JB SORIA Roof & Building Repair

Guaranteed Leak Repairs / Water & Storm Damage Repairs

(520) 245-8335

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The truth about roof shingles (or as Mexicans call them, "Chingos")

Posted on 22 July, 2013 at 12:34 Comments comments (39)
For you non-Spanish speakers, I won't attempt to translate this crude term into English. But trust me- its not good (I'm Mexican-American so no offense intended)
WARRANTIES: The typical lifespan of shingles used on most residential buildings ranges between 20 and 30 years. Standard 3-tab shingles include a manufacturer's warranty of 20-25 years, while the heavier Architectural type shingles offer warranties between 30-50 years- the 30 year being the most common. However, if you've ever taken the time to fully read all the fine print within each manufacturer's written warranty, you'll notice a litany of "Exclusions" hidden within. For example, one of the largest manufacturer's official "Limited Warranty" page contains 12 specific exclusions, each of which is written broadly enough as to exclude just about any claim they deem fit. The biggest determining factor in shingle warranty claims is how closely the installer follows the manufacturer's installation guidelines- which are subject to change according to the local environmental conditions. This is why it is so important that the installer be very familiar with these guidelines as well as local conditions. If problems arise later, any deviations from either can surely trap the homeowner into one of these dreaded exclusions. However, even the best installation can't always prevent problems.
WIND DAMAGE: By far, the most common factor in shingle's premature failure is the wind. And of course, wind damage is one of the "Catch-22" exclusions found in roof material warranties. I live and work in Tucson, Arizona, which is not considered a "High Wind Zone" by national standards. But for anyone that's lived here for any length of time, we know otherwise! Local wind gusts- especially during our summer monsoon season- have been known to surpass 100mph! Not to mention the powerful micro-bursts that accompany these storms. Shingle guidelines outline specific nailing patterns in high wind zones. Yet because we aren't labeled as a "high wind zone", these guidelines are rarely followed here. That leaves the manufacturer in the clear when shingle damage occurs during these inevitable storms. Often times, the damage left behind can be relatively minor, easily repaired by a good do-it yourselfer. If that's you, I've included a link to one of the best step-by-step guides I've found to these repairs, written by Merle Henkenius:
Other times, these strong winds leave much more damage in their wake, exposing large swaths of underlayment (felt) and even wood sheathing to the elements. In these cases, it can be very critical to have repairs made as quickly as possible! Everyone knows that leaks are a certainty if wood is left exposed on a roof. What most people don't realize however, is that exposed felt covering that wood, is almost just as likely to leak. That's because the felt required beneath shingled roofs is the very minimum thickness required of any roof surface. The reason is - unlike tile and other roof surfaces - rainwater is never expected to penetrate or pass beneath shingles- in theory. In shingle applications, the underlayment's job is to prevent the wood sheathing from sucking the oils from the shingles, thus drying them out prematurely. These felts aren't meant to be watertight or exposed to the elements. Covering these areas as quickly as possible can save you thousands in additional repair costs.
QUALIFIED REPAIRMEN: Its also critical to have only a qualified, experienced technician doing your repairs. I've been to many homes where previous repairmen have used the wrong type, wrong size, wrong nailing pattern, wrong underlayment or wrong adhesive materials to make repairs.
Doing this for over 35 years has given me great insight into some of the schemes, unprofessionalism and downright ignorance of other roof "repairmen". But I've also come across some very good, qualified repairman - some of whom now work for me. I offer free and honest evaluations of your shingle roof problems. If you choose to call someone else, please make sure he's qualified in this field and not interested in selling you more than is required in your particular situation.

Flat Roofs: Designer's Dream / Contractor's Nightmare!

