Roof Insurance Claim Denied
We’ll cover the following topics in this blog post on Roof Insurance Claim Denied
- Why Do Insurers Deny Claims?
- How to Minimize the Chance of Denial
- Is the Claims Process Different for Commercial Buildings?
- How to Work With Adjusters to Achieve the Best Results
- What Do I Do If I’m Denied?
- Choose TEC for Your Roof Repair
A roof replacement is a considerable expense, which is why it’s critical to have homeowner’s insurance. However, it’s not uncommon for insured homeowners to have their roof claims rejected by insurance companies, and they have a number of valid reasons for doing so.
Read our guide to learn the most common reasons why roof claims are denied, how to deal with a claim denial and how to avoid rejection in the first place.
Why Do Insurers Deny Claims?
If your roof insurance claim is rejected, it is most likely because of one of the following reasons:
- Lack of maintenance: Failing to perform routine maintenance on the roof is one of the most common mistakes homeowners make. It shows the claims adjuster that you could have prevented the damage but did not make the effort to do so. Examples include removing moss and debris, which will minimize the chances of mold and mildew growth, and cleaning the gutters, which prevents water from seeping into the roof and causing damage.
- A non-covered issue: Make an effort to understand what your plan does and does not cover. You don’t want to learn that your policy doesn’t cover earthquakes after an earthquake hits.
- Insufficient coverage: If you filed a claim for damages that exceed the limits of your coverage, the claim will most likely be rejected. For instance, if your policy’s home coverage has a $200,000 limit but your house will require $250,0000 to repair, your $250,000 damage claim will not be successful.
- Delay in filing: Another common reason for claim rejection is making a claim after too much time has passed. The majority of insurers have a statute of limitations regarding long how after the event you can file a claim.
How to Minimize the Chance of Denial
Avoid your claim getting denied by taking the following steps:
- Carefully read the fine print: Take the time to understand which risks your home insurance policy covers and which it does not. Also, make sure to understand how much coverage your home insurance policy provides. Look over your policy twice a year or whenever you renovate your home. Confirm that any addition you build will be covered. If it isn’t covered, speak with your insurer and change your policy.
- Let your insurer know about any life event changes: Disclose major life events or changes to your insurer. For example, if you got married and your spouse moved in with you, let your insurer know.
- Make a home inventory list: Take inventory of all the possessions in your home and take photos of your home’s structure. By doing this, if you end up in a claims dispute, you can provide your insurer with before and after photos.
- Research insurers before you choose one: When looking for homeowner’s insurance, do thorough research. Consider each company’s customer satisfaction reviews to get an idea of their reputation for claim approvals. A.M. Best, J.D. Power, Moody’s and the Better Business Bureau are great sites to find insurance company reviews.
- Increase your coverage: Sometimes insurers will deny your claim if your coverage is insufficient. Prevent this from happening by upping your coverage. Every time you renovate or build an addition onto your home, your home’s value will increase, so you will want a larger safety net. If you’re switching insurance companies, make sure to have your new policy in place before canceling your existing one so you won’t have a lapse in coverage.
What Is the Typical Claims Process and How Do I File?
To give you an idea of how to file a claim, we will use the example of filing a claim for a roof that was damaged by hail.
When a damaging storm passes through a neighborhood, many homeowners make the mistake of immediately contacting their insurer. However, doing this may not be advantageous if you haven’t gathered all the needed information to file a solid claim. If the insurer is dealing with a deluge of claims due to the storm, it is possible the company may try to downplay its claims and reject the claims of anyone unable to make a compelling case.
To make sure your hail damage claim is absolutely rock-solid, you must follow the steps below:
- Look closely at your roof: Once the storm has passed, go outside and inspect your roof’s condition. If it looks like there are impact marks from the hail, you must report the issue.
- Contact a roofing expert: Before you file a claim, call your trusted roof specialist and describe the condition of your roof. Roof experts tend to have many years of experience inspecting hail damage and should know whether your situation calls for a claim. Try to have one visit as soon as possible, as you do not want to have too much time pass before you file your claim.
- Explain the damage in great detail: Describe the full extent of the roof’s damage. Is the hail damage all over the roof or is it limited to a few places?
- Arrange an inspection: If you’ve described your roof in vivid detail, the specialist will probably have a good idea of the extent of the damage and will know whether your roof will need to be replaced. If the specialist thinks the roof should be replaced, have a roof repair company send over a contractor to inspect your roof. Pick a time when you can be there.
- Take photos and notes: Homeowners should always be involved when their roof is being inspected. By doing this, you can better understand the problem and will be in a better position to negotiate with the claims adjuster. During the inspection, ask the contractor all the questions you can think of and make note of all the important details that you observed and learn about. Also, take photos of all the damage.
- Protect undamaged property: You are responsible for protecting undamaged property. This will be important when the claims adjuster arrives. They will take into account whether you’ve done all you can do to mitigate additional damage or whether you have allowed even more liability to be incurred. However, be sure to use common sense and refrain from any activity that could put your life or health in danger. Hold on to any receipts for supplies that you used to protect your property. These are a covered expense and you can add it to your claim.
Is the Claims Process Different for Commercial Buildings?
If you are filing a claim for a commercial building, keep in mind that commercial insurance policies are different in several ways:
- There may be more than one insured party: Whereas the insured names on a residential policy are typically an individual or a married couple, commercial policies can have any number of listed parties. Make sure you know what and who is covered under the insurance policy.
- The policy usually includes multiple types of liability insurance: Whereas residential policies usually cover against premises liability, businesses typically require several other types of liability coverage.
- There may be different policies for different properties: If your business has multiple buildings, you may have different policies for each, especially if they have different uses.
How to Work With Adjusters to Achieve the Best Results
Once the inspection is finished and you’ve done all you safely can to protect your property from additional damage, you can get ready to work with your claims adjuster. Here’s the process:
- Review your policy: Although you’re going to want to call the insurance company as soon as you can, before that, you should make sure you know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. Being familiar with your entitlements will make everything go much more efficiently. Make sure to go over Coverage, Deductible, Depreciation and Incidental Clauses. Once you know what you’re entitled to, you can move on to filing a claim.
- Call your insurance company: Call your insurance company as soon as possible, even if it’s past business hours. Many companies have call centers that operate 24 hours a day. When making the call, provide your company with all the information you’ve gathered. The Exterior Company will work directly with the insurance company and will work 100% for what the insurance company is willing to pay for.
- Connect with your contractor: Once the adjuster concludes that the claim is valid, he or she will begin assessing the extent of your damage. To make this easier, put the claims adjuster in contact with the contractor. Roofing contractors are accustomed to working with insurance claims and know exactly what they need and will be able to readily provide them with photos and documents.
- Negotiate respectfully: The adjuster should be completely transparent about the settlement figure they arrive at and why they denied certain claim expenses. You are allowed to negotiate if you like, but be sure to do so respectfully and fairly. If you cannot reach a settlement, you’re also allowed to appeal the decision.
- Approving work to receive payment: The adjuster will now have to authorize work to begin, so arrange a meeting with the adjuster, contractor and yourself to expedite the process.
- Ask about payments: In the meeting, ask the adjuster how the payments will be disbursed. In insurance payments, two payments are usually issued.
What Do I Do If I’m Denied?
If the insurance company rejects the claim, don’t despair! You can still get your claim approved by appealing the decision and following these steps:
- Review your policy again: Look over every detail of your insurance policy and fully understand what your policy includes and what it excludes. Make sure you didn’t wrongly estimate your policy coverage amounts when originally filing the claim.
- Review the claim denial letter: It may have been the adjuster who made the mistake.
- Review all the documentation you gathered: Look over all of the photos you took and the receipts from the contractors you hired to do the repairs. These are all evidence of the damage. The more evidence you have, the more likely it is your claim will be approved.
- Contact the adjuster about any discovered errors: If you’ve discovered an error made by the adjuster, speak with the adjuster and explain to them where they went wrong. Only speak about the points of your claim that were rejected, and provide all documentation related to the claim.
- If unsuccessful, hire a public claims adjuster: Just as the insurance company has an adjuster who works for them, you too can have an adjuster who works for you. Public adjusters are able to appeal the decision with your insurance company to dispute the claim. An experienced public claims adjuster will be able to help with the denied claim process and handle all of the involved paperwork.
Here are some other options to consider if you are denied:
1. Hire a Denied Insurance Claim Attorney
Hiring a home insurance lawyer who is knowledgeable about property insurance is also an option.
2. Request a Re-Inspection
If you or the contractor feel that some damage on your roof was overlooked, you can request a re-inspection. The insurance company will typically send out a different adjuster and, in some cases, even a supervisor.
3. Get Financing for Your Roof Repairs
The Exterior Company also offers financing for your roof repairs. The process goes as follows:
- Contact the finance center: This will be done together with your project manager.
- Choose your program: There is a wide variety of options to choose from.
- Receive approval: Once you’re approved, we will email you loan documents right away.
- Return documents: Send us back your completed and signed documents.
- Take it easy: Kick back and enjoy your new roof!
Choose TEC for Your Roof Repair
Below are just some of the ways we work to make your roofing installation as efficient and hassle-free as possible: To learn more about our roof installation process, call TEC at 855-766-3264 or fill out our online form.
Below are just some of the ways we work to make your roofing installation as efficient and hassle-free as possible:
To learn more about our roof installation process, call TEC at 855-766-3264 or fill out our online form.
Does My Siding Hail Damage Warrant An Insurance Claim?
We’ll cover the following topics in this blog post on how to tell if siding hail damage warrants an insurance claim.
- Steps to Take for Siding Hail Damage Insurance Claims
- First Steps to Take After Hail Storm Damage
- How to Tell If Siding Damage Is From Hail or Something Else
- The Best Times of Day to Check for Hail Damage
- General Do’s and Don’ts
- What Happens If I Do Not Fix The Problem?
- Other Places To Check For HailStone Damage
Apart from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods, the most damaging act of nature a home could endure is a hailstorm. Hail falls like icy bullets from the sky and damages roofs and walls on contact.
When siding has been subjected to a torrent of hailstones, the damage will generally show in the form of tiny indents. On siding made of wood, vinyl or aluminum, the impact marks will usually just puncture the surface. However, some hailstones do pierce holes through the surface of siding.
Steps to Take for Siding Hail Damage Insurance Claims
When hailstones leave dents, they can render your siding weaker over the long run which warrants an insurance claim. To ensure you have a rock-solid hail damage insurance claim, follow these steps.
When hailstones leave dents, the initial problems are mostly aesthetic, though the indents can render the siding weaker over the long run. If holes do actually form, the wall is made more vulnerable as the wood itself will be subject to rain exposure.
First Steps to Take After Hail Storm Damage
When a storm has passed through a neighborhood, the first thing a lot of residents do is contact their local home insurer(s). This could leave you at a disadvantage if you don’t have the necessary info gathered to file a compelling claim. If the insurer is fielding a rush of post-storm claims, the company might seek to downplay claims and deny funding to anyone who fails to mount a solid case.
To ensure you have a rock-solid claim, follow these six steps in the immediate aftermath of a hailstorm.
1. Visually Inspect Your Siding
Once a hailstorm has passed, go outside to check the condition of your siding. If you see what appears to be hail impact marks along the siding to any of your exterior walls, you will need to report the issue.
2. Contact a Siding Expert
Before you think about filing a claim, phone your local trusted siding-repair specialist and describe the damage to your home. A siding expert will generally have years of experience at examining hail marks and know whether your case merits a claim.
3. Explain the Full Extent of the Damage
Go into detail about the damage that you saw along the siding of your home. Are there hail marks all over the siding or only in a few spots? Did the impacts merely dent the siding or are there holes at certain marks? Did the hail impact all exterior walls or just one or two?
4. Arrange an On-Site Inspection
If your descriptions are vivid and accurate, the expert will likely have a hunch about the extent of damage and whether you will need to have your siding replaced. If so, arrange to have the repair company send a contractor to your home to examine your siding. Choose a day and time when you can be present.
5. Take Notes and Photographs
As a homeowner, you should always partake in the inspection process when siding/roofing experts come to your property. This way, you can gain a better understanding of the problem at hand and be more prepared for negotiations with your claims adjuster. Ask the contractor any pertinent questions that come to mind during the inspection and document all the crucial details that you see and learn.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
After the inspection, you will be armed with the two pieces of info that are vital to secure insurance funds:
- Yes, your siding does warrant a claim
- The repairs will cost x-amount of money
Without this info, an insurance company could easily downplay the severity of your damage and either underfund or deny your claim. With the backing of a siding expert, it is far easier to secure a reward in the amount necessary to cover the needed repairs. You can even have the contractor negotiate the estimate on your behalf.
How to Tell If Siding Damage Is From Hail or Something Else
Inclement weather or projectile objects could damage the siding on your home. Before you file an insurance claim, it is crucial to know which types of damage will be covered under your policy. If you spot damage along your siding in the aftermath of a hailstorm, it is essential to identify the likely cause of said damage, whether that’s hail or other sources unrelated to the storm itself.
Here are a few clues to help you determine if siding damage is from hail or something else:
- Small Indents: Hail damage is typically inflicted in the form of small indents. The size of a given indent will depend on the circumference of the hailstone, which could range in diameter from that of a pea or a penny to that of a golf ball or tennis ball. The dent itself will result from impact with the edge of the stone from whichever angle the hail has fallen.
- Tiny Holes: On select indents, holes might appear that cut through the surface of the siding. Though these holes are generally small and difficult to spot with the naked eye, they expose the wall-frame behind the siding. This can render the wooden enclosure of your home vulnerable to the elements.
- Multiple Marks: Hail indents tend to be numerous along the sides of a house. Depending on the direction of the wind, certain walls will often be more heavily hit than others. In some cases, the dents might be concentrated across one wall with peripheral damage to the walls down either side.
- Scratches: When hail strikes, the impact is blunt and immediate along a given surface. Since hailstones fall at a slight angle, they hit walls rather than graze them. Therefore, hail leaves dents, no scratches. If you see a scratch along a portion of your siding, it won’t likely stem from a hailstorm.
- An Isolated Mark: Indents from hailstones tend to be numerous — not isolated — along with a given wall or rooftop. If you spot a single, isolated dent along the siding of your home, the damage will more likely be the result of a thrown, possibly stray, ball or another object.
- An Isolated Crack: If the winds are intense, a large hailstone could leave a crack in your siding. However, a crack should only be attributed to hail if many smaller indents surround the spot in question. If you spot a crack on an otherwise intact wall of siding, another object likely caused the damage.
The Best Times of Day to Check for Hail Damage
During certain hours of the day, the sun will be more ideally positioned for home inspections. When you need to inspect your roof, the best time to do so is midday, when the sun beams down directly on your rooftop.
However, when you need to inspect your siding, you can generally get the clearest and most revealing views during the following times:
- Early Morning: One of the best times of day to spot dents and holes along the siding of your home’s exterior is during sunrise. The low level of the sun will pit the rays of light at an even plan to your home. The sunlight of morning makes it especially easier to spot hailstone dents on wood and vinyl siding. When the sun rises in your area, use this time to check the walls facing east.
- Evening: The other opportune time to check for hailstone indents is during sunset. Once again, the even plane of the sun in relation to your house will cast the rays directly at the walls. By contrast, the midday sun will cast light downward at angles and render indents more obscure to the naked eye. When the sun sets in your area, use this time to check the walls facing west.
General Do’s and Don’ts
When you go about filing a siding insurance claim, it is critical to appear at least somewhat savvy about the whole process. Otherwise, bogus contractors and unscrupulous adjusters might try to take advantage of your seemingly unsuspecting nature. After a hailstorm, keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind.
1. DO: Meet With the Contractor
During the process of filing an insurance claim, it is crucial to meet with your contractor in person. It is also essential for the contractor and adjuster to meet face-to-face to discuss the damage at hand. If communications are limited to phone calls, they’re liable to miss details during important conversations.
2. DO: Use the Contractor of Your Choice
As a policyholder, you should never feel pressured to accept a contractor your insurance company selects. Instead, find your own third-party contractor. Whereas company-chosen contractors will typically act in the interest of the insurer, a third-party contractor will work in your best interest.
3. DON’T: Automatically Accept the Adjuster’s First Offer
Adjusters will often attempt to downplay damage and underestimate repair costs to save money for the insurance company. To secure sufficient coverage for your siding repairs, compare quotes on equivalent damages and have your contractor present when you do agree to an offer.
4. DON’T: Sign With Any Contractor That Comes to Your Door
Beware of “storm chasers” — the would-be contractors who go door-to-door throughout neighborhoods in the days that immediately follow a local hailstorm. Such people often represent dubious home-repair companies that exist to exploit homeowners in times of desperation. These companies will give unrealistic quotes, offer subpar repair work and be gone from your area before the faultiness becomes apparent.
A good rule of thumb is to only go with a contractor who you contact first.
What Happens If I Do Not Fix the Problem?
When hailstones leave their mark, the indents affect far more than just the aesthetic quality of your roofing and siding. If the damage is not remedied, it can render your home more vulnerable to the elements and decrease its market value.
Some of the most significant potential problems include:
- Weaker Siding: The most immediate consequence of hailstone damage is weakened siding. With numerous dents and possible holes, the siding will no longer be capable of providing maximal wall protection. The damaged siding will also be weaker in subsequent storms and could start to break more easily under inclement weather.
- Water Damage: The raw panels of wood that enclose your living interior are not meant to face rain, snow and hail. When holes are punctured through the siding, however, the wood panels are directly exposed to rainfall along certain spots. Over time, rain can saturate the panels and seep through to the wall cavities and insulation.
- Mold and Rot: On untreated wood, mold is liable to form along spots where water is left to evaporate. Over time, this mold will have a rotting effect on the wood that encloses your interior. Mold can have a detrimental effect on your health and cause odor and sanitation problems.
- Exposed Interiors: Once the elements have bypassed the siding and damaged the wood wall frames, holes and cracks could form that will lead directly to your interior. First, the rain could seep through slots into wall cavities where insulation is stored and then saturate the plasterboard of your living spaces.
- Voided Warranties: The warranty on the exterior components of your home could be voided if you don’t take action to have them fixed when necessary. With siding and roofing, you are expected as a homeowner to have those parts repaired in the aftermath of a storm.
- Depreciated Home Value: As a home falls into disrepair due to spiraling damages first inflicted by a hailstorm, the property is liable to go down in value. If you ever wish to sell the home, discerning homebuyers are liable to sense the problems and turn away from the property.
Other Places to Check for Hailstone Damage
Impacts from hailstones will affect your siding in certain ways, yet numerous other parts of your home could also be vulnerable. Look for common signs of damage to the roof and other areas of your home’s exterior immediately following a hailstorm, such as:
- Cracked Shingles: Under torrents of falling hailstones, the shingles on your roof are liable to crack in certain places. If the shingles are made of asphalt, the granules could be wiped off in certain spots due to fallen hail. Shingles made of wood and clay are prone to crack when hit with large hailstones.
- Damaged Fascia: The boards that line the edges of your roof are vulnerably situated regarding inclement weather. Depending on the size, speed and angle of the hail, indents and possible cracks are apt to form along the fascia. To the naked eye, the most obvious sign could be the damage to the fascia paint.
- Dented or Obstructed Gutters: When a roof’s drainage system becomes compromised, the roof itself is in jeopardy. The gutters drain water from the roof and, in doing so, prevent water from seeping under the shingles and through the underlying wood. The impact from hailstones can leave dents along a gutter and obstruct the flow of water at certain points.
Choose a Reputable Company to Handle Your Insurance Claim
Once your home has incurred damage from a hailstorm, it is important to find a roofing and siding company that can handle your claim and secure the necessary funds to cover the damage at hand. At The Exterior Company, we fix siding on residential properties whenever the need arises in the counties of Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania.
At The Exterior Company, our team has years of experience in exterior home repairs, from roofing and siding to windows and gutters. Contact us today for more information.
How to Prevent Ice Dams and Leaks on Your Roof With Water Shield Membranes
We’ll cover the following topics in our blog post on how to prevent ice dams and leaks on your proof with water shield membranes.
- How To Prevent Ice Dams & Leaks On Your Roof
- What Are Ice Dams?
- How Ice Dams Damage Your Home
- How To Tell If An Ice Dam Is Forming On Your Roof
- How To Fix Ice Dams
- How To Prevent Ice Dams
- How Do Ice And Water Shield Membranes Work?
- When Should You Use Ice And Water Shield Membranes?
- How Much Ice And Water Shield Do You Need?
- Where Should You Apply Ice And Water Shield?
Few things are as beautiful as the first snowfall. But for many homeowners, the blanket of white signals the return of one of winter’s most irritating headaches — ice dams.
Whether your house has a history with ice dams or you’re a new homeowner hoping to act preventatively, keep reading to learn why ice dams form, the damage they can cause and how to get rid of them.
How to Prevent Ice Dams & Leaks On Your Roof
Ice dams are long, continuous slabs of ice that form along the edges of your roof. They prevent melting water from running off your roof, which can lead to more serious issues. It’s possible to reduce or even eliminate ice dams with a little preparation. Follow these steps!
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are long, continuous slabs of ice that form along the edges of your roof. While the dams themselves don’t damage your home, they prevent melting water from running off your roof, which can lead to more serious issues.
Often, ice dams indicate a warm attic. Warm air rises and, in most homes, passes through the ceiling into the attic. This warm air heats the wood beams and ultimately the shingles, which melts the snow and ice.
When parts of your roof reach temperatures above 32 degrees, the snow on top of these sections will melt. The water will run down your roof, but most likely, the outside edges aren’t warm and have formed an ice dam. The ice dam prevents water from exiting the roof, creating pools of melted snow that seep back underneath the shingles.
Ice dams are common in the valleys of a roof and over soffits. If left untreated, ice dams will grow larger as winter wears on, trapping more and more water behind them.
How Ice Dams Damage Your Home
While ice dams don’t directly cause damage to your home, they lead to a dangerous backup of water on your roof. These pools of snowmelt can lead to leakage, which comes with its own host of issues. Here are a few of the damages ice dams can cause indirectly:
- Wood Rot: As water seeps into the wooden beams and supports of your home, it can lead to rot. This weakens the structural integrity of the house, putting you and your family at risk and leading to expensive repairs.
- Mold and Mildew: A common effect of ice dams is mold formation within insulation and drywall. Mold and mildew degrade air quality. To eradicate them, you have to replace the affected areas completely.
- Gutter Damage: Even if a leak doesn’t lead to rot and mold, ice dams can significantly damage your gutters. Ice dams often form along or inside gutters, and the weight of the ice can misalign the metal or tear the gutter away from the house.
- Curled Shingles: The pooled water can lift up roof shingles and cause them to curl, which significantly reduces their effectiveness.
- Soaked Insulation: Once water seeps into your roof, it can easily soak into attic insulation. Wet insulation is inefficient and can corrode supports, and it can produce mold if left untreated.
Ice dams lead to damage that lasts year-round, not just during winter.
How to Tell If an Ice Dam Is Forming on Your Roof
It’s not always easy to tell if your roof has an ice dam. Keep an eye out for these indicators:
- Icicles: Not all icicles are a bad sign. Look for many groups of long, thick icicles — these often point to ice dams.
- Rust Spots: Check the drywall fasteners in your attic for rust spots, which are often indicators of a leak.
