• A Guide to Choosing Paint for Exterior Siding

    Courtesy of HouseLogic.com

    Courtesy of HouseLogic.com

    Choosing the right type of siding for your home can be difficult on its own, but then there comes the time when you have to choose the paint for your siding.  In order to choose the best one for your home, you need to consider the coating of your home, the climate in which you live, and what type of aesthetic you want.

    According to HouseLogic, "Done right, an exterior paint job can last 10 years; stain needs to be reapplied more often, anywhere from two to 10 years, depending on the type of stain."

    An important part to the longevity of an exterior paint job is how the surface is prepped before painting. However, what paint or stain you choose is almost equally important, according to the site.

    As far as pricing: "Expect to pay $35 to $45 per gallon for conventional premium paint or stain. “Green,” or zero-VOC, products run $45 to $55 per gallon. A gallon covers 350 to 400 square feet, so figure on about 8 gallons to cover an average two-story, 30-by-40-foot house. Most paint jobs require a primer and two topcoats."

    Here is an overview of the types of paints and stains you can choose from, courtesy of HouseLogic:

    Acrylic latex paints

    Acrylic latex is the favored choice, both of pros and do-it-yourselfers. These water-based paints come in an endless range of colors and three popular finishes. Flat paint, commonly used indoors, offers the least protection against the elements. Satin, with its slightly higher sheen, is a good choice for wood siding. Semi-gloss or gloss offers the most protection and works well on high-use areas like window and door trim.

    Pros: Latex paints are easy to work with and clean up with water. The paint film remains flexible even after drying, so it breathes and moves slightly to accommodate changes in temperature, or even house settling, without cracking. In addition to wood, latex can also cover siding made of vinyl, aluminum, fiber cement, stucco, brick, and metal.

    Cons: Unless you’re using “green” products, expect to smell paint fumes from the moment you open the can until the paint dries completely. These odors, produced by volatile organic compounds, are toxic in high quantities and contribute to air pollution.

    In general, latex paint doesn’t bond well to previous coats of oil paint unless you prepare the surface very well. That means stripping nearly all the old paint off the wood first, a time-consuming and expensive job. It’s often smarter to stick with oil if you’ve got oil, and latex if you’ve got latex.

    Costs: $35 to $45 a gallon for premium latex paint; $45 to $55 a gallon for premium low- or zero-VOC paints.

    Oil-based paints

    Oil paint, long prized for its durability, used to be the gold standard for exteriors and some high-traffic house trim such as handrails, doors, and floors. But these days it plays second fiddle to latex.

    Pros: Oil paints dry hard and get harder with time. That makes them perfect for high-traffic uses: porch floors, steps, metal handrails, even your front door.

    Cons: Over time, oil paint can become brittle and crack, producing an “alligator” look. (Some people actually like the effect.) Oil paint can never be applied on top of old latex paint; the two won’t bond properly.

    Toxic solvents are required to clean brushes and other equipment that come in contact with oil paint. The average can of oil paint has more VOCs than a can of conventional latex paint. Low-VOC oil paint is available, but even these products contain more VOCs than low-VOC latex paint.

    Costs: $35 to $45 a gallon for premium oil-based paint; $45 to $55 a gallon for premium low-VOC paints.

    Exterior stain

    Stain is the choice when you want to let some of the natural features of the wood shine through but still shield your investment from the elements. Cedar, redwood, and other beautiful varieties cry out for stain. As a rule, stain isn’t as protective as paint; sunlight and weather can still penetrate the stain, causing the wood to age and discolor.

    Like paints, stains come in latex and oil-based versions. You don’t want to cover an oil with a latex stain, or vice versa, unless the old coat of stain has aged and weathered to the point where the new coat can adhere.

    Stains come in three finishes:

    • Clear stains are extremely translucent. You’ll see more of the wood, but you’ll need to reapply as often as every two to three years. Clear stains can still vary greatly in appearance, so you will want to experiment on a scrap piece of shingle to choose your favorite product. Over time, the wood under clear stain will continue to discolor, forcing you to eventually move to the next category.
    • Semi-transparent stains are bulkier and offer more protection than clear stains, because they contain a hint of pigment. Color choices are not nearly as numerous as those for latex paint, but there’s still a broad range of options. Reapply in five to seven years.
    • Opaque stains behave more like paint; they offer maximum protection and hide much of the wood’s look. But they still allow the texture to show through. These come in many colors, but choose carefully—if you want to change colors next time around, you’ll need to sand the surface completely. Opaques last 10 years or more.

