Monday, July 16th, 2018 by Victoria Cosma
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 ice dam at the moment, but it creates permanent 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 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!
When your chimney 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 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 counter-flashing on the chimney. The 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.
A valley is the 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, due to the valley being the joint between the two slopes. If the valley gets clogged, 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 sunlight to reach the roof and help keep shingles dry. A dry roof is going to have less moss and lichen, adding to the longevity of your roof.
We recommend that you keep your soffit vents clear of insulation so that you get the maximum airflow to your attic. Having a strong airflow will keep your house cooler in the summer and reduce the likelihood of ice dams in the 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.
Another way that shingles can lose their granules is from the power-washing the roof in order to kill any algae or moss. This 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 on the 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 IKO, you will get the same effect. The copper in the shingles will get washed down the 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.
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