The glistening icicles dangling from the eaves may be among the beauties of winter, but they also spell trouble. Icicles are a sign of ice damming; a condition that occurs when snow melts on a warm area of the roof then flows downslope until it refreezes on a colder area, usually near the eaves. Subsequently, meltwater then pools above the icy obstruction and does its dirty work.
A combination of poor roof ventilation and warm attic space is what causes formation of ice dams. Clogged or poorly draining gutter systems exacerbates the problem. When you ignore an ice dam, you risk loosening your roof’s shingles, tearing off gutters and causing roof leaks. The results of this are stained and sagged ceilings, peeling paints, and of course a humid attic which is a magnet for mold. Preventing ice dams simply requires you to keep your attic and roof cold. How do you do this? Read on…
Stop air leakage by closing up attic bypasses
Naturally, warm air rises and continuously moves up the bypasses escaping into the attic. Gaps in the drywall, access hatches, plumbing pipes, chimneys, cracks around light fixtures, and other ceiling penetrations will all cause air leaks. In addition to being the primary source of ice dams and attic frost, bypasses also cause indoor moisture problems. To close up the bypasses, invite a roofer to conduct to ascertain the exact source of the leaks then seal them.
Adding roof and soffit vents will increase attic ventilation
An important part of a healthy roofing system is roof vents. Roof vents allow proper attic ventilation, prevent early aging of the roofing materials, and also prevent condensation. To effectively cool the attic, you can take advantage of the natural circulation by bringing in fresh air into the attic through soffit vents right under the eaves. This then expels hot air through the gable vents that near the peak of the roof. Proper attic ventilation also moderates temperature in the rest of the home. Ideally, half the vents should be installed in the soffit at the bottom of the roof and half near the top to allow for natural circulation of air through the attic. Multiplying the length of the attic with the width in feet to find the attic area, then dividing by 150 to find the total square feet of vent space needed, will help you calculate the total vents needed.
Your attic insulation level matters
Building experts recommend about 12 to 14 inches of cellulose or fiberglass insulation. If you have less than inches, you are likely to experience ice dam problems. Fiberglass and blow-in cellulose are always a better option compared to hand-placed batts. This is because they leave fewer gaps by filling more tightly around the joists, rafters and other obstructions. Maintaining sufficient levels of insulation helps prevent ice dams.
Heat loss from the house, cold temperatures, and a thick snow layer are the three things ice dam needs in order to develop. Obviously, you can’t control the outside temperatures but you can control heat loss by improving ventilation and insulation as highlighted in this article. To prevent snow from building up on the roof (which is the other cause of ice dams), inviting Winnipeg snow removal professionals will help you deal with the problem early on.
Need some help picking the right color for your roof? There’s a whole wide range of shingles colors out there, enough to get you confused. When choosing a roof color, you want one that reflects your personality, appeals to the eye and is functional in equal measure. Just like your interior décor can create a warm welcoming vibe or exude a traditional elegance, your roof does the exact same thing. But aesthetics and personality match aren’t the only factors to consider, here are a few more things to consider when choosing a roof color.
The climate you in which you live is one of the top factors to consider when choosing the color of your roof. The color of your roof will have a direct impact on the heating and cooling of your home. Experts say that your roofs color has a 20 to 40 degrees impact on your attic’s temperatures. Let’s go back to your elementary class: dark colors tend to absorb more light, retaining heat in the roof then allowing it to flow in your roof. Light colors, on the other hand, deflect light thus hold much less heat than the darker roofs. Winnipeg has a cold continental climate so darker shingles make a better option. Apparently, darker shingles also help the snow and ice on the roof melt faster.
You guess right! Aesthetics should be the other factor. Interior designers don’t randomly pick pretty colors for flooring, countertops, cabinets, and walls without regard to the big picture. You shouldn’t either. To enhance your homes overall curb appeal, there should be visual harmony between your roof and the rest of your home’s exteriors and its surrounding environment. A dark roofing, for example, would be boring with a dark wood siding. Brown shingles would coordinate well with a more distinct contrast such as beige or with white siding.
Your homes architectural style and setting should also dictate the color of your roof. For instance, black roofs or very dark blends work well with stately, traditional homes because of their grand appearance.