    Pros: Stains don’t require extensive surface prep the way paint does. Just wash, dry, scrape any raised or cracked stain, and re-stain with a brush. You don’t need a primer and may be able to squeak by with one coat.

    Cons: Depending on type of stain, requires frequent reapplication.

    Costs: $35 to $45 a gallon.

     

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your exterior siding, siding repair and siding installation needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Gutters 101: Pop-up Drain Emitters

    pop-up-drain-emitter

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Most homes have a standard gutter system that takes the rain from the roof and places it 1-3 feet from the foundation, and this can work well for many homes that have good draining soil and gradation, but that's not always the case.

    If you notice that your mulch and or the areas around your downspouts seem to be eroding fast during rainstorms, pop-up drain emitters might be right for you.

    According to BobVila.com, a pop-up drain emitter is,"a drain system that more efficiently carries water away from a house’s foundation than a standard downspout. A flexible hose is attached to the downspout, which is then run through a trench to a simple emitter that 'pops up' once the water pressure builds enough, allowing it to disperse over a larger surface area, so it doesn’t cause damage or erosion."

    Here are some reasons you should consider pop-up drains, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    • Your soil doesn’t drain well.

    • You have grading issues that impede the flow of water away from the house.

    • Your gutter design drains too much water into one area.

    Proper drainage is important to ensure the longevity of your home's foundation.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here  to help with all of your pop-up drain emitters, gutter installation and gutter repair needs.  Call us today at 215.453.9180 for your FREE estimate!

     

  • Siding Tips: Fiber Cement Siding

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Fiber cement siding has become popular for multiple reasons: it can be sustainable, it's low maintenance, inexpensive and long-lasting.

    Here is some more information on fiber-cement siding, courtesy of BobVila.com, to see if it is a good fit for  you.

    Maintenance and Longevity
    Each of the major manufacturers offers a line of fiber cement siding that meets or exceeds standards set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The siding stands up, not only to the elements, but also to hazards like insects and noise pollution. After 15 years, refinishing becomes necessary, but maintenance duties are light otherwise. Indeed, manufacturers’ warranties attest to the product’s durability. 30- to 50-year warranties are the norm.

    Sustainability
    CertainTeed, one of the leading manufacturers of fiber cement siding, says it only sources wood fiber harvested from managed forests. Another maker of fiber cement siding, Nichiha, joins CertainTeed in using fly ash—a waste residue of coal combustion—rather than silica. Nichiha also boasts of observing a host of best practices in their production process, sourcing material locally, recapturing 95% of the water used in its facilities, and recycling 100% of the scrap material it creates.

    James Hardie, the founder of fiber cement in the 1970s and world leader in the category, is equally committed to sustainability—sourcing 90% of their materials from regional suppliers, and employing waste minimization and solid waste recycling technologies to support Zero to Landfill initiatives.  While cement, water, sand and cellulose fibers are used for Hardie siding products, fly ash is not: the company believes that it adversely impacts the durability of fiber cement.

    Architectural Appeal
    Fiber cement siding comes in a variety of designs: Lap, plank, vertical, shake, curved-shake and geometric patterns are all available. A host of textures can be found as well, and the siding may be colored to virtually any hue the homeowner desires. Some fiber cement siding products are made to resemble wood, while others imitate the look of natural fieldstone, stacked flagstone, or brick.

    Affordability
    The upfront expenses associated with fiber cement siding are not inconsiderable, being that professional installation is a must. However, the ongoing maintenance costs are minimal. You can expect to pay out for refinishing work about every 15 years or so, but the lion’s share of the overall cost will come at the beginning of the product’s 50-plus-year lifespan.

    Versus Wood or Vinyl Siding
    Wood siding boasts a timeless beauty, and many homeowners value the way its appearance gradually changes in subtle ways. You can save on installation by doing the work yourself, but wood siding products are often expensive to buy, and over time, the material demands a high level of maintenance.

    Though colorfast and resistant to insects and rot, vinyl siding is not maintenance free: It’s vulnerability to weather damage makes occasional repairs necessary. The price tag is low enough to have enticed many, and another big selling point is its relative ease of installation.

