We need new shingles for our 20 year old home in Tuxedo area. We have gotten a few quotes on the job and of course have gotten a few opinions about some of the options available to us. We would like to know if there is any benefit to installing felt paper on the roof prior to installing the new shingles. Also should we install an ice shield any place other then the roof valleys? These products have been offered as optional, and we are not sure if they offer us any benefits.
We would appreciate any help you might be able to give us in this matter. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Yours is a timely question, with the snow recently disappeared on roofs and many people seeing deterioration to their shingles caused by ice damming or old age. I will describe some of the optional products suggested and offer my opinion on their use and necessity.
Roofing replacement jobs are like any other product or service, in that there are many different levels of quality and costs. A Toyota does not cost the same as a Lexus, even though they are manufactured by the same parent company. There are obvious reasons for this variance in price, although both are quite acceptable vehicles that will get you from point A to point B. Roofing materials are similar as there are variations from regular quality 20 year asphalt shingles all the way up to 30-35 year textured or decorative varieties. Also, other higher quality roofing materials such as cedar shakes or metal roofing may be installed at additional cost. To some extent, as with the car analogy used, you get what you pay for. It may also be this way with the upgrades that you have been quoted.
The full answers to your questions may only be possible if we had more information on the style or your roof or roofs. This should include the pitch, location and number of valleys, style of attic, and other issues such as drainage and ventilation. Since we have limited information on your home, I will offer some general answers.
Different materials will be required for use on roofs with a steep pitch as apposed to low slope roofs. The need for ice and water shield will largely depend on this factor. Roofs with a pitch above 4/12 may not require this self-adhesive membrane at the eaves, but those with 3/12 or lower will most certainly benefit from its installation, particularly if they have limited ventilation and are subject to ice damming. This product is designed to prevent leakage from wind-driven rain or other moisture that may get underneath typical shingle tabs. If a roof is quite steep and has large overhangs, there is much less chance of this happening, so it might be unnecessary at the bottom of these types of roofs.
Roofing “felt” is actually bitumen impregnated paper that is designed as an added protection beneath typical asphalt shingles. While not in wide spread use today, it is considered a high quality addition to a typical asphalt roof installation. This paper product was standard in older homes where wood shingles or old asphalt was installed. This material was used to bridge gaps between wooden board sheathing on most older homes. This moisture resistant paper product helped give added leak protection where old shingles may have dipped or sagged in these gaps between the sheathing boards. Newer roofs with plywood or OSB sheathing do not have this concern, which is why felt is rarely used on new homes. Your home is likely of this later variety, so inclusion will be less necessary if your roof sheathing is still in good condition. If you can see visible waves or sagging in the roof sheathing upon visual inspection, felt installation would be a good idea.
If your home has cedar shakes, roofing felt is absolutely necessary. This style of high quality and very decorative roofing will have narrow strips of this paper installed beneath each row. Installation in this way will be necessary to prevent leakage through the uneven shakes, often due to shrinkage or natural gaps in the unevenly split shakes. Other wood roofs, such as wood shingles, may also require installation of felt to ensure water resistance.
Since your home is twenty years old and your roofing requires replacement, I would assume that you have adequate ventilation and a reasonable pitch. The typical life expectancy of asphalt shingle in the city is 20 – 25 years. Shingles with longer warranties or life expectancies are normally slightly thicker than regular ones, so they make take longer to wear under normal conditions. Installation of roofing felt may also slightly extend the life of the shingles and reduce the potential for leakage if a hole or gap occurs as the shingles get older. Paying more for heavier roofing materials now may be a good investment by reducing frequency of replacement, which will undoubtedly be more costly in the future. Many times, contractors that recommend and explain the benefits of high quality upgrades or methods of installation provide better quality service. As a general rule, with some exceptions, when it comes to roofing materials, and often contractors, you get what you pay for.