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A Minnesota Homeowner’s Guide to Ice Dams

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Gutters, Roofing, Uncategorized

Winter weather comes with many potential threats to the safety, warmth, and structural integrity of your home, from gale force winds to heavy snowfall. One of the most common cold weather hazards is the ice dam.

Ice dams are most likely to form when the temperature fluctuates. So while you may breathe a sigh of relief to have a break from Minnesota's well below freezing temperatures for a few days, higher temperatures do not negate the risks to your home. Ice dams are especially common in the late winter and early spring when the weather may warm up and then drop below freezing again unexpectedly.

In this blog, we provide the information you need to protect your home from ice dams and the damage they cause.

How to Choose New Siding

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Siding

Siding is one of the most important features of the exterior of your home. The siding on your home will protect your home from bad weather and determine your home's curb appeal.

When it's time to choose the siding for your home, you may feel overwhelmed about all of the options. Homeowners can choose between sidings made of brick, vinyl, cellular PVC, wood, stone, stucco, aluminum, ceramic tile, or stainless steel. Many homeowners struggle to decide which siding is best for their home.

Here are a few tips to help you choose appropriate siding for your home.

Determine Your Budget

When you install siding on your home, you often increase the value of your home. However, new siding can be expensive to install and maintain. Before you decide what type of siding you want for your home, determine what you can afford.

Budget carefully the amount of money you can afford to spend on siding as well as labor fees. Once you have determined your budget, you can then select a contractor and move forward with the installation process.

Consider the Climate

When you begin to look at siding options, consider the climate in your area. For instance, if you live in a sunny area, bright-toned siding will often be overemphasized by bright sunlight. On the other hand, homes in rainy areas may look dreary and bland if they have darker-toned siding. Choose a siding that will make your home look beautiful even amidst common weather patterns in your area.

Additionally, consider durable siding if you live in an area that commonly experiences snow or rain storms. You can avoid having to replace your siding when you consider the weather hazards in your area and plan accordingly.

Research Possible Materials

Homeowners can choose from a wide selection of siding materials. The types of siding vary by flexibility, durability, longevity, and customization. Some of the most popular siding materials include the following:

  • Aluminum: Aluminum siding is often used as an alternative to vinyl. Aluminum is low-maintenance and fireproof. Usually, this siding option won't crack like vinyl, but it could fade or become dented over time.
  • Cedar shingles: Cedar shingles are made from natural cedar and can be stained brown, gray, or other earth-toned colors. Cedar shingles are ideal for homeowners who want wooden siding without frequent maintenance.
  • Fiber cement: Fiber cement siding can be made to resemble stucco, wood, or masonry if needed. Fiber cement looks natural and is a less expensive option compared to wooden sidings. This material is durable, termite-proof, and fireproof.
  • Steel: Steel siding is one of the most resilient sidings available. Steel will rarely bulge, shrink, or change under extreme temperatures. Steel siding also comes in wood-like textures that are ideal for modern homes.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is one of the most cost-friendly sidings available. Vinyl won't flake or rot over time like some other materials. However, vinyl siding is made from plastic and could emanate toxic chemicals if ever burned.
  • Wood: Many homeowners prefer the beauty that natural, solid wood provides. Common wood types used for siding include cedar, pine, redwood, spruce, and cypress. Keep in mind that wood siding does require periodic painting and staining. However, this siding option often outlasts synthetic woods and vinyl.

Although many of these siding materials come in a variety of colors, not all colors are available for every material. Make sure the color you want is available with your chosen material before you make a decision.

If you are unsure about which type of material is best for your home, contact us today. We can help answer any questions about different materials, and get your project started in the right direction. Feel free to fill our our form to the right for a free estimate, or call us today at 612-722-1448.

Rooftops Revealed: 6 Iconic Rooftop Scenes in Movies

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Roofing

According to your average homeowner, a rooftop is there to protect you from the elements. But according to Hollywood, the rooftop is a place of action, suspense, romance, and even magic.

Consider how often rooftops are featured in movies from just about every genre. Let's take a look at some of the films that give a rooftop a starring role.

1. "Mary Poppins" (1964)

"Mary Poppins" certainly features its fair share of thrilling musical moments. Perhaps the most thrilling is "Step in Time," which takes place on the rooftops of London. Bert and his fellow chimney sweeps perform terrifying choreography, including jumping from roof to roof and dangling each other off the edge.

