How to Protect Your Home Against Winter Weather

snow covered home
As winter rolls in, it’s important to remember that winter weather can pose a threat to your home. There is certainly nothing you can do to stop the weather from coming, but you can prepare your home to the best of your ability. That way, when the weather does arrive, at least you can know you’ve done your part to protect your home. We’d like to offer up a few tips with regard to protecting your home during this harsh time of year.

Inspect the Roof

Heading into winter, you want to make sure that your roof is as structurally sound as possible. If there are any problems with the structure of your roof, getting them taken care of before poor weather rolls in and threaten to do damage to your home is important. Of course, going up on your roof to inspect for problems can be dangerous, and you might not know what you are looking for, anyway. Unless you are comfortable on your roof and have experience with this kind of work, it is a good idea to bring in a profession to do an evaluation. Doing so should not be a significant expense, and it can provide you with valuable peace of mind.

A Ground Check

We mentioned above that heading up on your roof for an inspection might not be the best plan, especially if you don’t know what to look for in terms of problems. One thing that is easy for any homeowner to do is to stand down on the ground and look up at the condition of the shingles. If any of your shingles are damaged or missing, you should be able to spot them from the ground (provided you can see all section of your roof, of course). Once you spot a problem from the ground, you can then bring in a pro to make the necessary repair.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

Fall is the right time to make sure your gutters are cleaned properly before winter moves in. This is a good practice for all homeowners, but it is especially important for those who live in an area where leaves will be dropped onto the roof during the fall. Leaves and other debris can easily cause your gutters to clog, and water will not be able to drain away from the roof as a result. Whether it is rain or snow, you need to move water away from the home quickly and properly to avoid doing damage to the structure. Again, be sure to exercise caution and only take on projects that you are confident you can complete safely. If cleaning out your gutters is a task that it out of your comfort zone for one reason or another, there is nothing wrong with hiring a contractor to do the work for you.

With proper planning, and just a little bit of good luck, you should be able to make it through the winter season without having to deal with too many home-related problems. Remember, get started early and give yourself plenty of time before the worst of the weather hits.

home roof with damage

Common Causes of Roof Leaks & How to Fix Them

Most of the time, you don’t think much about a passing rainstorm. You just tuck yourself safely inside and let the rain pass on by. That sounds good enough – but what happens when the rain no longer stays on the outside of the house? If you have a leak in your roof, you won’t be able to just sit back and enjoy the sound of raindrops against your windows. Instead, you’ll need to take action to solve the problem and keep the rain where it belongs – running into your gutters and away from your home.
What is it that can cause your roof to leak, and what can you do about the problem? Let’s take a closer look.

Failing Flashing

When installed and maintained properly, flashing can help you keep water from entering your home. However, it is possible for flashing to be installed incorrectly, and it can also wear out over time if it is not monitored. If you notice that water is making its way into your home, checking the flashing is one of the first jobs to tackle. Of course, if you are not comfortable venturing up onto your roof, bring in a professional to handle the task and keep yourself safe.

Absent Shingles

You don’t need to be an expert roofer to understand that missing shingles are a problem. The shingles on your roof are the first line of defense against rainwater, so having one or two go missing is an obvious problem. The fix here, naturally, is to replace the shingles. As long as this is the only issue leading to a leak, replacing your shingles should solve the problem and restore your roof to working order.

Old Age

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the materials used to construct your roof. Over time, the weather is going to take its toll on your roof, and it may not be able to perform up to an acceptable level anymore. At some point, the only option may be to replace the entire roof before too much damage is done to the rest of your home. If you know that the roof on your home is coming up to the end of its useful life, it would be a good idea to start budgeting for a new roof in the near future. While you won’t look forward to spending the money required to replace your roof, the upside is that you should be left with a roof which requires very little maintenance in the years ahead.

In reality, there are nearly endless potential causes of a leaky roof. From just needing to replace a couple of shingles to needing to replace the entire roof, there are plenty of possibilities to consider here. As a homeowner, the best thing you can do is pay attention and respond to any issues you notice as quickly as possible. With swift action, you should be able to bring your roof back into proper condition in short order.

residential cedar shake roof

The Advantages of Cedar Shake Roofing

If you are getting ready to have a new roof installed, you have probably spent some time researching various roofing materials. There are a wide range of options on the market today, and each of them as something positive to offer. Before you settle on a solution, however, we would suggest that you take a close look at cedar shake roofing. This is a popular option for a variety of reasons, and you are likely to be thrilled with your decision if you go in this direction.

