Tag: roof repair

  • 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!

     

     

     

  • 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!

     

     

     

  • 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!

     

  • Exterior Remodeling 'Value' on Upswing

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    If you have been working on home improvement projects recently, you will be glad to hear the ROI is coming back up when it comes to home remodeling.

    There have been tax benefits for homeowners, most notably energy tax credits, PMI deduction and mortgage debt forgiveness that Congress and the President extended through 2013.

    According to HouseLogic,"After several bruising years, spending on remodeling projects is up and so too is your return on your remodeling dollars. The national average percentage recoup on all 35 projects in Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report rose since last year."

    Obviously what you will be able to get depends on what types of projects you undertake, your market and when you decide to sell.

    Which projects offered the best ROI? Exterior remodeling projects.

    According to HouseLogic, "Exterior projects like siding, window, and garage door replacements took seven of the top 10 spots in this year’s list."

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your exterior remodeling, roof repair, window installation and deck construction 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.

     

     

  • How to Handle Emergency Roofing Repairs

    Courtesy of servicerunner.com

    Every now and then, you may encounter the need to make emergency repairs on your roof due to a large storm or other elemental changes.  Obviously you'll want a roofing professional to look at your roof to make further, more long-lasting repairs. These tips are for taking care of things in a pinch before you can contact the roofing contractor.

    If the damage happens during a storm, you shouldn't attempt any roof repairs until the weather stops because of risk of high winds and lightning.

    According to FacilitiesNet, there are several things you should keep in mind for emergency repairs:

    1. Protect the interior. Control the spread of water by collecting it in containers. Depending on how much water there is, you may also want to use plastic sheeting to protect objects in your home or building.

    2. Remove excess water from the roof.

    3. Check roof drains and scuppers to make sure they are working and draining water properly. If you see a clog, be careful. "Draining water can cause significant suction that can pull tools, hands, arms and ballast quickly into the roof drain."

    It is always best if you are unsure of something to contact a professional and have them handle all the repairs.

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

     

  • Getting Cool Roof Rebates For Your Building

    If your building's roof is in need of replacing, a cool roof system should be a consideration. According to FacilitiesNet, some utility providers offer incentive for installing cool roof systems, and this alone should provide you with some incentive to look into cool roofing.

    However, if this hasn't sold you on it, "President Obama promising tighter efficiency standards for buildings and a system to cap carbon dioxide emissions, cool roofs are one way facility executives can ready their organizations," according to FacilitiesNet.

    In addition, you'll possibly get rebates from the gas and electric utilities of your building by going with a cool roofing system. The utilities usually pay back  a "certain percentage — usually about $0.20 on the dollar — after installation and documentation."

    Here is a list I compiled from FacilitiesNet of other rebate options for both commercial and residential buildings:

     In October of last year, President George W. Bush authorized the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Among the other legislation it contains, this law extends tax credits for use of ENERGY STAR-rated products — much like its predecessor — the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT).

    A tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot is available to owners or designers of new or existing commercial buildings that save at least 50 percent of the heating and cooling energy of a building that meets ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. Partial deductions of up to $.60 per square foot can be taken for measures that meet the criteria for any one of three building systems: the building envelope, lighting, or heating and cooling systems. These tax deductions are available for systems “placed in service” from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2013.

    Another way facility executives may find some cash is some cities and states also award incentives to facilities that are voluntarily built to the rating systems for green or sustainable building systems — such as Green Globes or the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

    Many cities, Chicago among them, mandate minimum values. In Chicago’s case, however, the city government also provided grants to further spur cool-roof use. About a year and a half ago, the city announced $185,000 in grant money — equivalent to approximately 55 grants of $6,000.

     Exterior Specialties can help you with all of your roofing installation, roofing maintenance and roofing repair needs. Call us today for a 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!

  • 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!