Roof Replacement: When is the Right Time?

Performing regular maintenance and necessary replacements are both vital components to maintaining the structural integrity of your home and providing a safe environment for household members. It’s essential to check your roof regularly, either by yourself from the ground or through a roofing specialist. There are many tell-tale signs to look for that could mean you need maintenance or a full replacement. While you can get your roofing work completed at any time throughout the year, certain seasons are more effective. However, if you notice any excessive damage, it’s encouraged to contact a professional right away.

Signs to Lookout For

It’s incredibly important to conduct regular checks of your roof either from the ground or through a professional. There are many signs you can look for if you’re unsure of when your roof may need to be replaced.

  • Roof Age: When thinking about replacing your roof, it’s crucial to account for how long your existing roof has been in place. The typical roof lasts 20 to 25 years, depending on the materials, and if you’re nearing this timespan, it’s likely time for a replacement.
  • Shingles Curling and Buckling: If you notice the shingles on your roof curling, buckling, or losing granules, it could be a sign that the shingles are past their life expectancy or a more significant issue is occurring with your roof.
  • Roof Valleys: Valleys are designed to guide snow and rain to the gutters for proper drainage. If shingles are falling apart or missing in these areas, you’re likely in need of a new roof.
  • Missing Shingles: Conduct regular checks of your shingles to verify all shingle tabs are intact, and none are missing. Missing shingles can likely cause more significant issues down the road if not accounted for.
  • Chimney Flashing: Flashing is installed to direct water away from critical areas that may be damaged due to stagnant water. Over time flashing can break down, especially if made of roof cement or tar. It’s vital to monitor these areas to be sure the flashing is still doing its job and doesn’t need to be replaced.
  • Excess Granules in the Gutters: Check your gutters for built-up shingle granules. Your roof is likely reaching the end of its life cycle if you notice an abundance of granules. If you see inconsistency or darker coloring in certain areas of your roof, this is another sign that the granules have worn away over time.
  • Daylight Through the Roof Boards: Check your attic to see if any sunlight is shining through the roof boards and if the insulation has any moisture. Moisture isn’t supposed to be present, so if this is the case, it’s likely a new roof is needed.

These are just a few examples of signs you can look for to determine whether it’s time for a new roof. If you find an area of concern that you’re unsure about, contact a roofing professional to assist you further. It’s encouraged to keep documentation of any changes you notice in your roof; take pictures and notes so you can easily access them.

Schedule Your Roofing Project Today

Your home is a substantial investment, and your roof is in place to provide protection for it as well as household members. Homeowners need to become familiar with different signs that could indicate you require roofing maintenance or replacement. While there are recommended seasons for completing roofing work, it is possible to schedule a contractor throughout the year. If you identify any signs that raise suspicion or need roofing work, it’s encouraged to contact a roofing professional immediately to get on their schedule, and any issues resolved right away.

How to Maintain Your Roof Against the Elements

Did you know that most roof leaks can be prevented by catching issues early on with regular roof inspections? A roof is designed to protect homes from the elements and inclement weather and should be able to withstand many obstacles. Over time, roofs experience wear and tear. It’s essential to continually monitor the condition of your roof and perform any maintenance to protect your roof from further damage from the elements. Regular inspection, either by you or a roofing specialist, will extend the life of your roof and keep your home protected.

Regular Shingle Inspection

Homeowners are encouraged to complete yearly checks of roof shingles, but if inclement weather is a common occurrence in your area, you may have to inspect more frequently. Along with wind and rain, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can also cause damage to your shingles over time. Regular inspection will help you identify any weak points, broken shingles, and much more. To guarantee your home has proper protection and remains safe for household members, inspecting your shingles will help you determine if all materials are still installed correctly and functioning as they should.

Branch Trimming

Be aware of any trees on your property that have overhanging branches. Branches that hang over your roof pose a threat in the winter months and must be trimmed before it sets in. Heavy snow and ice can build up on branches causing them to break and damage your roof and shingles. Additionally, high winds during blizzards and other inclement weather can whip the branches around, causing them to break away from the tree. Trimming these branches early on each year will help prevent any damage from occurring during the colder months.

Unclog and Clean Gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to more significant and costly issues if they’re not properly maintained and cared for. Common problems associated with clogged gutters include bubbling wall paint, rotting wood, and water damage to various parts of your roofing structure. Throughout the year, gutters can become filled with excess amounts of leaves, bugs, and other debris. If the debris isn’t cleared regularly, rainwater can’t travel accurately and can lead to pooling and extreme damage to the roofing structure as well as inside of your home. It’s encouraged to clean your gutters every Spring and Fall to allow for proper drainage.

Moss Maintenance

While moss can seem appealing and add a whimsical aesthetic to your property, it’s realistically very detrimental to your roofing structure. Moss can cause damage to any roofing material, whether it be asphalt, wood, concrete, or metal. When moss appears, it grows between shingles, causing them to lift away from the roof over time. If shingles are lifted away from your roof, this allows water to get inside, thus encouraging the continued growth of moss and causing damage to your roofing structure and home such as leaks and wood rot. If you identify moss growth on your roof, you must scrub the moss away yourself or hire a professional to prevent further damage. Zinc sulfate granules can be sprinkled on your roof seasonally to prevent and stunt moss growth.