If your housing association has particular building codes and architectural rules to stick to, you don’t want your roofs color choice standing out from your neighbors like a sore thumb. Much as you want to stand out, you must also adhere to the housing association rules and regulations. Again, if in future you plan to sell your home, having the most unique color of the roof in the neighbor is not the best idea. Chose a color that blends in with the rest in the neighborhood or one that blends in, at least. Especially if the homes are close-knit and have few large trees around them, you don’t want your roof color to look like a blue bowl in a cupboard filled with red dinnerware.
The choice of a roof color is one you will have to live with for a long time, so you better choose carefully. As highlighted in the article, curb appeal matters just as much as functionality and temperature control so whether you’re installing a new roof or getting a roof upgrade, an experienced roofer can guide you on the best roof color to settle for, so don’t get stranded.
Your roof forms 30% of your home’s façade. It is therefore an eyesore when black spots stain your once decorous roofing. Not only are stains on the roof repulsive to the eye, but they could also damage the asphalt coating of your shingles which speeds up the aging process. Folks living in humid climate areas may experience stained roofs more often than those living areas with hot dry climates. Qualified roofing contractors thus recommend that homeowners living humid climates take preventative measures to prevent their roofs from staining. Here is how you maintain that ornamental roofing.
Keep your roof free from debris
If you live in an area with little vegetation cover, the dust blown by wind may land onto the shingles of your roof. Dust creates a conducive environment for moss and algae to thrive. Excessive growth of algae and moss leads to rot; evidenced by black stains. If left unsolved, the rot will spread and cause major damage to your roof. As a preventative measure, ensure you occasionally clear your roof off any debris including blown leaves which find their way to your rain gutters. Algae and moss tend to die off when there is little or no decomposing matter to feed on.
Consider installing roof shingles embedded with zinc or copper
When purchasing a new roof, always opt for algae-proof roofing shingles, such as those that are embedded with zinc or copper. Algae and moss have almost zero chance of survival on such surfaces. When presented with various options of algae proof roofing shingles, ask your roofing contractor to help you select the best material that matches your climate and budget.
Use the right products
Regular use of harsh chemicals to get rid of roof stains could do more damage than good. It’s always better to prevent stains from forming in the first place. Mold prevention products do a great job in stain-proofing your roof. There are many stain-proofing products but, generally, they all work the same way. The product forms a layer over the shingles, which suffocates any present algae or mold preventing future growth. Remember to apply moss growth treatments every time you clean your roof.
Use zinc strips
If your roof is already streaked with stains, consider cleaning off the algae and moss with diluted bleach. Pure bleach is corrosive to most materials, and roofing shingles are not an exception. To reduce the effects of bleach, mix it with water in the ratio of 1:2. When applying the bleach, use a spraying mechanism and gently scrub the algae off using a brush, then rinse it off with fresh water. Some of the bleach will drip to your foundation plantings. Ensure you rinse the plantings with fresh water before and after cleaning the roof. Finally, install zinc or copper strips along the sides of the roof. For a cheaper alternative, use galvanized sheet metal.
Some of the roof stain prevention measures require expertise. If your roof is densely stained with algae or moss, chances are, the roof might have weak spots. It’s safer to contact a qualified roofing contractor to inspect and clear the stains.
The persistent search for renewable energy has seen tremendous growth of solar as a source of power for many domestic and industrial users. Today, solar panels power many of our everyday utilities, from home appliances such as ovens to spacecrafts orbiting our planet. Are you thinking of making the bold step to solar energy? Great! Before inviting a Winnipeg roofing company to install solar panels, this piece takes you through the basics of how solar panels work, how to maintain them, and how you can enjoy solar-related services for a longer time.
The science behind solar panels
Different types of solar panels employ the same mechanism to work. The panels are made from layers of silicon cells and wires embedded inside a glass casing. A metallic frame borders the glass casing and an inverter converts electricity from direct to alternate currents. Some solar panels come with a battery system that stores converted energy for controlled use.
The silicon cells absorb sunlight, which in turn triggers electrons to convert the light to electricity through the photovoltaic effect. Without getting too scholarly, the photovoltaic effect involves transmitting the light rays through electrons. These electrons pass through a sandwich of positive and negative electric fields. The electrons in motion then create an electric current which is fed to the nodes and wires underneath the layer of silicon cells.
