Those Cute, Furry Squirrels Can Damage Your Roof

Fall is the season when adorable squirrels scamper from yard to yard, burying nuts for the winter and digging up others stored over the summer. Squirrels may seem cute in mid-flight from the trees onto your roof but they can do serious damage when they are up there. They have been known to do everything from eat roof underlayment to gnaw on lead flashing and roof vent pipes.

One would not think that a tiny squirrel could totally destroy the roofing construction but it is true. The rodents even chew on the vent stack covers on roofs. These pipes are necessary to vent plumbing in bathrooms another areas of the home. While the lead covering prevents rainwater from dripping into the attic to create roof rot, squirrels can compromise its integrity.

It is not known why squirrels gnaw on lead other than possibly to wear down their continuously growing incisors. Lead, aluminum, and copper apparently taste sweet to the animals, making these metals the preferred dining choices. If a squirrel chews a pipe down far enough, the resulting leak may lead to structural damage and create a water source for termites. A residential roofing contractor can replace roof jacks to prevent this from happening.

Squirrels can also do a number on tile roofs, leading to leaking and other issues. After going to town on the underlayment, they may leave the roof without any structural support, causing tiles to crack and crumble. If a squirrel gets trapped under the roof tiles, it will attempt to eat its way out, which can create a major leak. In many cases, the rodent is unsuccessful, resulting in a dead animal in the roof.

Residential roofing specialists use special paints and taste repellents to help homeowners prevent squirrels from destroying their roofs. If a squirrel has already caused damage or created an opening for easy entry into the home, a live trap may be required to capture and remove the animal. Giving squirrels something else to chew on such as a small block of wood or unused PVC tubing might distract them enough to prevent additional chewing on the roof.

The important thing is to take action before roofing materials and construction have suffered at the hands of these furry creatures. This prevents the home from being exposed to water, wind, and harmful insects like termites and carpenter bees. Homeowners should contact a Master Elite roofing contractor for recommendations on keeping squirrels off the roof.

Your Roof Is Leaking…Isn’t It?

When you see stains on the ceiling, wetness in the chimney area, or water dripping from a light fixture, window well, or down a wall, a roof leak is the first thing that comes to mind. A residential roofing contractor comes out and makes a patch repair, putting your mind at ease. The next time a heavy rain occurs, the moisture reappears and you are baffled, not to mention frustrated.

A roof leak is not the only thing that allows moisture to enter the home. If vinyl or wood siding is worn, damaged, or was installed incorrectly, leakage can result. Rain driven by strong wind can get past siding, behind flashing, and into the roofing construction. A leak in a chimney or masonry wall may occur when weather exposure causes deterioration.

Mortar can loosen itself from bricks and may even fall out, permitting moisture to enter the area and run down into the house. A concrete block wall can turn porous, which allows it to absorb water. If masonry work was not performed correctly, these conditions can appear much earlier than normal, creating headaches for homeowners.

Mechanical intrusions can be sources of leaks. Rusted vent pipes may develop holes that attract water. Antennas, satellite dishes, lightening rods, or even Christmas decorations that have fasteners piercing the roof can become sources of leaks if they are not properly sealed. Some homes have flat areas on the roof and if an HVAC unit is installed there, leaky duct work may provide moisture with an avenue into the home.

Some leaks suspected to be coming from the roof do not even originate in that area. Deteriorated caulking or split frames on second story windows can create what appears to be a roof leak from the first floor level. In some cases, a vent pipe installed into a wall on an upper floor of the home provides water with access that creates a leak on a lower floor. Leaking bathtubs, broken water pipes, and dripping HVAC units have all been known to cause what are assumed to be water leaks.

An experienced roofer like those with GAF Master Elite certification can quickly distinguish a roof leak from a leak attributed to another source. Many people call themselves residential roofing contractors and they have the signage and equipment to show for it. What they do not possess are the required knowledge and skills. Do your homework before calling a roofer in your area.

How To Perform Minor Residential Roofing Repairs

Damaged or missing shingles, broken vents, and leaks are some of the many issues that homeowners may experience during the lifetime of their roofs. Do-it-yourself types may wish to tackle related repairs rather than calling a roofing contractor. Before they undertake these projects, they should understand what is involved so they do things correctly.

If a damaged shingle must be replaced, work when the shingle is cool or cool it down by dousing it with cold water. Pry between the damaged shingle and surrounding shingles with a metal pry bar to snap the sealant loose. Use the nail remover on a hammer to remove nails from the shingle being replaced and the shingle above it. Replace the shingle with a new one in a matching color, following the application instructions provided by the manufacturer and hand-sealing the shingle.

