Winter Is Coming: 6 Ways for New Minnesota Residents to Ready Their Roofs for the Snow

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

Winter is Coming

If you're new to Minnesota and snow storms, brace yourself. Legendary amounts of snow fall everywhere.

Brace your roof, too. This autumn, take the following six steps to winterize the top of your home and avoid winter home emergencies.

 

1. Inspect the Works Up Above

 

You'll soon be joining your fellow Minnesotans as they winterize their homes in the most vital of yearly survival rituals. Your roof should be one of your main areas of concern when winterizing.

 

Your roof must be able to valiantly support an insane amount of snow. If you come from Texas or California, you must experience this snow firsthand to understand the complexities of it. 

 

Snow is heavy and wet. If you have loose shingles or flashing on your roof, melting snow drains into the open spots directly onto the framing of your roof. Water can seep throughout the underlayment, soaking all of the decking. Eventually, the roof decking may rot or collapse.

 

It's best to let professionals inspect your roof. There are many components on a roof that you may not realize are missing or inadequate. You do not want to face 80 inches of snow with a "maybe it will work" roofing solution. 

 

Complex roofs with many dormers, gables or other features must be inspected thoroughly before winter comes. Other areas that must be checked include:

  • Plumbing vent stacks 

  • Chimneys

  • Skylights and sun tubes

  • Gutters

  • Roof trim

  • Attic vents

  • Attic insulation

 

It's a good idea to have your contractor check all of the gutters and trim. These features should be securely and properly attached to the roof framing. If not, icicles and ice dams can easily jar gutters and cause them to crash to the ground.

 

2. Have the Trees Trimmed for the Season

Check around your home for overhanging limbs or diseased trees that might not survive a heavy snow load. Large dead limbs wreak havoc on roofs during snow and ice storms.

Have your tree service trim any overhanging limbs. Have the trees checked for overall health. 

 

3. Clean Up the Messes on Top

The last thing you want on your roof is a pile of rotting leaves under a fat layer of seeping snow. Your roof should be swept clean prior to the start of snow season. Small branches, nests, Frisbees and other debris should be removed from the roof.

 

The gutters must be functioning at top capacity to deal with melting snow throughout the spring thaw. Have the gutters thoroughly cleaned so they flow smoothly. The pitch and connections of your gutters are also keys to reliable water diversion when the snow melts.

 

4. Repair the Openings for Optimum Survival

Wherever flashing is loose, bent or missing, have it reinstalled. Broken vents should be repaired. Any roof component listed above needs to be repaired if it's rotting or damaged. Pest damage due to chewing or pecking must also be dealt with, and some deterrent must be put in place.

 

Check all decking, rafters and trusses under the roof to be sure the wood is stable and fasteners are in place. The roof must be able to hold up a certain amount of weight to comply with most building codes. Damaged framing or decking must be repaired before winter.

 

Insulate your attic to keep heat from escaping off of your roof. Snow is less likely to melt and then refreeze. When the snow melts and refreezes over and over, ice dams and other problems result. 

 

The positive side to protecting your roof with attic insulation is the way your home will stay much warmer when the temperatures go low. Your contractor can suggest other ways to winterize your roof and help you stay cozier through a long winter. Each home has its own individual roofing quirks, but they must all be addressed before the cold season comes.

 

5. Seal Everything Well Against the Coming Flakes

Funny how delicate those lovely individual snowflakes are. When you throw a few of them together and they melt, snowflakes can invade the smallest leak or crack in your roof's armor.

 

All of the roofing components listed above should be sealed at the point where roof material meets component. There are all sorts of gaskets, glues and other materials to seal both the decking and the top surface of your roof. Products are made to work around chimneys, vents and skylights.

 

Your contractor has proven methods and materials to seal the vulnerable spots. Every place you have sealed before winter is a leak you won't need to fret over in spring.

 

6. Assemble the Tools to Fight the Storm

Most homeowners in snowy regions of the U.S. have tricks and tips to remove snow from their roofs and carports. Snow rakes, brooms and blowers are some of the tools used. These tools often have really long handles.

 

It's best to watch Minnesotans manage their roof snow and do as the diligent natives do. Ask advice about how to safely manage your roof snow and icicles when winter is here.

 

D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. is ready to help new residents and native Minnesotans winterize their homes and their roofs. Survive the snow season in St. Paul and the Twin Cities by scheduling a complete professional roof inspection today.

