Majestic Roofing Blog

What type of roof is right for your home?


Becky, another regular contributor here on Houzz, recently did an idea book on The Butterfly Roof. This roof is cool, unusual and architecturally interesting. Her ideabook got me thinking about all of the different types of roof shapes that there are to choose from.

This is definitely something to keep in mind when designing and building your own home. Of course, many of us move into homes that have already been built and we have to accept the shape of roof that the home comes with. Nevertheless, we can learn to pay attention to the different benefits of certain roof types when choosing and renovating our houses.

There are many different types of roofs, which you’ll start to notice as you begin to pay more attention to roofing. Many of us just think in terms of flat roofs and pitched roofs but there are many different gradations and styles of each. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the different options for roofing materials (which I’ll need to cover one day in a future ideabook!)

What is your favorite roof style?

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

After a long, dark winter, spring’s bright sun and warm winds are, well, a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year’s flower beds. Dwight Barnett, a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors, shared this checklist to help you target the areas that need maintenance so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine.

  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.

How much snow is too much for you roof?

Article from:

Homeowners in the snowier states spend their winters watching the white stuff accumulating on the roof—and possibly wondering if their house can bear all the weight. Here’s what you need to know.

Last winter we had snow on the ground that was up to our hips. The drifts on the roof were 5 feet deep. Made me wonder: How much snow is too much for a roof to handle?

I wish there were a simple answer, but none exists. You can look for signs of an overloaded roof, though. I’ll explain those in a moment.

But first, to provide perspective, I want to answer the simple question: What is a roof? It’s a complex assembly of rafters and related structural members, trusses, the roof deck, and even the roofing material. Whether a roof can sustain a load without damage or collapse depends mainly on the depth and density of the snow, as well as the depth and spacing of the rafters and trusses. Other factors include the surface slope and texture, and the shape and location of the drift.

The ideal pitched roof is smooth and steep (so the snow slides off), and framed with closely spaced rafters (for strength). It also helps if the roof is in a sheltered area; the snow settles on it evenly, rather than being blown into large drifts (which can cause a roof to fail).

So, a risky roof is flat or slightly pitched, and in a location that is exposed to the wind. Shallow roofs adjacent to or below taller, steeper ones are especially vulnerable to a load of snow sliding down from above. For example, low-sloping roofs over porches, carports, and hastily built additions (which also often have undersize rafters) can be vulnerable when the snow flies.

Another hidden danger, according to Jeff Geary, a PM Homeowners Clinic contributor and an architect in Staten Island, N.Y., is a roof assembly from which collar ties have been removed. Located about one-third of the way down from the ridge, the supports connect the rafters and counter the spreading effect created by snow loads. “Many times I go into attics and find that homeowners have removed collar ties to get extra headroom, install a bedroom for the kids, or store holiday decorations,” Geary says. “Homeowners should know that collar ties are there for a reason.”

You know your roof may need bracing if the rafters are cracked from previous heavy snows or if they’ve been damaged by fire, termites, or rot. Obviously, you’ll need to take a look under the hood, so to speak, to find these conditions. Also, if the roof deck appears rotted, that points to a deeper problem. The roofing should be removed and the deck replaced.

If after a heavy snow you go into the attic and see that the rafters are severely bent by the weight of the snow above or if you hear cracking and popping, that’s reason to be concerned. Another bad sign: The house’s frame has moved enough to jam shut a door at the front or the back of the house. In this case consult a structural engineer about strengthening the roof assembly.

Regardless of your roof’s condition, remove drifts using a roof rake with an extension pole, or hire a pro for the job. Take care not to damage flashing or shingles; the goal isn’t to clear every flake, but rather to ease the load.

How a Roof Withstands Snow Loads

Fortunately, the vast majority of roofs don’t cave in, even when the weight of the snow on them exceeds what they’re designed to carry. Three primary factors help each rafter stand up to the load: A large moment of inertia, a small tributary area, and a brief duration.


Building codes specify that rafters withstand a snow load expressed in pounds per square foot (psf). The higher the psf snow-load requirement, the deeper the rafter must be (or the more closely spaced to its neighbors). A measure of a rafter’s bending resistance is its moment of inertia, or its inertial resistance to movement in the form of bending. The typical rafter’s MOI is more than enough to handle snow loads.


The roof deck collects the snow load and transfers the weight to the rafters. For any rafter, the portion of the roof deck that transfers this load is the tributary area. It extends outward in both directions from the center of the rafter’s thickness midway to the next rafter. Because rafters are typically spaced 16 inches on center, this amounts to 8 inches (in both directions) from the rafter’s center line. The smaller the area, the lighter the load each rafter carries.