If a ridge or hip shingle goes missing, the roof can be exposed to moisture. All remaining pieces of shingle should be removed and shingles nearby may need to be loosened or removed. The new ridge or hip shingle should match the existing ones in thickness and color. Fully cover the ridge vent or nearby field shingle with fasteners of the correct length. Follow the manufacturer application instructions, using asphalt cement if recommended.

During vent replacement, avoid cutting wiring or rafters in the attic. Vents must be fastened to the roof to prevent infiltration by weather elements and blow-off during windy conditions. Ridges represent some of the highest portions of the roof so use safety equipment to prevent injury and falls. If additional vents are being installed, consult local building codes for requirements regarding balanced attic ventilation.

Water nearly always flows directly down, according to the principles of gravity. This should help you identify leaks in roofing construction. Skylights, penetrations, and obstructions are the most common sources of leaks. Examine plumbing vents, skylights, chimneys, and the transition areas between the roof and walls including eaves, valleys, and dormers. Rust or black rings around nails, soaked insulation when rain as not occurred, and algae stains on interior plywood are signs of inadequate roof ventilation, not leakage.

If these residential roofing repairs seem overwhelming, call a professional. Missing and damaged shingles and roof vents should be repaired immediately to prevent moisture infiltration. Leaks should be addressed promptly to prevent more serious consequences like the growth of mold. A professional can perform these repairs and more, maintain the integrity of the roofing construction.

Did You Know Your Attic Can Shorten Your Roof Life?

Many people ignore their attics because these are dark and dingy places. This can be a costly mistake because moisture problems in an attic can cause a roof to fail prematurely. These issues can also affect the comfort and health of residential occupants. By sealing, ventilating, and insulating their attics, homeowners can increase the energy efficiency and durability of their homes and improve their quality of life.

Warm air travels upward, carrying moisture from bathrooms, humidifiers, laundry rooms, the kitchen, and home occupants. If the attic is not properly sealed, this moisture will enter it, where it will condense on cool attic surfaces. Condensation is what creates moisture-related issues. Poor roofing construction or attic renovations like recessed light figures and exhaust fans without venting systems can permit additional moisture into this space.

When an attic gets wet in the winter, mold, mildew, condensation, and buckled shingles may result. Wet wood expands and when warm weather arrives, this wood dries and contracts. The constant expansion-contraction process loosens the nails in the attic roof, causing roofing shingles to buckle. Mildew and mold that develop on wood due to moisture cause rotting and roof failure. These substances can also negatively affect the health of occupants with asthma, weakened immune systems, the elderly, infants, and pregnant women.

If attic ducts are unsealed or poorly insulated or if warm air reaches the attic, ice damming can occur. The heat thaws the snow on the roof but the snow can refreeze when it reaches the soffit area, which is colder. This creates a dam that causes the underlying water to back up under roof shingles. Eventually, a residential roofing contractor may need to address the issue.

Many homeowners attempt to eliminate residential moisture issues by ventilating their attics. However, creating an imbalanced system of ventilation can actually pull more moisture into an attic. Stopping the sources of moisture is the key to keeping the attic dry. A contractor can help by sealing and insulation the attic so heat remains inside the home and moist air stays out of the attic.

HVAC ducts, dropped ceilings, chimneys, attic hatches, electrical figures, knee walls, and skylights are among the areas that should be sealed to prevent warm air from escaping to an attic. If the roof has already become damaged, an experienced roofing contractor should be contacted to replace loose or warped shingles. Homeowners who follow this advice will have a happier and healthier ownership experience.

The Basics of the RoofPoint Program

RoofPoint is a commercial roofing system sustainability guideline established by The Center for Environmental Innovation in February 2010. While it has similarities to other building rating systems like LEED, it also considers aspects that represent unique value to the green building community and building owners. The program evaluates a roofing system according to five categories and has certified roofing construction projects in Mexico, Canada, and more than 30 states in the U.S.

Materials management, energy management, water management, innovation, and durability-life cycle management are the five categories within the RoofPoint guideline. RoofPoint is considered the first comprehensive rating system for the selection and assessment of sustainable roof systems. It offers a comprehensive roadmap for achieving a low-slope, sustainable roof. The guideline was updated in 2012 to represent a cornerstone for environmentally innovative roof system design and selection.

