Common Questions regarding winter roof replacements
How to choose the right contractor for your roofing project can be challenging but can also be a simple task with the right check list. Below is a list of items to confirm before signing a contract.
1. Licensed, Bonded & Insured. This item seems like a no brainer, however in Anchorage alone, over half the roofing contractors do not have current specialty or general contractors licensing or a municipal license and many are not properly insured. You can check these sites to confirm licensing http://bsd.muni.org/contractorlicensing/ and https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/ A certificate of insurance, workers compensation and contractors bond should be an easy item for any contractor to email to you.
2. Communication. When you call for your roofing estimate did you speak to a human? Are your messages or emails returned within 24 hours? Did you receive your roofing quote within a good time frame and did it make sense? Are you able to meet with the estimator or office staff to go over your project? Good communication speaks volumes as to how the actual job will be completed.
3. Reputation. Choosing a local contractor with a long standing, good reputation is a must. You can do research on http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov to see how many law suits a company has had. You can check with BBB to confirm good standing. https://www.bbb.org A contractor with deep roots in your local community wants to maintain a steady flow of good referrals. Customer satisfaction is a top priority for this contractor. Holland Roofing begin 21 years ago, in 1996.
4. Fair price. If your contractor has their ducks in a row, good communication and a good reputation, the price is going to be fair. They know the market, the competition and value customer service and referrals. The beauty of price shopping is that most roofing contractors offer free quotes so lining up a price comparison is not difficult. However, comparing the quality of service and workmanship you will receive is the real task.
5. Certified Installers. Contractors that have the manufacturers seal of approval are rare. They care about training their employees and understanding the warranties on the products they offer. Holland Roofing is certified with the following manufacturers: Malarkey Roofing, Certainteed, Owens Corning, Johns Mansville and Duro-Last.
Ask yourself these 9 questions.
- Do I have a chimney that suffers from ice build up?
(A common source of heat loss)
- Do I have a skylight?
(A common source of heat loss and glaciation)
- Do I have a cathedral ceiling or hot roof design?
(A non-vented roof system is prone to excessive heat loss)
- Do I have ice buildup on the roof or large icicles on the eaves?
(Glaciation is evidence of heat loss from a lack of insulation, ventilation or a source of heat loss that needs to be addressed)
- Is my building poorly constructed or unable hold the weight of the snow load or snow drifts?
- Has there been a substantial amount of snow fall that has built up and condensed?
- Has the snow accumulated to the point where all the vents and penetrations are covered and unable to vent properly?
- Is the snow creating a large creeping overhang that could fall and cause damage or injury if it came down unexpectedly?
- Have you recently had trouble opening or closing doors or windows?
(The weight of the snow may be affecting the structure of the house)
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then roof top snow removal is recommended.
Remember, most of the time roofing companies that have the training and equipment for roof top snow removal do not provide snow removal from the ground. An owner may need to hire a separate company to remove the snow from the grounds surrounding the building.
Roof top snow removal is dangerous. Without the proper equipment or training, it can be extremely unsafe for a homeowner. If the workers hired to remove the snow are injured and are not covered under workers compensation, the homeowner may be liable for the medical expenses and damages. It is very important that homeowners do their homework to limit their liability and ensure their satisfaction with the work.
Roof top snow removal should be completed by a licensed, bonded and insured roofing contractor. If the snow or ice or the removal causes any damage to the roof, it is important to have professional roof installers doing the work so that the damage can be repaired. Also, the professionals can determine, at that time, if additional roof venting could be installed to alleviate some of the ice build up.
Its’s that time of year! The time to get lights displayed, both elegantly & safely. So before you go all Clark Griswold on your house, Holland Roofing would like to share a few tips to prevent damage to your roof:
1.) Call that Friend Who Owes You a Favor
Maybe they owe you for babysitting, maybe you gave them a ride? It’s good to have another person around to help carry things, help mount clips, hold the ladder, or worst case scenario: call for help in case of an emergency or injury. A second person is always good.
2.) Oh the Shock!
