Tag: roofing repairs

  • 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!

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

    about2

    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!

     

  • Criteria for Selecting the Right Roof

    courtesy of houselogic

    There are a lot of things to think about when replacing your roof or installing a new roof.  There are many different aspects of the home or building you have to think about when selecting the type of roof you need.

    Here are some criteria, courtesy of FacilitiesNet:

    Geographic Location:  This includes whether the property is located on the west coast or east coast, the north or south. But it also includes local considerations, such as the building's orientation and if there are nearby trees.

    Local Environmental Laws: What is allowed as far as applications, odors, VOCs.

    Building Characteristics: These include the slope of the roof, the shape of the building, the elevation and the level of accessibility to the roof.

    Appearance: Is the roof visible from the ground or visible from other buildings such that you have concerns about looking industrial or maybe want more of a green look to it with vegetation?

    Use of the Roof: How much foot traffic is going to be on the roof?

    Use of the Building: A hospital or a resort has different concerns with roofing and reroofing than an office building or a shopping center, as far as disturbance to the inhabitants. A library or a bank many times have concerns with the equipment set up, the noise, the disturbance to the customers. It's another thing to look at environmentally. One roof may be easier and quieter to install than another, all things being equal.

    Weather: Does a particular roof type have a vulnerability to hail, ice or snow damage? A particular type of roof may not be selected because of the incidence of hail in that area. Even if the owner is insured against hail damage, what is going to be effect of the inconvenience of having to go through a reroof?

    Quality of Maintenance: What is the quality of maintenance that will be available? Will there be an in-house maintenance crew that can be trained and is interested in the condition of the roof?

    Utility Costs: Is a reflective/cool roof important? For example, is the facility an office building where the owner is paying the utility cost or is the tenant paying the utility cost? It's a whole different animal. Some owners are very concerned about their tenant's utility costs as a selling point to keep their occupancy. Others don't care what their tenants have to pay; they just want a cheap roof.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania roofing and siding, roofing installation, and roofing repair 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!

     

  • Preventing Ice Dams

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    The winter is probably one of the roughest times for your roof.  And, while icicles can get you in the holiday spirit, they could be a sign of some costly roof issues.

    According to HouseLogic, "Often lurking behind that thick ridge of ice on your roof is a pool of melted water, hence the term ice dam. That accumulated water can work its way under roof shingles and into the home, causing significant damage to ceilings, walls, and floors. Additionally, the sheer weight of the ice dam often causes gutters and downspouts to pull away from the house, sometimes bringing the fascia boards with them."

    So, preventing these from happening in the first place may help prevent costly repairs.

    According to Claire Wilkinson of the Insurance Information Institute via HouseLogic, "Over the five-year period leading up to 2007, water damage and freezing accounted for the second largest share of homeowner insurance claims, according to Claire Wilkinson of the Insurance Information Institute. The average homeowner claim for such damages was $5,531."

    Here are some preventative measures you can take, courtesy of HouseLogic:

    Preventing ice dams

    Homeowners can’t control the weather, but they can do something about heat loss. “The main goal is to keep heat from reaching the roof, thus preventing snow melt in the first place,” explains Doug Bruell, president of Cleveland’s 25-year-old North Coast Insulation. Proper insulation and ventilation of the attic space is intended to keep the roof surface at or near outdoor temperatures.

    Typical steps include insulating the attic floor and installing soffit, gable and/or ridge vents to expel heat. Folding attic stairways and recessed light fixtures also need to be insulated. “All penetrations into the attic from the heated living space need to be addressed,” adds Bruell. Homeowners can expect to pay $800 to $1,500 to insulate the attic, plus another $300 to $600 for the installation of vents.

    The process is a bit more involved for homes with finished attics, says Bruell. To facilitate sufficient cold air flow from soffit vent to ridge vent, baffles or tubes are installed between the ceiling insulation and the underside of the roof. This might involve opening up the ceiling.

    Insulation means savings

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adding insulation to an unheated attic will have a greater impact on energy consumption than placing it anywhere else in the house. A properly insulated and ventilated attic not only reduces winter heating bills, it will trim summer cooling bills by expelling heat buildup. You can expect to save 10% to 50% on your heating and cooling bills.

    In addition, you may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $500.

    Deicing alternatives

    In theory, roof rakes, brooms, and other long-handled devices can be used to remove snow before it has a chance to melt. In practice, however, the scheme is difficult to pull off, considering that most homeowners can’t reach all areas of the roof.

    Electrically-heated deicing cables, which install along eave lines to inhibit water freeze, are only moderately effective, says Bruell. “These heat cables often just back up the problem, forcing the dams to form higher up the roof.” In addition to the purchase price ($150 to $300), and installation ($300 to $500), these cables require electricity to run. They also can shorten the life of roof shingles.

    Ice dam removal

    Homeowners suffering the effects of an ice dam—or those who fear a leak is imminent—can hire a roofing company to remove the ice buildup. Rather than employ hammers, chisels, and salt, which can damage the roof and gutters, technicians will steam away the ice and remove any remaining snow. Expect to pay around $500 or more for the service. It goes without saying that do-it-yourself removal can be dangerous when it involves ladders, heavy ice, and slippery roofs.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your roofing repair, gutter repair, gutter installation and roofing installation 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.

  • Roofing Warranties - Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

    It is uncommon for a roof to be installed without a warranty, but oftentimes these warranties go unread because they aren't exactly fun to read and are difficult to understand. However, these warranties are extremely important for homeowners and facilities owners because the fine print can be surprising.

