Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homeowners warned to inspect for roof damage after winter storm

The latest winter storm to grip the region has residents once again shoveling out their cars, driveways and sidewalks. They may also want to take a look upward to inspect the roof. 
This year’s wintry mix of snow, sleet, rain and ice is not only troublesome for driving conditions but can also cause serious damage to roofs. 
“With everything freezing, it just creates damage to your roof,” said Bill McNish of Pottstown’s Pace Roofing Supply. 
Ice dams are a common roof problem during the winter. 
Ice dams happen as snow melts then refreezes, causing ice to build up in gutters, said Dave Enriquez, estimator at Ram Siding Co. in Douglassville. 
With an ice dam, additional snow and ice on the roof will melt but the water coming down has nowhere to go, Enriquez said.
 After the water freezes in the gutter, the ice expands, causing a blockage, which can sometimes break the seal between the drain pipe and the gutter, McNish added.
Ice dams can also cause water to go under the roof’s shingles when snow melts, leading to leaks, according to Cheryl Whitcombe of Berkshire Insurance Services. 
Whitcombe said there are steps people can take to prevent ice dams. She said homeowners can use a roof rake to clear the snow and keep gutters clear. 
Although clearing your roof of snow may prevent ice dams, McNish warned that when homeowners attempt to do it themselves they can cause more damage. 
“Don’t do it,” McNish said.
He said if you don’t get a professional to clear the roof, homeowners should just wait until the weather warms up and inspect the roof for damages. 
Roofing Specialist Ken Frymoyer of Mast Roofing & Construction in Oley cautioned people who try to remove snow themselves. 
“If you try and tackle this on your own, be very careful and remember that gravity will eventually take over,” he said. 
Frymoyer also said that roof rakes can damage shingles and “shorten the life expectancy of your roofing system.” 
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to clear flat roofs as it is to clear sloped roofs.
 “Flat roofs are the worst,” said Dave Derito, owner of D&D Handyman Services in Pottstown. 
Derito advised homeowners to shovel snow off their flat roof when they get a chance or call a professional to do it. He said if a roof has a foot of heavy, wet snow on it then it needs to be cleared as soon as possible. 
Flat roofs aren’t the only type of roofs susceptible to winter elements. Homeowners with older roofs, no matter if they’re flat or sloped, are at risk of their roof collapsing. 
Derito said an older home on High Street in Pottstown just recently had a roof collapse.
 Frymoyer said the older a roof is, the more susceptible it is to high winds. Forecasters have predicted heavy wind gusts with the latest storm headed this way. 
“The older a roofing system gets, the more brittle the shingles will get and it’s more likely they will blow off in heavy winds,” Frymoyer said. 
Whitcombe said insurance shouldn’t be looked at as a maintenance policy and that homeowners should do all they can do to avoid damage.
“It’s homeowners’ responsibility to prevent any further damage to the best of their ability,” she said.
 Whitcombe added that depending on which insurance homeowners have, they can be financially responsible for the roof destruction caused by winter storms. She said cheaper insurance may include a lot of exclusions when it comes to damages that are covered. 
“Every insurance company is different,” Whitcombe said, adding that homeowners need to know completely what their policy states.
 McNish said with another winter storm affecting the area, there’s not much homeowners can do to prevent damage. But he added that homeowners should inspect for damage as soon as possible and get impairments fixed immediately.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Help Determining If A New Roof Is In Your Homes Future

When it comes to having your roof replaced there is a lot to think about and consider. Often homeowners are unsure if a whole new roof is necessary or if the existing roof is in need of some minor repairs. The best way to know is to have a local roofing contractor come out to the house and do a free consultation, evaluating the homes roofing materials as well as the structural soundness of the roof. Replacing a roof can be an expensive investment. A roofing contractor will advise you about the seriousness of the roofs condition and advise homeowners on the best steps to take going forward. 

Below is a list of thing every homeowner should know about roofing and options available before ripping off their old roof to install a new roof.

The first and most obvious is that the new roof is going to be expensive and it will alter your life for the week. When a new roof is needed it is important to make sure everyone in the household knows what is going on. A new roof is best installed when life is not chaotic and nothing pertinent for the family is happening. The stress that comes along with paying for a new roof and living in the home while the roof is installed is exhausting. Having a new baby, starting a new job, kids studying for exams are all really good reasons to delay a new roof install. Installing a new roof will be loud and you should be prepared for early mornings. The best time for roofers to remove shingling and tear up old roofing materials is in the morning when temperatures have not peeked.

Another thing to think about when beginning a new roof installation is the material that you will use for your roof. Shingles are a common choice for homes here in the North however; metal roofing is becoming a close second. When considering materials to use it is best to do benefits analysis to decide if the extra money for a metal roof is worth it in the long run over shingling. If you plan on staying in your home for a long time a metal roof will stand the test of time and you will not need to worry about the hassle of a new roof in twenty years.

When choosing a contractor the best way to find reliable roofers is to check online as well as asking neighbors, friends and family for referrals. If you find a roofer online it is important that you are able to contact their referrals to ensure they are satisfied with the job that was done on their home. It is the appropriate time to ask about the time frame of the job as well as cost in comparison to the original quote. Homeowners should also consider asking about the mess, the cleanup and the professional nature of the crew. These are important things to inquire about before you hire a roofing contractor. A roofing contractor can seem incredibly professional when selling you on a new roof but finding out what they are like in the heat of a roof replacement is what you need to know. Asking their referrals is a sure fire way to know ahead of time what you are getting into. 

The last thing to do before any work is done replacing or repairing a roof is to have a signed contract. A contract between the roofer and the homeowner should include labor and material costs, an estimate on competition time and a copy of the roofers insurance. It is important that the roofer covers insurance coverage for the employees. This responsibility is not that of the homeowners and is not theirs to be liable for should an accident occur. All reputable roofing companies will have no problem supplying you with proof that they are fully insured. 

Trusting the people working on your home is a number one priority. Hiring a company for a big job such as a new roof is not something to consider lightly. The homes roof is structurally important to the house and therefore care should be taken when work is done on it.