Leaks & Service Repairs

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Reroof Estimates & Inspections

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Category: Commercial Roofing

Under the Same Roof: How to Repair and Replace Shared Roofing Structures

If you live in a townhouse, condo or rowhouse situation in which you share a roof with your neighbors, you likely have legitimate concerns about ever having to repair or replace it.

A shared roof can pose unique challenges for homeowners living beneath them, especially when there are no condo or homeowner associations to manage the decision making. If your home has a shared roof, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Get to Know Your Neighbors
For many reasons, it’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors. But it’s particularly important if you share walls, fences, roofs, yards, etc. The better you know your neighbors, the more likely you are to have an amicable discussion about repairs and replacements when the time comes. You’ll also be more aware of their specific situation and whether they are ready and willing to invest money in their home.

It’s also a good idea to have frank conversations with your neighbors about where they stand on shared repairs so no one is taken by surprise when something comes up. These conversations are easier to have when there isn’t an emergency or dire need so people don’t feel pressured to make a decision.

Get Ahead of the Problem
An ounce of maintenance is worth a pound of repair. Talk to your neighbors about having your roof professionally inspected every few years, and work together to ensure the roof is maintained from the outside, keeping gutters clear and debris removed. Each of you should also be checking your attic spaces to check for moisture, leaks or ventilation issues, and keeping each other informed of what you find.

This is more important than you’d think, but we’ve personally seen neighbors suing neighbors because one person’s roof was causing a leak on the other homeowner’s side due to disrepair. Nipping these issues in the bud early can prevent a lot of headache and cost down the line.

Work Together
If and when the time comes for a roofing replacement, it is possible to work together with your neighbors to come to a solution. We have replaced roofs for multiple owners under the same roof who worked together to find the right contractor, material, color and installation schedule that worked for all of them. Don’t assume this is an impossibility. Give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt that they also want to make sure their home is well maintained and protected.

The first and most important thing to do is to discuss your budget and what each homeowner is reasonably willing and able to spend on the project. The next step is to decide who will be in charge of certain responsibilities. For instance, will one person be in charge of collecting all the estimates, or should each neighbor schedule and report back on a single estimate? Will one person be responsible for cutting the check and getting payment from everyone else, or will the contractor accept equal payments from each person directly? Does someone need to finance their portion? If so, then they may need to work directly with the contractor to set up a payment plan, while everyone else can pay their share in cash.

Finally, it’s critical to be flexible. Not everyone is going to agree on every single thing, whether it’s budget, contractor, material or color. Talk about your non-negotiables and try to find some common ground to reach a solution that meets everyone’s top needs. But don’t go into the situation assuming you will get every single thing you want on your checklist.

Last Resort: Go It Alone
It is possible in some cases to have a single portion of a shared roof repaired or replaced if you cannot get your neighbors on board for a full reroofing. It is by no means ideal, and it’s important to note that it can impact warranties and workmanship guarantees. But, if your roof is damaged or at the end of its life, you’re better off doing something now and avoiding further damage than waiting for all your neighbors to get on the same page.

If you have a shared roof situation and need an estimate, advice or inspection, give Andrews Roofing a call. We’ve worked with families in the Hampton Roads region for decades and we know this area’s specific types of housing scenarios so we can give you the best solution to your roofing problem. Contact us today.

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Four New Year’s Roofing Resolutions

It’s the beginning of a new year, and that means it’s time for resolutions.
Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around self-improvement, but the truth is, you’re great just the way you are. So instead, we suggest making some home-improvement resolutions that don’t require a scale, a short-lived gym membership, or eventual self-loathing. Here are a few that can improve not just your home, but your enjoyment of it as well.

Monthly Inspections
This resolution is easy to implement, only takes a few minutes and can help save your home from preventable damage. Once a month, do a visual inspection of the exterior of your home. Add it to your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, or whatever you use to keep track of recurring tasks.

From the outside of your house, walk the perimeter and look for any holes or damage to siding, loose flashing, loose or missing shingles, brittle or broken shingles, moisture around your foundation, debris that may have landed on your roof, mildew or algae buildup or anything else that seems out of place or damaged. From the inside, peek into your attic and make sure all the rafters and roof decking are dry, that the ventilation is working properly and that insulation is in place. Take a look out any windows that may give you a view of dormers or roofing valleys that aren’t visible from the ground.