Let’s take a moment to highlight a few of the advantages of a cedar shake roof.

The Look

This is one of the main selling points of a cedar shake roof. The appearance of the roof, once completed, in unmistakable, and it is a perfect fit on many kinds of homes. If you love the rustic look that cedar shakes provide, there really isn’t any other way to achieve that look successfully. By picking real cedar shakes, you will have a roof that looks natural, because it is.

Plenty of Performance Benefits

In addition to the great look of a cedar shake roof, you may also find that some of the performance benefits are a selling point. For instance, this type of roof should have no trouble at all sending rain water away. You can expect it to be naturally resistant to things like mold and pests, and it can even last for multiple decades when it is installed correctly by an experienced crew.

As a naturally strong wood, cedar shakes are going to make the exterior of your roof strong simply by their presence. You can have cedar shakes treated in order to make them fire-resistant, and quality shakes will resist curling and warping over time. Simply put, there is a lot to like about going with cedar shakes, and very little to say in terms of drawbacks.

Justifying the Cost

There is no getting around the fact that cedar shakes are not the most affordable roofing option on the market today. In fact, they are one of the most expensive when you need to shingle your roof. So, should you just look for a cheaper choice rather than investing in cedar shakes? Not necessarily. As the old saying goes, you tend to ‘get what you pay for’, and that certainly includes roofing.

Yes, you will have to invest more in your roofing project when you opt for cedar shakes than if you used something like asphalt shingles. With that said, you get a lot in return. You will be able to enjoy a roof that looks great, offers plenty of performance advantages, and should stand the test of time. Installation is key with a cedar shake roof, so be sure to trust an experienced contractor with the knowledge to get the job done right the first time. When you combine a quality contractor with quality cedar shakes, the eventual outcome is a roof that will look great and protect your home for the years ahead.

roof installation contractor

When to Start Preparing for a Roof Replacement

Depending on the design of your home, you may not be able to see much of the roof from street level. As a result, it is easy to forget about the important role the roof plays in the day to day protection of your home. Your home’s roof is not something that should need to be replaced often – but it also isn’t going to last forever.

With this article, we are going to offer some tips on how you know when it is the right time to prepare for a home roofing replacement.

Take a Quick Look

As mentioned above, it might be difficult to see all of your roof from ground level. However, you should be able to see at least part of the roof, so take a look when you have a moment and see if you can spot any signs of trouble. Are your shingles looking a little worse for the wear? Are they broken, cracked, or are some of them simply missing? Problems with your shingles are the first sign that your roof may be headed toward needing replacement.

Of course, it is certainly possible to perform repairs on a roof, and that is probably where you will start if you are seeing issues with your shingles. However, it does need to be noted that you’ll likely wind up needing to replace the roof if you are consistently having shingle problems. It’s up to you to decide how long you want to keep investing time and money in repairs before you go ahead and have the replacement completed.

Check the Calendar

Beyond looking at the condition of your roof, you can simply look at your calendar and count how many years your roof has been protecting your home. If it’s more than 20, you can be sure that time is running out on this current roof. You probably aren’t going to get more than 30 years from a roof, and you may get as few as 15. Using time alone is not a good way to decide when roof replacement is needed, but it certainly can be a helpful gauge.

Attic Check

Perhaps the most important place you can go when trying to assess the condition of your roof is the attic. While in the attic, check for a couple of things. First, of course, are signs of water damage. If you see stains from leaks, or wet wood from a recent rain, it’s quite likely that you’ll end up needing to have the roof replaced. Also, if you visit the attic during daylight hours, pay attention to any spots where you may see light coming through the roof. The attic should be relatively dark even in the middle of the day, so light sneaking through the roof is a bad sign.

You don’t want to wait too long to replace your roof. Yes, this project is a significant expense, but your roof is responsible for the important task of protecting your home. You’d rather get the roof done right away so you can avoid the kinds of costly damage that can result from letting an old roof stay in place too long.

roofing vent

How Roof Ventilation Works for Your Home

It is amazing how many of the systems in your home you can simply take for granted, even if you have lived there for years. There are a variety of things which take place mostly ‘behind the scenes’ in your home, and those things are largely responsible for it being the comfortable, relaxing place that it is for you and your family.