The action reaches a whole other level as the chimney sweeps dance on top of chimneys. While the dance steps are truly impressive, the scene just wouldn't be the same without its stunning rooftop location.

2. "Fiddler on the Roof" (1971)

Along with serving as the movie's namesake, the fiddler on the roof serves as the symbol of Tevye and his family. At the beginning of the movie, a

fiddler plays a beautiful, mournful tune from the rooftop, setting the mood for the rest of the story.

As we watch Tevye and his family deal with a variety of challenges-from poverty to displacement-we can't help but think of the fiddler. Like Tevye's family, the fiddler is precariously balanced on top of the roof, trying to play a pleasant tune without falling over the edge.

3. "Aladdin" (1992)

A rooftop both starts and ends the magical scene where Aladdin and Jasmine fly above Arabia on a magic carpet. Aladdin first greets Jasmine on her balcony, convincing her to join him on his magic carpet. As the ride comes to a close, they park the carpet on top of a roof and watch the fireworks.

As they fly over the rooftops, Aladdin and Jasmine are in a place high above the rest of the world. They can finally share their love, free from the obstacles of class differences and family disapproval.

4. "The Santa Clause" (1994)

With Santa Claus as the main character, audiences likely expected "The Santa Clause" to feature dozens of rooftop scenes. But actually, the whole plot of the movie hinges on what happens on a rooftop.

At the beginning of the movie, divorced father Scott notices Santa on top of his roof. He calls out to Santa, causing Santa to slip and fall off the roof. With no Santa to deliver toys to the children, Scott is forced to climb to the rooftop and take his place.

5. "The Walk" (2015)

After high-wire artist Philippe Petit saw a picture of New York's Twin Towers, he dreamed of walking a high wire between them. But it took years and a team of conspirators to achieve his dream. The climax of the movie finds Philippe and his friends on top of the towers, illegally rigging a high wire between the two buildings. The cinematography from the tower's rooftop is enough to give moviegoers vertigo.

6. "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)

When two of the world's favorite superheroes collide, what better place for the epic battle than on a rooftop? The precarious rooftop scene adds a backdrop of danger and thrill to the fight. In this treacherous location, we come close to losing one of these beloved heroes.

 

Where would these memorable scenes be without their rooftop settings? High above the world, rooftops are one of the best locations to create a sense of danger, love, and wonder.

While your rooftop might not be fit for a movie scene, it should still look its best. If your roof is looking a little worse for wear, call a roofing expert from D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. to repair or replace it.

4 Things New Homeowners Should Know About Their Roof

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Roofing

When you buy a home for the first time, you may make a few maintenance mistakes and assumptions about your property in the initial weeks and months of ownership.

For example, you might install a fire detector in your kitchen, only to discover that the alarm sounds every time you cook dinner. Or you might assume that your neighbors will love your new fence color, only to find out that the local homeowners association has strict exterior paint guidelines.

While some mistakes are laughable, other mistakes can cost you a great deal to fix. Fortunately, you can avoid serious problems and save thousands of dollars when you understand the following principals regarding your roof.

1. Your Roof Doesn't Last Forever

When carefully maintained, a quality home can last generations. Many homes across the country have lasted well over 100 years, and they can still meet the same safety standards and building codes as their modern counterparts.

But though your home as a whole can withstand a great deal, your average roof cannot. Asphalt roofs need replacing every 15 to 20 years, and cedar shakes last approximately 30 to 40 years if installed correctly. With both roof types, individual shingles will need immediate replacement if cracked, curled, or missing.

As you move into a new home, don't forget to ask about important details such as your roof's age and any recent repairs it may have undergone. If that information is unavailable, hire a roofing contractor to inspect your roof for damage.

2. Your Gutters Need Cleaning

Your gutters play a key role in protecting against basement and crawlspace floods. As rainwater pours from your roof, the gutters collect and redirect the water away from the vulnerable places of your home. Eventually, the downspout and splashguard guide the water to a safe patch of ground, and then the water can soak into the soil.

However, gutters can also contribute to leaks when you fail to clean them. As dirt, leaves, and twigs collect in gutters, water can no longer flow freely down the run and to the downspout. In severe storms, the water pools beyond your gutter and seeps under your shingles.

If you have trees that overhang your roof, take the time to clean your gutters every few months. For new builds with minimal landscaping, inspect and clean your gutters on a semi-annual basis.

