How To Know When Your Porch Needs A New Roof

The roof of a porch takes damage from wind and water throughout the year, but that damage often goes unnoticed until a leak or other similarly serious problem develops.

Naturally, you want to replace your porch’s roofing material before it starts allowing water in or otherwise loses structural integrity. But how do you tell when the roof has entered the “danger zone” and the cost of replacement is justified?

A realistic maximum life expectation for a standard porch roof with shingles is about two decades from installation. That’s the point at which even the sturdiest materials will generally degrade to the point that you’ll see leaks and serious damage develop. If you live in an area where you endure heavier rain, wind or snow than usual, however, you can knock up to five years off that expected lifespan. Poor ventilation will also decrease the life expectancy of a roof significantly.

If your roof is entering the danger zone in terms of age, or if you have reason to suspect it’s been damaged, look for the following signs:

  • Look for indentations or concave spots in the roof. These are signs that an unseen leak has been rotting away wood in the roof for some time. If you see these, you should discontinue use of the porch until the roof is replaced as it could potentially fall apart on you.
  • Dark streaks or trails on the underside of the porch roof are usually a sign not only of water damage, but that mold is growing in the area.
  • Look for problems with the shingles. The most obvious signs would be shingles that are completely gone or that are showing obvious signs of damage like missing chunks, being broken in half or turning up at the edges. Also check your downspouts for bits of shingle, however, as that’s a good “early warning” sign that there’s trouble in that area.
  • Slate tiles will last longer than standard tiles, but they do decay and fail eventually. A quick check to see what condition a slate tile is in is to simply knock on it with your knuckles. A tile in good condition should have a bit of a vibration or echo to the sound it makes; a tile that is aged past usefulness will sound more like rapping on concrete.

A porch roof failure represents not only a much greater expense than replacing it before things get out of hand, but also a serious safety issue as well. If you have any doubts about the integrity of your roof, it’s best to contact a qualified professional to verify.

Contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing needs.

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What To Look For In The Roof When You’re Buying A Home

A home’s roof is a one of the major parts of the home and often among the most expensive to replace. Here’s what to look for in a roof when you’re out house-hunting.

Look for the Obvious

The first step in looking at the roof of a potential home purchase is to inspect the roof from the outside. Stand at a distance and look at the roof. Are there missing shingles? Do any of the shingles have curled edges, or, upon close inspection, mildew or mold? Does the roof appear flat, or are there spots where it sinks or buckles? Are there spots where the roof looks lighter or darker? Any of these issues can indicate an older roof that may be in need of repair or even replacement. Ask the current homeowner for information on the age of the roof and when it was last inspected.

Check the Gutters

Be sure to ask homeowners about their roof’s gutters and drainage. If gutters are clogged or downspouts aren’t far enough away from the home, this could mean that water damage has occurred. When you look in the gutters, keep an eye out for shingle grains. A significant amount of shingle grains in the gutters usually indicates an older roof that’s losing the protective coating from its shingles. 

Inspect for Leaks 

Leaky roofs can cause a lot of damage to your home. Furniture, floors, and even walls can be completely ruined by a roof leak. Not only are roof leaks a nuisance in themselves, but it can be even more of a headache to find out where the leak is actually coming from. The area where you spot a water stain or leak may be 5-10 feet from the actual source of the leak. Check chimneys, wall flashings, and roof seams for leaks, and don’t forget to ask the homeowner if they have experienced any roof leaks. If there is evidence of leaks or the homeowner has told you that the roof has had leaking issues in the past, consider calling in a professional roofing contractor for a roof inspection.

Please contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing needs.

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.

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!

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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!

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How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Roof

Replacing your home’s roof is a serious consideration. There are many factors that go into deciding whether or not you need to do so. Here are several helpful things to consider when a roof replacement may be needed.

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Consider its Age When It’s To Replace Your Roof

The typical roof has a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years. If your current roof was put down on another layer of shingles, your roof may not age as well. It must also be properly ventilated in order to live out its natural life. If your roof is 20 years older or more and was installed over another layer of roofing, there’s a good chance you need a new roof. 

Check the Shingles

Damaged or missing shingles can be another sign that your roof needs to be replaced. Look at your shingles in direct sunlight at an angle that allows you to see if any are curling or buckling. Are they losing their granules? All of these are signs that those shingles are past their rated life expectancy. If your roof is newer, there is potential that your roof is defective. A licensed roofing contractor should be hired to expect the roof in this case. 

Inspect Your Gutters

Are your gutters full of shingle granules? Your roof will lose more granules toward the end of its life expectancy. Another sign of granule loss is an inconsistent roof color. Check for darker or uneven color on your roof if you suspect granule loss. 

Look Inside

A spongy or bouncing feeling to the roof can mean moisture has weakened the underlying structure. Check inside your attic to see if you notice light coming through the boards of the roof. Moisture in the insulation can also signal a leak. 

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Many people begin thinking about roof replacement because they’ve noticed a water stain on their ceiling, which can indicate a roof leak. Stains are something to be concerned about, but they often aren’t the first sign of roof damage, and can be caused by other things. Of course, checking the attic as mentioned above and getting to the bottom of where a leak is coming from is in any homeowner’s best interest.

Bruce Tall Construction is the top roofing contractor in Billings, Montana. Please contact us today for all of your roofing needs!

