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What to Do About Roof Leaks from Storm Damage

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, thankfully a tropical storm by the time it hit metro Atlanta, countless area homeowners suffered damage to their roofs, though many of them may not know it yet. Here’s how to make sure that any leaks in your home don’t turn into much larger and more expensive problems and what steps to take to protect yourself from future storms.

Do a Visual Check

As soon as possible, access your attic and check the ceilings and drywall throughout your home (including closets) for any signs of water leaks–streaks, wet spots, drips or puddling. If your shingles are damaged or not installed properly, they are compromising your home by letting water below your roof deck and into your attic. As the water sits and seeps into the ceiling, it causes the brown ceiling stain you may recognize as the outline of a small puddle. Also be sure to check around your fireplace for any signs of water.

Outside your home, walk the perimeter to check for any sign of roof damage, including shingles that may have blown off or that look loose, as well as any displaced flashing around your chimney or damage to the chimney itself.

Contact the Professionals

If your investigation shows any sign that your roof has been compromised by Irma’s strong winds and heavy rain, please call a professional immediately for a thorough examination of your roof. We offer a free roof analysis to assess the extent of the damage and recommend repairs, and can help you communicate with your insurance company.

Beware of Storm Chasers

In addition to fallen limbs and power outages, storms can also bring predatory businesses to your home. Storm chasers are roofers–often unlicensed, unbonded and uninsured–who are looking for a quick buck from anxious and vulnerable homeowners. As a rule, it’s a bad idea to work with a business that shows up at your door, uninvited. Instead, it’s best to use only known, reputable roofing companies to work on your home.

Protect Your Shingles for the Future

Cutting down trees and trimming branches near your roof will help eliminate the proximity of shingle-damaging material near your home. But it can also limit shady spots on your roof that can encourage the growth of algae and moss, which can compromise the integrity of your shingles.

Keep Gutters Clear

If you can’t remember the last time you removed debris from your gutters and downspouts, it’s time to schedule a cleanup. Neglecting gutters can cause water to back up, soaking into eaves and other part of your roof and home. This inability to drain properly can eventually lead to a roof leak and can perpetuate water damage. If gutter screens and covers aren’t enough to keep debris out, routine gutter cleaning and repair can keep your home protected from water damage.

Being able to recognize any of these early signs empowers you to stop water damage from becoming a big problem. Contact Findlay Roofing for a free roof analysis today.

Ignoring Your Gutters: What Could Go Wrong

Monday, March 21st, 2016

When you don’t take care of your gutters, they tend to fill up with dirt and leaves. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how quickly a gutter can get clogged with layers of mud that pour in from your roof! Over time, negligence can pose some serious problems for your roof and gutters. Here are several of the biggest dangers you face when you don’t properly maintain your property:

Leaks at the Edge of Your Roof

Gutter components are not designed to overflow. If you get a lot of rain in your area, your gutter system may not be able to cope if no one has been taking care of it. You’re likely to experience spillage and leaks around the edge of your roof. This can damage your roof and even cause your gutter brackets to rust (depending on the material used). Over time gutter sections can warp, tilt, sag and show other signs of wear and tear because of these perennial problems.

Gutter guards can help with this, but not all guards are suitable to every climate. Consult a professional before picking out any gutter accessories.

Ice Dams

Do you have ice or snow built up on your roof? Ice, snow and worn, debris-filled gutters are a dangerous combination. Part of the gutter’s job in winter is to provide a place for melting ice and snow to drip away from the roof. If your gutter is filled with leaves and dirt, the water cannot escape as easily. When temperatures drop again, the water refreezes. This forms icy patches around your gutters. In addition, this can actually drive moisture back up under your shingles through repeated refreezing, and do serious damage to the edges of your roof. Having a clean gutter system is important when it comes to protecting your rooftop during winter.

Siding Damage

What happens when gutter systems overflow? That water has to go somewhere, and it probably won’t be heading to your downspout. If your gutters are crammed with debris and mud, they will fill up faster than intended and that water will start spilling down the sides – straight onto your eaves and siding. In bad rainstorms, your siding gets drenched in water for hours. This can lead to siding damage, discoloration, mildew, and to moisture seeping behind your siding and doing even more internal damage.

Sometimes the result is even worse and gutter water pours onto your foundation, leading to cracks and structural damage over time.

