Archive for the ‘Roof Repair 101’ Category

Falling Roof Tiles

Roof tiles are falling from the town hall on Central Street in Brookfield, Mass.  In 2006 selectmen became aware that Pinnacle Roofing improperly installed the roof resulting in tiles to fall from the roof. The Town Hall roof project was managed by Reinhardt Associates Inc., and the now defunct Pinnacle Roofing of Shrewsbury.

Pedestrian Hazard

The tiles started falling from the town hall last year after becoming loose after the roof iced up.  Snow, ice and 100 fallen slate tiles have fallen from the roof creating a hazard for pedestrians and parked cars.

Considered Options

Two considered options include putting up a snow fence and gutters over the three entrances at the town hall and to install a snow guard over the roof perimeter,  the other options is to extend the snow fence to include the entire perimeter of the roof. Board officials and engineers will draft an article for a special town meeting in November to decide on the best option.

The town’s insurance company will not cover the cost to replace or repair the roof stating they are not liable due to “faulty workmanship”.  The Town Hall Improvement Account, and money left over from the original roofing job will cover most of the costs of the safety options.


Cleaning Fungus from Your Shingles

The northwest, north and west side of your roof gets more shade early in the day providing moisture for moss, lichens and algae to grow.  Especially if you have a low hanging tree branch to block the sun from drying the area out. The stains can range from discolorations, ugly black streaks, to scales or flakes.  If left untreated, over time the algae and moss can cause damage and decay to your shingles.

Getting Your Hands Dirty

If you have shingles with copper coated granules, than you should not have to worry about the fungus growing on your roof.  You can also apply a zinc or copper oxide strip to the top of your roof.  The copper releases zinc oxide when it rains washing the roof and keeping the growth down.

Another option is to clean your roof.  Be extremely careful as the moss, lichen and algae are very slippery especially when your rooftop is wet.  It is wise to use a safety harness to prevent dangerous slips and falls.

What You Will Need

You will need safety equipment, a ladder, garden hose, and into a pump sprayer mix 1 gallon hot water, 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach, and 1 cup laundry detergent. Starting at the top of the roof spray the mixture downward onto a small section of the roof and let sit for 15 minutes, rinse with the garden hose. Spraying the water upward could cause water to go under your shingles and create leaks inside your home. If there is no damage to the shingles continue on to the rest of the roof. Avoid scrubbing as this could loosen the granules and void any warranties you may have on your roof.

If you want to use a pressure washer be sure to start with the smallest psi first and carefully test it on a small section to check for damage.  The granules on your asphalt shingles can be washed away if the pressure is too much. You will be damaging your roof if you see patches of solid black or fiberglass mesh.

Think safety, wear safety gear and rubber soles shoes, and do not mix chemicals that can be dangerous (acid, bleach and ammonia, etc.) Remember, your roof will be slippery. If you are uncomfortable being on your roof be sure to hire someone who has plenty of experience and will not cause any damage to your roof or shingles or use unsafe practices.


Getting The Best Roof Estimate

roof estimateNo two roofs are alike, and the same is certainly true of roof contractors. In fact, each zip code in the U.S. has more than a dozen roof contractors in the business listings. Each roofer will offer different advice, opinions, products and processes for repairing or replacing a roof.

The most important aspect to roof repair is getting multiple estimates from different contractors.  For many people, a roof estimate can often be confusing or overwhelming. However, there a few things any homeowner can look for to be sure they have the best estimate for roof repair or replacement.

Attention To Details

Not all roof contractors have written estimates or show these estimates to the homeowners.  It is important to obtain a written copy of the roof estimate and review the information before agreeing for any work to be completed. A professional and quality roof estimate will include:

  • Description of the work to be completed
    • i.e. repair or replacement
  • Specifications about the roof materials to be used
    • ie. shingle type, flashing and underlay materials
  • Exact pricing for the roof work
    • ie. cost of materials, labor
  • Description of any financing or installment arrangement
    • ie. amount of payments, dates payments are due
  • Determination of start and end dates of the work
  • Description of who will complete the work
    • ie. contract and crew, crew only
  • Details of contact information during and after work is completed
    • ie. phone numbers, email

Obtain The Paperwork

It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure they have all of the necessary documentation of the roofing project. Warranty information is the most important piece of documentation in a roof repair or replacement job. If there are any problems in the future, the warranty information can save the homeowner lots of time and money in obtaining future help with the roof. The homeowner’s insurance company will also want copies of any work that is done in order to file any claims on the roof project.