- Peeling Paint: If the paint on your walls and ceilings starts to peel, you most likely have a leak somewhere in your roof.
- Sagging Drywall: The leaking water from an ice dam will often seep into drywall. Examine visible drywall in your attic. If it looks limp or sagging, it is most likely wet from absorbed runoff.
- Ceiling Stains: Another sign of an ice dam is water stains on your ceilings, which indicate leaks in your roof. Besides your ceilings, check for stains around the frames of your doors and windows, which are also indicators of an ice dam.
Once you’ve determined you’re dealing with an ice dam, the next step is getting rid of it.
How to Fix Ice Dams
If you have an ice dam but can’t detect any leaks or issues, you might not have to take immediate action. Instead, undertake preventative measures in the spring. But if you notice signs of leaks or other damage, you will need to act quickly to protect your roof and your home. Here are three things you should do.
1. Rake off the Snow
One method of handling an ice dam is to rake off the excess snow using a specially designed snow rake. An aluminum scraper attached at a right angle to a long, telescoping rod, a snow rake is the simplest solution to dealing with the effects of heavy snowfall.
If you can pull down the excess snow before it can melt, an ice dam can’t form or grow. However, raking off snow can be tedious — you have to rake after every significant snow. Additionally, snow raking is typically limited to single-story homes. A snow rake can’t reach much higher than one story, and you should never attempt to rake while standing on a ladder.
2. Install Heat Cables
Heat cables are another way to deal with ice dams. Heat cables are high-resistance wires mounted on the edge of your roof in a zigzag pattern and are most useful in areas where ice dams regularly form. They are plugged into an outdoor outlet and provide a constant source of heat to the coldest parts of your roof, preventing ice from developing.
When you install heat cables, it’s crucial to direct meltwater away from the wires. If not rerouted, the runoff will refreeze in the cold gutters and roof edge. Run the heat cable through the downspout of your gutter to keep it from filling with ice.
3. Steam It Off
If you notice signs of leakage and aren’t able to rake off excess snow, consider hiring a professional roofing company to steam the snow and ice off your roof. A steamer acts similarly to a pressure washer, except with hot water. The safest way to remove stubborn ice, a steamer melts snow and ice without damaging your roofing and shingles.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are a common irritation in snowy regions. It’s possible to reduce or even eliminate them with a little preparation. To prevent ice dams from forming, the most critical step is to keep your roof cold.
But keeping your roof cold is not a simple task — it requires both proper venting and sufficient insulation. Below are three ways to cool down your attic.
1. Seal Attic Bypasses
In the average home, roughly one-third of heat loss occurs through the ceiling into the cold attic. Most of this is due to air leaks, which can come from many different sources — gaps in the drywall or splits and cracks around light fixtures, chimneys, plumbing pipes and access hatches, to name a few.
These air leaks can be difficult and frustrating to plug. The first step is to climb into your attic and access the insulation. Pull back insulation in areas you think may be leaking, and stop up any gaps or openings using caulk, foam or another sealant. As a bonus, if you successfully seal your attic, you will do more than prevent ice dams — you will save on air conditioning and heating bills.
Depending on your roof, your attic may have low angles that are hard to reach, so sealing your attic can take a significant amount of time and energy. Because of the time investment, sealing your attic is best as a cool-weather project — don’t attempt it during hot summer months.
2. Examine Insulation Levels
While you are checking your attic for leaks, measure the depth of your insulation. Most building codes require homes to have between 12 and 14 inches of cellulose or fiberglass insulation. As a general rule, if you have less than eight inches of insulation, you should quickly add more.
But not all insulation types have the same benefits — when you are adding new insulation to your attic, fiberglass and blown-in cellulose are generally better choices than hand-placed batts. They fill much more tightly, especially around joists, rafters and other protrusions.
Consider hiring a company to install new or additional insulation. Handing over your home’s insulation to experienced professionals is a worthwhile investment and reduces the chance of costly mistakes.
3. Add Vents
The final step in cooling your attic is to add soffit and roof vents. Proper attic ventilation draws cold air inside and expels warm air from the attic, naturally regulating the temperature of your attic.
The minimum size of a vent opening should be about one square foot per every 300 square feet of the attic floor. The calculation can be complicated when half of the vent area is low on the roof and half is high — look for the exact area of the vents, which is typically stamped on the side of the vent.
Try to install an 8″x16″ vent on the underside of the soffit, alternating every other rafter. Along the peak of the house, place a continuous ridge vent to maximize airflow.
Caution: Check Combustion Appliances
As you seal your home and make it more airtight, examine any combustion appliances, such as furnaces, gas, propane or oil-fired water heaters. These machines can backdraft, which will flood the air with waste gases, including dangerous carbon monoxide. Make sure your appliances are drafting correctly before sealing the air leaks in your house.
Ice and Water Shield Membranes
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to keep your roof cold. When you’ve tried venting and raking, or if you’re looking for a solution without such a substantial investment of time and energy, try applying an ice and water shield membrane.
An ice and water membrane is a type of self-sealing, adhesive underlayment. Installed underneath your shingles, it effectively waterproofs your roof decking, preventing leaks from heavy rains and ice dams.
While many building codes require some type of water or ice membrane, your roof most likely won’t have any shield if you live in an older building. If you battle ice dams every winter, it’s probably time for a roof-upgrade.
How Do Ice and Water Shield Membranes Work?
Typically, ice and water shields are a peel-and-stick product. When installing a new roof or shingles, roofers will first lay down a layer of membrane directly onto the deck of the roof.
While the exact materials in the shield will vary from company to company, common components include laminated polyethylene and rubberized asphalt adhesive — both powerful waterproofing agents.
Once under the shingles, the shield repels water from soaking through into the attic and walls of your home. While an ice and water membrane won’t prevent ice dams from forming, they will keep backed-up water from damaging your house, reducing the danger of winter ice.
When Should You Use Ice and Water Shield Membranes?
If your home has a history of ice dams and winter leaks, ice and water shield membranes are a thorough and effective long-term solution. You won’t have to spend hours installing heat cables or raking off snow after every winter storm — with an ice shield, you can enjoy a stress-free winter and increase the longevity of your home.
It’s also a good idea to install ice and water membranes if you’re already re-roofing your home. Because ice membranes must be applied underneath shingles, adding them can be an expensive project. However, if you already need to repair portions of your roof, slipping in ice shielding is an easy addition and cost-effective insurance against winter ice.
How Much Ice and Water Shield Do You Need?
You don’t have to apply a water and ice shield to your entire roof. Instead, focus primarily on the areas most likely to create ice dams, such as valleys and soffits.
A few factors can influence how much shield you need to apply to your home, including:
- Degree of Slope: Does your roof have a high or low slope? The slope of your roof will determine where ice dams form and how far they extend, which will influence the amount of ice membrane you’ll need to apply.
- Harsh or Mild Climate: How much snow does your area typically receive every winter? If harsh winters are common, your roof will need more ice shield than climates with gentle, occasional snowfalls.
- Size of Overhangs: Does your roof have narrow or wide overhangs? Wide soffits typically need more shield than narrow overhangs.
- Junctions and Valleys: Roof valleys form at the intersection of two slopes or angles. Ice dams are much more likely to occur in valleys, so applying an ice or water shield membrane is a smart precaution.
- Ventilation and Insulation: Is your attic well-ventilated, and does your roof stay cool in the winter? Cold attics generally mean smaller ice dams, which will reduce the amount of ice shield you need.
- Type of Exposure: What directions does your roof face? Shaded areas or northern exposures will typically need more ice and water membrane than areas that bask in full sun.
Consult with a professional roofing company to determine how much ice and water protectant is right for your roof. A roofing business will also be familiar with local building codes, which may have specific requirements for ice and water membranes.
Where Should You Apply Ice and Water Shield?
As a general rule, apply ice and water shield membranes wherever ice dams are likely to form. This typically includes eaves and valleys, as well as any protrusions such as pipe boots, chimneys, skylights and roof vents.
Basically, the weakest and most leak-vulnerable sections of your roof should be protected with an ice and water membrane to maximize the life of your roof and your home.
Quality You Can Trust From The Exterior Company
Ice dams can cause frustrating and devastating damage to your home every winter. Don’t leave the integrity of your roof up to chance — at The Exterior Company, we are committed to providing the highest possible quality and professionalism, so you can enjoy a safe and beautiful home for years to come.
We specialize in the areas of your house most affected by ice dams — roofing, insulation, gutters, windows and siding, along with other repair and replacement services. Whatever your needs, The Exterior Company has experienced technicians and roofers ready to help.
This winter, don’t stress about ice dams and leaky roofs. Call us at 855-766-3264 or contact us to talk with one of our experienced representatives.
FINDING AND FIXING ROOF LEAKS
We’ll cover the following topics in this blog post on finding and fixing roof leaks.
- Common Causes of Roof Leaks
- The Damage That Roof Leaks Can Cause
- How to Find a Roof Leak
- If You Don’t Have An Attic & Short-Term Fixes
- When to Call an Expert
A leaky roof can be a nightmare for homeowners — it destroys valuable belongings, rots wood and causes mold growth. Water can enter a home in many places, finding the source of the leak can also be challenging — and repairing it is often complicated.
Whether you’re currently experiencing roof leaks or just want to prevent them, check out our helpful guide to learn about their causes, the damage they can do and how to find and fix them.
Common Causes of Roof Leaks
The following areas of your roof can be a source of leaks:
1. Old Shingles
Like many other parts of a house, shingles start to show their age after a while. Temperature fluctuations can cause them to expand and contract, which eventually leads to cracking, and sunlight can melt the tar that holds composition shingles together. Both of these damaging effects allow water to enter more easily.
Although chimneys appear to be solid and impenetrable, the mortar between the bricks crumbles over time, allowing water in. If you notice a leak coming from your chimney, first inspect the mud cap or the joints where the chimney meets the roof — sometimes these areas are the source of the leak and can be easily fixed with patches.
Flashing refers to the metal strips installed in the joints, edges and other areas of your roof that are particularly susceptible to leaking. They can also be found around chimneys, where they attach to both the chimney and the roof and must be well sealed. If it cracks or rusts, it will probably have to be replaced, however caulking and roof cement can provide a temporary fix.
4. Missing Shingles
If you’ve noticed that one of your shingles has disappeared, you will most likely experience a leak in your house during the next rainfall. Luckily, this is something you can easily do yourself. To replace a shingle, you just need to remove the nails from the row above and then insert the new shingle. Nail the new shingle so that it’s secure, then re-nail the shingles around it. Your roof has most likely weathered so getting a perfect color match will be difficult.
5. Vent Boot
The vent boot waterproofs the junction where the roof vent pipes meet the roof. They can be made of rubber, plastic, metal or a combination of any of the three. If the old gasket fails, you can remove the old boot with a knife and insert a new one. Like with shingles, this is also something you can easily DIY.
Holes in your roof can be caused by a variety of things — including storms, animals and misplaced nails. They can also exist where an antenna or other rooftop installation used to be.
This problem can be fixed by simply inserting a piece of flashing under the shingle. Although this is something you can easily do yourself, it may still be best to have your roof inspected by a professional roofer afterward.
7. Complex Roofs
While a complex roof looks impressive, it can be a real nuisance for homeowners if it’s not well sealed. Properly installing a leak barrier for this type of roof is complicated and is best left to professional roofers.
Even when properly maintained, complex roofs can still cause problems. If you live in a snowy climate, the layout of a complex roof may not allow for snow to slide off easily. If too much snow accumulates, it can lead to ice dams, which will put unwanted extra weight on your roof and expose it to water for long periods of time, which will increase the chances of leaking.
If it is difficult to remove the snow buildup on your roof by raking it or using an ice melting product, you can alternatively use roof edge heating cables — or install a metal roof.
8. Clogged Gutters
If you do not regularly clean out your gutters, debris will accumulate and impede water from traveling away from your roof. You can also hire a professional gutter cleaner for the job, which can range in cost from $100 to $300. One way to reduce the accumulation of debris in your gutter is to trim the trees around your roof.
9. Too Much Moisture
When gutters on an upper roof empty onto a roof below, the lower roof can become excessively saturated, which could lead to leaks. You can avoid this by extending the downspout to the gutter below or directly to the ground.
While skylights can brighten up and transform a room, they must be installed and fitted correctly, or they will likely cause leaks. Leaks can also occur if the flashing is cracked or if the surrounding shingles are damaged. In this case, you will need to hire a professional to fix or replace the skylight and then install new flashing and shingles around it.
11. Misplaced Nails
When roofers nail shingles, they intend for them to go into the rafters below, but sometimes they miss their target and the nails stick out of the attic ceiling. These misplaced nails are another potential source of water damage: on cold nights, they can accumulate frost — and when it warms up the next day, the frost melts and water starts to drip. Over a long period of time, this can cause significant water damage.
12. Shallow Slope
If the pitch of your roof is too shallow, wind can more easily lift up your shingles and rain can enter underneath. Roof slope is defined as how many inches a roof rises for every 12 inches of horizontal distance. When installing asphalt shingles, the International Building Code requires the pitch to be a minimum of 2:12. Make sure that the materials you use are suitable for the slope of your roof.
The Damage That Roof Leaks Can Cause
Water entering your house can wreak havoc on your property in many ways. Here are a few examples:
A leak over time can cause your rafters, beams, walls and ceilings to be discolored. As water travels past a leaking area, it brings with it tannins and other residues that turn the wood a darker color.
2. Mold and Mildew
If water is confined to a small space — such as underneath floors or inside walls — and the moisture cannot escape, this may cause the growth of mold or mildew, which can cause your framework to weaken. If you notice dark spots that look like a stain, this is a sign of mold or mildew and you should investigate the cause immediately.
Mold and mildew don’t just damage your framework — they can cause serious health problems, especially for people suffering from conditions like rhinitis, nasal congestion and asthma.
3. Drywall Deterioration
Drywall is a type of board made from a plaster-like material and is used to finish the walls of houses. When drywall comes in contact with water, it absorbs the moisture at first, but once the drywall becomes saturated, it begins to expand and deteriorate. When used to make a wall, it can break apart into pieces — and when used to form ceilings, it can collapse completely.
4. Rotting Structural Wood
Over time, water leaks can cause serious damage to a home’s wooden structure. When exposed constantly to water, beams, joists and other components will start to rot. The only solution to this problem is to stop the leak and fix the structural damage.
Water intrusion can cause electrical problems as well. Sometimes this leak will damage the wiring itself and other times the circuit box. The copper wires will deteriorate and eventually short out or break, and electrical boxes in contact with water can also short out. Water leaking on a breaker box is a serious issue and must be fixed right away or it could lead to more damage or hazardous conditions.
6. Fire Hazard
If your attic has electrical wiring, and a leak causes them to short out, this could cause a fire. If you discover a leak near wiring, you should cut off electricity in that area and get an electrician to inspect it.
7. Slipping and Falling
If water is dripping in your house, this can cause puddles to form on the floor. This may seem like a minor risk, but a fall can be a serious accident, especially for children or the elderly.
8. Wasted Energy
A leaking roof can also cause your energy bills to go up because it tends to damage the insulation in your attic. When your attic insulation becomes saturated, it takes a long time to dry out. If you wait to repair a roof leak, this constant water intrusion will cause the insulation to deteriorate and you’ll end up spending more on heating and cooling.
How to Find a Roof Leak
Follow these steps to help pinpoint the source of a leak:
1. Look for Early Signs
Some early signs of roof leaks — such as the sight and sound of dripping water — are obvious. However, there are many other clues, including:
- A musty smell coming from some rooms
- Water stains on the ceiling
- Spots on outside walls
- Patches on inside walls
- Misshapen or missing shingles
While these things do often indicate a leak, they give little indication as to where the leak is. So more investigation needs to be done.
Before proceeding any further, confirm that leaking water is the result of a roof leak and not from somewhere else in the house. Other common sources of leaks in the house are plumbing, HVAC and condensation. If none of these is the source of your leak, it’s time to check the attic.
2. Inspect Your Attic
Walk through your attic and keep an eye out for water stains, black marks or mold. Sometimes smaller stains can be caused by protruding nails, which should be clipped off with pliers.
Inspect the insulation as well. If one section of the insulation appears damaged, a leak could be close by, and removing the insulation can reveal the source of the leak. When handling insulation, make sure you are wearing the necessary protective gear.
3. Soak the Roof
If you can’t find the leak in the attic, then it’s time to simulate rain. This step requires another person, who will remain in the house near where you first spotted the leak. Then, you will take a water hose and wet the rooftop, one area at a time. As you’re soaking the roof, the other person will shout out when he or she sees the water dripping again. You should move slowly with the water hose, spending several minutes on each section. This will help to more accurately locate where the water is entering.
If you’ve identified the general area where the water is entering but not the exact spot, you can start removing shingles in the area. Once the shingles are gone, you’ll be able to spot water stains and other telltale signs of a leak.
If You Don’t Have an Attic
If you don’t have an attic, go directly to your roof and look for signs of a leak. If you live in a unit of a condominium, get in touch with your property manager or landlord. They will get a professional to come and repair the leak.
While repairing or fixing the roof is the ideal solution, sometimes we have no choice but to make a short-term repair. The reasons for this decision vary — a long-term fix may not be in your budget, harsh weather may limit the work that can be done or perhaps you just need time to think of a better long-term solution. Whatever your reason may be, here are some materials you can use to provide short-term fixes:
- Sheets of heavy plastic. You can fasten these sheets with roofing nails or weigh them down with something heavy like bricks.
- Heavy waterproof tarps. If the area of roof damage is larger, heavy waterproof tarps are better. You can fasten or hold them in place the same way as the plastic covers.
- Tar paper or roofing felt. You can apply tar paper to the roof with plastic cement and spread it with a trowel. It is a good idea to apply multiple layers of this, alternating the plastic cement and tar paper.
- Plugging the leak. This works best as a temporary repair for a flat roof. To plug a leak, you mix a cement-like powder with water and pour it into the opening in the roof. The mixture will then solidify and plug the leak. As this solution is only effective for a limited time, you may need to repeat the procedure every few months.
- Adhesive patches. These patches are made to stick to small, wet surfaces. It is not recommended to apply them at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
When to Call an Expert
If your leak cannot be easily fixed or is a result of widespread structural damage, it’s recommended that you put the repair in the hands of a professional. If you live in the Lancaster, Pa., region and need your roof fixed or replaced, contact The Exterior Company today at 855-766-3264 or via our online contact form. Our representatives will gladly answer your questions and provide a free quote. If your roof was damaged by a storm, we can also assist with the insurance.
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR ROOF
Homeowners rarely consider the possibility of roof damage until such problems already take root. In many such cases, the problem will have already spread to the point where no roof repair work could possibly rectify matters.
When issues such as roof leaks appear in several spots throughout a house, a roof replacement will generally be your only option. Situations like these can usually be avoided if you do a roof inspection at least twice each year. With each inspection, you can catch potential problems early in their development and take advantage of roof maintenance opportunities.
To stem the spread of damage across your shingles, you need to establish a roof maintenance routine and to carry out a series of steps at specific times each year. For starters, you will need to do a biannual inspection of the roof to look for potential problem issues such as missing shingles, exposed fasteners, loose flashing, accumulated granules, damaged drip edges and sagging gutters.
Roofs Can Last up to 25 Years With Proper Maintenance
A roof can last more than double the length of a typical residential occupancy if proper steps are taken to maintain the integrity of the shingles and flashing. To make this possible, however, you need to consider the various factors that could inflict damage on a roof. From blocked gutters to falling leaves, issues such as water buildup and isolated impacts can have damaging effects on the shingles as well as the protective metal barriers underneath and along the edges.
Problematic factors could even be rooted in what might otherwise seem like benign features. For example, the growth of moss or algae on your roof can ultimately inhibit the flow and drainage of water. The encroaching presence of tree branches can pose a threat to your roof. Local weather patterns will also impact the state of your shingles. As summers get hotter and winters grow colder and increasingly more severe, the necessity for roofing maintenance is now more important than ever.
The Importance of Roof Maintenance
A roof is the most important feature on a house. While the doors, walls and windows keep the insides safe and insulated, the roof protects the interior from rain and the elements. For all these reasons and more, a home is never really a home without a solid roof.
Due to the importance of your roof, it is crucial to perform maintenance on a periodic basis throughout the time you occupy a given residence. Even though the roof will have been built to withstand the elements for as long as possible, damage can and will occur as inclement weather and the ravages of age take their toll.
With roofing maintenance, you can catch damage early and keep roof repairs down to small, isolated areas. Roof inspections and maintenance can also help you stretch out a roof to its full life expectancy and even beyond. If you do the job well and responsibly, you might never even need to replace the roof during the time that you occupy your home.
Roof Maintenance Can Save You Money in the Long Run
Roof maintenance can spare you from numerous problems during a given year. If you perform an inspection of your roof during springtime, you can catch any problems that may have taken root over the preceding winter.
If you do spot a problem, you can rectify the matter and prevent it from expanding in the months ahead. Otherwise, you might face an even worse problem during the upcoming fall and winter seasons. For example, a minor issue with worn caulking could expand into a full-blown leak during the following winter.
Regular roof maintenance can also add value to your home. If you intend to place your home back on the market within the next few years, potential buyers will note the care that has gone into the roof when they come to look at your property. As such, your house could end up selling for more thanks to the inspections and upkeep that you perform on a periodic basis for as long as you remain at the same address.
Inspecting the Roof
On a biannual basis, inspect your roof to ensure that the shingles are intact and that everything, in general, is clean and free of leaks or corrosion. As you run your eyes side to side and up and down the roof, look for issues such as missing shingles, buckling flashing, drip edge damage and other abnormalities. The sooner you catch these problems, the easier it becomes to uproot the issue before the damage spirals out of hand and leads to costly expenses.
The harshest times for a roof are during the fall and winter months when roofs are subject to an onslaught of foliage and inclement weather patterns. The impact of fallen branches, pinecones and other elemental factors can also leave damaging impacts on your roof.
It is wise to inspect your roof during late fall after the leaves have mostly fallen but before the snow hits. The presence of foliage deposits along the edge of the roof and the buildup of leaves in the gutters are both problem signs that should be rectified before winter takes hold.
Once the winter has passed, perform another roof inspection in the spring to ensure that everything is intact and free of leaks or buildup.
Repair Seals, Joints and Flashing
In order to maintain a solid, leak-free roof, it is crucial the flashing remains free of rust, corrosion or damage. Underneath the shingles, the flashing serves as the protective barrier that keeps rain and other elements from penetrating your roof.
If the shingles in a given spot become chipped or cracked, the metal flashing may be exposed to undue volumes of rain, hail and snow in the wintertime. This can be very unhealthy to the surface of the flashing because rust could ultimately take root. Once this happens, the rust could spread and form holes along the most corroded spots of the flashing surface. After the holes have formed, your attic is liable to leak.
Water can also penetrate a roof along the seals and joints. If the protective barriers become damaged, water can slide through small cracks on the roof and ultimately leak into your attic. Inspect the flashing, seals and joints on a biannual basis to ensure that they are intact, fully covered and free of corrosive buildup.
Clean the Gutters
One of the worst things that can happen to a roof is the buildup of rainwater and foliage in the drainage system. When gutters become clogged, the roof is robbed of its ability to properly drain rainwater and assorted passing elements. A problem such as this can effectively leave a roof saddled.
