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Entry Points for Squirrels and Rodents: Is Your Home Safe?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Rodents like rats and squirrels love your house. In winter, they try to move in out of the cold. In early spring and summer, they wake up out of hibernation and start looking for food and new nesting materials. They can fit through incredibly small cracks and gaps too, which means you have to keep careful watch for points of entry. Here are some of the most common access points for these rodents.

Vents and ductwork

Rats and other rodents are skilled at finding ways into vents and ductwork, which lead straight into your home. Roof and attic vents are particularly troublesome, because they are often easy to access (especially for squirrels, who enjoy that kind of challenge), and let’s face it, people rarely consider or realize they have those vents. It’s important to always screen any roof vents, and make sure that attic insulation is complete and without tempting gaps.

Chimneys and drainage pipes

Chimneys get rid of smoke and drainage pipes get rid of condensation and other moisture. Both can also provide entry points for a variety of rodents. Chimneys, like roof vents, should always be capped and screened to prevent rodents (and birds) from climbing inside and nesting around them. Drainage pipes should always empty out into well-maintained beds of gravel so they are not directly open to the outside air.

Rat

Holes for electrical work and plumbing

How do you move wiring or pipes through a wall? You make a hole! But unless that hole is carefully measured and then sealed, it provides a perfect spot for rodents to gain access to walls and rooms inside your home. It can be difficult to know if these holes exist unless you are renovating, but also make sure that they are covered when you find them. And speaking of renovating…

Remodeling work

Any type of remodel can open up your home to squirrels and other pests, especially at night. Both DIY and professional projects need to be carefully covered at the end of each day, and projects that open up the house to the outside need top priority so your home can be sealed again.

Siding problems

Cracked, warped and broken siding can create cracks large enough for rodents to find a way behind, where they can do some real damage. If you notice siding problems, let Findlay Roofing know and we can fix those weak spots.

Roof damage

Missing flashing, missing or broken shingles, and other types of roof damage can also open up your home to rodents. They will be quick to chew through any underlayments or other materials once covered, eventually doing even more damage and finding their way inside your house. If you have roof damage like this, it’s important to act quickly and find a way to repair it before pests realize they have a way in.

Photo source: Flickr

The Roof Warranty: What They Cover and What You Need to Know

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Your roofer or the manufacturer of roofing supplies may provide a warranty to cover future damage. These warranties can be very useful, but they have limits! Here’s what you need to know.

The details can vary

Not all roof warranties are the same. In fact, they can cover very different things, which is why it’s so important to read the details and pay attention to all the fine print.

A common example is the difference between poor workmanship and faulty roof materials. Manufacturer warranty options only cover repairs if the roof materials are at fault, but not if the materials were installed incorrectly; in other words, warranties don’t cover any contractor mistakes, and you won’t know until you actually ready the contract.

Bottom line: Don’t just sign warranties without understanding what they cover. When in doubt, ask.

Other important problems may not be covered

Roof warranties tend to only cover direct repairs and replacements. Other issues, while related, won’t be covered. For instance, assume that you don’t have enough vents on your attic due to a roof project that covered several vents up. The next winter, your attic has a big problem with condensation, boards start to warp and patches of mold appear. If you see any of this damage, check with Findlay Roofing for immediate repairs for these serious issues, but don’t expect a previous roof warranty to cover them, because the condensation isn’t directly related to the new roof.

Roof Repair

You can void your warranties

Yes, roof warranties can be voided by certain situations. While most void restrictions are boilerplate, they can also vary a little. Common activities that void your warranty include:

  • Overroofing: Installing shingles on a layer of older shingles will usually void product coverage.
  • Structural changes: Say you buy a satellite dish and install it on your roof with a few screws and half an hour of work. Unfortunately, that projects also voided your coverage: Structural changes of any kind tend to have this impact.
  • Specific events: Certain events may not be covered, such as hailstorms or fires, depending on the warranty and region.
  • Wear and tear: Damage over time is not usually affected by warranties or any type of insurance, since it’s a natural and unavoidable occurrence.

The quality of the roofing company matters

As a general rule, be wary of warranties offered by companies that have only existed for a couple years or less. Brand new companies and contractors are on shaky ground. There is no guarantee they’ll be around in a decade when you want to invoke that coverage. Warranties are far more reliable when offered by experienced companies.

Not all costs are covered

Warranties will cover some repair costs, but not others. Roof removal, disposal of old parts, flashing and direct labor costs may not be covered.