Advice From A Roofer

roof contractorLooking for a quality roof contractor can be deceivingly easy. Many times contractors will come with a large crew, fancy equipment and charismatic words that make the average homeowner feel comfortable.  When it comes to finding the best roof contractor for replacing or repairing a roof, there are a few things every homeowner should know.

Proof Is In The Pudding

Many states require roof contractors to be licensed and registered with the state or county. The problem is that enforcing this requirement is difficult and violators can be overlooked. Reputable contractors will be able to provide proof that they are registered with the local construction industries board, or equivalent. To protect yourself when looking for the right local roofer, it is important to ask for proof of their license or registration with the local government.

Roof contractors should also be able to provide proof of liability insurance. There have been cases in which a contractor, or their crew member, was injured on the job and sued the homeowner for damages. A professional roofer will carry their own liability insurance to cover their team in the event of accident or injury, as well as to cover any damages caused to the home during construction. Always make sure the roofing company is covered by a reputable insurance company before any work begins on your roof.

Call Ahead

Roofing companies may submit a bid to your private homeowners insurance to cover some, or all, of the costs for the roof work. As a homeowner, you should call your insurance company prior to selecting a contractor to find out what they will require in order to pay for the work. The insurance company may want to see multiple quotes, an inspection report verifying the necessity of the work and details from the contractors bid regarding the materials used. It is important you find out what the insurance company needs to protect yourself from fraudulent bids. If a contractor submits a bid to the insurance company fraudulently, you may be held responsible.


Pre-Winter Roof Check

It’s that time of year again to check your roof before the winter storms arrive. If you are not comfortable doing the check yourself, many roofing companies will send someone out for a free consultation. Or a reputable local handyman may come out for a small charge.

If you decide to do this check yourself there are several things to look for. First, before going outside, go into your attic on a sunny day and look up. If you see sunlight coming through the roof you obviously have a hole. If you can, push something through the hole so you can see the protrusion from the top of the roof so you can thoroughly inspect the area.

Often times you can position the ladder in a way to get a good view and minimize the time spent on your roof avoiding any damage and reducing the risks of slips and falls. You can use binoculars to get a better look and also take advantage of any dormers or upstairs windows you may have to view the condition of your roof.

Look for broken, missing, cracked or torn composition shingles, roof tiles or wood shingles that can be repaired or replaced. Clues that you have rotten wood under your tiles are dips or indentations in your roof. Also check your soffit for rotten wood. If your flashing is curled, bent, loose or cracked sometimes it can be reattached to the roof without replacing the metal pieces.

Routine maintenance of a flat roof will prevent major problems. During your inspection look for exposed tar paper, ruptures, blisters, or bubbles in the roofing. Spongy spots are due to water accumulating under the roofing material and the wood underneath starting to rot.

Clean out any debris in your gutters, leaves, twigs etc., so the water will flow freely and prevent back ups causing water to spill off of your rooftop.

By doing a simple check of your roof once or twice a year can help prevent costly repairs later on. If you would like a more detailed list, please go to the home page and download the free checklist for roof inspection.

Students Learn Roof Repair

The carpentry class at Tantasqua Regional High School in Fiskdale, Mass., along with their teacher Stephen Mucha, re-shingled the roof of an 1840’s cooper shop.

Brad King, director of facilities and grounds at Old Sturbridge Village, where the cooper shop is located, worked closely with the 8 eleventh grade students.

It is slow going for the students as they are using only hammers and utility knives. Several students had some roofing experience with asphalt but this was theirs and their teachers’ first experience with cedar shingles.

The students wore a safety harness tethered to a rope, safety glasses and hard hats complying with strict Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. Students went through OSHA training on proper use of equipment and wearing safety gear at all times while on the site.

Red cedar shingles maintain the historical appearance of the cooper shop. Newer materials are being used underneath to increase the lifespan of the roof by 30 years. The project should be completed in the middle of November.

The cooper shop was built in 1840 in Waldoboro Maine, and moved to the Old Sturbridge Village in the late 1960’s.

“Being an educational institution, the village is happy to share this
hands-on educational experience with the crew from Tantasqua. Students get a chance to recreate a historical roofing system and at the same time, they learn something about the trade, the tools that would have been used as well as the history of this particular building,” the facilities director said.