The electric current fed to the wires is known as direct current or DC. Many home appliances however, require higher voltage power to operate than provided by DC electricity. The DC electricity is therefore fed to an inverter, which converts it to alternate current or AC. Alternate current gives a higher voltage output, which is able to power multiple appliances concurrently.
How to maintain your solar panels
Solar panels are immobile, guaranteeing longevity with just a little maintenance. You therefore only need to occasionally clean your panels to remove any debris that may block the sun rays from direct contact with the silicon cells. Such debris include dust, bird droppings and grime.
Cleaning the solar panels is not rocket science. All it takes is a garden hose to rinse the dirt from the panel. Should your panels require more cleaning, you may use soapy water and a sponge fixed on a long pole, then rinse away the suds with the hose. We recommend cleaning during an overcast morning or evening, when power production is relatively low.
The frequency of cleaning the solar panels depends on your situation. People living in areas with excess dust as well as those living near a heavily nested tree should clean the solar panels at least once in 2 months. On those rainy days, you will obviously get lower power production, but you will also enjoy free cleaning!
Remember to observe safety as you clean your solar panels. Ensure your ladder is firmly positioned and stable before climbing your roof. If your panels are too high to reach, contact your local roofing professionals and schedule a maintenance date. Also remember to schedule occasional maintenance for all your utilities relying on solar energy for optimum performance.
It’s in the middle of winter and you realize that your roof is leaking, or a shingle is missing. The leak damage is alarming—the kind that warranties a replacement. Now what? Do you get a roof replacement in the middle of winter? And is this even possible? Replacing the roof during winter is but, a little intricate. Here is why…
Asphalt shingles, thanks to their fair pricing, are the most common type of residential roofing. Here is what happens when your roofer tries installing this type of roofing during winter: asphalt shingles become brittle which makes them susceptible to cracking during the installation process. If water gets into these cracks (and it most likely will since it’s winter) it freezes causing the cracks to enlarge, which obviously spells trouble in the future. Again, when temperatures drop below 40 degrees, self-adhesive has trouble sticking. If you choose another type of roofing, say fiberglass shingles, you’re not safe either. Fiberglass shingles are also prone to cracking during winter, and so do shakes.
The other reason why replacing your roof during winter is not ideal is for the simple reason that winter is a bitterly cold season. If you’ve worked in the cold, you know only too well that no one wants to be out there for too long. Regardless of how tough your contractor is, they aren’t immune to frostbite. You don’t want your roofer rushing through the installation just to protect their fingers from freezing. Roofing is one of those physically demanding jobs. To allow their fingers and toes to bend, roofers wear very small boots and gloves so you can imagine how torturous this can be when you’re dealing with temperatures below 20°F.
So, is it impossible to get a roof replacement during winter?
While replacing the roof is not ideal during winter, some situations demand an immediate replacement. If your roof can’t wait till summer or fall, here are some things to note:
- You will need to work with your contractor to select a window period of the best time in the winter season. This may mean picking those days where the forecasts predict no snow. Also, those days where temperatures are expected to be above 20 degrees.
- Your roofing project will take longer for reasons mentioned above, that is; shingles are hard to work with at this time, the contractors will need more breaks to warm up and hard sealing may be necessary.
- Some contractors will decline roof replacement offers during winter so you should be prepared to get a few declines. Of importance is to get a roofer who is comfortable and confident to install in winter. Not just comfortable but also experienced.
What’s the best time to replace your roof?
Compared to winter, spring and summer, fall provides the perfect weather for roof replacement. Experts agree that roof replacement is best done when the temperatures are between 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideal temperatures during fall provide better thermal sealing of asphalt shingles. Again, cooler fall temperatures are also more comfortable for roofers so, naturally, they’re likely to put on their A game. Installing your new roof in the fall prepares it for the imperils of winter weather. When your roof is in great shape, the only thing you’re left to think about during winter is getting a reliable ice dam removal company to deal with mother nature’s gift of snow and ice dams.
