Leaks & Service Repairs

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Reroof Estimates & Inspections

757-399-3066 ext 1 (Reroof Estimates & Inspections)

Author: bc-admin

Three Key Things to Consider when Finishing Off an Attic

Finishing off an attic is a popular way to squeeze more livable square footage out of an existing home. There are challenges to this type of renovation, however, and a lot of systems within the house should be considered, not the least of which is your roof. Since attics abut your roofing system, it is the most susceptible to poorly designed or constructed finished attics, so always make sure to use an experienced, licensed contractor. While we recommend having a professional do all the associated work for this type of project, here are a few things to consider ahead of time or to make sure your contractor addresses.

Ventilation
The number one most important thing to ensure during a finished attic project is maintaining proper ventilation. When an attic is unfinished, the system has space to breathe, while well-installed insulation and vents keep temperatures optimal to avoid condensation. But when drywall is put up, insulation is moved around and vents are covered, this can affect how the roof reacts to temperature changes. If not done correctly, this can cause condensation to build up between the roof and drywall, causing rot and mold to both surfaces.

If insulation is being reinstalled between the rafters behind the drywall, it’s important that air space is left between the insulation and the roof sheathing. There are special foam baffles that are made specifically for this purpose that should be used. There should also be a plenum (or connected air space) built into the design. You may notice that most finished attic rooms have a flat portion of the ceiling at the top (as opposed to an A-frame ceiling). That area above the flat ceiling is the plenum – it allows air from between rafters to move laterally as necessary in order to reach the roof vents.

If these design details are not incorporated into your project, rot will occur on your roof sheathing, drywall or both. The problem is that once an attic is finished off, it’s very hard to know these issues are happening until it’s too late and rot, mold and mildew have appeared. So be aware and discuss these details with your contractor ahead of time.

HVAC
For many homes, much of the HVAC system’s ductwork lives in their unfinished attic. Whether mounted to the rafters or lying across the floor of the attic (or both), all of it will need to be repositioned and worked around. This may require some creative designing to allow space for ductwork to go above and behind the drywall with enough space for insulation and air flow. This means you may need to call in an HVAC company in addition to your general contractor.

If your new finished space is going to tap into your central air system, then the ductwork will need to be reconfigured by an HVAC specialist. It would be wise to work in access panels for key parts of the HVAC unit so repairs can be done without having to rip out drywall. If you don’t plan on tapping into the main system, consider something like a mini split AC unit that is efficient, can be used when needed, and can help with maintaining reasonable temperatures in the space to help decrease any chance of condensation.

Plumbing
Although less likely, there is a chance that some key plumbing elements are housed in your attic that will also need to be worked around or reconfigured by a licensed plumber. The most common issue arises with homes that have hot water heaters in the attic. Space will need to be carved out for housing it, typically in a small closet so there is still easy access for repairs and replacement.

If you do decide to finish your attic space, discuss all of these concerns with your contractor, and also keep a close eye on your finished room after it’s complete. Check for mold or mildew on drywall and address it as soon as you see it. Make sure the room stays a reasonable temperature and investigate any damp or dank smells that may occur. If you have any concerns that a finished attic space may have caused damage to your roof, please contact Andrews Roofing immediately and we will send an experienced, licensed and insured professional to your home for an inspection and estimate before the issue gets worse.

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Why Good Flashing Is Critical for Your Roof

When we talk about roofing repairs and replacements, people typically just think about shingles or other types of exterior roofing materials like metal, cedar shake or clay tile.

But there are many critical pieces that go into a good, solid roofing system, and one of them is flashing. Flashing is more important than people think, and improperly installed, damaged or missing flashing is one of the most common causes of roof leaks.

What is flashing?
When a roof plane meets a vertical surface, shingles and other roofing materials can’t be used to protect those parts of the roof. Instead, flashing is installed around vertical roof features to direct water away from these critical areas. Roof flashing is a thin metal material that comes in large sheets and is cut, molded and layered to fit where it is needed. It may also be made out of a plastic membrane for some applications or you may see PVC used at penetrations as pipe collars, sleeves and other fittings that function as flashing.

How does flashing work?
Without flashing, water could penetrate between the crevice of say, a shingle and a chimney. Flashing ensures that the water runs back over the roofing material, down the roof plane and off the house, hopefully into a clear and clean gutter. Other areas where flashing may be used includes vents, skylights, dormers, and sometimes even between the edge of the roofline and a gutter system.