3. Leaks Aren't Always Obvious Holes

When you picture a leaking roof, you may envision obvious holes in your attic or upper floors. During a storm, you may comically place buckets, pots, and pans underneath the holes to catch the dripping water.

Though many movies and TV shows would have you believe in this imagery, most roofs don't give you such obvious signs of damage. On many occasions, rainwater will slip in around a missing nail or snake its way along the underlayment before soaking into your ceiling and insulation.

If you notice bubbling paint on the ceiling, wall discoloration, or mold in your attic, you could have a leak. Algae growth and curling shingles could also indicate excess moisture collection on your roof. To avoid severe water damage, keep your eyes open for these subtle signs, and don't hesitate to call in a contractor if you suspect a problem.

4. You Should Leave the Repairs to the Professionals

You may feel comfortable performing a variety of home maintenance tasks on your own. With the right tools and a little research, you can teach yourself to caulk a sink, replace a washer hose, and clean your range hood filter. At a glance, a missing shingle or two may seem like an easy fix compared to your other past projects.

But though your confidence is commendable, leave the roofing repairs to the professionals. Without proper training, you could further damage your shingles when you walk on them. And without adequate safety equipment, you could slip and fall and suffer serious injury.

When you follow the advice above and regularly hire a contractor for help, you can ensure your roof stays in great shape for years to come.

The Dos and Dont’s of Winter Maintenance for Wood Decks

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Decks

Whether a contractor built your deck at the same time as your home or you created a custom deck during the last year, you must protect the space come winter. Without proper maintenance, the harsh Minnesotan winter could leave your deck faded, cracked, or even broken.

Luckily, you can take a few simple steps to ensure your deck stays beautiful and structurally sound in spite of any wind, snow, or sun the winter brings. Below, we outline some simple dos and don'ts to get you started.

DO Bring Your Plants Indoors

If you keep decorative planters or homegrown herbs on your deck, bring them inside your home or garage before the temperatures drop below freezing. This usually means you should move your plants in mid- to late-October.

Keeping your plants inside not only protects them from the cold, but it also decreases the amount of cleaning you must perform to prepare your deck for winter.

Even if you don't expect your plants to live through the cold weather, move the planters. Heavy, bulky objects can limit your cleaning and give moisture a place to collect on your deck surface.

DO Clean Your Deck Before It Snows

Once you clear away your seasonal deck trappings, do some serious cleaning. Ideally, you should have your deck thoroughly cleaned and resealed (if you plan to refinish it this year) before any winter precipitation comes.

Start with the following tasks:

Sweep away any debris, like leaves or dust.

Wash the deck surface with water and mild soap or a specialized cleaning solvent. Look for any weaknesses in your railings and make repairs.

Before you apply a water-repellant finish, sand the surface gently. Sanding removes discoloration and allows the sealant to better penetrate the wood. Then, seal the deck according to the finish's instructions.

DO Cover or Store Deck Furniture

When it comes to your deck furniture, you have two choices. Either cover each piece for the winter or store the furnishings elsewhere. Not only do these steps protect your furniture from the cold, but they also protect your deck from the furniture.

Metal furniture can become rusty in winter weather conditions and leave unattractive, difficult-to-remove stains on your deck. Wood furniture, on the other hand, may contract rot or harbor mold and mildew that can spread to your deck's materials. And all deck furniture can help moisture accumulate in a single position, increasing the possibility of serious wear and tear.

If you choose to leave your furniture out, check that it has no existing issues. Then, place each piece of furniture on a tarp and cover its surface. Otherwise, remove the furniture before you expect the year's first snowfall.

DO Maintain an Exit Path on the Deck

Even if you don't plan to clear your deck's entire surface once it begins to snow, you must create a pathway from your back door to the stairs. If you can, make sure the path appears near the railing for the majority of its length.

This path provides access to your backyard throughout the winter, but it also gives you and your family an alternative route out of the house in the case of an emergency.

DON'T Clear Snow with a Metal Shovel

While the wood of your deck can withstand a lot of weight and wear, it doesn't have much of a defense against sharp metal surfaces. If you use a metal snow shovel, you run the risk of scratching your deck or even removing the finish you painstakingly applied before the snow fell.

Instead, invest in a heavy-duty plastic snow shovel that can get the job done without damaging your deck.