You will want to make sure all of your lights & extension cords work properly before you start hanging them. They need to be plugged into the right outlets & be sure you’re not overloading the breaker. Also, if you are displaying inflatable items please remember to keep Yoda & Rudolph away from power lines.
3.) Shingles Have Feelings Too
Do NOT nail the lights into your shingles! Small holes in your shingles can cause damage by letting moisture in & rotting your roof. Trees tend to be the best candidate for lights. But if you’re wanting lights on your house or your yard is treeless, invest in clips that can be hung on gutters & eaves.
4.) Don’t be that “One House”
You know the house, their Christmas lights are still up in the middle of June. Just like hanging lights properly, removing them the right way makes a difference. It is recommended that you don’t pull the lights down by the cord, this can end up damaging your gutters & shingles. No one wants damaged gutters or shingles or Christmas lights up in the middle of June.
We all can’t be as talented as Snoopy when it comes to Christmas lights. So if you’re feeling a little intimidated by that ladder or if you’re not great at decorating, call someone who can make your house look fabulous.
There are basically 3 types of roof “leaks” which are detailed below. The solution to your roof moisture issues depends on what type of “leak” it is. If you notice excessive moisture during extreme temperature changes, and not when it rains, then the moisture probably isn’t a roof leak. The following information should help determine what issues you might be experiencing and what you can do to alleviate condensation.
· The first type is where water is leaking through the roof system while it is raining. This could include leaks due to damaged or deteriorated shingles, improper installation of the shingles, or poor/failed flashing details at penetrations and walls. It may even be due to damaged window sills, improper siding installations or severe wind driven rain. These are external leaks which can usually be inspected and repaired by a roofer.
· The second type of “leak” is caused by ice dams. This is not workmanship related. The best way to prevent or reduce ice dams is to eliminate or reduce the amount of warm air that is escaping into the attic and melting snow on the roof to the point where it creates glacier like ice build up. Another temporary solution is to remove the snow from the roof before it can turn into ice and penetrate the roof system.
· The third type of “leak” is caused by condensation or frost buildup in the attic. This is not workmanship related or an actual roof leak. To prevent frost & condensation from developing in your attic you must eliminate or reduce the amount of air leakage into the attic as well as improve insulation & ventilation to allow moist air to escape the roof.
What is Condensation?
Condensation comes from the moisture in the air and is caused by too much moisture in the air for a certain temperature. Condensation forms when warm, moist air touches a surface that is colder than the dew point of the warm air. As that air becomes colder and its temperature drops below its dew point, it must release excess moisture to reach its new, lower dew point. It releases moisture in the form of water, which appears on the colder surface.
There are many things in our homes that put moisture into the air. Normal breathing and perspiration adds 3 pints of water to the air every day for each person in your home. In fact, every activity that uses water adds more moisture to the air including cooking, taking showers, dish washing, and doing laundry. Condensation is more apt to occur in climates where the average temperature is 35º F or colder. Condensation is a common sign of inadequate insulation and/or ventilation.
Condensation in the Home - A Warning Sign
Condensation is usually first noticed on your windows and skylights because they are the most visible areas of your house. While it’s natural to blame the windows, you shouldn’t always. Window and skylight condensation is the result of excess humidity in your home. And the glass only provides a visible cold surface on which humidity can condense. This could be a sign that your excessive indoor humidity is causing damage elsewhere in places you cannot see, such as: your walls, ceilings, floors, and your attic roof. Excessive indoor humidity can cause blistering and peeling paint, warping and rotting wood, as well as the formation of mildew & mold.
During extreme cold temperatures, frost can build up on the underside of the roof sheeting (attic roof). Once the outdoor temperature rises, that frost melts and can mimic a leak. This “leak” can be excessive when the temperatures dramatically change, as is common during our Alaskan winters. Frost build up is most common above heat sources such as light fixtures (especially can lights), kitchen stoves, fireplaces, bathrooms, fans, and improperly vented exhaust fans. When the frost melts, this “leak” is most commonly found dripping out of those heat sources.
High ceiling beams and cathedral ceilings with water spots can be confused with an active leak, when in fact it is a result of condensation.
