Rooftop Solar Panels

What You Need To Know Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your roof is a major undertaking. It’s a significant investment and one that needs to be considered carefully. Here are three important things to consider before investing in rooftop solar panels.

Are They Right for Your Roof?

The obvious first step before installing rooftop solar panels is making sure your roof is able to support the type of solar panels you want. Is your roof shaded the majority of the time? Is it made from a material other than composite shingle (like metal or cedar)? If so, or if only a small portion of your roof is useable for solar, you may not have enough sunlight to make up for the cost of putting those panels on your roof. Most solar panel companies only work with composite shingle roofs. A solar panel installation company can assess the suitability of your roof.

Additionally, make sure your roof is in good condition before installing the panels. If your roof needs a major repair or full replacement in the near future, it’s in your best interest to take care of those issues before installing  solar panels. Another thing to keep in mind is landscaping, realizing that any trees you plant or that already exist on your property will need to be pruned to allow as much light as possible to reach your solar panels.

Which Solar Type is Right for You?

There are two major types of solar panels: thermal and photovoltaic. Thermal solar panels uses sunlight to heat air or water that you use inside your home. Photovoltaic solar technology uses solar cells to transform sunlight into electricity. Solar thermal panels may be your best choice if a lot of the energy you use goes toward heating your home or if you live in an area where heating fuel is expensive in relation to electricity costs. Photovoltaic solar panels are the most common type of solar panels, so it may be difficult to find an installer who is able to install thermal solar panels.

How Will You Connect to the Grid?

Details vary depending on your location, but if you have solar panels you have to work out the ins and outs of connecting to a utility company. Some things to consider are how long it will take for the utility to get you hooked up to the grid, if you have to pay a fee, and how you will be credited for the electricity you generate via your solar panels. These terms vary from state to state, so be sure you are fully aware of how your connection will work before installing your panels.

Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters

Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters

Even though you may not think about them very often, your home’s gutters are incredibly important when it rains. They are what keeps water from pooling on your roof and causing damage, and they will even allow water to flow away from your house and safely drain into your yard. Of course, this can only be done while your gutters are in good working condition. They need to be maintained and kept clean if they are to do their job.

Cleaning your gutters can be a challenge since it involves climbing up to your roof, but these tips should make things a little easier for you.

Cleaning Your Gutters from a Ladder

The easiest way to clean out your gutters is by using a ladder to reach them and pull out dirt and debris with a gloved hand and a scoop. It will take some time to get all of your gutters, but you can be sure that they will be clear when you are finished. It’s easiest to do this while the debris in your gutters is still wet and pliable.

If your roof isn’t too terribly steep, you can also stand directly on it and reach more of your gutters. Be very careful when you do this since it’s easy to assume that you can stand on your roof safely only to find that it is too steep after all. This does put you in a good position to use a leaf blower on your gutters, which is actually the preferred method for many professionals.

Flushing Your Gutters

Once most of the debris is cleared from your gutters, your next step is to flush them out. A hose with an on-off high-pressure nozzle will be able to take care of this. This can splatter mud onto your house. If this happens, the mud can be removed with a stiff scrub brush. You should be able to see the water flow from your drainpipes. If this isn’t the case, simply use a plumber’s auger to clear any obstruction that could be preventing the water and debris from flowing.

Please contact Bruce Tall Construction for all of your roofing and gutter needs!

Going Green without Breaking the Bank

It’s important to remember that it’s simple to be more energy conscious, and there are so many ways we can benefit, and, in the process, decrease both our energy usage as well as our energy bills, by just making a few simple changes. For instance, did you realize that one quarter of your yearly heating bill, is caused by the heat lost through inefficient windows? If new windows are not in your immediate budget, here are a few tips to get the heat loss under control.

Window Treatments

These window treatments can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. The first, a cellular shade, which is an economical and good-looking addition over most windows, can affect the heat loss by up to 33 percent. Obviously, the strength of the cellular shade will be determined by how thick it is—cellular shades come sized as single, double, or triple celled. Cellular shades essentially form a barrier between the window and the room, blocking the escape of air through a window (Did you know that it’s not the cold air coming through the window that affects a room’s heat, it’s the cold outside pulling the heat through the window—that’s why, when you’re standing near a cold window, your skin feels suddenly cool then cold, as the heat from your body is pulled through the window).

