light captured by the dome of a sun tunnel is reflected through a tube and then passes through a diffuser.
What are the drawbacks to solar tube lighting?
Only roofs with a slope of 15 to 60 degrees can have solar tube lighting installed. Additionally, they provide little to no light during bad weather or at night. There is no way to control the amount of light with solar tubes, and they come in limited designs. Solar tube lights can also have condensation problems when not properly insulated.
Are sun tunnels a good idea?
Sun tunnels are an easy, relatively inexpensive way to introduce natural light into your home. When properly placed and installed, they can be an excellent way to add light to smaller areas.