Wisconsin winters can reach below zero temperatures, while our summers average in the mid-’80s. Snow and ice are brutal on your residential roof, but what about the summer heat? How does the heat affect your roof? Do you need a roof repair or roof replacement? We turned to our expert roofing team here at High Quality Contracting Inc. to find out.
The sun produces UV Rays. These rays are beating down on your home’s roof every day. When choosing the color of the shingles, consider the and reflective capabilities. Also, considering the reflective coating of the shingles as some coatings are better and last longer than others. Over time, the sun’s rays begin to fade the color of your shingles, which affects the ability to keep the inside of your home cool.
How hot can your roof get?
The standard asphalt shingle roof that protects most of southeastern Wisconsin’s homes can reach temperatures hovering 150°F plus during our hottest months. During the winter, the same roof will reach temperatures well below zero. In Wisconsin, we have times where we go from freezing to hot in a single week. This expanding and contracting of the materials in the shingles and wood can affect the integrity of your home’s roofing system. This process is called Thermal Shock.
Thermal Shock creates cracks, buckling, and discoloration over time. Due to this sudden rise and fall of temperatures, straining is especially hard on roofing systems older than a decade. As time goes on, home roofs become brittle. The wood and shingles crack, leaving openings for moisture and water to seep in and cause further damage.
Couple Thermal Shock with fierce storms that blow through our counties, homeowners have a recipe for roofing damage that may happen at any time. The key to preventing severe damage to the structure of your home is to stay on top of regular inspections of your roof and taking action to repair any damage found.
The steps to protect your investment are simple, yet many homeowners choose not to do them. These steps are:
1) Schedule an inspection.
Schedule an annual roofing inspection performed by a professional contractor. He/She will know where to look for any defects that may affect your home in the near future. The contractor should go on top of the roof and look for signs of wear, rust, buckling, missing shingles, holes, and damage. As well as an interior inspection to search for moisture and stains from leaks.
2) Clear the area to avoid roof replacement from damage.
Be sure that your roof is clear of any trees or branches that could fall during a storm. If a tree is dead or dying, take it down immediately. Trees are one of the biggest causes of roof damage in Wisconsin.
3) Inspect insulations help determine if a roof replacement is needed or repairs.
Take care of your attic by ensuring it is adequately insulated. You can check this by going into your attic in the middle of the day. Make sure all the lights are off, and then look for light shining through any cracks. Turn on the light and search for damp insulation or water stains. Look for discoloration in rafters, beams, and plywood. If you find any issues, consider calling a licensed, insured contractor like High Quality Contracting, Inc. to come to take a look.
Worn old shingles on a roof show signs needing a roof replacement.
4) How Old is Your Roof?
If your roofing is older than a decade or of poor quality, you will want to make sure you have it inspected. Also, consider re-roofing with a higher-quality shingle and better quality underlayment.
Several manufacturers, such as GAF, make terrific products for roofing systems that were not available even ten years ago. These products are more wind resistant, have excellent UV light resistance, a more formidable water barrier, and a longer life expectancy.
As the heat of Wisconsin’s summer sun beats down on your home, remember to do a few simple tasks to keep your investment and family safe from a damaged roof which will end in needing a roof replacement. Scheduling an inspection to see if you need a new roof or if you can get by with some repairs is as easy as picking up the phone and calling High Quality Contracting, Inc.
High Quality Contracting Inc. is an accredited Wisconsin Better Business Bureau member with an A+ rating. We are members of the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and 12-time recipients of the Angie’s List Super Service Award.
We also offer special discounts to our servicemen and women.
Please contact your homeowners’ insurance to find out what, if any, discounts are available in the event that you replace your roof. Many homeowner policies offer substantial discounts (5%-30%) if your roof is under 5 years old. Depending on the product you choose, that discount can vary.
At High Quality Contracting, Inc., we offer craftsmanship that you can trust. Contact us today for your roofing inspection.
Time for fall home maintenance. Along with the taste of hot apple cider, the smell of burning leaves, and the beauty of the trees comes the autumn fall maintenance checklist. No, it’s not fun. But, every good homeowner knows it must be done to keep themselves and their families safe from the elements and cozy once the cold winter months hit. You have 6 to 8 weeks to get ready in Wisconsin so the sooner you tackle this, the sooner you can sit back with your fuzzy socks and enjoy the beauty of the season. To help you out, High Quality Contracting Inc. developed this handy checklist for your fall home maintenance plan.