DON'T Let Moisture Stand on the Deck

As you've probably guessed based on the previous tips, moisture represents your biggest winter concern. Snow that stays on top of your deck's finish won't cause much damage. But standing water, ice, or snowmelt that seeps into the wood can result in warped and discolored wood.

Watch for any excess moisture and remove it immediately.

DON'T Use Salt to Prevent Ice

If you've lived in Minnesota long, you know how important de-icing smooth surfaces is during the winter. You may even have a bag of rock salt waiting the garage for this purpose. But don't put any of that salt on your deck.

Salt's properties create pitting and drying on wood that can weaken your deck. Opt for a salt-free de-icing agent instead.

 

If you have questions about your yard or deck specifically, reach out to a decking expert. Talk to a materials supplier, decking contractor, or home improvement specialist about what other steps you can take this winter to keep your deck strong.

Begin performing the preliminary maintenance steps on this list now so that by the time the first snow falls, you and your deck will be prepared to outlast the long winter.

For more information on caring for your home's deck, roof, and exterior year round, read our other blog posts.

How Roof Color Affects Your Home

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Roofing

As you drive through your neighborhood, you may not pay much attention to roof color. You know your own home has dark brown shingles, but you couldn't name the colors that top your neighbor's homes with the same confidence.

Roof color tends to blend into the background and earn very little of our attention. But did you know your home's roof color affects your home? Read below to learn how.

How Roof Color Reflects or Absorbs Heat

Before you learn anything else about roof color, take away this fact: roof color affects your home's internal temperature. In general, lighter-colored roofs reflect away heat rays from the sun, but dark-colored roofs absorb much of that heat and transfer it into the rooms below.

Or course, color isn't the only aspect of your roof that affects home temperature. The roofing material also affects how reflective your roof is. For example, asphalt shingles are less reflective than metal or rubber roofing materials. This quality means even tan asphalt shingles may welcome more heat into your home than a dark brown metal roof.

But back to roof color. How does your roof color affect the temperature of your home? If you have a light roof, your home absorbs less heat through the roof during summertime. As a result, your air conditioner operates more efficiently, uses less energy, and leads to lower utility bills.

In contrast, a dark roof likely raises the temperature inside your home's highest rooms. Your cooling system works harder to compensate for the extra heat, and your bills slowly rise.

But during the winter, the opposite conditions hold true. A dark roof brings in more desired heat from the sun than a light roof. This feature makes dark roofs advantageous in colder climates with long winters and short summers. Now, let's consider how one other factor affects the equation: snow.

How Roof Color Affects Snow Melt

Because dark roofs absorb more heat, they have a reputation for helping snow melt. This notion is another reason dark roofs remain popular in northern areas like the Twin Cities. But do dark roofs really help snow melt away? Probably not as much as you think.

First, consider that northern cities have fewer sunny daylight hours during the cold winter months. And less sunlight exposure means fewer beams beating down on a roof and less time for the roof to absorb that heat.

Next, remember that even black roofs may not actually appear dark during the winter-because they're covered in snow. The white powder actually reflects away much of the sunlight, so the dark roof underneath cannot absorb heat and melt the snow.

Dark roofs may have a small snow melt effect but not a sizeable one. Similarly, if your roof experiences winter problems like ice dams, your roof color probably isn't the primary culprit. More likely, insufficient attic insulation and poor roof ventilation create the problem. Ask a roofing specialist to evaluate your roof and recommend solutions.

Which Is Better: Light Roofs or Dark Roofs?

Based on what you've learned so far, you may think light roofs are the clear winner. If dark roofs don't warm your house or melt snow during the winter, should you just switch to a light-colored roof to lower summer cooling costs? Perhaps.

Energy.gov recommends lighter-colored roofs for houses in warm and hot climates. But they note that light roofs may increase energy costs in cooler climates.

To understand why, think about how a dark roof affects a home during spring and fall. The sun shines hours every day, and your roof isn't yet blanketed with snow. Outside temperatures are cooler than summer, too, so you probably want a little extra heat inside to stay warm at night. A dark roof brings some of that desired warmth indoors naturally, allowing you to run your furnace or boiler at a lower setting.

As you may have guessed, there's no straightforward answer to which is better, light roofs or dark roofs. Ultimately, the best roof color for your home is the color you like best. You don't have to say goodbye to your dark roof unless you want to reduce your summer cooling bills. Plus, advances in roofing materials and color selection mean you can likely find a color your like in a roofing material that suits your home's climate.

