How to Protect Your Home’s Roofing System Against Ice Dams

snowy house roof
Your roof is one of the single most-important parts of your entire house, as it has the job of keeping the weather out of your home year after year. A healthy roof can do wonders for the condition and longevity of your home, while a faulty roof can be an expensive and time-consuming problem to fix.

If you live in a cold part of the world, you will need to worry about the possibility of ice dams forming on your roof in the winter. What is an ice dam? Simply put, an ice dam is an accumulate of ice near the edges of your roof. It is natural for ice to form during the course of a cold winter, and these large chunks are commonly found on many different kinds of residential roofs. However, while they might not look like a big deal from street level, they can actually be extremely harmful if ignored.

A Pooling Problem

The problem with allowing ice dams to exist on your roof is the possibility of water backing up behind those dams during warm parts of the day. For instance, if the temperatures are well below freezing overnight – but warm into the low 40’s during the day – there will be water on your roof that can pile up behind an ice dam. When that happen, the water may work its way back up under your shingles, doing damage to the roof below.

So how can you protect your home from this quiet but serious problem? Surprisingly, one of the best things you can do is to keep your roof as cold as possible in the winter. The water that develops on your roof is often the due to a warm attic, which can head the roof up to a temperature above that of the outside air. This kind of warming from the inside will accelerate the melting of ice and snow on your roof, and you will suddenly have a pool of water that can cause trouble for your structure.

Proper Insulation is Key

To avoid heating your attic during the winter, make sure your insulation is in good shape heading in to the cold season. Most building codes call for at least a foot of insulation in an attic, so check with your local regulations to make sure you are in compliance. By checking on the thickness of your insulation, you can then add more if necessary to keep your attic and roof colder in the winter.

A Manual Fix

If you aren’t able to keep your roof as cold as necessary, or if there is water pooling due to the air warming during the daytime hours, you may need to manually pull snow off of your roof from time to time. Of course, this can be a dangerous job, so be sure to take all necessary precautions, and look into the possibility of purchasing a snow rake which can allow you to do the job while standing on the ground (for a single story home). Never pull snow down toward you while standing on a ladder, and the snow could potentially knock you down.

Ice dams are a serious problem in cold parts of the world, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent them from doing damage to your roof. Plan ahead for this potential issue and you should be able to avoid any costly repairs down the line.

The Six Most Popular Roofing Materials

home roof with asphalt shingles
When it comes time to put a new roof on your home, you will not be short of options. There are a number of great materials on the market today, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The choice is, of course, up to you in the end, but the following information should help you make the right decision for your needs.

Asphalt Shingles

This is the most-popular choice in the U.S., and for good reason. There is a lot to like about asphalt shingles, including their affordability, the many color options, and the ease of installation that they offer. Also, since they don’t add a significant amount of weight to the roof, the structure usually will not need to be reinforced as may be the case with other, heavier options. Where asphalt shingles might not have offered a great look once upon a time, this product has come a long way and it is now possible to install an asphalt shingle that both looks great and performs well for years to come.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a product that has gained in popularity in recent years, thanks to the efficiency that it can offer the inside of a home. By keeping out much of the heat provided by the sun, you may be able to keep your house at a more comfortable temperature without having to use a cooling unit. However, metal roofing is more expensive than some of the other options available.

Slate

There is very little debate on this point – slate roofing simply looks great! However, in exchange for that visual appeal, you will have to sacrifice on a few fronts. First, this is an expensive product, both in its purchase price as well as with installation costs. Also, you may have to add support to the roof to handle the tremendous weight of the product, which will only add to the cost and duration of the project.

Synthetic Roofing

This is a general category that includes a number of different materials such as plastic, rubber, and more. On the plus side, many of these products are lighter and more-affordable than other, more traditional options. However, these kinds of roofs have not be tested as thoroughly as more popular choices, and they may not do as good of a job in terms of protect in your home from the elements.

Wood Shingles

It doesn’t get more traditional than a beautiful wood roof. There is something about the time-honored look of this kind of roof that will make your house stand out from the neighbors. However, wood roofing does increase fire risk, and the product may not perform well over the long run in a damp climate.