Sheers are common in most houses, and these include the cheaper plastic alternatives, however, the plastic versions are not great at blocking heat loss. Sheers can be backed by extra material to boost R-Value (R-Value is a rating determined for how efficient something is). Drapes, which often accompany sheers, can cut heat loss significantly, again depending on R-Value, and the two in combination work well. The last window treatment is something called a cornice—sometimes called a valiance—which traps the air that is lost along the top of the window. To put these in combination would greatly impact the heat loss in your home.

Going Green without Breaking the Bank

If you have any questions as to greener building practices, make sure to call Bruce Tall Construction today.     

What You Need to Know Before Installing a Skylight

There are seemingly endless details that you must consider when beginning a skylight installation that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. For instance, you may not know where to install it, what materials to purchase, or even how to properly install a skylight. Here are a few helpful tips you should know before beginning your skylight installation project.

roofing-contractor-skylight

Invest in A Quality Skylight

One aspect of your skylight installation that you should never cut corners on is quality. Details like ventilation, water tightness, and sound reduction may seem minuscule but they can actually be the deciding factor of whether you are happy with your finished product.

Location Matters

One of the first decisions you must make before beginning your project is determining where to place the skylight. For instance, rafters will largely govern skylight placement. Skylights are most commonly used in bathrooms since they offer a great source of light and ventilation, while still maintaining privacy.

Check the Weather Forecast

It is vital that you check then double check the weather forecast before starting any skylight installation. Bad weather can not only set-back the completion date but it can also cause serious mildew and other moisture issues if water gets inside the roof.

Always Be Safe

Be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear at all times while working on your skylight installation. Since the majority of the time will be spent on the roof, nonslip boots are essential. You should also follow other safety protocols, like using safety glasses and tying down your ladder.

Educate Yourself on Materials

As with any DIY project, make sure to know all your measurements while purchasing and cutting materials. A skylight that is too small or too big for your space will put your whole project to a halt. Also, make sure to determine the slope of your roof before buying any flashing kits.

If you want to install a skylight  or even have questions about your your roof, please contact us today!

roof replacement billings mt

Repairing Your Roof vs Replacing Your Roof

Perhaps you’ve recently noticed some worrying spots on your roof. Maybe it’s a few shingles missing, or even a larger patch that seems to be sagging or looking a little worse for wear. You think about the age of your roof, and then you think about your bank account. Should you repair those troublesome areas or replace your roof entirely? Here are a few things to consider.

affordable roofing billings mt, Repairing Your Roof

Repairing Your Roof

If you have a few damaged or missing shingles from wind or tree limb damage, these can be easily removed or replaced for little cost. Repairing your roof can be more cost effective if you can by with that.

One downside to replacing shingles is that unless you saved some shingles from the last time your roof was replaced, it may be hard to find an exact match. Of course, this is a small price to pay in order to fix your roof and extend its life by another decade or so! Keep in mind, if you are doing roof repairs bin order to sell your house, make sure your contractor orders shingles that match the rest as closely as possible so you avoid a patching job that sticks out like a sore thumb.

More extensive damage in a confined area may need partial reroofing. A partial repair of your home’s roof will cost thousands less than replacing the entire thing. It can also make it easier for the new roofing to blend with the old, as slight color differences will likely be less noticeable. 

billings top roofer, Repairing Your Roof

When to Replace Your Roof

It may be worth replacing your entire roof even if only part of it is showing signs of disrepair. While this may seem to go against common sense, there is a case to be made for replacing your entire roof in one go.

Sometimes, an asphalt roof can already have two layers or more. Two layers are generally the maximum allowed, which means your contractor cannot simply lay down more shingles. They must remove all of the layers in order to reroof that area. This leads to more time to complete the job – and more money out of your pocket. The look of your roof may also be affected, with the layers of the patched area not matching the height of the rest of the roof.  

Another thing to consider when repairing your roof, is that partial reroofing is usually more expensive per square (a square is a 10′ by 10′ area). By redoing your entire roof at once, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars per square. Get a quote for a partial reroofing as well as the whole roof. If your shingles carry a life expectancy of twenty years and they’re on year 15, it might be wise to simply replace your roof instead of patching. 

Of course, as with most big projects, there are many factors at play. These tips should help you make the roofing decision that’s right for you! If you want to replace your roof or even just repair your roof, please contact us today!