3 Steps to Overhaul Your Roof and Gutters Before Installing a Rainwater Collection System

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

Rain FallingHaving access to safe drinking water is a basic necessity in American homes. Yet, for an increasing number of homeowners, the rising costs of water are making this basic necessity seem more like a luxury that many people are struggling to afford.

In over 30 major cities across the country, water bills rose by over 40 percent between 2010 and 2015, and this upward trend shows no sign of abating. For this reason, a growing number of people are choosing to install rainwater collection systems to supplement or entirely replace their municipal water consumption.

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.

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.

When, Why, and How to Maintain Your Gutters

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Gutters

You know your roof needs regular maintenance. After winter or after a heavy storm, you check your shingles to find signs of warping, bending, breakage, and more. If you find any problems, you fix or replace the offending shingle so your roof can stay dry and strong for the rest of the year.

However, if you want to keep your home sturdy and beautiful, you have to go beyond your roof when you perform exterior maintenance. You have to give your gutters a little TLC as well. You may not think of these troughs as important features-after all, they only direct water away from your home-but they play a more vital role than you realize.

We'll tell you more about how your gutters work, why you should maintain them, and when and how to do so below.

Why Your Gutters Need Cleaning

If your home didn't have gutters, where would all the water on your roof go after a storm? It would drip off the eaves and into the ground below. This might not seem like a big deal-won't the water quickly evaporate anyway?

However, if you experience days or weeks of rainstorms without a lot of sun, that water would pool around your home's foundation and seep into your window wells. Eventually, erosion or pressure would cause a leak. That leak wouldn't just undermine your home's structural integrity either. If it becomes large enough, it could flood your basement or crawlspace and destroy everything stored there.

So, as you can see, your gutters perform a critically important function in your home. However, they can't do their job correctly if they fill with leaves and other debris. The debris clogs the drain, which means your gutters overflow with water. During warmer months, this overflow could lead to flooding as outlined above. During the winter, the clog could lead to ice dams that damage your roof.

When to Clean Your Gutters

You can easily prevent the problems illustrated above by keeping your gutters debris free. But how do you know when these features need cleaning? You probably don't have the time to climb a ladder every weekend to check on them, and you might not want to risk your safety that frequently.

Luckily, you don't have to examine your gutters that often, and you don't have to do this chore yourself. You can have a professional do it for you. Call your gutter experts on any of the following occasions:

The beginning of spring after the snow melts off your roof:

The snow may have eroded particulates off your roof or pulled last year's leaves into your gutters. Have your professionals give them a thorough spring cleaning.

The beginning of fall:

Your trees start dropping leaves like crazy in September, so you should clear your gutters before the rains and snows hit. Leaves prove less difficult to remove when dry. And if lots of leaves continue to fall, have your maintenance crew come back once a week to keep your gutters clear.

Any other time of year when the debris in your gutter becomes visible:

A couple leaves won't cause a catastrophe. But if so many items fill your gutter that they become visible from the ground, schedule a cleaning with your preferred professionals.

Follow a similar timetable if you plan to maintain your gutters on your own. Just make sure you have a sturdy ladder and the proper safety equipment, including heavy boots, gloves, and a hard hat.

How to Clean and Repair Your Gutters

Again, you don't have to clean or maintain your gutters by yourself. You can have a professional do it for you. But if you feel confident about your abilities and you have the proper safety equipment, you can do this chore yourself by following these steps:

Put on your safety equipment.

Consider wearing a dust mask if you have particularly full gutters. Gutters often contain spores, dust, and other debris that could make breathing uncomfortable.

Find a buddy to spot you.

You'll need someone nearby to steady the ladder while you work. You'll also need a person to call

to for help in case you fall or otherwise injure yourself.

Use your gloved hands to clear the loose debris like leaves, sports equipment, etc.

Then use a garden trowel to remove dirt and other contaminants.

Spray the gutter clean with the hose.

Leave the roof and dispose of the leaves and other debris.

You can also do simple repairs, like screwing your gutters onto your roof when they come loose. But if your gutters require extensive repairs, you might want to consider calling a professional to replace them.

When to Replace Your Gutters

If, when you or your professionals inspect your gutters, you notice significant rust, wear, corrosion, holes, or cracking, you should probably replace these features instead of repairing them. You need functioning gutters to keep your home safe. So if they can't do their job anymore, have a professional replace them. Newer models resist clogging and wear better than their older counterparts anyway.


Whether you prefer DIY projects or professional assistance, use the tips to keep your gutters operational. In turn, they'll keep your home strong and attractive for years to come.

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