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Roofing

»Roofing

Roofing

April 22, 2020| Lester Yat

Why are there black and/or green stains on fairly new roofs?

When it was first installed, your new roof looked clean, fresh and sharp.  But over time, you’ve noticed something unsettling: dark stains, streaks, or maybe blobs of black or green fuzz seem to have been poured down from the peak of the roof to the gutters.  Suddenly, it seems, your home’s crowning glory looks old, tired and unattractive. What happened?

Buildings on the shady side of the street and high humidity facing north develop black stains
from algae and fungi and in worst-case scenarios, green build-ups from moss and lichens. These organisms, which actually feed on the crushed limestone that is part of the shingle composition, travel on the wind to land on your home.

The dirty appearance caused by the roof mold or roof algae can be eliminated by washing — preferably by professionals, to avoid personal injury and damage to the shingles. But if cleaning the streaks or stains becomes a regular maintenance issue, you might want to look for a more permanent answer.

There is a cost-effective long-term solution: install copper or zinc strips at the peak of the roof.   As water interacts with the metals, it produces a chemical reaction that kills the uninvited guests.

Though primarily a cosmetic measure, this simple solution will not only eliminate the unsightly stains, but protect the shingles, help them to reach their intended useful life, and increase curb appeal.

Why do we have water stains hiding in the attic?

Out of sight, out of mind.   Let’s face it: Unless a problem arises — like a wet spot suddenly appearing on a living room ceiling — attics are pretty much ignored.  So when a problem rears its head, leading to a trip to that forsaken spot, seeing dark, ugly stains on the rafters can come as a surprise. Clearly, the stains were caused by water saturating the wood.

But how did those stains get there? The roof sheathing is solid, the roofing shingles are relatively new, and there’s no obvious source of water infiltration. And yet there’s obviously a moisture problem. The next question is: How do you solve it?

First, let’s look at the source: In winter, moist air is transported from the heated area of the home into the unheated attic space, where it not only settles on the wooden rafters and plywood roof sheathing, but also melts the snow on the roof, leading to ice dams. On a cold day, you might even see frost on those wooden components.

The secret to a healthy attic keeping it the same temperature as outside!  This is accomplished by a combination of ventilation and insulation.  Attic vents will keep air circulating, and help keep humidity down.  Fresh, cool air is drawn in through the vents installed in the eaves or soffits.  Hot, moist air is expelled through the roof ridge or gable vents. Some vents include fans that move the warm air, but you shouldn’t have both systems at once, because that will defeat the purpose of expelling hot air.

Of course, the less moisture there is in the air that’s traveling from the heated home to the cool attic, the less moisture there will be to cause a problem in the first place. Excessive use of humidifiers and failing to use a bathroom fan that’s vented to the outside can contribute lots of unnecessary moisture to the attic dilemma. Keep the moisture in the house down, and the moisture in the attic will stay down as well.

The other factor in the healthy-attic equation is insulation. The goal of insulation in winter is to keep the house warm and the attic cool. The recommended level of insulation today for climate Zone 5 is R-49; that translates to about 13 inches of cellulose and 22 inches of fiberglass.

There’s another benefit to insulation: Not only will the living space stay warmer and the attic stay drier, but better insulation will cut heating costs, too. Stay warm, stay dry, save money. It’s a win-win-win answer to those ugly attic stains.

Maintenance tips for roofs?

Most people have heard the expression, “At least you have a roof over your head.” The part that people forget is that the roof over their heads may be in dire straits.   NRCA Executive Vice President William Good says: “Too often, roofs are ignored until they leak — and often, at that point, they have to be completely replaced.”

Shingles and their discoloration have been a major point of emphasis.   There are two styles of shingles that sit upon rooftops: architectural shingles (also called “dimensional shingles”) and three-tab shingles. One way architectural shingles differ from the traditional three-tab shingle is in appearance. Architectural shingle tabs have various sizes and shapes that offer a more dimensional look to them and can make a roof look more distinct.

Architectural shingles weigh more and cost more than three-tab shingles. However, they are meant to last longer — decades in certain instances — and help improve or maintain home values. Three-tab shingles are on the decline in popularity.

