Tag: roofer pa

  • Dark vs. Light Roof Shingles

    Courtesy of Familyhandyman.com

    Courtesy of Familyhandyman.com

    There is not debating whether or not lighter colored roof shingles save on cooling costs for homes.  Lighter shingles help keep your attic temperatures down. However, when it comes to whether light roof shingles last longer than dark roof shingles, there is no definitive answer.

    According to Family Handyman:

    One major shingle manufacturer I spoke with said its tests showed no difference. Its position is that a properly ventilated attic provides enough cooling to offset the increased heat retention of dark shingles.

    But some studies dispute that. They claim that since heat always increases molecular activity, and since dark shingles always run hotter, the heat factor alone dictates a shorter life for dark shingles. Yet another study suggests that the sun's UV rays play a much bigger role in shingle degradation than heat.

    In a nutshell though, most experts agree that the most important thing when it comes to roof systems (and the longevity of its shingles) is proper attic ventilation.  So, make sure you have enough roof soffit vents and you should be fine, unless you want to save money on cooling costs, and then you can also pick the lighter colored roof shingles.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your roof shingles, roof repair, roof installation and roof maintenance needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

  • 6 Tips to Avoid Bad Contractors

    Shopping for the right contractor is extremely important when you are going to have work done on your home.  Check out these 6 question(courtesy of Yahoo! Homes)s to ask prospective contractors in order to avoid a massive headache later.

    Question #1: What's Your Business History (and Much More)?

    You wouldn't hire a surgeon without knowing how many surgeries he or she has performed, would you? Well, your home is about to go under the knife, so you'll want to evaluate contractors with the same level of scrutiny.

    Kruse suggests first asking questions about a company's business practices and experiences with the remodeling project you need. Find out what kind of procedures and rules this contractor would follow to meet your demands.

    Here are a few other things Kruse thinks you should ask contractors:

    • How long have you been in business?
    • Are you licensed by the state?
    • What percentage of your clientele is repeat or referral business?
    • Are you a member of a national trade association?
    • Do you have a list of references from past projects similar to mine?
    • Have you or your employees been certified in remodeling or had any special training or education?

    [Ready to put a contractor to the test? Click here to find one today.]

    Kruse also recommends contacting a client with whom they are currently working. "This way, you can see how things are conducted on a day to day basis," he says. "You can find out if there are problems or issues that have arisen, and ask how well they communicate throughout the project."

    Question #2: Do You Provide a Detailed Written Contract?

    Misunderstandings happen. People forget. Things change. But a contract helps both you and the contractor know what is expected from both parties.

    Every job, no matter how small, should have a signed contract by the contractor and customer, Kruse says. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Not so fast - the devil is in the details.

    "A contract should be very specific and point out step by step what will be going on throughout the project and before it even begins," he adds.

    Some things that should be on a contract - all written in great detail - include:

    • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in the project, including vendors
    • Detailed list of the work to be completed
    • List of each product along with its price and model number
    • Who is responsible for pulling permits
    • Where deliveries will go and where the dumpster will be placed
    • What time the workers begin and end their day
    • Project's start and completion dates plus payment schedule
    • All work carried out by subcontractors

    [Ready to look for a home contractor? Click here to find one in your area.]

    Anything that changes along the way must be written and signed in a change order, which makes sure everyone is in agreement on the change, price, time, or anything else that is adjusted from the original contract.

    Question #3: How Much Do I Need to Put Down?

    If the contractor asks you to pay for all of the project's cost upfront, it's time to find another contractor. An unreasonable deposit is the first sign something is fishy, Kruse says.

    The Better Business Bureau's website suggests going by the rule of thirds: Pay one third at the beginning of the project, one third when work is 50 percent complete, and one third after it is final and you are satisfied with the outcome.

    But chances are your contractor will have a formula to determine how much money is needed to get the job started. "Most contractors go with a 15 percent down payment on larger projects," Kruse says. "My clients usually give me the 15 percent deposit at the same time they hand me the signed contract."

    [Ready to start your home remodel? Click here to find the right home contractor today.]

    Keep in mind that if the job is a small one, it's okay to provide money for the cost of materials - which might be 50 percent of the job or a little more, he says.

    Question #4: Can I Get Itemized Price Estimates?

    Some contractors like to hand you a bid with one price estimate for the entire project because it's less work on their end. Don't let them. You will need details on all the costs associated with the project and each item purchased.

    Here's why an itemized estimate is essential: If midway through the project you decide to put in a less expensive countertop than the one originally discussed, you need to know the exact cost of the first countertop. Without it, you have no way of knowing how much of a credit you should receive.

    An itemized price list should detail the cost of labor, demolition, materials, electrical, plumbing, permits, and more.

    Kruse explains how an itemized estimate is better for client and contractor: "It just makes it easier to track work, and it's transparent to both the client and I of what is expected on the job. I also offer my preferred vendor list to our clients so they know who we are buying their products from."

    Some contractors use their estimates as proposals, but these might be very inaccurate and could mislead the homeowner, Kruse says. Don't assume anything. Be certain that once you sign a contract, what you see on paper is what you will be paying.

    Question #5: Who Will Be at the Site?