    If your priority is good looks, then you can’t go wrong with wood. If budget is your main concern, look no further than vinyl. Consider fiber cement siding if you are looking for a long-lasting, low-maintenance material that performs well and doesn’t look half bad, either.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of you fiber cement siding, siding repair, and siding installation needs.  Call us today at 215.453.9180 for your FREE estimate!

  • Redwood Decks a Green Alternative

    Fairfax Deck Builder

    Courtesy of BobVIla.com

    You wouldn't think that using redwood for your deck would be very eco-friendly.  But if you are yearning to be green, but don't like the look of composite materials, redwood may be the prefect fit for you.

    According to the California Redwood Association, via BobVila.com,"Redwood is grown and harvested in accordance with the highest environmental standards in the world, tapping the sun for energy and soaking in California’s famed North Coast fog. Roughly 90 percent of all product-producing redwood forests are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forestry Initiative as sources of environmentally-sound building materials. In addition, redwood uses 97% less energy to produce than plastic."

    In fact, redwood may be more environmentally-friendly than those composite materials, which take a lot of chemicals to create. In addition, many composite materials aren't recycled and end up sitting in landfills.

    And, redwood isn't that expensive.  According to BobVila.com, premium woods like redwood and red cedar cost $18 to $22 per square foot. Not bad considering composite materials can cost $20 a square foot.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your redwood decks, deck building and deck repair needs.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Porch 101: Porch Styles and Types

    Porches are a great place for relaxation.  A place where you can be outdoors without being too far from home.  So, it only stands to reason that we take a lot of time to make our porch look nice.

    There are many different porch styles that can fit your home.  Here are some explanations of these different styles so that you can see what will work best for your home, courtesy of BobVila.com.

    Farmhouse Porch StyleCourtesy of BobVila.com

    Farmhouse Porch Style
    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    FARMHOUSE PORCH STYLE
    It doesn’t get much more inviting than the old-fashioned farmhouse porch, with its expansive wrap-around layout and unpretentious style. Initially created to help cool the home’s interior and provide a comfortable respite at day’s end, these covered porches are practical, comfortable, and simple in their trim and design.

    Country-style porches generally open to the yard, and many are so low that you can safely step off the side to the ground. Raised designs typically feature wood railings and decorative lattice underneath. Screen porches are a nice farmhouse option, and these can sometimes be fashioned using salvagedscreen doors. Or opt for a semi-screened look by adding trellises and railing planters between porch posts. Finish out the space with stained or painted wood floors and ceilings personalized with paint or pressed tin. Choose furnishings for comfort and personal style. Wicker is a traditional favorite, but wood, cast iron, and repurposed found objects also work well. Finally, don’t forget the nostalgic finishing touches—a porch swing and a slamming screen door.

    Colonial Style PorchCourtesy of BobVIla.com

    Colonial Style Porch
    Courtesy of BobVIla.com

    COLONIAL STYLE PORCHES
    America’s Colonial period brought a melting pot of home design ideas, which in turn produced Dutch Colonial, French Colonial, and other styles. Generally speaking, homes of this era were two stories and symmetrical. As settlers moved onward, however, the style was modified to suit the environment. For instance, in the steamy South, generously sized porches with bold, classical columns were added across the entire front of the house to help people beat the heat. The result? A coveted retreat for Southerners and the birth of one of America’s most beloved porch styles.

    Colonial porches keep to the architecture’s overall principles of symmetry, formality, and elegant restraint. Columns accomplish much of the visual design work, from massive two-story pillars to simpler paired columns stretching across the home’s facade. If used, wood or aluminum railings typically showcase tasteful Chippendale-style fretwork or herringbone patterns. A central door with fanlight and sidelights add balance.

    As for palette, crisp white, gray blues, and tans depict classic Colonial colors, as do ceilings that are brushed in haint blue. Furnishings should be gracious and plentiful, including rocking chairs, settees, planters and even lighting. Chandeliers sparkle on grand porches; period-appropriate lanterns and sconces enhance more modest and Early American houses. To ensure a pleasant breeze, you might also consider adding one or more ceiling fans overhead.

    Queen Anne Style PorchCourtesy of BobVila.com

    Queen Anne Style Porch
    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    QUEEN ANNE PORCH STYLE
    Echoing Victorian-era tastes, Queen Anne architecture reflects a penchant for personal expressiveness and over-the-top decoration. Forget any notion that “less is more.” The ornate wraparound porches and recessed second-story retreats adorning the asymmetrical fronts of Queen Anne homes were designed to impress. Propitiously, advancements in woodworking machinery in the late 1800s made previously expensive ornate porch pieces suddenly affordable, meaning homeowners could now pile it on with eclectic abandon.