What is flashing made of?
The materials used for flashing has changed over the years, from lead-coated materials to safer and more durable types of metals. This includes aluminum, copper and galvanized steel. Depending on the building codes where you live, a roofing contractor may have to use a specific material. While we typically use aluminum flashing on residential installs, the material itself is dependent on the specific roof and situation.

When should I replace or repair flashing?
If your home is experiencing a leak, and it does not appear to be from missing shingles, punctures or other damage, it may be time to check the flashing. Check the areas we discussed above to see if any of these issues have occurred:

  • Holes, dents or bending
  • Corrosion or rusting
  • Missing nails or loose nails
  • Loose or missing flashing

If you spot any of these issues, it’s time to call in a qualified roofing professional. Replacing flashing yourself is dangerous and if done incorrectly, can cause even more damage to your roof and ultimately the interior of your home.

When having your roof replaced, it’s a good idea to have the flashing replaced at the same time. Some areas may be able to be reused, but to ensure a watertight seal and a lifespan equivalent to your new roof material, full replacement is likely worth the minimal extra investment. Your existing roof flashing materials may also not be up to current code, in which case a roofing contractor will be obligated to replace it. Alternatively, it’s very possible that when you are experiencing a leak caused by flashing that only the flashing will need to be replaced, and that a full roof replacement is not necessary.

If you are having issues with your roof’s flashing, or have a leak you haven’t been able to identify the cause of, give Andrews Roofing a Call. We are experienced in the specific issues Hampton Roads homeowners encounter, especially during storm season. Contact us today.

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Common Roofing Storm Damage

If you watch the local news or even just tune in for the weather forecast, you know that we’ve reached peak hurricane season and that the tropics have been very active thus far.

Fortunately, the Mid-Atlantic coast including Southeast Virginia and Hampton Roads have been spared from any direct hits. But there are still two more months of hurricane season, and now is the time to be prepared for anything that may come our way. Not to mention that as soon as hurricane season is over, nor’easter and winter storm season will be upon us.

When it comes to your home and your home’s roof, there are plenty of things you can do in advance to avoid certain types of damage during storm season. But there are some things you simply can’t prevent from happening, and being responsive after the fact is the best you can do. Here are a few common types of roof damage to keep an eye out for as we weather hurricane season this fall.

Tree Damage

Tree damage isn’t always as obvious as an entire tree crashing through your roof and into your home. Some tree damage can go unnoticed until it causes interior damage – days, weeks or even months later. A stray limb with enough wind and force behind it can cause shingles to fly off, roof sheathing and decking to be pierced and make your roof vulnerable to leaks.

Tree damage can even come from overhanging branches that simply rub along shingles and cause unwanted wear and tear. It’s always a good idea to keep low hanging or potentially destructive branches trimmed back from the roofline where possible.

After a storm, visually inspect your roof as well as you can from the ground to see if any limbs, branches or even leaf buildups can be seen. If so, they should be removed immediately and the roof should be inspected to ensure no damage was caused. If damage was caused, a roofing contractor will typically be able to do a repair confined to that area without a major overhaul of your roof.

Loose or Missing Shingles

Perhaps the most common damage after a storm is loose or missing shingles. While it may not seem like a big deal if one or two shingles come off, their absence makes the shingles all around that area more susceptible to blowing off, and jeopardizes the roof sheathing beneath. Depending on when and how your roof was installed, the material manufacturer or installer may have specific warranties to cover shingle replacement. In any case, the shingles should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Loose or Missing Flashing

Flashing is the metal sheets that are used in roofing around joints in a roofline and around other roof penetrations such as pipes, chimneys and vents. They play an important role in protecting your roof decking and if jeopardized, major interior damage can occur. Loose flashing can actually cause quite a bit of damage to the rest of your roof, tearing up or removing shingles around it, especially in a wind event.

Missing flashing can allow water intrusion and will also make it easier for nearby shingles to be blown away. Some flashing you may be able to visually inspect from the ground, but if you have reason to believe that flashing may be loose in spots that you’re not able to inspect from the ground, call in a qualified roofing contractor to inspect for you – don’t risk causing damage to yourself to find damage on your roof.

Clogged or Broken Gutters

Particularly if you live near a lot of trees, storms can cause debris to fly off of nearby vegetation that can eventually land right into your gutters. This debris will cause your gutters to work less effectively, which means water will build up and potentially seep up underneath your shingles and sheathing, causing damage to the roof decking below, often seen as dark water spots in the corners and along the top of the walls in your home. Ideally, have your gutters cleaned before storm season so that they are cleared and ready to carry all that stormwater away from your home. But it’s also a good idea to check on them after a storm and make sure nothing has caused any clogs or damage to the gutter itself.