Proper Insulation and Ventilation

Roofing structures require advanced insulation and ventilation systems to prevent excess moisture and wood rot. It’s encouraged to have your attic inspected by a professional to confirm that you have the correct amount of insulation and ventilation for your home. If these two factors aren’t accounted for, warm air will continue to rise into your attic where it meets the cold and condensation will be created. If the issue isn’t addressed, mold growth and wood rot will occur over time. Proper ventilation allows for necessary air circulation to prevent condensation from occurring. Establishing correct insulation and ventilation will also save you money on your electric bill as your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard during the warm and cold months.

Ice Dam Prevention

Proper insulation and ventilation also play into ice dam prevention as excess heat won’t get trapped in your attic. Most roofs are susceptible to ice dams after a heavy snowfall, and being proactive can help prevent them from occurring. If extreme amounts of warm air reach your attic, the roof is heated up, which causes snow to melt. The melted snow refreezes when the water travels to colder portions of the roof, thus creating ice dams. Melted snow and water continue to get stuck over time, which leads to water seeping through your roof, causing ceiling stains and peeling paint. Regular and thorough checks of your attic will allow you to monitor the temperature and adjust accordingly to prevent ice dams from forming at all. It’s recommended to check your attic year-round, but especially in the cooler fall and winter months. If you end up with ice dams and are unsure of how to manage, it’s vital to contact a professional to perform proper ice dam removal because if done incorrectly, it can lead to extensive damage.

Caulk the Flashings

Flashings are strips of various metals such as lead, aluminum, or galvanized, that are placed along roof edges or joints. This material is required to divert water and keep water out of areas that shingles can’t protect from piping and venting to skylights and chimneys. Over time, flashing can rust, crack, lift, or separate if the installation wasn’t done correctly or time has taken its toll. It’s vital to regularly check the flashings on your roof because if the flashing isn’t working correctly, a portion that protects your roof is no longer doing its job, which can lead to more significant issues. Caulking can be used to seal areas of flashing where it has become unstuck to encourage proper functioning.

Protect and Care for Your Roof

Many homeowners don’t realize the importance of caring for a roof because it’s commonly out of sight. Homes require a substantial investment, and a roof is there as a defense to protect your home from inclement weather and other elements. Regular checks of your roof either by yourself or a roofing professional will help ensure your roof is performing correctly and any underlying issues are being addressed. Your roof is the first line of defense, and proper maintenance and care will extend its life and give your home the protection it needs.

5 Reasons Why Insulated Siding Is a Great Choice

Making the correct decision for the siding on your home can be a tedious process, and there’s a lot of competing information out there that may overwhelm you. While all siding materials have their specific benefits, it’s essential to consider what appearance you would like your home to have. Special features are also something to consider as certain siding materials may be limiting. Insulated vinyl siding offers homeowners a breadth of benefits from increased savings and energy efficiency to a variety of choices and noise-reducing features. Lined with an additional layer of foam insulation, this is undoubtedly a premium siding that will check all your boxes when compared to other siding options.

Increased Savings

Choosing to incorporate insulated vinyl siding into your property comes with many financial benefits. The upfront costs of insulated siding are much cheaper than other home exterior materials such as wood, fiber cement, and brick. Many choose vinyl for their exterior siding because of its impressive durability. Vinyl is also easy to install and can be placed on top of existing siding, meaning the cost of labor is nearly cut in half. Homeowners also reap long-term benefits from vinyl siding as less upkeep is required, and the material requires little to no maintenance, which means that replacements won’t be a regular requirement.

  • Wood: Having wood siding on your home can require a significant amount of upkeep as the material will rot, crack, and warp over time. This leads to numerous repairs and maintenance, which can be costly in the long run. Wood also attracts pests and termites, which can lead to much more significant issues.
  • Aluminum: Homeowners have found aluminum to be a decent siding option. However, it can be very noisy and become damaged quickly in inclement weather. Along with this, aluminum will also have to be repainted periodically throughout its lifespan, which can be time-consuming.
  • Fiber-Cement: If you’re in search of an option that’s similar to vinyl due to its durability and low maintenance requirements, fiber-cement siding is an excellent option. Many homeowners end up pushing this option to the side, however, since it must be repainted and is of higher cost than insulated vinyl siding.

Energy Efficient

While there are many steps homeowners can take to make their property more energy efficient, replacing your siding with insulated vinyl siding is one of the most effective. Insulated vinyl helps keep your home at comfortable temperatures year-round by protecting the inside of your home from the sun’s hot rays in the warmer months and keeping the heat released by your furnace in your home during the cold months. This material doesn’t warp or absorb moisture over time meaning unwanted air is easily kept from entering or exiting your home. As a result, your air conditioner and furnace don’t have to work as hard, and the amount of energy your property consumes is drastically decreased.

Additionally, vinyl siding is an excellent option if being environmentally conscious is in your practices. Vinyl is friendly on the environment as it cuts down waste the amount of waste produced due to its lifespan and that it can be recycled.

Withstands Time and the Environment

Known for its durability, vinyl siding has a much longer lifespan than other siding materials. It experiences little to no wear and tear, and continually maintains its appearance. Because of this, many companies offer lengthy warranties because the likelihood of issues arising is slim to none. Along with a test to time, vinyl siding can also successfully survive inclement weather conditions and temperature fluctuation. Areas that suffer from strong wind no longer need to worry as the design of vinyl siding eliminates potential damage. If you’re located in a warmer climate, many professional siding companies offer UV-resistant insulated vinyl, so your home doesn’t experience sun damage.