Although light-colored roofs have definite advantages, your best bet is to consult local roofing specialists. They can recommend the best roof colors if you want to switch, and they know reliable solutions to enhance energy efficiency or prevent ice dams if you like your current roof color.

As you consider changing roof color or material, keep your homeowner's association restrictions in mind. Some neighborhoods have rules stating which colors or materials you can use on your roof. Check with your HOA president before making any final decisions about roof changes.

For more information on what roof would be best for your home give us call at 612-722-1448 or view our Roofing Page. You can also fill out our Free Estimate Form here.

10 Accessories Every Deck Needs

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Decks

You have just built or purchased a deck so you could host all kinds of gatherings on it. Maybe you have neighborhood barbecues in mind, or perhaps you want your deck to act as an outdoor tea parlor for your book club meetings. In any case, you've finished the hardest part of the process. Now you have to brainstorm ways to decorate and accessorize your deck.

Below, you'll find a list of both practical and fun accessories that every deck needs. With these items in your outdoor space, you'll wow guests no matter what kind of gathering you choose to host.

  1. LED Outdoor Lights

The party shouldn't stop as soon as the sun goes down. Additionally, if you like more intimate gatherings, the night tends to make people more open to sharing personal stories and making valuable memories. And your porch lights won't quite cut it.

So, use solar LED outdoor lights to illuminate your deck instead. These lights charge during the day with the sun's free, clean energy, and they store that power so they can brighten your deck for hours after dark. Adjust the number of lights as needed to create just the right atmosphere.

  1. Outdoor Speakers

You can't call your deck's ambiance complete until you add outdoor speakers. These speakers can withstand any kind of weather, and modern options give you exceptional sound quality. So if you need music for one of your parties or book club meetings, make sure you have outdoor speakers installed around your deck.

  1. Solar Panel Charging Docks

Mobile phones have become an essential just like wallets and keys. So don't make your visitors charge their devices inside when you have long gatherings. Rather, install furniture or docks with solar panels so your guests can power their devices outside. You won't just give your friends a convenient way to keep their phones from dying-you'll also include an accessory that'll impress anyone who sees it.

  1. Grills or Smokehouses

Of course, you can't have a deck or patio without a grill. Choose the size and features that best fit your needs. Then consider purchasing a smokehouse to complement it. These appliances function somewhat like ovens, so you'll have multiple ways to prepare meals for your barbecues and picnics.

  1. Fire Pits or Fireplaces

Perhaps you prefer to roast marshmallows instead of grill steak. Or perhaps you want to give your deck a focal point that inspires visitors to cuddle. Either way, you'll get exactly what you want with a fire pit or outdoor fire place. Build these features into your deck or keep them free standing as your style preferences dictate.

Fire pits tend to have wider diameters to allow for cooking, while fireplaces tend to have taller constructions to encourage flame height. Keep these differences in mind as you make your choice.

  1. Insect Zappers

Smoke can sometimes keep mosquitoes and wasps at bay, but why not opt for a more thorough and efficient option like an insect zapper? This device emits bright light that attracts insects to it. Once an insect touches the light, the zapper creates an electrical shock that kills the bug instantly. As a result, insects won't bother you or your guests, making for a more pleasant gathering.

Position one zapper near your deck's center, or install several for more comprehensive protection.

  1. Outdoor Furniture

You can't forget outdoor furniture when you accessorize your deck. Decide whether you prefer a dining table and chairs or a full outdoor living room set. You'll need the dining option if you plan to host a lot of barbecues or if you want to eat your breakfast outside every morning. But choose the living room set if you would rather host book clubs, tea parties, and other smaller gatherings.

  1. Rugs and Cushions

After you choose your furniture, choose outside-friendly pillows and rugs to complete the look. Rugs give visitors a safe place to put their bare feet, while pillows simply make your furniture more comfortable. Both accessories also add a pop of color to your outdoor entertaining area.

  1. Umbrellas

You don't want rain to ruin your parties. Nor do you want anyone to develop a sunburn. An umbrella solves both of those problems. Find one large enough that it shades all of your outdoor furniture. Make sure the umbrella matches your pillows and rugs as well.

