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Roof maintenance tips for winter

by: Kirsten Land on January 22nd, 2019 about Roofing Advice

Winter weather is tough on any roofing system and can result in leaks, water damage, missing and broken shingles, or damage to flashing and underlayment. Here are a four ways you can protect your roof from harsh winter weather.

Clean your gutters

Clean your gutters to remove any leaves, twigs, and other debris. Your gutters are an important part of protecting your roof because they allow water and melting snow to drain properly. If they’re clogged and water can’t drain, you could end up with leaks, water damage, and even mold or mildew.

Trim nearby trees

Most Oklahomans are pretty familiar with ice storms, and you’ve probably seen what happens when trees are coated in half an inch of ice. If those tree limbs snap under the weight of ice or snow, it can cause serious damage to your roof.

It’s a good idea to trim back any branches that are hanging over your home. It reduces the chance of broken limbs falling on your roof during winter weather, and it also reduces the amount of leaves that can collect on your roof and in your gutters. Normally, you would want to do this in the fall. However, you can still trim low-hanging tree limbs in the winter.

Insulate and ventilate your attic

While your attic may seem like an empty area or perhaps extra storage space, it also serves an important role in allowing heat to escape from your home. But that only happens if the attic is properly insulated and ventilated. In the absence of proper insulation and ventilation, hot air rises and creates condensation, which can lead to further problems. The excess heat in the attic can also cause snow on the roof to melt. If it’s cold enough for that melting snow to refreeze, it can create ice dams and cause serious leaks.

Schedule an inspection

A roof inspection helps prepare your roof for winter and can identify small issues to be fixed before snow and ice arrives. It could mean the difference between a quick fix and pricier repairs in the future.

Call us to schedule your first roof maintenance plan visit and start protecting your home today.

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How to prevent algae on your roof

by: Kirsten Land on January 8th, 2019 about Roofing Advice

Many homeowners are unaware algae can grow on your roof, but it’s becoming more of an issue. You can see it driving down almost any street, no matter how nice or how new the homes are. Algae isn’t mold, mildew, moss, or tree sap. It’s actually tiny bacteria that produces a dark material to protect itself from the sun.

What makes algae hard to stop is that the bacteria travels on the wind. The more humid the area, the more you can have algae growing on your roof. While algae does very little damage to your roof, it can leave unsightly stains and discoloration. Not to mention it can really hurt the value of your home.

Here are a few ways to help prevent algae from growing on your roof. Before you attempt to clear the algae, it is a good idea to consult with a roofing professional to have your roof inspected and treated properly.

Buy algae-resistant shingles

Recently, many roofing manufacturers have noticed algae growing on roofs, especially in more humid areas. To combat this issue, manufacturers began mixing copper granules into roofing products to produce algae-resistant shingles. While these shingles aren’t always used, they are available and can be a good choice for roofs in areas with high humidity.

Clean with chemicals

While algae stains aren’t pretty, they can be removed using a variety of cleaning products that also help keep the algae from growing back for a while. However, it’s important to use caution when using chemicals on your roof, as you don’t want to void the manufacturer’s warranty on your shingles by using the wrong product.

If cleaning your roof with chemicals, be sure to use proper safety equipment, including safety goggles, rubber gloves, safety rope, slip-resistant shoes, and the right ladder.

Algae prevention

In order to keep algae from returning once your roof is clean, you can install a strip of copper or zinc coated sheet metal along each side of the roof just below the ridge. Copper and galvanized sheet metal are available in rolls of various widths and thickness and can be found at your local metal or hardware store or purchased online.

When it comes to algae or other stains on your roof, there are some do-it-yourself options, but we always recommend having a professional come out to inspect your roof to ensure you don’t cause unwanted damage in your attempts to clean it yourself. Contact us today to schedule a free roof inspection.

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A guide to roof insulation

by: Kirsten Land on December 18th, 2018 about Roofing Advice

With winter bearing down on us all, now may be a fine time to peek into the attic to check on your insulation.

A well-insulated roof evenly distributes warmth throughout a home, cuts down on heating costs, and prevents ice dams. Some experts have estimated that new insulation saves anywhere from 10% to 50% on heating bills. Plus, good insulation means cool air stays inside during the hot summer months.