Concrete Tiles

If you are looking for a roofing product that has what it takes to stand the test of time, there is a lot to be said for concrete tiles. On the issues of energy efficiency and durability, concrete is a strong pick. On the downside, however, is the fact that concrete tiles are expensive and extremely heavy. Most homes will need additional framing in order to accommodate the weight of this kind of roof.

Which Roofing Material Should I Use? Infographic

Here at PJ’s, we offer a variety of residential installations. From standard shingles to slate and metal roofing, we can handle any job in and around central Maryland. If you are wondering about the differences in the types of roofing materials, check out the graphic below to learn more!
slate, metal and wood materials

The Benefits of Copper Roofing

house roofBefore you install a new roof on your home or office building, be sure to consider the many benefits of copper. While it might not be quite as popular as asphalt shingles or even wood shakes, copper is a material that offers many benefits and few drawbacks when used in a roofing application.

Light is Right

Some roofing materials can add a significant load to the structure of a building due to their overall weight. That is not the case with copper. Copper roofing is going to be one of your lightest options, which is especially nice when roofing an older building, or when doing a roofing project in an area known for heavy snowfall.

Ready for the Long Haul

You can expect to get an incredibly long useful life from a copper roof. While shingles and shakes can last for a long period of time when installed and maintained properly, neither is likely to outlast a quality copper roof. Considering the time and money that you are going to invest into your new roof, you certainly don’t want to have to put on another roof anytime soon – which is why copper is such a good pick.

It Looks Great

Simply put, your copper roof is sure to turn heads as people walk by. This is one of the leading reasons for people to choose a copper roof, and it is easy to see why. You will love the look of your roof from the moment it is installed, and it will only get better as it develops a patina over the years. Where other roofing options are likely to get less-attractive as they age, copper will continue to look better and better many years into the future.

Protect Your Home

Any building that is covered by a copper roof is going to enjoy a number of safety advantages. First, copper won’t catch fire, so it is a great material to have on top of your home or office building. Also, it is excellent at keeping rain and snowfall outside – where it belongs. If you live in an area where the rain or snow can come down hard from time to time, you don’t want to take the risk of using a roofing material that may spring a leak at the worst possible time. By choosing copper, you can have confidence that any water that falls from the sky will be whisked away from your building with ease.

The Advantages of Metal Roofing

roof closeup
When you think of roofing, you probably think about asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles cover an incredible number of buildings across the country, and they are not without their advantages. However, there are certainly other options available when you need to put a new roof on a building that you own – and one of the best options is metal. A metal roof might not be the first thing you think of when taking on a roofing project, but there is a chance that it will wind up being the best material for the job.

It is important to understand that there is no one ‘best’ roofing material on the market. The best material for your job is the one that is best suited to your needs. Each roofing job is unique, so each job must be approached with an open mind before a material is selected and installed.

Bring on the Weather

One of the most important characteristics of metal roofing is its ability to stand up to just about anything that Mother Nature can deliver. UV rays from the sun have been known to do plenty of damage over the years to a standard asphalt roof, but you will have no such worries when your structure is topped by metal. Also, the cycle of freezing and thawing that takes place during the winter in colder climates can be trouble for many roofing materials, but metal will have no problem at all with this issue. Basically, if you want the roof of your building to stand up to whatever Mother Nature has in store, metal is the material for you.

Savings in the Long Run

It is true that a metal roof will likely cost more upfront to install than an asphalt roof of the same size. The materials needed for a metal roof installation are usually costlier, and the actual labor to install the work will be more expensive as well. However, that is money that you should expect to recover in the long run. Many metal roofs come with a warranty that runs as long as 50 years, meaning there is a good chance this roof will be the last one you have to pay to put on the home. Also, there is less maintenance involved with caring for a metal roof as the years go by, so you can save on that front as well.

Environmentally Sound Choice

Have you ever thought about what happens to all of those old asphalt shingles when they are torn off of a roof? Usually, they head straight to the landfill. That is an incredible amount of waste that is being created by the roofing industry. On the other hand, metal roofs usually contain a large percentage of recycled material, lessening the environmental impact of this project. Metal roofs are great at providing insulation to your house as well, meaning you may be able to reduce your usage of both heating and cooling systems.

There is a lot to like about the prospect of a metal roof. If you are thinking of putting a new roof on any structure that you own, make sure you give metal careful consideration before making your final selection.

