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.
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.
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.
You wake up, peek through your eyelids, and catch sight of a few rays of light. You quickly jump up, rush to the window, push it open, and are flooded with the fresh scent of summer. You hear birds chirping and your heart catches in your chest-your favorite season is finally here.
With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan for upcoming outdoor activities and events. Grab your bathing suit, some suntan lotion, and head to your deck so you can lounge away the day and plan three different ways you can use your outdoor space this summer season.
1. Host a Party
Summer provides the perfect opportunity to gather your friends, neighbors, and family together to celebrate the warmest season of the year. Follow these tips to host one of the most memorable outdoor parties on your deck.
Keep Stress Levels Low and Plan in Advance
Don't wait until the last minute to start planning your party. Make several lists (guest list, shopping list, and to-do list), invite friends to get involved, and split up responsibilities to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Wow Guests with Creative Décor
To some guests, décor is as important as what's on the dinner menu. Set the mood with the following backyard accessories:
Plants and flowers
You can also add a little personality with artwork. Buy a few canvases and some paint at the craft store and invite your kids to let their creative juices flow onto a blank canvas.
Satisfy Taste Buds with Delicious Grub
It's not a party without food. What's on the menu? Consider the following:
Plan the menu well in advance so you can stock up on all the right ingredients before it's time to party.
Quench Thirst with Unforgettable Drinks
If there's one thing to splurge on, it's drinks. Load your fridge with all sorts of beverages, including the following:
Keep your guests happy and the mood light with a Moscow Mule. This cocktail includes:
First, mix together two parts ginger beer with one part vodka. Add lime to taste.
Set the Mood with Music
Prevent awkward silences with music that will please the entire crowd. Create a playlist with the following songs:
"I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees
"Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" by Roberta Flack
"Born Too Late" by Dent May
"Paris 1919" by John Cale
"You Do Something to Me" by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra
If you want music to dance along to at your party, browse through dance playlists on iTunes or Spotify so you can keep your guests entertained at your outdoor deck party.
2. Get in Shape
Summer is bathing suit season. Use your deck as an outdoor gym and stay in shape with a combination of the following exercises:
If you don't want to do exercises on your deck surface, invest in a yoga mat to avoid splinters.
3. Camp Out
If the great outdoors are calling your name, you can heed its call in the comfort of your own backyard. Use these tips to transform your deck into the perfect outdoor campground.
Create a Campout Atmosphere
First, clean your deck so you don't have to worry about loose nails, loose floorboards, broken lights, or spider webs during your camping extravaganza. Once you've swept, mopped, and dusted, gather the following items:
Fire pit (small grill)
Set up the bedding away from the fire to ensure your family stays safe during your campout. Create a Campout Menu
Excite your kids with a menu full of campout essentials, including the following:
Hotdogs, buns, and condiments (mix it up with onions, barbeque sauce, jalapenos, and banana peppers) Corn on the cob (don't forget the butter, salt, or pepper)
Tin foil dinners (stay full on meat, potatoes, onions, peppers, and any other vegetables)
S'mores (it's not a campout without plenty of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers)
You can always add an extra layer of sweet delight to s'mores with a dab of caramel or peanut butter.
Create a Campout Game Plan
When it comes time to campout on the deck with your kids, throw away any notion of bedtime. Instead, stay up late and stay entertained with one-or all-of the following activities:
Star gazing Charades
Take time to create a campout game plan so you can create fun and lasting memories for your entire family.
Whether you want to host a party, get in shape, or camp out, your deck offers the perfect outdoor space for you to stay entertained all summer long. Use these tips to amp up your summer entertainment. If you want to give your deck a makeover before summer arrives, contact your local deck contractors today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.