    Among the fanciful options: delicately turned posts with beveled corners and attached fretwork, railings with flat-sawn balusters, elaborate spindle work, finials, spandrels, corner brackets and friezes. (Victorian millwork is still readily available, but if you want to avoid the painting upkeep of these intricate patterns, consider porch pieces made of high-density urethane instead.) Other embellishments include walls covered with fish-scale shingles or patterned masonry and doors and windows of etched or stained glass, enhanced with generous decorative trim. Bold paint palettes further the busy look.

    Fortunately, all the fuss on a Queen Anne porch is put to good use, as the space is considered an important outdoor room for entertaining. Look for wrought iron and wicker pieces to seat guests with old-fashioned charm. Containers and colorful plantings add a nice finishing touch, too.

    Bungalow Style PorchCourtesy of BobVila.com

    Bungalow Style Porch
    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    BUNGALOW PORCH STYLE
    A notable departure from the mass-produced elements and design excess of the Queen Anne style,Bungalow architecture grew out of California’s Arts and Crafts movement. These affordable cottages with low-pitched roofs feature expansive front porches that open to the yard and garden, expanding the home’s modest living space while also encouraging a strong connection with nature and the neighborhood.

    In general, Bungalow craftspersons utilize natural and handcrafted materials. The prominent oversize porch columns or pillars, for instance, are usually crafted from brick, wood, or stone (such as local river rock). Also common are battered, or tapered, posts atop a raised brick, stone, or wood pier. Concrete-capped brick knee walls or low, simple railings link the columns.

    Decorated as though an extension of the adjacent living room, Bungalow porches can be fairly rustic with earthtone palettes, twig or Mission-style furniture, and artisan lighting. Floors are typically wood, plain concrete, or concrete overlaid with ceramic tile, bluestone, fieldstone or brick.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your deck building, deck installation and help you choose the best of these porch styles for your home.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

     

  • Tips to Keep Your Roof Reliable

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    This sunny warm weather is the perfect time for outdoor fun.  It is also a good time to check out your roof to see if there is any maintenance needed.

    These 10 tips, courtesy of  Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association via HouseLogic, to make sure your roof shingles are secure and working properly.

    1. The best time for an inspection is the spring or summer after severe weather conditions (and the damage they may have inflicted) have passed.

    2. Do your initial inspections from the ground or through upstairs windows if you can see the roof from them. Binoculars can help.

    3. Keep gutters and roof surfaces clear of fallen leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other litter so rain water drains freely.

    4. Trim back trees to prevent branches from scuffing the roof surface. This will also keep the roof surface drier, helping to inhibit growths such as algae, mold, fungus, or lichen. Keep climbing roses, vines, and ivy trimmed back from the roof.

    5. Never paint or coat asphalt roofing materials to change the color or give the roof a new look because paint or coatings may void the manufacturer’s warranty. You can clean asphalt shingles if they are showing signs of staining from algae.

    6. Never allow water from a downspout to pour directly onto a roof below, as this will create additional wear to the shingle surface. Connect all upper-story downspouts to a lower-level gutter with drains installed on the lower roof.

    7. When removing snow or ice from a valley or other roof areas, use a soft-bristled broom or long extension pole — never allow shovels to make direct contact with your shingles. Never climb onto a wet or snow-covered roof.

    8. Inspect the underside of the roof deck from the attic to detect leaks. Flashings are the most vulnerable points; therefore, inspect the underside carefully at all flashing points for evidence of leakage, such as water stains. Remember that in cooler climates, water stains may be due to condensation as a result of inadequate attic ventilation.

    9. Limit walking on roofs to a minimum to avoid damaging the surface. When workmen have to climb onto the roof to service or install a chimney, solar collector, television antenna, or other roof element, require them to use care to protect the roofing. Avoid mounting satellite discs or other hardware to the roof surface to avoid future potential leak areas.

    10. Whenever a new element is added to the roof, make certain proper flashing procedures are followed to maintain the integrity of the roofing. Be sure anchors are made of a non-corrosive material to eliminate the possibility of metal discoloration or “iron stains” on the roof.