    According to FacilitiesNet, there are two types of warranties:

    1. Implied
    2. Express

    Express warranties are:

    written documents issued by the roofing materials manufacturer or roofing contractor. They are contracts between the issuer of the warranty and the purchaser of the roof system that define the limits of liability that the issuer will assume if there are problems with the roof system.

    While the term of the warranty is important, there are many other aspects of a roofing warranty that are important to consider:

    The Issuer

    Roof warranties are generally issued by the roofing materials manufacturer and are written by the issuer’s attorneys for the issuer’s benefit. Sometimes, however, especially in less-expensive installation schemes, the roofing contractor provides a warranty for workmanship and provides a materials-only warranty from the manufacturer. It’s important to be aware of who has provided the warranty since the ability of the issuing entity to fulfill the terms of the warranty is directly tied to the solvency and strength of the issuer.

    A roofing contractor warranty is usually not as valuable as a manufacturer’s warranty because roofing contractors come and go much more quickly. Once the contractor’s corporation is dissolved, the warranty is worthless. So unless the contractor has been in business for a long time or has a lot of assets, be cautious about relying on the contractor’s warranty as the sole remedy for potential problems.

    Materials and Labor

    If the roof needs to be replaced, a materials-only warranty means the manufacturer will only supply the replacement material and the facility executive will have to pay for the cost of installing it. Because labor is usually at least half of the cost of a new roof, the facility executive ends up spending a lot of money getting the roof replaced.

    Facility executives should be wary of materials-only warranties that exclude or are in lieu of implied warranties, as such warranties may actually reduce the legal protection against problems.

    Even if the warranty is a materials and labor warranty, facility executives should still scrutinize the terms carefully. If the warranty does not specifically say that it is a no dollar limit (NDL) warranty, the remedy may be pro-rated over the life of the roof. In such cases, if the roof fails in the fifth year of a ten-year warranty, the manufacturer may only be liable for 50 percent of the roof replacement costs. The warranty may also limit the issuer’s liability to the initial cost of the roof installation, which means that after inflation, the facility executive is still liable for a portion of the roof cost.

    Other Side of the Coin

    Most facility executives fail to understand that once they have signed the warranty they are contractually responsible for regularly maintaining their roof. Every warranty stipulates that the roof requires periodic maintenance to keep the warranty in full force and effect. This is the most overlooked portion of a roof warranty.

    At a minimum, this means twice-yearly inspections, prompt repairs if defects are found, good records kept of the inspections and the repairs performed, debris removal on a regular basis, and maintenance of coatings and surfacings.

    In addition,  it is important to examine exclusions in the warranty as well as the notification procedures if you do end up having an issue with your roofing system.  Usually these warranties are provided for free, but there are some cases where you may have to pay in order to extend the term of your warranty or to cover more than the warranty covers.

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

  • What to Consider When Buying a Roof

    Courtesy of metalbuilding.com

    When choosing a new roofing system for you building or house, all the aspects of a roofing system might be difficulty to analyze. Here is a checklist, courtesy of FacilitiesNet, for you about important things to consider when buying a new or replacing a current roofing system.

    • Geographic Location:  This includes whether the property is located on the west coast or east coast, the north or south. But it also includes local considerations, such as the building's orientation and if there are nearby trees.
    • Local Environmental Laws: What is allowed as far as applications, odors, VOCs.
    • Building Characteristics: These include the slope of the roof, the shape of the building, the elevation and the level of accessibility to the roof.
    • Appearance: Is the roof visible from the ground or visible from other buildings such that you have concerns about looking industrial or maybe want more of a green look to it with vegetation?
    • Use of the Roof: How much foot traffic is going to be on the roof?
    • Use of the Building: A hospital or a resort has different concerns with roofing and reroofing than an office building or a shopping center, as far as disturbance to the inhabitants. A library or a bank many times have concerns with the equipment set up, the noise, the disturbance to the customers. It's another thing to look at environmentally. One roof may be easier and quieter to install than another, all things being equal.
    • Weather: Does a particular roof type have a vulnerability to hail, ice or snow damage? A particular type of roof may not be selected because of the incidence of hail in that area. Even if the owner is insured against hail damage, what is going to be effect of the inconvenience of having to go through a reroof?
    • Quality of Maintenance: What is the quality of maintenance that will be available? Will there be an in-house maintenance crew that can be trained and is interested in the condition of the roof?
    • Utility Costs: Is a reflective/cool roof important? For example, is the facility an office building where the owner is paying the utility cost or is the tenant paying the utility cost? It's a whole different animal. Some owners are very concerned about their tenant's utility costs as a selling point to keep their occupancy. Others don't care what their tenants have to pay; they just want a cheap roof.

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

  • Emergency Roofing Repairs

    As the winter weather is fast approaching, there may come an unexpected time when you will need to get roofing repairs.  These repairs are necessary and you cannot just avoid the problem.  Water leaks will cause major damage to any damage if they are not repaired quickly and properly.

    It is important that you have emergency repair procedures to stop any problems with your roofing system.  These repairs will mainly be temporary, as it is vital that you solve any problems before they expand.  As soon as the weather permits, you should contact a professional who will be able to make a permanent repair.

    The first thing to remember before performing your roof repair is to wait until the severe weather is completely through your area.  Once started, it is important to make these repairs in a relatively timely fashion.  This means that you should be sure to located the source of the leak very quickly.  This will allow you to make an emergency, temporary repair before too much interior damage occurs to your building.

    Facilitiesnet reminds us that keeping a work log of everything that you do during these repairs is vital.  This will not only be helpful for yourself, but can also be referenced before and during the permanent repair.

    Contact Exterior Specialties of PA today for a no-obligation, free consultation to prepare for the winter weather.