Tag: Roof Maintenance

  • Spring Maintenance Musts

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    It's finally spring! And the better weather can also reveal some home maintenance work that needs to be done. However, spring chores don't have to be miserable.

    Follow this simple routine, courtesy of BobVila.com to check everything off your home maintenance list:

    Roof

    With binoculars and a keen eye, you can generally spot roof problems. Cracked or missing shingles should be replaced, and if you see any shingle-shift, it may mean you need to install new fasteners. Look also for buildup of pine needles and other debris in those valleys between roof peaks.

    Exterior Walls

    Whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick, look for damaged areas, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains normally indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff. With wood, check for any damaged areas or openings that clear the way for carpenter ants, woodpeckers and other critters.

    Chimney

    If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out, or is vegetation growing? Both can be evidence of water infiltration. Efflorescence, a white calcium-like deposit, is another sign of trouble.

    Foundation

    When inspecting poured-concrete foundations, keep your eyes peeled for cracks. If cracks in the foundation exist, routine caulking won’t do the job. You'll want to hire a foundation specialist, who can employ a two-part epoxy injection system that will bond those cracks chemically.

    Windows

    Leakage around windows will admit warm summer air and let cooled indoor air escape, so be sure to check that any caulking and weather stripping you have in place has remained intact. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during the winter months, that could mean the weather seal has been compromised, in which case either the glass or the window will need to be replaced.

    Spring-clean your windows—inside and out—with a store-bought or homemade window cleaner (one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup water and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar will work just fine). Apply cleaner with either a squeegee or a soft cloth. If screens were on all winter, remove and clean them with mild detergent. Lay them on a dry surface (e.g., a driveway) to air-dry before putting them back on.

    Attend to Leaks

    Spring is a good time to check for leaky faucets, clogged drains and sweaty pipes. Check under kitchen and bathroom sinks to make sure connections on pipes and hoses are secure and sealed. Look for water stains around the dishwasher and check washer machine hoses for cracks, bulges or dampness.

    Air Conditioning

    Just as you readied your furnace for fall, now is the time to make sure that air conditioning units are in good working order for the warmer months ahead. Change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely.

    Attic

    Search for signs that insects and critters have colonized. Also, search aggressively for mold, which often takes the form of gray or black blotches. Proper insulation and good ventilation will deter mold growth in the attic, so take action now to prevent the problem from developing in the warmer months ahead.

    Basement

    Dampness in a basement suggests higher-than-normal relative humidity, inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Check the base of poured-concrete walls for cracks and evidence of water penetration. And use a flashlight to examine exposed framing. If you see what looks like tunneling on the wood, call a pest control company.

    Decks and Patios

    Look for warped, loose or splintered boards, and do a good sweep to remove any leaves and debris that might have accumulated between boards. If the finish on your wood deck is faded or worn, now is the time to clean, stain, and reseal it. If you have composite decking, follow manufacturer's recommendations on seasonal care.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of you exterior wall maintenance, roof maintenance, roof repair, window repair and window 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.

     

     

  • Types of Roofing Materials

    Here is an interesting video from Roofing FAQ on different types of roofing shingles.

     

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help you with all of your roofing maintenance, roofing installation and roofing repair needs. Call us today at  (215) 773-9181 for a FREE estimate!

  • How to Take Care of a Roof Leak Before the Contractor Comes

    Since there have been a bunch of thunderstorms in the area lately, you may have noticed a roof leak issue.  You'll want to get it looked at by a professional contractor, but before they arrive, here are some tips to keeping that leak under control, courtesy of eHow.com.

    1. The first and perhaps most obvious place to look for a roof leak is directly above the leak in a ceiling or exterior wall. Use a flashlight to inspect the attic floor over the leak while it's raining. Look for standing water, water stains, mold, wet insulation or other exposed insulation.

    2. Examine the underside of the roof for wetness or mold around points of penetration (plumbing vents, chimneys), wherever different roof planes intersect (valleys) and near dormers. These symptoms indicate holes in the flashing or faulty flashing installation.

    3. A leak away from such locations suggests a problem in the roofing material. Keep in mind that water may travel sideways before passing through a joint in the roof sheathing, and may travel in a horizontal joint before falling on the floor or ceiling.

    4. Take measurements from points inside that you can also locate from outside. Measure down from a ridge and horizontally from the center of a valley or sidewall; or measure distances from a chimney or other point of penetration.

    5. If your ceiling is attached to roof rafters, as would be the case for a cathedral ceiling, all you can do from inside is take the measurements that will help you locate the leak externally, and attempt to control the damage internally.

    6. Water can travel on the underside of sheathing or down roof rafters before dropping off in one or more places. To control where it falls, tack a piece of string into the stream of water and let it hang into a bucket. The water will tend to follow the string.

    7. Poke or drill a hole in your ceiling to let the water through. This technique prevents the water from spreading across the top of the ceiling to other areas; it prevents the ceiling from becoming saturated, eliminating the chance of collapse and often the need for replacement; and it allows you to collect water from below using the string-and-bucket method.

    8. Using any measurements or other information you gathered indoors, make your initial outdoor observations from a ladder and/or using binoculars. Do not walk on a pitched roof during rain or as long as the roof is wet. A wood roof is particularly treacherous.