Joan Crowe, a director of technical services for the NRCA, said algae often cause discoloration.   “Algae is an aesthetic problem and typically not a performance problem,” Crowe said. “However, if cleaning the shingles is desired, NRCA does not recommend high pressure or power washing, or using solutions with high concentrations of bleach. Shingles may be washed using a sponge or hand-held sprayer and a mild solution of eco-friendly solutions and water, or mild detergent, followed by a thorough rinsing with water.   Keep in mind that this is only temporary; the algae most likely will reappear unless metal strips are installed at the top of the roof.

Age is an issue, obviously. If you have a home/building that is surrounded by trees, trimming the branches and exposing the roof to sunlight will help prevent discoloration from occurring. (In the) long-term, it depends on age.”

The role of chimneys may be forgotten, too, in the overall structure of a healthy roof.    Paying attention to the chimney is especially important when it comes to older houses — 50, 60 or 70 years old. The mortar between bricks may be crumbling, and if it’s not maintained, leaks could occur that require a big renovation project.   It is advised to check the chimneys every five years, at least. Having a chimney cap installed can improve durability.

Sometimes, there isn’t much else to do than call a professional company to inspect a roof; it is the best way to go, in terms of safety and precision.   A certified and licensed contractor with a good reputation would be a wise investment on the condition of the roof.   Insurance companies are doing their own inspections, and if they see a roof that is showing signs of aging, they will press the owners and managers to take care of the roof or would cancel their policy.

Here are a few best practices in the industry: (1) update your information files, when the component was installed, inspected, repaired, etc.; (2) define a systematic approach to inspect twice a year; checklists are easy to follow; and (3) schedule the preventive and corrective maintenance, documenting the file.   The best time to inspect a roof is during the gutter and spout cleaning, generally performed in spring and fall.

Save money with consistent and preventive maintenance, rather than spend a lot of money fixing holes, leaks or an entire roof altogether with corrective maintenance.

How important is insulation in the attic?

Owners can stay comfortable year round by properly insulating their attics.   Prices fluctuate almost every year in terms of gas and heating homes. Rather than hang out around the house in big, fluffy sweaters all day long, a simple and effective way of coping with outdoor freeze is to insulate your attic and reduce that energy bill.

So, it begs the question: why insulate the attic at all? The simple answer is that insulation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, can cut 10-50 percent off of a home heating bill in the fall and winter months — and the insulation helps keep your home cold when you may be running air conditioning in the spring and summer.

The first step in the process is to pick your insulation. You have a choice between two kinds of insulation: loose fill or batt (or blanket).   Loose fill consists of insulation fibers that are packaged in bags and blown in place to the desired depth and density using machinery. Or, you can go the manual labor route and spread the insulation manually; however, the results will probably be less than satisfactory. The blanket form of insulation — which is one of the most wide-used forms of installation — revolves around measuring surfaces and making them fit between certain studs, or joists.

A point of note: if the insulated area is going to be a living space, regulations exist as to how much insulation should be installed. This could be because rafter depth is not overwhelmingly adequate, and it could lead to other work which may include insulation-backed drywall, framefoil stapled ahead of installation and the creation of an air gap — which is done by battening the framefoil.

Insulation is wildly important, especially in an attic; ii is almost like a safeguard for a house. The attic is exposed to all kinds of weather conditions due to its location within a home, and that can pose problems down the line if it is not properly taken care of — including being insulated in the correct manner.

Safety precautions are also important, so not being able to do the job right may accompany the increasing prospects of a potential injury.   Thus, have a plan in place to make sure your home is in good condition to withstand rain, sleet, snow or humid warmth. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your attic.

Roof Ventilation? Attic Insulation? Or both?

Weather changes not only affect mood, but they also have a big impact on how people work and live. Gone are the days when air conditioning is blasting, or when windows are wide open while the shades stay open all day.

From a ventilation standpoint, it’s important to keep air circulating in whatever kind of room is inhabited by residents. For example, some living spaces are windowless and are perhaps offices spaces or spots for washers and dryers, etc. But standards and guidelines usually exist in that regard.

For windowless rooms, it’s important to try to find a way to let air move from one room to another via vents, rather than just keeping a door ajar. In smaller rooms and spaces, portable fans can make a vast improvement if they are pointed in a direction that leaves a room. Rather than creating a cooled off area, fans are equipped to remove stale air in an effective manner.   Vents are helpful in places like windowless bathrooms, too, as they reduce mold, mildew and humidity-related damage.

Basically, a vacuum is what should be accomplished in a living space. When pressure and two openings are designed in an apartment or condo, it allows for air to enter and exit on an even keel. To measure air flow to satisfy the needs of residents, a floor diagram could help to determine how air might flow through the home. Knowing factoids helps as well, such as the fact that air does not cut across hard angles.