Gutters can become clogged if dirt is allowed to accumulate over too long a period. One of the worst culprits is foliage, which will sometimes mount along certain spots in a gutter during autumn. The more leafy trees that stand near your home, the more probable this problem could be during a given year.
A drainage system can also be problematic if the gutters become bent and lose their ability to drain water properly. If your house was fitted with a low-quality roof drain, the gutters might corrode if the paint comes off the metal. Once corroded, the metal could gradually lose shape. Drainage issues can also result from clogs in the holes through which water would normally stream to the ground.
To ensure that your gutters do not become clogged to the detriment of your roof, inspect the gutter tracts on a biannual basis, preferably during the late-fall and early spring seasons.
Review the Surrounding of Your Home for Trees That Should Be Trimmed or Removed
A related issue to the point about gutters is the presence of trees around your home. If trees are situated too close to any side of your property, the branches could extend over your roof and expose the shingles to numerous droplets. During fall and winter, a hovering branch is liable to expose your roof to falling leaves and pinecones. Branches can also provide rodents with access to your roof.
Ideally, any trees on your property should be rooted a minimum of six feet away from every side of your house. This way, overgrown branches are less likely to pose a direct threat to your roof. That said, branches should be trimmed back to certain lengths on residential properties, as longer branches can pose a danger when inclement weather hits. If a branch is severed from the trunk of a nearby tree, strong wind gusts could thrust that branch at your rooftop or possibly one of your windows.
Use Caulk on Trouble Spots
Over time, the caulking that seals off the joints between your roof and chimney can ultimately erode and cause gaps to form. Without this sealant in place, water along these edges can slip through to the inside. A similar effect is possible along the edges of the flashing and between the roof and the air vents into your home.
As with the caulk that seals the gaps between your window panes and frames, the caulk on your roof is meant to serve as a barrier against the passage of water through some of the thinnest yet most vulnerable potential openings. Even though the roof itself might be tightly fitted along all sides of the chimney and vents, it does not mean that water won’t slip through without the extra protective barrier of caulk. Fortunately, caulking is relatively easy to remove and replace.
If the caulking has eroded along any spot, remove the old caulk and replace it with a new application. Make sure the spot is clean before you apply the new caulk. Check for signs of rotted caulk along the other joints of the roof. Remove and reapply the caulk if necessary.
Inspect the Roofing Insulation
Even though insulation is typically more associated with walls than roofs, the insulation that lines the interior roof inside your attic is important to the overall function of the roof. In addition to keeping your interior warm and insulated regardless of outside temperatures, the insulation can also help keep your roof structurally sound.
Insulation stabilizes the temperature of your home throughout the various warming and cooling cycles of each passing year. In doing so, insulation protects your roof from the physical expansions and contractions that building materials undergo between the extremes of summer and winter. Thanks to the presence of insulation, your roof is less likely to warp as the seasons change.
The presence of insulation can also stop snow along the outside from melting and then freezing on your roof, thus preventing further damage. To ensure maximum protection for your roof, the insulation should be inspected annually for signs of wear or saturation.
What to Avoid When Doing DIY Roof Maintenance
As you go about inspecting your roof, try to avoid walking directly over the rooftop. Instead, take a ladder and inspect the roof from along the edges. If necessary, take a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the edges along the shingles, chimney, gutters, air vents and flashing.
Walks on the roof should be reserved for when maintenance must be performed along a given area. Otherwise, the force of your feet could potentially cause a shingle to chip or crack and ultimately lead to more serious issues down the line. Walking along a rooftop can also be dangerous unless you have experience balancing at 45-degree angles.
When it comes to cleaning your roof, refrain from using power-wash methods. The force of a power wash can cause damage to shingles and ultimately cause bits of cedar to crack or split, which will leave the underlying roof more vulnerable to leaks. While it is important to remove algae and moss from the shingles, a power wash could ultimately do more damage than good.
When to Get a Professional
When you follow the basic spring roof tips and also do annual fall inspections, your roof will likely remain in good shape with basic maintenance, barring the advent of a hurricane, earthquake or fire. Sometimes, however, roof repair and maintenance work is necessary, whether the problem stems from the ravages of age or from a rough winter season. Beyond the simpler tasks like branch trimming and gutter clearing, it is generally best to leave roof work to a professional.
When you hire a roofing professional to inspect your roof, any looming problem that might be present will be identified. After all, roofing professionals inspect countless roofs year after year and know how to spot even the tiniest yet consequential problems that are often missed by the average homeowner. A professional roofer will also have vast experience with every imaginable form of roofing maintenance and can therefore guarantee that your roof will be fixed to the best of standards.
For homeowners in and around Lancaster, P.A., the Exterior Company, Inc. is the most trusted name in roofing maintenance, repair and installation work. As a full-service restoration company with a strict adherence to building codes, we build roofs to the highest standards. Contact us for your roof, gutter and exterior needs.
HOW TO SPOT A BAD ROOF INSTALLATION
We’ll cover the following topics in our blog post on how to spot a bad roof installation.
- Commonly Missed Steps in Installation
- Common Installation Damages
- Flashing, Drip Edge And Gutter Issues
- Issues With General Shingle Alignment And Longevity
- Top 5 Tips to Maintain Your Roof For A Longer Lifetime
As a homeowner, you encounter costly decisions every day. One of the most expensive choices you’ll make for your home is the decision to fix or replace your home’s roof. Unfortunately, the roof can also be one of the biggest victims of poor craftsmanship.
While many roofers work hard to maintain the integrity and beauty of your home with proper roof installation, others do a rushed job that results in numerous future problems and can even damage your home’s entire structure.
You may not feel qualified to determine whether your roofers did a good job on your home. But fortunately, it doesn’t take an expert to know what a bad roofing job looks like. The following are some of the most common signs that you didn’t get the quality you paid for during your recent roof installation.
Commonly Missed Steps in Installation
One of the most frequent problems with roof installation is the failure to include a critical installation step. These are some of the most commonly missed parts of roof replacement:
You might never have realized that the number of nails used per shingle is a calculated part of a roof’s installation. A manufacturer determines the minimum number of nails needed and specifies this number on the shingles’ wrappers.
Most roofers agree that at least four nails should be used for any shingle type. Any fewer nails will leave the shingles vulnerable to flying off the roof with even low wind gusts.
Likewise, nails and other fasteners support the roof’s flashing and other necessities that keep water from entering your home. Many rushed roofing jobs particularly fail to properly fasten gutters, which will eventually cause them to sag and improperly move water.
2. Starter Shingles
Many amateurs fail to place starter shingles before beginning a roofing job. Any experienced roofer should take the time to install a starter strip under the first layer of shingles along the eaves.
A roof is most susceptible near the eaves due to the ease of ice buildup and water penetration. Starter shingles provide added protection for this vulnerable area. Failure to install the starter strip increases the risk of leaks and ruined shingles.
3. Proper Underlayment
In any New England or Northeastern state, contractors should prepare new roofs for icy winters by installing a protective underlayment between the sheathing and shingles. Cold winters bring ice dams, which occur when snow melts and refreezes. A felt underlayment or an ice and water shield prevents ice dams from forming at the roofline and forcing water underneath the shingles.
Pennsylvania’s residential building code requires most roofs to be covered with at least two layers of underlayment. Further, the law requires roofers to equip areas with a history of ice buildup with a special ice barrier. Failure to do so could result in water damage to both the roof and the walls underneath.
The responsibility for any roofing cleanup lies on the contractor. Sadly, some roofers fail to keep their end of the bargain.
Cleanup agreements are usually outlined in the contract. Cleanup includes any garbage or debris from packaging, nails, excess materials, tar blobs and any damaged landscaping.
Failure to remove these items doesn’t just indicate a poor roofing job — it’s also downright dangerous. Some materials used in installation might be toxic and unsafe for regular disposal, and leftover nails could cause serious medical emergencies if stepped on. Make sure all cleanup is performed sufficiently before signing off on a roofing job.
Common Installation Damages
Unfortunately, accidents can happen during any construction work. But a roofer’s failure to try to fix the following damages indicates that their crew might have performed a shoddy job on your roof’s installation:
1. Heavy Foot Traffic
Obviously, workers will need to stand on your roof for long periods of time. But they should also take care to follow a project plan that minimizes the need to access finished sections of the roof.
At the very least, heavy foot traffic can lead to messy dirt or tar footprints that will make your roof look unattractive. But it can also cause more severe problems such as worn-down materials and crushed insulation. Broken shingles or excessive shoeprints can indicate that your roofing job was rushed.
2. Damage to Surrounding Areas
A responsible contractor should avoid any destruction to your home and the surrounding area. But if an accident happens, they should warn you about any damage that occurred to your property.
Damage includes any harm to surrounding trees, grass or shrubbery, siding scratches due to heavy use of ladders and tools, tarred cement and other destruction stemming from installation. Failure to address and correct these issues indicates a lack of respect for you and your home.
3. Interior Damage
Ventilation is an integral part of your home. Improper ventilation causes excessive heat and moisture buildup. These can then cause dry rot, cracked shingles and premature roof failure.
If you’ve noticed water damage in your attic following a new roof replacement, there’s likely a leak in your roof. Interior water damage is one of the most serious signs of poor roof installation and should be handled by a professional as soon as possible before it worsens.
Flashing, Drip Edge and Gutter Issues
If you find that your new roof often leaks around eaves, edges, chimney corners or other areas with a tendency to harbor water, you might be dealing with one of the following issues:
1. Flashing Mistakes
Flashing is a wide metal strip installed over the roof’s joints and in other areas with a high water runoff concentration, such as around chimneys and pipes. Flashing should be installed underneath new shingles to prevent water damage.
Roofers sometimes poorly install flashing over the shingles instead of underneath, which compromises their water resistance. Even if caulking is used, the roof will have to be re-caulked often to avoid leaks if the flashing isn’t installed correctly.
Pipe flashing can also be compromised when a roofer installs the nails too close to its corners. Over time, these nails work themselves loose and can loosen the boot, which allows water to flow under the edge and leak into the nails’ holes.
2. Missing Drip Edge
The drip edge is an angled sheet of flashing that extends beneath the shingles at the bottom edges of the roof above the gutter. It allows water to filter out of the roof system, protects shingles from water damage, reduces the risk of erosion and increases the roof’s overall lifespan.
Some roofers fail to install any drip edge at all, but the 2012 International Residential Code requires all shingle roofs to be equipped with them at all eaves and gables. While their importance is often overlooked, drip edge can be a vital part of your roof’s longevity.
3. Improper Gutter Sloping
Not only do some roofers fail to properly fasten gutters to the sides of your home with the right gutter spikes or screws, but many also fail to slope them properly to allow for water drainage.
Sloped roofs send nearly all the roof’s rainwater into the gutters surrounding them, so these gutters need to be installed at a slope to drain the water properly. Otherwise, rain and leaves begin to pool until they overflow, and the extra weight bows them out away from the house. Pooled water can cause erosion, foundation and siding damage, rust and deterioration to the entire roof system.
Issues With General Shingle Alignment and Longevity
Shingles are responsible for completely covering your roof and providing it with a long lifespan. The following shingle and fastener issues can detract from the beauty of your home and decrease the longevity of your new roof:
1. Unaligned Shingles
Perhaps one of the most visible signs of a bad roof installation is poor shingle alignment. Not only do unsymmetrical shingles decrease your home’s aesthetic appeal, but they can also allow water to seep in between cracks and ruin the sheathing underneath.
Shingles should be applied evenly across all areas of a roof. If shingles aren’t aligned vertically by their slots or horizontally across the roof, they weren’t correctly placed.
2. Shingle Overhang
The end of a roof’s shingles should only overhang off your roof between 0.5 and 0.75 inches if drip edge is installed. Too little overhang directs water into the fascia boards. Too much makes the shingles susceptible to sagging, cracking or blowing off in high winds.
3. Exposed Nails or Improper Nail Placement
Shingles should always be aligned so that the top layer lays directly over the nails in the bottom layer. Exposed nails look unappealing and can lead to serious issues like rust. Nails also start to back out of their holes when exposed to harsh weather, which can lead to leaks or unsecured shingles.
Further, placing a nail too high on a shingle prevents it from securing the top edge of the shingle staggered below it, which results in the shingles coming unfastened. Placing the nail too low results in slippage and shifts. The manufacturer will specify in the directions where nails should be placed. Failure to follow these basic instructions is a sign of rushed labor or inattention to detail.
Top 5 Tips to Maintain Your Roof for a Longer Lifetime
When your roof is installed correctly, it should last well over 20 years depending on the surrounding climate and the materials used. Metal and slate roofs can even last 50 years or more. But its longevity is largely determined by your regular maintenance. The following tips ensure that your roof will last for years to come and can prevent costly repairs:
1. Inspect Your Roof Twice a Year
Your roof is a powerhouse. It holds up under sheets of snow and ice in the winter and endures unbearably hot summer afternoons. But adverse weather often has a negative effect on your roof, whether it’s immediately noticeable or not. Inspecting the roof twice a year from ground level will help you find and diagnose any problems early on.
Because your roof suffers the most in the harsh weather of summer and winter, do your inspections in the spring and fall. Use binoculars to look for raised or missing shingles, damaged drip edge, sagging gutters and other signs of disrepair.
2. Regularly Sweep Off Debris
Branches, leaves and other debris can damage shingles and cause algae to grow, which creates wood rot. Clean these off your roof frequently.
Debris can also clog gutters, which makes them inefficient and can even cause water damage to ceilings, interior and exterior walls and other surfaces. If your home has a problem with clogged gutters due to branches and leaves, consider installing a leaf guard across the gutter system.
3. Trim Branches
Overhanging tree branches can be aesthetically appealing. But they can also be harmful to shingles.
One storm can knock any nearby branches onto the roof or whip the branches across it, which will wear down the shingles over time. If possible, clip any overhanging branches from nearby trees often. Trim as much as necessary to prevent swinging branches from scraping against the roof during windy days or storms.
Likewise, large branches also attract unwanted pests such as raccoons or squirrels near your home. If you notice any signs of bugs, rodents or other creatures, take steps to remove them as quickly as possible.
4. Install Proper Attic Insulation
Believe it or not, your attic plays a vital role in the health of your roof.
Proper attic insulation and ventilation prevent snow and ice on the roof from melting and refreezing. It can also stop your roof from warping and can control the growth of algae and mold.
5. Make Repairs as Quickly as Possible
While a single missing shingle, tile or slate might not seem like a big deal, failure to treat problems when they’re small can lead to far more severe issues in the future. Repair shingles as soon as possible to avoid roof or ceiling damage.
Completing smaller repairs quickly can also make a huge difference in your roof’s health. Monitor leaks and seal any cracked mortar or caulking. Particularly check any caulking around chimneys and other commonly used areas.
Contact TEC for Your Roofing Installation and Repair Needs
Choosing the right roofing contractor is essential to give you peace of mind both during and after your roof’s installation. If you believe your roof has been installed incorrectly, or if you want to ensure you receive a high-quality roof installation the first time around, turn to TEC to help you get the job done right.
TEC is a licensed and manufacturer-certified roofing company headquartered in Lancaster, Pa. We offer roofing repair and replacement services throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts. We’re proud of the testimonials we’ve earned through our thorough, fully-certified installations and our commitment to quality customer care. Contact us today for a free estimate, and discover why so many homeowners entrust us with the safety and value of their homes.
HOW A ROOF IS INSTALLED
HOW EXTERIOR CONTRACTORS AVOID COMMON COMPLAINTS
We’ll cover the following topics in our blog post on how exterior contractors avoid common complaints.
- The Most Frequent Complaints About Exterior Contractors
- How Homeowners Can Find A Great Contractor
- Excellent Roofing Contractors Meet and Exceed Expectations
- The Benefit of Hiring A Great Exterior Contracting Company
Some people have successful experiences when they hire a roofer or other exterior contractor. But other customers report that their experience quickly became a nightmare. Why such a stark difference?
Unhappy customers often cite the same complaints about contractors over and over again. “They don’t show up when they promised to.” “There were hidden costs.” “They didn’t finish the work on time.” “They left a huge mess.” “They don’t return our calls.” But the worst grievance is almost certainly: “The work was sub-par.”
You might think the difference between an excellent home-improvement contractor and a poor one is the way they handle complaints like these. But the truth is, great roofing contractors and great exterior contracting companies don’t hear many complaints to begin with.That’s because they provide superior service simply as a matter of course. These home improvement contractor complaints never come up in the first place.
Excellent customer service focuses on preventing customer problems before they happen.
THE MOST FREQUENT COMPLAINTS ABOUT EXTERIOR CONTRACTORS
Let’s look at each of the common complaints we listed above and see how excellent roofing and exterior contractors head them off by meeting or exceeding expectations.
Complaint 1: “They don’t show up on time.”
Some contractors habitually show up late and provide no explanation. This is a classic case of failing to meet expectations.Expectations about the day and time the team will arrive are usually set by the contractor, not the customer. Great contractors set realistic arrival times that factor in traffic, weather and road conditions as much as possible.
Occasionally, something unexpected happens — such as equipment breaking down — that causes a contractor to be late. The best contractors immediately call the customer to explain the problem and provide a new estimated arrival time. Customers appreciate that the contractor cares enough to keep them updated, causing less disappointment and frustration.
Complaint 2: “There were all kinds of hidden costs.”
This complaint is not about the price of the work — it’s about how the customer was treated throughout the process.
The entire relationship between the customer and the provider of goods or services can last for many years. In a McKinsey study about the front-end of the customer journey, the buying experience — that is, how customers felt about the experience — was shaped not by price or quality, but instead by how the customers were treated. If the experience became negative, more than 70% pulled back from using the service. If it was positive, more than 85% of customers upped their interaction and purchasing power.
Although we seem to be discussing monetary costs here, we’re really talking about expectations again. Nothing establishes expectations like a price quote. When all the predictable costs aren’t included up front, customers feel ambushed.
Great home-improvement contractors understand that customers demand and deserve “full disclosure.”
These contractors tend to:
Use written contracts:Great contractors will offer a written contract that details exactly what the contractor will do. It lists what materials will be used and at what price. It will also clearly explain how the payment schedule works. This kind of contract protects both the customer and the contractor.Customers will give more leeway to contractors who provide a total cost estimate in writing.
Create written change orders: During a project, scope and resource requirements can change. Document this with a change order. The more clearly and fully the change and its impact on costs and completion schedule are spelled out, the greater protection both parties enjoy.
Following these techniques changes the conversation from price to agreed-upon expectations. That’s exactly what a good contractor should do to guide customers through the exterior renovation process.
Complaint 3: “They didn’t finish the work on time.”
Great contractors don’t make promises they can’t keep — including unrealistic completion dates.
Sometimes a project can’t be finished according to schedule because the weather isn’t cooperating or because a key supplier didn’t come through on time or because of any number of other problems beyond the contractor’s ability to solve immediately.
If the contractor has been transparent and has built a foundation of trust with the customer throughout the process by communicating openly and setting expectations, customers are more likely to be understanding when “circumstances out of their control” do happen.This is especially true if they are notified and can plan for a new and agreed-upon timeline.
Complaint 4: “They left a big mess.”
Excellent exterior contractors and interior contractors clean up all materials at the end of each workday. Good cleanup is so important in pleasing customers that it should be discussed in the written agreement between customer and contractor. Here are some points to include in the contract:
The work site must be cleaned daily.
Dirt, dust, scraps and debris must be removed.
Tools should be stored safely in a space designated by the owner.
All materials should be stored neatly and out of the way.
Any top contractor should have a similar cleanup clause in the contract, or if not, will be happy to include them.
Complaint 5: “They don’t communicate.”
Communication is necessary in any business relationship, but effective communication in construction settings is especially important. Poor or no communication at the worksite can cause costly delays and serious injuries. Not being on the same page with the homeowner when discussing schedules and budgets can result in frustrated and furious customers who may hold up payment and even take the contractor to court.
Great home improvement contractors realize that even short of those extreme outcomes, poor communication with the customer can simply drive business away. They also understand that real communication can’t happen when one person doesn’t believe what the other person is saying.
The first meeting with the customer is crucial. Great contractors:
Behave in a friendly and open manner: They answer all the customer’s questions honestly, fully, and without hesitation.
Don’t use industry jargon: Technical terms make the message and the job hard to understand. Industry jargon may also come across to the customer as arrogance or an attempt to intimidate.
Offer transparency: Customers should feel that they know exactly what is going on in the project at all times. There should be no surprises.
Perhaps most importantly, great contractors are active listeners. When the customer says something the contractor isn’t sure they understand, the contractor asks questions. Then, the contractor paraphrases the concern back to the customer: “I think you’re saying that you’re worried about how long asphalt shingles might last in this climate. You want to hear more about metal roofs. Is that right?”
Complaint 6: “The work is sub-par.”
Of course, this is the worst complaint of all — but it’s not one that great contractors have to deal with much because they rarely hear it. That’s because these elite organizations create a culture that fosters the finest craftsmanship along with five-star service.
So far, we’ve talked about the “hows” of avoiding contractor customer complaints and we’ve described specific actions that the best contractors take to make sure they meet or exceed expectations. But no organization can consistently outperform expectations without a culture that demands, facilitates and rewards sustained high performance from each and every employee.
The best contractors succeed because they have built a company culture that rewards excellence. The first interaction with any customer is the easiest, but if you don’t over-deliver on that first interaction to impress the client, any continued work will be a wasted effort.
The best contractors really believe that the quality their team delivers is their most important asset. Great contractors understand that their employees are on the front lines and create profit — not cost — and act accordingly.
HOW HOMEOWNERS CAN FIND A GREAT CONTRACTOR
It’s important for homeowners to do their due diligence when selecting an exterior contractor. It takes time and effort — but after all, the beauty and safety of their home are at stake. The best way for them to do this is to interview several contractors and ask them lots of questions:
• Are you licensed? They won’t want to do business with anyone who isn’t.
• Do you carry general liability insurance? This insurance will protect them if the contractor damages property in any way.
• Do you use day laborers for your installations? If the contractor does, they probably can’t vouch for the employees the way somebody who uses only full-time employees can.
• Do you guarantee your work? Customers shouldn’t settle for just a “yes.” They need to understand exactly what’s being guaranteed and for how long. Hearing this guarantee or knowing a contractor can guarantee work for at least 10 years is a huge benefit.
• Will you provide written references? Make sure you have recent references.
• What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business? The more the better.
• How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year? Again, the more the better.
As a contractor, you can improve your chances of being hired for a job and keeping a client if you answer these questions patiently, and thoroughly, or offer the information before the homeowner even thinks to ask.
EXCELLENT ROOFING CONTRACTORS MEET AND EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
Top companies understand that complaints come about when customers’ expectations aren’t being met. These contractors prevent complaints by listening carefully to customers and giving them what they want, plus a little more whenever possible. In fact, it’s the “little more” that often distinguishes the best home improvement contractors from the rest.
Customer satisfaction means finding out what customers expect and then providing it. This is absolutely necessary to build and maintain your customer base. While necessary, it’s not always sufficient. Satisfactory performance is not the same as exemplary performance. Satisfaction doesn’t mean a guarantee that someone will continue their business relationship with you, especially if a family member or colleague were to make another suggestion.