  • When is it Time To Call In the Roofing Contractor?

    Courtesy of Huffington Post

    Courtesy of Huffington Post

    There are many home improvements that we think we can tackle: upgrading the kitchen, planting a garden, repainting the dining room.  But there are some things that deserve some extra attention: roof repair. Because neglecting your roof or trying to do the repairs yourself can lead to high energy bills, damage, and the high costs of fixing it.

    Here are four things you should know about maintaining your roof, courtesy of Huffington Post.

    1. When to go pro. Alyssa Hall from GAF roofing, an expert on all things related to our houses' shingles, says to do a visual inspection of your roof several times a year. Call a professional if you see streaking stains on the shingles, curled or buckled shingles, areas on the roof missing granules or rusted flashings. Water stains in the attic or moss or mold on the roof are also signs of potential problems. It may be time for a new roof if you are noticing higher than average energy bills, moisture or mold in the attic, or leaks after extreme weather.

    2. It's all about maintenance. Once a year, you should clean the cobwebs and dust from your ventilation system and exhaust vents. Then, caulk with a high grade sealant around pipes and vents and paint any exposed metal to prevent rust. Also, remove leaves and other debris from the gutters so they don't dam up and overflow. Home Tips offers a helpful tutorial.

    3. Once choice can make it last forever (almost). Redbeacon reports that asphalt shingle roofs tend to last approximately twenty years. Although, Halls says if a roof is installed correctly with the right components, it can last a lifetime.

    4. People do notice. Your roofing material can actually enhance your home's curb appeal. (Hall confirms that, on average, 40 percent of what you see from the road is the roof!) And Realtor Mag includes roof replacement in the top ten valuable home improvement projects and reports that homeowners can expect to recoup 56.7 percent of these costs when selling.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is a roofing contractor that is here to help with all of you roofing repair, roofing installation and roofing maintenance needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your free estimate!

     

     

     

  • Benefits of Green Roofing Systems

    green-roof-2-flickr-kretyen

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Are you thinking about re-roofing your home, but are also trying to find some green options?  Green roofs can offer many environmental benefits for you and your wallet.

    According to BobVila.com via the American Association of Landscape Architects, "a green roof is a lightweight, living system of soil, compost, and plants."

    A green roofing system is generally made of up to nine layers of material, which include, "structural support, a vapor control barrier, thermal insulation, waterproofing, drainage, a filter membrane, growing medium, and finally the vegetation itself," according to BobVila.com.

    So, what are the benefits?

    Green roofs filter pollution, absorb storm water, lower surface temperatures, improve home insulation, and can create a green oasis for you to enjoy, especially if you live in more of a city area.

    As far as tax breaks, you may be able to receive some depending upon where you live.  Also, some cities offer government grants, which could help offset the cost of building the roof.

    "Before you start your green home project, check your local building codes to be sure that a green roof would comply with relevant rules and regulations," according to BobVila.com.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your roofing repair, roofing installation and roofing maintenance needs.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your free estimate!

  • Roofing Tips: How to Choose a New Roof

    ChestnutBrown-AspenBlend-EcoStar-SenecaShake

    There are tons of options when it comes to installing a new roof, as well as a wide range of prices (anywhere from $.50 to $10 per square foot).  It can be exceptionally confusing when you're trying to get an estimate and someone is throwing tons of roofing terms at you.

    Here are some explanations of important roofing terms and materials you should become familiar with in order to pick the roof that's right for you, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    Squares

    Roofers often use squares instead of "square feet" when talking about measurements.  " A square is their basic unit of measurement—one square is 100 square feet in area, the equivalent of a 10-foot by 10-foot square," according to BobVila.com.

    For example:

    The roof of a typical two-story, 2,000-square-foot house with a gable roof will consist of less than 1,500 square feet of roofing area, or about fifteen squares.

    Cost

    Many aspects of a roof, from the materials to the condition of the existing roof can affect the price tag.  The shape of the roof is also important when figuring out the price.

    For example:

    A gable roof with few or no breaks in its planes (like chimneys, vent pipes, or dormers) makes for a simple roofing job. A house with multiple chimneys, intersecting rooflines (the points of intersection are called valleys), turrets,skylights, or other elements will cost significantly more to roof.