RoofPoint incorporates established measurements and criteria from current green building standards, resulting in a guideline that reflects the current thinking in the green building industry. The guideline is intended to be easy for roofing contractors to understand and use. The goal is for this guideline to evolve into a national standard that will be integrated into specifications and requirements for public construction projects.

To get started with RoofPoint, commercial roofing contractors should download the 2012 guideline from the RoofPoint website. This provides details for selection of different kinds of nonresidential roofing systems, including steep and low-slope applications. Participants should then download the RoofPoint project evaluation form to submit their project data electronically and score each credit.

For each aspect of the project that meets credit intent but features conditions that do not represent full compliance with the credit requirement, one point is provided per credit. If the roofing system meets the stated credit requirement, one point is provided per credit. If the roof system exceeds the stated credit requirement substantially and in doing so, offers a tangible benefit, 1.5 points are provided per credit. Projects that have a total score of at least 12 and minimum required points in all categories but innovation are eligible for inclusion in the program.

RoofPoint administrative personnel will verify each submission. After the project evaluation form has been reviewed and verified, the contractor will be notified that the project has been accepted into the RoofPoint program. A certificate of achievement and press kit are provided for each accepted project, providing recognition for the excellent job on the commercial roofing construction.

Avoid a Roofing Scam When You Are Most Vulnerable

After a devastating storm, hurricane, or tornado sweeps through town, many homes are left in shambles. Those that are still standing may have sustained damage to areas like the roof. As one of the most vulnerable portions of the home, the roof can take a beating during rough weather. The typical scenario involves the homeowner filing a homeowner’s insurance claim and then looking for a qualified residential roofing contractor. Some roofers have begun calling on residents following a storm but many are not reputable.

Within the industry, these contractors are called storm chasers. They use a severe storm to drum up business, inspecting the roof of a home and stating that repairs are necessary. The roofer has the homeowner sign a contract that supposedly permits the roofer to contact the insurance company. What the homeowner signature really does is authorize the roofer to perform some very expensive repairs.

After the homeowner pays the roofer a deposit designed to cover roofing materials, the roofer leaves town. The homeowner is out of money and if a new roof or roof repairs really are needed, without anyone to do the work. Eventually, the contract will go to a reputable roofer like a GAF certified Master Elite contractor, who will do an excellent job at a much lower price. However, the homeowner may never be able to recover the deposit money paid to the scammer.

Storm chasers tarnish the roofing profession so reputable contractors. They make homeowners believe that insurance claim money is coming and they “graciously” offer to perform the work in the interim. When the insurance company determines that the roof damage is insufficient to warrant a claim, the homeowner must pay for whatever services are rendered.

In some cases, the roofing company goes out of business before making the promised repairs. In the worst case scenario, there is no roofing company. It is simply a shell for fraudulent dealings designed to swindle homeowners out of money when they are most vulnerable. When people believe their roofs are damaged, especially after a storm has just hit, they are quick to authorize repairs.

Homeowners should never sign a roofing contract without doing due diligence. If required by the state, the contractor should be licensed. Contractors should also be insured and bonded and should provide proof of insurance upon request. Reputable contractors have been in business for more than a few years and have excellent references.

Metal Roofing

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Metal Roofing
A roof made from metal offers many benefits over a traditional asphalt roof. It comes in a variety of styles, from a standard vertical seam, to newer versions that resemble clay tiles, slate, wood shakes, and traditional shingles. Metal roofs can be installed on different types of homes and may provide energy savings and protection for a lifetime.

Conventional roofing materials such as asphalt shingles are estimated to contribute 20 billion pounds of waste each year in the U.S. A metal roof can be installed over an existing asphalt roof, eliminating the environmental impact and cost of tearing off and disposing of the roofing material. All metal roofs contain 30 to 60 percent recycled material.

Many metal roofs designed for residential roofing installation feature a reflective pigment that improves the energy efficiency of the home, reducing energy bills. While an asphalt roof may need to be replaced every ten to 20 years, a metal roof can last forever. According to experts, a roof made from metal lasts two to three times longer than an asphalt roof. Energy savings and lifetime more than offset the higher cost of a metal roofing installation. A metal roof can even lower homeowner’s insurance premiums and increase the home resale value.

Most metal roofs feature a 30 to 50-year warranty from the manufacturer. A reputable roofer adds a warranty guaranteeing workmanship. Metal roofs made from steel feature a zinc or zinc-aluminum coating that is factory bonded to the steel and prevents the formation of rust. Durability is also not a concern with these roofs. They can withstand extreme weather conditions for many years and feature a 150-mph wind rating, which is equal to the force of an F2 tornado.

