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Jms92 09-10-2005 10:46 PM

Roofing materials dilemma??????
I have a u shape ranch that I built in 1989 that needs a new roof. I want to get good shingles so I looking for spiritual guidance in any way shape or form. My roof has a 5/12 pitch that’s appr 41 square. I want a Architectural Shingles, the dealers in my area (Chicago burbs) carry GAF, CertainTeed, Tamko, etc… CertainTeed is out because the roof is a CertainTeed and looks like Crap after 15 years, I’m not happy about that so they won’t get any more of my money. I am thinking about the GAF Timberlines, Everyone stocks the 30 years even Home Depot. Are they any good? My real dilemma is should I spend the money for the 40 or 50 year shingles. I estimate appr $50 a square for the 30 year, about $75 for the 50, So it’s a $1000 more, Are they worth the extra money? No One stocks these so they have to be special ordered which said to me “none of the pro’s use them” Is this a correct assumption? Also I would appreciate any other input you may have on 30# Felt and Ice and Water guard, Is one brand better than another? or should I just go to the Depot and buy what they have? Thanks in advance……

AaronB 09-11-2005 12:47 PM

"None of the pros use them" is a complete falsehood. Reality is most homeowners do not want to invest in a roof that will lastthem the rest of their lives for a minimal difference in cost. I will never understand it, but what the hay? It is their money.

If you want a lifetime roof, The Timberline Ultras are an excellent choice. GAF Weatherwatch ice barrier and a 30# felt will serve you well.

THe biggest key to a quality shingle making it to it's expected longevity, aside from quality of raw materials, is ventilation. I believe you cannot have too much. Get the cool outside air in and push the warm humid attic air out.

What suburb are you in? I am in Lockport.

Jms92 09-11-2005 02:55 PM

Thanks Aaron. I'm right down the road from you in Plainfield....

Yes the GAF Timberline Ultra's is what I thinking of using... Consumer reports rated then highly, 318 pounds a sqaure is good these will be a little heavier than the one's I'll be taking off... I have a 6 passive vents and 2 2000 square foot power vents on a 2300 sq foot house so I think I'm good in that department.... Yes it's only about a $1000 more in materials up front but I sure hope I get more than 15 years out of it.... UnCertain Teed roofing stinks!!!!

jproffer 09-11-2005 11:34 PM

I would get the most roof I could afford. Even if you’re only planning on staying in the house for another 10 years:
1) sometimes plans change and,
2) the next buyer’s home inspector could say “this roof will last another 5 years MAX”…or he could say “This roof is in GREAT shape, looks like it will last another 20 or 30 years easy”

AaronB 09-13-2005 10:44 PM


They could say this anyways, as most of them do not know their tail ends from a hole in the ground :)

Jms, who is bidding on your roof?

jmorgan 09-17-2005 09:38 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Your ice dam underlayment should do this....I don't think that GAF Weatherwatch can do it.

AaronB 09-18-2005 02:54 PM

Who says it has to do that to seal aroung the nails?

GAF underlayment has been installed by myself locally for the past seven years, and if that is the benchmark to which all are measured, then I must be lucky cuz I have had ZERO ice dam leaks in theat amount of time.

jmorgan 09-20-2005 08:49 AM

I work in the ski areas of the Sierras and Rockies exclusively. Every Spring I open up 3-5 roofs that are leaking due to ice dams. Every time I find a center reinforced, granular underlayment whose seal couldn't take the pressure head of water behind the ice. In Chicago area, only the worst winters cause ice dams big enough to break the shaft seals of these cheap underlayments. We also sell a cheap granular, but it is labeled "not for use in alpine/heavy snow areas". Even though it meets codes, it is not good enough for the mountains. When the ice dams get 3-4 ft high they fail.

Teetorbilt 09-21-2005 12:20 AM

To everyone, a roof is an investment in your property. If you have to or want to sell in the future, this can be made a sales point. I'm old (50's) and just put a metal roof on my house with a 50 yr. guarantee. Will I ever put up a claim? I hope not but if I cash out in a car wreck tomorrow, Ol'#2 will have a sound home to live in or sell.