Insulation is also a point of emphasis that goes hand in hand with ventilation. Insulation is important in buildings that are old, as they tend to be draftier and might have warm air leaks around a home. When you realize that heating and cooling costs can increase hundreds of dollars when leaks exist, it’s important to understand that that money can go towards something useful — such as filling the leaks yourself.

Natural sunlight can be a great way to warm up an apartment or condo. It’s free, of course, and keeps tenants warm in colder months where the sun sets much earlier than in the spring and summer. Doing something as simple as opening kitchen and living room curtains can make a difference.

For those living spaces that have drafty windows, using heavy-duty plastic and taping it to the outside of a frame can help reduce infiltration. Drapes and shades also help.

Adjusting building temperature can also make a difference. Something as simple as turning a thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours can reduce energy cost by 10 percent.   Sealing leaks around utility cuts for pipes, sometimes known as “plumbing penetration,” chimney gaps, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets, is helpful.

What are the advantages and disadvantages among different roofing materials?

To help with those discussions, here’s a simple chart laying out the good, the bad, and the potential price tag of several popular roofing options.

Do flat roofs fit modern architectural styles?

When it comes to style over substance, a flat roof may fit someone’s ideal vision of a trendy looking home.

Flat roofs are kind of an enigma when it comes to home architecture: they add a different style to almost any house while sacrificing amenities like sufficient rain and snow drop off.

When one compares sloped roofs with that of flat roofs, the difference is quite vast based on how each type of roof deals with weather elements.

Sloped roofs are notorious for the progression of runoff that is a result of precipitation of all kinds, and because of that runoff it allows sloped roofs to usually last a lot longer than flat roofs because deterioration and other effects don’t plague them as such.

But it would be remiss to say that every home has a sloped roof; actually, the construction and development of flat roofs takes place in both modern homes and homes of yesteryear. Even some traditional homes have parts of their roof that are both sloped and flat – such as flat portions that exist above porches, garages, windows and balconies. That is especially prevalent in homes in the western United States.

A flat roof can thrive, though, if the right people work on it. With proper adherence to detail, which includes keeping it clean and using proper sealant, home roofs and home values increase.

Actually, a common misconception is that all flat roofs are actually flat – and that’s not the case. They are often built with slight inclines that are not always noticeable to the human eye, but that incline allows for proper water runoff and the lack of ‘pools’ of water on a roof due to precipitation.   Those inclines can also slope in different directions, demonstrated in styles like squashed hip roofs and toward downspouts.

Flat roofs are not confined to one particular area, however, and are seen all over the world. They are actually born out of styles seen in Egyptian, Persian and Arabian styles of architecture.  In warmer climates, major precipitation is not a large factor when it comes to flat roof construction. The main goal is to block out heat from the sun’s rays and be built well enough to live normally without much extra materials.

But in colder climates, such as in the Midwest and on the east coast, rain and ice plague many owners every winter and a flat roof is not the most ideal form of safety due to saturation and deteriorating materials.

So, what are the benefits of flat roofs as opposed to slanted roofs?   One benefit is space. If you imagine a flat roof construction on a house, you can realize that more space becomes afforded -both in terms of above and below the roof. The smaller amount of surface area requires less material and is still sturdy enough for protection.

Maintenance can help extend the lives of flat roofs. In addition to removing aforementioned water pools on such surfaces, flat roofs should also be checked almost annually just to confirm that the roof is firmly in place and does not pose any kind of threat to the owner. It should also be checked after major storms impact the material.

Different materials have different lasting lives when it comes to flat roofs, or any kind of roofs.

When you have proper construct ion and maintenance performed by a reputable company like ours, you and your family can stay safe and still enjoy the style of roof you prefer.

At the end of the day, a owner has to ask his or herself what they want: style or substance, or a good mix of both while still being able to make sure they’ll stay safe and have less maintenance to do as years pass by.

Flat roofs are not for everyone, especially in certain parts of the world, but it is possible to live under a flat roof in New York City and still live a normal lifestyle. It’s just important to recognize what makes roof styles different from one another, and in the end personal preference will usually always take precedent.

Flat roof styles: which one is for you?

Most of us are aware of the amount of choices that have to be made when owning a home.   From picking out paint colors for the inside to installing the preferred kind of front door, there are so many different sets and subsets that have to be envisioned to work for a particular owner.