Great contractors go to great lengths to understand and meet customer expectations and to exceed them whenever possible. Our president, Ryan Hoke, firmly believes that customers should expect superior experience from an exterior contractor in terms of craftsmanship, materials and services.
THE BENEFIT OF HIRING A GREAT EXTERIOR CONTRACTING COMPANY
Exceptional exterior contractors are recognized for excellence in several other ways, such as through partnerships, industry ratings and testimonials:
• Suppliers: Manufacturers reward the best of the best by guaranteeing not only the quality of the products but also the craftsmanship of the contractors who install them. We’re proud to say that TEC has achieved that “bonded” status with shingle manufacturers GAF and Owens Corning. Only 3% of roofing contractors in the United States have been awarded GAF’s Master Elite Status and only 1% have qualified as Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors.
• Industry Recognition: GuildQuality is a customer survey organization that serves only remodelers, home builders, and home improvement contractors. Through scientific polling, it allows contractors to “see themselves through their customers’ eyes.” Great contractors have strong GuildQuality ratings. We’re proud to report that TEC currently has a 93% GuildQuality rating.
• Testimonials: You’ll find a large selection of TEC testimonials on our website. We’re proud of all of them, but we’re proudest of those that tell us we’ve exceeded customer expectations. Here’s one of those: “I couldn’t be any happier with The Exterior Company. My wife and I have always dreaded home improvements, but needless to say, your company’s customer service and professionalism made our experience one-of-a-kind!”
Our culture was built on the premise that if we keep the focus on our team and our service, we’ll build a great home improvement company and customer experience in the process. Here’s how we do it:
• We bring on only driven, team-oriented, skilled individuals who like to work hard.
• We continuously train our staff on the latest materials, methods and ways to connect with customers.
• Our labor crew has a base pay of 10% to 15% more than the competition.
• All our employees have milestones to achieve both for their own development and the company’s progress. As they reach these milestones, they’re rewarded both in compensation and in perks. We have given our best employees everything from iPhones to group Las Vegas trips.
We hope this article has helped you understand how great roofing and exterior contractors avoid common complaints and exceed customer expectations. We also hope it has encouraged you to consider TEC for your roofing and other exterior home improvement needs. Please contact us today for a free quote.
7 Signs Your Roofing Company Has No Idea What Its Doing
We’ll cover the following topics in this blog post on seven signs your roofing company has no idea what it’s doing.
Seven Signs That Your Roof Has Been Poorly Installed
- The Roofing Isn’t Uniform
- The Underlayment Is Missing
- Missing Drip Edges
- The Fasteners Are Wrong or Improperly Applied
- The Roof Is Plagued With Black Stains
- Singles Are Missing on the Roof
- Poorly Installed Piping
Seven Questions to Ask Roofing Contractors
- What is the legal name of your business?
- What level of roofing insurance do you carry?
- Who will oversee the installation of my roof?
- Can you send me an estimate in the mail?
- How much will the roofing cost per square foot?
- Could I get a layover rather than a full roof replacement?
- Does the roof estimator need to inspect my attic?
The roofing skillset requires finely-tuned attention to detail. As anyone with roofing training would know, you need to put each shingle in its proper place with the right fasteners. Before any of this begins, the person you initially speak with must have the contractor skills necessary to accurately evaluate the problem with your current roof and determine the best solution.
With all the complexities that the field entails, the roofing contractor skillset requires a list of certain credentials. If the individual evaluating your roof lacks prior roofing skills or contractor training, you could be in for quite a rip-off. To avoid the seven most common problems with poorly-installed roofs, you need to ask each contractor the seven most important roofing questions.
Seven Signs That Your Roof Has Been Poorly Installed
1. The Roofing Isn’t Uniform
From an aesthetic standpoint, one of the signs of a properly-installed roof is symmetry. The shingles or shakes should be evenly applied and aligned across all the angles of a roof. Furthermore, the shingles or shakes should match, regardless of the design.
On some roofs, you can tell with the naked eye that the shingles are not properly applied. It could be a case where the shingles on one side are not evenly aligned to the shingles on the other side. You may also find that certain shingles don’t match with the rest. The color of the shingles might differ on a partially-replaced roof, but a brand-new roof — or any roof, for that matter — should never show design or alignment inconsistencies.
2. The Underlayment Is Missing
Nothing lets you know it’s time for a new roof like a leak in your living quarters. When leaks do occur, there is a good chance the underlayment has deteriorated in at least one spot along the roof. Underlayment acts as a protective barrier between the sheathing and the shingles to water out.
However, some homeowners spot leaks just weeks after the installation of a new roof. If a newly-applied roof immediately fails to block out water, chances are good the underlayment has either been poorly-applied or is missing altogether. Underlayment makes all the difference between a roof that lasts for years and a roof that fails instantly.
In fact, a one-year-old roof without underlayment could easily resemble a dilapidated roof installed a half-century ago.
3. Missing Drip Edges
When it comes to the flow and drainage of water off your rooftop, the drip edge is second in importance only to the underlayment. Drip edges are metal sheets that are placed between the shingles and underlayment along the roof edges and extending out above the gutter. When it rains, the drip edges prevent water from lingering on your roof.
If a roofing contractor fails to install drip edges, the problem could quickly become apparent during a rainy season. With no drip edges, rain is liable to creep into the foundations of the roof along the edges and lead to stains and eventually mold and rot. With nothing to guide rain off the roof, the rain could drain improperly and leak into the basement.
4. The Fasteners Are Wrong or Improperly Applied
Though it might seem like a minor detail, the type of fasteners used in a roofing project can make or break the finished roof. Installers need to use a particular type of nail. Furthermore, each nail must be properly spaced. The necessary type of fastener is determined during the pre-inspection when the contractor develops a roofing plan.
If a roof is applied with the wrong type of fasteners, or if the fasteners are unevenly applied, that roof is likely to come apart in certain areas in a matter of months. Due to the consequential nature of fasteners in roofing projects, county and city building codes have specific policies regarding attachment methods.
5. The Roof Is Plagued With Black Stains
If there is one thing that should never appear on a shingled roof that has been in place for under 15 years, it’s the presence of stains. Black stains on a rooftop are a key indicator that water is leaking through the roof. If you see these kinds of stains years shy of a roof’s life expectancy, the roof was likely not installed by skilled hands.
The leaks that cause black stains on a roof can stem from several sources, such as missing underlayment, drip edges or chipped shingles. If you had a new roof installed just months ago and black stains have already appeared after a rainy season, the stains are probably due to a poor installation.
6. Shingles Are Missing on the Roof
When a roof is missing shingles, you can tell that the roof is due for a replacement. When shingles are missing from a recently-installed roof, you know you have a poor roofing job on your hands. Simply put, there is no excuse for missing shingles.
If you come home from work one evening and suddenly notice that a shingle or two is missing from your six-week-old roof, report the matter immediately to the contractor. The installer may have improperly-chosen or poorly-applied the fasteners. Regardless, there is no excuse for shedding shingles on a new roof.
7. Poorly-Installed Piping
The ventilation pipe that extends between your attic and drainage cleanout needs to be the right length to do its job properly. If the plumbing pipe is ill-fitted, it can degrade the quality of insulation within your home. Consequently, you might notice the air inside becoming less comforting with poorly chosen pipes.
If the ventilation pipe gets damaged during installation, it might end up venting vapor and toxins directly into your attic. As this happens, damage could gradually incur along the ceiling and roof deck. Moisture could even end up seeping into the floors below.
Seven Questions to Ask Roofing Contractors
Now that you have a better understanding of what to look out for when it comes to sub-par craftsmanship, here are the most important questions you can ask a contractor to secure peace of mind and top-tier work.
1. What is the legal name of your business?
With so many scammers on the roofing market today, homeowners are getting duped left and right by companies that can easily misrepresent themselves. Many of these roofers advertise on Craigslist and even lesser-moderated online forums. All of these companies are out to take advantage of one thing: homeowners who know little about roofing and therefore don’t know any better — i.e. the average homeowner.
When you ask a roofing contractor for the legal name of his company, never accept any answer that is either hesitant or vague. The contractor should happily reveal the name under which his company is currently licensed. If the company is filed as an LLC but doesn’t include that suffix in advertisements, he should be clear on that as well.
The name and information you gather should all check out when you search for the company with the Better Business Bureau. Furthermore, the contractor should enthusiastically invite you to look up his company on Google to see all the good reviews his company has received from past clients.
2. What level of roofing insurance do you carry?
Insurance requirements vary from state to state, but roofers are required to have liability policies between $500,000 and $1,000,000. If the roofing company is uninsured, you could be stuck with repair bills if the roof workers damage any portion of your house. Likewise, if a roofer gets injured on the job, you could be stuck covering their medical bills if the company lacks proper insurance.
When you ask about a roofing company’s level of insurance, have them give you an exact number. This number should be easy to verify when you look up the company’s licensing info on the official website of your state.
If you phrase the question vaguely and simply ask whether they have insurance, they could easily lie and say “yes,” whereas it’s harder for them to lie about a specific level or dollar amount. Remember, only accept specific and confident answers. If the contractor hesitates, look elsewhere.
3. Who will oversee the installation of my roof?
Generally speaking, the roofing contractor should be onsite at all times to oversee the installation of your roof. If he cannot be present during a particular shift due to other commitments, a designated project manager should be present to supervise the project. Roofing companies that run two or more projects simultaneously should have a project management team.
When you speak to a roofing contractor, simply ask who will be present during every shift to supervise the installation. Do not accept any answer along the lines of, “We don’t use supervisors because our installers are skilled enough as it is without guidance.”
While you should never settle for anything less than the most skilled team of installers, no roofing crew, no matter how skilled, should be sent out on a job without supervision. The roofing trade is too complex to go unsupervised because even the slightest miscalculation could set an entire project off-course.
4. Could you send me an estimate in the mail?
This is a trick question. If the contractor refuses, he passes the test. No legitimate roofing contractor sends estimates in the mail. A legit contractor will hand you the estimate in person after he’s examined your roof and gathered all the necessary information. Only then will he know enough details about your roofing needs to develop an accurate estimate.
When a roofing company does mail an estimate, it’s typically by request from a prospective customer who wants to compare prices, but this is not a savvy tactic. The contractor should respond to your request by saying, “No — I’ll need to inspect your roof and attic first,” or “No, you’ll need to decide on your preferred material so we can work that into the estimate.”
5. How much will the roofing cost per square foot?
When you ask this question, the contractor should not simply throw out a figure. Instead, the contractor should collect enough information to determine the cost from a holistic perspective.
Various factors influence the price of a roof, such as the size and design of the roof, the style of shingles, the type of wood, the number of pre-existing layers, the condition of the decking and the age of the house. No accurate price can rest on just one variable. Other factors could set that figure way off.
Some contractors give a small price that fails to take into account various details of a given roof. When the extra costs become apparent, the company cuts corners to honor the initial price. In worst-case scenarios, the company will have already gone under by the time the customer tries to file a warranty claim.
As a rule of thumb, any contractor who offers a one-track price, as opposed to a holistic price, is likely uneducated.
6. Could I get a layover rather than a full roof replacement?
This is another trick question that is designed to test the ethics of a roofing company. While any company could technically apply a new layer of shingles directly over a current dilapidated set, this isn’t a sensible practice for various reasons.
Consider the reasons why your roof needs a replacement. Are the shingles worn due to age, water, mold, or moss growth? With problems like those, you need the current roofing removed and replaced. If you simply cover up the aged roof, the existing problems will still fester underneath and hasten the deterioration of your new shingles.
Another factor to consider is the weight of shingles, which average 350 pounds per square 100 feet. When you multiply the total number of squares, this second layer of shingles could amount to an extra 6,000 pounds on top of your house. If you live in an area that’s prone to snowy winters, the buildup could sink your 12,000-pound, double-layer roof.
Given all the inherent problems with layovers, no ethical roofing contractor will simply agree to install a layover — unless that contractor happens to be out for a quick profit. Instead, the contractor should tell you about the dangers of layovers and suggest instead that you opt for an entirely new roof.
7. Does the roof estimator need to inspect my attic?
In recent years, roofing estimates have become a more complex process that now involves attic inspections. The reason for this is simple: You cannot make an accurate estimate based on observations of the exterior roof alone.
Even if the decay is obvious from the outside due to mold, moss or lichen, contractors can more accurately determine your needs by examining your roof both internally and externally. Anything less thorough could result in numerous surprise charges as the project commences.
If you don’t have an attic, it’s still important for exterior contractor teams to inspect the ceilings in your living quarters for signs of moisture stains, cracks and other possible forms of roof decay. In any case, never trust a contractor who responds by saying, “No, all we’ll need to see is the exterior.”
The Exterior Company, Inc. Is the Most Trusted Name in PA Roofing
In the counties of York and Lancaster in Pennsylvania, homeowners turn to The Exterior Company for all of their roofing needs. Our thoroughly-trained, licensed and code-compliant team has earned the loyalty of residents throughout the areas we serve by offering superior roofing, siding and gutter work. Contact TEC for a free estimate for your next roofing project
WHAT TO DO WHEN FACED WITH WATER DAMAGE: BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER
Flooding is one of the most severe forms of damage that can befall your property. The results of water damage, if not mitigated, are lingering and can creep up on you with devastating consequences to your home or business. Water damage must be taken very seriously and acted upon as soon as possible to minimize costly repairs.
The obvious effects of flooding are immediate and easy to spot, such as soaked carpeting and upholstery, damaged electronics and displaced possessions. The hidden aftereffects can be overlooked and are nothing short of disastrous. They include:
Structural Damage: Structural damage to the supporting members of your walls and floors can occur, which requires significant construction to fix.
Toxic Mold: Toxic mold can grow inside of enclosed spaces where moisture cannot escape, such as within your walls. This creates a health risk and may become costly if not immediately addressed.
Electrical Issues: The electrical circuits inside your walls can become compromised and put you at risk for short circuits, which could cause fires.
Soft Drywall: The drywall around your rooms can become soggy, damaging the aesthetics of your property, as well as affecting its security and durability.
Aside from being very costly to eliminate, structural damage and mold are two long-term effects that produce severe health and safety hazards to you, your family, your employees or your customers.
It is essential to both prepare for flooding by taking the appropriate preventative measures and with a swift restorative response after water damage has occurred. If you overlook these critical actions, you could be putting people’s health and safety at risk.
THE THREE TIERS OF WATER DAMAGE
Floodwater can originate from a variety of sources, which are broken up into three general categories:
Category 1 Water: This is relatively clean water that usually comes from a broken supply pipe. It does not inherently pose a significant health risk. Category 1 Water can still cause damage to your property through the methods mentioned above, but it will not make people sick upon contact.
Category 2 Water: This water is known as gray water and is not something people should be exposed to. Category 2 Water contains moderate concentrations of chemical, biological or other contaminants, which can adversely affect people’s health. This water may come from toilet bowls, dishwashers, washing machines or pipes.
Category 3 Water: This water contains toxins or harmful organisms in significant concentration and should be avoided at all costs. Exposure to Category 3 Water can cause severe illness. Examples of Category 3 Water include raw sewage, standing floodwaters and ocean water.
Water damage can also occur when your roof develops a leak. This rainwater will not be as damaging as water that contains harmful chemicals, but it can still cause significant amounts of water damage to carpet, hardwood flooring or anything else that happens to be underneath the leak. If you notice this type of damage in your home, don’t wait — call a professional right away to repair the leak.
HOW TO PREVENT WATER DAMAGE BEFORE IT OCCURS
If you want to avoid costly repairs, you need to take advantage of some useful tips for preventing water damage. Here are 13 tips ways you can avoid flood damage in the first place.
1. Get a Generator
Buy a new generator or schedule a maintenance check for your existing generator if you haven’t already done so. During catastrophic flooding emergencies such as hurricanes, the power grid may be knocked off-line for several days or even weeks. It’s also possible for water to short out your home’s entire electrical system. Having your own generator will allow you to keep your lights on and appliances running while the normal power feed is unavailable.
When buying a new generator, always consult with a professional. You need to take several hazards into account for the safety of you, your family or your patrons.
In a flooding situation, there will be standing water, so it’s always a good idea to use ground fault circuit interrupters to protect against short circuits and possible electrocution. Never route extension cords through standing water.
Also remember that generators exhaust carbon monoxide, which is deadly to humans. You never want to place a running generator inside an enclosed space without proper ventilation, as it can be detrimental to your health.
2. Be Prepared to Innovate
Be sure to have spare tarps, plywood, nails, hammers, shovels and sandbags on hand. Even if you don’t feel like a handy person, you’d be surprised what you’re capable of when the situation calls for it. Just remember, water runs downhill and can’t penetrate most solid objects.
It’s useful to have these items on hand so you can divert floodwaters away from areas you wish to keep dry. You can also use plywood to board up your windows and prevent pressure swings from breaking the glass.
3. Have an Escape Plan
When catastrophic flooding emergencies strike, things often get very chaotic, and people can become confused or panicked. It’s good to have escape routes already planned out before the situation escalates. Everyone in your home or business should know the best routes of egress from every possible location on your property.
It is good practice to specify a single gathering point on high ground in a safe area. Here, everyone can meet, and you can take a head count. This ensures you know everyone is safe and that no one is still in harm’s way. If someone does not arrive at the muster point, you can alert authorities of a missing person more quickly.
4. Store Essential Items in High Places
Move critical equipment to elevated places and be wary of storing valuable items in the basement — they’re the first rooms to flood. Generators, for example, should not be in the basement. There have been historical instances of hospitals staging their backup generators in the cellar and losing them to water damage during a hurricane, which meant critical care patients had to be airlifted from the roof.
Don’t leave valuable items susceptible to water damage in vulnerable areas. Seal important documentation, especially personal identification and insurance documents, in waterproof casings and store them up high. You might also want to consider elevating your desktop computer tower off the floor.
5. Keep Emergency Supplies Stocked
When major disasters strike, you might have to stretch resources dangerously thin, and help can become difficult to find. Store plenty of non-perishable food and clean, sealed drinking water stored in a safe location on your property. You should also have a complete first aid kit stocked with non-expired essential items. Store your first aid kit in an easily accessible water-safe location.
6. Maintain Plumbing Properly
Your toilets all connect to the city sewer, your cesspool or your septic tank. A back-flow from these pipes can be harmful to your property, which can be accessed and cleaned only by highly trained hazmat personnel.
This outcome is highly undesirable for any property owner. Remember, raw sewage is classified as Category 3 Water and poses a serious health risk to anyone who comes in contact with it — it’s a severe biohazard.
Have a plumber inspect your toilet outflows to make sure they’re all equipped with working back-flow preventing devices — not just elbows — known as check valves. It’s also smart to install an accessible manual valve you can shut off in the event of an over-pressurized sewer pipe.
7. Inspect Sump Pumps Annually
You should inspect all sump pumps and drains at least once a year. Make sure all gutters and downspouts are clear, especially in the fall. Sump pumps require yearly inspections and possibly an oil change to ensure they aren’t going to fail when you need them most.
A straightforward way to test sump pump operation is to fill the sump with water until the float switch engages. If the sump pump engages and pumps out the water, you know you have a working system. A more detailed mechanical inspection is desirable, but not always practical. If you don’t feel comfortable performing this type of preventative maintenance, hire a professional to inspect the pump for you.
8. Ensure Proper Grading
Proper grading, which prevents floods from occurring on your property, is not something you should have to concern yourself with — the engineer who built your property should have made sure of this. However, if the ground around your building is not sloped correctly, it could cause you a lot of trouble in terms of water damage.
You always want to make sure the ground is sloped away from the exterior walls of your house or building. A good rule of thumb is that it should be sloped down six inches for every 10-foot lateral span. An easy way to test for proper grading is to spray a garden hose and see which way the water drifts.
9. Dispose of Grease Properly
Everyone says this, but few people listen. You should never pour grease or oil down the drain. Pouring that frying pan full of bacon grease down the kitchen sink one morning might seem harmless, but habitual disposal of oil-based liquids down the drain will lead to clogged pipes and can cause water to back up. This is easy to avoid. Put used grease into a container and let it congeal in the refrigerator. Then, dispose of it in the trash.
10. Clean Your Gutters Regularly
If you live in a temperate climate with a beautiful autumn, you know what it’s like to clean gutters — or at least have someone in mind to hire for the job. Leaves, pine needles and birds’ nests are all common objects that will impede the flow of rainwater from your roof into the downspouts. The resulting consequence will be water leaching into your walls as it drips down the side of your house or building.
If you begin cleaning your gutters only to realize that they’re damaged and need to be replaced, don’t hesitate — it’s not the kind of problem you want to let go. Instead, commit to fixing it before it causes trouble for you. If you’re in need of a gutter replacement, contact the Exterior Company right away.
11. Keep an Eye Out for Roof Leaks
While roof leaks might not exactly qualify as a source of flood water, they’re still very capable of causing some serious water damage. If the leak is in a part of the house you don’t use very often, you might not even notice it before a hefty amount of water damage has occurred. When you notice your roof is leaking, don’t wait. Make the necessary repairs immediately before the damage gets any worse.
12. Watch Your Water Bill
If you pay for metered water city-water, you should always keep an eye on your water bill for anomalies. Higher-than-usual consumption could mean you have a water leak somewhere. A leaking pipe could be slowly oozing into a void space in your wall, gradually building up pressure, or it could be soaking into your drywall. Even worse, it could be saturating your wooden beams or joists.
13. Plant Trees Carefully
Be careful of where you plant trees and what types of trees you plant. Some tree species have very aggressive roots, like weeping willow trees. In fact, tree roots are one of the most common causes of pipe failure on residential properties. As the roots grow, they can wrap around underground piping and slowly crush the pipe until it fails.
WHAT TO DO WHEN FLOODING IS INEVITABLE
Sometimes Mother Nature is so determined to take her course she doesn’t care if your house is in the way. Other times, mechanical failures cause water to gush into your property, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Once flooding is inevitable, there are some flood control methods you should exercise. Take the following steps:
• Try to isolate the flow of water by closing the appropriate valve. If you can’t stop water flow, contact a plumber immediately.
• If you can, keep the indoor temperature below 70 degrees. This helps to prevent microbial growth.
• Put foil or plastic below the legs of your furniture to stop rust or furniture stains from forming on your flooring.
• Shut off the electricity to any affected rooms. If water compromises the breaker panels themselves, do not attempt to operate them.
• Place draperies on coat hangers and hang them on the rod to avoid water circles.
• Be careful on wet, slippery floors.
• Take items off the floor in affected closets.
• Remove any wet rugs.
• Don’t use a household vacuum, as this may cause an electrical shock.
• Try not to walk on wet carpeting, as this may spread water throughout the house.
If you are experiencing a sewage back-flow, the situation takes on an elevated level of severity. Remember, raw sewage is Category 3 Water, which poses a serious danger to human health. If possible, take the following steps:
• Avoid the affected area until decontamination is complete.
• Put on rubber gloves if you absolutely need to touch contaminated materials.
• Leave the area until the cleanup and decontamination process is finished.
RECOVERING FROM FLOOD DAMAGE
If flood damage has befallen your property, act quickly to ensure its more insidious aftereffects do not begin to take hold. Mold can start to grow as soon as 48 to 72 hours after the flood damage has occurred. If standing water remains inside an enclosed space, it may seep into your walls or wooden structural members, causing drywall rot and structural damage to your home.
