Tag: Pennsylvania roofing

  • 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: Composite Shakes and Slates

    Davinci-Ballaforte-Tuscano-Composition-Shake-Roof

    People don't like imitators.  They often lack the quality of the real thing.  This is not the case with composite slate and shake shingles.  They may, arguably, improve upon their real counterparts.

    Creating alternatives to the real stuff can often be a difficult and arduous one.  But, according to BobVila.com, "in recent years, several companies have developed composite shingles that successfully mimic the look of real slate and wood shake roofing."

    Here is an overview of some new composites out on the market, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    Fancy Shakes

    DaVinci Roofscapes, LLC, offers a comprehensive line of composite shake- and slate-type products. It is a polymer-based product with top impact and fire ratings, plus a strong warranty. Shown here: DaVinci's Fancy Shake Polymer Cedar Tile.

    Fancy-Shake-Polymer-Cedar-Roof-Tiles-DaVinci

     

    New Cedar

    Durable composite shingles are available in multiple widths and multiple colors, allowing homeowners to create blends with realistic textures and shade variations. Shown here: DaVinci's New Cedar Polymer Shake.

    DaVinci-Multi-width-newcedar-polymer-shake

    Symphony Slate

    CertainTeed’s luxury line of slate-like shingles is a dead ringer for slate, from its surface texture to its rough-chiseled edges. Shown here: CertainTeed's Symphony Evergreen Blend Slate.

    Certaineed-Symphony-Slate-Luxury-Evergreen-Blend

    Authentic Coloring

    CertainTeed's lightweight, fade-resistant Symphony shingles arguably improve upon the genuine article. Aside from being cheaper to buy and less costly to install, they are backed by a 50-year warranty and boast Energy Star certification. Shown: Certainteed's Symphony Capital Blend Slate.

    Certainteed-Symphony-Slate-Roofing

    Majestic Slate

    Unlike many of its competitors' products, EcoStar composite shingles have a 20-year track record. They’re green, too, being made of up to 80-percent recycled rubber and plastics. Shown here: EcoStar's Red Gray Majestic Slate.

    RedGray-EcoStar-MajesticSlate

    Seneca Shake

    EcoStar shingles and shakes are virtually indistinguishable from real slate and wood, earning them approval for use in historic preservation projects. Shown here: EcoStar's Chestnut Brown Aspen Blend Seneca Shake.

    ChestnutBrown-AspenBlend-EcoStar-SenecaShake

    Synthetic Slate

    Composite shake or slate roof installations will cost at least four times as much as asphalt shingles. And "although composite roofs are not as difficult to install as slate and cedar," says Rick Damato, editorial director of Roofing Contractor, "the contractor will have to know what he’s doing for them to come out right." Shown: DaVinci's Single Width Valore Slate in Black.

    Single-Width-Synthetic-Slate-Roof-Tiles-DaVinci

     

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

     

     

     

  • What You Need to Know About Asphalt Shingles

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    When it comes to shingles, asphalt is often a popular choice.  They are efficient to produce and widely available, as well as fairly easy to install.

    In addition, "their guaranteed life span pits them favorably against competitors," according to BobVila.com.

    Here is an overview of what you should know about asphalt shingles, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    THE BASICS
    Asphalt shingles come in two varieties: Fiberglass and organic.

    Fiberglass shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays. Because of the composition of the fiberglass mat, less asphalt is needed to give the shingles their durability and strength. The result is a lighter weight and thinner roofing material. Fiberglass shingles also have a higher fire rating than organic varieties and generally carry a longer warranty. Fiberglass shingles were developed in the 1980s, but have quickly become the roofing material of choice for most homeowners and contractors today.

    The traditional organic mat-based shingles are made from a recycled layer of felt paper, asphalt-saturated for waterproofing, and coated with adhesive asphalt into which the ceramic granules are embedded. With 40 percent more asphalt than their fiberglass counterparts, the traditional organic mat-based shingles are heavier, thicker and more costly. While organic shingles are considered more rugged and more flexible, they are also more absorbent and can warp over time. The additional asphalt content also makes them less environmentally friendly.

