Tag: roofing replacement

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Tax Credits for Roof Replacement

    courtesy of houselogic

    Did you replace your roof in 2011? You may be eligible for a $500 energy tax credit, according to HouseLogic.

    The tax credit limits and deadlines are:

    • 10% of expenditures, up to $500 for the year, for all energy improvements combined.
    • A relevant roof must have been installed by Dec. 31, 2011.
    • Save receipts and labels.
    • For roofs, installation isn’t covered.
     Make sure to check out the Energy Star guidelines to see exactly what's covered.  As of  Jan. 2012, the government hasn't extended the tax credit into 2012.
    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help you with all of your roofing needs. Call us today at 215-773-9181 for a FREE estimate.