While you’re recovering from flood damage, take the following steps:
Notify Your Insurance Company: The first thing you should do is take pictures of the damage and call your insurance company. You’ll want to be in contact with your insurance adjuster before making any significant changes to your property. The last thing you want to do is violate some unknown term of your insurance plan, then get stuck with the bill. Traveler’s Insurance offers a helpful checklist of things to do before, during and after a flood.
Remove the Standing Water: If the amount of water is small, you can use a standard industrial wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner to accomplish this task. However, if the volume of water is more significant, you’ll need to buy a portable sump pump from a local hardware store. These are relatively inexpensive — anywhere from $100 to $600 — and will be suitable for most de-watering jobs.
Avoid Electrical Appliances: Do not operate an electric vacuum cleaner or pump from a wall outlet if there is standing water in your house. If you are powering your equipment with an external generator, make sure to route all extension cords across dry surfaces and use ground fault circuit interrupters to protect yourself from short circuits.
Wear Protective Equipment: It is essential to keep in mind that standing water is usually quite toxic, especially when it’s part of a more extensive floodwater system. Biological growth makes floodwaters very hazardous to human health. Toxins, diseases and even flesh-eating bacteria can be found in such waters. Always wear adequate personal protective equipment, such as rubber boots, gloves and even a mask or respirator. Keep children and pets away from standing floodwater. Even if the water is clear and has not come from a larger body of floodwater, you should still assume it’s not safe for contact and wear personal protective equipment anyway.
Dehumidify the Air: Ventilation is crucial immediately following a flooding incident. You want to dehumidify the air inside of your property as much as possible. The best way to do this is with good circulation. If you can, buy fans made for this purpose. It’s better to blow the air out of your doorways and windows than through your ductwork because too much moisture flowing through your ventilation ducts can initiate the onset of mold growth. If mold has begun to grow in your ducts, stop ventilating through them. This will cause the spores to spread into other areas of your house.
Eliminate Anything Wet: As discussed by HouseLogic, you will need to remove all wet contents immediately to prevent the growth of mold. This includes carpeting, betting, upholstered furniture and anything else that has absorbed water. If an item has been wet for less than 48 hours, a professional cleaner may be able to salvage it. However, this is not cheap, so it’s wise to consider whether it’s worth it to have these items cleaned and dried. Large pieces of furniture, such as couches, are difficult to dry and should probably just be thrown away.
WHAT TO DO IF MOLD CONTAMINATION HAS BEGUN
It is possible to prevent the growth of mold on surfaces by using a non-ammonia-based surface cleaner or pine oil with 10% bleach — do not mix bleach and ammonia, as this produces a toxic and deadly gas.
However, if mold has already contaminated your home or business establishment, take the following steps:
• Block off the area until a qualified professional can inspect it.
• Call a restoration company as soon as possible to evaluate the suspected growth.
• Do not disturb the mold growth — this may release spores into to them and spread them throughout the house.
• Do not use fans or other equipment to direct air toward the growth, as it may cause it to become airborne, as well.
• Do not try to clean up mold without proper training, as this can worsen the contamination worse and negatively impact your health.
• Once you’ve determined the degree of contamination, your mitigation specialists will develop a plan to remove the mold and decontaminate the area safely.
GETTING PROFESSIONAL HELP
If your home or business has suffered water damage, you shouldn’t leave the long-term outcome up to fate. The Exterior Company has years of experience in helping you restore your home’s exterior, and we have all the tools and expertise necessary to ensure your property is restored completely and cost-effectively. We are also your go-to source for gutter replacement and installation in the area.
If you have any questions about water damage recovery or are interested in roofing and other exterior improvement services, don’t hesitate to contact The Exterior Company for more information.
TEC CASE STUDY
To learn more about the TEC family and the dynamic we share please check out our feature below:
THE EXTERIOR COMPANY’S COLLABORATION WITH JAARS
JAARS is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the lives and communities of people in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. By sharing God’s Word and providing Scripture to people around the world, JAARS’s missionaries, volunteers and several employees provide Bible translations in the language people understand best — their heart language. JAARS works with prayer, financial and language development partners in the U.S. to make their missions possible.
How JAARS Makes a Difference
In some of the most problematic and remote places on Earth, JAARS accomplishes Bible translations and language development. Through transportation, technology, media and training, the organization enables sustainable solutions to support their overall goal.
The objective is to help people in certain areas get practical support to translate the Bible for others in their community. JAARS researches solutions they will need, including the right technology, the best way to travel and how God’s Word can be shared to help people grow. Once they devise a plan, JAARS connects an individual to a translation organization and to people who can make the project a reality.
Spreading God’s Word
Third World countries often experience natural disasters that leave people stranded on small islands surrounded by flooded roads. Sometimes villages are only accessible by helicopter transportation. Communities without God’s Word are often found in the most problematic places to reach, but that doesn’t stop JAARS. They adapt to different complications and vulnerabilities to ensure translation spreads. JAARS helps communities via land, water and air transportation.
About Bible Translations
JAARS believes Bible translation in people’s native language is an excellent resource for knowing God. When people can read the Bible in their own language, His Word can speak to not only their minds, but also their hearts. JAARS has faith that the Bible, different languages and all communities are important no matter where in the world.
How The Exterior Company Is Involved
The Exterior Company is making a monetary donation to a JAARS pilot and family, allowing the non-profit organization to provide appropriate materials to communities in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Materials can include things such as equipment, transportation, technology and supplies to share translations.
How You Can Help
We encourage you to visit the non-profit organization’s website to learn more about how you can get involved. JAARS offers open positions to Godly people in jobs such as project management, writing and editing, fundraising and even aviation mechanics. You can contact JAARS for more information and to learn how you can help spread God’s Word.
GUTTER REPLACEMENT VS. GUTTER REPAIR
We’ll cover the following topics in our blog post on gutter replacement vs repair.
- Do I Need My Gutters Repaired or Replaced?
- Gutter Problems That Can Be Rectified With Simple Repairs
- When Gutter Replacement Is Necessary: Problems That Are Too Big To Repair
Among most homeowners, gutters tend to be appreciated but seldom noticed. This can be problematic as time passes and seasons take their toll on the structural integrity of a gutter system. Even though steel and aluminum gutters can last for upwards of 25 years, and copper can last for up to 60 years, most homeowners only get this type of durability by engaging in timely, biannual maintenance, preferably during the winter and fall seasons.
With all that said, it’s important to know when a gutter problem can easily be rectified, and how to tell if you need new gutters altogether.
Do I Need My Gutters Repaired or Replaced?
The difference between gutter repair or replacement comes down to the extent of damage along a given gutter. If the problems are large and cover significant portions of the gutter, an all-out replacement of the gutter is your best bet. If, however, the problems are small and confined, the existing gutter can probably be retained for the time being with repair work on those troubled spots.
Gutter Problems That Can Be Rectified With Simple Repairs
Here are several situations where it just takes a simple repair to fix a gutter:
• The damage is confined to merely one or two areas of the gutter. When the problem spots are localized to just a couple of sections, replacements can be made to those particular areas without performing an overhaul on the whole gutter. For example, if the gutter mostly appears to be corrosion free, and there are no signs of mold or water buildup along the overall system except for this one small area, change out that section and leave the rest of the gutter in its current condition.
• The damage consists of merely a couple small holes or minor cracks. If the problem consists of a tiny hole here or a crack there, but everything else appears to be intact and functioning properly, clean the bad spots with alcohol and plug them with sealant. If the isolated holes or cracks are slightly larger, you might need to glue strips of metal flashing over the spots in question before applying the sealant.
• A leak is confined to one particular joint. If there appears to be a leak, however minor, along one of the seams or joints, the problem is likely due to looseness of said parts. The first-best way to rectify this problem is to check the tightness of the joint in question, and screw it tighter if necessary. If the leak still persists, change out that one joint. In cases where an isolated leak is particularly stubborn, the addition of sealant might be necessary to prevent the joint from leaking water for the foreseeable future.
• Some of the hangers appear to be loose. If the screws have loosened on the hangers, you could try tightening them, but in all likelihood, the screw holes will now be stripped. Therefore, the hangers will probably need to be realigned along the fascia, with new screws fastened in. First, however, new screw holes will need to formed with a drill to the fascia. If the hangers appear worn or bent, it’s best to change them out with new ones.
• A few small problems are found on copper gutters. The cost of copper gutter replacement is significantly higher than the price of a new steel or aluminum gutter. Therefore, the replacement option should only be used when all repair attempts have failed on a copper gutter. For instance, if you spot a crack along one small section of the copper, replace that section and leave the rest as is. Minor problems aside, copper gutters should be expected to last more than twice as long as other types of gutters.
When Gutter Replacement Is Necessary: Problems That Are Too Big to Repair
Here’s a look at when gutter problems go beyond the simple fix:
• The problem spots are everywhere. The most obvious sign that a gutter is beyond repair is when the entire length of the gutter tracks is riddled with problems. For example, if long cracks have formed along the bottom or sides of the gutter, the problem is probably way beyond anything sealant could fix. The same could be said about a gutter that has holes everywhere. If portions of the gutter show extensive corrosion, the only solution is an entirely new gutter.
• The hangers can’t be screwed tight. If attempts to tighten the hangers have failed, despite the drilling of new screw holes and realignment of the hangers, the problem could be due to the fascia board itself. When issues such as mold formation and water buildup arise in a gutter system, the problem will sometimes extend to the fascia board, where moldy water damage can render the wood too weak to bond with fasteners. Thankfully, most gutter repair pros will replace the fascia as part of their service.
• Sections of the gutter fail to bond. If gaps exist between sections of the gutter, and attempts at bonding the sections with sealant have failed to do the trick, it’s time for a new gutter. While you could simply replace your current gutter with something identical, this might not be so wise if gutter gaps have proven to be the Achilles’ heel of your gutter system. As an alternative, you might wish to consider a seamless gutter for your next installation.
• The gutter fails to pitch properly. When gutter water fails to flow in the proper direction, the gutter itself has lost its purpose. Simply put, no amount of simple repairs will rectify a situation where the water is improperly pitched. After all, a gutter that’s unable to drain the right way would be similar to a car without a motor. Therefore, when an old gutter fails to send water to where it’s supposed to, it’s time to have a new gutter installed on your house.
• Water damage is evident in the soil. In some cases, the gutter will be clear throughout, yet certain other parts of your property might show evidence of problems that could only stem from a faulty gutter system. For example, if the landscaping near certain downspouts has become messy and muddy, it could be down to an issue where the gutter is overflowing in too many of the wrong areas. A problem this big is best left in the hands of gutter replacement specialists.
• Dents have formed along the gutter. Accidents and freak occurrences sometimes happen, but a gutter is capable of withstanding only so much impact. You might accidentally lean a ladder too heavily against the gutter and cause a dent. Even worse, a tree could fall against the house and form a big crease on the gutter. If the gutter incurs a major dent, you’ll either need to replace the damaged portion, or perhaps the whole entire gutter if your current system is seamless.
• The basement shows evidence of gutter leakage. The downspouts of a gutter are designed to release roof water in manageable amounts. That way, the water enters the soil evenly without causing puddles or other buildups of water. When water leaks into the basement, chances are the gutter hasn’t done its job properly. If the leakage is strong and big puddles or water damage are found in the basement or crawlspace, the gutter has likely failed near one or more of the vents.
• Mold along the floors or walls of dark spaces. Mold materializes when water evaporates into surfaces. Just as with flooding, mold formations in the basement or crawlspace could be caused by an overabundance of water from certain downspouts. If mold growth is evident anywhere near the sections of a basement’s wall that are near the vents, chances are a similar problem has occurred to that of the flooding scenario. An even greater indicator is when the vents are adjacent to the downspouts.
• The foundation of a house becomes compromised. The flow of water can make or break a house. Everything about the design on the upper half of a typical house — from the slope of the eaves to the layout of gutters — is intended to direct rainwater down and away from the house itself. When water flows in the opposite direction, it can sink in beside and under the house and soften the foundation. In cases such as these, the problem is often due to a faulty gutter system that drains in the wrong direction.
• Standing water in the gutter. Gutters are built to gather water and pass it along to downspouts as part of an ongoing drainage cycle. The cycle is meant to perform fluidly each time rain occurs. When the water neither drains nor flows and puddles form along parts of the gutter, the problem is not that there’s too much rain, but that the gutter itself has failed. When the water fails to pass through properly, it could be an issue of clogged downspouts that need to be repaired. However, it’s often a case where the gutter is uneven due to weak fascia or bent and compromised gutter sections.
• The gutters hang outward from the side of the roof. Gutters are intended to stream water that drips from the eaves of roofs and neatly deliver that water to the soil below. The exact process is hard to fulfill, however, when the gutters are unable to stream water the right way. If the gutters are tilting outward, for instance, the water is liable to spill overboard rather than stream through the downspouts. On days of hard rain, this can be especially disastrous as the water spills upon decks, trimmings, potted plants and other features beside the house. In any case, a tilted gutter is incapable of working properly.
• Puddles and mold growth along the side of a home. When puddles form to close to a house, they can pose a threat to the home’s structural integrity. Therefore, gutters are designed to stop these close puddles from forming in the first place. When puddles and mud pits form within inches of a house each time it rains, the gutter has failed to function properly. Likewise, if mold forms along the façade of a house, the drainage function hasn’t streamed as it should. Whether the problem is due to the gutters, downspouts, fascia or hangers, the whole system likely needs to be replaced.
• Paint peels, wood corrodes or rust forms along the outer walls of a home. To a reasonable degree, the structure and paintjob on a house are made to withstand the elements. However, walls are not intended to deal directly with a constant stream of downpour and splashes — it’s the job of the gutter to keep those factors out of the way. When walls endure the direct impact of downpour or, even worse, concentrated guttural drainage, the problem can diminish the home’s overall value. In any case, bent or tilted gutters are likely at fault when walls endure undue amounts of rain exposure.
• Rust forms along the gutters. Despite its ability to withstand most other elements, metal falls prey to rust in a manner that belies the strength of metal surfaces. Rust in a gutter is caused by standing water and moisture, and it begins to corrode the metal. As corrosion intensifies, holes can form like Swiss cheese across vast stretches of a gutter. For obvious reasons, a gutter with extensive rust formation is beyond salvageable.
• Gaps appear between the gutter sections or the gutter and fascia board. If the connections that would normally hold a gutter system together have unraveled all around, simple repairs are unlikely to reverse the trend. For instance, if the fascia board is too compromised to properly support the hangers, a gap could form that would allow for overspill between the fascia and gutter. Likewise, if gaps appear along various connection points of the gutter, the best course of action would be to have the whole thing replaced.
• Fasteners from the gutter appear on the ground. One of the most obvious signs that a gutter is failing is when nails or screws from the gutter, hangers and fascia board show up on the ground below. If the fasteners have broken, it’s likely due to extensive corrosion along the metal parts of the gutter. Even if the fasteners are intact, the reason they fell loose is likely due to rust along the gutter or decay of the fascia. Once a gutter has fallen to this level of disarray, an all out gutter replacement is the only answer.
Get New Gutters Installed by The Exterior Company
By now, you probably know how to tell if you need gutters replaced. That said, gutter replacement is a job best handled by licensed professionals with extensive experience in roof-gutter projects of all types. For years, homeowners have relied on TEC for a vast range of roofing, siding and gutter-replacement projects. To learn more about what we can do for your home, contact us today.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST ROOFING CONTRACTOR FOR YOU
Like many of life’s tough decisions, finding the right roofing contractor can be overwhelming. Purchasing a new roof or undergoing roof repairs is a significant financial investment. It’s a decision with many factors to consider. Most homeowners simply don’t have the knowledge that’s required to know when to repair or replace their roofs and what the best materials are.
That’s where choosing the right roofing contractor can make all the difference. The best roofing contractors are not only experienced and skilled in the craft of roofing, but they also have certain professional characteristics that distinguish them from the competition.
Because roofing is such a specialized skill, it’s easy for companies to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners who are desperate for roof repairs. The best roofing contractor for you is one who will take the time to inspect your roof, diagnose problems and make fair and reasonable recommendations that aren’t just about a quick cash grab. A good roofing contractor values their customers and knows that by providing excellent service, they’re earning repeat business and future referrals.
Factors to Look at When Choosing a Roofing Contractor
When choosing a roofing contractor, it’s important to do your homework. You want to look into the company’s background and their legitimacy. To avoid hiring a fly-by-night company or being tricked by storm chasers, you need to check off some standard criteria to make sure you’re working with a reputable organization.
Here are five points to look at when doing a routine background check on roofing contractors near you.
–Company history: The first thing to look at when choosing a roofing contractor is the company’s background. You’ll want to look at things like how long they’ve been in business, whether they have their own tradespeople or they hire subtrades and which siding manufacturers they’re suppliers of. It’s also important not to assume that a company isn’t qualified just because they’re new. How long a business has been around is just one indicator.
–Local operation: Once you’ve browsed the company’s website to get a better feel for their history, you’ll want to double-check that they serve your area. The best roofing contractor for you will be one who is familiar with your climate. Roofing contractors need to understand weather patterns and know which types of materials are best, based on possible roof damage during harsh winter conditions.
–Certifications: Did you know roofing contractors can be certified by the manufacturer of the products they install? Certain manufacturers of roofing products want to make sure that whoever is installing their products knows how to do it properly and professionally. Look for the certification Master Elite®, which indicates the manufacturer has certified that the contractor is licensed, insured and reputable.
–Guarantees: Reputable roofing contractors use reputable products that are backed up by manufacturers’ warranties. But a truly excellent roofing contractor will also have their own installation guarantee that ensures the long-term quality of their craftsmanship. When looking for roofing contractors near you, don’t forget to look into installer guarantees. These guarantees can tell you if the company stands behind their work.
–Licensing and insurance: If a contractor has a Master Elite® certification, you can be sure they’re professional and legitimate. Roofing contractors need adequate business licensing to operate in your area. They also need to comply with workers’ compensation and liability insurance. You want to make sure whoever is working on your roof is properly insured to avoid being liable if anything goes wrong.
These points are just part of your initial investigation. Before spending any further time researching a company, you want to make sure they meet these minimum requirements. A business’ history, location, certifications, and insurance coverage will tell you whether a company is even in the running. Once they’ve passed the sniff test, you can then move on to their overall standing with past and current customers.
7 Things All Satisfied Customers Say About Their Roofing Contractor
Any company worth their salt will be certified and insured. But to make sure you have an excellent customer experience, you need to see what others like you are saying. This is where customer reviews and testimonials can help highlight the stellar roofing contractors and weed out the average ones.
You can find reviews on places like Yelp, Google and Facebook, as well as published testimonials on the company’s website. By browsing through these platforms, you can learn more about what to expect based on the experiences of the company’s customers.
These indicators will good predictors of how your overall experience will be. If you’re wondering, “How can I find excellent roofing contractors near me?”, look for some specific and common indicators among customer testimonials and online reviews. Overall, the most satisfied customers for roofing contractors will give positive feedback in these seven areas:
1. Response time and schedule flexibility
2. Professional recommendations and advice
3. Product and materials knowledge
4. Help with insurance claims
5. Thoroughness of the job and attention to detail
6. Satisfaction with final product
7. Customer recommendations and referrals
Let’s look at each of these points in detail, so you know what to expect when dealing with a roofing company. We’ll also share some actual TEC customer reviews and recommendations. By looking at positive reviews from TEC customers, you’ll learn more about the high standards our roofing company sets when it comes to customer experience.
1. Response Time and Schedule Flexibility
From start to finish, you deserve to have a positive experience with a roofing company. That means professionalism and respect for your time. Upon your first point of contact right through to project wrap-up, you should expect prompt, courteous communication. Look for a company that returns your calls and follows up on time.
You’ll know pretty quickly whether a company will be easy to deal with by how pleasant your first encounter is with their staff. Here’s what Rich Hoffmaster had to say about TEC’s commitment to respecting customer time:
We are very pleased with our new roof! Joe Jarkowsky worked with us through the whole process with our insurance company, and when our new roof was being installed, he was excellent to work with! The roofing crew showed up at 7:15 a.m., and let me tell you, they worked like crazy all day long and finished up and had everything cleaned up by 5:30! Great company to do business with! – Rich Hoffmaster
2. Professional Recommendations and Advice
If your roof has suffered damage or it’s simply just wearing out, you’ll likely have lots of questions. You’ll want to know whether your roof can be repaired or if it will need to be replaced. You’ll also need to know the cost difference between repairing and replacing a roof. Ultimately, you’ll need to understand which option gives you the best value.
That’s why it’s critical to work with an honest and professional roofing contractor. Excellent roofing companies will inspect your roof, consider any potential damage, look for hidden problems and accurately diagnose the issue. The best roofing contractor for you will be one you feel is trustworthy and makes reasonable recommendations.
When it comes to the professionalism of a roofing company, satisfied customers wil always tell you representatives were helpful, knowledgeable and answered all their questions. A great example of this is Ludie Martin’s experience in working with TEC:
Dave Allen, the salesperson I worked with, was great. He took the time to explain in great detail every question or concern that I had. The work crew did a beautiful job, and I am very pleased with all aspects of their work. Would not hesitate to recommend this company. – Ludie Martin
3. Product and Materials Knowledge
As you may have gathered, there is a lot to know about roofing. Much of this expertise comes down to the types of materials used to cover a roof. Roofing experts have an impressive level of product knowledge, but won’t overwhelm you with it.
The best roofing contractors understand your roof’s architecture and age, as well as your local climate and how all these factors play a role in the choice of materials. Roofing contractors will also review product options, like styles and colors, to help you choose the best products to enhance your curb appeal.
Additionally, expert roofing professionals will help you consider things the average homeowner may overlook. This includes shingle discoloration and how to best match shingles on a repair job. After all, this is why you hire a trusted expert — to have your best interests in mind.
That’s exactly how TEC customer Heather Schell felt about our professionalism and knowledge:
What a professional and knowledgeable company to have for your roofing needs. Dan and Darren have been a pleasure through the process, explaining what to expect and helping with the insurance end as well. I highly recommend anybody who needs roofing replacement done to call TEC. – Heather Schell
4. Insurance Claims Assistance
Unfortunately, many homeowners are in search of a roofing contractor because their home has suffered hail, snow and wind damage. This means they need to open an insurance claim, which is a daunting enough task on its own.
Roofing contractors who put their customers first will offer to help you with your insurance claim. They’ll know exactly how the process works, and they’ll do their best to alleviate this burden. Countless satisfied customers mention help with insurance claims in their positive reviews of roofing contractors. That’s because while to the company it’s part of their job, to the customer, it’s an invaluable way to go the extra mile.
Jake Chaney is a perfect example of a TEC customer who appreciates that his homeowner’s insurance was quick and easy to process:
We had a pretty big hail storm in MA two months ago. The Exterior Company worked fluidly with my homeowner’s insurance company and streamlined the entire process. – Jake Chaney
5. Job Thoroughness and Attention to Detail
A roofing contractor can create an excellent customer experience in many ways. Largely, it comes down to the company’s overall attention to detail. Companies that pay attention to detail in the following ways get rave reviews from their customers:
-Provide a clear estimate that fully outlines the costs, scope of work and start and completion dates and times
-Take steps to ensure the least amount of disruption at the customer’s home
-Place protective coverings over the customer’s garden beds and trees, as well as pools and water features
-Be mindful of the customer’s gutters and other structures on the roof and around the house
-Clean up thoroughly after the project is complete by removing trash, tools and other parts
From start to finish, customers should feel like all aspects of the project are taken care of. Roofing companies that are committed to customer service can anticipate a homeowner’s questions and concerns and address everything to the homeowner’s satisfaction. Additionally, excellent roofing contractors go the extra mile and are committed to ongoing relationships, even after the project is over.