Residential roofing ventilation is a great example of this concept. There is a good chance you have never before thought of roof ventilation, unless you had a specific problem with your roof that required you to address the ventilation system. With that said, proper roof ventilation is important for the overall functioning and well-being of your home.

Let’s take a look at the basics of how roof ventilation works in your home.

Natural or Mechanical

The two basic methods of creating airflow within an attic are mechanical or natural. As the names would indicate, natural air flow uses natural forces to circulate air effectively, while the mechanical option utilizes a power source to get the job done. It is generally preferred to use natural ventilation whenever possible. Fortunately, when designed and installed correctly, natural ventilation can work nicely in most homes.

When you utilize natural ventilation, you are taking advantage of the fact that hot air rises. The warm air in your attic is going to rise to the topic of the attic, creating higher pressure in those top sections. When there is cooler air at the bottom of the attic, and a pressure difference as a result, ventilation can take place.

It’s All About the Vents

When talking about natural ventilation, it is the vents which are key to the success of the system. Specifically, there are two types of vents to consider – exhaust vents and intake vents. Again, the names here say it all. Exhaust vents let the exhaust (warm air) escape the attic, and they are usually located at the ridges of your roof (and thus are known as ridge vents). Intake vents allow cool air to enter the attic, causing the warm air to move out the top of the roof through the exhaust vents.

If you don’t know what you are looking for, it can be hard to spot the vents on some roofs. Specifically, you may not notice the intake vents right away, since they tend to be tucked under the edge of the roof discreetly. In this way, intake vents are able to do their job nicely without detracting in any way from the visual appeal of the home.

It is important to understand that the ideal ventilation system for a given roof will depend on the specifics of the roof, the local climate, and other circumstances. This is not a case of one-size-fits-all, as homes are too varied to apply the same venting plan to each and every structure. We hope this quick look at roof ventilation has given you a new appreciation for one of the most important systems in your home.

roof vent

The Advantages of Having Proper Roof Ventilation

When you think of the key systems that keep your home running properly, what do you think of first? Most likely, you would like things like plumbing, the electrical system, your heating and cooling system, etc. And, of course, all of those items are extremely important. With that said, we would like to take time in this article to highlight another important system – roof ventilation. There are a variety of advantages associated with proper roof ventilation, and we are going to discuss some of those points below. Let’s get started!

Save on Energy Costs

Everyone likes to save money, and a properly vented home roofing system may be able to help you do just that. When your roof is vented correctly, that venting will help the air in the attic to remain at a lower temperature. The warmer air will work its way out through the vents, and cooler air will replace it. When your attic is cooler, your air conditioner won’t need to work quite as hard to keep the living spaces at a comfortable temperature. Good roof ventilation is not going to eliminate the need for an air conditioner on a hot summer day, but it can help to make the AC units job a little bit easier. And, of course, running your air conditioner less frequently will mean a lower energy bill at the end of the month.

Even Things Out

It can be rather frustrating to live in a home where one room feels dramatically warmer or cooler than another room. It’s hard to keep this kind of house comfortable, as you are constantly fidgeting with the thermostat to strike the right balance. When a home has a poorly vented roof, you may be more likely to experiences temperature extremes within the house. Work to improve your venting and you may be able to even out the temperatures between areas of your home.

Add Years to Your Roof

One of the most compelling reasons to concern yourself with roof ventilation is the fact that it may be able to help you to get a longer life span from your roof. The benefit of ventilation can be seen in both the summer and the winter. In the summer, good ventilation will help to keep your attic cooler than it would be otherwise, which will help to protect the condition of your shingles. Without sufficient ventilation, the significant heat buildup in the attic could damage your shingles from below, reducing the length of their effective life.

Once winter rolls around, the ventilation in your attic will pay off for another reason. In this case, we are talking about avoiding ice dams. If your attic is too warm in the winter, due to poor ventilation, that built-up heat can melt the snow and ice which may be resting on your roof. Water will then run down to the edge of the roof, where it may refreeze because it no longer as the warm part of the attic to keep it melted. You now have ice around the edges of your roof, and it can gradually build up farther onto the roof, potentially damaging the entire system in the process. With proper roof ventilation, you may be able to avoid this potentially serious winter issue.

leaky ceiling

How to Locate a Home Roof Leak

A roof leak is a serious problem in your home. With the record amount of rain we have had here in central Maryland here in May of 2018, many home roofing systems have sustained damage. In times such as these when water has access to a part of your home where it is not supposed to be, you need to take prompt action. If left unchecked, water can do serious damage, and you may wind up spending thousands of dollars to fix the problem. It should go without saying that roof leak is going to need to be addressed right away before any long-term damage is done to the structure.