Building a Deck? Consider These 10 Unique Upgrades

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Decks

Deck Upgrades

A backyard deck can add immense value to your property, expand your outdoor living space and facilitate family bonding. While even the most basic deck can provide these benefits, upgrading your deck can make the space even more functional, beautiful, and welcoming.

The right features for your deck depends on the architecture of your home, the main purposes for the space, and your preferences, but if you're building a deck you should consider the following 10 upgrades.

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.

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.

5 Tips to Protect Your Siding From Water Damage

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Uncategorized

Your siding has a primary purpose: to protect your home. When installed correctly, your siding will keep your home warm during the winter and stop mold and mildew from compromising your home's structure. Additionally, quality siding will keep out pests and absorb the everyday bumps, knocks, and bangs that would otherwise tear through your building.

But while your siding acts as your home's first defense against damage, siding also has a primary weakness: water. If rain, snow, or ice slip through the slats, the water could soften and warp the wood of your walls and ceilings. And since the siding covers your home's exterior, you might not notice the damage until it requires drastic repairs.

Fortunately, you can help your siding perform its role more effectively through a few small tasks. The following steps in particular reduce the likelihood of water damaging your siding.

1. Trim Plants and Trees

A few well-placed shrubs and flowers can significantly improve your home's overall appearance. With the right landscaping, you can boost your property's resale value and create a more relaxing and inviting environment for your family.

But plants also trap a lot of rainwater on their branches, and they release water vapor through the small pores on their leaves. If your bushes sit too close to your home, the branches may brush up against the siding and allow water to creep into the cracks.

To ensure proper air flow and allow for drying, trim any branches so they rest several inches away from your building.

2. Adjust Sprinkler Heads

Your sprinklers save you a lot of time and hassle. They ensure your lawn and garden receive adequate water without dragging around a heavy hose.

But sprinklers only work as installed. If the original installer pointed the heads in the wrong direction, you can bet that your sprinklers will spray water over your driveway, into the sidewalk, or against the foundation. And if your sprinklers hit your house every morning, you can bet that the constant spray will find its way past your siding.

If needed, adjust any wayward sprinkler heads that point toward your home. If you have any flowers or shrubs against your home that the sprinklers can't reach properly, consider watering them by hand or installing a drip system.

3. Clear Your Gutters

Your siding isn't the only thing protecting your home from the elements. Your gutters and downspout collect rainwater and redirect it away from your siding and foundation.

Yet if you neglect your gutters, you can increase the likelihood of water damage on your siding. When leaves, branches, and other debris clog your gutters, the water will overflow and spill onto your home's siding.

Ideally, you should clean your gutters at least twice a year, during the fall and spring seasons. If you have large trees that shed a lot of organic material, you may need to clear your gutters more frequently.

Don't feel comfortable cleaning the gutters so often? Invest in a gutter guard that will allow water to flow freely but will keep out leaves and pests.

4. Promptly Remove Snow and Ice

In Minnesota, the Twin Cities and the surrounding cities see some of the coldest average temperatures in the US. In fact, the Twin Cities have an average of 12 inches of snow per month in January and December and another 9 to 10 inches of snow per month in February, March, and November.

When winter storms hit, you may feel tempted to scrape away just enough snow to escape your driveway or to avoid slip-and-fall accidents on your sidewalk. However, if you leave snow piled next to your home, that snow will eventually melt against your siding and into your foundation.

While you don't have to obsessively clear your property of every last inch of snow, do your best during the colder months to keep snow away from your home. Remember to use gentle movements with the shovel, as scraping and pounding against ice may dent or crack your siding.

5. Insulate Your Attic

As you look for ways to protect your home's exterior, you might not initially think about what you can do to your home's interior. But your insulation can have a profound impact on how much snow collects on your roof, and in turn, that snowmelt affects your siding's lifespan. 

Ice dams form when your shingles warm enough to melt the under layer of snow on your roof. The water then trickles down between the snow and the shingles until it reaches the eaves of your home, and then the water refreezes. As the snow repeatedly melts and refreezes, the water eventually backs up underneath your shingles and drips behind your eaves and your siding. If the ice becomes heavy enough, it can break away from your roof and pull gutters, shingles, and siding along with it.