Homeowners often assume that a roof made from metal will be noisier than another type. When a metal roof is install with solid sheathing, it quiets the noise from weather like rain and hail much more than other kinds of roofing materials. A metal roof also does not increase the likelihood of the home being struck by lightning. The material is not flammable or combustible and disburses energy from lightning throughout the residential structure.

If metal is being considered for residential roofing installation, the homeowner should contact an experienced roofer. This professional will determine whether this type of roof is appropriate for the home. A good roofer also provides free estimates for the installation of various styles of metal roofs and compatible gutters.

Reasons Building Owners Should Select Asphalt Built-Up Roofing

A flat roof is horizontal and in the U.S., it is typically found on commercial buildings. A built-up roof is made up of multiple roof felt plies laminated with bitumen, an oil-based substance. One of several surfaces, such as asphalt, emulsion, or aggregate, is then applied. Built-up roofing is one of the most reliable and oldest ways to install a new roof. Coal tar and asphalt are the two basic types of built-up roofing and asphalt has several benefits.

Hot-applied asphalt built-up roofing has been used since the 1870s and has continuously evolved. The layered installation of a built-up commercial roofing system enhances the strength, durability, and puncture resistance of the roof and represents a less labor-intensive process than other commercial installations. These are just a few of the many reasons that building owners choose asphalt built-up roofing for their structures.

Asphalt is a residual from the petroleum distillation process. Roofing grade asphalt is widely available and can be delivered in hot liquid form by a bulk tanker. Seventy-five percent of asphalt produced is used in paving and much of it features 45 to 50 percent recycled materials. Asphalt shingles are also being recycled because they are uncontaminated and much progress has been made with recycling asphalt from built-up commercial roofing.

Built-up roofing is maintainable, with repairs possible throughout the lifetime of the roof. Temporary repairs, patches, and replacements can be made in various weather conditions. Many of these roofing systems have been in use for 30 or more years. Typical reinforcements have developed from organic paper or rag felts to fiberglass felts that are not as prone to rotting, shrinking, splitting, or blistering. Durable built-up roofing is also versatile because it can be used with any slope of roof.

Traditional asphalt emits a distinct odor. Low-fuming versions are now available, as are types with a low volatile organic compound (VOC) content. Kettles featuring afterburners consume VOCs that are released during the heating process. This creates asphalt that is more environmentally friendly, helping commercial building owners to achieve “green” goals for their structures.

When asphalt is heated to the appropriate temperature for application, it will solidify within seconds and will be weather-resistant within minutes. This almost immediate bonding and elimination of cure time makes relevant commercial roofing installations quick and convenient. Hot asphalt has a weatherproofing quality and is compatible with various surfacing options that prevent mud cracking from heat or cold.

High-Quality Roofing Contractors Handle Gutters In Addition To Roofs

A good residential roofing installation helps keep water out of a home. Installing a system of gutters to carry water away from the house is the final step in a roofing installation project. With a well-functioning gutter and downspout system in place, water stays away from the home, preventing related damage to the structure and interior.

The gutter system must be able to handle the anticipated volume of water without representing an eyesore on the home exterior. A qualified roofing contractor can determine the correct size of this system and can install and service the each gutter and downspout on the home. If an existing system requires repair or replacement, the contractor can perform these task with ease. Experienced contractors can even install cutting-edge gutter cover systems to prevent entry of leaves and other debris.

If a gutter is leaking, sagging, or has pulled away from the edge of the roof, water and melting ice can flow down exterior walls and enter the home, wreaking havoc on anything they encounter. If enough water seeps into the foundation of a home, the concrete can crack, rendering the structure uninhabitable. This is enough to scare anyone into having a new gutter system installed or a faulty one repaired. The expense for this work is nothing compared to the cost of repairing the structure.

When called out for a gutter repair job, the best roofers identify issues with the roofing construction. If they see a lot of granules from the asphalt roofing shingles in the gutter, they know that the roof deserves closer inspection. If the roofing installation was not performed correctly, the product used is incorrect, or the roof requires replacement, shingle breakdown typically occurs. The result is asphalt granules in the gutter.

Regular inspection of the roof and gutter system is recommended because this identifies issues before they become expensive problems. Spending a little money to address small deficiencies now is much easier to justify than spending a lot of money because these issues were ignored. Inspection reveals potential problems and the roofer will recommended the best way to address these.