  • Hanging Art and Other Decorative Touches

Finally, you can let your imagination run wild with decorative touches like hanging lanterns, fairy lights, ribbons and banners, potted plants, abstract art, and more. Just make sure you don't overcrowd your deck because visitors will think it looks tacky.

 

With the tips above, you can accessorize your deck in the best way possible. For more tips on beautifying and maintaining your home's exterior features, check out the rest of our blog.

The Beginner’s Guide to Roof Replacement

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Roofing

Your home's roof has served you well for many years. Whether you have a wood, rubber, asphalt, or metal roof, it has protected your family from wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Your roof also enhances your home's appearance and aesthetic value-it's one of the first things you notice from the street, and you've always enjoyed the way your roof's color complements your home's exterior.

However, if you've lived under the same roof for many years, you might start to notice some problems. Your roof might leak in adverse weather, or maybe the initially vibrant colors have faded with time.

If you've never replaced a roof before, you may not know whether to replace or repair-but don't worry. In our blog below, we'll cover everything you need to know.

Should I Replace My Roof, or Repair It?

Replacing your roof is a costly, but occasionally necessary, venture. However, depending on your roof's condition and age, sometimes a thorough repair job will suffice. If you think your roof might need replacing, ask yourself the following questions:

How Old Is My Roof?

Even the best roofs will often wear down after 20-25 years. If you notice any of the warning signs listed below and have an older roof, chances are you'll do better with a complete replacement instead of a repair. On the other hand, if your roof is 15 years old or younger, you can benefit from a repair in most cases.

How Do My Shingles Look?

If a few shingles blow off your roof in a storm, you don't need to fret about a total replacement-in general, you can simply replace the shingles to restore your roof's function. However, if you see curled, buckling, or cracked shingles, they could have reached the end of their life expectancy.

Can I See Water Stains or Mold?

A leak doesn't necessarily mean you need a replacement. Depending on your roof's age and the leak's severity, you might be able to contain the damage. However, if you see moss or mold growing on your roof or inside the attic, call in the experts for an evaluation.

How High Are My Energy Bills?

If you've noticed your energy bills creeping higher and higher over the last few years, poor ventilation in your attic could have caused the problem. Replacing your roof will certainly cost more upfront, but a more energy-efficient system will help you retain lost energy. This strategy can lower your energy bills and reduce your environmental impact.

What Material Should I Choose for a New Roof?

Once you decide to get a new roof, you need to choose a material to work with. Thanks to advancing technology, you have several options, each with its own pros and cons. Most materials can work for most homes. Talk to your contractor about which material meets your budget and style. Make sure you choose something that will still last for several decades.

Asphalt

The vast majority of today's homeowners choose asphalt shingles for their roofs, primarily because asphalt is both inexpensive and versatile. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of styles and can match any house.

However, asphalt isn't as eco-friendly as some other roofing options. And with this solution's 20-year lifespan, it don't last quite as long either.

Metal

Metal roofs last for several decades-even as long as your house itself. They also require minimal maintenance since they resist mold, fire, wind, and pests. However, metal roofs tend to cost more than some types of roofs, especially asphalt roofs.

Rubber

Like metal roofs, rubber roofs can last an exceptionally long time. They're also fairly lightweight and simple to install, which lowers their cost, though the material itself still has a higher price than asphalt.

Wood

Many homeowners choose wood shingles or shakes because of their distinctive, unique style. No two wood roofs look the same, and wood gives any home a classical, beautiful look.

Wood roofs general need more maintenance than other roofs because of their propensity to rot and mold, especially in more humid climates. However, with the right maintenance and repairs, wood roofs can still last between 20 and 25 years.

How Should I Prepare for a New Roof?

Once you've decided on a new roof, prepare your household for the change. Follow these steps to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible:

Clear the area around your house's perimeter. You don't want falling shingles or other materials to damage your plants, decorations, cars, furniture, or other items.

Constant hammering can make your walls shake. Take down any fragile items like mirrors or pictures that could rattle off the walls.

If possible, park your car in the garage or on the street to give your contractors better access to your roof.

Bear in mind that during the installation, you'll endure constant hammering and loud noises for a day or two. If you feel sensitive to noise, you might want to spend the mornings and afternoons away from the house.

At the end of the process, you should have a beautiful new roof that will last for years to come.

If you have further questions about a new roof installation, talk to your local home improvement company. They'll give you advice specific to your home, situation, and budget.