Failed Gutter Problems

Ultimately, worn and poorly maintained gutter sections will fail. Gutters are designed to withstand the weight of water for brief periods – not the weight of ice and debris for long periods of time. Poorly maintained gutter components put too much strain on their brackets and eventually collapse, potentially damaging other parts of your house on the way.

Photo Source: Flickr

Exterior Home Maintenance for Winter: Gutters, Roofs and Siding

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

If you are worried about the effects of a particularly harsh winter, a little exterior home maintenance can go a long way. Let’s talk about your roof, your gutters, and your siding:

Roofs

A healthy roof is ready for winter. One of the best ways to prepare your roof against the worst is to check for any serious problems. Complete a close examination of your shingles and other materials. Old, cracked, or missing shingles should be replaced before winter storms cause even worse problems.

You should also take a look at your flashing (the metal strips at the edges of your material). These can rust and warp, allowing winter ice to melt and leak in at the worst times. Pay special attention to flashing around chimneys, vents, and other parts of the roof where gaps and cracks can develop over time. Get these fixed before winter hits!

Finally, check your roof and the surrounding area for any plant life and debris dangers. Nearby branches should be cut down so they don’t cover your roof with junk or get torn off in a storm. If you have any moss or lichen problems, you should get them cleared up now so they don’t soak up moisture from winter rains and cause problems with decay.

Gutters

There are two very important types of exterior home maintenance you can complete to get your gutters ready for the winter season. First, clean your gutters out! Winter tends to be very rough on gutters. Any debris and leaves left inside gutters can cause problems later. If gutters aren’t cleaned properly, rain and snow could back up onto the roof. Then, moisture could leak backwards in ice dams and infiltrate your roof. Blockages stop proper draining as well. The best solution is to climb up and clear away all piles of needles, leaves and everything else – before the storms start.

Second, check how well your gutters are fastened to your roof, looking for any loose gutters or brackets. The weight of snow and icicles can bend, break or collapse your gutters— especially if they have weak attachments. Tighten brackets where necessary, or replace them entirely to give your gutters the strength they need.

Siding

Exterior home maintenance on siding is a little easier than maintaining your roof and gutters. To help improve your siding’s life span and resistance to cold weather damage, take a walk and look for any signs damage before the worst of winter arrives.

Check for any areas where cracks or gaps have appeared. These should be filled in with caulk if possible. Pay special attention to areas where siding meets your shingles, your foundation, or other parts of your home. If you notice that your siding looks funny – say, that it has developed blisters or has started to warp – call a professional and ask for an inspection to uncover any problems.

Photo Source: Flickr

4 Signs You Have a Gutter Problem on Your Hands

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Atlanta homeowners notice problems with gutters every time rain hit their roofs. The problem may also turn up as water accumulates in and around the home. It is important to act quickly when a gutter problem of this nature arises. Here are four signs that you have a serious issue with your drainage system:

1. Puddles near rain spouts.

Water pooling close to the home is a sign a drainage system is failing. Any time you see puddles outside, the water seeps into the ground. When this happens, it’s possible for water to reach a home’s foundation. This type of damage could compromise a house’s structural integrity and lead to expensive repairs. If action is taken quickly, the fix may only involve extending drains away from the home.

2. Water stains in the basement.

If there are not any puddles outside yet, but there are water stains in the basement, a gutter problem could be the cause. Though there may not be enough water to collect yet, there could be weaknesses in the drainage system. These weaknesses are what allow the water to get inside. Mold or cracking in paint and wall materials are signs that moisture is getting in the building. Bad rain spouts are often the cause.

3. Leaks in the upper floors.

Most Alpharetta homeowners would guess a roof leak is the cause of water inside the upper floors of their homes. That would be a good guess. Another cause could be leaking gutters that are spraying water into walls and windows. Holes, clogs and detached sections of the drainage system could lead to water running off and into the home.

4. Damage to the exterior.

Water leaving a home’s gutters instead of draining properly will create damage to the exterior. Paint peeling and chipping, weathered siding, or other obvious water damages indicate a drain issue. Check areas that are away from gutters to see if the damage is consistent. Otherwise, look to the roof to pinpoint the problem.

Gutter trouble can lead to serious damage in everything from a home’s exterior to its foundation. When the warning signs emerge, contact Findlay Roofing. They’ll do free analysis of your roof system today.