Posted on 20 July, 2013 at 15:50 Comments comments (85)
An award winning French architect, designer and urban planner named Le Corbusier is said to be the pioneer of of flat roofs in modern architecture. But even one of his most famous building designs- the Villa Savoye - began leaking almost immediately after its completion. Mr. Corbusier only avoided a lawsuit when the German Army invaded France and he fled the country (He then brought his ideas to the U.S.).
Here in the Southwest, flat roofs have been a common sight since the Hohokams and Incas roamed the land. I sometimes theorize, they made so many clay pots to partly catch rainwater from their leaky roofs.
Flat and Santa Fe style roofs remain a popular feature in Arizona's design/architecture community. They are versatile, efficient, space saving and look great within the desert landscape. But as with most good ideas, the devil is in the details.
The two most important aspects in keeping a flat roof problem free are "Slope" and "Drainage".
Slope is a common term used to describe how level or in this case, how out-of-level a surface is. This number is obtained by measuring the surface's horizontal inclination vs. its vertical drop. For example, most shingle and tile roofs will drop 3 or 4 inches per every 12" of horizontal space. This is referred to as a 3:12 or 4:12 pitch or slope.
Flat roof is actually a mis-nomer because flat on a roof is never a good thing. The flatter it is, the more likely it is to retain water and leak. Most flat roof slopes range between 1/4:12 to 1.5:12. Obviously, the more pitch the better to keep the surface as clear as possible of standing rainwater. Many designers however, are reluctant to give up their flat design by incorporating the higher pitch ratios. So in order to achieve the better slope while maintaining their flat appearance, the Santa Fe concept became popularized. Santa Fe style roofs are designed to hide the sloped roof behind a "Parapet" wall. All this is, is a level, false wall built around the entire perimeter of the building at a height slightly higher than the highest point of the roof itself. In order to keep the roof drained, "scuppers" are cut into the walls where it meets the lowest points of the roof. Scuppers are pre-formed round or square metal inserts installed in wall cut-outs prior to the roof surface installation. This is where the issue of drainage is most important. Statistics compiled by the Liquid Roofing & Waterproofing Assn. (http://www.lrwa.org.uk/) reveal that up to 90% of all flat roof leaks occur at scuppers and other flashing locations. Maintaining good water drainage is most critical, as ponding water almost always has a tendency of eventually finding its way beneath the surface.
One of the most common repair errors I've found in my many years of investigating these types of leaks are repairs made to cover the problem without cutting away original cracks, buckled material or previous repairs. Although this may remedy the situation in the short term, it usually worsens the problem in the long term. That's because each repair done over another creates a Damming effect, where water ponding is actually increased. A true professional will know that the best way to correct scupper leaks is to actually cut out the buckles and previous repairs, down to the metal flange. This is the only way to identify the scupper and substrate condition and determine whether those need replacement as well.
On a lesser scale, flat roof leaks may also occur in open field areas, around pipe penetrations and along seams- lines where the original roof materials overlap. While many of these problems are fairly visible, many others can remain hidden to the untrained eye. A few lessons I've learned in seminars I've attended over the years;
A nail hole, too small for most people to see, can create a leak of up to 3 gals per hr;
Its possible for a flat roof leak to travel up to 20' before penetrating a building's interior;
On very smooth surfaces, its possible for water to creep uphill, creating leaks in unsuspecting locations.
For these reasons and more, most roofing contractors prefer not to even deal with flat roof problems or refuse to guarantee repairs made by their employees. That's also why most will try their darnedest to sell you a new roof instead.
I realize I'm not the only expert when it comes to flat roof repairs. But I will not sell you a repair unless I can personally guaranty its integrity for a minimum of 2 years!

Tile Roofs & Common Misconceptions.

Posted on 18 July, 2013 at 10:41 Comments comments (30)
Most people believe a tile roof to be the longest lasting and most durable of all surfaces. In many cases, that may be true. In theory, a good tile roof should last 40-50 years. That is, if only Mother Nature and humans would just cooperate.
Here is the most common factor which which tends to reduce this life expectancy;
Underlayments - Roofing felt and underlayments are generally measured by tensile strength. For example, shingled roofs usually require the minimum 15lb felt as underlayment. This thin felt is not meant to add protection from rain but as a moisture barrier to protect the wood sheathing beneath from drawing the oils and moisture from the asphalt shingles, thus drying them out.
Tile roofs on the other hand, are required to add protection from the rain and other elements. That is because even with new tile roofs, its expected that up to 5% of the rain water will seep into openings in the tile and reach this underlayment. For this reason, a minimum 40lb underlayment is required beneath the tiles. And most quality Roof Contractors will use nothing less than a 75lb rated material. That is because the 40lb material does not hold up well to the elements. If tiles are broken or displaced by wind, a 40lb surface- which is basically an asphalt coated cardboard- can quickly become weathered, wrinkled, then cracked. I've found this to be the most common cause of tile roof roof leaks. Even without direct exposure to the elements, our extreme desert temperatures will cause this 40lb paper to break down within 15-20 years.
On the other hand, 75lb rated underlayments (the minimum I allow on repairs) and above are fiberglass reinforced, which greatly adds to their durability and life expectancy.
In any case, it is extremely important that broken and displaced tiles are repaired as soon as they are discovered. Equally important, is that you have only qualified personnel performing inspections and subsequent repairs. I've been on many roofs and discovered a line of freshly cracked tiles where an unqualified individual was obviously doing much more harm than good by walking on them.
I offer free roof and underlayment assessments and estimates. But if you choose to use someone else, Please make certain the person walking on your tile roof is qualified to do so!