Leaks & Service Repairs

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Reroof Estimates & Inspections

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News

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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Leaks Don’t Always Start at the Roof

When you see water spots on your ceiling or water starts trickling down a wall, it’s common to assume that the cause is a defect or damage to your roof. But just because water is coming from somewhere above you, doesn’t necessarily mean your roof is to blame. Unfortunately, there can be many reasons for water leaks, so before you panic and assume you need a whole new roof, investigate some of these other alternative sources.

HVAC Systems
If you have an air handler system that resides in your attic, take a look at this first. There are myriad reasons why an HVAC unit may be leaking, so don’t dismiss it if it’s not obvious at first glance. First, check your unit’s drain pan. This is a metal pan that collects water and filters it to a drain, removing it from the house. Over time, the exposure to moisture can cause drain pans to rust and degrade, allowing water to leak out of the unit.

Another common cause of HVAC leaks is a clogged condensation drain. Over time, as water flows through this drain line, mold and mildew can build up, causing backups of condensation. If this is the cause of the leak, you will need to have an HVAC professional snake the drain, remove the obstruction and clean the line. Leaks can also be caused by faulty drain pumps or low refrigerant. If your HVAC is older or hasn’t been functioning properly, give this a look first and if you spot any issues, call in an HVAC maintenance company to inspect and repair the unit.

Hot Water Heaters
In an area like Hampton Roads where basements are few and far between, it’s not uncommon for builders to put hot water heaters in an attic. Yes, it means it’s out of the way and isn’t a daily eye sore, but it can become a big problem when (not if) it springs a leak. Hot water heaters are not meant to last forever, and they will eventually fail in one way or another.

If you have a hot water heater in your attic and have detected water spots, mold or mildew on the ceiling or in corners, check it immediately. Even a very small leak can cause major damage to joists, ceilings, insulation, and personal belongings. A licensed plumber will need to be contacted to safely remove and reinstall a new hot water heater if this is the case. You may also want to discuss with them the possibility of moving the hot water heater to a better location or switching to a tankless hot water heater.

Mortar Leaks
Mortar leaks can still cause damage to interior walls and corners as well as foundations, basements and along the length of an interior wall. Mortar joints in cinder block, stone or brick walls can deteriorate over time, allowing water to penetrate either through paths left by mortar gaps or directly through the stone. If your home is older and is brick or stone, take a look around the exterior of your house and see if you can spot any damp spots or visible gaps or missing mortar – especially around the areas where you’ve seen water damage inside. If so, you should contact a licensed contractor or mason to do the necessary repairs before the interior damage becomes worse and causes structural and foundational issues.

Siding leaks
Likewise, if you see stains like the ones described above, but your home is sided with vinyl or aluminum, there could be a similar issue. Openings at the lap joints of vinyl siding, as well as drain openings along the bottom edge of most vinyl siding products, allow the system to breathe and drain off any wind-blown rain that may enter behind the siding. If the house wrap or door or window flashing behind the siding is not properly installed or has sustained damage, the water that should be draining can enter the structure instead. These types of leaks can be slow to show up on the interior and by the time they do, they may have caused extensive wood rot, mold, and insect damage. To avoid this, do regular visual inspections of your home’s siding, looking for any gaps between planks or holes that may have been caused by storm damage or animals.

Burst Pipes
Any plumbing that runs through your walls, ceilings or attic may be the cause of water damage you spot inside your home. Particularly if your home is older and has not had any plumbing material upgrades done to it, deterioration may be occurring. Since most plumbing is hidden away behind walls, many people first detect a plumbing leak by spikes in their water bill. If your bill is suddenly significantly more than usual, it may be time to start a visual inspection of the pipes you are able to see or listen for areas where you may hear trickling or dripping. This is particularly common when you have a bathroom upstairs – toilets, sinks and bathtubs can easily spring slow leaks that over time create large, ugly water stains on the ceiling below. If this is the case, call in a professional plumber as soon as possible to fix the issue.

Window leaks
Old windows or improperly installed windows are common sources of leaks. If the casing around a window has rotted or was installed incorrectly, rainstorms can easily penetrate the exterior of your home. Often you will be able to see water coming in from the window casing, but other times the water collects between the wall and drywall, creating damp spots, mold and mildew. This can mimic the siding and mortar leaks we discussed above, so if you’re not sure what the cause is, call in a licensed contractor to help you determine the best way forward.