    SHINGLE TYPES
    Regardless of whether they are fiberglass- or organic-based, asphalt shingles generally measure 12 by 36 inches and are commonly manufactured in two different types:

    Three-tab shingles are distinguished by cutouts—tabs—made along their long lower edge. The result, says Joan Crowe, a technical services director for the National Roofing Contractor's Association (NRCA), is that “each shingle looks like three separate pieces when installed, but it’s only one.” Three-tab shingles have been around a long time and are still the most economical and most popular shingle today.

    Architectural asphalt shingles contain no cutouts, but their lower portions are laminated with an additional asphalt layer. This creates the contoured, dimensional look that gives them their name. Asphalt sealant bonds the layers, reinforcing the shingles’ waterproof capability. Though durable,architectural shingles are not recommended for low-sloping roofs, which are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain.

    STYLE AND COLOR
    Installed properly, asphalt shingles are no longer easy to identify. Why? Some are made to convincingly mimic the look of slate, wood shakes or even tile. And shingle shapes can be similarly varied; consider the scalloped-edge tabs that complement Victorian architecture or the square, slate-like shingles perfectly suited for Colonial homes.

    Color choices are more varied than ever, depending on your taste and the style of your home. You’ll generally find tones ranging from pale gray, medium gray and dark gray to beige, reddish and medium brown to dark brown, plus shades of blue and blue green. There are also variegated looks achieved by mixing light and dark tones skillfully, plus weathered looks designed to make a new roof-look suit a vintage house. There are interactive tools online that can help you "try on" colors and styles to find the asphalt shingle best suited to your home.

    In addition to color and style, today's manufacturers are also adopting energy-saving, cool-roof technology to help reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the roof. CertainTeed's Landmark Solaris, for example, is a steep-slope, solar reflective asphalt roofing shingle that contains advanced colored granules that reflect the sun's rays and can reduce a roof's temperature by as much as 20% in the summer. Similar ENERGY STAR-rated technology is available with Owens Corning ’s Duration Premium Cool Shingles and GAF’s Timberline Cool Series Energy-Saving Shingles.

    DURABILITY AND COST
    Manufacturer warranties currently guarantee asphalt shingles a 15- to 30-year useful life. Why the wide span? Climate, weather and environmental factors. Homeowners in areas enduring long summers with high heat may need to replace roofing sooner than homeowners in cooler regions. Most damaging are sudden spiking temperatures—from 40 or 50 degrees at night to well over 100 by midday, for example. Similarly, in areas known for severe winters, ice dams formed as water freezes may aggravate tiny cracks and fissures that eventually necessitate repairs.

    Roof pitch also affects shingle life. The steeper the slope, the likelier it is that water and ice can drain off quickly and not remain to become destructive. It is for this reason that architectural shingles, though durable, are not recommended for low-sloping roofs, which are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain and ice buildup.

    Algae and fungus growth can also be potentially damaging for roofing in perennially damp or subtropical areas.  Depending on where you live, you might want to consider algae-resistant shingles, some of whose ceramic granules are coated with leachable copper to prevent discoloration and long-term damage from algae and moss growth. Keep in mind that algae resistance could add 10 to 15 percent to your materials budget.

    Asphalt shingle pricing is influenced somewhat by geography but mostly by regional differences in labor cost. According to Tom Bollnow, senior director of technical services at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), “Labor-wise, asphalt shingles are still the least expensive to install on a roof.” This, he believes, may be one reason nearly 70 percent of domestic roofing installations are asphalt shingles. Even so, price swings are notable. Says Crowe, “We tell homeowners all the time to get three or four contractor estimates. In the same region it’s possible to get different numbers.”

    Generally speaking, the average cost of asphalt shingle roofing is $.80 to $1.20 per square foot for the materials.  According to CostOwl.com, for a medium-pitch roof, the average cost will be somewhere between $100 and $200 per square for the shingles alone. (A square in “roofing lingo” is equal to the size of a 10’ x 10’ area, or 100 square feet.)  Making asphalt shingles even more desirable is the fact that they can be applied directly over old shingles, providing the roof deck is in good condition. If, however, there are already two or more shingle layers, or your existing roof is shake-shingled, it's advisable to remove the old before applying the new.