Flat roofs are great for outdoor living, rooftop gardens, aesthetics. These designs are durable and resistant to elements such as wind, hail, or animals. However, flat rooftops are not easy to drain. Water accumulates and does not drain automatically like with sloped designs.
Problems of Poor Drainage
- Cause leaks and structural damages
- Damage to other roofing features such as chimneys and vents
- Destroy caulking, tar, and other waterproofing elements
- Lead to debris accumulation
- Compromise the integrity of a building
If you go for a flat roof, here are three drainage options you can get from a reputable roofing repair company.
Gutters are cost-effective and also the most common solution for flat roof drainage. These structures direct water to a safe distance from the building through a downspout. When installed properly, gutters capture as much water as possible to protect your roof, windows, siding, and building foundation. However, there is a downside to using gutters. These waterspouts gather debris that can block your drainage system. You need to clean the structures consistently, especially before the rains start. If you live in areas with extreme weather, your gutter might not last long. You might want to consider the options below.
Roof scuppers are the openings at the edge of the roof that redirect water to the side of a building. You might also add a downspout to carry the water away from the building. This system is not only cost-effective but also efficient. With scuppers, there is no risk of debris accumulation as the openings are short. This makes them easy to maintain. Scuppers can also enhance your building if well designed. Although the scuppers are effective, they might be overwhelmed by heavy rain and snowmelt. Moreover, scuppers that come with downspouts may get clogged with debris. If your roof has little or no pitch, scuppers might not drain the water effectively.
Drains are installed where most water collects. Usually, there are pipes installed below the roof where the drains direct the water to drainage points. You can also have the interior drains customized by your roofing company to enhance your building. Another advantage of these structures is that the pipes are protected from extreme weather by the roof and walls. The downside with Interior drains is that they more expensive than gutters and scuppers. In the long run though, interior drains will serve you longer than the other two options. You must also call a professional roofing repair contractor in the rare case that the pipes get damaged. And just like the gutters, the pipe system is prone to clogging by debris. Ensure routine checks to keep your drainage clear.
Enjoy the perks of a flat roof design by installing any on the above drainage systems. Just ensure that the drainage solution fits your budget, roof design, weather conditions, and maintenance needs. Also, optimize the gutters, scuppers, and interior drains by doing routine checks and engaging a reliable roofing repair company.
Skylights are not only a beautiful roofing alternative to traditional roofs but also a functional choice in terms of saving energy (they let light in during the day). However, some homeowners report that their skylights are letting in a little more than just sunlight, especially during winter — we are talking about leaks! Although skylight leaks are repairable, it’s always better to prevent them from occurring in the first place. To take preventative measures, you first need to understand how skylights are installed and potential causes for leaks.
How are skylights installed?
A skylight is a special hardened glass that is installed in a cut-out on your roof. Personnel from Winnipeg roofing company cuts a measured opening on the roof around the region you want the skylight installed. This sometimes includes cutting out both the roof and a section of the attic, should you have one. The skylight is then installed in place of the cut-out and screwed in using nails.
Special roofing paper is then installed around the skylight framework. The roofing paper is meant to prevent any moisture, rain or melted snow from leaking through the cut-out of the skylight. Insulation is then installed around the roofing paper to further prevent leaks. Finally, special insulating material known as flashing is installed around the roofing paper. The flashing is installed in two layers; step flashing and solid flashing.
What causes leaks in the skylight and how to prevent them?
- Improper installation
The most common cause is improper installation. This may arise from the use of inadequate roofing paper around the frame of the skylight. As a result, the snow that melts around the framework of the skylight seeps in and leaks through the gaps. Also, inadequate step flashing may lead to melted snow finding its way into the skylight from underneath the roofing shingles.
The remedy is to add a watertight and airtight seal around the skylight framework. Alternatively, a complete re-installation of the skylight by a professional should prevent future leakage during winter.
- Extreme condensation
The flashing around the skylight framework, as well as that underneath the shingles is designed to accommodate normal expansion and contraction of solids under different temperatures. To put it into perspective, the temperature on the outside of the skylight is much cooler than that on the inside of the house. Therefore, extreme condensation may occur during winter, weakening the flashing. As a result, melted snow sips in between the flashing, resulting in a persistent leak.
