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Roofing Guide

What is a Roof System?

Choosing the Right Roof

Roofs Have Natural Enemies

Choosing a Contractor

Take Care of Your Roof & It Will Take Care Of You

What Is A Roof System?

All steep-slope roof systems (i.e., roofs with slopes of 25 percent or more,) have five basic components:

1.Roof Covering: shingles, tile, slate or metal and underlayment that protects the sheathing from weather.

2.Sheathing: boards or sheet material that are fastened to roof rafters to cover a house or building.

3.Roof Structure: rafters and trusses constructed to support the sheathing.

4.Flashing: sheet metal or other material installed into a roof system's various joints and valleys to prevent water seepage.

5.Drainage: a roof system's design features, such as shape, slope and layout that affect its ability to shed water.

6. Ventilation: gable vents, ridge vents, off ridge vents provide attic to control temperature and moisture in the attic. During the summer, excess heat that builds up in the attic during the day results in high energy costs for cooling. Moisture, if not exhausted from the attic, can condense and cause insulation and construction materials to deteriorate.

Flat roofs have special requirements. Unlike steep sloped roofs, which depend on gravity to shed water, flat roofs use drains to remove water and rely on waterproof membrane to protect the property. Actually, the term 'flat' is misleading here -- no roof should be completely flat or dead level. A dead level roof is useless, except maybe as a pond for birds. "Low slope" is a more accurate description of what is commonly called a flat roof. Low slope roofs should have at least a 1/4 inch of slope per foot (preferably more) so water can flow downhill to drains and then to the ground.
A variety of roofing systems can be implemented on both steep-slope and flat roofs, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages.


1. Ridge
7. Chimney Flashing
2. Rake Edge 8. Window Sash
3. Soffit 9. Window Sill
4. Valleys 10. Gable Vent
5. Downspout/Leader 11. Gutter
6. Dormer Flashing 12. Corner Post

The surface, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), to which roofing materials are applied.
A small structure projecting from a sloped roof, usually with a window.
Drip edge
An L-shaped strip (usually metal) installed along roof edges to allow water run off to drip clear of the deck, eaves and siding.
The horizontal lower edge of a sloped roof.
A flat board, band or face located at a cornice's outer edge.
A sheet of asphalt-saturated material (often called tar paper) used as a secondary layer of protection for the roof deck.
Fire rating
System for classifying the fire resistances of various materials. Roofing materials are rated Class A, B or C, with Class A materials having the highest resistance to fire originating outside the structure.
Pieces of metal used to prevent the seepage of water around any intersection or projection in a roof system, such as vent pipes, chimneys, valleys and joints at vertical walls.
Slatted devices installed in a gable or soffit (the underside of eaves) to ventilate the space below a roof deck and equalize air temperature and moisture.
Oriented strand board (OSB)
Roof deck panels (4 by 8 feet) made of narrow bits of wood, installed lengthwise and crosswise in layers, and held together with a resin glue. OSB often is used as a substitute for plywood sheets.
Vents, pipes, stacks, chimneys-anything that penetrates a roof deck.
The supporting framing to which a roof deck is attached.
The inclined edge of a roof over a wall.
The top edge of two intersecting sloping roof surfaces.
The boards or sheet materials that are fastened to rafters to cover a house or building.
Measured by rise in inches for each 12 inches of horizontal run A roof with a 4-in-12 slope rises 4 inches for every foot of horizontal distance.
The common measurement for roof area. One square is 100 square feet (10 by 10 feet).
Engineered components that supplement rafters in many newer homes and buildings. Trusses are designed for specific applications and cannot be cut or altered. Valley The angle formed at the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces.
Vapor retarder
A material designed to restrict the passage of water vapor through a roof system or wall.

Choosing The Right Roof

When selecting a roof system, durability and cost of course head the list. But keep in mind, aesthetics and architectural style are important as well. The right roof system for you is one that balances all these considerations.

Steep-slope Roofs:

Shingles are by far the most popular product in the U.S. residential roofing market. They can be reinforced with either organic or fiber glass materials. Although shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around much longer, fiber glass-reinforced products have come to dominate the market. Shingle roofs, when properly chosen and applied, require little or no regular upkeep, and are easily repaired if damaged.

Clay and concrete tile are the two most widely available forms of this roof material. It is a durable but fairly expensive roofing material. Tile roofs rely on under-layment which usually fails before the tile. "Mission-style" and "Spanish" round-topped tiles are the most popular, but flat styles also are available to create French and English looks. Tile is available in a variety of colors and finishes and is very heavy. If you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the structure can support the load.