That’s exactly what Steve Kauffman had to say about his experience with TEC:
Excellent company, plan on using them for all my exterior work. Request Dave, he was personable and incredibly easy to work with. My roof was completed in two days and the crew was very sensitive to our landscaping. They made sure every piece of debris was cleaned up when they were finished. We had an issue with some runoff staining the trim around the gutters. Dave came back and personally cleaned the entire perimeter of our home. This company goes above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction. – Steve Kauffman
6. Satisfaction With Final Product
All customers want the project to go smoothly. But in the end, what they really expect is a result that exceeds their expectations. Roofing contractors who are a cut above their competition are focused on their customers’ satisfaction with the final product. They look forward to earning their customers’ seal of approval in response to their work.
Excellent roofing companies will have multiple reviews all exclaiming this same thing. When sifting through reviews and testimonials, be sure to take stock of how many times customers give positive feedback about the final product. That’s a tremendous testimony and a huge indicator that they’re the right company for you.
At TEC, we’re grateful to have countless positive reviews that all come back to one thing: Our customers are happy with the final result. Take TEC customer Laurie Bosak, for example:
Working with TEC has been great! The two reps we worked with, Sam and J.T., were friendly, knowledgeable and available to answer our questions and concerns. They walked us through the process and were present during the time the roof work took place. We’re so happy with our new roof! – Laurie Bosak
7. Recommendations and Referrals
The highest compliment anyone in business can receive is a recommendation or referral from a past customer. When a customer says they’re willing to recommend a business or even go so far as to provide a referral, you know they are truly satisfied customers.
Recommending a company means the customer is staking their own reputation, as well. With a recommendation, a customer is declaring they’re confident the company can replicate the same results.
Roofing contractors that have earned recommendations and referrals are likely the ones you can trust the most. If you’ve noticed that the roofing company you’re leaning toward has mostly five-star reviews and lots of recommendations, you’ve found the right contractor to work with.
Customer satisfaction should be the No. 1 priority for roofing contractors, and recommendations are icing on the cake. Jewel Hunter Despenza is one satisfied TEC customer who enthusiastically offers her recommendation:
I expected the process of replacing my roof to be a grueling experience. I was pleasantly surprised. Yosef was very thorough throughout the entire process. He assisted me in submitting the claim to my insurance company, gave me valuable input on selecting the shingles, informed me of what to expect when the contractors arrived, ensured the team cleaned up all the resulting debris and followed up with me in person both days of the install to ensure I was happy with how things were progressing. I highly recommend this company to anyone considering replacement of their roof. – Jewel Hunter Despanza
Choose TEC for Your Roofing Project
By now you should have a clear idea of what to look for when choosing the right roofing contractor for you. An excellent roofing contractor should be equipped to operate with certified tradespeople who are experts in roof repairs in your area. The company should have a great track record and be fully licensed and insured. They should offer guarantees on their craftsmanship and be certified by the manufacturer as authorized installers.
Beyond a company’s legitimacy, you want to understand the level of customer service the roofing contractor provides. Online reviews can tell you a lot about the average customer experience and what you can expect. Look for satisfied customers raving about response times, product knowledge and expertise.
Satisfied customers appreciate the help they receive from their roofing contractor with their insurance claims. They love that their chosen contractor kept their property protected from debris and did a thorough clean-up afterward. Above all, the most satisfied customers of roofing contractors are so pleased with their new roof that they wouldn’t hesitate to make a recommendation to other homeowners.
At TEC, we’re proud to be a fully licensed and manufacturer-certified roofing company in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey. We’re proud of the testimonials we’ve earned through our commitment to customer satisfaction. If you’re looking for the best roofing contractor near you, contact TEC today to get started on your roofing project.
GUIDE TO REPAIRING OR REPLACING YOUR ROOF
We’ll cover the following topics in our guide to repairing or replacing your roof.
- Roof Replacement Costs
- Factors That Affect a Roof’s Lifespan
- 6 Things to Consider When Deciding Between Replacing or Repairing Your Roof
- Advantages of Roof Repair vs. Replacement
- Extending Your Roof’s Lifespan
- Consult Professional Roof Technicians
Sooner or later, all homeowners will need to decide whether to repair or replace their roof. Like other major investments in life, this question usually comes at an inopportune time — especially where finances are concerned. Owners or older homes eventually come face-to-face with the reality of an aging roof that either needs to be replaced or repaired. For homeowners in PA, particularly, recent roof damage requires an immediate response.
But how do you know which decision to make? Even if you do have the funds or can fall back on a home equity loan, most people don’t want to go through with a full roof replacement if it’s not necessary. That’s why homeowners need to inform themselves about when a full roof replacement is necessary or when a repair job will suffice. This boils down to weighing short-term needs with long-term value as well as multiple other factors.
If you have questions about whether to repair or replace your roof in Pennsylvania, we hope this guide will help make this decision easier. In addition to the advice you’ll find here, it’s still wise to consult with an expert about your specific roofing situation. After all, you’re not a roofing expert — you just want to make smart home improvement investments that will ultimately pay off.
Roof Replacement Costs
When deciding between a roof repair or replacement, you need to be aware of the difference in cost. A full roof replacement will cost more than a roof repair in most cases. But how much more?
As a general guideline, a roof replacement on the average American home of 2,500 square feet can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $25,000. Some types of roof systems can cost upwards of $50,000. Obviously, this is a massive price gap. That’s because the cost of a roof replacement depends on several factors:
- The contractor’s labor rates
- Types of roofing materials used
- Your home’s geographic location
- Your roof’s slope, type and architectural style
Though it’s a big investment, it sometimes makes better financial sense to replace a severely damaged or aging roof than to repair it. This is because homes naturally increase in value when owners install a new roof. In 2013, Remodeling Magazine found that a roof replacement adds an average of $12,000 to a home’s resale value. This translates to an investment recovery of roughly 63%. New roofs add curb appeal and represent one less home improvement the buyer has to make.
Factors That Affect a Roof’s Lifespan
In general, a roof should last between 20 and 25 years. However, many roofs can long outlive even this fairly impressive life expectancy. A roof’s lifespan depends on many factors, including construction quality, maintenance and general wear and tear. But even the most conscientious homeowners can’t always prevent storm damage that threatens their roof’s integrity. That’s why certain climates have different roof repair and replacement needs than others, including the Keystone State.
If you own a home in Pennsylvania, here are some of the various factors that can determine how long your roof will last and when to replace your roof:
- Weather Patterns: In Pennsylvania, the number-one factor affecting a roof’s lifespan is the harsh winter weather. Winter storms can cause all sorts of damage to homes. High winds can weaken shingles and blow them right off. When heavy snowfalls occur, moisture can seep into the roof deck in parts where shingles are missing or damaged. Over time, harsh winter weather can cause enough wear and tear that the roof will need replacing.
- Extensive Recent Damage: It’s possible your roof has suffered severe damage after a recent and extensive snow storm. Snow and wind can cause tree limbs to break off, which can further damage already-aging roofs. Extensive and recent storm damage needs to be dealt with immediately to prevent the problem from worsening. Often, this may require a complete roof replacement.
- Age of Your Home: In most situations, roof damage is a result of gradual aging. This is an inevitable fact of homeownership. Eventually, parts of your home — especially those exposed directly to the elements — will wear out. The older your roof is, the less it will be able to withstand winter weather, storms or falling trees. Over time, roofing materials begin to deteriorate due to sun exposure. This is especially applicable in historic regions like Pennsylvania, which have plenty of older homes.
- Initial Construction Quality: High-quality construction and premium roofing materials will undoubtedly last longer than poorly-constructed roofs. If your roof was built with cheap materials and shoddy construction, you’ll need to replace it sooner than the average roof. Combine poor quality with Pennsylvania’s weather and you may be looking at a full roof replacement within a few years.
- Maintenance Routines: Homeownership requires routine preventative maintenance — especially in harsh climates. If the previous owners didn’t conduct routine maintenance, that could lead to a shorter roof lifespan. On the other hand, if you commit to regular roof servicing, you can significantly extend the life of your roof. This means you’ll mostly need small repairs here and there instead of a full replacement.
6 Things to Consider When Deciding Between Replacing or Repairing Your Roof
Based on the unique factors affecting the current condition of your roof, you’ll need to decide if it’s a better investment to repair or replace your roof in PA. Sometimes a partial re-roofing job will do the trick. This means you can replace one side of the roof with new materials while leaving the rest of the roof intact. This requires less labor and fewer materials, which keeps costs down.
Depending on the age of the roof, you may need to hire a roofing contractor again in a few years to replace the remaining sections of the roof. In this case, homeowners may be wise to invest in a full repair now while the tradespeople are onsite with their equipment. Keep in mind that, eventually, the roof will need to be replaced because repairs alone won’t sustain it.
If you’re uncertain whether to repair or replace your roof, take some time to consider the following items before you contact a roofing contractor.
1. Is My Roof’s Current Condition a Threat to Health and Safety?
Your priority should be you and your family’s safety. If you’ve experienced recent storm damage or some event has damaged your roof’s structural integrity in an obvious way, you need to think safety first. In the event of severe roof damage, it’s best to call in a contractor right away to make sure you aren’t at risk of a roof collapse.
Additionally, if your home has suffered water damage, your roof could be a breeding ground for dangerous mold. Mold in homes can severely threaten the health of the occupants — especially if you live with young children or seniors. With extensive damage or mold growth, it’s almost always necessary to go for a full roof replacement; however, a partial roof replacement may suffice if the damage is isolated to a certain side of the roof.
2. How Many Missing or Damaged Shingles Does My Roof Have?
If a few shingles have blown off due to high winds or falling trees, a simple repair job could be the best option. Likewise, if there are multiple damaged or curling shingles, but they’re localized to one spot, a contractor can easily replace the shingles in that area.
As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend a full roof replacement if it’s missing more than 30% of its shingles. That’s because it can end up being less expensive per square-foot to replace a roof than it would be to repair such a large portion. Getting estimates from a roofing contractor will help you decide which option offers the most value.
3. Can I Patch Up Any Leaks?
Leaks happen with normal wear and tear — especially in climates like Pennsylvania’s. If you’ve got a small leak that’s confined to one part of your roof, you’re in luck. A roofing contractor can patch up your leak with a minor repair job. This not only saves you the cost of a roof replacement, but also prevents water damage and rot. By dealing with small leaks right away, you can extend the lifespan of your roof through preventative maintenance.
However, if you have multiple leaks and you’ve had them for a while, you may face moisture damage. If moisture damage is extensive, it may be affecting your roof supports, which can be dangerous. In this case, you can’t have a contractor shingle over these spots. They’ll need to replace the roof deck to fix the problem.
4. How Concerned Am I About aesthetics?
Shingles lose their coloring over time due to sun exposure and general weathering. That means new roofing materials won’t look the same as the current ones. For some homeowners, this isn’t a big deal. But other people may be concerned by this.
You need to ask yourself how important roof aesthetics are to you. When you’re facing a $3,000 quote for a roof repair, you may not be concerned that your new shingles won’t match your existing ones. But if you think there’s a possibility the difference in color will bother you over time, you may want to consider a full replacement.
On the other hand, if the color difference is barely noticeable or the repair is located in a hidden spot, then repairing that one section may be your most sensible option.
5. How Much Time Will Repairs Add to My Roof’s Life?
If you’re leaning towards repairing a portion of your roof rather than replacing it, you need to ask how much time you have before you’ll need a full replacement. If a roof repair job can add another decade to your roof, it’s the obvious choice.
However, if a roof repair will only hold out for another two years, then a roof replacement is a smart investment — provided it’s “in the cards,” financially speaking. By hiring an honest roofing contractor, you can get professional advice on when to replace your roof.
6. What Can I Afford to Invest?
Ultimately, your decision will come down to what you can afford. Gather estimates from multiple contractors for different options. Compare the cost difference between the bare minimum repair job that’s required and a full roof replacement. What’s a better value?
For many families, the difference in price between a roof repair and a roof replacement could be a much-needed vacation. That may not be worth sacrificing right now. However, if you can afford a roof replacement, and it’s a better value all around, then there are ways to fund your new roof.
Home equity roof repairs are common in Pennsylvania and other regions that are prone to roof damage. A home equity loan uses the equity you’ve built up in your home to pay for the cost of a roof replacement. Talk to a financial expert about home equity roof repairs and how you can finance your construction project.
Advantages of Roof Repair vs. Replacement
With so many things to consider, it’s no wonder many homeowners feel overwhelmed when it comes time to make this decision. But by weighing the pros and cons, homeowners can feel certain in their choice. Let’s look at the advantages of each option.
Advantages of roof repairs:
- Costs less
- Is part of routine maintenance on wear and tear
- Prevents moisture damage
- Requires less time spent with your home under construction
- Fixes immediate safety hazards and inconveniences
Advantages of roof replacement:
- Extends the lifespan of your roof another 20+ years
- Increases the value of your home
- Offers better ROI than repairs
- Deals with major damage better than a repair
Extending Your Roof’s Lifespan
Whether you decide to replace or repair your roof, it’s critical to keep it well-maintained moving forward so you can extend your roof’s lifespan. Conduct regular roof inspections before winter so you can make preventative repairs ahead of harsh weather. Examine your roof again in the spring for any new damage.
Here are some preventative and ongoing maintenance tasks you can conduct:
- Reseal any cracked caulking around the joints, chimney and flashing
- Clear away debris from the roof and gutters
- Trim back tree limbs that hang over the roof
- Clean rust from any metal areas on the roof
- Sweep away layers of snow after each heavy snowfall to prevent a roof collapse
Additionally, if you have just one or two damaged or curling shingles, you may be able to replace these yourself. It’s an inexpensive way to prevent costly moisture damage.
Be sure to ask your roofing contractor about preventative measures that can extend the life of your roof after it’s been repaired or replaced. The more attention you pay to your roof, the more life you’ll get from it.
Consult Professional Roof Technicians
Choosing the right roofing contractor will be the best decision you make, whether you repair or replace your roof. A professional and experienced roofing contractor can help you make the right decision that offers you the best value. If you’re looking for roof repair services in Lancaster, PA, then turn to the experts at The Exterior Company.
As a full-service roofing contractor, we can repair your roof after damage or as part of regular maintenance. We know that a well-maintained roof is critical for protecting your home from harsh winter elements. We have the expertise to adequately diagnose your roofing problem and help you decide between repairing or replacing the roof of your PA home.
Choose the professionals at TEC for your next roof repair or replacement project. Contact us today.
Roof Insurance Claim Process: HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR CLAIMS ADJUSTER
We’ll cover the following topics in our blog post on how to work with your claims adjuster.
- How to Work with Insurance Adjusters on Damage Claims
- A Detailed View of the Claims Process & First Steps
- Insurance Claim Terminology
- Working With Your Claims Adjuster
- Steps in the Insurance Adjustment Process
- Understanding Your Insurance Adjuster’s Role and Qualifications
- Working With Your Claims Adjuster Requires Cooperation
You’ve suffered through a severe wind, rain or hail storm. Now, your roof is damaged and needs expensive repairs. You might have gutter or siding damage, too, which can be even more costly. Thankfully, you’re covered by insurance.
However, even insurance can be a daunting process to endure. This is especially true if you’re not familiar with making insurance claims for roof damage and you don’t know how to work with your claims adjuster.
Insurance claims for roof damage have a fairly straightforward approach. The details matter. They determine if your claim will be fully compensated, partially paid out or entirely denied. Knowing what to expect puts you in a much better position when requesting a claims adjustment following storm damage.
It pays to be a step ahead — and that involves understanding the elements of your home insurance policy and knowing how insurance adjusters operate. Here’s a crash course.
How to Work with Insurance Adjusters on Damage Claims
You’ve suffered through a severe storm. Your exterior is damaged and needs repairs. Here is how to make sure your claim will be fully compensated!
- Asses your damage: Do everything you can to mitigate additional damage. This will be important before the investigation.
- File a claim: They will respond with a claim number and representative that will investigate the damage. Your adjuster will take into account whether you’ve acted in good faith and protected your property rather than allowed more liability to be incurred.
- Once you’ve protected your property from further damage and yourself from unnecessary payments, prepare yourself for the insurance adjustment process.
- Review your insurance policy and go through the fine print. Determine exactly what’s covered and what isn’t. Knowing your ground and your entitlements will make the process easier and more efficient. What to review: Coverage, Deductible, Depreciation, Incidental Clauses
Working with Your Adjuster & Supporting your claim – Now that you know exactly what you’re entitled to, it’s time to move on to filing!
- Be prepared for an adjustment: 1. Take Photographs to expedite the process. Before and After Photos are even better 2. Videos are another great way to supply information. You could even video the storm causing damage 3. Keep all documentation and receipts for any emergency or temporary repairs.
- Connect with Contractors: Once your adjuster is satisfied your claim is valid, they’re going to start assessing the extent of damage. Professional roofing companies are used to working with insurance claims. They’ll know exactly what an adjuster needs and will have supporting documents and photos ready. Contacted a reputable company for an inspection.
- Settlement: Your adjuster should be transparent about how they arrived at the settlement figure and why certain claim expenses may be denied. You’re entitled to negotiate, provided you do it fairly and respectfully. If you can’t reach a settlement, you’re entitled to appeal the decision of the insurance examiner.
- Authorizing Work to Receive Payment: Your Adjuster now needs to approve work to start – Have your roofing company’s representative meet with your adjuster and yourself to make the adjustment process even smoother.
- The Final Step: Ask your adjuster early in your discussions how payments are disbursed. Two payments are generally used in insurance payments.
A Detailed View of the Roof Insurance Claims Process
First Steps When Filing Roof Insurance Claims
Exterior insurance claims are a bit like a chess match. You have to make the first move and file a claim. Then, it’s your insurance company’s turn. They’ll respond by assigning a claim number and a representative to investigate the extent of the damage. That includes calculating or adjusting the amount to be paid for covering repairs. The adjuster also determines if your claim is even valid within the terms of your policy.
You can put yourself in the best position by anticipating these moves and making moves of your own.
Your first priority is to assess your damage and do everything you can to mitigate further damage. Failing to do this may put you in a bad position when it comes to having incidental damage covered. This usually includes water ingress resulting from missing shingles or flashings. Your adjuster will take into account whether you’ve acted in good faith and protected your property rather than allowed more liability to be incurred by the insurance company.
If you have the potential for continuing damage, make sure you contact a reputable and professional roofing company to assess your damage. Make intermediate repairs to minimize further expenses that may be part of your insurance claim. This approach will put you in a much better position on the insurance chess board when it’s time to deal directly with your adjuster.
Doing these two things will help keep you in control of the settlement game.
Insurance Claim Terminology
Once you’ve protected your property from further damage and yourself from unnecessary payments, take some time to prepare yourself for the insurance adjustment process. Your next move is to open your insurance policy and go through the fine print. Determine exactly what’s covered and what isn’t. Knowing your ground and your entitlements will make the process easier and more efficient when you first meet with your adjuster.
Consider these four insurance terms and conditions:
Coverage is what the insurance company is responsible for paying. Watch for an “Act of God” clause, which is how most wind, rain and hail storms are classified. You may or may not be covered for natural disasters. Your insurance company will immediately check on this upon receiving your claim, and your eventual adjuster will surely be aware of what pieces are covered and what needs to be removed.
The deductible is the amount of money that’s discounted from your claim at payout. Almost all insurance policies carry a deductible clause. It can vary from a few hundred dollars to a thousand or more, depending on the terms you agreed to when you purchased your policy.
You may find that your deductible amount exceeds the total damage costs. If so, there’s no point in filing a claim. It wastes your time, the insurance company’s time and the adjuster’s limited and valuable time.
Depreciation can be another obstacle on the settlement board. Many insurance companies have a depreciative clause written into policies that deduct for older and already-failing materials. This is common with roofing materials. Insurers might ask the claims adjuster to calculate the age of your roof, the condition prior to the storm damage as well as the type of materials and how you’ve maintained them.
Your adjuster may be required to conclude that your roof was already close to the end of its natural lifecycle and to adjust your claim accordingly. Combined with your policy’s deductible amount, you may find yourself without coverage.
4. Incidental Clauses
Incidental clauses are other issues that crop up during the insurance settlement game. If your damage is so severe that you’re required to move out during repairs, you may be entitled to incidental payments for interim lodging and meal expenses.
Make sure you’re aware whether you’re covered before absorbing incidental coverage. If you incur them without prior approval from your insurance examiner or adjuster, you may find yourself denied compensation even though you may be contractually entitled to it.
Working With Your Claims Adjuster
Now that you know your boundaries and exactly what you’re entitled to, it’s time to move on to filing for a claims adjustment for your home repair. This will place you on good footing in having your claim properly and fairly adjusted. You want to make this a cooperative process — not an adversarial one. Preparing yourself will help keep your relationship with your adjuster positive and clear.
Remember that most claims adjusters are primarily responsible to the insurance company — not to you as the homeowner. Being prepared for this dynamic is the key to working with your claims adjuster. Here are some additional suggestions for being prepared for the insurance adjustment process and meeting with your adjuster:
Photographs are enormously helpful to insurance adjusters. In all likelihood, they’ll take their own independent photos when they visit your site, but you can certainly make their job easier by giving them a head start with a preview of the damage.
Digital photos can be emailed directly to support your insurance claim. They can also be duplicated and shared without cost.
2. Video Footage
Videos are another great way to supply information. All smartphones have video capability and have instantaneous internet sharing capacity.
Videos can show more than still photos. You may also have been at home and in a position to record the storm itself while it was in progress. This is positive proof of the cause of damage and will save an adjuster the effort involved with verifying your story against weather records. You might even catch shingles falling off or a tree coming down.
3. Before and After Pictures
Before and after pictures can be very useful for proving that claimable damage occurred. Many homeowners protect themselves by taking periodic photos of their property as their own insurance against having to fight a weather-related claim.
If you have photographic evidence of your roof’s condition before the storm, this will assist your claims adjuster greatly. It will establish that your damage is coverable and not just due to wear and tear. Recording the date of “before” photos is helpful. This reduces doubt about whether a natural event is at fault.
4. Written Documentation
Written documentation is highly useful to an insurance adjuster. They rely on documents as well as photographs in adjusting a claim and concluding what constitutes a fair settlement.
You might have recently replaced your roof. Or, if your home is newer, your builder may have provided warranty information that includes your roofing products. Establishing the brand and quality of your roofing materials is an immense help to an adjuster so they can calculate the true cost of replacement with equivalent materials. You should also have receipts for any emergency or temporary repairs.
Steps in the Insurance Adjustment Process
Before meeting with your insurance adjuster, it’s important to know what the steps in the process are. Insurance claims are done all the time, which means there’s a routine to the business.
If you’ve suffered storm damage, you can expect that others in your area have, too. That’s going to place a high workload on insurance adjusters. Being patient with the process is important and will result in starting a good relationship with your adjuster.
