5 Tips for Maintaining Your Roof

Monday, July 16th, 2018 by Victoria Cosma

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One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to ice dams in the winter is that the best way to remove them is by force. However, doing so only causes shingles to deteriorate faster causing bigger problems down the road. Using hammers or small pickaxes usually gets rid of the oce dam in the moment, but it creates permanenet damage to the shingles. Instead of muscling the ice dams, look for ways to reduce the frozen runoff by improving the amount of insulation in your attic. Ventilation plays a key role as it withdraws warm air from the attic so that snow does not start melting in the first place. Another solution to rid ice dams is our ice dam melting service. We use a machine which deploys steam directly to the ice dam to melt it right off the roof, no hammering necessary!

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When your chimeny starts leaking, your first reaction may be to put tar or roofing cement on the flashing to stop the leak. However, this is a temporary fix and does not provide a long-term solution to the issue at hand. The roofing cement does not last long as it tends to dry up and crack when exposed to the sun, as it is not designed to handle UV rays. Once the cement drys up and cracks it starts to pull-away from the flashing causing leaking to continue. So what's the right solution to solving your chimney leak? When we place a roof, we always replace the chimney flashing and install new lead flashing and the counter flashing on the chimney. The flashing is pulled out between the bricks on the chimney and then new flashing is re-sealed with mortar seal to ensure no moisture penetrates through. If your roof isn't in need of replacement, we can still replace your existing flashing and get down to the root issue. 

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A valley is a part of your roof where two slopes meet. It is a downward seam that joins the two roofs together and ensures that no water escapes through. However, it is also a common place for leaves and pine needles to collect. Because the valley is the joint between the two slopes, water and leaves are driven down the valley. If the valley gets clogged, the more leaves and debris accumulate causing ice dams to build up and lichen to form. Keeping the trees trimmed away from the house will keep your roof valleys free of debris and will allow more sunligh to reach the roof and help keep shingles dry. As a result, a dry roof is going to have less moss and lichen adding to the longevity of your roof. 

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We recommend that your keep your soffit vents clear of insulation so that you get the mximum airflow to your attic. Having a strong air flow will keep your house cooler in the summer and reduce the likelihood of ice dams int he winter. An easy way to do this is to put foam baffles by your soffit vents if you have them. A baffle is a rigid piece of foam that goes between the rafters. You tuck it right between the plywood and the insulation in order to keep the insulation from blocking the soffit vents in your attic. 

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Another way that shingles can lose their granules is from the roof being power washed in order to kill any algae or moss that may have formed on the roof. This works temporarily, but does not permanently kill the algae and actually damages the roof shingles in the process. When your roof starts getting those black streaks it is from black algae growing on the shingles, or more accurately, IN the shingle. You can either clean it by gently spraying a solution ont he shingles, or you can install copper near the peak of the roof. Why copper? Have you ever noticed a home has black algae streaks covering most of the roof except right underneath the chimney? THis is due to the copper or lead flashing being washed over the chimney by the rain and the metal ions running right down the roof to kill the algae. If your shingles have copper in them, like Owens Corning Duration Shingles, you will get the same effect. The copper int he shingles will get washed downt he roof and keep the algae off. After 10 years or so, you can have your contractor put copper strips near the peak to cover the shingles with a new layer of copper to help keep your roof clean.