Image Source: Flickr

Gutters: What’s More Important? Function or Form?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Your Cobb home’s roof has a secret: It needs high-quality gutters to ensure proper drainage and to keep the roof in good condition. Gutters enhance the look of your home, but they need to perform, too. In the end, function and form are equally important. When it comes time to buy a new gutter system for your home consider these factors.

  • Aesthetics. Aluminum and vinyl siding come in a variety of colors to match your home’s existing siding or roofing. Other guttering materials, like copper, also provide a unique look.
  • Sizing. One of the most important indicators of performance is the sizing of the system. If the guttering isn’t large enough to handle the rainfall in your region or the number of leaves that are likely to fall in your yard, the gutter won’t keep up with the drainage. Work with a trusted professional to ensure proper sizing.
  • Installation. In addition to sizing, effective installation will dictate optimal performance. Gutters need to be securely fastened to the home to avoid weaknesses where drainage will overtake the home. The configuration of the guttering system is also critical. Your installer should determine the best route for the water to take, ending in an area that’s far away from the home’s foundation.
  • Clog-free system. The final factor to consider involves gutter protection. Some systems employ a cover (like a screen) over the gutter that facilitates drainage but helps avoid clogging due to leaves, sticks and other debris. With this kind of system, homeowners don’t have to worry about clogged guttering or cleaning out the gutter.

Guttering is one of the most critical systems for your home. It maintains the roof quality, prevents water from entering the basement and it minimizes weatherization of doors, windows and siding, too. If you have questions about gutters, contact Findlay Roofing today!

Image Source: Flickr

What Size of Gutters are Right For Your Home?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Did you know that gutters have different sizes? To make sure that you choose the right sized gutter for your home, you need to look at your roof, your location and more. Here are the basics about gutter sizing:

Gutter sizes

The two most popular gutter styles are K-style and half-rounds. Both of these are available in five-inch and six-inch sizes. Both the five and six-inch gutter options are enough to deal with rain showers across most of the country, but that extra inch can make a big difference, accounting for nearly an entire extra gallon of water per foot of gutter.

There are larger gutters than five and six-inch versions: However, these seven and eight-inch gutter sizes are reserved for very particular circumstances and areas that get particularly heavy rainfall.

Drainage area

One of the most important factors when sizing gutters is the drainage area – essentially, how many square feet of roof you have. Your entire roof surface will be collecting water that will eventually drain down to the gutters. This surface must be calculated for in determining the appropriate size of gutters needed. If you already know how many square feet your roof is, you are well ahead on this point, but if not then you may need to conduct some measurements, or call in a professional who can quickly make the measurements for you. Remember that all surfaces must be calculated, including the inward-facing panels of intersecting roof areas.

Pitch

Pitch is another very important factor when picking the right gutter size. While drainage area affects how much rain falls on the roof, pitch controls how fast that water spills into the gutter sections. If the water moves more slowly on a low-pitched roof, then smaller gutter may be able to easily channel it without overflowing. But if the roof has a high pitch, that water may spill down too quickly for the gutters, in which case a larger gutter will be needed.

Location

A roofing professional will also note where you live before recommending a rain gutter. The rainfall in your location is also important – however, the most important factor here is not average rainfall, but rather the median rainfall intensity in the area. Smaller gutters can easily deal with a large amount of rain if it is spread over a long period of time. However, if rainfall in your area is focused in intense bursts, larger gutters may be needed.

This factor is measured in inches per hour, as well as how often high-intensity rainfall occurs. In Atlanta, for example, the greatest intensity rainfall is likely to reach in any given decade is 7.3 inches per hour. Gutter technicians will examine the records for your specific area as a general way to help recommend the best gutters.

For help with the process of choosing just the right gutter size for your home, contact us today!

Image Source: Flickr

Rain Gutter Materials: Copper vs. Aluminum

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Both copper and aluminum can be used as rain gutter materials. While the installation process for copper and aluminum is similar, but the two materials have several important differences. Read on to discover what features to expect with these gutters and which would work best with your house.

Copper gutters

Copper gutters give a house an elegant appearance and are an excellent accompaniment for more classic, ornate house styles. Copper also resists water easily and is resistant to all types of weather. It is frequently used in restoration work. The traditional copper color is the primary reason people choose these rain gutter materials, so it is not usually available in any other colors.

The beauty and resistance of copper comes with a price. You will have to pay more for copper than aluminum, around $15 per foot, making this one of the most expensive gutter materials around. Because copper gutters are heavier and thicker, installation or repairs may also take a bit longer and cost more than they would with aluminum.