Variety of Styles and Colors

Over the years, vinyl siding has been rising in popularity and now a common choice for homeowners. In its initial phases, the assortment of colors and styles were not available like they are now. Today, property owners can choose between many different options to make sure they get the look they’ve imagined for their home. This is appealing to homeowners as the exterior appearance of a home adds to curb appeal significantly, and many enjoy seeing their vision come to life. If you’re shopping for insulated vinyl siding, you can expect to see an array of available colors from pastels and earth tones to fun, lively colors to give your property a little spunk. Along with colors, there are many different textures and shapes that individuals can choose from.

  • Board and Batten
  • Vertical
  • Shake
  • Scalloped
  • Dutch Lap
  • Half-Round

Noise Reducing Features

If you live near a highway, busy street, or are looking for a solution to block out other outside noises, insulated vinyl siding is a great solution. Many factors can disrupt daily life, and it can get frustrating if you can’t find a way to successfully eliminate excessive noise. Insulated vinyl siding can reduce noise transmission by 39%, according to Progressive Foam. The added foam layer works wonders by bringing more peace and quiet to your home, thus creating a much more comfortable environment for household members.

Improve Your Home Today

Insulated vinyl siding is an excellent exterior option for homeowners throughout the United States as it offers many benefits from increased energy efficiency and savings to its outstanding durability and noise-reducing features. There are many different siding options available on the market today, each providing property owners with an assortment of benefits. However, if you’re looking for a well-rounded siding solution, insulated vinyl siding is your go-to. Along with the benefits mentioned previously, vinyl siding adds to your home’s curb appeal with elegant beauty and requires little to no maintenance. Contact your siding professional today to get started on transitioning your home.

Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles: Which Roofing is Best for You?

There are many different materials used for roofing in today’s market, meaning each one comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Both metal roofing and asphalt shingles are incredibly versatile and provide property owners with a final result that is aesthetically appealing, thus adding to overall curb appeal. Acting as two of the most popular roofing materials for property owners today, many of the advantages and disadvantages of each are explored below.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is an excellent option for property owners as it comes in a variety of formats and designs, such as shingles, standing seam, wooden shake, and tile. This material provides versatility in the selection process and adds to the curb appeal of your home. Many homeowners stay away from metal roofing because it’s more of a complex option. There is a wide variety of options that can be overwhelming, specific techniques and experienced installers are required, and more materials are needed when compared to asphalt shingles. There are many different types of metal roofing that homeowners can choose from should you select this material:

  • Tin Roof
  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Seam Standing Metal

Advantages

Metal roofing is a very lightweight material that’s easy for contractors to handle and install. Because of its lightweight consistency, there is less stress put on the structure of your property, which reduces the likelihood of frame damage. Many property owners find that metal roofing lasts at least fifty years before any degradation begins to show. Due to its long lifespan, fewer repairs and replacements are required resulting in long-term cost savings when compared to asphalt shingles. Metal roofing has a high fire rating and withstands damage from extreme weather conditions. It is also environmentally friendly and incredibly energy efficient due to its ability to release absorbed heat in higher temperatures and retain heat in colder temperatures.

Your property value will likely increase since metal roofing requires a higher initial cost and lasts longer. If selling your home in the future, potential buyers will be drawn to metal roofing because of its extreme benefits. There are many different styles of metal roofing, so you will be able to find a type that best fits your home. All in all, this material requires little to no maintenance if the roof was correctly installed. There is also potential that your home insurance premium could be lowered since metal roofing is much less likely to be damaged when compared to other roofing types.

Disadvantages

If choosing metal roofing, property owners can expect to spend more upfront, as previously mentioned. With the higher one-time cost, the cost of labor and equipment needed to complete the job will need to be accounted for as well. Since metal roofing is a unique choice, there are fewer contractors and installers who are equipped and skilled to install the structure correctly. It’s incredibly important to find a qualified and experienced contractor as metal roofing requires precision in the installation process as there’s no room for error. Individual communities or Homeowners Associations (HOAs) don’t allow metal roofing because it provides an industrial appearance, is inconsistent when compared to more popular roofing options, and can produce high glare. Before moving forward with metal roofing, it’s encouraged to check with your neighborhood or HOA to verify that this type of roofing is accepted.

Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials on the market today for commercial and residential property owners. The standard three-tab shingle is the most common type, but architectural asphalt shingles are also rising in popularity. Asphalt shingles are composed of a fiberglass core or matting with an asphalt coating and a ceramic or stone granule surface. These features are what increase their durability, and the granule surface protects the shingles from inclement weather conditions and UV rays. Architectural shingles are made up of the same material as asphalt shingles, but are of higher cost and are a heavier, thicker consistency. There are many benefits that asphalt shingles offer:

  • Versatility in Design
  • Affordability
  • Easy Installation
  • Readily Available
  • Uniformity
  • Simple to Do-It-Yourself

Advantages

There are many advantages to choosing shingle roofing when compared to metal. Homeowners tend to choose shingles because they are a cheaper one-time cost. Shingles come prepackaged and ready to be applied immediately unless alterations are needed, but ultimately shingles require less time and labor for both installation and replacement. If your home is damaged by inclement weather or another accident, shingles are much easier and cheaper to fix. Rather than having to remove large areas to discover the source of an issue, shingles can be removed, which allows for a smoother repair process. Asphalt shingles are also recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly decision for your roofing needs.