Warranties may or may not be transferable

Transferable warranties can be passed on to a new owner, a very important consideration when buying or selling a home…or if you may do so in the future.

Remember that the warranty you have may not be what you might think. Read yours carefully to see what’s covered, and if you’re getting a new roof, know what to look for in the fine print.

Photo source: Flickr

Planting and Trimming Trees: What Homeowners Should Consider

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Are you planting new trees or thinking about what to do with an old tree? Consider how trees affect your home first! Here are several things to keep in mind:

Tree limbs and roof damage

There are two reasons to avoid planting a tree too close to your house – fire hazard and property damage. The first issue is fairly obvious, but let’s talk about the second problem: A nearby tree is almost always bad for your roof. It may look beautiful, but it can still cause roof damage.

Dead tree limbs are a common cause of roof damage, because when storms hit, they can fall or whip through the air and crack shingles or tiles. If you see damage like this, contact Findlay roofing for a quick fix before leaks develop.

However, even healthy tree limbs can damage your roof, gutters and siding if the tree is planted too close to the house. When new homeowners plant a sapling without thinking ahead, it ends up growing against the house in a few years, a very common mistake. Planting a tree takes careful planning, as well understanding how large that tree will grow.

If you already have a nearby tree, it’s important to always 1) remove any dead or dying branches and 2) remove any branches that overhang or touch your house.

Squirrel

Squirrels and large pests

Squirrels are bad for rooftops, and they love a nearby tree. A tree is like a highway for squirrels, and even branches several feet away can serve as launchpads that give squirrels free access to your roof. Other large pests, like raccoon, may also enjoy these branches – another reason why branches should be trimmed away from the house.

Bugs and small pests

Bugs love a good tree, especially a deciduous tree. This is a particular problem for Georgia, where the climate favors pests like box elder bugs. Some of these pests cause home damage, some cause tree damage and some are just annoying. All of them are good reasons to keep branches away from your home and to choose trees that are naturally resistant to local pests.

Trees and House

Leaves and debris

All plants create debris – even most evergreens – will drop piles of needles as they grow. The leaves, dirt, pollen and needles all add up, clogging gutters, trapping moisture against your roof, and encouraging the growth of moss and mildew. Choose new trees that don’t shed as much, and – once again – keep old tree branches away from your roof.

Trees aren’t permanent

Trees may feel like a permanent fixture, but they aren’t. Sometimes you need to get rid of them via a professional tree removal service. An obvious example is when the tree is hollow or dying out, but there are many good reasons to remove a tree from your yard when it becomes a problem. Don’t be afraid to face the expense and say goodbye.

When it comes to maintaining trees around your house, a little preventative planning and trimming can make all the difference. If you think before you plant, make tree-trimming part of your seasonal maintenance and keep an eye on the overall health of all the trees in your yard, your roof will thank you for it.

Photo source: Flickr

The Benefits of Vent Turbines on Your Roof

Friday, March 10th, 2017

You’ve probably seen them – those round little knobs poking up from residential rooftops. Those are turbines (a.k.a. whirlybirds), a type of roof vent that provides a valuable service no homeowner should overlook. Here’s what to know!

The turbine vent

While a turbine looks a little complex at first glance, it’s actually very simple. Much like a window, this round vent is powered by the wind. It houses a circular fan that’s very sensitive to breezes. When the wind blows the right way, it turns the fan, which in turn draws up air from the attic and disperses it. There are good reasons why you see these round vents on so many houses – let’s take a look at the advantages.

Red Turbine

The benefits of using a turbine

  • Attic ventilation: Roof vents need to move hot, humid air from the attic to the outdoors, so that humidity doesn’t build up and cause, mold, rot or other moisture problems that Findlay Roofing regularly sees when dealing with attic issues. Since turbines are attached directly to attic spaces, they can siphon away that moist air effectively. This feature is particularly useful in winter months, when homes are filled with rising warm air that needs to be dispersed.
  • Alternative to ridge vents: Ridges vents are slits along the ridges below a roof. They are incredibly effective at venting hot attic air, but there’s not always room for them. When an attic space needs ventilation but there’s no more room for ridge vents, turbine vents are usually the next best solution. They are very flexible regarding placement, and there’s almost always room for them.
  • No need for an energy source: Turbines are what we call passive vents, which means they don’t need an energy source to run – just a little bit of wind, which is usually present on rooftops even during relatively calm days. That means they move a lot of air without incurring any electric costs, ever. The only price you need to worry about is the installation cost.
  • They rarely break down: Because of their simple, rounded design, turbine vents are rarely disturbed by anything outside of large debris. They can keep going for many years into the future with only simple maintenance.

