Author Archive

What Problems Can a Too-Mild Winter Pose for Your Minnesota Home?

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Roofing

Snow covered house

Despite the cool temperatures that persisted through late May, the winter of 2016 and 2017 was the mildest on record. While this fact can be good news for Minnesotans who depend on natural gas or electricity to heat their homes (or who just hate shoveling feet of snow to make it out of their driveways), it can also create some unexpected maintenance and repair issues for homes in the north central U.S.

Read on to learn more about a few of the problems that can result from an extraordinarily mild winter and what you can do to protect your home from damage. 

4 Reasons to Replace Your Home’s Siding

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Siding

Residential Home Siding

Americans are big fans of home remodeling and renovation projects. In fact, homeowners spend over $300 billion each year on modernizing and modifying their properties. These projects range from small scale jobs, such as repainting a room, to larger scale projects, such as replacing the roof.

When it comes to deciding which project to tackle, a few different factors come into play. Your available budget is a big factor and will determine how large a job you can realistically take on. It's also important to consider what advantages you'll gain from the project, whether it's a project that will increase the equity in your home or whether it's strictly necessary.

Prevent Bird-Related Roof and Gutter Damage

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

Prevent Bird-Related Roof and Gutter Damage

While you may enjoy watching birds from your kitchen window, it can be frustrating to see new nests crop up in your gutters or on your roof. Spring is the most likely time for pest birds to settle on your property, since the birds will likely be preparing to lay and hatch eggs.

Unfortunately, these new nests can leave your home permanently damaged. In this blog, we list some of the most common types of damage left in the wake of flocks and how you can prevent birds from nesting in the most vulnerable areas of your home.

Types of Roof and Gutter Damage Caused By Birds

Hello Spring! Four Spring Maintenance Tasks To Protect Your Home Exterior All Year Long

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

Home that needs Spring maintenanceSpring is in the air. For many homeowners, this means it's time for cleaning tasks like scrubbing the floors and organizing closets. This year, why not take a different focus as the weather warms up? Taking the time to tackle a few home exterior maintenance tasks will protect your home and reduce the amount of work you need to put in through the rest of the year.

Snow-covered-roof

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.

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