    Materials

    Different types of roofs may require different roofing materials.  Here are some options you may want to look over and discuss with your roofing contractor:

    • Asphalt Shingle. This is the most commonly used of all roof materials, probably because it’s the least expensive and requires a minimum of skill to install. It’s made of a fiberglass medium that’s been impregnated with asphalt and then given a surface of sand-like granules. Two basic configurations are sold: the standard single-thickness variety and thicker, laminated products. The standard type costs roughly half as much, but laminated shingles have an appealing textured appearance and last roughly half as long (typically 25 years or more, versus 15 years plus). Prices begin at about $50 a square, but depending upon the type of shingle chosen and the installation, can cost many times that.

    • Wood.  Wood was the main choice for centuries, and it’s still a good option, though in some areas fire codes forbid its use. Usually made of cedar, redwood, or southern pine, shingles are sawn or split. They have a life expectancy in the 25-year range (like asphalt shingles) but cost an average of twice as much.

    • Metal.  Aluminum, steel, copper, copper-and-asphalt, and lead are all durable—and expensive—roofing surfaces. Lead and the copper/asphalt varieties are typically installed as shingles, but others are manufactured for seamed roofs consisting of vertical lengths of metal that are joined with solder. These roofs start at about $250 per square but often cost two or three times that.

    • Tile and Cement.  The half cylinders of tile roofing are common on Spanish Colonial and Mission styles; cement and some metal roofs imitate tile’s wavy effect. All are expensive, very durable, and tend to be very heavy.

    • Slate.  Slate is among the most durable of all roofing materials. Not all slate is the same—some comes from quarries in Vermont, some from Pennsylvania and other states—but the best of it will outlast the fasteners that hold it in place. Hundred-year-old slate, in fact, is often recycled for reinstallation, with the expectation it will last another century. But slate is expensive—typically prices start at about $800 a square—and very heavy.

    Installation Notes

    Here are some important installation notes, courtesy of BobVila.com.

    Whatever your choice of roofing surface, you will probably need flashing. Flashing is a crucial part of all exterior work, both on the roof and siding. Flashing is metal (aluminum or copper, occasionally lead) or plastic film. It is applied in strips to areas where dissimilar materials adjoin, such as the intersection of the masonry chimney and the roofing shingles, where the siding abuts the window frames, and so on. Good flashing work is essential to keeping a structure watertight, as the most likely place for leakage to occur is where different materials meet.

    Whatever the choice of roof materials, the coursing should be regular to the eye and parallel to roof edges. From one course to the next, the joints should be staggered to prevent leakage. Beware of a contractor who relies on tar for joints. Except with certain roofs where a membrane is used, tar is a lazy expedient that should not be used for a new roofing surface.

    For most roofing, a material like building felt (a.k.a. tar paper) is rolled on before the shingles are nailed in place. With cedar shakes, however, lengths of furring strips (sometimes called “cedar breathers”) will be laid across the roof in order to allow the roof to breathe. In snowy areas, a membrane called a snow and ice shield may also be laid.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your roofing installation and roofing repair needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

  • Roofing 101: Black Roof Stains

    Courtesy of BobVIla.com

    Courtesy of BobVIla.com

    Have you noticed black marks on your roof?  Chances are it's black algae.

    According to BobVila.com, "The black spots discoloring your asphalt roof are more than likely the pervasive and prevalent algae known as Gloecapsa Magma."

    This algae likes to grow in a dark moist environment, usually from dew and shade. According to the site, this algae usually starts on the north-facing sides of a roof because those sides usually receive the lease amount of light.

    And, since it travels through the air, it could've come from a neighboring home, and unfortunately, black algae thrives on calcium carbonate, which is used in most asphalt shingles.

    While the algae is not necessarily harmful (it's primarily an aesthetic issue) it can prematurely age shingles.

    DON'T use a high pressure washer to remove algae as it can harm the shingles.  It's best to gently spray the shingles with a solution of, " one cup of trisodium phosphate (available at most hardware stores), one gallon of bleach, and five gallons of water" and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.  Be sure to apply the treatment on a cloudy day so the solution doesn't evaporate.

    While this cleans the existing algae that's there, it doesn't prevent it from coming back...

    In order to prevent algae from forming, a solution "can be created by installing copper or zinc strips under the full course of shingles at the ridge of the roof.  As rainwater washes across the metal it will create an uninhabitable environment for future spores."

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all or your roof stains, roof repair and roof installation needs.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!