The number one cause of problems with roofing products is faulty installation and the leading installation problem is incorrect nailing of roof shingles.
Rubber slate can be a good choice when re-roofing a Victorian. Made from the same material as car bumpers, rubber slate can last up to 100 years. The slates are flexible, predrilled and calibrated. They can be cut with a knife and installed in any weather conditions. Rubber slate is an ideal product for a steep, complex roof with turrets, valleys, and crickets.
When repairing smaller tears in roof shingles, apply a thin bead of roof cement both under and over the tear, then smooth out the top bead with a putty knife. To camouflage the repair, collect some of the color chips that have washed from the shingles into the rain gutters and sprinkle them over the cement.
When installing roof shingles, do not nail above the sealant strips or the mid-section of the shingle.
How you put the roof together is just as important as the materials you use. When framing and sheathing the roof, for example, how many nails you use and where you put them may determine how well your roof stays in place. Fasten your roof incorrectly and it may blow away in a high wind or collapse under a heavy snow load. The same applies to the roof covering itself. Whether you install asphalt shingles, wood shakes, slate, tile, or a low-slope membrane roof, the fastening details can make the difference between success and failure. Roofing details such as underlayment, flashing, and edge detailing must all be accomplished with care for your roof job to succeed. You must also be aware of underlying structure. Heavy materials like slate and tile need a beefier frame under them than lighter products such as asphalt shingles or sheet metal; so, be sure to have the supporting structure evaluated before reroofing.
You should inspect your roof at least once a year. Nothing beats getting up close, but a good pair of binoculars can give you the next best thing. Look for curling or buckling shingles, shingle granules in your gutters, and other signs of wear.
Since roofing shingles are brittle in winter, they may break if you handle or walk on them. This makes spring a good time to do an inspection. Look for loose or curling shingles.
Ice that may have formed over the winter in gutters can cause the gutter to pull away from the house as well as break seals in gutter joints and downspout connections. Loose or clogged gutters can allow rain to run over your fascia board, into your eaves, and ultimately into your house. Loose gutters can also allow rain to collect near your foundation causing your basement to leak. Gutter cleaning, inspections and repairs generally require using an extension ladder which can present a potentially dangerous situation. It is recommended that this task be performed by your local licensed handyman or gutter service.
Loose or sagging plastic gutters will not drain properly, and this may cause their contents to overflow. As a temporary measure, hammer in a wooden wedge between each bracket and the gutter to hold each section in place until you can replace it.
When inspecting or repairing gutters, take the opportunity to attach narrow gauge chicken wire along the length of the gutters to prevent them from becoming blocked with debris.