If you have ever noticed a lot of icicles hanging from the edge of your roof, chances are your house is leaking significant (and expensive) amounts of air and heat into the attic.
Controlling Indoor Humidity
Most new homes are now made tighter than ever. They are well insulated and no longer "breath" on their own. Both insulation and ventilation should be addressed to control condensation. Steps must be taken to ventilate the house, allowing moisture and humidity to escape.
Steps you can take to control the humidity in your home include:
- Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, as well as dryer vents, should never be discharged into the attic space, always discharge outside. You may have an
adequately ventilated attic, but this won’t matter if the bathroom exhaust fan dumps warm moist air directly into the attic space. This will result in condensed water vapor freezing onto cold attic materials, which will eventually thaw creating wet attic materials resulting in damage in the attic and inside the home.
- Installing exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
- Controlling or covering other sources of humidity (radiator water pans, fish tanks, large numbers of plants, etc.).
- Installing a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are an inexpensive way to reduce the moisture in your home. Highly recommended in vaulted roofs with a loft.
- Opening fireplace damper.
- Ventilating the crawl space or basement: Install foundation vents or leave a basement window cracked in the fall or early winter to ventilate your basement or crawl space.
- Research shows keeping the attic air temperature below freezing when the outside air temperature is in the low 20s can reduce the occurrence of ice dams. Proper attic ventilation is key to keeping the attic cool, while adequate and properly installed insulation is key to keeping your house warm. It is critical to keep soffit vents free from obstructions to allow the natural flow of cool outside air into the attic space to replace the warmer attic air that rises and flows outside ridge and/or roof vents. This flow of air will keep the attic cool and free of moisture build-up.
- Adding additional roof vents, such as box vents, turbine vents and ridge vents will also allow the warm air to escape the attic space and reduce condensation issues.
Anchorage is currently filled with the smell of nearby forest fires at Mchugh Creek. As roofing contractors, we felt it may be helpful to address fire rating in the roofing materials we install.
There are some obvious roofs to avoid in regards to roofing, hand-split cedar shakes, wood shingles, masonite wood roofing. Even fire treated wood roofing materials rarely achieve a Class C rating, which is unfortunate because chemically treating the wood over doubles the price. Many of the homes in the Potters Marsh area have wood shingles but over the years, due to this concern and several home insurance companies, Holland Roofing has been installing a heavy duty designer shingle called the Presidential and the Windsor.
When looking at roofing with the best fire rating, look for a class A. The obvious chose for fire resistant materials are tile, metal, and slate roofing. These however are more expensive than asphalt and the tile and slate is avoided in Alaska because of the snow loads. Many shingles that are installed with the proper underlayments will offer this rating but a standing seam metal roof is the best option for fire resistance. Metal is unfortunately, not the best option for the design of most homes.
Regardless of the roof material on your home there are some steps that will keep your home safer. Homeowners should remove dead trees from their property and keep tree branches trimmed and away from the roof. Not only do the branches scratch and damage roofing materials, if they catch fire they can ignite the building. Keep the roof gutters and drains clear of leaves as dry plant debris. Also consider having multiple garden hoses that are long enough to reach around your property fully. Be prepared and do your research. Your home is more than just a place you live.
In April 2016 the wind zone speeds were increased once again. So the question posed now is how we meet the wind speed requirements when there are no shingles, shakes or metal panels that meet these new wind speed requirements.
The municipality will state that when it comes to residential roofing they are only looking for the ASTM data. Unfortunately, this would allow shingles with even lower wind warranties than were allowed several years ago and they do not come anywhere near the wind speeds we see each year.
All the shingle roofing materials that Holland Roofing installs are designed for high winds, installed with 6 nails and are self-sealing. An additional step to purchasing the right product is to hand seal the shingles with additional sealant for areas that are extremely windy. Wasilla, East Anchorage, Hillside, Bear Valley and many other areas of town receive wind gusts that exceed 100 miles per hour, almost every year.
Hand sealing involves adding extra adhesive under each shingle tab. With this method the shingles are not only nailed and secured with the manufacturers seal strip, but also secured with extra adhesive. The manufacturers recommend hand sealing on steep sloped roofs and in colder temperatures. We at Holland Roofing have found that regardless of the slope or season of the roof replacement, hand sealing can make a big difference in preventing the shingles from being blown off during wind storms.