Metal roofs are very lightweight, weighing about one quarter as much as tile roofs and nearly half as much as asphalt shingles. Metal roofing is generally more expensive than asphalt roofing, but cheaper than tile or slate roofing. It has a long life and can even lower heating and cooling costs because it reflects heat from the sun.

Polyurethane Foam
Polyurethane foam is sprayed directly onto the roof, where it "foams up" and solidifies before a protective coating is applied. Because of its flexibility, foam is especially useful for roofs with unusual shapes or configurations although foam is mostly applied to regular flat roofs. Foam has a number of unique advantages over other types of flat roofing systems. For one, it protects against thermal shock and it can greatly reduce your air conditioning bills. Intrigued? Visit our section on foam roofs to learn more.

Modified Bitumen
Modified bitumen's, like built up roofing, are made of reinforced asphalt impregnated felts. But, unlike BUR, the asphalt in the felts is modified with plastic or rubber polymers (hence the name) to improve its elasticity, durability, and overall performance. Because of the added polymers, modified bitumen are often applied in a single layer with overlapping seams. They can be "glued" to the roof with hot asphalt or an adhesive, or by using propane torches to melt the asphalt underside. Some modified bitumen require protective surfacing materials, usually mineral granules or a liquid coating.

Low-slope Roofs:

The three common installation methods are:

Torched-on (sometimes called heat welding)

Mopped-in with hot asphalt

Peel and Stick: a base sheet that has no coating on the top surface, and a cap sheet that may have a granular surface on the top. ?

Whichever roofing system you choose, workmanship is very important. Make sure you hire experienced, professional contractors. And make sure they follow the roofing material manufacturer's installation specifications.


Roofs Have Natural Enemies

Sun, rain, wind and cold -- a roof system's performance is affected by much of what nature throws at it. Knowing about these and other factors will help you make informed roof system buying decisions:

Heat and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time. Deterioration can occur faster on the sides facing west or south.

When water gets underneath shingles, shakes or other roofing materials, it can work its way to the roof deck and cause the roof structure to rot. Extra moisture encourages mildew and rot elsewhere in a house, including walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.

High winds can lift shingles' edges (or other roofing materials) and force water and debris underneath them. Extremely high winds can cause extensive damage.

Thermal Shock
Thermal shock is the expansion and contraction of the roof system due to extreme temperature changes. For example, thermal shock often occurs when a cold rain shower suddenly cools a roof during a hot day.

Condensation can result from the buildup of relatively warm, moisture-laden air. Moisture in a poorly ventilated attic promotes decay of wood sheathing and rafters, possibly destroying a roof structure. Sufficient attic ventilation can be achieved by installing larger or additional vents and will help alleviate problems because the attic air temperature will be closer to the outside air temperature.

Moss & Algae
Moss can grow on moist wood shingles and shakes. Once it grows, moss holds even more moisture to a roof system's surface, causing rot. In addition, moss roots also can work their way into a wood deck and structure. Algae also grows in damp, shaded areas on wood or asphalt shingle roof systems. Besides creating a black-green stain, algae can retain moisture, causing rot and deterioration. Trees and bushes should be trimmed away from homes and buildings to eliminate damp, shaded areas, and gutters should be kept clean to ensure good drainage.

Trees & Leaves
Tree branches touching a roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials when the branches are blown by the wind. Falling branches from overhanging trees can damage, or even puncture, shingles and other roofing materials. Leaves on a roof system's surface retain moisture and cause rot, and leaves in the gutters block drainage.

Missing Or Torn Shingles
The key to a roof system's effectiveness is complete protection. When shingles are missing or torn off, a roof structure and home or building interior are vulnerable to water damage and rot. The problem is likely to spread-nearby shingles also are ripped easily or blown away. Missing or torn shingles should be replaced as soon as possible.

Shingle Deterioration
When shingles are old and worn out, they curl, split and lose their waterproofing effectiveness. Weakened shingles easily are blown off, torn or lifted by wind gusts. The end result is structural rot and interior damage. A deteriorated roof system only gets worse with time-it should be replaced as soon as possible.

Flashing Deterioration
Many apparent roof leaks really are flashing leaks. Without good, tight flashings around chimneys, vents, skylights and wall/roof junctions, water can enter a home or building and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems. Flashings should be checked as part of a biannual roof inspection and gutter cleaning.