Adding insulation as well as the step and solid flashing should prevent the leak from escalating too much.
- Melting snow
The end of the winter season is characterized by a gradual rise in temperature. By this time, areas with heavy snowfall have accumulated a couple inches of snow on the roof. The rise in temperature melts the snow at a fast rate. As a result, the roof is subjected to a lot of water that could find its way around the flashing and sip through the skylight. To prevent this, you can reduce the snow cover on your roof by sweeping it off with a roof rake, or better still inviting snow removal professionals.
By now, you should have noticed that the main culprit of skylight leaks is the flashing. Schedule regular roof maintenance services to ensure your flashing and insulation is intact enough to withstand the harsh conditions in the winter.
Winter comes with tons of excitement! From the beautiful snow-carpeted surfaces perfect for ice skating to the winter games with your kids such as making snow angels. But like all things in life, there is also the negative side to winter. One of the biggest concerns for most homeowners is dealing with ice dams. Here is everything you need to know about ice dams and how to prevent them.
How does formation of ice dams happen?
Ice dams form due to the different temperatures across your roof. Heavy snow falls onto your roof and freezes. Since most homes crank up the heat inside the house, the heated air inside the house rises to the upper surface of your roof. It rises even faster around the attic. As a result, heated air melts the frozen snow, which flows to the lower section of your roof. The melted snow then refreezes upon reaching the lower sections of the roof, as this part of the roof rarely receives heated air from indoors.
More ice melting from the upper surface of the roof flows as water and collects behind the frozen ice on the lower section of your roof. This results in a pool of cold water known as ice dams. The water collected will eventually sips under the roofing shingles and leak through your ceiling. You can however get ahead of the situation by preventing ice dams from forming.
How to prevent ice dams
Keeping the entire roof cold is the key to preventing ice dams from forming. This way, the snow doesn’t melt into the water that finds its way into your ceiling. This is achieved through the following.
- Install all-round ceiling insulation
An all-round insulation prevents heated air from escaping from different rooms to your roof. The most recommended insulation is installing the 12-inch R-38 fiberglass across the entire ceiling. You may use extra insulation on the areas not completely covered by the R-38 glass, such as the section between the roof’s sheathing and the walls’ top plate. The fiberglass keeps the heated air from escaping to the roof.
- Proper ventilation
An all-round ceiling installation alone will not do the job. Even with the right insulation, the air indoors is always warmer than that outside. You, therefore, need to keep the temperature under the roof deck as cold as possible. Ventilation through an HVAC system comes to the rescue by providing continuous airflow right from the soffit of the roof to the ridge and peak of the roof.
- Clean the gutters
Melted Ice from your roof needs a clear path to flow. Ensure you rid your gutters of any debris such as leaves, twigs and any other blockages. This greatly minimizes the chances of the melted water from flowing into the ceiling.
- Keep attic heat to a minimum
The attic may get warm from the air in your living space below as well as heat from a light source such as a light bulb. Ensure you install attic floor and ductwork installation to keep the attic heat at a minimum.
Do not wait for a snowfall to start ice dam-proofing your home. To avoid incurring the hefty cost of replacing a rotten roof and ceiling boards, take preventative measures as early as during the fall. For more information on how to deal with ice dams, don’t hesitate to talk to a reliable ice dam removal company today!
Winter is here, and you’ve started noticing a snow build-up on your roof. Naturally, you may start worrying about ice dams and roof leaks as a result. The most reasonable solution would be to climb a ladder and take away all the snow from the roof, right? Wrong! Here is why raking on a pitched roof is a bad idea.
Pitched roofs can handle the snow
Ever wondered why most roofs in snow-prone areas are pitched? This is because every state considers factors such as the climate before enforcing the relevant building codes. Areas that receive heavy snowfall are required to have pitched roofs for a number of reasons. First, pitched roofs are designed to withstand at least 30 pounds of snow per square foot. This eliminates the probability of your pitched roof caving in due to the weight from accumulated snow. Secondly, the elevation from the pitched roof allows melted snow to easily flow to the gutters and be disposed of with minimum damage to the roof. As soon as the temperatures rise, the snow should melt off and flow by itself.