For most roofs, the duration of a snow load is brief. If the roof had to carry a weight equivalent to a snow load all year without weakening, it would have to be much more robustly built. Within a few days of falling, most of the snow slides off, melts, or undergoes sublimation, the process by which it is transformed from ice crystals directly into vapor.

Are you ready for Winter ?

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take these steps for your home

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries regularly.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.

Don’t forget to prepare your car

Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
    • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
    • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. Include:
      • blankets;
      • food and water;
      • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
      • compass and maps;
      • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
      • first-aid kit; and
      • plastic bags (for sanitation).

Equip in advance for emergencies

Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
  • When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
    • extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items; and
    • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
  • Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
    • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
    • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
    • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

Take these precautions outdoors

Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
    • Be aware of the wind chill factor.
    • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
    • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
    • Carry a cell phone.

Do this when you plan to travel

When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.
    • Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
    • Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
    • Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
    • Keep a downwind window open.
    • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

Above all, be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.

Info Courtesy of

Helpful tips for Hanging Christmas Lights

With the holiday season fast approaching many people are trying to juggle work, holiday shopping and preparing and decorating your home to get ready for al the holiday festivities.

Here are some safety tips to make hanging your Christmas light as easy and safe as possible.  

Working Around the Eaves

The most popular method of hanging Christmas lights is to attach them to the eaves. NEVER nail or staple the lights to the eaves, this could cause damage to the roof which will lead to a leak.

christmas-lights-on-houses-3q0zrveqRooftop Displays

Rooftop displays are popular these days. If you have a flat roof, you have an ideal location for displaying a nice inflatable or holiday cut-out. When securing them to your roof, you should never fasten them directly to the roof, or you may cause permanent damage. Instead, find a heavy object that will remain stationary and fasten the display to it. The weight will hold the display without damaging your roof.

Test the lights

There is nothing more frustrating than climbing a ladder to your rooftop only to find that the lights you just hauled up doesn’t work. Always test the lights and displays on the ground to ensure they are in proper working order. This will save you time and frustration when installing them. If the lights seem to flicker, there could be a short in the wiring, which can be a fire hazard. Discard the lights to prevent a short from destroying your house.

Inspect the Roof

While you are on the roof why not take some time to do a quick visual of the roof. Look for any loose shingles, ponding water, cracked sealant around vents and mechanical units, or even critters making their winter home in your roof. It is far better to find the problem now and have a roofing professional come and fix the problem before it becomes a bigger problem down the road.

Whether you are decorating for the season or taking down the decorations from last year. Do it safely and with some common sense to avoid injuries and damage to your building or home.

Getting your roof ready for Winter

Things to look for when inspecting your roof

When doing an inspection of your roof you need to pay attention to particulars, not just a casual assessment. With that being said, let’s get started.

Take a stroll around the perimeter of your house to inspect the roof from the ground level, using binoculars for a close-up view. See if any indications of damage appear, such as sagging and worn-out sections. Depending on your roofing material, you will check for different signs of aging and wear.

Shingles or wood shakes. Check for indicators of warping, curling, or splitting. A good rule of thumb is if you discover about one-third of your singles or shakes are damaged, you need to replace the roof.

Asphalt roofs. Check if the granular material has worn down, and if there are bald spots. Look for ruptures, buckling, or curling, signs they need replacing.

Metal roofs. An expected life span of 50 years doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be inspected. Educate yourself on the wear signs of aluminum, galvanized iron, or copper to name a few. Critical to note are detached or unfastened seams and joints, likely to cause leaks.

Clay tile, slate, and cement shingles. Expected to last as long as the house remains in existence, they still need proper upkeep. They are brittle, so inspect for breakage, chips, and absent pieces. Also look for signs of ice damage.

Flashings. Metal pieces or strips overlaying uneven areas on the roof’s surface, they prevent moisture from entering gaps or crevices. You will find flashing around dormers, vent pipes, and chimneys. If flashing is damaged, melting snow can penetrate the interior of your house, creating conditions for rot, and potential damage to interior walls. Look for signs of sealant damage such as cracking and shrinkage. These signs indicate potential exposure to water damage of your roof and attic.



Helpful Tips for Hiring a Roofing Company

What You Need to Know before Hiring a Roofing Company

The roofing industry is saturated with contractors. Some legit, some not. Some with years of experience, but perhaps a dubious track record. Others with less experience yet clients sing their praises. How to separate the wheat from the chaff is your challenge when you want to hire a roofing company to deliver a quality product and workmanship.

Here are some basic questions you should ask a roofing company you’re considering hiring.