Here’s what to expect in the steps:
Step 1: Filing a Claim
Normally, this is done with a phone call to your insurance provider during business hours. You can also file by email or however your insurance provider directs.
Make sure you do this as quickly as possible once you’ve prepared yourself. Some insurance companies have a specific time limit to report damage after it occurs. You don’t want your coverage denied due to procrastination on your part. Also, make sure you have your policy in hand to provide the number and other details if requested.
Step 2: Assigning a Claim Number
Your adjuster will likely assign a claim number right away. They use this number to track all information pertaining to your claim. Record the number and have it ready for whenever you need to contact your insurance company or adjuster.
They have many claims active at the same time. Referring to the number makes retrieving your claim quick and easy. It shows preparedness on your part, which will go a long way toward having your damage claim adjusted smoothly.
Step 3: Arranging an Adjuster Appointment
An insurance claim examiner will first process your claim. That’s a different person from your insurance claim adjuster. Examiners are office people who have the primary control over your claim and work in a supervisory role. You’ll likely have little or nothing to do with your claim examiner.
Instead, you’ll be assigned an adjuster, who acts as a field investigator. Your adjuster will almost always make a personal visit to your home and see the damage firsthand. You should make every attempt to be at home and meet your adjuster in-person.
Making an appointment is an important step. Make sure you’re flexible and can work within the adjuster’s schedule. Respect their time and workload.
Step 4: Supporting Your Claim
Once your adjuster is satisfied your claim is valid and can be adjusted, they’re going to start assessing the extent of damage and what the costs of repair are. This is where it’s extremely helpful for you to have already contacted a reputable roofing company and had them make an inspection.
Professional roofing companies are used to working with insurance claims. They’ll know exactly what an adjuster needs and will have supporting documents and photos ready. It’s wise to ask your insurer about getting an independent inspection done during your initial claim contact. They may have company policies or preferred contractors they work with.
Step 5: Working With Your Insurance Adjuster
Do everything you can to help your adjuster process your claim. Being honest and transparent is vital in building and maintaining rapport. They’re people like you and they appreciate others who act responsibly and in good faith.
Try to do everything to make their job easier. Stay within your squares on the board and don’t commit to any outside parties until you’ve got permission from your adjuster to incur reimbursable expenses. That includes signing a contract with a roofing company or any repair service. Unauthorized expenses put your adjuster in a bad position and may leave you without payment.
Step 6: Settling Your Claim
Roof repairs resulting from storm damage usually settle quickly and without much hassle. Your adjuster will consider factors like deductibles, depreciation and incidentals as well as what the reasonable repair expenses are before making you a settlement offer. If you’ve been reasonable, they likely will be, too.
Your adjuster should be transparent about how they arrived at the settlement figure and why certain claim expenses may be denied. You’re entitled to negotiate, provided you do it fairly and respectfully. If you can’t reach a settlement, you’re entitled to appeal the decision of the insurance examiner.
If all negotiations fail, you have the option of contacting an attorney and pursuing legal action.
Step 7: Authorizing Repair Work
You won’t be in a position to authorize repair work until your adjuster gives approval. Who you authorize work to may depend on your insurance company’s policy and, possibly, approval by the adjuster.
Time is of the essence in roofing repairs and your adjuster knows this. An experienced adjuster may immediately ask you who you’d be comfortable hiring. They also know roofing companies need lead time, particularly after a storm and roofers are in high demand. This should be a team approach. You may even have a company in mind already.
It’s good practice to have your roofing company’s representative meet with your adjuster and yourself. This will make the adjustment process even smoother.
Step 8: Receiving Payment
This is the final step.
Different insurance companies will have slightly different payout methods. Ask your adjuster early in your discussions how payments are disbursed. Two payments are generally used in insurance payments. The first covers incidental, out-of-pocket expenses and provides a down payment to the repair company. The second payment clears up the entirety of the amount due.
Insurance companies are responsible to mortgage companies. They may include your mortgage lender in the adjustment process and require the financial agency to endorse your insurance payments. Your adjuster will know this and can offer advice. The main thing is to know the payment process so you won’t be caught short.
Understanding Your Insurance Adjuster’s Role and Qualifications
Your claims adjuster is a specialized professional who is trained to assess damage and repair costs and then arrive at a settlement figure that’s fair to both the insurance company and you as the homeowner. Your adjuster has to work within the law and the terms and conditions of your written policy. Sometimes that can be a tough job for what might seem like a simple process.
Let’s do a quick review of your adjuster’s role before examining their qualifications. Knowing both will make it easier to work with your claims adjuster and get everything you’re entitled to in claims adjustment following storm damage. Here are your claims adjuster’s tasks:
1. Examine your damaged property
2. Gather all information about the cause
3. Take photos and document evidence
4. Assemble a report containing all details
5. Present the report to an insurance examiner
6. Obtain a settlement decision and present it to you
7. Remain available until the damage is repaired
8. Close the claim once everything is complete
To appreciate what an insurance claims adjuster does and to work cooperatively with them, keep in mind these professionals adjust more than roof claims. They have to be generalists rather than specialists.
Insurance claims are generally divided into two categories. One is property damage and the other is personal liability. On any given day, your claims adjuster may have dozens of open files requiring their attention.
There are also different types of insurance claims adjusters. Your insurance company will usually assign you an adjuster to go along with your claim. On a rare occasion, you may be allowed to select your own adjuster, but you always have the option to hire a personal adjuster for a second opinion. The different types of adjusters include:
-Staff adjusters: These are employed directly by insurance companies and are retained on staff. They’re common in large companies and centers where the volume of work and geographic locations makes this role cost-effective.
-Independent adjusters: They belong to a company that specializes in adjustments. They provide contract-based adjustment services to insurance companies. They’re often found in more remote locations and used in mass claim situations after natural events. Independent adjusters can also be self-employed, private contractors.
-Public adjusters: These are adjusters who are openly available for hire by both insurance agencies and the public. They’re usually employed by the government and self-insured organizations. Often, public adjusters are attorneys or people with advanced legal training.
Adjusting insurance claims requires a high skillset. It can take years to become proficient and efficient. Many insurance adjusters start out in a different field and then branch into adjusting after they acquire knowledge in business management, legal services and industries that require estimators. There are few specialized schools that provide degrees or diplomas in insurance adjusting. Many adjusters learn on the job while understudying with experienced adjusters.
Claims adjusters require more than good estimating skills. They’re rounded individuals who are flexible and look forward to challenges. No two cases are alike in the claims adjustment business and they have to be ready for them.
Consider these traits and skills that make up a professional insurance claims adjuster:
-Good academic standards: Adjusters need to be conversant with the complex wording contained in insurance policies. They must know exactly what their legal parameters are when offering an opinion as to a fair claims settlement.
-Stellar communication and interpersonal abilities: Adjusters often deal with policyholders at the worst moments of their lives. Emotions can be a big factor in negotiating claims. It’s vital for an adjuster to clearly communicate with clients so there is no doubt about how the settlement process unfolds.
-Excellent organizational traits: Adjusters have to be organized and ensure claims are dealt with quickly and efficiently. They’re often involved in situations affecting peoples’ lives and financial futures. Getting claims organized quickly so decisions can be made is crucial.
-Proficient in analysis and math: Insurance adjustments are always about analyzing facts and calculating costs. A good claims adjuster requires an analytical mind and a good grasp on figures.
-Able to withstand stress and fatigue: Insurance claim adjustments aren’t a 9-5 job. Adjusters have to respond at all hours and days of the week. Some claims require long hours in inclement weather or long travel distances. Stamina is important and burnout can be high.
Working With Your Claims Adjuster Requires Cooperation
When you work with your claims adjuster, the most important thing to do is cooperate. There’s a myth or a stereotype in the insurance business world that companies are all about selling policies and doing what they can to prevent claims payouts. That myth carries on to labeling adjusters as one-sided players who represent the kings in the corporate chess game.
The truth is, claims adjusters are supposed to be impartial and to work toward a mutual settlement that’s fair for all parties and based on the contract’s terms.
But adjusters do have some limitations when processing your claim. This depends on the adjuster’s experience and proven abilities. Their level of financial authority varies depending on their position with the insurance company. Some senior adjusters have a high degree of flexibility when it comes to disbursing funds without approval. Newer adjusters have limited responsibility and have to be overseen by superiors before they can make any onsite decisions.
This is important to know. Your adjuster should make every effort to further your claim without delay and arrive at a decent conclusion within a reasonable time. That depends a lot on your cooperation.
When making an insurance claim for a storm-damaged roof, part of your cooperation is finding a professional roofing company to provide your adjuster with a reliable estimate for the cost of your repairs. Your adjuster needs confidence that your roofing contractor will perform properly and be a team player. This will help process your claim like no other move.
TEC is your reliable roofing professional. We’re experts in repairing storm damaged roofs and have years of experience in working with claim adjusters. We help make sure you get everything you’re entitled to. Contact TEC today for your home and roof repair needs.
“OH HAIL NO!”
“Oh HAIL no!”
That’s what Richland, PA locals found themselves saying February 25th, 2017 when the town was hit with the first hail storm of the season. Homes were met with 1” hail and strong winds resulting in both hail damage and wind damage to shingles and siding.
The Exterior Company, an exterior insurance restoration company out of Lancaster, PA, will be hosting a free seminar on Wednesday, May 3rd, at the Union House Taproom and Livery, for homeowners in the Richland area who are looking to learn more about filing an insurance claim. Trained members of The Exterior Company will be there to answer questions about the effects of hail damage and wind damage as well as to schedule a free inspection. Footage of drone inspections will be available to show homeowners the type of hail and wind damage to look for. We will have a local attorney there to present and answer any questions about filing an insurance claim with your insurance company and the release of ACV and RCV funds.
To learn more about filing an insurance claim with your insurance company due to hail or wind damage, please join us at 4:30 at the Union House Taproom and Livery!
HURRICANE MATTHEW: HARMING CAROLINA ROOFS
Hurricane Matthew officially made landfall on October 8, 2016 southeast of McClellanville, South Carolina. At the time, Matthew was classified as a Category 1 Hurricane, which means wind speed in the eye of the storm ranged from 74-95 mph. Massive flooding occurred throughout both Carolina coasts. The water level at Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC
shattered a hurricane record of 1954’s Hurricane Hazel. The wake of Matthew left 34 people dead in the United States, including 17 in North Carolina, according to Governor Pat McCrory on October 11th, 2016. For those that survived, it will soon be time to rebuild and repair all of the damage left by the merciless Hurricane Matthew.
The Exterior Company (TEC) recognizes the importance of providing our services to the Carolinas in this time of need. The excessive wind damage to roofs caused by Matthew needs to be repaired as quickly and efficiently as possible so that people can return to a safe, dry home or restore their livelihoods through their businesses.
A. Wind damage to an asphalt shingle roof. B. Shingles displaced from windward roof slope.
Some damage from Hurricane Matthew will be clearly evident. Other damage from the storm will not be as noticeable. Wind damage can often appear to be subtle; however, even seemingly minor damage can cause several unforeseen issues in your home. Wind can tear or remove your shingles, exposing the roof decking, underlayment, or older shingles. This makes your home vulnerable to the elements and leaks are a possibility, even if you don’t notice one right away. Some shingles may lift and curl, allowing wind-driven rain to wreck havoc on your roof. Debris from a storm may also dent or bruise shingles.
TEC offers a free inspection, which always a way to ensure the safety of your roof after a major weather event. You can have peace of mind knowing that TEC specializes in insurance restoration. Each member of the TEC team is specially trained to identify storm-related damages, such as wind and hail damage. TEC constantly communicates with your insurance company to ensure each customer receives the best replacement materials for their home. TEC strives to provide quality service from start to finish.
If you or your family’s home or place of business has been affected by Hurricane Matthew, call TEC today for your FREE, no obligation roof inspection. TEC can also assist any other exterior needs, such as siding and gutters. Let TEC help you today.
ROOF FACTS, THE TRUTH REVEALED
When it comes to protecting your home, it’s what’s on top that actually matters. Common misconceptions about roofing can contribute to a false sense of security.
Below you will discover the top 10 myths about roofing.
Myth: All homes in the neighborhood are affected the same by hail.
Fact: Not all homes are affected the same way. The size and hardness of a hailstone can vary in a small area. Other factors include the pitch of your roof, its age and condition.
Myth: Lighter color “splatter” marks on your roof after a hailstorm means there has been damage done.
Fact: No, splatter marks do not necessarily mean any damage has been done. Splatter marks are normal after a hailstorm. Over time, your roof darkens due to algae and oxidation. When hailstones hit your roof, they remove the algae and oxidation that have formed, leaving a light colored mark. With time, the marks will fade as algae grows and oxidation continues.
Myth: I don’t see any damage to my roof after a major hailstorm so I can just ignore it.
Fact: Even if you cannot see any damage to your roof, there still may be significant damage under the shingles. That is why after any major hailstorm, it is important to call an experienced roofing professional.
Myth: I do not have to remove ice that has collected on the edge of my roof.
Fact: Failure to remove the ice can cause snow buildup, which can later melt and cause leaks in your roof and force water to back up under your shingles causing them to lift.
Myth: Metal roofs increase your chances of a lightning strike.
Fact: Lightning is not attracted to metal and usually hits elevated objects such as trees, towers and telephone poles.
Myth: I can power wash my roof.
Fact: Power washing can harm your roof. High pressure can force water under your shingles, which can result in mold and mildew growth.
Myth: Flashing only needs to be replaced when a new roof is installed.
Fact: Flashing should be checked every 6 months. Look for cracked or broken flashing pieces and damaged shingles in contact with flashing. If you notice any damage, have a roofing contractor inspect the area.
Myth: My roof is new so I have nothing to worry about.
Fact: New or not, your roof is still susceptible to hazards. For a complete list of potential hazards, check out our blog “What causes damage to your roof”.
Myth: Roof maintenance is a waste of money.
Fact: Lack of proper maintenance can result in a shorter life span and costly repairs. Proper maintenance involves through inspection and minor repairs when necessary.
Myth: You can cover old shingles with new shingles.
Fact: Underneath your shingles is a layer called sheathing that is usually made of plywood. This layer can rot from leaks, inadequate ventilation or old age. The only way to check the sheathing is to tear away the old shingles.
ROOF REPAIR PROCESS
Have you ever wondered how a professional contractor goes about a roof repair? Here is a quick look into the process.
Inspection: Once an on-site inspection is made, the contractor will check your roof to determine the type and extend of any damage.
Insurance: If applicable, your roofing contractor will help you assess what can be reimbursed from your homeowners insurance and tips on how to fill out a claim.
Contract: A written proposal will be submitted detailing the work to be performed and the contract is signed.
Scheduling: Your repair is scheduled and a team or experienced roofers are assigned to your project. Repair and construction dates are set, materials are ordered and deliveries are scheduled.
Project Beings: Your roofing contractor works to get the job done quickly and proficiently. Make sure you are accessible for any questions or for permission on certain aspects of the project during the duration of the job.
Job Completion: A final inspection is done to ensure the work standards have been met and you the customer are pleased.
Watch our video for a quick recap!
COMMON MISTAKES THAT PUT YOUR ROOF IN DANGER
Here is a list of 5 common mistakes that you may be doing that is putting your roof in danger.
1. Pulling up roofing shingles to look for leaks. Pulling up shingles yourself can cause more damage and can create leaks where there were none before. Always contact a professional roofing contractor if you suspect any damage.
2. Walking on your roof. Roofs can be slippery, which present potential for falling off your roof causing serious damage. Walking on asphalt shingles can disrupt the granules and dislodge them or create gaps causing potential leaks.
3. Roof decorations. Over the holiday season you might be tempted to decorate on your roof. Walking across your roof can cause damage and attaching heavy decorations can put unnecessary pressure to your tiles. Additionally, stringing lights to your roof shingles for they can cause tearing over time.
4. Using cleaning solutions or bleach to clean your roof. If you chose to clean your roof with a cleaning solution that is not roof-approved, it can ruin your shingles. Using bleach can post harm to people and pets if exposed to the fumes or fluids. Bleach can also cause damage to plants, trees and grass and can leak into waterways and watershed areas.
5. Power washing your roof. High pressure can force water under your shingles, which can result in mold and mildew growth.
HOW TO PICK A ROOFING CONTRACTOR
One of the most costly, but important, home repair projects you will ever have to do is the installation of a new roof. Knowing how to pick a good roofing company can be difficult, especially if you are not familiar with the roofing industry. Here are some tips to help you chose the right professional roofing contractor for your job. Just like in a childhood story book, a PRINCE can save you from potential disaster:
Price- The right roofer does not always mean the cheapest. Sometimes, the “cheap” companies have a lower price because they are compensating for their shortcomings. They might just be starting out, taking shortcuts, or using inferior materials. Remember, you get what you pay for. It is always a good idea to get more than one roofing estimate in order the gauge the value of the work you’ll be receiving.
Reviews. Check reviews of the company on sites such as the Better Business Bureau and Guild Quality and search them on social media.
Inspection: Often times, a roofing company can foresee trouble areas with an examination of the surface area of the roof. While there is no way of knowing all of the damage until the old roof has been removed down to the wood, a reputable roofing company will explain upfront how they’ll deal with any damage and how much they charge to fix it.
Non-discriminate- Every job is important—no job should be considered too small. A good roofing company knows every job could lead to something bigger or even a referral from a satisfied customer.
Codes and Permits- They acquire the necessary permits for your project. If codes are not followed and the proper permits are not pulled and submitted, the city can shut down your job. Reputable roofers will take care of this for you.
Established- They have a good relationship with suppliers and vendors. Well-established roofing companies will use wholesalers like ABC Supply and Quality Roof Supply, not Home Depot or Lowes.
Home improvements jobs can easily become stressful and expensive. By following these easy steps, you can make an informed and intelligent decision when choosing a roofing contractor, saving you not just time and money, but anxiety!
BEFORE YOU LET ANY ROOFING COMPANY INTO YOUR HOME, READ THIS BOOK!
This short book will answer your questions, erase your fears and empower you to make the best decision for you and your family when it comes to replacing your roof. Go behind the scenes with industry insider Ryan Hoke as he shares his 10+ years of experience in the roofing and construction industry.
Inside you’ll discover:
-The first thing you have to do when a storm hits.
-How to identify the common storm restoration scams.
-How to tell if a contractor is trying to get you to commit insurance fraud.
-The 9 questions you MUST ask any roofing contractor before hiring them.
Email us at: email@example.com for your FREE copy!
HOW TO WINTERIZE YOUR ROOF
Winterizing your roof and the exterior of your home will help keep you safe and warm during whatever winter throws your way. Here are a few steps you can take to help ensure a safe and happy winter:
Clean out your gutters. Dirt and debris can get stuck in your gutters and cause major issues. Not only will debris clog your gutters, but stagnant water collected from rainstorms can attract insects and pests that damage roofs. Water can even seep into your roof and/or foundation!. Even if you have gutter guards in place, it’s always best to check for any fine debris that could be piling up in the gutter. Also, don’t forget to check your downspouts!
Trim and prune trees. Winter winds and storms can cause major damage to trees that are on your property. To ensure your home is out of harm’s way, it’s best to eliminate any branches or limbs near the roofline or sides of your home.
Check for crinkled caulk and damaged mortar. Any caulk on your roof or mortar around your fireplace that’s damaged (crinkled, wrinkled, or cracked) should be removed and replaced to prevent leaks and other possible damage.
Secure loose flashings and look for missing shingles. Any flashings that are loose or show signs of damage should be fixed or replaced. Look closely at all roof projections to prevent leaks. Any missing shingles must also be replaced at this time. If you have a different type of roof, check for damage or missing parts. For more delicate roofs, such as slate or clay tiles, you may want to hire a professional.
Look up at the ceilings. Inspect the interior of your home for signs of moisture, leaks, mold, warped wood, etc. The position of a stain, for example, can point to the origin of the problem. Check your attic, too. Insulation and ventilation are important factors in your home’s health. A poorly insulated and ventilated attic can result in mildew and mold or even heavy icicles. If you can see any ceiling joists, you should add an extra layer of insulation.
Schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. Not only will this help prevent fires, but you can rest assured that your chimney is structurally sound. The constant freeze and thaw cycle can cause damage that may go unnoticed by the average homeowner.
Install snow guards. Snow falling off the roof seem like a good thing, right? The issue lies in the weight and speed of falling snow. Snow guards will help protect the lower roof, gutters, vents, and everything below the roof, including you!
Relax. Being proactive during warmer weather can help lead to a more peaceful and a safe winter. Now you can get back to enjoying the holidays and family time.
IN NEED OF REPLACEMENT SIDING CHOOSE CERTAINTEED
The Exterior Company Strives to use quality products when doing any repairs to a customer’s home. When it comes to siding, MainStreet™ siding by CertainTeed, produces a premium product at an outstanding value. You can choose from 24 different colors, 2 different finishes, and 7 different product styles. This allows you to find the perfect color and aesthetic for your home. With all the choices you may feel overwhelmed at first, but CertainTeed has an interactive tool you can use to visualize what your new siding will look like on your home. This tool allows you to view siding in different styles and colors, along with several other features, such as shutters, trim, and door colors. You can personalize your home to your liking and be sure in your choices. Certainteed’s products are designed to work together harmoniously to give your home superior curb appeal.
No need to worry about harming the environment either. MainStreet™ siding is certified by The National Green Building Standard™. The NGBS looks for homes that improve indoor air quality, prevent moisture and pests, reduce operating costs, preserve natural resources, and so much more. The Exterior Company also keeps debris to a minimum and disposes any debris responsibly and properly. Both CertainTeed and The Exterior Company want to help maintain your home and the environment as much as possible.
Fading isn’t a concern for MainStreet™ siding with Certainteed’s free Lifetime Fade Protection Plan. Your siding will continue to be as beautiful as the day it was installed with proper maintenance. All vinyl siding also comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty, which protects the original homeowner 100%. Subsequent owners are covered by a 50-year prorated warranty, which is a great selling point if you ever decide to find a new home.
Looking for something out of the ordinary? CertainTeed also has a large selection of cedar shakes and vertical siding. With help from the experts at The Exterior Company, you can find the perfect match for your home.
Be sure to check out the links below for more information!
NGBS Green Certification for Certainteed:
MainStreet™ Siding Brochure
VIRGINIA HAILSTORM – HOW TO CHECK FOR DAMAGE
On Thursday, June 18, 2015 a major storm rolled through Fairfax County Virginia bringing along with it damaging winds and hail that reached up to 1.75” in diameter. This touched surrounding areas such as Chantilly, Reston, Herdon, Fairfax City and Vienna.Hailstrom
Hail damage affects your home by cracking your roof, gutters, siding, and anything else it comes in contact with. Here are some signs to look for when checking for damage:
• Black spots all over the roof
• Distinct round spots the size of a penny or larger
• Residue from your shingles in your gutters or downspouts
• Broken or cracked shingles
• Crushed or dented areas
• Shingles that have fallen off the roof
Even if your roof does survive a hailstorm, there still may be significant damage underneath the roof. That’s why it is important to call an experienced roofing professional like The Exterior Company to check your roof for hail damage.
