Renovations 101

Perhaps you already know what you would like to change on your home but you’re still baffled by all the terminology being thrown at you as you plan your renovations. Feel free to take a look at the diagram below to help you get on your way towards achieving the beautiful home you’ve always envisioned with a renovation experience that is as hassle-free as possible. If anything is still unclear, please contact us and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

Q: What are the aging signs in shingles?

A: All shingles, whether organic or glass-based, will be subject to UV rays from the sun, causing the asphalt coating to dry, loosening the granules covering in the long run.

Just like people, asphalt shingles gradually change with the passage of time. Signs of this aging process may appear as early as the first couple of years, during what is often called the Curing Phase. At first, you may notice small surface cracks, or a few small blisters. These changes will not affect the ability of the asphalt shingles to protect your roof, and are an anticipated part of the aging process.

During the Stable Phase, these signs of aging will slow down dramatically. The duration of the Stable Phase may last 20-30 years, but is dependent on many factors including the type of shingle, construction of the shingles, the condition of your roof and roofing ventilation, the slope of your roof, as well as the workmanship of your roofing contractor.

Near the end of the expected life of asphalt shingles, the aging process begins to speed up. This is what is called the Final Phase, during which most homeowners start to think about replacing their asphalt shingles.

Q: What does it mean when your shingles are curling?

A: One of the things you may notice is a slight curling of the shingles along the bottom edge, particularly during cold weather. This is a normal occurrence of shingles and results from the natural loss of the oils from the asphalt covering the felt. As the asphalt loses its oil, it slowly becomes more rigid, and may shrink at a quicker rate than the felt.

Q: What does it mean when your shingles are blistering?

A: As asphalt shingles age, large bubble-like blisters may appear on the surface, some as large as a quarter. They may be open, exposing the asphalt, or closed. Blisters are more likely to appear when there is inadequate ventilation, or in areas where tree sap drips onto the shingles. Small “rash” blisters do not affect the performance of the shingles.

Q: What does it mean when your shingles have surface cracks?

A: Just like skin that has been exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, the surface of shingles react in a similar fashion. Like your skin, asphalt shingles may develop small surface cracks. This is a result of asphalt shingles becoming more brittle over time. Thermal shock and deck movement may also increase the occurrence of surface cracking.

Q: What are ice dams and how can they be avoided?

A: Ice dams are formed by continual thawing and refreezing of melting snow. Large masses of ice develop as snow on the upper part of the roof melts. The water runs under the snow and refreezes at the edge of the roof. Additional snow melts and forms pools against the dam, gradually causing water to back up the roof often getting under the shingles and eventually leaking into the house. Causes other than heat escaping from the home include:

  • Bright sunshine melting the snow
  • Insufficient attic insulation allowing the heated air of the attic to reach the roof deck and melt the snow (This could happen anywhere on the roof surface)
  • Naturally occurring ice accumulation due to various weather conditions
  • Poorly placed gutters prevent snow and ice from sliding off the roof
  • Inadequate attic ventilation

How to avoid ice dams:

  • Install waterproofing membranes on eaves and in valleys to prevent water from penetrating the roof
  • Improve attic insulation, keeping the attic space cool, thereby reducing the amount of melting snow
  • Improve attic ventilation to ensure that the attic remains cold
  • Make sure that your gutters or eavestroughing are lower than the slope of the roof, allowing snow and ice to glide off

Q: Why are the shingles bubbly or bumpy?

A: Small bubbles or bumps will sometimes develop on the surface of roofing materials. This is referred to as blistering and will generally appear within 2-3 years of product installation. Small rash blisters, 7 mm (1/4”) or less, will not normally affect the performance of the shingle. Large blisters, often up to 2.5 cm (1”) in diameter, can shorten the life of the shingle as they often break, exposing the underlying components of the shingle. Causes include trapped moisture, inadequate ventilation of the attic, excessive use of adhesive, or the use of non-compliant adhesive.

Q: Why do different shingle types carry different warranties?

A: In today’s market, there are many types and styles of shingles available. The various types of shingles come with warranties representative of the life expectancy of each type. Generally speaking, the heavier the shingle, the longer the warranty. All other things being equal, the weight difference comes from the amount of waterproofing material used during manufacture.

Q: What are the black streaks on my roof?

A: Usually visible on north-facing, light-coloured roofs ranging from five years old, discoloration or streaking is sometimes mistaken as dirt, moss, or granule loss. It is actually caused by algae growth that propagates in areas of the roof that receive less direct sunlight, and thereby retain a higher level of moisture. Although most noticeable on light shingle colours, the algae affects all asphalt shingle roofs, including darker colours. The discolouration caused by the algae is in no way indicative of a shingle defect. This is an aesthetic concern and will not harm the shingle or shorten the life of the roof. The algae discolouration is difficult to remove from roofing surfaces, but may be lightened using various solutions available at most lumberyards.


  • Cleaning the shingles is a temporary solution, as it will eventually grow back due to higher humidity levels in areas of limited exposure to direct sunlight. The cleaning process will have to be repeated every few years.
  • Care must be taken when cleaning the algae as to not remove excessive amounts of granules that are attached to the surface of the shingles.

Q: Why are the corners of my shingles turning up?

A: Corners of shingles turning up is referred to as curling and is generally caused by excess moisture attacking the underside of the shingle. Inadequate ventilation causes the entrapment of heat and moisture in the attic. This will eventually penetrate the roof deck and cause the shingles to curl. Improving air circulation within the attic space can stop the process and rectify the situation if the curling is not too severe. In some rare instances, curling can reveal itself only under cold weather conditions. This would be referred to as winter curling.

The corners of the shingles will slightly curl up from the roof deck when cold, then lay flat again during warmer weather. This is especially prevalent during damp winter conditions when frost forms on the top surface of the shingles. This cooling on the top surface will cause the shingle to contract, while at the same time the underside of the shingle in contact with the roof receives a certain amount of passive heat from the attic space. The variation of temperature between the top side and underside of the shingle will result in some minor curling. However, this does not affect the shingle’s durability and effectiveness to shed water.

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