Gutters and fascia
Fascia is technically a part of your roof that covers the eaves above your gutter system. However, leaks in these areas are not always caused by the roof itself, but by clogged gutters. When a gutter system is full of debris, water can’t drain properly and will build up, pushing up against the fascia and causing rot. Over time this rot can allow that water buildup into the house, causing leaks that look very much like a true roof leak, with water coming down the sides of the wall or causing wet spots in corners. To avoid this, have your gutters cleaned regularly and the fascia board inspected and replaced if any rot has occurred.

If you investigate these other potential causes and still can’t find the source of the leak, it may be time to call in a qualified roofing professional. At Andrews Roofing, we provide roof inspections and repairs for all types of commercial and residential structures and on any type of roofing material. Don’t let a leak cause additional costly damage to your home. Contact us today.

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How Copper Prevents Dirt & Mold

On this commercial PVC membrane, notice the clean side is downhill and dirty side is uphill. When water runs across the copper cable it actually picks up tiny particles that distribute across the roof to prevent mold and algae growth, also inhibiting dirt accumulation. But these cables are actually a series of lightning rods, so if lightning strikes the building, its purpose would be to absorb the electrical charge and direct it to a grounding source to minimize damage to the building. This is relative to shingle roofing because the granules are designed with a copper core, which allows shingles to have an algae resistant quality.

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Does Your New Roof Have a Warranty?

When you invest your hard-earned money into your home, especially a sizable investment for something like a new roof, you want to know that you’re protected.

It’s important to understand, when pricing out a new roof and receiving quotes from roofing contractors, what the elements of a roof warranty include. There are a few different things to consider and questions to ask of anyone you’re considering hiring.

Roofing Material Warranties

Most roofing materials come with their own manufacturer warranty. For asphalt shingles, it’s common for manufacturers to provide a 25–30-year warranty, although some do offer longer or “lifetime” warranties. Many metal roofing materials are covered for up to 50 years or longer. The important thing to remember here is that their warranty only covers the material, not labor and not the cost of disposal. Some companies offer enhanced coverage you can purchase that will pay for a full replacement including workmanship for a certain period of time, but those warranties can be costly and require additional certifications and documentation by the contractor.

When receiving quotes on a new roof, ask questions about the materials and manufacturers each contractor uses, and what the warranties look like for each. A good roofing company will know their chosen manufacturer warranties inside and out and have insights about what will be best for your situation, home and location. Manufacturers will only honor warranties on their materials if they have been installed correctly and by a licensed contractor, so make sure you go with a reputable company.

Roofing Contractor Warranties

The other side of roofing warranties is the coverage that your roofing contractor provides to cover their own workmanship. These can vary widely from company to company. Because of that, it’s a good idea to get all of your quotes in writing along with a printed copy of their warranty coverage details. A workmanship warranty will typically cover damage that is caused by improper installation. Make sure the company also covers any materials that may be needed to fix the damage incurred.

At Andrews Roofing we provide a 10-year workmanship warranty on all of our shingle installs, provided we are the primary contractor to the client. This is longer than the industry norm for workmanship warranties. In addition to covering our work on new roof installations, we also warranty any repair work we do on a roof that we installed. We’ve been working in the Hampton Roads region for years, and our reputation in the community illustrates how we stand behind our work. Make sure that whoever you end up hiring has a good standing and reputation in your own community. Check online reviews and ask around with your neighbors. You can even contact the Better Business Bureau or licensing board of your state to make sure the company is in good standing.

Protecting Your Roof Warranty

It’s critical that you understand the requirements of your warranty to avoid rejected claims. If a leak or other damage is incurred, it should be promptly reported to the warranty department so corrective measures can be made as soon as possible. If you do have damage or issues, go back to your original roofing company. Unless they have proven themselves to be completely untrustworthy, it’s best to have continuity in the warranties and work. And finally, do not forget to register your warranty with the manufacturer after the work is completed if it is required. Some warranties do not require formal registration and some do, so it’s important to review your warranty package carefully when you receive it. For enhanced and upgraded warranties, the contractor may have to submit paperwork on your behalf with additional documentation.

We Stand Behind Our Work

We stand behind the work and the materials we use at Andrews Roofing. We’ve been in the business long enough to know which manufacturers do the same, and that’s who we use and recommend to our clients. Our exceptional workmanship warranty and reputation in the Tidewater Region can help you have confidence in your home investment for many years to come. Contact us today for a quote on your new roof.

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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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