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Symptoms that indicate it may be time for a new roof:
(Read the description below to learn what’s causing the problem.)
ALGAE GROWTH – Algae growth causes a dark discoloration on roofs. Algae is usually brown to black in color which results in a streaked, dirty looking rooftop. It can be mistaken for soot, dirt or tree droppings, which typically produce only localized discoloration. It’s caused by the growth of air-borne algae which deposits on your roof. The good news is that algae growth does not affect the service life of your roofing material. It occurs most often in warm, humid climates such as the southeast (where algae-resistant shingles are available).
BUCKLING – Blocking is most often caused by improperly applied felt, wrinkled underlayment, roof deck movement, spacers not used in between roof deck boards, poor roof ventilation or new shingles applied over old, rough shingles.
CURLING – Curling can be caused by high nails, lack of back coating, under-saturation of asphalt felt in organic shingles, lack of ventilation or improper number of fasteners.
DAMAGED FLASHING – Damaged Flashing is caused by improper installation on a new roof, drying and cracking on and old roof, dented by improper nailing, or settling of the structure.
MISSING GRANULES – Normally a certain number of granules will be loose, especially after application. These granules are called “riders” and are a normal result of the manufacturing process. Granule loss does not effect the service life of the shingles unless granules can be seen missing on the surface of the shingles, thus exposing the asphalt or Fiberglass mat.
MISSING SHINGLES – Missing shingles can be caused by Improper fastening or exposure to high winds.
CEILING SPOTS – Ceiling spots are frequently caused by leaks in the roof. Check in the attic for leaks in deck; check chimney and vents for cracks in flashing; check rafters for leaks that “travel” away from original source; check eaves for water backing up from ice dams; and check for damaged shingles on roof.
ROTTING – Rotting is commonly caused by absorption of moisture by the mat at the core of the shingle. This is often a problem with organic based shingles. One recommendation is to replace with mat shingles.
BLISTERING – Blistering is caused by moisture in the single. If the blister breaks open revealing the asphalt, the affected shingles should be replaced.

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Tips for new and existing roofs
The following techniques can be used during roof installation on both new and existing homes, and are best performed by a licensed, professional roofing contractor.

Install a roof deck of solid plywood 5/8 thickness to maximize wind and windborne debris resistance with 10d common nails spaced at 4 inches along the panel edges and every six inches in the field of the plywood panel. Make sure that the nails penetrate the decking directly into the roof framing.

In your existing home, be sure to look in the attic to confirm that the roof decking is properly nailed to the roof framing. If you can see nails along the sides of rafters or trusses, where the nail penetrates the decking, your roof deck is probably not securely attached.

Create a secondary water barrier by installing self-adhering flashing tape or modified polymer bitumen strips, commonly called peel and seal, over the joints in your roof deck. This will help keep out the rain in the event the roof covering is damaged or destroyed by severe weather. 

Install one layer of #30 underlayment sometimes called felt paper — over the roof decking and secondary water barrier. The felt helps with drainage in the event water gets under the roof covering.

Install a roof covering that has been tested to ASTM D 3161 for wind resistance and UL 2218 for impact resistance. Be sure to specify these standards and look for labels on the products confirming these standards because ordinary roofing materials may not look any different from the wind resistant versions.

Finally, you can significantly increase the roofs resistance to uplift from the wind by applying a bead of construction adhesive using a caulking gun along both sides of the intersection of the roof decking and the rafters or trusses. Be sure to look for an adhesive that has been tested to specific levels

Composition shingles come in a variety of different styles, colors and warranties.  The most common and least expensive shingle has a 25 year warranty and is known as the strip shingle or the 3-tab shingle.  The second most common composition shingle is the 30 year dimensional shingle. This shingle is also referred to as the laminated shingle or the architectural shingle. It carries a 30 year warranty and is distinguishable from the 25 year shingle by its thicker, heavier look which was designed to imitate the appearance of wood shingles.  The laminated shingle also comes in 40 and 50 year versions which are each slightly thicker than the 30 year shingle but are otherwise exactly the same in appearance.  Although the strip shingle and the laminated shingle account for 95% of all composition shingle roofs, there are numerous alternatives including hail resistant shingles and specialty shingles.  
3-tab composition shingles are by far the most commonly used shingle in America. They have a 25 year warranty and are the most inexpensive roofing material available. Their chief attributes are low price, ease of application and wide selection of available colors. Their disadvantages are relatively short life expectancy and their plain, unadorned appearance. This roof appearance consists of identical 5″ X 12″ rectangles repeating endlessly across the roof. This unfortunately tends to exaggerate and highlight any variation in the pattern caused by a high rafter or sag in the decking.   
Laminated shingles start off with much the same construction as a 3-tab or strip shingle but then an extra layer of material cut into a saw-tooth pattern is glued on (or laminated) to the exposed portion of the shingle. This makes the shingle thicker and longer lasting. In addition, multiple variations in the saw-toothed give the shingle a varied thatched-like appearance so that the roof does not show any repeating pattern. This combination of extra thickness and random appearance is much more successful in hiding the defects in the roof deck and is one of these shingles main attributes. While these shingles are considerably different, as a class, from the 3-tab shingles there is little or no difference in appearance between the 30, 40 and 50 year versions.  
Hail resistant shingles also come in both 3-tab and laminated styles. However the 3-tab style carries a 30 year warranty and the laminated style carries the 50 year warranty. These shingles do not appear any different to the naked eye from the regular 3-tab and laminated shingles. However they are manufactured using a special asphalt called modified bitumen, which contains 2 types of special chemical modifiers known as elastifiers and UV blockers. These shingles will pass a level 4 impact resistant test and qualify home owners in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties for a 16% reduction in home owners rates. However, these shingles are quite expensive and usually require 8-10 years before their reduced insurance rate saves enough money to save the additional cost.  
Specialty Shingles only account for 2-3% of the composition shingle market but there is a large number of different types and styles to choose from. There are shingles embossed with a wood grain, shingles designed to look like slate, extremely heavy and thick shingles, shingles with multiple layers of laminate and even copper plated shingles.  There’s a large number of specialty shingles available.