The same theory applies to roofs, whereas styles like sloped roofs and flat roofs are only the first level of choice that has to be made.   Specifically, when it comes to flat roofs, the amount of types is more than most people probably expect. Asphalt and synthetic rubber are specific forms of roof types, but here will focus on three ‘main’ types of flat roofs.

The first is known as a built-up roof, which is a traditional tar-and-gravel roof built from multiple plies of waterproof material layered over smooth stone. The pros of such construction is that gravel is a good fire retardant and it’s the cheapest of the four types of roof mentioned here. The cons are that the material is heavy and can be messy to install.

The second type is the modified bitumen. It is a single-ply rolled roof that acts similar to an ice shield, and newer configurations of the material are safer and easier to install. The pros with this are the peel-and -stick material, as well as its light mineral surface that reflects heat and saves energy costs for owners. The cons are that it’s not as scuff or tear resistant and may pose a fire hazard for some commercial buildings.

Finally, the last type we are mentioning is rubber membrane. The main material is called ethylene propylene diene monomer and is a true rubber that resembles a tube. Its main focus is to resist sunlight and it can be mechanically anchored. Pros with this is that the material is light, is not prone to scratches and leaks can be easily patched. The cons include the material absorbing sunlight, which in tum raises energy costs a large amount in the long run. It’s also vulnerable to lesions.

Did you know… about flat roofs?

Flat roofs are something that some individuals don’t know a lot about. They know the basics, such as their shape and look and that they aren’t prevalent in certain regions of the United States, but there are other aspects of them that may surprise people.

There are three general styles of flat roofs: single-ply, built-up and spray on –  and each style offers advantages and differences that determine specifically on what owners want, like easy installation or lower energy costs.

Speaking of installation, flat roofs cost less than sloped or pitched roofs because of the cost of materials. That’s because materials can be purchased at a higher clip for the same amount of money, including tar, asphalt and rubber.

However, total roof costs are determined by a multitude of factors that include roof size, complexity and geography. For example, flat roofs in the west regions are probably more likely to be cheaper than those in the east because of lack of precipitation. Also, adding materials or complexity to a roof installation project can instantly raise a bevy of costs.

Durability can play a big role in longevity. Some types last longer due to materials and withstanding thermal effects, while others may be more prone to smaller shelf lives based on leaks and other kinds of weather damage. Tar, gravel, modified bitumen and asphalt don’t protect very well against leaks and water buildup.

Ice dams can cause a major winter headache

Winter is in full swing and temperatures are dipping to painfully cold degrees. When you combine the climate with the possibility that snow might (will) tum to ice, a real problem can occur.

Ice dams are a real culprit when it comes to houses in the winter season. Ice dams are ridges or build ups of ice at the edge of a roof, and they form when snow gets trapped behind snow melts and lead to puddles on the roof.

Shingle roofs are usually designed to shed water, but they are not waterproof. And when ice dams form the water often has nowhere to go but down, possibly leaking into a home and damaging the interior and exterior.

Ice dams can actually form in a variety of ways, though. The most common way, as previously mentioned, occurs when large amounts of snow fall and accumulate on a roof. When melting commences, water runs down the roof and underneath the snow blanket. By the time the now-liquid snow hits the cold edge of a roof, freezing occurs and a form of ice pocket builds up and traps all that melting water.

Hot areas on a roof can lead to interior damage, too. Areas in an attic, for example, that have strong lighting or ventilation can melt snow and lead to refreezing.

How much snow is too much?

When the worst of winter hits, are you ready to deal with it?   Sometimes meteorologists aren’t right and certain forecasts don’t live out as planned, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry -especially when it comes to your home.

When snow falls at high rates, it can leave a owner wondering if all that accumulation is too excessive for their particular to contain. Obviously, everyone has different types of roof components that include different shapes and materials. Some shingles will be more protective than others.

But depth of snow may not be the ultimate decider in whether roof problems may occur; actually, it’s the weight. And when wet snow falls at high rates and builds up, it creates a bigger issue because the weight of that wet snow is more potentially damaging than light, slow snowfall.

Some warning signs a owner may encounter when it comes to levels of snowfall include the ‘sticking’ of interior door walls, due to heavier weight that overpowers the frame of the house. Drywall and plaster around such frames should be checked for visible cracks and fissures.

But many roofs are not readily accessible for owners and can lead to possibly dangerous scenarios for those who try to take control into their own hands.