Top 7 Most Wanted: Your Roof’s Worst Enemies

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Roofing

Your roof does its best to defend you, your family, and your property from a variety of threats. However, some attackers can overwhelm your roof's defenses, causing a great deal of damage to its shingles, flashing, and fascia. If left unchecked, the following culprits will dramatically decrease your roof's lifespan, resulting in expensive repairs.

However, if you know what to look for, you can protect your roof and keep these threats at bay.

  1. Pests

Minnesota has over seven species of woodpecker, and many of these species have adapted to living around people. While these birds look beautiful, they can wreak havoc on your roof. Their sharp peaks can poke holes under the eaves, allowing water and condensation to penetrate the wood.

Bats can also squeeze into the smallest spaces in roofs and walls. Though they do not chew on the building, their waste and urine can ruin insulation and soak through the sheet rock.

While a pest control company can help you take steps to remove these critters, you'll need a qualified contractor to replace missing shingles and fill in gaps to prevent future infestations.

  1. Overhanging Branches

That Red Oak may look stunning next to your white trim, but those overhanging branches threaten your roof in multiple ways:

The branches rub against your roof, degrading the material and removing the granules from the asphalt shingles.

The fallen leaves lead to clogged gutters and ponding water (two other enemies on our list).

The broken branches can crash through your roof, snapping supporting beams along the way.  

You can protect your roof from overhanging branches by keeping your trees trim. Although you want to keep branches as far away from your roof as possible, aim to have at least three to six feet of clearance between your tree and your roof. 

  1. Clogged Gutters

Your roof's pitch works alongside your gutters to channel water away from your home. But if your gutters clog, the water pools on your roof and overflows into more vulnerable areas. This can lead to flooding around the foundation, rot in your siding and sheathing, and mold growth in your attic.

Depending on the types of trees and number of trees you have on your property, you should clean your gutters multiple times each year.

  • Inadequate Ventilation and Insulation

Venting and insulation protect your roof from constant changes in temperature. During the summer, they keep your roof cool, and during the winter, they keep your roof warm.

Without adequate ventilation, your roof's temperature will skyrocket, putting excess strain on your shingles. This often leads to curling, shrinking, and bubbling, so your shingles won't last long.

Without enough insulation, the temperature in your roof can also intensify the melt-freeze cycle of snow on your roof. This can lead to dangerous ice dams that build up along the eaves. Over time, dams can tear away gutters and loosen shingles.

If your home is older than 20 years or has loose-fill insulation that has compacted over time, have a professional install blown-in insulation to ensure your roof stays in great shape.

  1. Ponding Water

Even if you keep your gutters clear of leaves and your rooftop free of ice, your roof may still be vulnerable to ponding water, or puddles of water that remain for at least 48 hours. Sagging beams and poor design create pockets where water can collect, and these pockets create the perfect environment for mold growth and algae buildup.

If you notice pools of water on your roof that don't drain properly, have a contractor inspect your roof's design. It might have poorly placed drainage, or the structure may have settled over the years. Depending on the reason behind the ponding, you may need to have additional drains installed or your roofing membrane replaced.

  • Sun Exposure

Although the sunshine may feel good when you want to work on your tan, it doesn't do your roof any favors. UV light dries out your roof's surface, making your shingles brittle and prone to cracking.

Additionally, the sun can heat your roof to over 160 degrees Fahrenheit, only to have the temperature drop to 90 degrees during the night. This temperature fluctuation causes your roof to expand and contract dramatically, putting extra stress on flashing and fasteners. 

If you worry about sun exposure, consider having a professional apply roof coating, or cool roof system, to your home. This coating acts much like a sun block, reflecting the heat away from the building.

  1. Poor Installation and Maintenance

Sometimes roofing companies cut corners when making repairs or replacing missing shingles. Maybe a worker ran out of nails and used too few to hold the shingles in place. Or a lax employee failed to secure the flashing around your pipes, chimney, and valleys. Although most homeowners can't easily spot these installation issues immediately, they'll certainly notice that their roof continues to leak a few months after the repairs.

That's why you need a contractor you can trust to install or replace your roof. Look for a company that stresses quality workmanship and has provided reliable service for several years. With the right contractor, these seven common problems will no longer threaten your home. 