    9. Look for leaves and other debris slowing the natural downward flow of water, as often happens in valleys and adjacent to or above any roof penetration or dormer. If there is snow on the roof, an ice dam may have formed at the roof's lower edge, causing water to back up under overlapping layers of roofing materials. Remove the obstruction if you can get to it safely.

    10. If or when you can safely get close enough, examine metal flashings for corrosion or open joints where they connect to a chimney or other roof penetration. You can temporarily patch metal flashings, but replacement is the only permanent solution. Typically, you can replace cracked or dried-out rubber gaskets on plumbing vents.

    11. Pay particular attention to any areas already covered with black flashing cement; these indicate locations of previously repaired leaks. Look for pinholes or cracks, which often occur as the material ages. Make temporary repairs by applying flashing cement with a putty knife.

    12. If or when you can safely get close enough, inspect attachment points for any antenna, satellite dish or other object screwed or nailed into the roof. A dab of roof flashing in good condition should cover each fastener. The best solution is to avoid mounting anything on your roof in the first place.

    13. If you determined from inside that your leak is midroof and therefore not related to flashing, look for damaged or missing asphalt shingles. On wood roofs, look for cracked or badly cupped or warped shingles or shakes. Look for joints in one course that fall less than 11/2 inches (4 cm) to the left or right of a joint in the course below. Flat or nearly flat roofs generally require very close inspection to locate damaged or badly worn areas.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here for any of your leak repair and roofing needs. Call us today at 215-773-9180 for a free estimate!

  • Important things to know about flat roof coatings

    Flat roof coating can be a great way for facilities to save money because they can extend the life of a roof and coatings lower the roofs temperature, making your building cooler and more efficient. However, choosing from all of the different roof coatings isn't easy.

    According to FacilitiesNet, it is harder for coatings to stick to hard, smooth," chemically inert surfaces" and easier on rough, irregular, "chemically active surfaces." Often, coatings stick better if a primer or base coat is used first. There are many different primers and base coats that are recommended for this. However, only base coats and primers recommended by the coating's manufacturer should be used.

    Call us today at 215-773-9180 for a free estimate! Exterior Specialties of PA is always there to assist with your roofing needs.

  • Is attic ventilation right for your home?

    Courtesy of buildingscience.com

    The amount of ventilation, or whether you even need ventilation for your attic is a subject that has been confusing for most consumers. This is in part because of the amount of research done. However, based on  the research to date, the strongest case for ventilating asphalt shingle roof assemblies with outside air is for residences located in cold climates and where snow accumulates on roofs for long periods of time, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association.

    Under the conditions mentioned above, ventilation has proven to be an important way to keep moisture out of your attic.

    To learn more, check out there article here.

    Exterior Specialties of PA can help with all of your roofing maintenance and roofing repair needs. Call 215-773-9180 today for a free estimate!

  • Roof Maintenance is Key to Saving Money in the Long Term

    A roof that isn't maintained properly may only last half of the time it was meant to. This could cost a great deal of money when it comes to replacing it. If you put aside 2 percent of your roof's overall cost every year for roof maintenance, you will most likely save a great deal of money, according to FacilitiesNet. Karen Warseck of FacilitiesNet explains:

    Say you have a 50,000-square-foot roof, with a 10-year design life. The cost to install it was $10 a square foot. That means the roof cost $500,000 to install. The cost per year of the roof is $50,000 per year. If the roof is not maintained, and it only lasts half of its design life, the yearly cost of this roof jumps to $100,000 a year. If that happens, in 5 years, you will need another $500,000 to replace it.

    The cost to maintain a roof averages about 2 percent of the roof installation cost per year. In our example, that means $10,000 a year. Over 10 years, that means $100,000. Spending that money to keep the roof maintained means the roof should last its full service life, which in turn means that you will only have to spend that $500,000 once. So even though you have spent $100,000 over the roof's service life, you may well have saved $400,000 by not having to replace the roof prematurely.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is always here for your roof repair and roof maintenance needs. Call anytime for a free estimate.

  • Roof Maintenance in the Winter

    We are about to begin another winter and it is important to keep up with proper roof maintenance.  The effects of water on your roof can be very damaging and they are even worse in the winter.  The threat of snow and ice accumulating on your roof can be a cause for concern.  When the temperature falls below freezing there is a strong possibility that this accumulation will occur.

    It is important to look out for ice build up in any area of your roof because it could cause immediate damage, or stress components of the roof.  There could also be spots where the snow accumulates higher than others because of the way your roof is configured.  It is essential that you take care of these spots as quickly as possible in order to maintain your roof.

    Facilitiesnet describes that one of the best ways to protect your roof during these times is to create a tracking system of everything that is happening to your roof.  This can be as simple as writing down what the weather is like and what the effects are on your roof.  It can be easy to overlook this process as part of roof maintenance, but detailed records of the past and present will only help your roof in the future.

    So, remember to take the winter weather seriously and track EVERYTHING that happens to your roof!

    At Exterior Specialties of PA, we are always ready to help you protect and maintain your roof.  Call us today for a free consultation and we'll help you prepare for the winter weather!