An average homeowner's education never ends--this is especially true for first time homeowners. For the very handy among us, building terms, types of repairs and an understanding of how to locate wall studs seems to have been ingrained from birth. For a homeowner with less repair experience, each and every necessary repair comes with a sense of urgency to learn how to fix it.

New Homeowners and Home Repair Crash Courses:
It's typical for crash courses in plumbing and electrical work to occur fairly early during the time a first time homeowner takes ownership of his home. Other big repairs, thankfully, don't come up as often. While this is easier on the wallet, it also delays the homeowner's education on various aspects of their homes. Roofing is one such area.

While it's impossible not to notice if the plumbing works as you turn on a faucet, or if the electricity is running when you flick a light switch, whether or not you have a healthy roof is something that's considered less frequently. Along these lines, it's logical that the first time a homeowner really thinks about their roof will be because there is a problem that has arisen.

Take a roof leak as an example. Once the homeowner notices a wet and buckled ceiling, they can get ready for that crash course in roofing, because at the very least, a roof repair is in order. Peel back a few extra layers of the source of the problem and many times the homeowner discovers the inevitable, the roof has begun to fail and a new roof is in order. When this happens, be prepared to bring in a professional for an opinion.
- Did you know: Most asphalt shingle roofs are designed to last for 30 years. The roof's expected life can be shortened if the roof is exposed to heavy winds or becomes a victim of roof hail damage.

Professional Roof Repair Contracts Assess the Roof:
As a roof repair contractor is brought out to examine the roof and identify the problem area, roofing terms will start flying. Think of this as the vocabulary section of your crash course in roofing, and ask about as many of the unfamiliar terms as you can. Writing some of the terms down to research later is also a good idea; in the long run, your new roofing knowledge could be helpful.

To get you started, here are a few common roof terms used by roofing contractors that could be confusing for the average homeowner, and could have contributed to a common roofing problem:

Cricket: A wood-framed structure that diverts water away from chimneys, walls or other vertical roof projections and penetrations; also called a saddle.
Flashing: Metal or other flexible material used to seal the roof and prevent leaks around any projection or intersection, such as pipes, chimneys, dormers, valleys or adjoining walls.
Plumbing boot: A prefabricated covering, usually of flexible material, used to seal around a penetration; also called a pipe boot or roof jack.

By the time a roofing contractor has climbed up and looked around the roof, he'll be ready to make a recommendation on how to best fix the problem. In the case of a leak, perhaps that flashing can be repaired, making the roof watertight once again. If a small fix won't solve the problem or if the roof is near or over 30 years old, it might be time for a roof replacement. In that case, get ready for many more vocab words, because the crash course isn't over yet! Before you know it, you'll be able to discuss the pros and cons of different roofing materials and methods with any roofing contractor.

Tim McLoughlin is a reliable Atlanta roofing contractor and expert on roof hail damage. His company, KTM Roofing is a renowned among Atlanta roof companies.

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