Spring 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.