The Essential Roofing, Siding, & Decking Spring Cleaning Checklist

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Uncategorized

Spring has officially arrived in Minnesota, which means warm summer weather and blissful sunny days are just around the corner. After a long, harsh winter, you're probably more than ready to head outside to enjoy barbecues, parties, and relaxing days on the porch.

But before you can really enjoy those barbecues or relax in your yard, you need to do some spring cleaning around your house. Just like the inside of your house needs refreshing this time of year, your home's exterior demands some attention, too.

Your roof, siding, and deck withstood several months of harsh ice storms, violent winds, and heavy snowfall. As a result, they might have accumulated debris or developed cracks. You don't want debris or cracks to compromise your home and affects its value, so we put together the following outdoor spring cleaning checklist to help you out.

Roofing

Your roof takes a beating during the winter. Extreme temperature fluctuations cause your shingles to expand and contract, leading to permanent damage. Heavy snowfall often creates ice dams, which then seep through your roof and warp your home's frame.

Because your roof plays such an important role in your home, you'll need carefully inspect and clean it once winter weather subsides.

1. Sweep Debris from Your Roof

Chances are good that leaves, sticks, and other debris accumulated on your roof during the winter. Because this debris provides a perfect breeding ground for mold, you'll want to remove this debris as soon as the weather permits. Simply sweep it from your roof with a broom.

2. Clean Your Gutters

You may not think of your gutters as part of your roof, but they play a vital role in your roof's well-being. Clogs cause water to back up onto your roof, which could lead to severe leaks and even foundation damage. Use a leaf blower or broom to clear leaves and debris from your gutters. 

3. Inspect Your Shingles

If you have asphalt shingles, look for dark, wet areas. This indicates cracks in the shingles, as well as a potential leak. If you have cedar shakes or wood shingles, look for curled, split, or broken pieces. If you have a slate roof, look for black areas. Dark areas indicate missing slate.

If you find damaged or missing shingles, replace them right away. If you don't feel comfortable replacing them yourself, contact a roofing or construction company in your area as soon as possible. The longer you wait to replace your shingles, the more likely your roof will sustain additional damage.

4. Look for Additional Wear

Even if your shingles look intact, your roof might have suffered damage during the winter. Inspect your roof for areas of heavy wear, especially near valleys next to the gutters. You should also pay close attention to areas near chimneys and vent pipes, as materials in these areas are more prone to damage.

5. Remove Mold

If you detect mold in your gutters or under your shingles, you'll need to remove it right away. First, mix equal parts bleach and warm water in a bucket. Dip a sponge or towel into the solution, then scrub the mold from your shingles. 

Siding

Whether you have wood, brick, or vinyl siding, your home's siding will benefit from regular cleanings. Not only do cleanings help keep your home looking great, they also prolong your siding's life, ultimately saving you money.

Use the following method to clean any type of siding.

1. Mix Your Cleaning Solution

A mixture of water and trisodium phosphate (TSP) is the safest cleaning solution to use on your siding. For best results, combine ½ cup TSP with one gallon of water. You can buy TSP at most hardware and grocery stores.

2. Divide Your Siding into Small Sections

The thought of cleaning all your home's exterior walls might be overwhelming. Make the project more manageable by dividing your siding into small sections that are no bigger than nine square feet.

3. Scrub Your Siding

Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub your siding. After you dip the brush into your cleaning solution, scrub small areas and rinse often. To avoid streaks, scrub from the bottom of your siding and work up.

Decking

You love your deck. It provides the perfect space to relax and read a book, as well as host family get-togethers and neighborhood barbecues. Because you use your deck so much during the summer, it needs to be in tip-top shape.

Here are a few tips to spring clean your deck and everything on it.

Use a pressure washer to blast dirt and grime from your deck's surface. If you don't have a pressure washer, a garden hose will also do the trick. Just be sure to clear all furniture from your deck before you soak it down.

Blast dirt and grime from your non-fabric patio furniture with a garden hose. This includes patio umbrellas and picnic tables.

Clean fabric-containing patio furniture. Start by vacuuming debris from its surface, then scrub caked-on dirt away using a mild detergent. We recommend a mixture of ¾ cup bleach, 1 tablespoon laundry detergent, and one gallon of water.

Outdoor spring cleaning doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult. Use these tips to make cleaning your roof, siding, deck, and gutters a breeze this spring.

D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc.
612.722.1448
460 Hoover Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413