    No matter which type, style or color you select, you’ll want your asphalt-shingle purchase to include a long-life warranty. Be aware, however, that DIY-installed shingles may not be covered—and that warranty coverage can be nullified if the manufacturer determines its product was installed improperly. This is not to say that an experienced DIYer shouldn’t install roof shingles, only that choosing not to hire a licensed, certified and fully insured roofing contractor may involve more than just physical risk.

    Warranties mainly cover defects—shingle cupping or curling, for example, plus granule loss and thermal splitting. Study the proffered warranty before making a purchase decision. Make sure you understand that your warranty may not include the cost of labor for shingle repair or replacement. Also, most warranties don’t cover the wrath of Mother Nature: earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe wind or hail storms. Note that if you sell your home during the warranty period, coverage will likely end.

    Exterior Specialties of PA, located in Telford, PA, is here to help with all of your asphalt shingle installation, roofing installation, roof repair and roof inspection needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

     

  • How to Extend the Life of Your Roof

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    New roofs can be costly and depending on what materials used, as much as $36,000, according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report via HouseLogic. So, obviously, you want to protect this investment on your home.

    Here are some tips to extend the life of your roofing system courtesy of HouseLogic:

    Clean the gutters

    Ruined paint on siding and a wet basement are typical problems caused by clogged gutters, but it might surprise you to learn that the overflow can also go upward. When leaves pile too deeply in gutters, water can wick into roof sheathing and rot it, or even rot roof rafters. Fixing that kind of damage could run into the thousands of dollars, but you can avoid it by cleaning your gutters each fall and spring. Do it yourself in a few hours if you’re comfortable working on a ladder, or hire a pro for $50-$250, depending on house size. You might also consider gutter guards, which cost around $15 a linear foot installed.

    Remove leaves from the roof

    If you have a simple peaked roof surrounded by low landscaping, your roof probably stays clear of leaves on its own. But if the roof is more complicated or if towering trees are nearby, piles of leaves probably collect in roof valleys or near chimneys. If you don’t remove them, they will trap moisture and gradually decompose, allowing seeds planted by birds to take root.

    If you have a low-slope roof and a one-story house, you may be able to pull the leaves down with a soft car-washing brush on a telescoping pole. Or you can use a specialty tool like a roof leaf rake, which costs about $20. A leaf blower gets the job done too, especially on dry leaves, but you or a pro needs to go up on the roof to use it.

    If leaves are too wet or too deep, you might need to wash them off with a garden hose. Don’t use a pressure washer, which can force water up under the shingles.

    Get rid of moss

    In much of the country, composition roofs often become covered with black algae. While unsightly, this filmy growth doesn’t hurt the roof. A little chlorine bleach or detergent mixed with water will kill it, but it’s safer for both you and the roof to just leave it alone.

    If you live in the Northwest, you’re likely to find moss growing on your roof, particularly on wood or composition shingles. Moss, which looks more three-dimensional than algae, needs to go because it traps water. If you tackle it early enough, you can just sweep it off.

    If there’s a lot of buildup, you may need to kill the moss first. The Washington Toxics Coalition recommends using products based on potassium salts of fatty acids rather than more toxic formulas with zinc sulfate. Even so, apply the soap only where moss is growing, and try to keep the wash water from getting into storm drains.

    Once the roof is clean and free of moss, consider investing in zinc strips to keep it from coming back. For about $300, a roofer will install strips near the top of the roof. When it rains, the runoff from the strips inhibits the growth of moss. It’s effective and more environmentally friendly than treating the entire roof with pesticide, as long as you don’t live near a stream or a lake where the runoff can harm aquatic life.

    Trim overhanging branches

    A little prevention in the form of tree-trimming goes a long way toward keeping leaves and moss off your roof, and it can also keep squirrels and other rodents from gnawing into your roof or siding. To keep critters away, remove branches within 10 feet of the roof. If that’s not possible, wrap a two-foot-wide sheet-metal band around the tree trunk, six to eight feet above the ground, so they can’t climb up. Trimming branches that hang over the roof is a job for a pro, though, or you might cause more damage than you prevent.