Inspect your roof
Don’t forget to check their roofs at least twice a year for damage. Homeowners usually realize something is wrong when the damage has gotten so big that the cost is, well,“Through the Roof!”. So, now is the time to do that inspection. Walk around the outside of your home at your roof looking for signs of damage, sagging or aging. Pay particular attention to areas that moss, algae, and leaves pile up because those areas are prone to get water and leaking damage. Look for buckled, curled or missing shingles. Look for granule loss (texture on shingles) which is an indication that the shingles are aging and worn from the weather, they may need replacing. If you are able to get up on a ladder and look at your roof, do it. Check the spots that you had noted for damage. If you are not able to get up on a ladder, contact a local roofing expert such as High Quality Contracting, Inc. to come to take a look for you.
Check attic for wet or missing insulation
This is an area that many homeowners also forget. Who wants to crawl around in an itchy attic and check their insulation, right? But, you should. Wet insulation means that leaks are coming through the roof. It can cause further damage and molding issues if not address. Missing or condensed insulation causes your attic to leak out your winters heat causing your energy bills to skyrocket while your home stays cold. Pay attention to corners and around areas that have those storage items to make sure your items are not wet or having been leaked down on. If you find a problem- We are the experts ready to help.
Clear out and repair gutters
Clogged or damaged gutters can cause ice dams, siding damage, and roofing damage. It is imperative to check your gutters for any damaged or missing drain spouts. Climb up on the ladder (if your comfortable doing so) and remove any debris, leaves, sticks etc. from the gutter system. If you have problems getting up on a ladder, you may want to consider having new gutters with a gutter guard system installed. These revolutionary systems help prevent a buildup of debris and ice dams from forming.
Caulking cracks and gaps
When cold weather hits, the cold air starts leaking into your home along with the neighborhood critters who are seeking refuge and a bite to eat in your pantry. Keep them both out by sealing cracks and gaps around your home. There are several great products out on the market that can help you fill in the small cracks such as caulk, GreatStuff, and Flex Seal. For larger gaps and cracks, you may need some wire mesh, heavy-duty hardware cloth or hire a professional contractor to handle the problem. We found these useful tips from the Department of Energy on their website http://www.Energy.gov.
Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
- Test your home for air tightness.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
- Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
- Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
- Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the windows section for more information.
- Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
- Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
- Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked in order to save energy and may prevent a fire.
- Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
- Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
- Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
Applying weather-stripping around the frames of windows and doors can help reduce your energy costs. Weather seals rip, compress, and wear over time so remedy this with weather stripping. Another great fashionable item homeowners find useful are colorful draft stoppers. These sometimes home-made, sometimes store bought products adhere to the bottom of your door and help to reduce cold weather air from getting in. If your door has damage or larger gaps, consider having a new door installed by High Quality Contracting Inc. Give us a call today.
Trim bushes and trees
Trimming back your bushes and removing any dead branches from trees is a good thing to do this time of year. If you have several trees on your property, consider hiring an arborist to check out the health of your trees. This time of year is the perfect time to have these specialists check your trees for disease, to safely trim back the branches that may fall in the winter, and to apply treatments into the trees for fungus and diseases such as diplodia.
Prepare your windows for winter
Newer weather resistant windows do not need much maintenance. They simply need to be shut and locked closed. But, if you are like many Wisconsin homeowners and you have windows that are older that leak air, you have a lot more do to than that to ready yourself for the winter months. Installing weather stripping and plastic are two options that can help. If the window is cracked or broken it will need to be replaced. If you can feel a heavy breeze or you can see a gap between the window and the seal around it, it may be time to replace your windows. High Quality Contracting Inc. can help you with an estimate of the costs to have that happen. We install all types of windows and doors to help keep your heat in and the elements out.
Check walkways, railings, stairs
It is important to check your stair railings, walkways, and stairs for loose rails, boards and large cracks or gaps. Loose rails and boards can lead to serious slip and fall situations during the winter months. Large cracks and gaps in the walkways can cause ice to build up and for you to slip and fall. If you find your stairs, decks or railings to be faulty, contact a certified contractor like High Quality Contracting Inc. to come and repair or replace the items for you. No one wants to spend the winter in a cast. Taking care of these dangerous items now can save you later.
Shut off exterior faucets
Prepping your pipes from freezing and damage can save you a bundle in repair bills. Simply shut off exterior faucets and valves before the winter freeze hits. Drain and roll up your hoses and put them away for the winter. If you have a faucet that sticks out a little bit, adding some foam or insulation products around the pipe is a good idea as well.