What is ice damming?

Ice dams form when cold climates combine with water and form ice accumulations on a roof, especially one that is sloped and on an angle. Typically, the frozen water (snow) builds up on a slope and when it melts, there is a layer that forms that stays a very cool temperature. So, the melting snow will tum into ice because of the cold temperatures and form a dam –      one that prevents snow from properly melting and falling off the roof because an ice dam is in the way.

The repercussions of an ice dam can cause a major headache to a home or business. Different factors can cause the sitting snow to melt through a roof and into a house or attic, usually because of either excessive heat (from lighting or mechanical equipment) that forms from below the roof or inadequate ventilation. And because of the ice dams that exist on the eave(s) of the roof, the snow has nowhere to go but down.

While many regulations today call for more adequate protection for homes and businesses, such as longer shingles and having an underlying ice shield, the problem still occurs -especially in inclement weather. Finding water inside a home can be agonizing, especially when it comes from above and not from below.

In a case like this, it is important to immediately call a professional certified contractor and inform them of the situation. They are well-versed in how to deal with such situations, and a preventive approach to address possible ice dam concerns will minimize the cost of the repair. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

However, owners can conduct their own due diligence when it comes to preventing ice dams from forming in the first place. That is, however, only if they feel safe enough to do it. To prevent ice dams from forming, or decreasing the possibility of one forming, it is integral to not let snow build up on a roof during cold, winter months. Experts say that getting the first three feet of snow off a roof will help spur the process in a positive direction, and that’s because the literal dam doesn’t form and snow can safely melt and fall off the roof.

Calcium chloride can also provide an easy and safe way to melt snow on top of a roof. Make sure to avoid using rock salt because it could potentially damage shingles and cause another headache in the process.

A modem and up-to-date roof is also something every owner should look into if possible. A newer roof will be more sustainable in the long run, allowing for better materials and construction to alleviate pains like ice damming from continuously occurring. Bigger shingles and a nice sloped roof could be an easy solution to what can be a big problem.

Why are metal roofs gaining popularity?

Like a car or an airplane or even a pontoon boat, a house does not do much good without a stable roof.   Roofs are the golden piece of every home puzzle, providing durability and safety while also creating a different aura of attraction.

Of course there are different roofs for different needs, and an owner or business owner will want to make sure they can get the most bang for their buck. Some styles of roof aren’t enjoyed by all, and that’s OK. Not everyone will agree on everything associated with a building structure.

But for those who seek efficiency and durability, look no further than a metal roof.

Metal roofs have gained enormous popularity in the past decade alone, with sales numbers increasing and still showing growth. A big reason for sustained success and continued growth can be attributed to durability and investments.

A metal roof may cost an owner some extra cash, but that metal roof will surely pay for itself over time –   maybe even a lifetime in some instances. While an asphalt-based roof may require reproofing every decade or two (and lasts an average of about 17 years), a metal roof should be durable enough to last many decades.

It may also add to the resale value of a home because potential buyers will realize that roof work will be either minimum or nonexistent because of the makeup of the material.

There are misconceptions that exist about roofs of the metal variety, such as that they will make a home look like an industrial plant or a barn. Actually, it’s not really the case because of the multitude of ways a metal roof can be designed and installed.

Today’s metal roofs can be designed to look like other varieties of roofs, such as asphalt, shingle, clay tile, cedar shake or slate – and the best part is that metal lasts two or three times longer than the aforementioned materials. So, there is no sacrificing of the attractive roof just because metal is being used in construction because of the way roofs are designed nowadays.

The energy effect is also important. Metal roofs reflect hot sun rays in the summer and keep homes cool, while in the winter they insulate homes – which is integral for houses in cold winter climates. It’s music to an owner’s ears when they realize energy costs decrease because a substance like  metal helps cut energy costs and invoke efficiency in ways that they never imagined. The metal material is often composed of recycled material and is 100 percent recyclable.

Metal-based roofs can be composed of a variety of materials, including galvanized steel, seam metal, metal tiles, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, etc. While metal roofs may be prone to rusting, they still perform their job admirably. It is important to ask a certified contractor whether certain kinds of metal are more or less prone to rust, discoloration and other factors that may cause concern.

Like anything else, metal roofs have their positives and negatives. The positives seem to outweigh the negatives, which include rusting potential, being prove to metal thievery and poor phone reception. But when an owner can choose the exact style of metal roofing they want – just like any other style and material of roofing – it allows for diversity to remain.