The best roofers in the business offer free estimates on gutter and roof projects. Residential customers will know exactly what they are facing financially so there will be no surprises. They owe it to themselves to protect their homes against the elements and should choose only the highest-quality residential roofing contractor to help them.

Solar Roofing Tax Credits And Subsidies

Since CIGS thin-film solar cell manufacturer Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011, there has been much controversy regarding federal financial support for renewable energy. Solyndra was the first company to be awarded a loan guarantee under the Obama administration. Unfortunately, taxpayers are not expected to recover much of the $527 million loan.

Critics of federal policy say that solar subsidies and grants increase our federal deficit and do not effectively promote new energy sources. However, according to a study recently published by the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Finance (US PREF), tax credits for residential solar installations provide the government with tax revenue that exceeds the value of these credits, returning the equivalent of approximately ten percent interest.

The Solar Investment Tax Credit program, which expires in 2016, provides a tax credit equivalent to 30 percent of installation costs for residential and solar installations of a small to medium scale. US PREF reports that since the creation of this credit, 90 percent of the current solar generating capacity in the U.S. has been installed. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, this tax credit is the “cornerstone” of continued U.S. solar energy growth.

DSIRE, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, is the best place to look for federal and state tax incentives and information regarding energy efficiency incentives and renewable energy in general. The U.S. Department of Energy-funded Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the North Carolina Solar Center present this ongoing project. Consumers can learn more about federal and state incentives by visiting the DSIRE website.

While many homeowners are familiar with solar panels and even roofing materials featuring integrated solar technology, they may not be aware of energy-efficient mortgages. This financing is available for energy efficiency improvements on existing homes, including technologies regarding renewable energy. Americans can also use this mortgage to purchase a new energy-efficient home. The loans are insured by the Veterans Affairs or Federal Housing Authority programs so borrowers who do not qualify for a mortgage elsewhere can pursue energy efficiency.

In 2005, the Million Solar Roofs initiative was passed into law in California and led to the creation of the CSI Program, which has a goal of 1,940 MW of installed solar capacity by the end of 2016. This is just one of many state solar energy-related tax breaks being legislated in this country. Residential roofing customers should explore the financial incentives of going solar and discuss installations with a qualified roofing contractor.

Using a Roof to Decrease Smog

Who would have thought that a roof could actually help the environment? Boral Roofing Company’s MonierLifetile created the Auranox concrete roof tiles that reduce smog levels in the atmosphere. Residential consumers and building owners who are concerned about the environment may want to consider these as alternatives to traditional shingles. Introduced in 2010, these tiles are more expensive than conventional alternatives but the premium is expected to decrease over time and with increased installations.

Vehicles compromise the atmosphere by producing smog, which releases toxins into the environment. When the Auranox roof tiles are exposed to light, the photo catalyst titanium dioxide contained on their surface speeds oxidation, reducing pollution. The small amount of organic residue that remains is washed off the roof during a rainstorm. The process sounds simple but the technology required to achieve it is very complex.

The roofing materials consist of only minerals that feature an inorganic surface able to withstand weather conditions. The surface will not promote organic growth and the special pore structure enables the tiles to dry in half the time of an ordinary roofing tile. During a one-year period, a 2,000 square-foot roof comprised of these concrete tiles can destroy an amount of nitrogen oxides equivalent to those produced by a car driven 10,800 miles.

The technology has reportedly been in use for a few years in Europe, where it is mainly used in road materials like paving products. The materials are treated with titanium dioxide, which assists in the removal of nitrogen oxide emissions in the air. Exposing the material to UV rays causes the titania to photocatalytically reduce the smog created by the nitrogen oxide emissions, converting it to nitrate.

The proven results of Auranox technology have opened the doors for additional applications. Boral is currently testing the idea for potential products including tile shingles made from clay. Since titanium dioxide is a readily available mineral, widespread use is possible. Boral takes an environmentally conscious approach with its other products, already offering cool roofing tiles designed to reduce air conditioning use in warm climates like Florida, Arizona, California, and Hawaii.

Weight, installation, and performance of the Auranox smog-reducing tile is similar to a traditional shingle. The company internalizes its environmental focus by engaging in reusing wastewater and rejected tiles at all of its plants. MonierLifetile is also engaged in testing raw materials that are more environmentally friendly and using vegetable based produces to replace petroleum based products.