Stock winter supplies
Don’t wait until you have 3 feet of snow on your front driveway before you realize that you might need a snow shovel. Check your shovels, ready the snow blower with yearly maintenance, get out the snow brushes for the cars, and purchase the ice melt products that you need. Don’t forget, if you have pets or plants, check for products that are safe to use. Many retailers offer specials early in the season, and prices can go up if they start running low. Don’t be caught unprepared.
Check safety devices
Now is the perfect time to check your safety devices around your home. Check your fire extinguishers and replace them if they are past the expiration date. Check the batteries in your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have never had your home checked for radon, now is the time to do it. High radon levels of 4 and above can be extremely harmful to you and your family, so having this checked is important.
Cover up the A/C units
Window A/C units should be either removed or covered before the weather turns cold. Covers can be purchased at a local hardware store or home specialty store. If you have a central air conditioning unit, you will want to consult your owners manual before ever covering your unit. Some units should not be covered to prevent moisture build up and others are recommended to be covered. It depends. If you are not sure, contact a local A/C company or the manufacturer to find out.
Check dryer vents
As you use your home dryer through-out the year, the lint sometimes passes through and builds up in the venting tube. When this happens, it causes your dryer to work less efficiently and becomes a fire hazard. The cool, dry fall and winter air causes an increase in static electricity which can ignite with the lint. Clear this out and if needed replace the lint vent tubing with new tubing. You will be surprised at home much actually gathers in there.
Schedule chimney cleaning
Nothing better than a warm cozy fireplace or wood burning stove in the winter. Keep those items working at their peak and safely with an annual cleaning and maintenance. Be sure to include a chimney cap if needed to keep creatures from climbing down your chimney when it is not in use. This will help keep your family safe to warm up by the fire.
Schedule heating maintenance and change your filter
Just like the fireplace and the wood burning stove, your home’s heater needs regular maintenance. The last thing you want is to have it break down in subzero temperatures in the middle of the night where the cost for repairs will go way up. Prevent all of that by scheduling a heating company to come in and check your products. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has a great list of contractors who have been verified to help you choose the right contractor for your home. Also, don’t forget to change your heating filter and replace it with a high-quality one. Your heating system has sat all summer long and the filter will be dirty and dusty. Replacing that will help keep allergies down and your unit working efficiently.
Contact Us for help with your fall roofing, or chimney issues.
Perhaps you have heard the term “Ice Dam” or “Ice Damming” and are not sure what exactly that is or how it affects your home. We have the answers for you.
An ice dam refers to a rim of ice that forms at the edges of your room and gutter systems that prevent water and melting snow to run off the roof (drain) properly. The water backs up and can cause damage to the roof, interior walls, insulation, ceiling, around windows as well as other areas. Ice dams can also be dangerous as when they break loose, sharp ice and icicles can fall to the ground potentially harming people or pets.
Mold and mildew problems caused by ice dams.
Not only does an ice dam cause damage to your home but it can also cause a health hazard with mold and mildew growth. The moisture and water leaking into the house will soak into the walls, insulation, and drywall. When this happens long enough, mold spores and mildew begin to grow.
How are ice dams formed?
Ice dams are formed when the higher portions of the roof are above 32°F while lower surfaces are below 32°F. The water at the more moderate portion freezes and the more elevated portion runs down to the lower portion backing up behind the ridge adding to the ice dam.
How does the roof maintain two different temperatures?
Heat rises. When the heat rises if the insulation on the inside of the attack space or in a variety of roofing areas is not sealed properly the top of the roof will become warmer than the edges of the roof. The heat loss also prevents the home from heating fulling and increases home energy costs.
How do you prevent ice damming?
To prevent ice dams from forming it is important to check the insulation levels in your attic as well as make sure that your roof, soffits, and vents are all sealed properly. It is also essential to make sure that your gutters are free of debris and corrosion as this can cause the water from draining correctly. Roof shingles should be well maintained and lose shingles and rotting boards replaced. Flashing around the chimney should be sealed well.
How do I clear an ice dam that is already formed?
Safety is critical in this area as that when you are removing an ice dam, you can quickly be hit with massive clumps of ice that roll off the roof. A roof rake is preferred if you have one or to call an expert to remove the ice dam to prevent further damage or injury.
What is the best type of insulation to use in my attic to help prevent ice dams?
Every home is different as to what kind of insulation works the best for your particular home. Homes with angled ceilings and no attic, roofs with skylights, flat roof dormers and low-slope roofs are especially challenging to vent at a proper level to prevent the ice dams from forming. To understand which options are best for your home it is best to ask an expert such as High Quality Contracting to review your situation.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to review your ice damming problem, please contact us here.