Since shingles are relatively simple and easy to install, many contractors will install this material when compared to metal roofing. When choosing your contractor, it’s encouraged to verify qualifications and review project experience, so your roofing job is completed successfully and correctly. To ease the installation process, shingles are durable and provide excellent traction for workers. Due to the durability of shingles, this material can withstand high winds and inclement weather, giving you little to no issues with your home. Finally, many contractors and manufacturers offer extended warranties for shingle roofing, meaning you and your home will be protected in multiple scenarios.

Disadvantages

When it comes to choosing any product, there are always a few disadvantages. A roof made of asphalt shingles will last up to about 25 years before significant replacements or repairs are needed, but this is countered by many manufacturers and contractors providing warranties for property owners. With the shorter life span and cheaper initial costs, you may end up spending more in the long run if no warranties are provided, and your roof ends up needing a major repair or replacement. Some homeowners are apprehensive about the install process as shingles are attached to your roof with nails, in turn creating holes that could easily compromise the structure of your home if the installation is not correctly executed. Additionally, there are chances of mold, mildew, or algae growing on asphalt shingles if excess moisture is present and unable to dry. This is quickly resolved by adequately treating and caring for your roof as well as monitoring the condition regularly.

Points to Consider

Before choosing between metal roofing or shingles for your roofing material, it’s essential to consider all advantages and disadvantages as well as addressing how both materials benefit you and your property. Below are a few key points to focus on when it comes time to decide:

  • Budget
  • Roof Design
  • Lifecycle of Your Property
  • Climate and Environment of Your Location
  • Involvement in an HOA or Municipality
  • Finding a Qualified Contractor

While there may seem like a lot of steps go into choosing the right roofing material, your home needs proper protection to keep household members and your belongings safe. Upon compiling all the necessary information, it’s time to begin reaching out to qualified local contractors to start your roofing project.

8 Ways Cedar Shakes Can Transform Your Roof for the Better

When designing or upgrading your home, a positive first impression is at the forefront of your mind most of the time. The roof on your house is one of the first details individuals notice when viewing your property, so the right material is incredibly important. There are many different options for roofing consisting of an assortment of materials, shapes, colors, and attributes, meaning doing extensive research is helpful when going through the design process. Cedar shakes provide a variety of benefits for homeowners from enhanced insulation and customization options to its environmentally friendly attributes.

What Are Cedar Shakes?

Cedar shakes are split on one or both sides by hand from lumber logs while utilizing special crafting tools. Because of their natural consistency, they can easily be crafted into a shape by hand but will require some power equipment depending on the situation. If the desired texture isn’t portrayed in natural form, a saw can be utilized to add any additional texture.

The following benefits are among the reasons as to why many homeowners select cedar shakes for their properties:

Enhanced Insulation

Compared to other roofing options, cedar shakes cannot be beaten when it comes to proper insulation for your home. Cedar has natural insulating properties as the inner grains of the wood have air pockets that prevent fluctuating temperature levels from passing through either side. The air pockets allow cedar to act as a protective barrier that prevents the passage of cold winds and hot sunlight from permeating your attic and living areas. The insulation provided by cedar shakes keeps the cold air supplied by your air conditioner inside your home. It also prevents the hot rays of the sun from unnecessarily heating in the summer. In the cooler months, cedar shakes help prevent cold drafts from entering your home and traps warmth generated by heaters and fireplaces inside. These protective features help lower your heating and air conditioning bills all year long.

Long-Lasting Durability

Cedar is known as one of the world’s toughest, most durable woods, which means it’s a perfect candidate for your next roof installation. Due to its ability to enhance the structural strength of your roof creates a safer environment for you and your family and is an excellent long-term investment that you won’t regret. Cedar shakes withstand the seasons as well as the fluctuating temperatures and unexpected weather that accompanies them. The consistency of cedar shakes allows them to maintain their original size and dimensions regardless of the elements they encounter. If properly cared for and maintained, cedar roofing can last up to fifty years.

Damage Resistance

Due to its proven durability, cedar is exceptionally resistant to damage. Its ability to stand up to the unpredictable winds of nature allows cedar shakes to keep their shape and character with minimal upkeep. Cedar roofing contains many natural preservatives that help the material remain resistant to ultraviolet rays, moisture, wind, and moss growth over the years. Additionally, it can be factory treated to be fire, fungus, and insect resistant. When compared to other roofing options, cedar shakes can withstand damage from hail and many other storm-based elements.

Variety of Customization Options

Whether you choose to treat your cedar shakes or leave them natural, this roofing option offers a timeless look that will enhance the curb appeal of your home. Cedar shakes provide a more rustic, rough-hewn appearance and can be shaped in a variety of ways.

  • Square
  • Diagonal
  • Diamond-Shaped
  • Rounded
  • Arrow-Tipped
  • Half-Cove

The variety of shapes available allows homeowners to find a shake style that connects with the overall façade of your property. Cedar shakes can be finished with an assortment of stains, oils, coatings, and paint to encapsulate the look you’ve imagined. If cedar shakes are left natural, a transparent finish can be applied to keep them in great shape over the years. As they age, the cedar will become a silvery or grayish tone that is appealing to some. Most commonly, treated shingles are more likely to draw a potential home buyer to your property.

