Tag: roofing inspection

  • 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.

     

     

  • Roof and Gutter Winter Maintenance Checklist

    Courtesy of Stacy Gold/Getty Images via Houselogic

    It's very easy to keep putting off those home fall chores, but once winter hits, it's dangerous and almost impossible to get them done.  Here is a checklist of things to do (or, to be safe, have a professional do) before the winter weather hits, courtesy of Yahoo! Homes.

    1. Cleaning Gutters

    The first step in roof and gutter maintenance is to have the gutters cleaned out. You can do this yourself or hire a professional, but either way make sure this is taken care of late in autumn. Since leaves, acorns, and other detritus can accumulate throughout the fall, you don't want to take care of this too early and still have problems later on.

    Hiring a professional will set you back between $75 and $300, depending on the size of your home and the number of stories. The DIY approach is free unless you have to buy the materials required: ladder, bucket or pail, leaf scooper, and broom. The good news is that most people can clean out their gutters in just a few hours one weekend afternoon.

    2. Installing Gutter Covers

    Roof and gutter maintenance are always required at inopportune times. Kids are headed back to school, the holidays are fast approaching, and you don't have time to get up on the roof as often as you'd like. Gutter covers or guards are a convenient solution.

    Simply put, a gutter cover slows or stops the accumulation of debris in your gutters. They filter the leaves and dirt from the water so you don't have to clean them out as often. If you plan to do it yourself, set aside an entire weekend for the job. The process is time-consuming, and you might need to take frequent breaks.

    Again, you can find DIY materials at your local home improvement store. Gutter guards vary in price, but range from $3 to $6 per three-foot length of guard. Wider covers (five inches or so) cost more than narrower options (about three inches). It will be more expensive to hire a contractor, but the guards will be higher quality and will last longer.

    3. Trimming Trees

    Tree limbs that seem stable through the summer and fall might not be safe once they are burdened with a few pounds of snow. Winter maintenance requires trimming of all tree branches that could potentially damage the roof.

    Tree trimming prices vary depending on where you live, the height of the trees, and the complexity of the job. Get quotes from several different contractors, and look for quotes between $200 and $600.

    4. Repairing Leaks

    The final step in winter maintenance is roof repair. Any leaks, ventilation issues, or insulation deficiencies should be handled prior to the onset of winter. Look for stains on walls, missing roof shingles, and moisture accumulation around gaskets, gutters, downspouts, ridge caps, and dormers.

    Many contractors offer free inspections for those who are uncertain as to whether or not they have a leak. Remember that roofing contractors are busiest this time of year, though, so make sure to call well in advance.

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

     

  • When to Remove Excess Snow From Your Roof

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    Before the winter starts, it's best to have a game plan for what to do when it looks like you have excess snow on your roof.  And, according to House Logic, "Calling in a professional to remove ice and snow from your roof is the smartest — and safest — option."

    How to tell is you have too much snow on your roof?

    The most important factor in whether or not you have too much snow on your roof it not how much appears to be on the roof, but how much that snow weighs, according to HouseLogic.

    That’s because wet snow is considerably heavier than dry, fluffy snow. In fact, 6 inches of wet snow is equal to the weight of about 38 inches of dry snow.

    The good news is that residential roofs are required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snows for that particular part of the country.

    It's pretty easy to tell if it's wet or dry snow just by shoveling a bit of it in your driveway.  Wet snow will be much heavier by the shovelfull than dry snow.

    You should also check your local weather forecasts. They should alert you if snow may be excessive.

    How to tell if the snow should be removed

    According to HouseLogic:

    An indication that the accumulated snow load is becoming excessive is when doors on interior walls begin to stick. That signals there’s enough weight on the center structure of the house to distort the door frame.

    Ignore doors on exterior walls but check interior doors leading to second-floor bedrooms, closets, and attics in the center of your home. Also, examine the drywall or plaster around the frames of these doors for visible cracks.

    Homes that are most susceptible to roof cave-ins are those that underwent un-permitted renovations. The improper removal of interior load-bearing walls is often responsible for catastrophic roof collapses.

    What to do if snow is excessive

    According to HouseLogic, "Most home roofs aren’t readily accessible, making the job dangerous for do-it-yourselfers."

    Calling a professional for snow removal is your best option.

    Also, don't expect your roof to be completely snow-free after the contractor comes. According to HouseLogic:

    Don’t expect (or demand) a bone-dry roof at job’s end. The goal is to remove “excessive” weight as opposed to all weight. Plus, any attempt to completely remove the bottom layer of ice will almost always result in irreparable damage to your roofing.

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

  • How Passive Roof Vents Can Help Your Home

    Passive roof vents provide ways for stale, moist air to escape from your roof.  According to Houselogic, "vents encourage natural air flow and work without the aid of motorized fans."

    Here is an overview of roof vents courtesy of Houselogic:

    How much roof ventilation?

    The rule of thumb for proper attic ventilation calls for a minimum of 1 square foot of vent area (openings) for every 300 square feet of attic floor space. If you have asphalt shingles, you must have some kind of attic ventilation or you’ll risk voiding the warranty.

    Check your roof vents

    You or a professional roofer should check your roof vents annually.

    • Periodically clear vent screens of dirt, leaves, dust, pollen, spider webs, bird nests, and other debris that impedes air flow.
    • Repair screen rips or tears and damaged flashing.
    • Check for rust or rot around the framing or flashing.
    • Clear insulation from soffit vent openings. You’ll need to inspect from inside your attic. Make sure attic insulation stops clear of the under-eave area.

    If you’re having problems with ice dams, mold, and damaged shingles, have a ventilation or roofing professional evaluate whether you have adequate ventilation and need to retrofit exhaust or intake vents.

    Roof vent options

    • Ridge vents run along the peak of the roof. They feature an external baffle to increase air flow and protect your house from snow, rain, and dust. They’re usually capped with a material that blends in with the roof. It costs about $245 for a professional to install a 40-foot ridge vent.
    • Static vents have no moving parts. They’re basically protected holes in the roof that allow air circulation. They come in various designs—roofline, dormer, roof louver, or eyebrow vents—and are installed in an even line across the roof. Some pros swear by them; others think they tend to leak. They cost between $35 and $50 per vent to install.
    • Gable vents, or wall louvers, are placed in the gable ends of the attic and can be used in combination with other vents. The higher they are, the more effective. However, the airflow from gable vents is limited because they’re under the roof deck, resulting in hot spots. Professional installation costs about $185 per vent. Or, buy a set yourself and install them for $45 apiece.
    • Wind turbines are mushroom-shaped caps atop roofs designed to catch natural wind currents, which spins an internal fan and propels hot air out of the attic. Wind turbines are most effective in areas where winds average about 5 mph.

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