    Prevent ice dams

    If you’re plagued by ice buildup on the roof, removing some or all of the snow between storms might forestall leaks into your house. Don’t try to pry off ice that’s already formed, since that could damage the roof. Use a roof rake to dislodge snow within three or four feet of the gutters. Get a telescoping pole and work from the ground, if possible. If you must be on a ladder, work at an angle so the falling snow doesn’t push you over. Inadequate insulation and air leaks into your attic greatly increase the risk of ice dams, so once the storms pass, address those problems, too.

    Look and listen

    After every big wind or hail storm, or if you’ve heard scurrying on the roof at night, give your roof a quick check to make sure everything’s still intact. Although you can see more from a ladder, you can also check from the ground, using binoculars. Inspect shingles and flashing, especially around vents, chimneys, skylights, and other openings. If anything seems amiss, ask a roofer to inspect ASAP. Most problems are fairly easy to fix, but if you put them off and water gets in, the damage and costs escalate.

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

  • Zombie Roofs: Reasons Roofing Issues are Ignored

    imgres-2

    courtesy of salon.com

    With TV hits like The Walking Dead,  people seem to be smitten with zombies. But, it's no longer fun when the zombie is your roof, slowly draining your resources, time and money.

    What turns a roof into a zombie, and how do you prevent it?  FacilitiesNet  provides some insightful tips on how roofing failures get ignored and how to resolve the issue.

    Why are zombie roofs ignored?

    One of the main problems is denial...

    A zombie roof may still be a young one — failures at five years or less are not unknown. The financial decision-makers believe there is no way a five-year-old roof should need replacement.

    Another is that you may not know the roof has underlying issues because it isn't showing any "symptoms" yet.

    And the last reason you may not know your roof is a zombie is because it's been fixed so many times, you're not sure how it actually is:

    It's the one that has been patched, re-covered, coated and otherwise layered so much that the actual state of the roof is unknown...

    How to uncover a zombie roof

    Roofs that have outlived their welcome will show various signs. The most prominent tell-tale sign is an economic one:

    Determine what the cost would be for a new roof on a facility and divide that by the number of years a roof is likely to last, generally 15 to 20. This number is the yearly cost of a roof. Add up all of the repair charges and the cost of repairing interior damage to the building and contents. If the first is less than the second, you have a zombie.

    Incidentally, if you have to justify the cost of a roof replacement to another party, going through this exercise is a powerful argument in favor of a new roof. When the building owner or asset manager realizes it is costing more to keep the zombie in place than it would to replace it, it can help change their mind about trying to eke just one more year out of it.

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

  • Inspecting and Maintaining Your Pennsylvania Roof

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    From pouring rain to high winds, your Pennsylvania roof faces a lot of wear and tear.  That's why it is important to inspect and maintain it regularly in order to avoid costly repairs.

    Here are some tips, courtesy of HouseLogic, on how to inspect and maintain your roof:

    Basic inspection

    Warning signs include cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing; shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering; and worn areas around chimneys, pipes, and skylights. If you find piles of colored grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters, that’s a bad sign—those sand-like granules cover the surface of roof shingles and shield them from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath.

    Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately. Check for popped nails that need to be hammered back in place. Metal flashing around chimneys, skylights and attic vents that has separated needs to be resealed with caulk.

    Plumbing vent pipes are often flashed with a simple rubber collar that can deteriorate in the hot sun. Check closely for cracks and gaps. Make sure a chimney cap is present and properly installed. “Caught early, these are easy repairs,” says Beahm. “Left alone, they can turn into very costly problems.”

    If you’re comfortable working on a roof, then it’s not too difficult to replace shingles and caulk flashing yourself. Cost: $24 for a bundle of shingles, $5.75 for roofing caulk. Allow a half-day to make a few repairs.

    Be alert to early signs of a roof leak

    Check the condition of your roof at least once a year, and plan in advance for necessary repairs. Early signs of trouble include dark areas on ceilings, peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots alongside fireplaces, and water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace.