Raking has minimal effect on ice dams
Raking the snow off your pitched roof may clear excessive snow, but in reality, it will not prevent ice dams from forming if you do not consider the proper preventative measures. Such measures include installing proper insulation on the ceiling and attic as well as providing ventilation between the roof soffit and the attic.
Too much weight
Climbing your pitched roof to rake off the snow may prove too much for your roof. Take a 200-pound man for instance. The pitched roof is designed to support up to 30 pounds of snow. This subjects the roof to an additional 170 pounds of weight. A new roof may support this kind of weight, but homes with considerably aged roofs may cave in when subjected to extra weight.
Climbing a pitched roof is a hazard in itself
Over the years, there are several records of people slipping and falling off from pitched roofs — apparently even during the hottest months. Snow-capped rooftops are twice as slippery. One misstep may be catastrophic. Additionally, the snow covers a lot of details from the naked eye; details such as the position of a skylight. A step in the wrong direction could make you cave in and land you in a hospital bed.
You can cause more damage
Raking your pitched roof without the technical know-how could cause more damage to the roof. There is the probability of over-estimating the snows thickness. As a result, you may damage the slated shingles or worse, you could do more damage by raking too much snow towards a weak spot such as a rotting section of the roof.
What to do
As the old saying goes, ‟prevention is better than cure”. Do not take matters into your own hands. For a more immediate solution, contact Winnipeg roof snow removal experts for a professional inspection of your roof. A roofing expert will safely remove the snow.
If your roof has seen better days, it’s probably looking worn and leaky. You’re now pondering on whether to repair, restore, or replace the entire roofing. When your roof starts showing sign of age, roof repair and replacement aren’t the only options. Restoration is a more cost-effective way to add more life to your existing roof.
Roof repair, restoration, and replacement: what’s the difference?
Many homeowners can’t quite tell the difference between roof repair and restoration. The difference is quite simple; roof repair deals with specific roof problems as identified by an experienced roofer. So here, the roofer may fix a leaking roof or replace damaged shingles and that’s about it. Roof restoration, on the other hand, is more intensive and comprehensive. It involves cleaning, repairing and re-coating. You can think of roof restoration as a complete roofing makeover. It prolongs the life of your roof while saving you the expense of a full roof replacement. As a fact, roof restoration costs 50-70% less than replacement, yet it still prolongs the life of your roofing. And, this is not the only benefit: Here are more benefits.
Restoration Provides Tax Benefits
While replacement is considered a capital expense, restoration falls under maintenance budget making the latter have a strong tax advantage. Since roof restoration is a maintenance expense, you can immediately expense your costs. In most instances, you’re likely to pay more when you capitalize the expense and recover the costs through depreciation than you would when you take the current maintenance deduction. Ideally, roofs have an average life of 20 years. The idea behind restoration is to extend your roofs life as long as possible.
Minimal Disruption to Day-to-Day living
A roof replacement requires removing the old roof, gathering the remnants from the site, then finally building the new roof; a process that involves welding, drilling, and nailing. With roof replacement, disruption is inevitable. Conversely, roof restoration is less intrusive, faster and cleaner (no odors and harsh chemicals to deal with). During the initial installation phases, you can conduct business as usual.
Roof restoration promotes environmental responsibility. The remnants of your existing roof, when you choose to replace the roof, end up in the already overflowing landfills. Roof restoration is an excellent way to recycle and reuse the current building materials. More on eco-friendliness: opt for cool roof coatings that emit lower carbon dioxide and other emissions into the air. Cool roof coatings decrease smog formation and respiratory illnesses. Furthermore, cool roof coatings are highly reflective, increasing solar reflectivity thus reducing interior coating costs.
Prevents Catastrophic Losses
Finally, restoring your roof can prevent a catastrophic loss. As age catches up with your home, the roof deteriorates over time, and the likelihood of roof leaks increase. As time passes, the damage becomes worse and at some point, if you fail to take immediate action, the only option will be a total replacement. Continued neglect on roof repairs can put the whole structure at risk. Instead of handling one repair after the other, the solution to an aging roof is restoration.
Roof repairs, restoration, and replacement all have their time and place. After a thorough inspection, a professional roofer should be able to help you decide the best cause of action concerning your roof.