Where the roof meets

Old House Journal - - Restore -

an­other sur­face, flash with 16-gauge cop­per or bet­ter. Never patch or re­pair with roof­ing com­pound. Tar gets brit­tle and soon fails, and may be cor­ro­sive to met­als and wood. Longevity,” OHJ June 2017.) Warn­ing signs in­clude: • eroded, cracked, cupped

or split shin­gles • pres­ence of lichen or moss

(an in­di­ca­tion of trapped mois­ture) • per­va­sive mois­ture or dam­age

in the at­tic

If only small ar­eas show signs of dam­age, in­di­vid­ual shin­gles can be re­moved and a new shin­gle in­serted; a nar­row strip of cop­per or alu­minum called a “bab­bie” or “baby,” cupped or bent up at the bot­tom, holds the new shin­gle in place and cov­ers any nail that may have been nec­es­sary. Where more than 20 per­cent of the shin­gles are dam­aged, reroof us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods, tak­ing care not to dam­age sound shin­gles in nearby ar­eas.


Whether stand­ing-seam or cor­ru­gated, a steel, cop­per, terne, alu­minum, or Gal­val­ume roof can last 50 years or even a cen­tury, pro­vided it’s kept painted or sealed and free of rust. (An ex­cep­tion to this rule is Corten steel—short for cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance and ten­sile strength— wherein the rust­ing process seals and pro­tects the base layer of steel be­neath the weath­ered sur­face.)

Warn­ing signs that an old metal roof needs at­ten­tion in­clude peel­ing paint or rust. While you can make spot re­pairs, an ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sional is bet­ter equipped to do re­pairs on a slick metal roof than the av­er­age home­owner. The process:

RE­MOVE PEEL­ING PAINT us­ing a non-methy­lene chlo­ride-based strip­per. The paint can also be lightly mist- [ text cont. on p. 49]

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