Also, the life and durability of metal roofs is paramount. When a owner can notice energy savings build up month to month because of metal roofing, those financial statistics add up and save money in the long run. It’s also environmentally friendly and gives people another reason to say, “How soon can my new metal roof be installed?”

How do metal roofs improve safety and durability?

People want a house that will be a home for a long, long time.   If time is money, a house is a good representation of that equation. When people buy a home, they want to live in something that proposes great and positive opportunities over a long period of years.

If you replace old furniture and appliances with new ones, you want it all to last a decade or two or three.   Durability is key when it comes to choosing what will last and look good at the same time, and that works for roofs too -especially metal roofs.

Sal Alfano of “Remodeling Magazine” reported that homes that were renovated standard-seam metal roofing showed a rate of 85.9 percent in cost recoupment on a national scale, and 95.5 percent for homes in the eastern United States -a full 1 and 6 percent resale value gain.

It’s because a metal roofs a durable, long-lasting roof that requires little to no renovation over its life span.  When one factor in the safety associated with such roofing models, it’s no surprise that metal roof sales have skyrocketed in the last 10 years or so: people want the most bang for their buck, and metal is keeping the money in their pockets without sacrificing style or safety.

Can a Roof Maintenance Program reduce complaints and work orders?

Roof maintenance is a part of life that is sometimes overlooked.   While people continuously check and excessively take care of their cars, electronics and other daily items, roofs are often an afterthought once they are in place.

But it’s not that simple. Owner Associations and business owners need to be aware of their roofs’ condition, taking control of the situation before something might go awry.

This includes looking and identifying aspects like proper attic ventilation and insulation, debris­ free gutters and proper installation of flashing, which helps prevent interior water damage.

Proper attic ventilation and installation are important for multiple reasons: limiting moisture inside the home; decreasing energy costs and preventing moisture. And in a state that experiences snow on a yearly basis, it is important to be proactive with your roofs to prevent snow and ice freezing that can seep into the attic and possibly damage your roof.

Making sure that the gutters’ outer edges are lower than the roof’s slope is integral as well, allowing for an adequate slope for snow and ice to fall off the roof and home.   And when most people imagine a roof in their heads, many probably see two connected slopes that are covered with shingles. What some people may not realize is that there are different kinds of shingles to choose from: three-tab and architectural (or dimensional).

Not only are three-tab shingles losing popularity among consumers, their lowest cost doesn’t equate to the same overall quality of an architectural tab. Architectural shingle tabs comes in a myriad of sizes, offering a more distinct and unique look to a roof.   And although architectural shingles are more expensive, they are also meant to last quite a bit longer than the three-tab models.

There are a number of practices regarding roof maintenance and supervision, such as checking for fungi and algae or clearing clogged gutters.   But, what just about any professional would tell any average owner is the same: let roof work be done by someone who is knowledgeable and has experience in the professional realm.

When seeking proper certified contractors, it is important to make sure they have years of skill and proficiency in the field, that they are bonded and insured and that they are licensed. Once that is confirmed, it is up to their expertise to find any issues or cite any concerns regarding a roof and its condition.

A roof can realistically cost a pretty penny if it is not properly taken care, especially after years of wear and tear and possible neglect. Roofs have shelf lives, and some roof designs are better than others. Also, as previously stated, sometimes you end up paying for better quality in the long run.

So, rather than letting the roof wither away, proper and gradual check-ups are the right way to go. Save money with consistent and preventive maintenance, rather than spend a lot of money fixing holes, leaks or an entire roof altogether with corrective maintenance.

What is proactive roof maintenance?

Roof maintenance is a part of life that is sometimes overlooked.   While people continuously check and excessively take care of their cars, electronics and other daily items, roofs are often an afterthought once they are in place.

Home and business owners need to be aware of their roofs ‘ condition, taking control of the situation before something might go awry.  This includes looking and identifying aspects like proper attic ventilation and insulation, debris­ free gutters and proper installation of flashing (which helps prevent interior water damage).

Proper attic ventilation and installation are important for multiple reasons: limiting moisture inside the home; decreasing energy costs and preventing moisture. And if you are an owner in a state that experiences snow on a yearly basis, it is important to be proactive with your roof to prevent snow and ice freezing that can seep into the attic and possibly damage your roof.

Making sure that your gutters’ outer edges are lower than the roof’s slope is integral as well, allowing for an adequate slope for snow and ice to fall off the roof and home.

