Just as the human body ages and changes appearance over the years, so too will your roof. Due to the severity of the roof environment, even a one-year-old roof may look different from a roof that was just installed. While you may have first noticed the cracks or blistering from the ladder as you were cleaning the gutters , please be mindful that these normal weathering characteristics may not be visible when you view the roof from your front lawn or driveway. And if the problem is not severe and the shingles are still providing the protection intended, then it is not a cause for alarm.
Your roof is an important investment, since it literally protects you from the elements. While there are no magical creams or ointments to prevent your roof from aging, investing a small amount of time to examine your roof can reduce your anxiety and concerns about the normal aging con ditions that affect it.
You may be asking yourself, “What can I expect my roof to look like as this aging process takes place?” One or more of the following conditions may occur over time: Curling: As the asphalt hardens over time, the granules which were once securely embedded begin to break away. Occasionally you may have seen the colored granules in your gutters. Also, as this hardening advances, the asphalt layers begin to shrink. Of course, all of this is occurring at a microscopic level and is not something which will be noticeable on a daily basis. As the asphalt layer shrinks, it is being countered by the shingle reinforcement , which resists shrinking. We now have a situation in which the top and bottom coatings are shrinking and the reinforcement is remaining stable . As a result, the edges of the shingle may begin to curl over time. In addition, organic shingles may exhibit signs of curling which might be considered excessive, however, this is not a manufacturing defect and would be considered part of the normal weathering process of organic shingles. Surface Cracking: Another manifestation of the normal aging process may be the development of surface cracks. For example, as the flexibilizing oils of the asphalt are depleted due to heat, the shingle becomes more brittle, to the point where surface cracking may appear. The stresses created by thermal shock and the movement of the roof deck also increase the likelihood of surface cracking. Blisters: During the course of natural weathering, small bubble -like raised areas known as blisters may appear on the surface of the shingles. The blisters may be small and pea-sized or as large as a quarter . The blisters may be open, exposing the asphalt, or closed. Blisters frequently result when minimum ventilation requirements are not met. Staining: Finally, over a period of time, shingles may develop dark brown or black streaks that are sometimes mistaken for soot, dirt, moss or tree droppings. In actuality, this discoloration may be caused by algae growth. Although most roofing systems are susceptible to algae discoloration, it is most readily visible on white or light-colored shingles.
Asphalt shingles roofs can last between 15 and 30 years before they need to be replaced. To determine if your roof needs replacing, start by inspecting the roof. If you see cracked or curling shingles, the roof needs to be replaced before leaking occurs.
A roof inspection done by a qualified roofer will answer any questions you have about the condition of your roof.
CHOOSING A HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
Choosing a contractor involves much more than just prices. Keep in mind that if you choose a bad contractor who takes shortcuts or improperly installs the product, the manufacturer's warranty may not be valid. That is why we suggest you evaluate a contractor carefully.
It is essential to gather information to help you determine the reliability, reputation and experience of your contractor. Ask family and friends who have had home improvement work before to see if they have any recommendations. By interviewing more than one contractor, you'll have an opportunity to compare and contrast experience, materials, price and other factors. All ow yourself atleast an hour for heach interview. Don't be shy about asking questions. A top notch, professional contractor will be happy to answer any questions.
1. Make sure you get the company's information: Full name, address, website and phone number
2. Does the company carry all necessary insurance? General liability insurance protects YOU if the contractor causes damage to your home or property during the project. Without liability coverage, you may be responsible for any repairs and damage. Worker's Compensation insurance protects YOU if a contractor is injured while working on your property. Without it, you or your homeowner's insurance may be responsible for the injured worker's medical bills. Don't be confused if a contractor makes general assurances about coverage. Ask specifically for proof of general liability and worker's compensation insurance.
Keep in mind that contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines may cost more, because they usually have higher job overhead costs. The difference you see in bids could be the price variation between contractors who follow the standard versus those who ignore them.
3. Is the company licensed in your state or county? Westchester County required contractors to pass a written test and have all the necessary insurances to receive a Home Improvement License.
4. Is the company credentialed? There are a variety of programs for professional contractors to establish their credentials as knowledgeable installers. Top notch contractors wills also attend ongoing training sessions to stay current on new materials and techniques. By choosing a contractor with solid credentials you can be assured that they are properly trained.
5. How long has the company been in business? Needless to say, longer is better. Less than three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve. On the other hand - everyone must start somewhere.
6. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs? Getting references allows you to double check any business, and is very important when dealing with a new business. Ask for photos of completed work and request names and phone numbers of customers who have had work done in the last 12 months.
Some questions to ask when checking references:
Would you hire this contractor again? Were you satisfied with the quality of the work? Was the contractor easy to talk to? Were they responsive when asked for information or changes? Was the job completed on time and at the bid price? Would you recommend them to a family member?
7. What is the company's workmanship warranty? There are two different kinds of warranties: The Manufacturer's Warranty covers the materials and the Workmanship Warranty which covers the installation. Typically workmanship warranties are for one year or longer. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter ones. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the contractor to stand behind their work. Problems with workmanship or materials usually show up very quickly. Even if problems of workmanship show up after the warranty has expired, a reliable contractor usually will stand behind their work.
8. What is the company track record for solving customer complaints? Many contractors in business for any length of time have been involved in a dispute. To test your contractor's reputation, request a referral from a job that involved a complaint, and ask how the dispute was resolved. Contact the Better Business Bureau and licensing departments to find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
9. Does the company employ its installers or utilize subcontractors? A company that has its own installers, as opposed to subcontracting work out, could indicate a more stable business. However, that is not always the case. Regardless, you want to be sure that your contractor will stand beind their installers, and do not blame the problems on a subcontractor.
Be cautious with the lowest bid. We've all heard "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." While that is not always the case, contractors who low ball may be cutting corners or may not be properly insured.
A few more things to be aware of are:
Compliance with local codes and ordinances - are there permits required? Are inspections required?
Product choices - Make sure that the product chosen is clearly stated in the contract.
Clean up and jobsite expectations - Require a daily clean up of the premises. Include specifics like: picking up trash that blows on neighboring properties; keeping radios at a reasonable volume; working within appropriate hours; and workers, being respectful and dressing appropriately.
Your home's windows may be letting you know it's time for replacement. Here are some of the signs to look for:
1. Are they easy to open? Do they stay open? Do they stick? Older windows can be come warped, damaged or broken and should be replaced.
2. Do you feel drafts? Older windows lack proper insulation and may be ill fitting which may force your air conditioning or heating to work harder. Replacing windows with energy efficient ones can reduce your cooling and heating bills and give you a more comfortable living space.
3. Are your windows "fogged" up? This indicates a failed seal on the window panes and reduces your energy efficiency. We would recommend replacing these units.
4. Do you notice outside noise? Today's energy efficient windows offer acoustic insulation options to cut down on noise issues.
5. Older windows can detrach from the "curb appeal" of you home. It is very important that how a window performs is a top priority, but how they look inside and out makes a big difference too.
Types of Replacement windows:
Double Hung Windows
Bay and Bow Windows
Windows can come in a number of different frame and glazing types. By combining an energy-efficient frame choice with a glazing type tailored to your climate and application, you can customize them for an attractive, energy efficient window.
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