Tag: Seamless Gutters PA

  • New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

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    Now that 2013 is almost here, discussion about New Year's resolutions and top-10 lists are right around the corner.  While you probably have more personal resolutions,  you can make the same type of resolutions for your home.

    Here is a list of New Year's resolutions, courtesy of House Logic, that are based on the top 10 resolutions gathered by Time magazine.

     

    1. Lose weight (cut energy use)
    2. Quit smoking (purify indoor air)
    3. Get out of debt (budget for improvements)
    4. Learn something new (educate yourself on home finances)
    5. Get organized (de-clutter)
    6. Volunteer (support your community)
    7. Drink less (curb home water use)
    8. Spend more time with the family (share home improvement projects)
    9. Get fit (exercise your DIY skills)
    10. Be less stressed (use maintenance-free materials)

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania roofing, siding, gutter repair and window needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

  • Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

    Courtesy of House Logic

    Tons of things can go wrong in the winter with your home.  Furnaces break, pipes burst, and ice dams form.  Here are some tips to prevent these headaches, courtesy of House Logic:

    Chimney

    Have it inspected by a professional chimney inspector every year.

    Have it cleaned every year or two, or more if you have a lot of fires or tend to burn softer woods.

    A chimney cap with a rain hood and screen will minimize rain damage and keep critters out.

    Fireplace

    Stock up on clean, dry firewood. A fireplace store can recommend someone to deliver and stack it for you. Store it away from your house to keep mice and other vermin at a distance.

    Close the damper when the fireplace is not in use. When you’re using it, turn down the thermostat and open a window near the fireplace to prevent warm air from being pulled from other parts of the house.

    Install glass doors on the fireplace to keep warm air from being drawn up the chimney.

    If you use the fireplace frequently, a fireplace insert improves efficiency by blowing heat into the room and limiting heat loss up the chimney.

    Keep the cold out

    Reducing air leaks and properly insulating walls, crawl spaces, and floors can cut energy bills by up to 10%. Seal leaky ducts with metal-backed tape or aerosol sealant. Consider having your insulation updated to save money, improve comfort, and lower the risk of ice dams.

    Set your thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees when you’re home; lower it when you’re sleeping or away from home for more than a few hours. Use a programmable thermostat to make the switches automatic.

    On sunny days, open curtains and blinds to let the sun’s heat in. Close them at night to trap the warmth inside.

    Close or install storm windows, which reduce drafts and frost formation and can cut heat loss through the window by 25% to 50%. For a cheaper alternative, cover windows with plastic.

    Keep rooms toasty

    Run your ceiling fan at low speed in reverse direction (clockwise) so the blades drive warm air down into the room.

    Heating

    Change your furnace filters per the manufacturer recommendations. Most homes are built with a 1-inch filter that should be refreshed every month.

    Clean your furnace before the first cold spell. If your furnace isn’t too dirty, you can save money by vacuuming the blades yourself.

    Get acquainted with your house’s ductwork. Most homes are equipped with dampers, allowing you to change the volume of heat delivered upstairs, downstairs, and all rooms in-between.

    Plumbing

    Disconnect your garden hose, shut off the water valve and drain the spigot — even if you have a frost-free faucet.

    Drain the sediment from your water heater. This should be done once or twice every year.

    Pests

    Repair any exterior damage that might invite pests. Carpenter ants like leaky pipes, warped storm windows, and tattered roof shingles, whereas frayed screens and chewed-through door sweeps attract rodents.

    Clear your garage of mice-magnets, especially if you have an attached garage. This isn’t the place to stash woodpiles and unsealed birdseed.

    Gutters

    Clean debris from gutters and downspouts. Open any roof drains or vents.

    Sources: Crystal Manik, senior marketing business consultant for Xcel Energy; Eric Siedow, technician for Chimney Guys; Rodney Pierce, salesperson for Genz-Ryan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning; Colleen Cannon, staff entomologist for Plunkett’s Pest Control; Bill Yares, president of Twin Cities Home Evaluations; Stacy Reese, manager of Walker Roofing.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help you with all of your gutter repair, gutter maintenance and gutter installation needs. Call us today at 215.453.9180 today for your FREE estimate!

     

  • How to Fix Leaky Rain Gutters

    Gutters that are sagging or leaking can cause damage to your roof and siding, which could cost you big bucks to fix.  If you catch the problem early and take care of any issues you gutters have, it will save you big in the long term.