And when most people imagine a roof in their heads, many probably see two connected slopes that are covered with shingles. What some people may not realize is that there are different kinds of shingles to choose from: three-tab and architectural (or dimensional).

Not only are three-tab shingles losing popularity among owners, their lowest cost doesn’t equate to the same overall quality of an architectural tab. Architectural shingle tabs comes in a myriad of sizes, offering a more distinct and unique look to a roof.   And although architectural shingles are more expensive, they are also meant to last quite a bit longer than the three-tab models.

There are a number of practices owners could do regarding roof maintenance and supervision, such as checking for fungi and algae or investigating clogged gutters.   But, what just about any professional would tell any owner is the same: let roof work be done by someone who is knowledgeable and has experience in the professional realm.

When seeking certified contractors, it is important for owners to make sure they have years of skill and proficiency in the field, that they are bonded, insured and licensed. Once that is confirmed, it is up to their expertise to find any issues or cite any concerns regarding a roof and its condition.

A roof can realistically cost a pretty penny if it is not properly taken care, especially after years of wear and tear and possible neglect. Roofs have shelf lives, and some roof designs are better than others. Also, as previously stated, sometimes you end up paying for better quality in the long run.

So, rather than letting your roof wither away, proper and gradual check-ups are probably the right way to go. A owner will save much more money with consistent and proper maintenance, rather than spend a lot of money to fix holes, leaks or an entire roof altogether.   And, remember: it’s only a roof if it protects you from the outdoors.

Staying warm (or cool): the importance of attic insulation

As seasons turn, especially in the eastern and Midwestern United States, many people find that warmth and sunshine become more uncommon in exchange for colder bursts of weather.

But owners can stay comfortable year round by properly insulating their attics.

Prices fluctuate almost every year in terms of gas and heating homes. Rather than hang out around the house in big, fluffy sweaters all day long, a simple and effective way of coping with outdoor freeze is to insulate your attic and reduce that energy bill.

So, it begs the question: why insulate the attic at all? The simple answer is that insulation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, can cut 10-50 percent off of a home heating bill in the fall and winter months – and the insulation helps keep your home cold when you may be running air conditioning in the spring and summer.

The first step in the process is to pick your insulation. The Do-It-Yourself Network said it’s a choice between wanting a ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ roof space. A cold roof requires insulation at the supports to stop the escape of heat through the roof, while a warm roof is insulated between and under the roof’s rafters.

Then, owners have a choice between the two kinds of insulation: loose fill or batt (or blanket).   Loose fill consists of insulation fibers that are packaged in bags and blown in place to the desired depth and density using machinery. Or, you can go the manual labor route and spread the insulation manually; however, the results will probably be less than satisfactory.   The blanket form of insulation – which is one of the most wide-used forms of installation – revolves around measuring surfaces and making them fit between certain studs, or joists.

Whether you do it yourself or hire a certified contractor to do it for you, the process will be the same. It will be determined whether a vapor barrier will be needed and, if so, that barrier will be rolled out, cut and laid out between joists. Once stapling takes place, holes are cut and the insulation is tucked in against the sides of the joists. Layers are also built as well.   That process of the blanket insulation is only part of it. If you are doing the loose-fill insulation, you still have to go through pipework and storage decking, pipe insulation and deep filling.

Also, a point of note regarding insulation: if an area being insulated is going to be a living space, regulations exist as to how much insulation should be installed. This could be because rafter depth is not overwhelmingly adequate, and it could lead to other work which may include insulation-backed drywall, framefoil stapled ahead of installation and the creation of an air gap – which is done by battening the framefoil.

Basically, the job of insulating attic is big or small, depending on who is doing it. Professionals in the industry are experienced in such an area, and odds are that they can probably do it more quickly and efficiently than the average person.

Insulation is wildly important, though, especially in an attic that is almost like a safeguard for a house. The attic is exposed to all kinds of weather conditions due to its location within a home, and that can pose problems down the line if it is not properly taken care of-       including being insulated in the correct manner.

It is advised that if someone attempting to install installation is not familiar with the process, from filling in holes to properly covering joists to sealing air leaks, the best course of action is to hire someone. Safety precautions are also important, so not being able to do the job right may accompany the increasing prospects of a potential injury.

Thus, have a plan in place to make sure your home is in good condition to withstand rain, sleet, snow or humid warmth. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your attic.