AaronB 09-21-2005 07:31 AM

Morgan, do they fail due to the actual damming or because the damming rises above the level of the sheet?

Youre right, we do not get the heavy snows evey year.

jmorgan 09-21-2005 08:27 AM

Because of the actuall damming. We mostly cover the entire roof deck w/ice dam membrane. Water 2' deep behind ice is not uncommon.

AaronB 09-21-2005 05:20 PM

:eek: :eek: :eek:

AaronB 09-21-2005 05:22 PM

Oh yeah, get rid of the power vent/passive vent combo...go with one or the other.

mighty anvil 10-10-2005 05:16 PM

I don't want to upset anyone but I wanted to express my opinion based on 40 years of building design experience. (OK, subtract 2 years; I didn't learn much during the war)

WR Grace invented modified bitumen/polyethylene waterproofing membranes (Bituthene) a long time ago and its current version for residential roofs, Ice & Water Shield, has yet to be equaled by any of the copycat products from the roofing manufacturers. The best you can say for them is that they work well in moderate snowfall regions. If that's where they're being used, there should be no problem but I always take the cheap insurance whatever the situation.

Now I want to discuss something that will most certainly upset someone although that is not my intent. I believed like many others that ventilation was the most important factor in asphalt roofing longevity because it reduced the temperature of the shingles. I have since learned that that is not true and I would like to share that information with you.

Years ago I worked with a roofing consultant/forensic engineer named Carl Cash. Carl has seen it all both in the lab and in the field. I don’t think anyone knows as much about roofing as he does. In 2003 he published a book of case studies called “Roofing Failures.” On page180 he discusses “the case of the poorly vented roof.” He tested roofing temperatures in 7 geographic locations (Green Bay to Miami), using 4 parameters: venting area (none,1/300 of plan area, & 1/300 of plan area with wind assist), color (black & white), 5 orientations of exposure (east to west) and slope (3” to 12” per ft.)
His results [abbreviated by me] were, in order of importance:

• Temp. diff. Bet. black and white un-vented roofs = 2.2 to 3.01 F°
• Temp. diff. Bet. black and white vented roofs = 2.0 to 2.74 F°
• Temp. diff. Bet. black and white vented roofs w/ wind assist = 1.92 to 2.69 F°

• Temp. diff. Bet. east, south & west facing un-vented roofs = 1.9 to 3.14 F°
• Temp. diff. Bet. east, south & west facing vented roofs = 1.73 to 2.84 F°
• Temp. diff. Bet. east, south & west facing un-vented roofs w/ wind assist = 1.68 to 2.81 F°

• Temp. diff. Bet. Non-vented and vented roofs = .79 to 1.1 F°
• Temp. diff. Bet. Non-vented and vented roofs w/ wind assist = 1.24 to 1.53 F°)

• Temp. diff. Bet. different roof slopes varied between .09 and .55 F° [my summary]

Carl also points out that
“Venting is important to remove any excess moisture from the space below the deck, but that moisture should have been excluded by a functioning air and moisture barrier.”
In southern states venting can add moisture.
Although poor venting is raised by manufacturers in almost every case as an excuse for premature roofing failure, from the above data the claim appears to be without merit.

I want to thank Carl for his hard work and hope he doesn’t mind my using it here. Of course, he can't possibly know who I am, right? I hope that’s right.

Buy his book for only $89 with free shipping at:

If you install roofing for a living you can’t afford to be without it.

Teetorbilt 10-10-2005 06:53 PM

Living in the sunbelt, I'm willing to challenge Carl's findings on my personal home.

Hurricaines Francis and Jeanne removed much of my brick red, shingled roof. It was replaced with mill finished metal (Century Drain). Without any scientific data, I can tell that my attic is much cooler. I don't really mind going up there anymore.

I used to have a ridge vent AND gable vents. I have learned that this has to do with hurricaine force winds. Today, I have only soffit/gable end vents. My orientation is north to south with prevailing southerly winds during the summer and from the north during the winter. Most every afternoon we also have the coastal flow from the east.

Unfortunately, I also invested in a new A/C system just 2 weeks prior to Francis which tends to skew the following data. Based on KWH used, I am somewhere between 34-37% in savings.

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