Tag: roof inspection

  • 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.

     

     

  • 10 Roofing Tips to Stay Safe and Maintain Your Roof

    There are a lot of precautions you need to take when doing things like cleaning your gutters and inspecting your roof.  Here are the DIY Networks "Top 10 Roofing Tips"

    1. Think Safety First

    Fussing to try and find a leak as soon as it happens is something that could put you in the hospital. Meddling on a roof while it's raining or covered with ice and snow isn't the ideal way to find a leak. Trying to temporarily fix a leak could be highly dangerous. If you want to do it right, there is no quick-fix. Just take your time, and be very patient and careful to wait for Mother Nature to give you the green light.

    2. Take Precautions

    Being on a roof will put the body in positions that are not comfortable or safe. Make sure to wear rubber sole shoes to prevent slipping. Also use a harness and always work with a buddy.

    3. Spray the Roof

    Take a garden hose and go up to the roof and start spraying in different locations to find the leak. Wait if it's wintertime because it's not safe to run water on the roof when it's freezing out.

    4. Keep Gutters Clean

    One of the most common areas and causes for roof leaks are clogged gutters. Gutters that have not been cleaned can cause the water to build up during rain.

    5. Avoid Dry Rot

    Dry rot isn't related to any type of water damage, but lack of ventilation. If a roof repair is right in the middle of the roof, there is a chance that the plywood might be deteriorating. The roof will actually sag in and cause the roof shingles to get brittle, crack and then leak. Preventing dry rot consists of installing a ridge vent, which will only work if there is a soffit vent. Holes have to be drilled through the soffit vents so cool air comes in through the bottom and pushes the hot air out through the top.

    6. Prevent Ice Buildup

    In the wintertime, ice has no problem building up under the roof membrane, shingles and gutters. The ice builds back up when it reaches the wall line where the house is heated and it creates an interior drip. Proper ventilation, rain and ice shields along with installing a drip edge will help prevent this problem.

    7. Fix Roof Boots

    Flashing, roofing, ice damping and skylights are all obvious places for potential leaks. One thing people often miss is the rubber boots. It's where the roof fence comes up that you find roof boots. If they dry up they will cause major leaks. It's a quick fix; purchase a new roof boot in a local hardware store. You may have to remove some of the shingles, lay a better tar under it and put it back in place.

    8. Inspect Materials

    Sometimes shingles are faulty and will begin to crack after they've been nailed down. Faulty installation with nails and shingles can also play a big part in leaks. Nails could be nailed too low and it will start pushing back up. Make sure to always check merchandise before getting on the roof.

    9. Check Valleys

    A valley is where the intersection of two roofs comes together. It is also called the ridge, which is again where two roofs meet at the top. Valleys are very common places for leaks because that's where the water from the entire roof goes to and it will start sloshing back and forth.

    10. Eliminate Leaks

    It's important not to get discouraged when a leak can't be found. It's a process of elimination. You've covered one area, installed the shingles back and sealed it watertight so at least one spot is eliminated. Now, you can try other areas.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to handle all of your roofing maintenance needs. Call us today at 215-773-9180 for your FREE ESTIMATE!

     

     

  • Repairing a Slate Roof

    Slate roof structures have many positive qualities that make them a great choice for your home.  They also have a tendency to crack, which leads to necessary repairs.  Winter is usually when the most damage occurs and it is important to have your slate roof inspected after the winter months.

    It is important to realize the advantages of having a slate roof before any inspections or repairs.  The durability of this natural material make it a very appealing option for many people.  Slate roofs also require low maintenance and have a high resistance to staining.  These positives, however, do not overshadow the fact that inspections and repairs are necessary.

    The job of inspecting a slate roof is not overwhelming and you may be able to perform it yourself.  You must make sure, though, that you have the correct tools and equipment before starting any repairs.  If you notice that any of the slate is broken, you should get it repaired immediately.  Remember, a slate roof can be very slippery so make sure that you are careful if you decide to repair it yourself.

    The first thing to do when repairing a slate roof is to locate the spot that needs fixed.  Pull the slate above the broken one up to give yourself enough room to easily and safely remove that damaged slate.  You then have to drill nail holes or use slate hooks to secure the new slate in place.  It is best to use slate hooks if available and remember to repeat these steps for all the slates that need repaired.

    If you have any questions about inspecting or repairing your roof, call Exterior Specialties of PA today for a free consultation.