Leaks & Service Repairs

757-399-3066 ext 3 (Leaks & Service Repairs)

Reroof Estimates & Inspections

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

Category: Commercial Roofing

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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How to Protect Your Roofing Investment

A new roof may be one of the largest investments you make in your home.

So, once you’ve made that upgrade, it’s important to protect it. Most people don’t spend much time thinking about their roof – until something goes wrong. But some forethought and a little regular maintenance can extend its life and the value you get out of it. Here are a few tips on how to extend the life of this important home investment.

Keep those gutters clean

One of the most critical things you can do to help your roof remain healthy and stable is to keep your gutters clean and clear of debris. When gutters are clogged, water can push up under the shingles, causing rot and damage to the sheathing below. Clogged gutters can also cause excess water to fall off the edge of the gutter and right toward your home’s foundation. Over time, this can cause foundation cracks, moisture damage, termites, basement flooding and more.

While it’s critical to keep your gutters clean, it’s also important to stay safe. If you plan to clean your own gutters, always do so with another person who can stabilize the ladder while you clean. Otherwise, find a locally owned and operated company who provides professional gutter cleaning services and get on their schedule for regular seasonal or semi-annual maintenance.

Do a regular visual inspection

A simple visual inspection once a month, or right after large storms, can help identify potential trouble spots. Things to look for include cracked or curled shingles, missing flashing, loose shingles or flashing, or mold or mildew build up on shingles. Inside your home you can do regular visual inspections in your attic or crawl space. Check for damp areas, excessive drafts, and of course – obvious holes or water damage.

If you see any of these issues, give your roofing contractor a call. There may be warranties on your roofing materials that could help solve the issue. If there has been true damage to your roof or interior, it may also be time to call your insurance agent.

Keep your roof clean

In addition to being unsightly, areas of mold, mildew and algae on your roof can actually lead to more serious damage. Mildew can cause shingles to warp over time, losing their stability and protective purpose. It can also be indicative of worse water damage to your roof’s sheathing. We do not recommend cleaning your roof yourself, as this can be a dangerous activity. Find a qualified, professional cleaning service who can do this for you on an as-needed basis.

Trim your trees

One of the best ways to prevent damage to your roof is to keep the trees and landscaping around your roof trimmed and maintained. Trees with overhanging branches should be cut back by a professional tree service as should any nearby dead or dying trees. After any major storms, check the trees on your property to make sure no branches have broken and gotten caught up on lower limbs – these can become damaging flying debris in the next storm.

Keep an eye on your attic

Your attic is the foundation of a healthy roof. It provides two critical elements for a long roof life: ventilation and insulation. Proper ventilation in your roof, along with appropriate insulation, eliminates moisture build up that can combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness. A licensed contractor can help if you think either of these two things may be lacking in your attic.

Call a professional roofing company

If your self-inspections reveal any of the issues mentioned above, it’s important to call a local, licensed roofing company. Roof repairs are too serious and potentially dangerous to be DIY. Protect the rest of your home by maintaining a healthy roof alongside a trusted roofing company.

If you’ve noticed any issues with your roof, or would like to have your roof inspected for damage and deterioration, contact Andrews Roofing today. We’d be happy to come out to your home and help determine what your next best steps are – whether that’s a roof repair or replacement.

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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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