kitchen skylight

Skylights: Five Advantages You May Not Know About

Skylights are an attractive feature to add to a home for a variety of reasons. If you have been thinking about adding a skylight to your current home, or if you’re trying to decide whether it is worth adding one to a home you are building, the five advantages we have listed below may help you make up your mind.

#1 – Privacy Benefits

Wait a minute – how can punching a hole in your roof actually improve privacy? Well, it comes down to how you are going to access some natural light inside your home. Most people enjoy natural light, and if you don’t have a skylight, you will need to keep your shades open in order to let that light in. With a skylight, however, you can keep your shades closed and still have some nice light entering the space. This might not be as big of a deal in the living room, where the shades will often be open, but it can be great for bedrooms and bathrooms.

#2 – Environmental Benefits

We would all do well to use less electricity. By reducing our dependence on the power grid, we can do the environment around us a big favor. Toward that end, letting in natural light through the use of a skylight will allow you to keep the lights in your home turned off more frequently in the daytime. Adding just a couple of skylights isn’t going to dramatically reduce your power usage, but every little bit is a step in the right direction.

#3 – A Great Look

If you take pride in the way your home looks and you work hard to keep it in good condition, you may love what a skylight can add. The light they bring it can illuminate your home in ways that just aren’t possible with artificial lighting. Of course, if it is the aesthetic that you are worried about above all else, consider working with a professional designer to place your skylights in just the right spots.

#4 – Feel Good

Letting more sunlight into your home can improve your access to vitamin D, and vitamin D has been shown to boost mood in many individuals. If you live a lifestyle that has you inside throughout much of the day, it’s easy to feel a little bit down – even if you don’t know why. While adding a skylight certainly isn’t a guaranteed way to feel better, getting more vitamin D through sunlight access may be beneficial.

#5 – See Clearly

Do you have trouble seeing in parts of your home from time to time, even during the day? Depending on the design of your house, there might be some dark corners that are hard to illuminate even with artificial lighting. A skylight may solve this problem, at least during the daylight hours. As long as it is placed in the right spot, you can use a skylight to make it easier to see some of those notoriously dark spots in your house.

shingles on home

5 Common Roofing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

The roof on your home is the first line of defense against whatever Mother Nature decides to throw your way. If you have any problems with your roof, those issues are likely to become problematic sooner rather than later. Many roofing issues are caused by roofing mistakes, so it is important to confirm that your roof has been installed and repaired correctly. The five mistakes we have listed below are things to think about when considering the condition of your roof.

Poor Nailing Job

One important part of a standard roofing job is to manage the nails properly. There are a couple of things which need to be done right here. First, of course, is that the nails need to actually be driven into the nailing strip, where they are meant to go. This might seem like an obvious point, but it is missed more often than you might believe. Also, it’s important to drive the nails to the appropriate depth. If the nail isn’t driven far enough into the shingle, it can easily work its way out down the line. Or, if the nail is blasted all the way through the shingle, it actually won’t be holding onto anything and the shingle will be loose.

Dealing with the Valley

The low point where two sections of the roof come together is known as a ‘valley’, and it’s important because this is where water will head before making its way off the roof. Another common mistake seen in residential roofing is to skip the use of a metal piece to help usher water away. As you might imagine, skipping the valley metal is inviting problems with leaks down the road.

Failing Flashing

Flashing is an important part of many roofing jobs, as it helps to move water away from spots where it might be able to work into the home otherwise. Inexperienced roofers may have trouble using flashing correctly, which is a mistake that might not make itself known for a while – but is likely to be a problem down the line. When a new roof is installed, it might be possible for some of the old flashing to remain, but anything that is damaged or no longer serving the intended purpose should be replaced.

Out of Line

Shingles are meant to be installed in straight lines, and in a uniform manner. That part of the job is a pretty easy task for an experienced roofer, but those without much time on the job may struggle. While the odd appearance of such a roof is one thing to worry about, you may also wind up with performance issues if the shingles aren’t straight.

Shingles on Shingles

Believe it or not, sometimes a new roof will simply be tacked on right on top of an old one. This is simply not a good idea. Before new roofing shingles are installed, the old shingles should be removed and disposed of properly. Saving some money now by skipping the removal of the old shingles is going to come back around and cost even more in the long run.

solar panels on roof

What to Know Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof

If you are interested in using alternative forms of energy for your Maryland home, there is a good chance you’ve considered the possibility of adding solar panels to your home’s roofing. Solar panels come along with plenty of potential benefits, but there are a few things to think about before you make the move and go ahead with the project. Let’s take a moment to examine some key points that you’ll want to keep in mind.

You’ll Need to Be a Good Candidate

Solar panels are a great technology, but they do not work well in all applications. For example, if you have a home that is surrounded by large, leafy trees, there may not be enough sunlight getting through to the panels. Of course, trees grow as time goes by, so take note of any small trees near your home which may present a solar problem down the line. You don’t want to incur the cost of adding solar panels to your home only to find that they are going to be able to deliver what you were expecting in the end.

What About the Rules?