Broken or loose gutters are also common after a storm, and if you see evidence of that, call in a licensed contractor to fix the problem before the next rain event occurs. Broken gutters can funnel water into places it should not go including near your home’s foundation and onto walls and windows, causing even more damage. If you don’t have gutters, or your home’s gutters need to be replaced, you may also want to consider installing a Rapid Rain ™ gutter system which is designed for high capacity that comes with living in a storm prone area.

Contact a Local Roofing Contractor

This hurricane season, if your roof sustains any damage during a storm, contact Andrews Roofing. We are locally owned and operated and we are highly experienced in the issues that are unique to the Tidewater region. We know what to look out for and how to best fix and repair an issue to withstand future weather events.

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Roof Maintenance Tips for Stand-Alone Structures

When you think about roof maintenance, your mind probably goes right to the largest roof you have to deal with – the one over your home.

But if you have any exterior stand-alone structures on your property, their roofs need to be inspected and maintained just like your home’s. This may include garages, sheds, pool houses, barns or workshops. It’s particularly important to keep an eye on these structures if they store expensive equipment or other important items to avoid any type of damage.

The roof on an outbuilding can experience additional challenges that your home’s roof may not have, and there are additional ways to inspect and maintain these structures. Here are a few of our tips for maintaining and extending the life of your stand-alone structure’s roof.

Regular Visual Inspections

Like your home’s roof, you should inspect the roofs of these structures on a regular basis and especially after storm events. Depending on the size of these structures, it may be a little easier to visually inspect their condition from the ground. Look for the same telltale signs that you would on your home’s roof: missing shingles, warped or algae covered shingles, loose or missing flashing, clogged or damaged gutters and of course – holes or other damage. Check the eaves for nests of any kind – birds, bees, wasps, squirrels or any other type of animal nest can cause serious damage.

Safely Clean Them from the Ground

Again, the roof line of these structures may be a bit lower which may make it possible to safely clean them off yourself. A buildup of leaves, moss, or a few sticks and branches may seem benign, but they can cause damage if left alone for too long. Moss and algae – which are common in the Hampton Roads region – can collect on areas of the roof that do not get much direct sunlight. If they aren’t dealt with, they can weaken your roof over time.

If the roof is low enough and you have a strong enough hose, the first cleaning approach may be to simply spray it down to remove debris and build up. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can invest in a soft bristled roof rake which can be used from the ground to rake off debris and even some mildew and algae. Make sure not to scrub too hard to avoid damaging any roofing materials.

Remove Potential Hazards

Make sure to keep any nearby trees or bushes trimmed back. Limbs and branches that lean or hang over your outbuilding could cause extensive damage over time from friction or in an instant during one of our regular southeastern Virginia pop-up storms. If the vegetation around the building is small and light enough, you can take care of it yourself, but if there are any substantial trees or branches that should be removed, always call a professional.

Check Inside for Pests

It’s important to check the interior of these structures regularly. Some roofing issues can’t be seen from the outside. So even if your barn or shed is full to the rafters, make it a point to inspect the interior at least twice a year and after major storm events. The most critical interior areas of these structures may be the corners where animals are most likely to have built nests or created pathways to access the inside. Birds, insects and rats or squirrels can wreak havoc on a roof, chewing through materials or causing damage to rafters and sheathing. If you find anything, get in touch with a professional pest control company or animal control.

Whatever type of outbuilding you may have on your property, it’s likely that it houses something important enough for you to protect. Make sure the roofing on these structures is doing its job as best as possible with regular inspections and maintenance. If you see any signs of damage and believe your structure needs roofing repair or replacement, contact Andrews Roofing today. We are experienced in the types of environmental issues that structures in the Tidewater Region experience and know the best types of materials and methods to prevent further damage.

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Why Roof Ventilation Is So Important

As the weather changes from cold to mild to hot in Hampton Roads, you may find yourself fiddling with the thermostat more than usual. The dramatic changes in temperature that the spring season brings to southeast Virginia can affect a lot of systems around your house, and your roof is no exception.

Your roof is highly susceptible to temperature changes both inside and outside of your home due to the sheer surface area and exposure to the elements. This is why proper ventilation is critical. In fact, ventilation may be the most important factor in roof durability. It’s easy to focus on the durability factors of your roofing materials – the lifespan of metal versus asphalt shingles versus composite materials and so on. But no matter how well made a roofing material is, if it’s installed over an unventilated roof, it’s bound to fail.

