If you live in a log home, you are undoubtedly aware that you must deal with different maintenance requirements. Replacing a log cabin roof means working with a structural component, which requires an understanding of how this structure performs. Obvious signs of leaks or holes may be an indication of more serious hidden deterioration. Other telltale signs of damage from age and wear are not always as visible. The ensuing damage from waiting too long to decide whether to keep pouring good money after bad or bite the bullet and go for a roof replacement can be extremely costly to correct.
To help you determine the existing condition of your roof, here are five signs to look for when trying to determine if your log home needs a new roof:
Knowing the age of your roof is helpful as is an expert evaluation obtained from a proper roofing contractor’s inspection of your roof. Log homes are both stylistically and structurally very different from a typical house and must be configured to the type of roof it has. Your choice of materials can affect the cost, labor, the structural load, aesthetics, insulation, sound-proofing, water and maintenance.
There are several variables when it comes to selecting your roofing materials not the least of which is personal preference. You must also consider whether the roof is flat or pitched, the cost to achieve the desired aesthetic appearance and the elements that make it energy-efficient.
Here is a brief overview of your choices of materials to replace the roof on your log home:
Asphalt—the most affordable roofing option, also most popular for its durability and ease of upkeep. Advantages include fire-resistant shingles that can be easily replaced, your choice of colors and a lifespan from 20 to 35 years.
Roofing Felt—a quick, easy and inexpensive option for covering your roof, but only has about a 10-year lifespan. Roofing felt requires more frequent inspections and maintenance than other materials. For these reasons, it is most often linked to poor resale value.
Felt Shingles—thicker than roofing felt, felt shingles are available in many colors and shapes and come with adhesive backing, which allows them to stick to each other when warmed. This tends to make it more difficult to install in colder weather. You need to carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damage and prevent danger from using improper methods of warming the shingles, such as a blow torch.
Wood Shingles—possibly the most aesthetically pleasing roof on a log home, Cedar shingles are naturally beautiful and tend to turn from their red hue to a silvery gray over time. While it gives your log home the most authentic appearance, they do require a preservative treatment with some regularity, about every few years. If you are willing to make the effort, this roof will last anywhere from 30 to 50 years.
Metal—an industrial product that can also be used on your log home, it is a quick-clad option that may be pre-insulated to save even more time on installation. Highly efficient, the most durable, fire-resistant, all-weather option, available in many colors. With a protective finish to prevent rust, this roof provides an attractive option that will last longer than 50 years. Insulation is also important for damping the noise from rainfall.
Copper—possibly the most unique material from which to construct your log home roof. Over time, copper changes from its original color to its characteristic green patina as it weathers. Repairs are easily accomplished with a soldering job. While it is very expensive, it very likely will outlast the life of your log home.
In addition to structural differences, the environment in which your log home resides may present some unique challenges. If you are situated beneath the thick canopy of trees where it also happens to be a characteristically moist climate, you must be prepared for the deterioration that comes from water damage.
If your cabin is in a desert climate where conditions are arid, the heat and punishment from the sun can severely shorten the lifespan of your roof. Each roof type has a different lifespan with some lasting up to 20 years while others can last for decades and yet another can outlast the life of the home itself.
Water penetration is a persistently damaging element to your log home roof. Since serious deterioration can occur without any directly visible symptoms, your best plan of action is to be proactive. Whether this is in having a reliable roofer perform regular inspections or learning how to detect the hidden signs of water seepage yourself, you are always going to be ahead of the challenge if you remain vigilant about the condition of your log home roof. All roofing materials have their advantages and drawbacks, so it is wise to consult a professional before you get emotionally attached to a decision so that you can learn as much as you can first.