If you spot any damage, take photos – especially if you believe the damage requires an insurance claim – and call in a licensed contractor to have a second look and give an estimate for repairs. Your visual inspection should only take a few minutes but could save you thousands of dollars and lots of headaches down the road. As they say in medicine, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Gutter Cleaning
Your monthly visual inspection may give you an idea of when your gutters need to be cleaned out, but you also may not be able to see all the debris in your gutters from the safety of the ground (which is the only place we recommend doing an inspection yourself). In Hampton Roads, the amount of foliage and storm debris increases the likelihood of needing a good gutter cleaning. While many websites and professionals will say cleaning your gutters twice a year is fine, we recommend once per season if you live in Southeast Virginia.

This year, resolve to have a professional gutter cleaning service come to your house every three months. You can schedule these cleanings in advance, so you don’t even have to think about it once you’ve made the initial call. The great thing about having a professional gutter cleaning is that it can reduce the likelihood of roof damage from water that builds up and pushes up under your roofing material when gutters are overfilled with debris. It also means there are professional eyes on your roof several times a year. A good cleaning company will alert you if they see any damage, debris or signs of aging that you should know about – all without you ever having to climb a ladder.

Make the Repairs
Maybe you already know your roof is in need of repairs. Perhaps you’ve seen the shingles fly off during a storm, or you can hear flashing or loose gutters banging around on a windy night. If so, then the new year is the perfect time to resolve to finally have it fixed.

Taking care of these types of repairs extends the life of your roof, saving you money and protecting your investment. A simple repair may have a small upfront cost, but in the long term it will be well worth it. Make sure to call in a professional, licensed roofing contractor to make the repairs. It may also be the case that the damage that needs to be repaired is under warranty, in which case you may not even have to pay out of pocket. If you think this is the case, find your original paperwork and reach out to the manufacturer or installer to make a claim.

New Year, New Roof
Lastly, if you know it’s time, then make this the year that you finally get that old roof replaced. Living under a roof that is past its recommended life span is just asking for trouble and interior damage that will not be covered by insurance. In the Tidewater region, the majority of residential roofs are asphalt shingles, which typically have a lifespan of 20-30 years. So, if your home was built before 1993 or if your home’s roof hasn’t been replaced since then, it’s likely time to make this a priority.

Roof replacements typically happen in the spring and fall, so if you know ahead of time that you will be needing a new roof this year, start vetting roofing companies now during the slower months. Gather several estimates and start researching your options for materials, colors, manufacturers, etc. Once you’ve made your decisions, get on your chosen roofing company’s installation schedule and get the materials ordered. Some materials are taking significantly longer to get in stock because of supply chain issues, so the sooner you can make your decisions and place orders, the better.

At Andrews Roofing we want to wish all of our Hampton Roads neighbors a beautiful, blessed 2023. If you find yourself in need of roofing repairs, replacements or inspections, we would be happy to help you determine the right course of action for your home so that you can enjoy it for many more years to come. 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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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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How to Know When Your Roof Needs a Checkup

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care, but that doesn’t just apply to your physical health. The same could be said for anything you maintain, including your house and its major systems such as your roof. While there’s no getting around the fact that a roof will eventually need to be replaced, there are many things that can happen over the course of a roof’s lifespan that should be serviced, repaired and maintained. This is especially true in areas prone to severe weather such as the Hampton Roads region.

But how do you know when you should call in a professional roofing contractor? Here are a few things to keep an eye out for to help extend the lifespan of your roof.

Curling, cracking or buckling shingles are a tell-tale sign that your roof needs some attention. You may also notice asphalt granules in your gutters, which have deteriorated from damaged shingles. This doesn’t mean you need an entirely new roofing system! While this type of roof symptom can sometimes be a sign that a roof has reached the end of its serviceable life, it can also be an isolated incident that simply needs to be repaired or patched.

While it may not necessitate a total replacement, shingles that are damaged or worn should be a high priority on your home to-do list. Just a few curling shingles can allow water to penetrate your roof causing leaks, mildew and other interior damage.

Speaking of interior damage, dark spots on your ceiling or walls also signal that it’s time to have a roofing professional come out and inspect. Even if you don’t see a hole or missing or damaged shingles from the outside, the leak may still be the result of a failure in your roofing system such as loose or missing flashing, backed up gutters or damage that simply isn’t visible from the ground.

Dark spots indicate that moisture has penetrated your roof, the sheathing, decking, and potentially attic flooring. These are serious signs that should be attended to as soon as possible by a professional to ensure additional damage does not occur and that harmful mold and mildew do not start to grow.