    If you’re inspecting on your own and find worrisome signs, especially if the roof is old or there’s been a storm with heavy wind or hail, get a professional assessment. Some roofing companies do this for free; specialized roof inspectors, like those who work through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association, charge about $175.

    Remove leaves from the roof

    If you have a simple peaked roof surrounded by low landscaping, your roof probably stays clear of leaves on its own. But if the roof has many intersecting surfaces and dormers, or if towering trees are nearby, piles of leaves probably collect in roof valleys or near chimneys. If you don’t remove them, they’ll trap moisture and gradually decompose, allowing wind-blown seeds to take root.

    If you have a low-slope roof and a one-story house, you may be able to pull the leaves down with a soft car-washing brush on a telescoping pole. Or, you can use a specialty tool like a roof leaf rake, which costs about $20. A leaf blower gets the job done too, especially on dry leaves, but you’ll need to go up on the roof to use it. If leaves are too wet or too deep, you might need to wash them off with a garden hose. Don’t use a pressure washer, which can force water up under the shingles.

    Trim overhanging branches

    A little prevention in the form of tree-trimming goes a long way toward keeping leaves and moss off your roof, and it can also keep squirrels and other rodents from gnawing into your roof or siding. To keep critters away, remove branches within 10 feet of the roof.

    If that’s not possible, wrap a 2-foot-wide sheet-metal band around nearby tree trunks, 6 to 8 feet above the ground, so squirrels can’t climb up. Trimming branches that hang over the roof is a job for a pro, though, or you might cause more damage than you prevent.

    Prevent ice dams

    If you’re plagued by ice buildup on the roof, removing some or all of the snow between storms might forestall leaks into your house. Don’t try to pry off ice that’s already formed, since that could damage the roof. Use a roof rake to dislodge snow within 3 or 4 feet of the gutters. Get a telescoping pole and work from the ground, if possible.

    If you must be on a ladder, work at an angle so the falling snow doesn’t push you over. Inadequate insulation and air leaks into your attic greatly increase the risk of ice dams, so once the storms pass, address those problems, too.

    An alternative is to hire a roofing company to remove the ice buildup. Technicians will steam away the ice and remove any remaining snow. Expect to pay around $500 and up for the service.

    Clean the gutters

    When leaves collect in the gutters, the rainwater-collection system becomes clogged and roof runoff spills over the side. That can damage your siding and cause basement flooding. Worse, the water can back up into the structure of your home, where it leads to rot, infestations of wood-destroying insects, and interior paint damage.

    Forget about the various screens and covers marketed to keep leaves out—they don’t work and can actually worsen problems, says according to engineer Victor Popp, a home inspector in Hingham, Mass. Instead, just keep your gutters clean by reaching gloved hands into them and scooping out the muck—or hiring a gutter company to do the job (around $100 to $200). Clean gutters at least once each fall, plus once in the spring, depending on how leafy your property is.

    Clear the roof of moss

    “Neglecting moss can shorten the life of your roof by several years,” warns Jim Katen, a home inspector with Associated Master Inspectors in Gaston, Ore. “Moss keeps the body of an asphalt shingle soaked so it tends to get more freeze-thaw damage in the winter.” Added to that, it produces organic byproducts that make the shingles more brittle. Nor are shake roofs immune from moss damage. Moss holds moisture against the wood, speeding rot. Moss can even crack cement or ceramic tiles.

    Moss eradication should begin in the fall by applying a moss killer intended for roofs (granules for lawn use contain iron which will stain a roof). In the spring, use a broom to remove remaining dead moss. Spread moss killer along the ridge of the roof and on any remaining green patches. Cost: $20 for moss killer to treat 3,000 square feet of roof. Allow about 3 hours to sweep the roof, clear the gutters, and apply the granules.

    Replacing the roof

    If your asphalt roof is 15 years old or more, it may be due for replacement. The national average cost for a new asphalt shingle roof is $18,488, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, of which you’ll recoup $11,633 at resale (62.9%). For high-end materials, such as standing-seam metal, the cost jumps to as much as $33,880.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania roof inspection, roof maintenance and roof repair needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

     

  • One Quarter of Home DIYers Get Injured

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    According to a survey by the National Safety Council and 3M TEKK Protection, 26% of home owners who have completed a home DIY project reported injuries to themselves or someone else in the household during a home maintenance project.