    Here are some tips on how to fix your gutters and protect your home, courtesy of House Logic.  As always, when you are working with gutters, you will generally be up on a ladder. Always make sure you take the proper safety precautions and if you do not feel comfortable doing this maintenance yourself, hire a professional.

    How to fix leaky gutters

    Seal leaky gutter joints and small holes using gutter sealant applied from the inside the gutter. A tube of sealant costs about $5.

    Repair larger holes using a gutter patch kit or a scrap of metal flashing glued down with sealant. You’ll find patch kits at home improvement centers for about $10.

    How to straighten sagging gutters

    If you suspect a sag, get up on a ladder and sight down the length of the gutter. Gutters should be straight. Long gutters should have a peak in the middle to enable water to run toward downspouts at either end.

    The problem area should be easy to spot. In most cases, you can simply reposition loose hangers, using a cordless drill or a hammer.

    Here’s how to set stubborn sags straight:

    • From the ground, prop a long, straight 1x4 or 2x4 brace under the sag.
    • Get up on a ladder and remove a hanger or two near the sag.
    • Sighting along the gutter, adjust the brace until the sag disappears.
    • Replace the hangers. If needed, add one or two new hangers for extra support. They cost less than $3 each.

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

     

     

  • Keeping Gutters Clean During the Fall

    With the fall comes falling leaves, which put your gutters at risk of clogging, which can lead to not only gutter damage, but roof damage as well.  Here are some tips from The Weather Channel to keep your gutters free from debris.  Don't forget that gutter maintenance usually requires climbing a ladder and dealing with heights, so make sure safety is the priority and  if you don't feel comfortable, call an expert to handle the maintenance.

    Steps To Clean Your Gutters

    • Clean leaves, sticks, needles and seeds from gutters, scooping out debris with a garden trowel or gloved hand.
    • Don't try to remove the debris with a hose because that may cause downspouts to clog.
    • Remove the pasty goo made up from the tiny granules from asphalt roofing shingles that have mixed with dirt and water.
    • Flush out residual matter, using a garden hose.
    • To clean downspouts, turn on the hose full blast and thread it into the drain opening.
    • Check gutters after flushing for pools that indicate low spots. Gutters should be sloped about one vertical inch for every 15 to 20 horizontal feet so that they drain properly. Adjust gutters as necessary.Repairing GuttersInstall new hangers to hold gutters firmly in place. Typically, gutters are attached with straps, hangers or long nails inserted through metal collars -- a system called "spikes and ferrules."

      Don't bother replacing straps, renailing old spikes or adding new spikes. Because you must pry up roofing materials to replace straps, it's easier to make repairs using individual gutter hangers with self-tapping screws, available at home improvement centers.

      Also replace spikes with gutter screws and matching ferrules. "Over time a spike is always going to push out," says Gibson. "A gutter screw really has holding power."

      Fix Leaks

      Fix leaks at seams with silicone sealer. Although patch kits are available for repairing rust holes in steel gutters, the patches will prove to be only temporary. "If you've got rust holes in steel gutters," says Gibson, "they're pretty much finished. It's better to get new ones."

      Replacing Gutters

      If you need to replace your gutter, Tom Wood of Emerald Gutter Services in Eugene, Ore., says steel gutters generally perform better than aluminum or vinyl. "Aluminum gutters move too much during weather changes," says Wood. "The expansion and contraction causes nails and screws to loosen up. And vinyl comes in 10-foot lengths, meaning there are lots of seams that need to be sealed."

      Both steel and aluminum can be installed without intermittent seams, and the best steel gutters feature baked-on enamel finishes with 40-year warranties. According to Wood, expect to pay about $450 for a professional to install new gutters and downspouts on a typical two-story suburban house.

      A Safety Tip

      Remember that gutter maintenance often means working on a ladder. As you work, make safety a priority. Make sure your ladder is firmly planted, and don't stretch to make repairs.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your gutter maintenance, gutter repair, and gutter installation needs. Call us today at 215.773.9181 for your FREE estimate!

  • Simple FIxes for Common Gutter Problems

    Courtesy of House Logic

    Gutters are a very important aspect of maintaining the function and quality of the exterior and interior of your home.  That is why gutters should receive routine maintenance a couple times a year.  Sometimes the homeowner is able to handle some of this maintenance. However, gutters are high off the ground and usually require a ladder to access, so if you don't feel comfortable with performing maintenance, you should have a professional handle it instead.