Moisture in your attic may also be a sign of problems with your roof as well as your insulation. If you find that the insulation, wood, flooring, ductwork or other items in your attic seem damp, it may be caused by a lack of proper ventilation and/or unsatisfactory insulation. But these issues, over time, can also affect the health of your roof by causing water damage to decking from the underside. An ideal attic temperature is close to that of the temperature outside. This prevents condensation, which is often the cause of interior moisture damage. A licensed professional contractor will need to address these issues if you find them.

Of course, sometimes all of these things indicate that a roof has simply reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. Most modern asphalt shingle roofs have a lifespan of 20-30 years. In the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and across the Tidewater region, many homes and large neighborhoods were constructed in the 1990’s, making them the age now to need total replacement.

A qualified roofing company can provide you with a roofing checkup to help you determine whether a repair or total roof replacement makes the most sense for your home and budget. At Andrews Roofing, we provide professional evaluations, customized quotes and affordable financing options as well. Whether you think your roof needs an ounce of prevention or a pound of care, we can help. Contact Andrews Roofing today.

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Roofing 101: Steep Slope vs. Low Slope

All roofs can be divided into two categories: steep and low slope. Low slope roofs have become increasingly popular on residential structures thanks to their clean, modern design and their ability to accommodate patios, gardens and more.

It’s important to understand the difference between the two when determining what type of structure to install, replace or repair or when choosing appropriate roofing materials.

Steep Slope
Steep slope roofs are technically any roof with a slope of 25% or more. They consist of five basic components:

  1. Roof covering – this could be shingles, tile, slate, cedar shake, or metal, as well as the underlayment that sits beneath them to protect the sheathing from weather.
  2. Sheathing – this is the board or sheet materials that are directly attached to the roof rafters that make up the roofline. This material must be covered by an underlayment material and roofing material (above) in order to remain structurally sound.
  3. Roof structure refers to the rafters and trusses that are structurally supporting the roof sheathing. This is the framing of the roofline which is a part of the skeleton of the house.
  4. Flashing is usually sheet metal that is installed at any point on a roof where there are joints, valleys, vents or chimneys. They function to prevent water seepage at these vulnerable spots.
  5. Drainage is a critical component of the overall roof design. It ensures that water is shed from the roof in a way that doesn’t compromise the structure at any point. Drainage has to be considered when designing the layout, shape and slope of any roof structure.

Low Slope
For all intents and purposes, a “low slope” roof is usually flat, but technically it refers to any roof that is between 0% and 24% sloped. They also consist of the same five basic elements, but the details differ somewhat.

  1. Roof covering for low slope roofs often consist of a single-ply membrane such as TPO, E.P.D.M., Modified Bitumen, or PVC. It is also common to see what are called “built up systems” which are composed of multiple layers of sheet materials and asphalt, often covered with a gravel coating. Other material options include spray foam or metal. All materials require an underlayment between them and the roof sheathing.
  2. Sheathing for low slope roofs can differ quite a bit from steep slopes. There are some structures with basic wood boards like a residential structure, but you may also see metal, concrete, gypsum, tectum and other fibrous materials.
  3. Roof structures of a low slope roof are conceptually the same – rafters, trusses and joists that support the sheathing, but the materials here may differ as well and could be steel, wood, or concrete.
  4. Flashing does not differ much from a steep slope installation and serves the same purpose to prevent water seepage at vulnerable spots.
  5. Drainage for a low slope roof is critical since the basic design of it does not shed water the way a steep slope roof does. For low slope roofs with any sort of incline, gutters, internal drains and downspouts can be effective. For truly flat roofs, special design considerations need to be made, and options like stepped slope insulation may be a safer bet.

Either roof can have its challenges. Obviously steeper slopes are more difficult to access and for shingled steep roofs, they will have a harder time fighting gravity over time. Mansard shingled roofs, for example, sometimes have nails tear through the shingles as they age. On the other hand lower slopes that are “walkable” and shingled, but still have a slope that falls within the shingle manufacturer’s specifications for shingle installation, can present greater challenges with wind-driven rain getting under the shingles, debris accumulation, needing additional barriers for protection such as ice & water shield, etc.

Any solid roofing solution – whether it’s for a home or commercial building – should balance all five of these components. At Andrews Roofing, we address each of these components equally when consulting with clients and assessing roofing needs. While the roof covering may have the most visual impact, we understand that everything below that is just as critical. If you have questions about what type of roof is ideal for your structure, or if you need a steep or low slope roof repaired or replaced, contact Andrews Roofing. We have decades of experience in both commercial roofing and residential roofing construction in Hampton Roads and we’d be happy to come out and give you an estimate and professional recommendation.

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