Both aluminum and copper gutters will last decades, but as the sturdier option you can expect your copper gutters to last a bit long than the aluminum version. You can also expect some oxidation as time goes on, but this will affect copper and aluminum very differently.

Neither metal will rust the same way steel does, but the effects are easy to notice. While it starts out with a bright shine, copper will quickly gain a darker patina. There’s nothing you can do about this, but it happens to all copper fixtures and lends them an authentic appearance, so it is not all bad news.

Aluminum gutters

Aluminum gutters are lightweight, common, and very adaptable. No matter what your roofline looks like, you can probably find aluminum rain gutter materials to fit your house. A wide variety of styles are also available for aluminum gutters, from square to rounded edges and everything in between. Because they are so popular in the United States, aluminum gutters are also available in wide variety of colors for matching your siding, trim or roof.

Because of their simple construction and lightweight design, aluminum gutters are also markedly less expensive than copper gutters, between $4 and $8 per foot (costs will rise for more complicated gutter work).

When aluminum gutters age, their coatings tend to wear away and you may notice some whitish discoloration. Like copper, aluminum does not rust like steel, but older gutters may oxidize into white or gray scale. Aluminum gutters are relatively easy to fix or replace if necessary.

Photo Source: Flickr

Gutter Replacement: What You Need to Know

Friday, October 10th, 2014

As a general rule of thumb, your gutters should last as long as your roof. However, not all gutters are kind enough to follow this rule which means that you may need gutter replacement services as they age. Let’s take a closer look at gutter specifics, and what you should know about repairs.

How long do gutters last?

Gutters have different life spans, based largely on their materials. Aluminum gutters, one of the most common options, can last for 30 to 40 years or longer thanks to their resistance to rust and their lightweight, durable design. Aluminum is also easy to paint and comes in many styles.

Galvanized or stainless steel gutters have a similar appearance and lifespan, but they will not last as long as aluminum gutters since their protective coatings will eventually wear out and rust will gain the upper hand. Expect steel gutters to last around 20 to 25 years.

Gutters made of copper are known for their classic appearance. This particular house enhancement will develop a patina but will not rust like steel, and will last as long as aluminum gutters. Due to copper’s innate strength, these gutters can last up to 50 years.

You can also choose vinyl for gutter replacement. Vinyl products are lightweight and easy to set up, but do not have the same longevity as aluminum or copper. These gutters will last around 25 years

How do I know when I need a gutter replacement?

There are several factors to consider when examining the gutters on your house for signs of wear and tear. When gutters start to deteriorate, they become loose (they may rattle in the wind, for example) and start showing cracks. You might even notice gaps in your gutter sections just by looking at them.

You may also be able to spot additional signs of leaking gutters, such as stains on your siding where your gutters are failing and letting rain leak down onto your house. These gutters need to be replaced ASAP before they cause siding damage.

What gutter materials are best for my home?

Take a look at both your roof and your region when choosing new gutters that will not only look good but also last a while. Traditional shingles or tiles will match a number of different gutter materials, but if you have a less traditional roof that is made up of clay tiles, concrete or metal, consider using copper or another type of gutter. Also take a look at your siding and trim. If you want your gutters in a similar color, aluminum or vinyl gutters tend to have the most shades available.

Weather is critical to the longevity of your gutters. Very hot or cold climates are not good on vinyl gutters. Choose aluminum or, if you get a lot of snow and wind, copper or steel. Because of steel’s propensity toward eventual rust, try to avoid this material if you live in a rainy or humid area. Ask your local gutter professional for other recommendations based on your particular weather and roofing material preference.

Photo Source: Flickr

Gutter cleaning: How to — and how often

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Let’s be honest: No one looks forward to gutter cleaning. But it’s a necessary job, and one that homeowners shouldn’t take lightly. Ignoring the gutters can lead to a host of costly problems. Instead of waiting for the worst, put gutter cleaning on your seasonal maintenance checklist now.

Clean gutters ensure that water will drain properly through the gutters and the downspout — instead of pouring out its sides and getting on the home’s siding and landscaping. Improper drainage leads to home damage like rotting, mold growth, rusting and ice dams. Most often, leaves and debris clog gutters, but animals also nest in them and leave droppings behind that block drainage.