The Pros & Cons of Synthetic Slate Roofing

composite roof
When picking a roofing material for your home or any other building, you will likely come across slate as one of your options. While slate is undeniably beautiful, it also comes with a few drawbacks that can give buyers pause. However, there is another option on the market that you may wish to consider. Synthetic slate (also known as composite) includes made of the features that have made actual slate a popular roofing material, but it attempts to cut back on some of the drawbacks. The following list will highlight some of the pros and cons related to this product.

Pro – Save Money

As you would expect, synthetic slate roofing is not nearly as expensive as the actual slate that it is imitating. The savings when you choose this product will likely come in two forms – both the purchase of the material itself, as well as the installation costs. Real slate is heavy and difficult to install properly, meaning you will have to pay an experienced team to do the job. With synthetic slate, you will be looking at an easier job and lower costs related to the install.

Con – Questionable Longevity

This point is not meant to say that synthetic slate will not last a long time, because it might prove to be extremely durable. The problem is that the question is still open. Since this is a product that has not been on the market for very long, there is uncertainty around how long it will last in practical application. It very well may prove to be true that synthetic slate is a durable material, but that has not yet been proven in the field.

Pro – Environmental Benefits

When actual slate is pulled from the ground, it obviously cannot be replaced. On the other hand, there are plenty of composite roofing products which are made from recycled materials. If you are someone who likes to make decisions based on their environmental impact, this is a point worth keeping in mind.

Con – Fire Rating Issues

When dealing with roofing, a Class A fire rating is what you want to see – this is the highest grade that is given to roofing materials. Unfortunately, some of the synthetic products on the market fall short of this mark. Should you decide that you are going to go ahead with a synthetic slate roof on your property, be sure to check on the fire rating for each brand that you consider.

Pro – Easier to Find Help

The number of roofing companies who are willing and able to install a slate roof is somewhat limited in certain areas. Depending on where you live, you may have trouble finding a qualified contractor to do the job. That shouldn’t be a problem when you pick synthetic. This is a product that is relatively easy to install, so most roofing companies will be happy to take on the job.

Con – How Does It Look?

This is a point that isn’t necessarily a con, but it is something that will be in the ‘eye of the beholder’. Some composite roofs look great and do an excellent job of imitating the real thing, while others look obviously fake – and cheap. You will need to pick a product that you feel does a good job of representing actual slate if you are to be pleased with the outcome of the project.
In the end, there is a lot to like about synthetic slate roofing, even if there are a couple of drawbacks to weigh. Take your time as you decide between synthetic slate and the real thing so you can be sure to walk away with a choice that you will be happy with for years to come.

The Differences Between Metal & Asphalt Roofing Infographic

When it comes to residential remodeling, one of the fastest growing roofing products is metal roofing. Did you know that metal roofing has grown to well over 10% of the residential roofing market over the past seven years?

One of the main reasons homeowners have opted for metal over asphalt shingles is because metal is considered to be a “green” product. Metal roofing also has aesthetic appeal and it actually costs less than asphalt over its long lifespan!

Check out this easy to understand infographic which compares the differences between metal roofing and traditional asphalt shingles.
metal and asphalt roofing comparison

Problem Areas For Roof Leaks – Infographic

When it comes to a leaky roof, there can be a variety of contributing factors. The quality of the original installation and the age of the roof can also factor into this equation. The following infographic examines a variety of conditions that can contribute to a leaking roof, including deteriorating shingles & pipe boots, rotten fascia, as well as clogged gutters and downspouts.
roof leaking issues

How To Know When To Replace Your Roof

At PJ’s, while we are roofing repair professionals, we can’t visit every home in our service areas of Maryland and Pennsylvania to inform homeowners that their roof is in need of replacement. Fortunately, homeowners can do various exterior and interior checks to know when their roof needs replacing before it’s too late! From cracked shingles to shingle granules and much more, this infographic provides plenty of signs to let you know when it’s time to look into a new roof!
how to check roof replacement

Welcome to Our New Website

metal roof pa
Our team at PJ’s Roofing would like to take a moment thank you for visiting our new website and blog!

At PJ’s, we are proud to be a local, family-owned and operated business that serves the Maryland and southern Pennsylvania areas. Our experience and various areas of expertise has helped us become one of the top roofing contractors in the area.

If you have any questions about our roofing services or if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about our new website, please contact us!