Natural Insect Repellent

Other than the amazing structural stability of cedar shakes, it is also known to ward off mite infestations. Houses with wood structures on the outside are typically more susceptible to termite destruction, which can lead to costly repairs. However, cedar roofs have proven to be resistant to termites as a chemical naturally exists in cedar that isn’t palatable to termites. Termites have a lower survival rate and are killed more frequently should they choose to infest cedar. This has proven to be true even in areas where mite infestation is widespread.

Think Green

For homeowners that are looking for an environmentally friendly option, cedar shakes stand above other roofing types when it comes to sustainability, energy savings, and recyclability. Cedar itself is an organic product that is grown and harvested from sustainably grown forests located throughout the United States. This allows for cedar shakes not to require any chemicals during the production process and doesn’t use as much fossil fuel when compared to a traditional shingle. Additionally, each time a tree is reduced, a new tree is grown in its place, creating a self-sustaining supply chain. Another appealing detail of utilizing cedar shakes for your roofing material is that unlike other types of roofing, cedar shakes can be recycled into bark dust and wood chips to be used for gardening and much more.

Increased Property Value

A roof made from cedar shakes will likely boost the resale value of your home as they are prevalent in the realty market. Potential home buyers search for features that promise minimal upkeep and a long-life, making cedar shakes one of the most exceptional products for your residential or commercial location. While cedar shakes require a hefty financial investment, their longevity proves that it will likely only be a one-time cost, which is very appealing to new homeowners.

Pleasant Smell and Light Weight

Given its lightweight consistency, cedar is an excellent option if choosing to transition from a weaker roofing product. Cedar shakes will not put excess weight on your home, meaning you won’t have to worry about the structural composition behind your roofing system when making the change. The application process is quite simple, and a protective barrier is automatically formed to protect your home from anything that comes its way. Cedar is also accompanied by a delightful smell that can instill beauty and coziness in a recently built home. In older homes, cedar can add a fresh scent rather than the mustiness that’s often associated. Visitors and potential home buyers account for smell almost immediately upon entering a home and having the unique smell of cedar can enhance their experience in your home.

Make the Transition to Cedar Shakes

Overall, cedar shakes are an excellent addition to your home, whether you’re newly designing or choosing to upgrade. This roofing option provides homeowners with a variety of benefits from enhanced insulation and customization options to its natural insect repellent capabilities. While there are many options out there, cedar shakes will provide you with an assortment of customization options so you can create the home you’ve always dreamed of.

How to Get Rid of Ice Dams

Ice dams are common in snowy parts of the United States and can be quite a nuisance in the months with heavy snowfall. There are many ways they can be prevented or even avoided completely should property owners take proper precautions. If you’re located in a snowy part of the county, it’s recommended to familiarize yourself with ice dams as they can be extremely destructive to your property if appropriate measures and maintenance aren’t taken.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam forms along the edge of your roofline when melting snow freezes. This occurrence prevents excess water from draining properly off your roof. Ice dams can also form around vents, skylights, and anywhere two inclined sides of the roof meet. While frozen, ice dams don’t pose a significant threat, but in the warmer parts of winter, there is potential that water from the melting ice will pool up and seep under the shingles. If pooled for an extended amount of time, the water will begin to flow through the roof into other parts of your house, resulting in extreme damage to your property.

What Causes an Ice Dam?

The temperature of your roof has an enormous influence on the formation of ice dams as nonuniform roof surface temperatures are proven to lead to ice dams. Snow must be present on the roof, and higher portions of the roof must be above freezing while lower surfaces are below freezing. The snow that is above freezing will melt, and as this water flows down, it will reach the portion of the roof that is below freezing, thus making the water freeze resulting in an ice dam. This cycle repeats itself, continuing to freeze, and adding size to the ice dam each time.

It’s vital to identify the occurrence of ice dams in their early stages as the pooled water will eventually begin working through shingles or other roofing material, flow through the roof decking, and enter the attic. If this occurs, the water can continue to seep through the ceiling, interior walls, and into the rest of the building, causing extensive damage and the potential for mold growth. The weight of the ice dam can also damage your gutters.

Effects Ice Dams Have on Your Property

As previously mentioned, if ice dams form for long periods before being identified, it can be very detrimental to your property. If high volumes of moisture enter your home from ice dams, the potential for mold and mildew to grow increases substantially, which can cause respiratory problems for household residents. It’s recommended to immediately dry out any areas that are wet or damp and take action to resolve the underlying issue as soon as possible.

Ice Dam Removal Solutions

Professionals and property owners have established an assortment of solutions for ice dam removal over the years, but if you’re limited on time or need an immediate solution before consulting a professional, there are a few methods that are very popular and effective.

Eliminate Its Source

Ice dams will continue to grow throughout the season if left alone. Removing current accumulations of snow and ice present on your roof with a snow rake is an excellent way to be proactive and eliminate the source that is causing the ice dam to form. Shingles are fragile, so be sure to use caution when utilizing the rake to avoid dislodging any parts of your roof.

Use a Deicer Product

If you don’t have time to rake your roof or chip away the dams, a chemical deicing product is the next best option. These products contain an assortment of chemicals that speed up the melting process and can be found at hardware and home improvement stores. Usually coming in the form of tablets or crystals, you will be able to distribute the substance along the ice in your gutter efficiently. Over time, the chemicals will work to melt the ice allowing the buildup to diminish and drain through your gutters.

