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Roofing Question

How do I waterproof a gable?

I need to waterproof a gable end of a garage. What should I use?

New York, NY

I'm not quite sure if the garage gable is the area of your concern - it's normally covered by whatever exterior siding is on the home. The part of the home normally referred to as a gable is the expanse of vertical wall created by a pitched truss at the end of a house or garage.

A gable starts at the top of the exterior wall height. This is usually 8 feet for a one-level home, but could be 9 or 10 feet. It could also start at the top of the second or even third floor walls. But wherever the gable happens to start, it then continues up to the truss peak. This triangular area of exterior wall surface is called the gable. Depending on the house and roof design, a house may have one or more gables. If all of the roof pitches are hipped, it may not have any gables.

The initial layer of protection against water intrusion on any gable is going to be the exterior siding material, such as vinyl, wood, or brick. However, a fact that most homeowners are unaware of is that just about all exterior siding materials are only water resistant. They are not waterproof. With some materials - stucco, brick, and vinyl siding - installation is done with the knowledge that water will definitely be getting behind the cladding, so the veneers have drainage systems that allow that water to exit before it can leak into the home.

However, if a problem arises with these drainage systems, it's very important that there be a second line of protection to prevent intrusion. Installing a moisture resistant house wrap according to the manufacturer's specifications over the intermediate sheathing serves this purpose. Water that gets beyond the siding and can't drain quickly should be prevented from entering the home by the house wrap. I recommend that house wrap be installed on your garage gable to deter moisture intrusion, and if possible, installed on the entire exterior of your home, too.

At the gable roof line, shingles (or whatever roofing material your home has) properly installed over felt or a membrane should prevent any leakage in that area.

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Roofing vs. Reroofing

Roofing vs. Reroofing

If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.

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