    Just hiring your contractor doesn't ensure he or she will be the one hammering and sawing. They might only show up to sign the contract and present the finished product. It's important to know that certain contractors manage their companies by getting bids or supervising many job sites at once and are not hands-on people.

    How do you find out which one you have? "Ask potential contractors who is going to be in charge of your project at all times," Kruse says. "You need to meet with that person, get a feel for what he/she is like and get acquainted a bit. Go check out that person at one of their current jobs."

    [Ready to get started on your home remodel? Click here to find a contractor in your area.]

    In their "Home Sweet Home Improvement" guide, the Federal Trade Commission urges homeowners to ask if subcontractors will be used on the project. If so, homeowners should ask to meet them to make sure they have insurance coverage and proper licenses.

    When meeting the subcontractor, ask if the lead contractor pays them on time. Why is this little detail important? According to the Federal Trade Commission, "A 'mechanic's lien' could be placed on your home if your contractor fails to pay subcontractors or suppliers," who, in turn, could take you to court to retrieve their unpaid bills.

    Question #6: Do You Think We Can Get Along?

    Just like any good relationship, the one between you and your contractor should have harmony, communication, and collaboration. Some personalities and styles just don't mesh, so don't pick someone just because their bid is the lowest, says Kruse.

    Your contractor will be part of your daily existence for quite some time. They will see how your children behave, how you don't water your plants, and how your breakfast dishes sit in the sink all day.

    Hiring a contractor without much thought can be a big mistake, says Kruse. "Sometimes [homeowners] end up with work that is less than adequate, or they give these shady contractors a large chunk of money upfront and then they never show up again."

    Protecting yourself from these nightmares means knowing exactly who your contractors are before you hire them. After all, it doesn't hurt to ask - but it sure could hurt if you don't.

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

  • 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!


  • 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!

  • Why a Spring Roof Inspection is Important

    With the harsh Pennsylvania winter fading and spring starting to show itself, it's easy to forget about home maintenance. However, one of the best things you can do for your home is to get a spring roof inspection -- it can save you tons of trouble, time and money in the long-run.

    Each winter, your roof takes a beating. With constant temperature fluctuations, heavy snow and lots of rain, your roof is often exposed to the worst of the worst during the winter months. Therefore, there's a chance that a problem may exist on your roof -- whether it's the result of an ice dam, black algae or a roof/skylight leak -- and although the problem may be small now, it should be caught ASAP. A small problem now can lead to a giant problem later.

    And as always, we'd love to perform your spring roof inspection! Call Exterior Specialties of PA for a free consultation today!

  • What's the Black Stuff on my Roof?

    Often, homeowners call with a specific question -- what is that black stuff on my roof?

    The answer is simple -- it's probably roof algae.

    As Roof Repair Blog points out, the stuff is actually called Gleocapsa Magma, and it can not only detract from your roof aesthetically, but it can also cause damage and drive up your cooling costs in the summer (the black color absorbs the sun's heat instead of reflecting it).

    Any single one of these is a problem for a homeowner -- but if all three strike, it's a major problem. If you see some of this "black stuff" on  your roof, call a professional as soon as you can!

    And as always, Exterior Specialties is here to help! Call us today for a free estimate!


  • Roofing Terminology 101

    Courtesy of http://daytonroofer.net

    Like many professions, us roofers have something close to our own language. When we use the words "Eaves," "Ridge," and "Valley," it usually means something different than what you expect.

    We found this great post over at HGTV that goes over some basic roofing terminology that can help bring you into the roofing loop. Check it out below:

    Roof Components

    Underlayment — The underlayment of a roof is the black paper that's laid over the plywood sheeting in order to seal the roof from damaging elements (snow, rain, ice, etc.). The use of a membrane is typically required, a waterproof membrane, a sweat sheet or vapor barrier — with the underlayment paper serving the triple function.

    Flashing — Flashing on a roof refers to the metal pieces that are used to divert water from places where it might collect, such as hips and valleys. Flashing can be made from a variety of materials. You can use a galvanized flashing, a galvanized alloy, copper, lead coated copper or stainless steel. Each of these would work fine.

    Shingles or Tile — The shingles or tiles make up the outermost part of the roof. Sitting atop the underlayment, they form the outermost barrier against the elements.

    In residential roofing the same basic types of roof have been in sue for hundreds of years are still in use today. The shingle — or tile — has been in use for thousands of years, in fact. You can find intact tiles that have been in use 5,000 years.

    Despite their history, however, shingles and tiles are just two among many types of materials you can use to cover the roof. Others include concrete, wood shingles or metal.

    Trim — The trim protects the seams anywhere there is a roof, such as a hip or a ridge.

    The Seven Design Elements of a Roof

    Ridge — This is the highest point or peak of the roof.

    Hip — This is the high point where two adjoining roof sections meet.

    Valley — When two sections of the roof slope downward and meet, they create this third element — a valley.

    Pitch — This refers to the slope or steepness of the roof.

    Eaves — This refers to the part of the roof that hangs over the rest of the home.

    Gables — These are the triangular portions of the ends of the home, which extend from the eaves to the peak of the roof.

    Dormer — These are the sections of the home that extrude from the roof. They're usually added as a way to bring light into an attic or the upper level of your home.