Reuse Old Stockings or Panty Hose

While this seems like a strange solution, it’s a great way to take care of ice dams if you have a busy schedule. Fill old stockings or pantyhose with a chemical deicing solution and adequately close the ends so none of the materials can escape. Place these garments on top of the dams and let them work their magic. Over time, the contents will leak through the fabric and melt the ice. The process can take a little longer than others, and the position of the garments will have to be monitored as you may have to adjust placement as the ice continues to break down.

Spray Warm Water

Utilizing this method only provides a quick solution with instantaneous results until you have more time to assess the situation. Put hot water in a spraying device and spray water along the ice dams to loosen it up and kickstart the melting process. Keep in mind that the hot water will eventually turn cold and freeze as well, so adapting another solution to accompany a warm water spray will likely give you better results.

Ice Dam Prevention

There are several yearly things property owners can do to prevent ice dams from forming, but a few are crucial. It’s encouraged to clean your gutters out regularly to ensure proper drainage and utilize a roof rake in the winter months, so the buildup of ice and snow is kept to a minimum. Along with these simple solutions, many others are more time consuming or may require professional assistance.

  • Close Attic Bypasses
  • Measure Attic Insulation Levels
  • Add Roof and Soffit Vents
  • Utilize an Adhesive Ice-and-Water Barrier
  • Heat Cable Installation

Final Words

While property owners commonly experience a multitude of maintenance issues throughout a lifetime, ice dams can be a pest in the colder months if you don’t take proper precautionary measures to prevent them from occurring. Ice dams form when an excessive amount of snow and ice accumulates on your roof, and the melted water has limited or nonexistent drainage access. Becoming familiar with removal methods and preventative steps are vital to a comfortable, low-maintenance winter for your household.

How to Remove Mold from Vinyl Siding

Discovering mold has made a home on the siding of your home can be quite alarming, and often sends homeowners into a frenzy as they try to find the best solution. Mold has likely found a home on your siding because it hasn’t been cleaned for a while; accumulated grease, grime, dirt, and plant materials are also factors in its cultivation. Often, this issue can be resolved with a few hours of free time, assessment, and research to identify the best approach and materials needed to destroy the mold.

Causes of Mold Growth

Mold can be tricky to find if it’s in an area that homeowners don’t usually pay attention to. Mold is fuzzy or slimy in appearance and ranges in color from dark green to bright red to black. If an unfamiliar, musty smell is recognized, it’s recommended to check every inch in question as mold that isn’t discovered can cause structural damage, allergic reactions, and respiratory issues.

Thriving in dark, warm, humid environments, it can quickly grow on porous materials like wood and paint. It’s essential to give special attention to areas that never get direct sunlight, shaded by trees and bushes, or frequently encounter condensation or moisture from faucets and sprinklers.

Selecting a Cleaning Solution

Determining the proper cleaning solution to utilize in the removal of mold is crucial to its destruction. Identifying the size of the area you’re working with, and how extensive the growth is are two factors to consider when examining your options. Ultimately, research is highly recommended so the process is executed correctly, and potential damages are kept to a minimum. While there are many different chemicals and solutions, some may be more effective with the materials and type of mold you’re working with.

  • Windex
  • water and vinegar solution
  • dishwashing liquid
  • oxygen bleach
  • diluted chlorine bleach

Testing

Certain chemicals and tools can damage your vinyl siding extensively, making it very important to test all items being utilized on a small, out of sight area so you can determine the possible result. If any damage is shown, it’s important to reevaluate and approach with a different option. Vinyl siding material is known to be finicky with certain chemicals and methods, so it’s encouraged that you check with the manufacturer before going forward with your clean to determine any pointers or tips they may have.

Preparation

Be sure to gather all your cleaning materials and tools that will be utilized in the process, so they are readily available and of easy access. If there are plants, pets, or any other items that could potentially be harmed by the selected cleaning materials, it’s highly advised to provide proper protection, so these items are not damaged.

Thoroughly water any plants in the proximity of where you will be working and cover larger plants with a tarp or plastic sheeting. After the cleaning process, be sure to re-water any nearby plants that may be getting a run-off of chemicals.

Cleaning

Identifying the structure and strength of your siding is also crucial to the cleaning process. While there are a few different practices that can be utilized, the age of your siding, as well as the durability, can factor into which method is selected.

Scrubbing

It’s strongly encouraged to attempt to scrub the problem area with the chosen cleaning solution and a long-handled brush, sponge, or soft cloth before utilizing a pressure washer. This not only lets you assess the situation further but will also prevent potential damage from the pressure washer if the accumulation is less invasive than was initially suspected.

Pressure Washer

Many vinyl siding manufacturers do not recommend pressure washing their products as the strength of the water can often destroy the product. However, it’s encouraged to utilize a pressure washer as a secondary option after scrubbing as it can be used in hard to reach or “tough-spot” areas. Be sure to adjust the pressure to a low setting with the appropriate nozzle. Typically, it’s best to start at the top of each wall and work your way down, maintaining a distance of at least a foot to avoid any further damage. Be cautious of how the water is being directed at the siding as collected water behind siding can lead to far more extensive issues down the road.

Preventative Practices

Removing any sources of extra moisture is pertinent in the prevention of mold as mold thrives in damp environments. A great starting point is to monitor the maintenance of rain gutters and place your sprinkler in an area where it’s not directly aimed at the house. Additionally, it’s recommended that siding is washed at least once a year so that any problem areas can be prevented and identified.