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How to Find The Right Roofing Contractor

Choosing the right roofing contractor is harder than it sounds, and there’s a lot riding on your choice, because if work isn’t done just right, your home could suffer interior damage, and you could be faced with the need for re-work. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice on this very important decision.Roofing Contractor Billings MT

Good communications

As you go through the negotiation process with a roofing contractor, make note of how communicative they are. For instance, your phone calls should be returned promptly, there should be good follow-up from them on unresolved questions, and they should be easy to reach. When you are talking with them, they should be clear about the work and not give you evasive-sounding answers. When you don’t have good communications right from the outset, it’s not likely to improve as work progresses, and you might well end up unhappy and unsatisfied.

Willing to provide job details in writing

Be sure to have written specifications for what your roofing job entails and how long that work will take. If your contractor candidate is unwilling to provide you with these, it’s a sign that they lack confidence in their own processes, and a sign that you should steer clear.

Local Roofing Contractor

A great number of homeowners have been fleeced by roofing contractors who promised fast, reliable work, and then disappear into thin air after shoddy workmanship is complete. You can avoid this scenario by choosing a local contractor who is a member of the community, and has a solid reputation in that area.

Covered by insurance

It is essential that your contractor is covered for workmen’s compensation, and has liability insurance. No one ever expects accidents to happen on the job, but they do happen all the same, and you’ll want to know that such unanticipated eventualities are covered. 

Don’t be swayed by price

For sure, you’ll be able to find a roofing contractor who is willing to do the work for far less than most other roofers – but in practically all such cases, you’ll also be getting far less in return. A guarantee of good workmanship from a somewhat more expensive contractor can be a lot cheaper in the long run, than having to do the same work over again by a cheaper bidder.

Bruce Tall Construction is the top roofing contractor in Billings, Montana. Please contact us today for all of your roofing needs!

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Does Your Home Need Roof Ventilation?

Roof ventilation is a subject that is often misunderstood by homeowners. While some ventilation is great for circulating air through your attic and lowering your energy bills, it pays to know how much roof ventilation you really need – or if you need any at all. Here are some tips that can help you make that decision.

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You Live in an Area with Harsh Winters

Winter is always a harsh season for roofs and attics. Not only can too much snow on a roof cause it to collapse, but it’s all too easy to experience a leak from ice dams. This can cause a lot of moisture to build up in your attic, which can lead to problems such as water damage and mold. Proper roof ventilation can improve air flow in your attic and help mitigate any moisture problems you may be experiencing, but you need to be careful that you don’t have too much ventilation. That might only give you more places where your roof can leak.

You Experience Exceptionally Hot Summers

Proper roof ventilation can keep your attic cool and lower your air conditioning bills, but it could also help keep your roof in good shape. An unventilated attic can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees in some parts of the country, and that kind of heat can cause shingles and other roofing materials to become damaged. It probably won’t ruin your entire roof, but you will need to replace your shingles sooner rather than later.

Speak to a Roofing Professional

It can be difficult to determine how much or how little roof ventilation you will need. Each home has its own requirements and its own quirks, so it is in your best interest to contact a roofing professional for advice. They will be able to tell you how much ventilation your roof will need as well as any problems you may experience should you have improper ventilation. There are bound to be plenty of professional licensed roofers in your area, so take some time to look around if you want to learn more about what is best for your family’s home.

If you have any further questions about your roof’s ventilation or any roofing questions, call Bruce Tall Construction today.

Billings Top Roofer

Spring Cleaning the Roof Checklist

Spring is nearly here, and with melting snow comes the opportunity to check out your roof and give your gutters a thorough cleaning. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends a roof checkup twice each year – once each in the fall and spring. Here is a guide to what to look out for when you’re performing your spring roof cleaning.

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Start Indoors
You can begin your spring roof cleaning by checking your ceilings. Sometimes stains are simply due to snow or ice dams that have accumulated on the roof. But, they may indicate a larger issue. Once you identify any water stains, you know to check your roof for potential damage.

Check Your Gutters
Part of the spring cleaning of your roof should involve a thorough inspection of your house’s gutters. If gutters are clogged, it can lead to overflow. Overflowing gutters can cause basement flooding as well as foundation damage. Remove anything clogging your home’s gutters – leaves, twigs, and other debris is likely to have accumulated over the winter. While you’re cleaning your gutter, look for corrosion or holes. Holes in your gutter can be caulked or plugged. If you notice a section of your gutter sagging, it’s likely due to spikes that are loose or missing. Tighten these up or replace as needed. Don’t forget to inspect your downspouts, too.

If major – or even minor – repairs are needed, you may want to call in a professional contractor for the job.

Inspect Your Roof
There’s more to check on your roof than the shingles, though that’s a great place to start. Shingles can be damaged or blown off during the winter. Replace any shingles that are cracked, loose, or missing.

Check the flashing around plumbing vents, chimneys, and skylights for damage. If you notice rust forming on any metal roof parts, use a wire brush to remove the rust, then coat with primer and paint. Take time to make sure coping, fascia, or other metal roof edging is undamaged and secure. If you find that your roof edging is in need of repair, call a roofing contractor for an inspection and potential repair. An unsecured roof can be badly damaged in a severe weather situation.

If you have any further questions about spring cleaning your roof or any roofing questions, call Bruce Tall Construction today.