Roofs and Leak Protection

Dear NH,
We are having our roof replaced. They have the tarpaper down and have begun replacing the shingles. We are threatened with rain tomorrow. Will the tarpaper be enough to protect our home? Will we have problems with mold later if it does not protect it?

If the tarpaper is securely stapled and overlapped properly, it should keep all but the most severe weather out. Tarpaper is totally waterproof and would be a good roofing material itself except that it's not very sturdy. Over time, it would become brittle, tear and break from exposure to the sun and elements. Tarpaper is intended as a "backup" for the finish roofing material. For example, if an asphalt shingle broke or blew off, the tarpaper will offer some leak protection until you can get it repaired.

Mold needs significant and persistent moisture to grow. Unless your roofers decide to go on an extended vacation from your job, your concern is probably unwarranted. In my experience, mold caused by roof leaks is initially invisible, occurring over long periods of time from small, unnoticed leaks.

Good luck with your new roof. By the way, if you live in the "Snow Belt" and are at risk for ice dams, be sure they have installed an "ice and water dam" along the lower edge of your roof. OK, it's summer now, but the inevitable winter will be roaring back at us before you know it! Be ready.

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