    Here are some tips courtesy of House Logic to keep your gutters well-maintained:

    Clogged gutters

    This is the most common problem of all. Left untended, gutters and downspouts get so clogged with debris that they’re rendered useless. The excess weight of leaves, twigs, and standing water can also make them sag and pull away from the fascia.

    Clean them at least once a year, and twice a year if you have a lot of trees nearby. Gary Mindlin, managing partner of New York City-based Top Hat Home Services, schedules gutter maintenance four times a year, with additional checks after big storms.

    You can clean your own gutters if you’re comfortable on a ladder, don’t mind getting wet and dirty, and don’t have an extremely tall house. After you’ve cleared the muck, flush them with a garden hose to make sure they’re flowing properly. If you’d prefer, you can hire someone to do the job for you for between $50 and $250, depending on the size of your house.

    Another option for dealing with chronically clogged gutters is to outfit them with gutter covers. These include mesh screens, clip-on grates, and porous foam. They still need regular maintenance, though, and the cost can be more than the gutters themselves.

    Sagging gutters and gutters pulling away from the house

    This is usually a problem with the hangers, the hardware that secures the gutters to the fascia. They might have deteriorated over time, the fasteners may have backed out of the wood, or they’re spaced too far apart to support the weight of full gutters. The cost to fix it yourself is cheap; hangers generally cost $10 or less apiece, and the fasteners run about $1 each.

    Leaks and holes

    Leaky gutter joints can be sealed by caulking the joint from the inside with gutter sealant, says John Eggenberger, vice president of training and corporate development for the Mr. Handyman franchise of home repair companies. A tube costs about $5. Very small holes can be filled with gutter sealant. Larger holes will require a patch. If you can’t find a gutter patching kit at the hardware store, you can make a patch from metal flashing.

    Improperly pitched gutters

    Gutters need to be pitched toward the downspouts for the water to flow properly. You want at least a quarter inch of slope for every 10 feet. Get on a ladder after a rainstorm and look in the gutter; if there’s standing water, it’s not pitched properly.

    To correct this yourself, you’ll need to measure from the peak to the downspout. Snap a chalk line between the two and find the spots where the gutter is out of alignment. You might be able to push it up into place by bending the hanger. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to take a section down and rehang it. If you have seamless gutters, call the company that installed them to correct the problem.

    Downspouts draining too close to the foundation

    Downspouts need to extend several feet from the house, or they’ll dump right into the basement. Gutter extensions attached to the bottom of the downspout will discharge water well beyond the foundation. They’re inexpensive and easy to install. “I like the downspout material extended four or five feet and screwed on,” says Reggie Marston, president of Residential Equity Management Home Inspections in Springfield, Va. Cost: less than $20 per downspout.

    Missing gutters

    If your house has no gutters at all, consider investing in a system. The cost depends on the material. Most residential gutters are aluminum, which is lightweight and durable. “Unless an aluminum gutter is damaged by something, it will last forever,” says Scott McCurdy, vice president of Jacksonville, Fla.,-based disaster repair contractor Coastal Reconstruction. Vinyl, galvanized steel, and copper also are available options.

    Aluminum gutters range from about $4.50 to $8.50 per linear foot installed. On a 2,000-square-foot house with about 180 linear feet of gutters, that’s roughly $800 to $1,500.

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

     

  • Preparing Your Home for Fall & Winter

    Courtesy of Stacy Gold/Getty Images via Houselogic

    In order to prevent damages and costly repairs to your home come springtime, it's a good idea to provide some maintenance to your home before winter hits.

    Houselogic has a checklist of things residents in the Northeast should inspect, clean and protect before winter weather rolls in:

    Key maintenance tasks to perform

    Clean your gutters. Leaving debris in your gutters is an invitation for trouble. Not only can it freeze and damage the gutters themselves, but it also can force freezing water up under your shingles and damage the roof. Gladstone says that many homes in the Northeast now have covered gutter systems, which fools many homeowners into thinking gutter cleaning is unnecessary. “Gutter covers keep leaves out,” he says, “but not fine organic material or grit from the roof.” It’s important to remove the covers and clean just as you would regular gutters.

    Clean and put away lawn and garden equipment. Do a visual inspection of the yard to identify anything lying around — garden tools, hoses and nozzles, patio furniture and accessories — that might be damaged by snow and ice and should be brought in for the winter.