Types of insulation

If you are not sure what you have, you can always talk to a professional, but here are some ways to identify your current insulation type.

1. Loose fill

Loose fill insulation is either spread out or blown into place. It is usually used for attics with irregular joist spacing (not 16 or 24 inches), obstructions, or to fill gaps and cover existing material. Common materials include fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool.

  • Fiberglass is the lightest material, but it requires a thicker layer to work properly. It’s typically yellow, white, or brown.
  • Cellulose is the most common, but it should not be allowed to absorb any moisture due to the risk of mold and mildew. Cellulose insulation tends to look gray or brown.
  • Mineral wool is naturally fire resistant, but it is more expensive. It looks gray or white and can mimic long, stringy wool.

2. Rolls

These are the thick, flexible strips of material referred to as “batts.” They work best when joist spacing is a standard width and there is plenty of headroom for the installation process. Common materials include fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool, and cotton.

  • Fiberglass is very commonly used. It may be a mild skin and lung irritant if touched, and it does not hamper airflow as well as other materials.
  • Cellulose is treated for insect and fire resistance. However, it is not produced by all manufacturers.
  • Mineral wool is naturally fire resistant, but it is more expensive.
  • Cotton blocks airflow and sound, but it is more expensive than other options.

R-Values

R-value refers to how much is required to meet a standard level of insulation. The recommended R-value target for Oklahoma ranges from R30 to R49. This means that if a material’s R-value is three, then ten inches of insulation would be required to meet the minimum value of R30.

The manufacturer should be able to give you more information about the R-value, and so can the professional you hire to install your new insulation. If you should decide to do the installation yourself, there is much more to consider. This Old House has a helpful guide if that is the case.

If you notice any potential roofing issues, give us a call at 405-359-3951 or send an email to info@landroofingokc.com for a free inspection or estimate.

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The basics of roof safety

by: Kirsten Land on October 16th, 2018 about Roofing Advice

The roof of your home or business wasn’t really designed with foot traffic in mind, which means climbing on it can be dangerous. If you do need to venture up on your roof for cleaning or maintenance, here are some basic safety tips to keep in mind.

Choose the right ladder

If you are going to use a ladder, use a sturdy ladder. Aluminum and fiberglass are popular options, but check the weight rating for any ladder you use. When the ladder is set up against the side of a house, it should extend at least three feet above the edge of the roof.

Do not climb on any rung above the edge of the roof, and keep both hands on the ladder as you make the transition onto the roof. Raise and lower tools after establishing yourself on the roof, not while climbing. These same actions in reverse will also help with making a safe descent.

Secure the ladder properly

A ladder is your link from roof to ground. It should be stable, which means all legs should be sitting flat on the ground to avoid rocking or slipping. A partner on the ground can help with stabilizing the ladder, as can tying off the ladder.

The angle of the ladder is an important part of set up and use. The general recommendation is that the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from the roof for every four feet of ladder height. For example, a sixteen foot tall ladder should sit four feet away from the edge of a roof.

Avoid steep roofs

Steep roofs should be left to the professionals or those who know how to safely set up a roof harness system. If you are uncomfortable with a more shallow roof, harnesses and roof brackets are available for your use. Always follow instructions on installation and be sure the brackets are nailed into an actual truss or rafter.

Watch for other areas of risk

There are lots of areas of risk on a roof, so be sure to keep an eye out for these dangers anytime you are on a roof. Avoid stepping on any debris or impediments like leaves, branches, or tools. Be aware of any skylights and avoid stepping on them. Also watch out for edges and level splits that can be a tripping hazard. It’s also important to check the weather before getting on the roof to avoid high winds, rain, or lightning. Finally, keep in mind that lifting and working on a roof can lead to strains or other injuries.

For most people, getting on the roof is a rare occurrence, and those who are not properly trained or prepared should avoid it. It is better to seek the help of a qualified and experienced roofer rather than putting oneself at risk.

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Any manufactured product has the possibility of having a defect. Think about the number of safety recalls on cars or the limited warranty that covers your kitchen appliances in case of a manufacturer’s defect. The products used in roofing are no different. Sometimes, defects happen.