Fungicide solutions and mold resistant cleaners should be incorporated in a preventative practice to kill the mold before development and growth. There are many more areas homeowners can focus on to continue preventing the accumulation of mold.

  • trim trees, bushes, and climbing vines to ensure proper spacing
  • allow for direct sunlight and adequate air circulation
  • eliminate any moss growth
  • check ventilation ducts and gutters
  • determine best insulation options for home siding

If you want to limit the build-up of mold, it’s incredibly important to be aware of your resources and take proper preventative measures.

In Closing

Ultimately, mold can often be quite the annoyance in common households, whether it is on the interior or exterior of the structure. Identifying the cause or source of mold growth is the first step in successfully destroying the mold. After the underlying factor is located, individuals are encouraged to select a cleaning solution that is effective and efficient for the area that has been identified. Chemicals should be tested before use to ensure they don’t cause damage to the siding. Gather all necessary materials and tools while providing proper care and protection to items that could potentially be harmed during the cleaning process.

Determining the appropriate wash tools is pertinent to the condition and maintenance of your siding. Make sure to start with scrubbing, and end with a pressure washer should it be necessary. If you are uncertain of the correct method to utilize, it’s encouraged to contact the manufacturer for your vinyl siding as they can provide further, extensive information and suggestions. Proper preventative measures should be practiced in your household to limit the future build-up of mold as it can cause extensive damage to the structure of your house and the health of household members.

How to Maintain Your Windows Through Every Season

Your windows play an important role in keeping your home safe and energy-efficient. Unfortunately, windows aren’t immortal and rely on cleaning and maintenance steps to extend their lifespan. Homeowners often put a significant investment into their windows but fall behind on taking care of them. Don’t be that person.

Your windows add not only functionality but incredible curb appeal and value to your home. So, it’s up to you or your trusted window experts to take care of them and make any repairs right away.

Defending your home against the elements can be a challenge, and maintaining your windows through every season (especially winter) requires some crucial actions.

Fall & Winter Maintenance

Your windows will go through their toughest test during the wintertime. Poorly sealed or damaged windows can cost you a fortune on your energy bill. So, it’s important that you prep for the cold and take the necessary precautions to keep your windows in tip-top shape.

Seal Your Windows

Sealing your windows for winter is perhaps the best way to reduce your heating bill and keep the cold out of your home. So, where should you start?

Conduct an inspection of your windows to locate any leaks or problem areas that may cause issues. On a cold and windy day, take a visit to every room in your home, being especially mindful of drafts or drops in temperature. A temperature sensor around windows is always a great way to find leaks or windows that need some love.

You can also get an energy audit done on your home too. They’ll conduct tests and suggest methods for how you should seal your windows to protect your home from the elements.

Seal up your windows with a reliable caulking solution. It’s one of the quickest and most affordable ways to defend against cold air and will last all winter if installed correctly. Leaky windows require a layer of caulk around the exterior perimeter — along with the space between the interior trim and wall.

There are other options for sealing up your windows as well.

  • Removable caulk allows you to seal the entire window, but it won’t be operational until the caulk is removed.
  • A heat-shrink film is a super-cheap and easy way to seal up your windows for winter.

Replacing your windows with higher quality and more efficient solutions can often save you a lot of money in minor repairs and maintenance. As we said, windows are an investment — hiring the right installation experts, and window specialists can be your best defense against the cold winter months.

Spring Window Cleaning

Once the groundhog decides what it’s going to do with its shadow and the wintertime is behind us, it’s time for a good old fashion spring cleaning.

One of the best ways to keep your windows from wear and tear is a regular cleaning schedule. Dirt, debris, and overall use can take a toll on your windows, leaving them vulnerable to damage that can increase your energy bills and require costly repairs. So, being proactive is often the best strategy for window maintenance.

So, here are some helpful window cleaning and overall care tips that will help your windows last through every season.

  1. Grab a high-quality window cleaner or create your own DIY solution with 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, and 1/4 cup vinegar and some paper towels.
  2. Leave the paper towels behind; they’ll leave streaks and unwanted lint spots on your windows. Opt for a squeegee or microfiber cloth.
  3. Use a sponge brush to tackle the window tracks.
  4. A wooden window frame can rot, which means you’ll need to scrape out the rotted areas and fill with epoxy putty.

Note: Vinyl window frames are an incredible alternative to traditional wooden frames. They’re extremely easy to maintain and clean — plus, you won’t have to worry about warping, cracking, rotting, or painting!

Summer Window Checklist

Summertime is by far your most relaxed window maintenance season, but that doesn’t mean you get to sit around and do nothing at all. During the summer, it’s good to go through a little checklist and ensure that your windows are ready for harsher seasons.

  • Check your weather stripping for wear and deterioration that could cause leakage or increases in energy bills. Cracking or dry stripping should be replaced right away so that you don’t run the risk of letting unwanted air into your home.
  • Inspect your window caulking for any deterioration as well. While caulking has a fairly long lifespan, unwanted wear in this area can increase your home’s energy bills as well.
  • Make sure your windows operate to their fullest — and are able to open and close without issues. This is especially important for fire safety.
  • Take a close look at your window panes to ensure that there is no damage that may require replacement before the weather gets cold.

Energy Efficiency Starts With Window Care

As with any part of a home, storm and weather damage can take a toll on your windows. Residential properties in the Midwest are especially susceptible to the elements, as constant fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels can wreak havoc on your window systems.