If you live in a community with an HOA, you’ll want to confirm that you are actually allowed to add solar panels to your home. Again, this is about getting all your ‘ducks in a row’ before you write that big check. Spending the money on solar panels may not be a wise move if you’ll immediately be in hot water with your HOA as a result.

Connecting the Dots

Adding solar panels to your roof is only the start of the process. With panels in place that can absorb sunlight and turn it into energy, the next step is to connect your power supply to the grid. This is something that varies wildly from place to place, so you will need to start doing some research before you get too far along. Some of the points to address include whether or not there is a fee to connect to the grid and how long you should expect that process to take.

Are You Going to Buy?

Did you know that you don’t necessarily need to purchase the solar panels that will go up on your roof? While you do have the option to buy these panels, you could also lease them. The pros and cons here are quite similar to when trying to decide whether to buy or lease a car. The lease has some short term appeal, but the numbers typically favor a purchase in the long run. Every situation is different, so do the math in your case and make the decision that is best for you and your family.

It’s an exciting proposition to think about adding solar capabilities to your home, but this is not something that you should rush into without doing plenty of homework first. Give yourself plenty of time to gather the fact and then make your choice with confidence.

metal roof

How Metal Roofing is Environmentally Friendly

When you think about environmentally-friendly products, metal is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. It doesn’t look particularly natural, after all, but it is actually quite favorable for the environment when used as roofing. In this article, we are going to discuss a few of the reasons metal roofing is a nice option when keeping the environment in mind. Armed with this information, you just may decide that a metal roof is the right choice for your upcoming project.

They Are Built to Last

One of the worst things a roof can do to the environment is to be replaced frequently. There is a lot of waste that goes into replacing a roof, as the old materials will need to be pulled down and disposed of in some way. This is a mark in the favor of a metal roof, as this type of roofing generally will hold up for a long period of time. In fact, there is a good chance you’ll never need to put another roof on your home after your metal roof is installed. In many cases, a metal roof will be able to outlast an asphalt roof, which is another common option on the market today.

Recycling on Both Ends

Recycling is one of the most environmentally-friendly things we can do, and a metal roof is going to score well on both ends of that equation. For starters, it is common for metal roofs to be made up of as much as 40% recycled material. That means you are already helping to keep material out of the landfill just by purchasing a metal roof. Then, when the roof has completed its useful life, it will be able to be recycled after it is removed. The ability to be recycled is not something that can be said of every roofing material, so consider this another big plus of opting for metal on your roof.

Save the HVAC

Using your HVAC system aggressively during the warm summer months is a major energy drain – one which is not great for the environment. Fortunately, metal roofs to a great job of reflecting away the sun’s rays, helping the inside of the house to stay relatively comfortable. That’s not to say that you will never need to turn the AC on during a hot summer, but the overall energy used to cool your home back down to a comfortable temperature should be reduced. Of course, having to use less energy is not only a good thing for the environment, but for your bank account, as well.

Even if you didn’t take its environmentally-friendly nature into account, there would already be plenty of reasons to think about a metal roof. However, when you add in the many ways that a metal roof can be good to the environment, this decision starts to look like an easy one. Whether you wind up going with metal or not on the top of your home, this material is at least worth some strong consideration.

metal roof

Four Commercial Roofing Trends to Watch for in 2019

In the commercial roofing industry, you can’t afford to fall behind. If you let the competition in your area gain an edge, you might not be able to recover in time to save your bottom line at years’ end. With that in mind, staying on top of the trends is an essential part of the job. With this article, we are going to point out four trends that are likely to be the talk of the industry in 2019.

Using the Right Products for the Job

There are plenty of products on the market which can make commercial roofing an easier task. Given the fact that it can be hard to find good labor for this job, it only makes sense that easy-to-use installation products would be a popular choice for contractors across the country. Of course, those products are only useful if they are used properly, so it seems likely that training is going to increase so that laborers are able to employ these options effectively.

A Lack of Help

As mentioned above, one of the prevailing storylines in the commercial roofing market is the lack of labor that is available to complete these projects. This is one of those problems that tend to arise in good times rather than bad. Since there are so many jobs that need to be completed in a good economy, it’s simply hard to find all of the people necessary to get the work done. Roofing contractors who are going to need skilled labor to work on commercial projects would be wise to plan as far in advance as possible to secure the crews needed for successful completion.

Only the Minimum

In what can really only be seen as a negative trend, many projects are designed with the goal of only meeting the minimum standards to get a project approved and past code requirements. Quite obviously, that’s not good news for the health of commercial roofing. Such minimum-viable projects might work reasonably well in some situations, but they will not be the right choice for all jobs. Often, more than the minimum is going to be needed in order to come away with a roof that truly suits the building and the situation at hand. The use of a roofing consultant is a good way to get away from this trend, since a qualified consultant is going to offer a better perspective on a project than simply to meet the minimum standards to get it done.

Sustainable Focus

It’s probably not breaking news that sustainability is a big topic in commercial roofing, as it is throughout the rest of the construction industry. While this subject has been on everyone’s radar for quite some time, it is ever evolving and the definition of what is sustainable is always changing. Companies who are committed to doing things in a sustainable manner will keep up with the newest ideas in this area so they can deliver clients a reliable, environmentally-friendly roof.

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.