The roofing materials we use are all covered with a manufacturer’s warranty. We’re even required to attend trainings and be certified in their installation process to ensure that we’re installing the roof correctly. But even with correct installation, sometimes problems show up later that are tied back to an issue with the product. That’s why there’s a warranty on the materials.

So what’s the process when a manufacturer’s defect occurs? Well, first we’ll tell you that it’s sometimes a bit of a long process. If you suspect something’s wrong with your roof, contact your roofing company and the manufacturer right away to report the issue. It’s important to note that the warranty is between the homeowner and the manufacturer. The roofing company is involved in the process, too, but some manufacturers want to hear directly from the homeowner at each step of the process.

Time is especially critical if you’re selling a home, as the replacement process may take longer than the closing process and could interfere with the sale. The normal time frame for a warranty roof replacement is between 30 and 45 days, but we’ve also seen it take longer than that.

The first step in the process is the manufacturer sends a representative to inspect the roof. They look at the shingles, check to ensure there’s proper ventilation on the roof, and verify that everything was installed correctly. They might also take a shingle to analyze more carefully to try and figure out exactly what went wrong with the material.

Once the manufacturer confirms that it was a defect in the material, they’ll authorize the replacement roof and will work with the roofing company to provide materials and pay them for labor. The manufacturer will send you some paperwork to sign, and then the shingles will be shipped to your home. Be sure to keep an eye out for that paperwork and return it promptly, because shingles won’t be shipped until the company receives the paperwork.

As soon as the shingles arrive, the process is pretty similar to any roofing project where we remove the old roof in small sections, replace the necessary layers of the roof, and then ensure the job site is cleaned thoroughly of any nails or roofing debris.

Another important thing to note about roof warranties is that they’re often transferable to a new owner but you usually only get one transfer. If you’re buying a house, be sure to ask about the roof warranty and what company installed the current roof. If you’ve had a new roof installed, be sure to complete any paperwork to register the warranty and ensure you’re covered.

Posted in Residential Roofing, Roofing Advice       Comments: None

Roofing is an industry that involves some risk of injury, whether that’s from falling off a ladder, getting injured when tearing off or putting on a roof, suffering a dog bite on a job, or some other injury. So what happens if a roofer (or any other contractor) gets hurt at your house?

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s not my fault.” But if the roofing company or other contractor doesn’t have the proper insurance in place, that worker could end up suing you to cover the cost of their healthcare and lost wages.

That’s why it’s important to make sure any company you hire to work on your home is properly insured. But what does that really mean? First, there are two types of insurance they should carry-workers’ compensation and general liability.

Worker's compensation

Workers’ compensation is what covers an employee who gets injured on the job. Accidents happen, even to people who focus heavily on safety. Workers’ compensation by the employer takes care of the medical bills in the event of an accident, which means a worker is far less likely to sue you as the homeowner to cover the cost of medical treatment.

General liability

The second type of insurance is general liability. It’s a broader coverage that protects you and your home. Let’s say an employee gets injured by falling from the roof and through the ceiling of your living room. Not only is the employee injured, but your home is damaged. While that repair may be pretty basic for the company to fix, more significant damage can happen, whether from an electrical contractor who starts a fire in your home or a rainstorm that pops up right as we tear off your roof.

If the contractor doesn’t have general liability insurance or enough cash to cover the cost of the repairs, you may end up filing a homeowner’s claim to cover that damage. If that were to happen, that contractor would probably go out of business, but you’re still stuck with the bill.

How do you check?

So how do you know if someone’s properly insured? In the state of Oklahoma, you can check their Construction Industries Board (CIB) number and ensure they’re in good standing. The CIB regularly verifies both workers’ compensation and general liability insurance for registered companies, so if they have a CIB number and are in good standing, their insurance should be sufficient.

The other option is to ask the company for proof of their insurance. If they refuse to show you paperwork to prove their insurance coverage, it’s probably time to find a new contractor. The industry standard for general liability coverage in roofing is a minimum of $1 million, although many roofers (including Land Enterprises Roofing) carry more than that.

Some trades are heavily regulated and must prove their level of insurance to a board of some kind, but other trades don’t have any regulation at all. We require the same level of insurance from all of our subcontractors to ensure both their employees and our customers are protected at all times.

Before a contractor does any work on your home, be sure to verify their level of insurance so you’re not facing a legal battle with an injured employee.