Frequency

It makes sense, then, that keeping your gutters clean will prolong your home’s life span. But how often should you clean the gutters? The easy answer — whenever they’re dirty. The practical answer — two times a year, in the fall and spring. Clean gutters in early spring ensures that winter debris doesn’t linger, creating blockages when spring rains arrive. Cleaning the gutters in early fall makes the job easier, since the leaves will generally be dry, not wet.

Getting down to brass tacks

Gutter cleaning will take awhile, so carve out some time when you can get out the necessary supplies and clean the gutters on all sides of the home.

You’ll need

  • A ladder
  • Gloves
  • A small shovel
  • A hose
  • A leaf blower
  • A few garbage bags

Start on the end of one side of the home, and work your way around. Lean the ladder against the home — not against the gutter, which can break. Climb the ladder and scoop out the debris that you can reach, using either your hands or a small shovel. As you remove the debris, dispose of it in the garbage bag, which you can tie around your belt.

Disposal as you go helps speed up the cleaning process after the gutters are clean, and you won’t have to work your way around the home picking up debris. Just be careful that the bag doesn’t become too full. Every time or two that you move the ladder, empty the debris into a larger bag that stays on the ground. If you encounter hard-to-remove debris, spray it with the garden hose. If the debris remains, go back with the shovel or your hand to remove it.

Alternatively, you can use a leaf blower instead of scooping by hand. However, this approach increases the hazards of the job. High on a ladder, it can be challenging to maintain your grip on the blower — and the ladder.

For more home maintenance tips from the friendly roofing professionals serving greater Atlanta, contact Findlay Roofing today! We’re happy to offer advice about gutter cleaning and installation, and roof replacements and repairs.

Image source: Flickr

Does the Roof of My Atlanta Home Really Need Gutters?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

gutters-necessaryIf you live in an area where it rarely rains, then gutters are not something you should be concerned about. However, if you live in Atlanta, Georgia, North Carolina, or South Carolina, where thunderstorms and heavy rain showers are common, then gutters are essential for protecting your home from water damage.

What Can Gutters Do That My Roof Can’t Do?

The short answer is, gutters and downspouts can divert rain water away from your home and direct it to your home’s drainage system. The next question to ask is, “Why is this important?”

Imagine pouring a bucket of water down your roof. Assuming you have a high-quality roof installation, you will see the water run down the shingles and shed off the roof. But where does the water go from there?

Much of it will drop to the ground. This seems harmless enough, but when that bucket of water becomes a heavy Atlanta rain shower, you have water pooling all around the foundation of your home. This water soaks the foundation of your home, and some of it will find its way into your basement, crawl space and concrete floor, and that is where the trouble begins.

Gutters Help Prevent Flooded or Wet Basements

Once water finds its way into your home’s structure, it can spread throughout your home. In the case of a basement, gravity is the enemy. The water seeps into the basement walls and runs down into the basement flooring. The end result may be a flooded basement and a big clean up effort.

You may also have a constantly wet basement. In this case, water isn’t visibly pooling, but it has saturated your basement’s walls and floor. You may have to replace damaged drywall or flooring, or even worse, deal with hazardous mold or fungi removal.

Gutters Help Prevent Water Damage Inside Your Home

Water doesn’t only find its way down to your basement. A wet foundation can also result in a wet home and attic. In this case, air is the vehicle for damage, rather than gravity.

Imagine a home that is being heated during the fall or winter. If water has saturated the home’s foundation andåÊ concrete floor, it can be absorbed as water vapor into the home’s heated air. Eventually, the heated air works its way into cold spaces. Once the warm, humid air contacts something cold like your attic rafters and plywood, or the inside of exterior walls, drops of water condense on these cold structures.

Although you will not have a flood situation, you will have an increased chance of water damage to your home’s wood structures and drywall, as well as another opportunity for mold or fungi to grow inside your home.

The good news is, all of these problems can be avoided by installing an effective gutter system with downspouts that route the water away from your home and towards its drainage system.

Gutters Are Green

In addition to preventing water damage and mold growth inside your home, gutters can help you be more environmentally friendly. Not only do they protect your shrubs, plants and flowers from standing water (which encourages harmful fungus growth and pests), they also can be used to feed rain barrels.

The water you collect in your rain barrel can then be used to water your plants and lawn, saving you money while conserving a precious resource.

Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina Gutter Installation

Now that you know the benefits of rain gutters, we hope that you will consider Findlay Roofing for your gutter installation needs. If you have any questions about our gutter systems and products, or would like a free estimate for installing new gutters for your Atlanta home, we invite you to contact us today.