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The Truth About Common Roofing Myths

Thatch Roofed Home

In 10,000 B.C., most roofs were made out of clay tiles. Decades later, between 5,000 and 1,800 B.C., thatch roofs were among the most common. Thatch or thatched rooftops, made out of dry and compacted grain, rushes, heather, straw, sedge, and water reeds, are dense, well-insulated, and made from recycled materials. Still, they get a bad rap. Many people believe they are especially flammable. The truth is that thatch is not atypically flammable and, if it does catch fire, it will burn slowly and steadily, leaving plenty of time for homeowners to take action.

Today’s residential roofing services and roofing materials are just as misunderstood. Here are some of the most prevailing myths about roofs, roofing repair and maintenance, and shingles.

Metal Roofs Will Be Struck By Lightning

Just like everyone else you may assume that, because metal is a conductor, metal roofs are especially prone to lightning strikes. Rest assured. That isn’t true. Building Design and Construction magazine puts the issue to rest, clarifying: “A metal roof will not make lightning more likely to strike, but it may make a lightning strike less dangerous if it occurs. That’s right, less dangerous, not more.”

Put simply, lightning strikes are simply seeking out the most direct path to the ground. That’s why lightning rods and tall buildings are more likely to be hit. They’re tall and conduct electricity better than air, just like trees. Homes are a relatively low, uniform height, making them unlikely targets.

If lightning does strike a metal roof, it is much more likely to safely pass through on its way to the ground. Metal conducts electricity, meaning lightning passes through faster, with less resistance or friction, and a markedly low chance of starting a fire.

Asphalt Shingles Are All The Same

Just like there are a variety of gutters–from k-style gutters and half-round gutters to seamless gutters–asphalt shingles run the gamut. Asphalt shingles may be specially tailored for aesthetics or looks. These asphalt shingles are designed to look like wood, mimicking its color and texture, at a much lower price point. Similarly, asphalt shingles may be available with special features or coatings, depending on your area. Roofs in humid states are particularly susceptible to algae growth. In those states, it is often possible to purchase shingles with a special protective coating preventing algae growth and buildup.

Similarly, roofing services are continually improving, as are asphalt shingles. Shingles that are decades old do not withstand wind and wear as well. Newer, reinforced asphalt shingles, on the other hand, can potentially withstand wind speeds over 100 miles per hour!

You Shouldn’t Walk On Your Roof

With obvious caveats regarding safety (be careful, go slow, never step onto the very edge or put your weight on seamless gutters), many people believe that walking on your roof damages it. That is possible, but it is not a given or even especially likely with metal roofs if know how.

Know that asphalt, on the other hand, is prone to damages from walking on top of it or putting your weight on it.

While it is generally okay to walk on metal roofing materials, it is safest to call in a professional for this one. Professionals can repair asphalt without damaging it, safely navigate roofing repairs, and even work on some extras for you. Most roof contractors can install seamless gutters or new windows, and, in a pinch, repair siding. Installing new windows while repairing rooftops may be well worth it in the long-run. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects savings of up to $501 per year after replacing old, single-pane windows.

Do not believe everything you hear! Contact local roofers today to get the facts.