Other considerations

While turbines may be durable, they can age, especially when exposed to frequent storms or attic moisture. The exposure causes rust, wear and other problems: A common issue with turbine vents is that they develop a “squeak” later on in life, which can grow irritating. Regular application of an oil like WD-40 can help prevent this problem, and high-quality models don’t suffer from the squeaks as much.

Additionally, installing a turbine requires careful cutting around shingles, placement, and at least a couple layers of sealant to fully protect. It’s usually a job best left to professionals. Fortunately, they do come in a variety of color patterns, so you should be able to find one that matches your roof.

Photo source: Flickr

Replacing Your Windows?: What Could Go Wrong

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Do you need to replace or upgrade your home windows? New window products offer the opportunity to save on heating bills and change the look of your house, among other benefits, but they need to be installed correctly. Here are some of the mistakes that can result if you aren’t careful.

The frame doesn’t match your existing materials

We see this problem if you try to match vinyl materials to wood trim, or metal window frames to vinyl edges and so on. The problem here is that different materials – wood, metal, plastic, etc. – expand and contract in different ways according to temperature. They also lose or gain flexibility. If materials don’t match properly, windows can grow loose in their frames or develop other problems. Professionals manage this dynamic by measuring carefully, matching materials, and taking out the whole frame/trimwork if necessary.

Window Frame

The space isn’t big enough for the window you choose

Most big window mistakes result from not measuring or making inaccurate measurements. This is especially true for custom window products, but even with standardized window sizes, poor measurements can cause serious problems. Such mistakes are most common when upgrading to a window that opens differently, or has an additional pane layer, which increases the width of the window. You need to make sure the window will fit or that you can afford to renovate the space around the window as well.

The window isn’t sealed

Window installation isn’t just a matter of sliding the window in. Depending on the project, windows need to be glazed, lined with weather-stripping, and sealed at the edges. Forgetting one of these steps leads to leaks, loss of heat, and other serious problems. Preventing these issues is another reason it’s important to hire a professional who knows how windows must be installed. Note that the above requirements can differ based on the type of window, the wall, the direction the window faces, and other concerns. Every window is different.

Window Replacement

Replacement delay during bad weather

Obviously you can’t always choose when to replace a window, but some times are worse than others. If your window breaks during a rainy season, you need to quickly prepare the room, seal the window opening, and prevent any water from entering your home. You’ll also want to take these steps at each stage of window installation, especially if you have to wait a day or two between steps. Avoid this problem by arranging for a full window replacement that takes care of all steps on the same day.

An unknown contractor messes everything up

Not all window contractors are trustworthy. Some will sell you one window but then install an entirely different and cheaper one, without most homeowners knowing the difference. Others may try to sell you features you don’t need, claim that windows need to be replaced when they don’t, or include unnecessary warranties. The best defense against this mistake is to hire a reliable, local contractor with good reviews and experience.

Photo Source: Flickr

Pine Straw: What Can It Do to My Roof?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Pine straw refers to those bundles of needles that seem to collect so easily in corners, valleys, and gutters of your roof. In Georgia, longleaf or shortleaf pines may be the worst offenders along with the common, hardy slash pine. If you have some of these dumping needles on your roof, here’s what you need to know.

Pine Needles

The dangers of pine straw

When those falling pine needles start clumping together, they can cause problems for your rooftop. The worst of those include:

  • Moisture trapping: That layer of pine needles is excellent at trapping moisture, which causes direct damage to your roof and encourages the growth of moss or mold. While pine needles can dry out quickly, the thicket they form prevents moisture from escaping, forcing it to linger on your roof.
  • Easy matting: Pine needles can form clumping mats with very little encouragement. That’s where we get the term “pine straw” and why these needles can be more annoying than deciduous leaves. Once a mat has built up in valleys of your roof, it is rarely dislodged and shingles underneath suffer.
  • Crack problems: In windy conditions, needles can be forced up into your shingle edges, opening up new gaps for leaks to form. Left alone, needles can be wedged in these small cracks for months, compromising your roof.
  • Gutter clogging: When pine needles do get washed down off your roof, they tend to form new clumps in your gutters, which makes it easier for your gutters to become clogged and requires more extensive cleanup.
  • Allergy issues: Pine needles tend to trap pollen, especially in warmer months. It doesn’t bother everybody, but you don’t want to deal with pine straw if you have allergies. There’s no good that can come of that combination.