  • Ask them if they are licensed and obtain a copy of their certificate. If you want to take it a step further you can research license requirements for your locality to confirm they are compliant.
  • Do they carry liability insurance and workman’s comp? Get a copy of their insurance coverage on both.
  • Ask for references, going as far back as 10 years. You want both recent and longer-term proof they have held to their standards.
  • Inquire about extended warranties and ask for copies. No one-size-fits-all is something you should know concerning warranties, as roofing companies draw up different terms for any particular service.
  • Request a line item estimate for the work you want done. Payment terms and beginning and ending dates for each stage of work to be done should be included. Make certain you approve contract terms before signing.
  • Find out how many years they’ve been doing business. A few years in business does not mean they have less experience. They could have been working for another roofing company before they started their own business. Here is where checking references can help you make a judgment call.
  • Ask if they have a permanent address and a dedicated phone number where you can reach them, for any questions or concerns. This information demonstrates they are solvent, not a fly-by-night operation.
  • Are they bonded? Discover if the bond they have is valid. And if the bond limit will insure the completion of work, or doing the work over. Get this squared away before work commences.

Bald Eagle Catching Salmon

Roofing Terms

A Compendium of Technical Roofing Terms

Listening to your roofer can be maddening when they start throwing around jargon specific to their industry. To begin your education on roofing terms and what they mean, we have put together a short list of common words you will mostly likely hear.

Roofing termsFlashings – pieces of metal material that conform to the roof wall, protecting it from rainwater access. Two kinds of flashings are aprons and saddles:

  • Aprons – are situated in front of protruding roofing structures such as chimneys.
  • Saddles – typically affixed to roofing structures that incline in a stepping pattern as around chimneys.

Cladding – the surface appearance of a building’s exterior wall.

Bond – an adhesive that holds together the same sorts of roofing material.

Course – a line of tiles or slates that cover the length of the roof.

Coverage – any roofing material that covers surface area.

Cross ventilation – when air passes through a gap between vents.

Deck – a substructure installed beneath the roofing and above the frame boards.

Dormer – a jutting structure appearing on the slope of a roof that acts as a window frame.

Eaves – overhangs the roof’s margin.

Drip edge – runs by the eaves, permitting rainwater run-off that steers clear of substructures.

Gutter – a structure that allows rainwater to pass from the eaves to the rainwater pipes.

Hopper – a part that channels rainwater into a pipe coming from a chute.

Insect mesh – a protective material installed over vents that prevents insects from gaining access to a building’s interior.

Interlocking tiles – these fit into each other like puzzle pieces to protect against wind lift.

Joists – wall-to-wall supporting wood or steel ceiling beams.

Pitch – the depth or relative shallowness of a roof’s slope.

Mansard roof – constructed of two inclining planes on all four sides. The pitch of the lower plane is at a more acute angle than the upper plane.

Nailing pattern – a design technique with a utilitarian purpose in which nails affix roofing material.

Parapet – a wall of differing heights and/or designs constructed at the margin of a roof.

Soffit – a plane of finished material that lies beneath the eaves.


Roofing terms

Roofing Ventilation 

What Homeowners Need to Know about Roofing Ventilation…

Among the many aspects of maintaining a roof in good repair, thus prolonging its life–especially in
the extreme climate changes of Loveland–is correct roof ventilation. It cannot be stressed enough how
a well­ventilated roof will last for a longer period of time under intense weather conditions, such as
are experienced in Colorado. In Colorado’s freezing or sub­freezing temperatures, good roof ventilation avoids unwanted
conditions like an ice dam. This condition arises when ice melts and refreezes along the borders of the
roof, causing a build­up of ice beneath the shingles. With good ventilation, heat collecting beneath the
roof cools and protects whatever snow is present from melting too soon.

At the opposite end of the weather spectrum, when the climate is hot and dry, appropriate roof
ventilation preserves energy necessary for your air conditioning system to operate efficiently. In this
instance, good ventilation helps to lower heat gathering in your attic. As a result, the energy burden is
lifted from your HVAC systems, prolonging their life.

Another culprit undermining the integrity of your roof is moisture. A sound ventilation system will
force out moisture below the roof deck, and if not installed can cause all manner of problems, from
rusted, fragile nails to mold or fungi growth to roof rot.

In searching for a ventilation system, you want one providing more than just limited protection. With
partial ventilation you run the risk of experiencing all the conditions described earlier. The most
beneficial results can be obtained with ventilation focusing on all the critical areas of your roofing
infrastructure. This way you purge irregularities compromising your roof’s life span.

Now you have read our primer on how a complete ventilation system will save you energy costs, and
also a too­-soon failing roof, you will be ahead of the game when you speak with a ventilation  professional.