When the temperature swings from cold to hot and back again, especially with the level of humidity that’s standard for the Tidewater region, condensation can form in your attic, causing rafters to rot, shingles to buckle and insulation to deteriorate and lose its efficacy. While the code requirements for attic ventilation can vary greatly from state to state, a general ventilation formula is based on the length and width of the attic space beneath it. There should always be a minimum of one square foot of free vent area for each 150 square feet of attic floor. Vents should be placed proportionately at the eaves and at or near the ridge.

Because of their importance to your roof’s overall health, it’s important to never block off sources of roof ventilation such as louvers, ridge vents or soffit vents – even in the winter! You may think you want to keep the cold winter air out of your attic, but maintaining an even temperature between the surface of the roof and the space beneath it is actually helpful in preventing moisture build up and damage.

In addition to this free flow of air, insulation can play a key role in proper attic ventilation. Ideally an attic will have a gap-free layer of insulation on the attic floor to protect the house below from heat gain or loss. It will also have a vapor retarder under the insulation and next to the ceiling to stop moisture from rising up from the home into the attic space. Then there should be enough vented spaces to let air in and out, and finally, there should be a minimum of one inch between the insulation and the roof sheathing. With these systems in place, your attic and roof are likely to stand the test of time.

The best way to ensure that all of the proper ventilation measures have been taken to extend the life of your roof is to work with a qualified, licensed roofing contractor. At Andrews Roofing, we’ve been providing Hampton Roads homeowners with high quality roofing services for years, and we are experienced with the unique seasonal and meteorological issues that homes in this area face. If you’re concerned about your roof receiving ideal ventilation or if you need your roof system repaired or replaced, contact Andrews Roofing Today for more information and to schedule your estimate.

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Create More Usable Space with Roofing Pavers

Flat roofs often go completely unnoticed when in reality they can be excellent usable space.

In fact, walkable roofing surfaces allow flat roofs and decks to become not just usable, but more energy efficient and sustainable in many cases.

What is a Walkable Roof?
A walkable roof surface must be flat, strong enough to bear the appropriate amount of weight, and must meet the local building codes for safety regarding railings or walls around the exterior of the walkable space. In many cases, industrial buildings have flat roofs that are walkable, but are often just used for maintenance and HVAC access needs. In residential homes, walkable roof surfaces may be porches or balconies as well as flat rooftops. Locally around the Virginia Beach area we also see cupolas, widows’ walks, crows nests, sun decks and more.

What types of materials work for walkable roofs?
For high traffic roofs, composite roofing pavers are a durable and attractive option. Roofing pavers are generally made of rubber, and in many cases they are made almost entirely from recycled materials. This makes them an ecologically friendly option. Their lifespan also makes them a sustainable option, as they can last up to 50 years, further reducing waste.

How do rubber pavers work?
If you’re interested in creating a walkable roof with rubber pavers, it’s critical to use a roofing contractor experienced in this material. They will be able to talk to you about whether or not the roof surface in question is indeed up to code and weight bearing. They will also know how best to lay the foundation for these pavers so that proper drainage is achieved. Generally, a roof consists of wood sheathing which is then covered by a thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane roofing material, then a roof drain mat and then the pavers are placed on top.

How are rubber pavers eco-friendly?
The TPO material used as the base of most walkable roofs is usually white, which reflects light and heat, making the roofing structure highly efficient. On top of that, the rubber pavers are only 35% the weight of regular concrete pavers, and our brand of choice, Firestone Sky Pavers, are made of 95% recycled tires. These pavers also come in five different colors to match your needs and aesthetic and come with a 20 year warranty. For many businesses and homeowners, walkable roof surfaces with well draining roof pavers are an excellent place to create a rooftop garden. With full sunlight, plants can thrive in this scenario without the concern of weeds or using precious yard space. Not to mention the additional outdoor living space a walkable roof can create.

Can rubber pavers be used for decks and balconies?
Many of the installations we do with rubber roofing pavers are for second floor balconies and decks. This material is a great option for these areas as they are lighter than other material options such as concrete and are more durable than wood decking. They also reflect heat and are comfortable to walk on. Thanks to the color variations they also look attractive enough to be used in spaces that are directly attached to the exterior of a home.

Who should install walkable roof surfaces?
As with all roofing jobs, walkable rubber roofing pavers should be installed by a qualified and experienced licensed roofing contractor. Do the research to find a company who has experience with this material as its implementation and installation are unique. At Andrews Roofing, we have experience with these specific roofing materials, especially for oceanfront homes and homes looking to take advantage of the beautiful water views in the Hampton Roads area. If you’ve been thinking about making the most of your flat roofing or decking surface, please give us a call. We’d be happy to talk to you more about the feasibility and benefits of these roofing materials.

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