Taking care of pine needle clumps

Cleaning seasonally: The good news about pine needles is that they are generally easy to remove. When they mat together, it’s easy to strip away a whole layer of needles at one time, making cleanup easier than you might expect. You can usually clean out gutters by hand, but a broom or rake work well for your roof, when used appropriately. Remember, however, that you can quickly damage your roof by walking on it carelessly or using the wrong tools – when it doubt, get expert help. It’s a good idea to clear up pine needles before winter storms and when the weather starts clearing up after winter. Because pine trees are evergreen, needles can fall on your roof throughout the year, but especially during bad weather.

Gutter guards: Gutter covers and guards can prove particularly effective in keeping out pine needles. Having them doesn’t mean you’ll never have to clean your gutters again, but if you want to save some time high up on a ladder, investing in gutter protection may be worth it. Let us know if you’d like to learn more.

Photo source: Flickr

How Does the Sun Affect My Roof?

Monday, February 20th, 2017

When people think of roof damage, they usually think of wind or storms, which cause direct, obvious problems. But there’s another cause of roof problems, one far more subtle and long-term – the sun. Sunlight poses several problems for your rooftop, including:

Asphalt damage

As you probably remember from science class, sunlight is made from different types of radiation, including ultraviolet radiation that can damage skin and housing materials. The asphalt coatings on shingles are particularly vulnerable to this type of radiation, which quickly heats the asphalt and causes it to warp, run, or wear out. Shingles under the hot sun will simply deteriorate more quickly.

This is why, if you live in an area that gets a lot of sun, roofers generally recommend an alternative to shingles, like stone panels or clay tiles. Homes in arid places like Nevada almost exclusively use these materials, but they have their place in Georgia too.

Damaged Tiles

Coating longevity

Asphalt isn’t the only thing that can be damaged by radiation. Coatings and sealants also absorb that radiation and can wither under persistent sun. Just as paint can crack and fleck, protective coatings on roof panels and tiles can wear out when exposed to too much sun.

However, there are coatings, including reflective coatings, designed to withstand long-term sunlight effectively. We suggest you match the type of coatings on your roof products with the type of weather the house endures.

Bleaching

If you’ve ever seen driftwood or old decks, you know how sunlight can bleach objects, damaging the particles responsible for color until the object fades. This type of wear happens to rooftops too, especially darker rooftops. Over the years, the sides of the roof facing the sun can bleach out, particularly if the house has wooden shakes or coatings of paint.

The best solution here is to find a shingle or tile color that won’t easily bleach out after a few years. We can recommend a variety of gray, white, and even tan shingle colors that prevent any potential problems with color loss and help keep your house cooler in the summer, which saves energy.

Rooftops in Sun

Warping and cracking

We see this damage most often with plastic materials (including plastic siding) and metal components. Sunlight tends to heat up these materials easily. In addition to potential “thermal shock” (moving from cold to hot too quickly), this extra heat can also destabilize the materials. Plastic warps and cracks over time. Metal components like flashing or brackets can warp too, or they may become weak and brittle, breaking more easily.

Overall temperature

Do you see the common thread? Sunlight wears out your roof, and the more sun a roof gets, the faster it will age. If you have a house that endures a lot of direct sunlight and still has old shingles, consider replacing the roof with materials more suited to dealing with all that solar radiation.

Photo Source: Flickr

Five Reasons You Should Not Install Your Own Gutter Covers

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Gutter covers help keep leaves and needles out of your gutters and away from your roof, as long as they are installed properly. But putting covers on your own gutters isn’t the easy project homeowners may assume. Here are several reasons to leave covers to the professionals this year.

Matching covers and gutters

What is the precise color and style of your gutters? Which covers will match the color and also fit the right shape and size?

The problem many homeowners run into when they tackle projects like this is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Covers come in many styles and materials and need to match the gutters on your home. Homeowners may not have access to the right shades or styles or even know where to look. Professional installation teams, however, have access to an array of manufacturers and can locate covers that are the right color, style and size to match your gutters.

Gutters may be a humble part of the home, but they can also be surprisingly delicate and require special care when it comes to installation. Putting too much weight on a gutter or cover can cause them to bend or tear apart. Using the wrong attachments can lead to warping. Gutters need careful hands when it comes to installing covers.

Gutter Cleaning

Safety concerns

Obviously, there are safety concerns when climbing up on or near the roof, so homeowners face the risk of falls and injury. Gutters come with their own set of safety issues. Metal gutters are sharp and can easily cut an unwary homeowner who’s not wearing protective gear.

