Roofing Choices

Newfoundland is known for it's unpredictable weather.  I have seen 4 seasons in one day:  a snow storm followed by torrential rain, followed by sun and 10 February! It is overcast almost 50% of the year and we have fog an average of about 126 days/year in the St. John's area.   We typically have about 212 days/year with some form of precipitation. The weather is heavily influences by our proximity to the Atlantic ocean's gulf stream.  It leads to much milder conditions compared to the interior of Canada with temperatures around the Avalon peninsula rarely being lower than -15 C in the winter.  Did I mention that its windy?!?!?  By the way, ITS WINDY!!!  St. John's is the third windiest city in the world!  From what I have experienced Flatrock is windier! (although I have no proof!)

In outport communities people built saltbox houses with steep pitched roofs.  Often times they had shakes to shed water off the roofs:  Shingles or metal roofing with ice and water shield and synthetic underlayment didn't exist.  Instead, gravity was their friend and slate tiles or wooden shakes were used to shed water from the roof of a building.   They recognized that the roof was one of the most important parts of a building.  It recieves a lot of abuse from the environment:  it deflects the wind, it is beaten on by sleet and hail, it sheds water, collects snow, it absorbs the suns rays...It protects you and keeps your house dry.    Once connectsions were made to the mainland, shingles became readily available and are the roof material of choice here.  Why?  Mainly because shingles are cheaper.   Metal roofing, although available, never really became a material of choice due to the high cost.  Lets look at a quick cost comparison.  Our roof would require about 112 bundles of shingles.  3 bundles is about 100 square feet of coverage or a total of about 3700 square feet.  With the current price of shingles the total material cost is about $5500 and about $3600 to install for a grand total of $9100.  Metal roofs typically cost about $12+HST per square foot for labour and materials included.  This cost is about $51000!  Metal roofs are beautiful and provide longevity beyond that of asphalt shingles but at this price.....its just not feasible.

With this in mind my options are limited to two shingle manufacturers:  IKO and BP.  Both have similar lines of shingles.  They have a lower end 25 year shingle and a higher end architectural shingle.  The architectural variety is a laminated fibreglass asphalt shingle which offers a limited lifetime warranty subject to alot of conditions.  This being said, I have been in my current home for 9 years and have had no issues with the arcitectural shingles that I used.  Warranty terms and conditions are similar between manufacturers but the BP shingle was about 8% cheaper and they had the color we wanted to match the colors of the cladding picked for the house.  We chose the BP Mystique 42 architectural shingles in slate grey.

I chose Effective Roofing Solutions to install my roofing materials.  The guys were easy to work with and both Steve and Jason understood my wants and needs.  I was clear about my specifications for flashing details including head flashings, step flashings and kickouts.  The roof intersections required two kickout flashings.  These are not available locally so I made them myself using a method similar to one described in fine home building (   The application of roofing materials was fairly typical:  Aluminim drip edge, BP weathertex (eave guard) for ice and water, starter shingle strip of 3 tab shingles around the roof perimeter, Novoseal Premium Underlayment, then the architectural shingles.  We used Trimline RidgeRoll Plus for the ridge vent and the lengths were calculated to ensure ventilation according to, which is based on the U.S. FHA 1/150 guideline.  I knew that the chord trusses of the garage had to be completely filled with insulation so I needed to run the ridge vent the whole length of the garage.  This required about 25'.  Rolls are 20'.  I purchased 3 rolls and used the final 35' on the roof of the house.  Purchasing another roll would have lead to more wastage. At a thickness of 5/8" this provides 525 square inches of ventilation at the ridge.  It doesn't meet the 1/150 rule for square footage required to ventilate the 1290 sq feet (attic area) but is better than the 1/300 rule minimum coming in at 1/221.  This calculator also assumes you will provide at least the same amount of ventilation at the soffit.   This will be achieved with perforated vinyl soffit vents when the time comes.

We had a few minor issues with the drip cap.  These issues were mainly due to the fact that the roof is very steep (10/12 pitch.)  When the guys would even touch the edge of the roof with some foot pressure the drip cap would bend.   Once the roof was complete, Steve used a seamer to apply pressure to the bent caps to bring it back to its original shape.  It worked like a charm.

Photo 1-1 and 1-2 illustrate day 1 and day 2 of the shingle application.  Photo 1-3 and 1-5  both show the finished roof.  Photo 1-4 shows the sickout flashing required to keep water from running down the rainscreen cavity behind the cladding.

Photo 1-1 Roof shingles have begun!

Photo 1-2 Shingle application almost complete.

Photo 1-3.  Finished roof.

Photo 1-4.  Self made sickout flashing

Photo 1-5. View of the roof from the back of the house.


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