Insulation, fortunately, keeps temperature fluctuations in check. It stops the heat in your attic from escaping through the roof. If you see frequent ice dams, ask a professional to assess whether your attic needs additional insulation.

Talk to a Contractor About Damaged Siding

These five steps can keep moisture buildup in check and stop water damage before it starts. However, if your siding already seems worse for wear, you may need to replace it to ensure your home stays dry throughout the year.

Talk to a contractor a D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. about repairing or replacing your damaged or aging siding. We'll gladly install fiber cement, vinyl, wood, or steel siding at your request. 

How to Protect Your Deck from These 6 Common Pests

Written by BooAdmin on . Posted in Uncategorized

You recently installed a deck, and you look forward to the barbecues, parties, and lazy summer evenings you'll spend on it.

However, as you've added patio furniture and décor, you've noticed that your deck attracts more than just human occupants. Inse cts, rodents, and other pests seem to enjoy it too. And you worry that these pests may ruin your deck or make it dangerous or uncomf ortable to use.

Don't surrender your deck to these creatures. Instead, identify the animal invader, call a pest control company for removal, and the n fortify your deck against further infiltrations. We'll tell you more about this process below.

Identify the Pest

You'll often find these common pests living on, in, or under your deck.

1. Termites

These insects look like smaller, lighter ants, and they all have wings. When they eat through wood, they create tubes about a pencil's width across. They can cause significant structural damage because they will eat through all the materials in your deck. They can also tun nel through foam, plaster, and other materials to reach wood.

2. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants look like smaller ants-but they grow much bigger. They come in red or black. Like termites, they also bore holes throu gh wood. They don't eat the wood, but they do like to live in it, and they'll soon make your deck look like Swiss cheese. You'll also see sm all piles of sawdust and dead insects around your deck.

3. Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees don't cause as much damage as carpenter ants or termites, but they do bore holes in your wood or composite deck . The holes will appear about a half inch in diameter, and they'll look perfectly round. These bees bore into wood or wood-like materials to build their nests.

Even though carpenter bees don't cause as much damage as other pests, they do create a stinging hazard, so you should remove t hem.

4. Powderpost Beetles

You won't likely see these beetles until they fly around lights late at night. They appear reddish brown, with skinny, flat bodies that gr ow about a quarter inch long. They also leave sawdust behind, and they create pinhead-sized holes. These beetles will also undermine you r deck's structural integrity.

5. Mice and Rats

Rodents like to live in or under decks as well. You'll know you have mice or rats because you'll see their small, grayish bodies darting a nd scurrying. They also leave small, black, pointed droppings behind. And because they have dirty fur, they create grease trails when the y rub against your home's surfaces.

These rodents spell disaster for your deck because they chew on the materials and make them weaker. Mice and rats also carry disea ses that could endanger your family.

6. Raccoons, Opossums, and Skunks

These larger rodents cause even bigger problems because they tear through deck materials more quickly. They also carry some of t he same diseases that mice and rats do, and they will bite and scratch to defend themselves. So if you see cat-like creatures under your d eck, call a pest control expert for assistance.

Fortify Your Deck

Now that you know what kind of pest has invaded your deck, you can take steps to remove it and ensure it never returns. Just mak e sure you don't eradicate the rodent or insect on your own. Ants and bees will attack if you try to spray them, and you may face legal p enalties if you accidentally kill rodents like opossums. Leave the pest removal to a professional.

Once you've removed the pest, you can take the following steps to protect your deck:

  • If you have a wood deck, seal it with a new protective coat, and add a new layer of paint. A well-maintained deck attracts fewer pests than a poorly maintained one.
  • Trim all plants away from your deck so pests have nowhere to hide.
  • Remove any standing water around your deck. Your pests need water to survive, and if they can't access it, then they won't want t o make a home under your deck.
  • Cover the gap between the deck and the ground with a mesh screen. This screen deters rodent pests. You can also seal the gap wit h concrete or plywood if you want a more thorough deterrent.
  • Put yellow bug lights around the deck to keep insect and spider pests away.

Your pest control or deck expert may also have some more tips for you. For example, if you have raccoons, you should use zip ties to seal your garbage cans. If raccoons can't get to the food inside your garbage cans, they'll leave your yard in favor of a location with b etter access to food sources.

If pests have damaged your deck, get a deck expert to repair and restore it. If you have further questions about keeping your deck comfortable, safe, and pristine, check out the rest of our blog

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