Warranty benefits

A poor installation can void the warranties on your roof, gutters or covers, which means no easy replacements or repairs if something goes wrong. Professional roofers know warranty requirements and can help you find the best ones, as well as making sure they remain in effect after installation.

Call Findlay Roofing today for more information about gutter covers for your home.

Photo Source: Flickr

Fiberglass Shingles: The Pros and Cons

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Fiberglass shingles are a common shingle type across the country, but that doesn’t mean homeowners know much about them. That’s why we’ve created a brief FAQ section to explore the pros and cons of fiberglass roofs and whether they’re right for your house.

What is a fiberglass shingle?

Although you may not have heard about fiberglass shingles, we bet you’ve seen them. These types of shingles are the most popular for residential rooftops. They are the common asphalt shingles that you can see just by driving down the street.

These shingles are made from a fiberglass mat – tough strands of plastic woven together – and covered with asphalt coatings and granules for protection. The result is that classic shingle look.

Wait, so why don’t we call them fiberglass shingles?

There are actually two different kinds of asphalt shingles: fiberglass, and another called organic shingles. Organic shingles are not as common, but you can still find them on homes throughout the United States.

Shingle Roof

So what’s the difference between organic and fiberglass?

Organic shingles grew as an alternative option several decades ago. Instead of a fiberglass mat, they use a core of organic wood products that are pressed into a thick, protective layer.

They may be more environmentally friendly, but organic shingles can develop problems. First, they’re susceptible to extensive rot and water damage if moisture reaches the core. Second, they’re heavier than fiberglass shingles, which makes them more difficult to work with. As a result, their popularity has waned.

In other words, you recommend fiberglass?

In most cases, yes. Organic shingles may do better in very cold, dry climates. But in climates with humidity and more rainfall, fiberglass shingles are a better bet. They last longer and resist moisture more readily.

What styles do these shingles come in?

Fiberglass shingles come in a vast number of styles and colors. If there’s a particular style you have in mind, you should be able to find it. They even come with features like chemical coatings to reduce algae growth.

Rotting Shingles

How much does the fiberglass version cost?

Prices can vary. By themselves, these shingles tend to cost between $60 and $120 per square foot, depending on the type, thickness, and extra features.

Can I install fiberglass shingles myself?

Installing shingles, especially for larger projects, is best left to professionals who know how to navigate rooftops without causing damage or new problems. Findlay Roofing offers roof replacement services, as well as free roofing analysis to find out the state of your roof.

Photo Source: Flickr

3-Tab Shingles vs. Dimensional (Laminate) Shingles

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Two of the most common types of residential shingles are 3-tab and dimensional or laminate shingles. If you are thinking about a roof replacement or similar job that gives you the option to switch the type of shingles on your home, it’s important to make a smart decision. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type.

3-Tab Shingles

3-Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles get their name from the three asphalt tabs on every shingle. They are designed in a single, flat layer, with the three tabs placed evenly apart on the lower edge. These tabs fit together like simple puzzle pieces when the shingles are installed. The result is a very uniform, flattened pattern of rectangular shingles.

  • Pros: 3-tab shingles have been around for a long, long time, and most roofers are very familiar with them. Their very simple design makes them easy to install and easy to repair. Because the shingle pattern is always the same, you know exactly what you are getting. These thin shingles are also some of the most affordable shingles on the market, so they are a good choice if you need to save money.
  • Cons: The 3-tab shingle option is falling out of favor in the residential roofing world. Also, these shingles are more easily damaged than other types of shingles, and may wear out faster. Their warranties tend to last 20 to 25 years.

Dimensional Shingles

Dimensional Shingles

Dimensional shingles are also known as architectural or laminate shingles. They are “dimensional” because the shingle tabs come in different shapes and sizes: When installed, this makes the shingles look more layered and interesting, a natural look with less of a clear pattern. These shingles are typically made with double layers that make them much thicker than 3-tab shingles.

  • Pros: Dimensional or laminate shingles are currently a very popular option for homes, and can even raise the value of your house if you are switching from 3-tab to dimensional. Not only do they look great on nearly any house, they are also one of the most durable types of shingles. This is why their warranties tend to last as long as 30-50 years.
  • Cons: While these shingles have a lot of advantages, they are also more expensive than 3-tab shingles, which can raise the cost of a roofing project. It’s also important to note that dimensional shingles weigh a lot more than 3-tab options, and a rooftop may not be able to support the weight without some structural changes.

Photo source: Flickr