Posted in Residential Roofing, Roofing Advice       Comments: None

During the hot summer months, we see an increase in phone calls from people who say it’s unbearably hot in the second floor of their home and their air conditioner can’t keep up. When we go out and inspect their roof, the vast majority of the time we find inadequate roof ventilation.

Roof ventilation helps air circulate through your attic to control the temperature. Air comes in through the soffits under the eaves of the house, and it exits through some type of vent on top of the roof.

There are several types of vents, including power vents, powerless vents, and turbine-style vents. Powerless vents are the round or square domes you might see on a roof, while turbine-style vents are the kind that spin. Power vents can create a challenge sometimes because they require an electrician to install and there’s no way to monitor whether or not they’re working unless you inspect the roof.

Roof ventilation is a critical aspect of any roof installation, yet it’s often overlooked by inexperienced roofing companies or people who are cutting corners on time or expense.

Here are three reasons roof ventilation matters.

Energy efficiency and temperature control

Trapped hot air in your attic is never a good thing. It can quickly increase the temperature in your home and cause your air conditioner to run nonstop and still struggle to keep up. Not only will it increase your electric bill, but it also can mean extra repairs and a shorter lifespan for your overworked air conditioner.

Damage to wood, metal, or other materials in your attic or roof

Trapped hot air also means trapped moisture, which can lead to warping of your wood frame or roof decking, rusting of nails in the shingles or frame, and rusting of metal components of ductwork or other materials in the attic. Moisture can also lead to mold or mildew in your attic that can then seep into your walls and cause allergies or illness.

Buckled shingles and premature aging of the roof

When hot air gets trapped in your roof, it can create unnecessary heat beneath your shingles and cause them to buckle or cause your overall roof to wear faster. In some cases, it may also void the warranty on your roof. Quality roofing materials come with a manufacturer’s warranty, and if an issue arises with the roof, the manufacturer will send a representative to inspect the roof. If they find inadequate ventilation, they may refuse to cover the issue because of the possibility it was caused by inadequate ventilation rather than a manufacturing defect.

While inadequate roof ventilation often causes significant heat in the second story of a home, it can impact single-story homes as well. If your air conditioner is struggling to keep up in the summer and a service company can’t identify a problem with the unit, it’s probably time to have your roof inspected for proper ventilation.

Posted in Residential Roofing, Roofing Advice       Comments: None

Oklahoma is known for its wild and unpredictable weather. From the wind sweeping down the plains to pouring rain to blazing hot sun to snow and ice, Oklahoma weather can be rough.

We often take for granted the buildings that protect us from the elements. Consider for a minute that your home may be your biggest financial investment and housing your greatest asset. Now consider that your roof is the best protector your home can have. Wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to keep your roof in great shape?

Many new homeowners are under the impression that because they have a brand new roof, they don’t need a maintenance plan. That’s a scary thought! Think about when you buy a new car-you still need to change the oil. If you neglect oil changes, you’ll be stuck on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive. If you want to keep your roof looking new and prevent leaks, you have to maintain it as well.

Can’t I just inspect it myself periodically?

There’s come a point in time where most homeowners realize it’s been a while since they’ve really looked at their roof. While it can be tempting to grab a ladder and check it out, we recommend leaving roof inspections to the professionals. First, they know exactly what they’re looking for in terms of damage or other concerns. Second, they know how to safely navigate the roof.

How do I protect my investment?

Taking care of the small issues before they become large (and expensive) is the best way to protect your investment. A lot can happen to your roof if no one is paying attention. A small issue like a slow leak in the attic can become an emergency when it becomes a major leak and damages priceless belongings.

If a small leak goes undetected for a period of time, it can easily turn to mold and cause your family to become ill. To protect your roof and everything underneath it, every repair is important, no matter how small. If getting to a small issue before it becomes a bigger issue is good, imagine getting to a teeny tiny issue before it becomes even a small issue. That’s even better.

While it’s true that many roofing companies only replace roofs, there are many companies, including Land Roofing, that happily complete repairs of all sizes.

What is a maintenance plan?

Having a maintenance program is a bit like having roof radar. Experienced professionals will be your eyes in the sky looking for any existing or potential issues to protect the overall life of your roof.