Maintaining your windows through every season should be a proactive measure, one that works to prevent problems before they ever start. The more diligent and attentive you are as a homeowner to the condition of your windows — the quicker you’ll be able to identify problem areas and take care of them. Here’s something to remember: The faster the fix, the cheaper the solution.

That being said, window replacement can be an inevitable symptom of your home, and having a trusted window partner to help with installation and high-quality window solutions can be a lifesaver.

We work with a handful of reliable and premier window brands that will help upgrade your home, boost curb appeal, and save you money on your energy bill.

 

roof damage

The Usual Suspects (What Does the Most Damage to Your Roof)

Your home is a significant investment, one that needs constant protection from the elements. The best defense is a strong and reliable roofing system. Without it, homes can undergo substantial damage, which can lead to all sorts of unforeseen problems down the line.

If you’re not sure what your roof is up against or you ignore damages, far more significant issues can affect your home. While it’s possible to conduct your own routine checks to gauge the integrity of your roof, a proper inspection from a roofing specialist is typically needed to address problems.

That being said, there are some common problems your roofing may face throughout its lifespan that you should know about.

Extreme Weathering

Depending on where you live, certain weather conditions can put up a real fight against your roof. While strong and durable roofing systems can withstand the elements — over time, damage may occur that will need to be looked at.

For most roofs, you should be especially mindful of:

  • Heavy snowfall
  • Heavy rainfall
  • Strong winds
  • Ice
  • Hail
  • Constant humidity

Over time, these issues can beat down on your roofing system and create potential problems for your home. Hail storms are especially problematic because they can displace granules from a shingle’s surface, which leaves your roofing unprotected from the sun. UV rays can damage the asphalt layer of shingles and cause significant wear at a much faster rate.

Wind damage is also a popular adversary for your roofing system, as strong winds can loosen shingles, displace nails, or expose roofing materials to the elements. So, it’s important to be mindful of high winds and the lasting damage they may have caused your roofing system.

ice dam removal service maple groveIce Dams

While we mentioned ice in the previous section, ice dams are a result of ice buildup that deserves a deeper look. Ice dams form on the edge of your roof, which can prevent melting snow from properly draining off of your home.

Ice dam removal can be a careful process, as many techniques have the potential to damage your home. A professional ice dam removal service is often needed to safely eliminate ice ridges that form on your roof. Many companies implement more advanced methods that protect the integrity of your roof and home.

For example, we use an Ice Dam Steamer System that removes pesky ice dams that could lead to significant damages to your home’s structure. Not only does this help preserve your home in the long run, but it also saves you the potential cost of repairs down the road.

Hiring an Inexperienced Installation Team

Sometimes, the problem with your roof starts before you even know it’s there. An inexperienced roofer or trying a DIY route might save you money upfront, but it can be a disastrous situation if the installation isn’t done right.

So, from the get-go, your roof may be fraught with potential issues that can turn into major problems at the worst time possible. Installations aren’t the only time a trusted roofing partner is a necessity. Small leaks or repairs may seem like easy fixes you can handle yourself — but sometimes you may be doing more harm than good.

Whenever problems with a roofing system arise, we always recommend a full roofing inspection. This step not only helps with determining what areas need to be addressed but also underlying issues that could be causing damage elsewhere.

Improper Insulation

Sometimes, damages don’t appear as cracks or moisture problems. Energy efficiency may not damage your roof in and of itself; it can be a costly side effect of improper insulation.

The warm air that escapes through your home’s attic around piping, outlets, and wiring can start to show in your energy bill. For homes that experience temperant weather, we mentioned the issues that surround ice damming in an earlier section. Proper attic insulation can mitigate the problems surrounding ice dams — keeping your attic free of moisture and at an appropriate temperature to prevent ice buildup on your roof.

Skipping Maintenance Steps

No part of a home is without some sort of maintenance or upkeep — and a roofing system is no exception. Proper maintenance and diligence in regards to stains on ceilings or leaks can prevent costly repairs.

It’s also important to schedule regular roof inspections from a professional. Severe storms come and go, but the lasting effect they may have on your roofing system and home can lead to significant problems for you and your family. Whenever there are problems, it’s essential that you hire a reliable roofing team to conduct a full inspection and address any potential damages that may have occurred during or after a storm.

Unwanted Wildlife

Roofing systems are the roof over your family’s head, but they may also be home to birds and other animals. As you may guess, these unwanted critters can cause a lot of damage to your roofing structure.

Some common creatures to be on the lookout for are:

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Woodpeckers
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Bats
  • Nesting birds

Keep your eyes peeled for any unwanted wildlife that takes a trip up onto your roof. For all you know, they could be ripping away shingles or making their home in vent covers.

Defective Gutters

The last of our usual suspects are defective or faulty gutter systems. Gutters play a crucial role in properly draining water off and away from your roof and foundation. Damaged, clogged, or improperly installed gutter systems can lead to significant moisture damage.

If you want to avoid unwanted leaks and severe water damage to your home, it’s essential that your gutters are clear of any debris. Taking the time to inspect your gutter system and look for blockages like nests or other debris can save you a massive headache in the future.

A Final Word

Rounding up the usual suspects that could be harming your roofing system is an essential step in preserving your home. As we always say here at Advantage Construction: “A safe home starts at the top.”

Taking care of your roofing system and ensuring its integrity throughout its lifespan keeps your energy bill low and repairs on hold.