At first, you will probably realize something is wrong because you are seeing small signs of water damage. Maybe there is a bit of mold growing, or maybe you see a couple of water stains on your ceiling. Those are possible indications of a roof leak, but what is the next step? Finding the leak might not be quite as easy as you would think at first. If you think that the roof leak is always going to be located directly above the signs of water damage you have spotted, you are in for a big surprise. In many cases, the water will have traveled quite a complicated route to wind up where you found it.

A Flashlight is Your Friend

As you might guess, you are going to need to visit your attic in order to look for the leaky point in your roof. It is almost certainly going to be dark in the attic, so bring a good flashlight with you for the visit. Of course, you’ll need to be careful while exploring the attic space, since you won’t have much headroom or a solid floor. Shine your light up at the underside of the roof to see if you can spot anything that doesn’t look right.

An Artificial Storm

Ideally, you will be able to spot the leaky spot in your roof during a period of dry weather. That will allow repairs to be made before rougher weather moves in, hopefully limiting the damage that takes place in your home. However, it’s hard to see the spot where a roof might be leaking when it is dry outside. There may not be much evidence to work from, which is why you might want to create your own storm. Have one person spray the roof with a hose while the other person uses a flashlight in the attic to watch for drips. If there is a leak in your roof, this method is likely to help you find it in short order.

Take Action

It’s not worth much to find a leak in your roof if you don’t bother to fix it right away. Once the offending spot is identified, you’ll have two choices – fix it yourself, or bring in a pro. When in doubt, bring in a professional to keep yourself safe and make sure it gets done right. Unless you have experience and know you can do your own repair safely, the cost of a professional contractor will be worth it to both stop the leak and avoid the potential for an accident if you were to climb up on the roof yourself.

damaged residential roof shingles

How to Tell if Your Roof Has Sustained Wind Damage

Even after the recent windstorm here in central Maryland, some wind damage to your roof can still be hard to spot. Depending on the design of your home, it may be difficult – if not impossible – to see all parts of the roof from the ground. Unless you have physical evidence on the ground that damage has occurred, such as shingles which have come down off the roof, you may be unaware that there is a problem. And, of course, that could mean trouble. If the damage is not repaired quickly, the long-term health of your home could be compromised.

If you think that your home needs to be physically hit by something in order to suffer roof damage, you are mistaken. While something like a falling tree or even just a branch can obviously do damage, it is possible for the wind alone to take its toll. Specifically, the edges and corners of the roof are most likely to be damaged by a strong wind, as they will usually experience the more powerful forces.

Take a Look

It may be obvious, but the easiest way to tell if your residential roof as sustained wind damage is to take a look for yourself. Start by seeing what you can see from ground level. Walk around the home and look up to the edges of the roof. Even if you can’t see the surface of the roof, you may be able to spot damage around the sides. For instance, you might be able to see that some shingles are missing or at least curled up on the edges. Also, you should be able to see the top line of the roof from ground level, so look over that area for damage as well.

At some point, it may be necessary to get up onto the roof, or at least a ladder, to get a better look. It should be noted that you should only take this action if you are comfortable doing so and have the proper equipment. If not, call in a professional for help. It is never worth risking your own personal health just to get a look at your roof.

Stay Inside

You can actually evaluate the health of your roof without heading up a ladder, or even going outside. Peek into your attic and shine a light up toward the underside of the roof. What do you see? If you notice discolored spots, those may be water damage. Obviously, this would be cause for concern, and you would want to take action right away.

In the end, any roof damage will likely need to be addressed by a trained professional. The health of your roof is not something you can afford to take chances with, since it is so important with regard to protecting your home as a whole. If you know that you have sustained wind damage on your roof during a recent storm, or even if you just suspect there is a problem, get help and restore your roof to proper condition as soon as possible.

March 2018 Maryland Windstorm Notice

We want our roofing customers to know that we are doing the best we possibly can to manage the number of phone calls and emails since the windstorm here in central Maryland. We are asking everyone to leave a voicemail and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not leave multiple messages and emails as it makes it very confusing and harder for us as there are multiple people in the office trying to get back to everyone regarding roofing repairs. We appreciate your patience and rest assured everyone is working as quickly as possible to get back to you.

Thanks,

PJ