6 COMMON SIGNS YOUR ROOF NEEDS REPAIR
With the storm season fast approaching, it is important to have a safe, reliable roof to protect you, your loved ones, and your personal belongings. After all, a roof not only protects and shelters you from rain, but also change in temperature, wind, and damaging sunlight. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to recognize damage without having to climb a ladder. Below are some helpful clues to tell if it’s time to fix your roof:
· Age: If your roof is over 20 years old, there is a very good chance it will need some repair due to every day wear and tear.
· Water stains: Water damage on your interior walls or ceiling is a common sign of a leaky roof.
· Roof Debris: If you find pieces of shingles in your yard after a storm, it is highly likely your roof experience some damage.
· Curling Shingles: Curling or buckling shingles is a sign of improper installation and requires attention.
· Roof Carpet: Signs of lichen growing on your roof could foreshadow damage from the algae and fungus absorbing and holding on to moisture.
· Granules in the Gutters: If you find your gutters are clogged with shingle granules or notice them washing out of the downspouts, your roof most likely needs repair.
If you see any of the above signs, please do not hesitate to call the experts at The Exterior Company at 855-766-3264. Our team is trained to properly assess damage to roofs, may it be due to every day wear and tear, age, material failure, or even damage from a storm. Our professionals will work with your insurance company to get your roof fixed, even if it is a specialty trade roof like wood shake, standing seam metal, or a slate options. Your home is more than just a shelter. Let us ensure your roof is in great condition for years to come.
We believe that it is important to stay informed and updated on the latest industry developments
and practices. This is why we attend tradeshows and conferences with suppliers and
manufacturers. By staying engaged, we are able to find out ways in which we can provide a
better service to our customers. We are able to develop our knowledge by attending training
sessions and talking with company representatives at vendor exhibits.
At the ABC Supply Tradeshow in King of Prussia this year, we learned of a new product, a
pipe boot that is guaranteed for 50 years. Pipe boots are a weak link of sorts on the roof – they
cannot last as long as your lifetime shingles. Granted, they are not a difficult or expensive item
to replace. However, having a roofing system with all components guaranteed for life is certainly
an extra benefit to the homeowner. By staying engaged in the industry, we will have the benefit
of making this quality item standard on all of our roofing systems, long before it becomes
standard with other companies.
We take education about the industry so seriously that we are attending the IRC Summit for
2014, held in Frisco, Texas. We will expect to learn about how to better serve our insurance
restoration customers. We expect to be able to learn about how to better interact with the
insurance companies, allowing you, the customer, to receive all the benefits that are due to you
in your claim.
WHAT SETS US APART FROM THE REST….
What separates us from the competition? We believe it is that we have the entire package. We have built this company on improving each aspect of the job to the beyond satisfactory levels and we strive to keep improving. We pride ourselves on leaving no area of focus unrefined. We keep our job site clean, we do a thorough cleanup, we offer the best warranties, we only use materials that will stand the test of time, we are knowledgeable, and we have quality workmanship.
On the job site, materials are delivered on the day of the job. If the work is not completed that day, the materials are organized and we clean up at the end of the workday. The old roofing material is placed directly into the roof buggy and so piles do not accumulate around the property. When the job is finished, we make sure that all trash and materials are removed and sweep thoroughly with a magnetic sweeper for nails.
All of our work comes with our 10 year workmanship warranty and the GAF Systems Plus warranty, and their Golden Pledge warranty(a comprehensive lifetime warranty) is an option. We believe in the GAF product, but are not averse to using a different brand if our customer chooses. However, with our experience in the industry, we know which products are likely to cause trouble down the road and advise our customers which brands they should avoid. This comes with our knowledge, gained by courses taken to become Haag certified, GAF Master Elite certified, attending classes at seminars, visiting the manufacturing plants, and taking time, especially during the winter months, to increase our knowledge.
Lastly, once all the other areas are honed in, workmanship is the greatest factor. A job well done trumps the other categories. The product must be installed properly in order to work effectively and look good. We deliver quality work; evidenced by our stellar BBB rating, our Master Elite status, and a long list of references. All of this is what separates us from the competition.
WHAT TYPE OF ROOF IS BEST FOR YOU?
You may be asking yourself, “What is the best roofing material for me?” That could all depend on your homes location, age, design, and the weather patterns in your community. The best roofing material for a new home could differ from that of an older property. Likewise, the best roofing material for a modular home will likely differ from that of a cottage or mansion. In any case, you must consider the internal and surrounding factors of the house itself before you settle on a particular roofing material.
You should take the weather patterns in your area and the general climate trends across your region into account as you choose the material for the next roof on your house. After all, this investment could last anywhere from 20 to 50 years, and possibly longer. Therefore, roofing materials that can withstand the full range of weather for decades on end are generally among the best roofing choices, especially in the Northeast U.S., where inclement weather is a fact of life.
THE AGE OF A HOME
The era in which your home was built could render the structure and design style better suited to certain types of roofing materials. Wood is the best roofing material for a stick-built home or just about any property that dates from the Colonial era. Slate or metal, on the other hand, are bound to be better suited to modern properties.
If you live in a classic home, it might be best to keep your choice as close to the original roof as possible, as any deviation could devalue the historical appeal of the property.
THE AVAILABILITY OF HOME EQUITY IN PA
The value of your home can increase once you have a new roof installed on your property, especially if you choose a fancier roofing material. Many homeowners consider slate and clay roofs among the classiest of roofing options, as these materials may be associated with affluent European homes. As such, a roof made of either of these materials is liable to attract more interest among deep-pocketed prospective buyers.
In Pennsylvania, the state’s divergent weather patterns have generated a high demand for roofs that withstand all types of weather and the elements.
THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE FROM RECENT STORMS
Homeowners should replace certain types of roofing in the aftermath of a major storm or natural disaster. The high winds of hurricanes and tornadoes, for example, can easily damage wood and asphalt roofs. Even if the damage only appears minor to the naked eye, inclement weather can structurally compromise a house in ways that are not readily apparent, and that partially damaged roof might crumble more rapidly as time passes.
Roofs made of stronger materials like slate, clay, or metal are more likely to withstand the impacts of major storms and natural events.
On residential households throughout the United States and abroad, asphalt shingles are the most widespread type of roofing. Commonly seen on homes of America’s middle-class suburbs, asphalt is a relatively inexpensive roofing option that provides ideal warmth and protection from the elements. Due to its ability to blend in with virtually any type of housing design, asphalt is a popular choice among homeowners when it comes to roof replacement.
Asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install on rooftops, which — combined with the relatively low cost of asphalt shingles —allows for quick installations. Within days of you deciding on a new roof, an installation crew can complete a shingling job, giving you a transformed house.
There are two basic types of asphalt shingles — architectural and three-tab. The former consist of layers and are therefore the stronger of the two. Three-tab shingles consist of single layers and are consequently not as strong. That said, there has been little difference between the two regarding pricing. In fact, architectural asphalt shingles have gradually become more affordable and thus have overtaken three-tab as the roof-replacement material of choice among middle-class homeowners.
For ultimate protection against wind, rain, hail and anything else Mother Nature comes up with, asphalt shingles are coated with reinforcement materials such as cellulose or fiberglass. Asphalt shingles will remain a consistent look throughout many years. The asphalt will not change in color, like cedar or other types of wood.
Asphalt also comes in a vast range of colors and is, therefore, a versatile option that can match virtually any housing design. In a state like Pennsylvania, where climate trends run the gamut, asphalt is an ideal fit for houses in both the wintry north and summery southern part of the state.
On the downside, asphalt shingles may not last as long as other roofing types. The average life of asphalt shingles will range from 15 to 25 years, though well-preserved shingles — especially on houses in calm climates — can last for at least 30 years.
Granted, the average span of a residential occupancy is shorter than the minimum life of an asphalt roof. Therefore, you are only likely to find yourself purchasing new asphalt shingles once for a given property. Regarding pricing, asphalt shingles start at $70 per square.
Metal is one of the sturdiest and most long-lasting roofing options for residential and commercial properties alike. As everyone knows, metals are the strongest materials on Earth. As such, metal can give your house protection from the elements for many decades. Regardless of the weather in your area, a metal roof will keep you insulated from temperatures and protected from a downpour.
In the mixed and often divergent weather patterns that characterize the state of Pennsylvania, metal roofing can enhance the appeal and boost the value of suburban and urban properties. In times of inclement weather, a metal roof will withstand virtually everything, including falling trees, power lines and the brunt of hurricanes.
Metal roofing is available in numerous alloys, from stainless steel and aluminum to copper and zinc. Depending on the type of metal used in a roofing project, a metal roof could complement or totally transform the look of a house.
With its luster and resistance to dirt, stains and the aging process, metal can give your roof a visual appeal that will make your house the envy of onlookers. Should you ever decide to move, a metal roof could be one of the most fetching selling points of your property.
Due to the strength of metal alloys, a metal roof will outlast a set of asphalt shingles by many decades. The average span of a metal roof is at least half a century. Some metal roofs last 75 years or more. As such, metal roofing has grown in popularity among homeowners in climates that see lots of wind, rain, and hail throughout a typical winter.
Metal roofing is admittedly more expensive than asphalt, but you can expect to earn the cost difference back through years of invincibility. If you remain in the same house throughout your life, you will probably never have to replace — let alone repair — a metal roof.
If there is one downside to metal roofs, it would be the chemical vulnerability of certain metal alloys. Copper, for instance, can corrode if not treated. As it corrodes, the surface of copper develops a light green patina. If untreated, certain other metals may rust when exposed to water buildup. However, some alloys have natural oxides that regenerate and therefore resist the processes that lead to corrosion and rust. Aluminum is one such metal alloy.
CLAY AND CONCRETE
Ceramic and concrete roofs have grown in popularity among homeowners in recent years. As solid, weatherproof materials that can last for many decades, concrete and clay roofs can keep homes insulated and protected for several generations of occupants.
As a roofing material, clay has been used in certain parts of the world for centuries. Some of the earliest known examples are still in existence today. Because of this, the longevity of clay roofing has been proven across hundreds of years. The same holds true for concrete, which has lined sidewalks and playgrounds for decades on end. When you consider how long the walkways in your community have lasted, you can imagine just how long a clay or concrete roof will stay solid atop a home.
Traditionally, clay and concrete roofs are used on homes in the Mediterranean and the Southern hemisphere, where the style has blended well with other aspects of Spanish-style architecture. As some of these influences have spread across North America, an increasing number of homeowners have come to recognize and appreciate the strength and aesthetic appeal of clay and concrete roofing.
As two of the strongest roofing options, concrete and clay are also among the safest. Both materials are fireproof, and can, therefore, help suppress the spread of infernos. Clay and concrete are also impervious to snow, falling tree limbs and the impacts of windstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. As such, roofs made of these materials are practically invincible in the face of inclement weather and natural disasters.
For homes across Pennsylvania, concrete and clay can provide protection and insulation while visually complementing the architecture of a vast range of residential properties. For obvious reasons, concrete and clay are among the best roofing materials for a stone home, as well as a wood home.
Clay and concrete are heavy materials that can only be applied by roofing professionals. The price per square for roofing in this category ranges from $300 to $500.
One of the more stylish and sophisticated roofing options for today’s homeowners is slate — a metamorphic rock material comprised of clay and volcanic ash. As a natural material derived from Earth’s sediments, slate can last on roofs for many decades. When you think of all the weight slate bears underneath the soil, there is no doubt the material has the strength to protect homes in all kinds of environmental conditions.
Slate roofing has been popular for ages in continental Europe, especially in the French countryside. Available in various shades, slate roofing can complement a vast range of homes, from mansions and cottages to modern-day suburban properties. Dark in appearance, slate roofing is also available in shades of purple, red, green and grey.
Slate is fireproof and weather-resistant. Regardless of the climate trends in your area, a slate roof can keep your house protected as long as you remain at your current address and beyond. In general, a slate roof will last a minimum of 50 years on a residential household. In the best of climates, slate roofs can last for a century or longer.
The one inhibiting factor for a lot of homeowners is the price of slate, which starts at around $600 per square. Consequently, many homeowners have resorted to artificial slate, which is more accessible than the real thing due to its lighter weight and lower cost. Though some of the more discerning onlookers can spot the difference between real and fake slate, many others cannot. As with real slate, imitation slate shingles last for at least half a century.
As with concrete and clay, slate is one of the best roofing materials for a stone home or any property built with rocky materials. Throughout Pennsylvania, slate roofs complement and safeguard homes of all sizes in both the sunny and rainy counties.
WOOD SHINGLES AND SHAKES
One of the most time-honored roofing materials on the planet is wood, which has been used in the construction of homes and buildings since the dawn of civilization. As a natural product derived from trees, wood possesses a timeless look that spans the ages. Regardless of passing trends and changes in architecture, wood never looks dated or out of style. With its limitless appeal, wood can complement virtually any style of home.
The most popular type of wood for shakes and shingles is cedar, which is native to the Pacific Northwest. Used for centuries among natives due to its strength and durability, cedar was soon recognized as a valuable material by settlers, who eventually passed the secret onto homebuilders everywhere. Cedar’s value lies in the strength of its composition, which resists the warping and bending effects water and moisture can have on other woods.
In colder climates, wood shingles generally provide better insulation than asphalt. A wood roof can block out the solar heat of summer and the cold winds of winter. With a wood roof, you can cut down on your energy expenses and maximize the temperature adjustments of your HVAC unit.
Wood shingles change color as they age. A newly applied wood roof will have the natural color of the lumber in question, be it cedar, redwood or pine. As the years go by, the wood will develop a silvery-grey tone. Tastes may vary, but many homeowners agree wood roofs age aesthetically like fine wine.
Granted, wood shingles can have their drawbacks. As everyone knows, wood is flammable. If you have a wood roof installed on your house, make sure the shingles get treated with a fire-resistant coating to inhibit the spread of flames. Wood can also break if subjected to blunt force. When natural disasters hit, wood shingles are more liable to come out damaged. As such, homeowners in states like Pennsylvania should only use the best wood shingles if choosing wood over slate, clay or metal.
Wood shingles start at around $100 per square and can last for up to 30 years.
ABOUT THE EXTERIOR COMPANY, INC.
On houses of all shapes and sizes, The Exterior Company, Inc., supplies roofing in a variety of styles and materials. Whether your roof has been damaged or worn with age, we can give you a new roof that will revitalize the look of your property. Alternatively, you might just be ready for a new or fancier roofing style, in which case we can help you find the perfect replacement roofing style for your home. Contact TEC today to get started!
NO NAIL LEFT BEHIND
All jobs involving construction necessarily entail that materials and equipment are on the job site – in the case of roofing – directly on the roof and around the perimeter of the house. There are thousands of nails that are removed with the old roof and thousands used with the new roof. Lots of nails – and it is inherent in the job that some of those nails end up on the ground.
We believe that no homeowner should have to worry about finding a nail in their tire or worse, finding one with their foot. In order to ensure that this does not happen, we thoroughly sweep around the property with a magnetic nail sweeper. The magnet is strong enough to even lift nails tangled in the grass. Of course, with the use of the Equipter roof buggy for direct removal of the old roofing materials from the roof to disposal, the number of nails on the ground is decreased considerably. The remaining nails are removed by the magnetic sweeper. For around the mulch beds or tighter areas, we use a hand held magnetic nail lifter. We visually inspect any walkways, driveways, and high traffic areas after thoroughly grooming them for nails. Might one nail end up somewhere untouched when we leave? This is possible. However, it is our policy that no nail should be on a walkway, driveway, or any area that is routinely walked upon. Our goal is to leave no nail anywhere but where it belongs on the roof. With this goal in mind, less nails are found by our customers than any company that does not stick to this goal and who also do not use the same effective equipment that we use.
We believe in providing the homeowner with plenty of options to choose from when it comes to the materials going up on the roof. We believe in GAF products and recommend their use, however, if the homeowner believes in a different product but also believes that The Exterior Company is the best choice of roofing contractor, then we will install that product and it will come with our 10 year workmanship warranty plus the standard material warranty for that product. Our standard repertoire includes the GAF Timberline HD lifetime architectural shingles, GAF Seal a Ridge ridge cap, GAF Pro-Start Starter strip, GAF Shingle Mate 30lb underlayment, GAF Weatherstopper Ice and Water Shield, and the GAF Cobra Exhaust/Ridge ventilation, with Alcoa drip edge around your perimeters. Upgrades include GAF synthetic Deck Armor underlayment, Grace ice and water shield, GAF Weatherblocker starter strip, GAF Snow Country Ridge vent, and the GAF Ultra HD Timberline Shingle with GAF Timbertex ridge cap, (or any of GAF’s designer series shingles, which are rated for 50 years, plus have intricate designs that can add aesthetic appeal to your home).
Think of this as a good-better-best. No matter what roofing components we install – it will be good – a job well done – a roof that will last the full service life. We like to equip you with “better” right off the bat; our standard repertoire is better than what many companies use. If you want the very best that money can buy, we can provide you with this, at a price that will beat the (few) other companies who can provide you with a comparable roofing system.
UNDERSTANDING THE GAF PRODUCT
We believe it is important to see where the product is coming from. How is it made? Is the actual product as good as the label depicts? Since quality control is one of our top priorities, we wanted to go behind the scenes to see for ourselves that the GAF product is durable and stand the test of time on our customers’ roofs. In order to have a greater understanding of the product we use and endorse, we visited the GAF plant in Myerstown, PA, the place where the shingles that we put on your roof are made.
We spoke with the factory foreman and employees about how the shingles are made. The fiber core is cross-woven for increased durability. There were no extraneous or organic fillers added – this is a cheap way of being able to boast shingle weight and thickness – and none of this takes place in the production of the shingles that will go up on your roof. We learned the GAF takes quality control so seriously that they will throw away for recycling any run of shingles that do not pass the test for durability – for each roll of fiber core, samples are taken and placed on a machine and tested for pliability, uniformity, thickness, and for loose granules. This ensures that the shingles that end up on your roof have been
Of course, we learned that the GAF shingles that go on your roof are made by a company that is American owned, and also produced right here in PA. The employees receive a good living wage, benefits, and retirement. And you are supporting this when you support out company.
Involvement – we at The Exterior Company are focused on being involved.
Our goal is to do more than provide quality service and earn a good living; we believe in giving back and supporting a larger purpose. That is why we are devoted to donating a portion of our revenue to causes such as the free schools and homes that support poverty stricken people, especially children, such as the Kopila Valley Childrens Home and School in Nepal. We feel that it is important to help make the world a better place by contributing to humanitarian projects. Each one of our customers can know that they are actually helping to make a difference, since on the average job $50 dollars is donated. This goes a long way in providing food, education, and shelter to human beings who suffer from poverty in less prosperous areas of the world. We would like to thank each one of our customers for helping others and for making a positive difference, no matter how small.
GAF shingles are at the leading edge of the industry in quality and longevity. There are three important features that only GAF provides in their product. First, the shingle matting is woven in four directions, which provides for the most solid structural integrity. Second, the shingles contain no chemical or organic fillers, which provide for increased thickness and weight but decreases the resilience and longevity of the shingles. Third, GAF uses an optimal ratio (65/35) of pure limestone to ensure that the asphalt will maintain its strength through time. Too little limestone and the shingles become soft, too much and the shingles will become too brittle. Together, these features create a durable shingle that will stand the test of time.
WHY STARTER STRIP IS IMPORTANT
Starter strip is necessary to provide a thorough seal along the roof edges where the run of shingles begin. The starter strip provides an even surface for shingles to adhere. The starter strips have specially placed adhesive that ensures the proper bond to prevent wind damage and leaks. Starter strips also ensure the best aesthetic appeal by allowing for the straightest roof edges.
The Exterior Company, Inc. has an A rating on the Better Business Bureau. Companies need to be in business for three years with a spotless history to become accredited with the BBB. Five years of quality service coupled with no financial/credit issues and unresolved complaints is required to achieve the A rating. The Exterior Company, Inc. has proven to be a reputable company in earning the A rating.
PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT WILL ALWAYS BE A REFLECTION OF A ROOFER’S PROFESSIONALISM AND STANDARD OF QUALITY.
The Equipter will take your next roofing project to a new level, whether you are a contractor or homeowner. This modern day dump trailer no longer needs a truck attached to it and two men on the ground picking up fallen debris from your roof. The Equipter, is drivable compact debris container, that can be driven on a lawn without destroying the grass and use its hydraulic system to elevate the container to the roof line for an easy and clean roof removal. This unique dump trailer is not only saving landscapes, lawns, and your wife’s flower beds but also valuable clean up time.
Roofing has always been considered a messy job consequently making homeowner procrastinate the inevitable roof replacement to spare the always too unsatisfactory clean up job. Nobody wants to deal with finding nails in their manicured yards or especially not in their tires! Now with the Equipter you can make getting a new roof a no mess experience that will change how roofing contractor do business. It’s no longer a game of who can offer the cheapest price for a roof replacement but who can offer the most value.
Professional equipment will always be a reflection of a roofer’s professionalism and standard of quality.
EAGLEVIEW AND PICTOMETRY MERGER
EagleView® Technologies, the leading provider of automated 3D measurement technologies and analysis solutions and Pictometry® International, the leader in geo-referenced aerial image capture and visual-centric data analytics, jointly announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which EagleView and Pictometry have combined their businesses into a single entity. EagleView and Pictometry closed the transaction on January 7, 2013.
The merger creates a global leader providing unparalleled geo-referenced aerial imagery and analytical software solutions servicing both government and commercial customers. The new entity will offer comprehensive and robust capabilities in aerial imagery collections, geospatial analytics and 3D measurement technologies. A more diversified revenue base, greater financial resources, advanced product capabilities and significant growth opportunities will reach across current industry segments – including local and regional government, insurance, energy and utilities and construction – as well as additional verticals.
HAAG ENGINEERING ROOFING
Haag engineering roofing is an engineering firm that specializes in scientific testing of various types of damage to residential and commercial structures, machinery, and electrical equipment. Haag certified residential roof inspectors are proficient with the understanding of the various types of roofing systems. Certified roof inspectors know how hail and wind interact with roofing, inspection safety techniques, roof area calculations, and applicable codes. Haag certified inspectors have an understanding of manufacture, installation, weathering, hail damage, wind damage, maintenance, mechanical damage, and repair costs for each major roofing type — composition, wood shingle/shake, concrete and clay tile, asbestos, fiber cement, and various synthetic, slate, and metal roofing types.
ICE & WATER SHIELD
Ice and water shield leak barriers prevent leaks along the eaves and valleys of the roof, where ice dams can back water up underneath the shingle. An ice dam occurs when water builds up behind a blockage of ice. An ice dam can occur when snow accumulates on the roof of a house. Heat conducted through the roof substrate and warm air from the attic warms the roof and melts the snow on those areas of the roof that are above living spaces, but does not melt the snow on roof overhangs. Melt-water flows down the roof, under the blanket of snow, onto the eave and into the gutter, where colder conditions on the overhang cause it to freeze. Eventually, ice accumulates along the eave and in the gutter. Water from the melted snow accumulates behind the ice as it cannot drain properly through the ice on the eave and in the gutter, resulting in leaks to the roof space resulting in damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and insulation. Valleys and wall edges are more prone to leaks as well, due to higher water volume. The ice and water shield leak barrier is a rubberized waterproof membrane that adheres to the decking of the roof along the eaves, edges, and valleys and prevents water from reaching the roof decking and leaking into the house.