    Run your lawn mower until the gas tank is empty; if you leave gas in the tank over the winter, it can degrade and lose some of its combustion ability. Worse, gas can react with the air in the tank and oxidize, forming deposits that affect the machine’s performance; worse still, moisture can condense inside the tank and cause rust that blocks the fuel lines.

    If you know you’re going to leave gas in the tank over the winter, add a stabilizer to the last gallon you put in (mix it in the gas can, not the mower tank, so that you get the mixing ratio correct).

    Disconnect hoses and winterize lawn irrigation systems. Leaving water in any exterior hoses or pipes can cause them to freeze and burst. If your exterior faucets aren’t self-draining, be sure to turn off the water manually at the shutoff valve inside the house so water doesn’t stand in the wall pipes.

    If you have a lawn irrigation system, it’s important to make sure all the water has drained from the system before the first freeze. Depending on the type of system you’ve installed, this may require the assistance of a professional. A pro charges $50 to $150 to winterize an irrigation system.

    Schedule a furnace tune-up. Follow your furnace professional as he works, and ask questions about what he’s doing, says Gladstone. The technician should be working his way through a checklist of items such as inspecting filters, checking the chimney exhaust, and examining the blower and fuel connections. Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a furnace tune-up.

    (Wondering if you should convert from oil to gas heat?)

    Replace wicks and air filters in your humidifier. If you use a portable humidifier in winter to mitigate the drying effects of heating, start the season with fresh wicks—the small filters that absorb moisture from the reservoir; a fan directed at the wick dispenses the moisture into the air. Also check air filters, if your unit contains them (consult your owner’s manual). Replace wicks again in two to three months for a cost of about $15. It’s an absolute must to clean the humidifier every few weeks during winter to keep it free of mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions.

    However, Gladstone points out that “most homes are too wet.” Humidifiers may contribute to excess moisture that encourages the growth of mold and mildew. Use a humidifier only if necessary, and choose a single-room model so that you can check easily to see if the unit needs cleaning.

    Protect your air conditioning unit. If your outdoor air conditioning unit is located under trees or under the drip line of the house where icicles and snow may fall, give it a little protection by placing a sheet of plywood over the top and draping a dropcloth over it. However, don’t create a fully enclosed space, as that can trap moisture and offer winter protection for rodents.

    Close your storm windows. It’s a simple step, but an easy one to forget. Make sure the windows are shut properly so that the outer pane is up and the inner pane is down; this keeps rain and other forms of precipitation out.

    Insulate pull-down staircases for attics. The openings that accommodate pull-down staircases can cause significant heat loss during winter. You can purchase an insulated cover for the opening, or for about $30 you can make a foam box yourself with duct tape, weatherstripping, and a piece of 2-inch-thick polystyrene foam; 2-inch foam has an insulating value of about R-10. “This simple step will pay for itself many times over,” Gladstone says.

    Spending a weekend or two on maintenance can prevent costly repairs and alert you to developing problems. Visit the links listed below for more detailed information on completing tasks or repairs yourself.

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

  • Gutter Maintenance Tips

    Oftentimes, homeowners forget about maintaining their gutters and downspouts. However, though what gutters do is simple (collecting the water that accumulates on your roof) it is very important no only for your roof, but for other aspects of your home as well.

    According to Buildipedia.com, issues around the home that are related to poor maintenance of your gutters and downspouts are:

    • Cracked foundations
    • Damaged landscaping
    • Settling porches, sidewalks, and driveways
    • Rot, mold, and mildew on exterior trim and cladding
    • Rot, mold, and mildew on wood structures, sheathing, walls, and ceilings
    • Damaged insulation
    • Termite infestation
    • Mosquitoes breeding
    • Growth of vegetation in clogged gutters

    Chances, are, you should also leave gutter cleaning and maintenance to the professionals, especially since cleaning them often requires use of a ladder and not all people know about the proper safety precautions. According to the Buildipedia.com article, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has stated, "Each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the U.S. relating to ladders." And, if I were you, I wouldn't wan't to be part of that statistic.

    By far the most prevalent issue that most people have with their gutters is clogging. It is extremely important to keep your gutters free from debris that falls and accumulates in it.

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

     

  • Helpful Tips on Cleaning Your Gutters

    Check out this video by Lowes on cleaning your gutters.  Maintaining your gutters is an important part of your routine home maintenance.

     

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your gutter cleaning, gutter maintenance, gutter repair and seamless gutter installation needs. Call us today at 215-773-9180 for a FREE estimate!