Ventilation and Insulation Are Key
One of the most critical factors in roof system durability is proper ventilation. Without it, heat and moisture build up in an attic area and combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to never block off sources of roof ventilation, such as louvers, ridge vents or soffit vents, even in winter. Proper attic ventilation will help prevent structural damage caused by moisture, increase roofing material life, reduce energy consumption and enhance the comfort level of the rooms below the attic.

Choosing A Contractor

Sure, we want you to choose Bohemia Co. to do the job. But we also understand that buying a new roof system is an important investment. So before you choose anyone, we want to make sure you understand how to evaluate roofing contractors.

We’re sure you have heard that not all roofing contractors are alike. We recommend that you prequalify roofing contractors to get the job done right the first time. The following guidelines will help you select a professional:

1. COMPANY INFORMATION - Check for a permanent place of business (even if it is a home office), tax identification number and a business license.
2. INSURANCE -Don't hesitate to ask a roofing contractor for proof of insurance. In fact, insist on seeing copies of the liability coverage and workers' compensation certificates. Make sure the coverage’s are in effect through the duration of the job. Many building and home owners have been dragged into litigation involving uninsured roofing contractors. Also, if a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.
3. REFERENCES - Look for a company with a proven track record that offers client and supplier references and a list of completed projects. Call these clients and suppliers to find out whether they were satisfied. Call the Building department in your county to confirm your bids are from certified contractors.

To view permits in Duval County visit

a)Select SEARCH FOR ? permits
b)Select SEARCH BY ? State License Number ? fill in the License # of a company you are inquiring about (Bohemia’s CCC1328464)
c)The list of Active, Expired (meaning job of $2500 value or less), Finalized permits will come up. (permits that starts with the letter R = roofing)
Look at # of ACTIVE permits – Date since obtained, and if older why are they still opened (INS tab, will show the necessary inspections that a permit requires in order finalizing the permit whether the inspections are showing as PASS or FAIL. Unless you permit is finalized and work done according to the building code (inspected by the county officials) your manufactures warranty might not be valid.

4. PROPOSAL - Insist on a detailed, written proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures. Payments should only be a part of the work already finished. In order to be licensed, contractors must demonstrate financial ability to perform the type of work which the license contemplates. DO NOT PAY ANYONE EARLY, FOR ANY REASON.

5. Have the contractor explain his project supervision and quality-control procedures. Request the name of the person who will be in charge of your project, how many workers will be required and estimated completion time.

6. Call your contact local Better Business Bureau or Department of Professional Regulation to check for possible complaints filed against the contractor.

7. Keep a healthy skepticism about the lowest bid. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many fly-by-night contractors' below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work. Remember, price is only one of the criteria for selecting a roofing contractor. Professionalism, experience and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily in your decision.

Take Care Of Your Roof & It Will Take Care Of You

Roofing professionals generally agree that a good roof system requires proper design, quality materials and quality application to perform successfully. Yet once the roof is installed, nothing is more critical to its long-term performance than establishing a program of regular inspections and proper maintenance.

Privacy Policy

Bohemia Co., Inc. is committed to maintaining your confidence and trust, and accordingly maintains the following privacy policy to protect personal information you provide online.

Basic Confidentiality Policy
It is Bohemia Co., Inc.’s policy that personal information, such as your name, postal and e-mail address or telephone number, is private and confidential. Accordingly, the personal information you provide is stored in a secure location, is accessible only by designated staff, and is used only for the purposes for which you provide the information.

No Release of Information to Third Parties
Personal information will not be released to third parties onlyif release is required by law or is pertinent to judicial or governmental investigations or proceedings. There are no other circumstances under which we will provide or sell personal information to third parties.

No Computer Tracking of Identifiable Information
Our computer is not set up to track, collect or distribute personal information about its visitors. It does recognize the home server of visitors, but not e-mail addresses. For example, we can tell which Internet Service Provider our visitors use, but not the names, addresses or other information about our visitors that would allow us to identify the particular visitors to our sites. This information is used only for internal purposes by Bohemia Co., Inc. technical support staff.

Bohemia Co., Inc. system is not responsible for the privacy practices or policies of participants in its various programs.

How To Contact Us
Should you have other questions or concerns about these privacy policies, please call us at (904) 859-3539 or send us an email at