Katrina States Not Enforcing Roof Codes

New roof building codes are not being enforced in a number of cities in Alabama and Mississippi. The construction methods are creating vulnerabilities similar to 2005’s hurricane Katrina.

Confirming well built roofs has proven to be a major challenge in more than 20 gulf coast cities and counties. Many areas do not inspect roofs that are being replaced. The construction of a roof determines its strength, and routine and consistent inspections could ensure higher standards are being met.

The frame is supposed to be anchored to the rafters. Gables are to be braced so they won’t blow down. Many builders use staples instead of nails to attach decking to rafters, although staples have been found to come out at lower wind speeds.

After the decking comes the liner, many roofers use felt due to low cost, but the new synthetic liners are stronger. And last but not least is the shingles; roofers are supposed to use 6 nails per shingle, but this is hard to observe as the inspectors would have to stand around and watch the roofers all day.

Roof damage still occurs even when winds are not considered high. According to the wind gust predictions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, those areas closest to the gulf should build their roofs to withstand winds between 140 to 150 mpg.

Historic Sawtooth Roof Expected to Leak

The 100 years old Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., is probably going to leak whenever it rains even after extensive repairs recently made. The buildings age and certain distinctive structural properties listed as the main reasons. The historic building is constructed so that rainwater tends to pool in roof areas that have poor drainage. Water also seeps through the cracks of old windows with outdated seals.

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County financed the repairs by raising $26 million. The extent of the leaks has dropped significantly after massive renovations to the roof, gutters and storm drains. A rubbery substance placed beneath the sawteeth slopes and helps channel rainwater to nearby drains. Before the repairs, rain water ran down interior walls and collected up to 6 inches in trash bins. Now officials say the rainwater puddle on the floor is much more manageable and can be cleaned up with a paper towel.

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If the council were to replace the sawtooth roof, it would destroy its historic character. This area of the Arts center started life about 100 years ago as Shamrock Mills, the first mill of Hanes Hosiery.

Covering an Old Roof

Re-roofing it is not particularly hard to do, but it is a monotonous job and sometimes an unpleasantly hot and sweaty job. Re-roofing your home can be very time consuming. There may be preliminary work involving roof board replacement, or new flashings or roof gutter replacements.

You should probably not consider re-roofing your house alone unless your home is a simple one story. Often it is beneficial to have someone to help get the shingles to the rooftop and do other assisting jobs.

If your roof has only one or two layers of roofing, and the roof sheathing boards are in good condition without evidence of moisture damage, you can probably roof right over the existing roof.

If the lower eaves areas have sustained moisture damage, it is a good idea to remove the old roofing in a strip about 2 to 4 feet wide along the roof eaves. Any damaged sheathing boards in this area can be replaced, a couple layers of a building felts cemented down, and shingle re-coursing that comes up the old shingles can be applied before proceeding with the re-roofing work.

Remove poor conditioned and damaged shingles and pull out any nails. Be sure to remove protruding shingles and patch over low spots first. The new roof will reveal all the bumps and valleys if not fairly smooth.

When covering an existing roof of composition shingles, try to match the shingle pattern that is already on the roof. Replace the old shingles with new shingles with the same thickness to achieve a smooth roof. Remember to use 1 ¼ inch nails. Complete the roof the same way as for a new roof, butting each course of new shingles up to an old course.

Volunteer Roofers

If you have been looking for a way to enrich your community, volunteering is a great way to make a difference. Not only will you be improving the lives of others, but you will benefit from meeting new people and possibly learning new skills.

If you are a hands on type of person and aren’t afraid of hard work, you may be interested in volunteering your services re-roofing and repairing roofs for families in need. There is no shortage of opportunities in your neighborhood or in other countries if you find that more appealing.

Some of the well known organizations such as Untied We Serve, United Nations Volunteers, and Habitat for Humanity have volunteer programs. But you might also try asking around your local churches, schools, community centers, and senior centers for families in need.

You can form your own “do it yourself” group of volunteers. When you find a family in need of roof repairs, post a sign on the bulletin boards and free web advertising in your community asking for volunteers. Call the roofing companies in your area and ask if they would be willing to donate materials, offer to contact the local media and publicize their generosity.

Not all volunteers need to be on the roof, some can provide transportation, make sure there is plenty of water to keep the volunteers hydrated, prepare lunches, make phone calls and keep the project organized and on track.

Often times home repairs take a back burner to food and basic living costs in these tough economic times. By helping our neighbors, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.