A good roof maintenance program should offer twice yearly inspections for damage from environmental factors, like high winds or trees rubbing against your roof. The maintenance program also helps identify and fix any gaps or entry points where animals could burrow into your attic and cause a significant amount of damage.

Our roof maintenance program also qualifies you for discounts on any necessary repairs. We know that small problems can turn into large problems if they aren’t addressed quickly. If you’d like to request a small roof repair or have questions about our maintenance program, give us a call.

Let’s face it-you have a lot of expectations out of life. But you have even more expectations from your roof.

You may not have thought much about it before, but a roof’s job is hard. It’s about so much more than a pretty shingle color to make your house look nice. Yes, we want our homes to look great, but your roof’s job exceeds that. It keeps you dry and warm all while protecting your largest investment-the people under it.

Since most homeowners are not professional roofers, they may not really know what’s over their heads. Hint: it’s much more than just shingles! A roof and a roofing system are significantly different, as we discussed in last month's blog. A roofing system has many layers, each designed with a specific purpose to aid in a long-lasting roof.

Why the process matters

Each roofing manufacturer creates a roofing system, which includes materials specifically designed to work together. The manufacturer has high expectations for their product. To ensure their product is efficient and lasts, the system must be installed properly.

The manufacturer offers trainings and literature to contractors who will be installing their roofing system. After a contractor has completed the certification, the manufacturer offers a warranty on the roofs that the contractor installs. This process ensures that you as a homeowner are receiving the best materials possible, constructed in the most efficient manner possible, with a lifetime warranty just in case it’s needed.

That is what I call protecting your assets!

Make sure you’re protected

When your home needs a new roof, how do you decide who will install the roof? Do you call a couple of friends and head to Lowe’s or Home Depot? That sounds dangerous. Do you call an on-the-side roofing crew a friend recommended? Hopefully not. Although your friends are great, they are not certified.

Choosing a roofing company that offers certified contractors ensures that they know how to apply each individual layer of the roofing system properly. Each layer-and each system-has different application methods, and if it’s not done right, it could void the warranty. Even worse, an improperly installed roof could put you at risk. Make sure you protect your greatest investment by choosing a certified contractor to install your roof.

Posted in Residential Roofing, Roofing Advice       Comments: None

Protecting your roof from winter and severe weather

by: Kirsten Land on December 19th, 2017 about Roofing Advice

In 2010, we had an extremely severe winter, and we noticed something when spring arrived. Several homeowners who hadn’t had problems in previous winters called to report leaks and damage to their roofs. What had happened? In prolonged, severe winter weather, snow accumulation can lead to ice dams and create some serious problems for your roof. But they aren’t the only type of severe weather that can compromise shingles.

Ice dams

In the winter as snow accumulates on a roof, the lower layers of the snow pack will usually slowly melt during the day. A constant runoff of meltwater comes off the roof and drains into the gutters. At night when temperatures drop, that meltwater will freeze again.

Eventually, this small-scale glacier will fill the gutter and act as a dam to the draining meltwater. With nowhere to drain, the water backs up and seeps beneath shingles, where it can breach the roof and cause leaks and damage. While gutters may make it easier for an ice dam to start, large ice dams can occur on roofs with no gutters. Winter snows, however, aren’t the only hazards your roof faces.

Sideways rain

Another way nature can compromise shingles is when horizontal wind gusts blow rain sideways. The wind can lift the front edge of the shingle and spray the rain beneath it. Like meltwater from ice dams, this can lead to damage on the exterior and interior of your house.

Shielding your roof

After a harsh winter in 2010, we researched how we could better protect roofs from extreme weather conditions. We began experimenting with a product called Grace Ice & Water Shield®. It’s a self-adhering membrane that we install between the roof and the shingle that shields the roof with two waterproofing materials: rubberized asphalt and high-density, cross-laminated polyethylene film.

Since that time, we’ve been installing Grace Ice & Water Shield® as a value-add to the roofs we replaced. A few winters later, conditions were severe enough for large ice dams to form again. This time, the following spring, we didn’t receive many calls from our clients about leaks. The shield had lived up to its name by adding an extra layer of protection of the homeowners.

This winter, before the heavy snows hit, call your trusted roofer to come and assess your roof and discuss whether an ice and water shield is a good option for your home.

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