    And, many DIYers don't take the proper precautions before starting a project.  According to HouseLogic, "Among those who sustained personal injuries, 41% say they weren’t wearing personal protection gear when they were injured, even though what they needed was right at their fingertips."

    And it's actually not the more challenging projects that are causing these injuries. According to HouseLogic:

    • One in two (50%) who were personally injured taking on a home improvement project got hurt doing basic yard maintenance
    • Nearly one in four (24%) were put on the injured list while painting the inside of their homes
    • And nearly one in five (17%) blame routine home maintenance projects for their injuries

    Here are some more stats, courtesy of HouseLogic on home DIY injury statistics, and how to not become one of them.

    Seeing is believing

    When it comes to protecting themselves, nearly three out of four (72%) home owners are concerned with injuring their eyes when doing home improvement projects. Yet when it comes to protecting themselves during yard maintenance projects, only 39% are adamant about wearing protective eyewear and 62% falsely believe that sunglasses will guard them from injury while doing work like mowing or weed whacking.

    Protection is important to keep your eyes safe from projectiles and contaminants when working on home improvement projects like using a lawnmower, sanding, painting, or fertilizing. The blade of a power mower can reach a speed of 200 miles per hour and can hurl objects just as fast, turning rocks and twigs into dangerous projectiles.

    Breathe easy

    Although nearly half (49%) of DIYers worry about injuring their respiratory system, less than two in five (39%) are consistent about protecting their air ways and lungs when working on home improvement projects.

    It’s important to wear a NIOSH-approved respirator when tackling routine projects like clearing lawn debris, sanding walls, or spraying paint.

    Hear here

    And when it comes to hearing protection, nearly half (47%) of those who work with loud or high-decibel equipment, such as lawnmowers or power tools, don’t wear any type of proper hearing protection, even though continued exposure can lead to hearing loss over the long term.

    Hearing protection is recommended for continual exposure to anything over 85 decibels. Noise levels generated by mowers and chainsaws can range from 90-110 decibels.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania siding, roofing, gutter, and deck projects. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Save Money and Sanity With a Long-Term Roofing Plan

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    After a new roof is installed on your home it is often ignored. Generally the furthest thing from a  homeowner or business owner's mind is the (literal) roof over their head.

    However, not having a proper maintenance plan for your roof will end up costing you more money and decrease the lifespan of your roofing system. By taking care of minor problems now, you will be able to avoid most big problems in the future.

    Here are some tips to monitoring your roofing system, courtesy of FacilitiesNet:

    Through regular inspection, facility managers can track the progress of roof issues, providing advance warning when the roofing system is approaching the end of its service life. Staying apprised of roof conditions may also save money by preventing damage to the building interior. By documenting deterioration and leaks, facility managers can respond promptly to repair needs and monitor emerging conditions. Looking back on past inspection logs, facility managers will then have the information to determine the best course of action. Otherwise, the roof may fail unexpectedly, requiring costly and disruptive emergency replacement.

    Roof inspection data may also be used to plan ahead for replacement. It's generally easier to budget for a planned reroofing project than it is to scrape together funds at the last minute to deal with sudden roof failure — and to clean up water damage to building envelope elements and interior finishes.

    Collecting roof condition information on a regular basis establishes a database of information on manufacturers, warranties, age of roofing assemblies and accessories, past repairs, and the success of maintenance efforts. Between inspections, facility managers can build on these inspection reports by documenting changes in conditions, including leaks and storm damage, on an ongoing basis. This information can prove useful when determining when and how repairs or replacements should be performed.

    In early spring, as the weather warms, check for damage from snow and ice. Remove any storm debris that may have collected over the colder months, and evaluate the roof membrane for signs of wear, puncture, or failure. Also include penetrations, flashings, drains, and accessories in your assessment. A checklist can aid in keeping written records of observations.

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