If you live in a windy area or your neighborhood has experienced wind damage in the past, installing a heavier shingle with an enhanced wind warranty and hand tabbing is a recommended.
Dealing with Moss & Algae
In Anchorage, Girdwood and the Valley, we are always excited about Southern exposure. The sunlight for Alaskans is so important. It is also important for your roof. Moss growing on any roof surface will be more severe on roof sections that are shaded and exposed to periodically damp cool weather conditions. Unfortunately cool, damp and shaded describes most of our roof area. Over the years of roofing in Alaska, we have discovered ways to best explain the moss problem to home owners, treat and prevent the moss problems. Please read the information below.
What to Expect: How Holland Roofing provides roof top moss service.
It will be impossible to clean a very old worn out roof without damaging it. Replacing a much older worn roof is the only recommendation Holland Roofing will give if the roof material is in very poor conditions. In most cases, Holland Roofing will not even offer moss treatment services to roofs older than 15 years old. If the roof shingles are fragile, brittle, cracking, curled, the risk of damage to the roof during moss removal is much more likely. The roof may look cleaner, but its remaining life may be reduced by aggressive cleaning. Holland Roofing cannot guarantee that roof cleaning will not cause more damage or increase the life of the existing roof.
Raking & brushing roof moss:It is possible to remove most of the moss from a roof surface by gentle cleaning using a soft brush, broom and a garden hose. Brushing or raking is done with care to minimize damage to the shingles themselves.
Holland Roofing uses a flexible leaf rake or brush to remove moss, most but not all the debris on the roof after raking will be swept off the roof edge. Sometimes a low pressure spray with a garden hose will be used to aid in clearing off the loosened moss.
Power washing an asphalt shingle roof (or a wood shingle roof in old, worn, fragile condition) is a process that can damage the roof by breaking shingles or by loosening the protective mineral granules from the shingle surface. We do not recommend power-washing asphalt shingles or any other roofing product that can be damaged by high pressure spraying. Holland Roofing will not power wash the roof.
Moss Kill Treatments:Treatment that “kill” the moss or lichens work similar to weed kill for the yard. It may require more than one treatment and may need to be done every other summer. This will help lessen the growth of what is existing and help prevent new growth.
Zinc Strips: Holland Roofing can provide and install zinc strips along the ridge of an existing roof that will help to slowly kill off moss or lichens as rainwater washes over the metal and down the roof surface. This method is suitable for both prevention of future or further moss or lichens growth on the roof and for gently treating an otherwise fragile old roof. Zinc looks like a roll of 3 inch wide metallic ribbon. It is unrolled and fastened at the high points in the roof. It is usually installed alongside the ridge vents and peaks.
Give the roof surface more sunlight:Trim back trees whose branches overshadow the roof surface. Keep the roof clean of organic debris like leaves or pine needles which may collect in valleys or at other roof locations. Holland Roofing may cut back small branches that are actually hanging over the roof surface but we will not remove entire trees or large branches. A tree service company should be contracted to do this type of work
Algae-resistant shingles:Chemically treated roof shingles are available from several asphalt roofing manufacturers who offer these products which are resistant to moss, lichens, or algae growth on roofs. New asphalt roof shingles are available with an inclusion of chemicals that resist moss, lichens, algae, and even fungal growth. Resist does not mean moss-proof or lichens proof however it does make a big difference. Discuss this option with us when it’s time to replace the roof.
Price for Moss Services
In most cases a moss treatment service from Holland Roofing averages $500.00 to $1,200.00, depending on the size of the roof area and other factors. After submitting a request for service a price for the service will be provided to you. Please understand that the roof will not appear new or clean after a moss service. The large thick areas of moss growth will be reduced but some moss will remain in the key ways (small cracks or area between the shingles). It takes time, sunlight and rains for the moss kill solution and zinc to fully affect the moss still remaining. In most cases moss service does improve the look and life span of the roof. Please call us with any additional questions.