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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ice Dam Identification and Prevention

Knowing how to identify an ice dam and how to prevent them from happening are key to protecting your roof and home from potential damage during the snowy, winter months. 

What is an Ice Dam? 

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof. It prevents melting snow from draining off the roof into the gutters and off the edges. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.

How do you know if you have an Ice Dam? 

Most ice dams form on the edge of your roof, however they might also form in other locations, depending on the style of the roof, orientation of the roof and the slope of the roof. 

  • Check the icicles around the exterior of your roof.  Icicles often precede ice dams. Depending on their size and location, icicles can also be dangerous if they fall off. Whenever possible, and if safe to do so, remove icicles from the exterior of your home. Take precautions to stay safe by not standing directly below them as they are removed.  Sometimes a professional may need to be called in if the icicles are too dangerous to safely remove on your own. 
  • Check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls of your house. Be sure to check the corners where leaks can start. Water stains or moisture can be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.

  • How do you prevent Ice Dams from forming on the roof?

    By increasing ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof, you will help to prevent the formation of ice dams through out the winter months. 

    • Increasing Ventilation
    A poorly constructed attic or roof assembly can lead to excessive energy losses, ice dams, mold, rot, and lots of unnecessary repairs and problems. The reasoning behind roof venting varies depending on climate, in Wisconsin, a builder would need to take an array of climates into consideration as we have both cold and hot weather at times. For the purposes of this article, we are only speaking about the cold weather reasonings. In the cold the primary purpose of ventilation is to maintain a cold roof temperature to avoid ice dams created by melting snow and to vent any moisture that moves from the conditioned living space to the attic. 
    • Adding Insulation
    Adding insulation on the attic floor and sides help to  keep the heat where it belongs, inside of the house. You should check the R-rating of the products that you're using and try to get the highest R-rating possible. You will want to learn about the differences in the types of insulation and find the one that works best for your home and budget. An insulation expert from S & E Insulation can help you with that decision by providing you with the most up to date insulation on new insulation products. 
    • Sealing Air Leaks 
    There are many places on your roof and home that need to be sealed to prevent leaks and air pockets. Be sure that areas such as flash around chimneys, ducts, electrical cables and vent pipes, exhaust to the outside from kitchen and bathrooms and any sky lights need to be checked and sealed. 
    • Getting a professional audit done
    Not everyone is able to find the air pockets or feels comfortable getting on top of the roof and climbing into the attic to check for leaks and moisture, this is where a professional roof and insulation audit is required. A quality roofing or insulation company such as Allrite Home & Remodeling or S & E Insulation , will take the time to find your air leaks and moisture problems to insure a winter with out ice dam formation on your roof. 

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    5 Impacts that Insulation can have in your home.

    When you are too cold or too hot, getting comfortable in your home can be difficult. The weather plays a huge role in our day to day lives affecting our moods and at times our abilities. For someone with a chronic health condition, weather can have a major impact on our health.
    Allowing the weather into your home through air leaks can cause an abundance of issues including health problems, structural problems to the home and comfort level issues.  Here are five impacts of good insulation in your home: 

     Stay Warmer in the Winter and Cooler in the Summer

    The amount of insulation that you put into your home and the type of insulation used play a key role in insuring that your home is warm all winter and cool in the summer. Some products work better then others depending on t
    he R-value of the product. The R-Value is a measure of thermal resistance, and is used to determine how well the product insulates. The more the product insulates and protects, the higher the R-Value. Asking an insulation specialist, such as one from the S & E team, about specific R-Values can help you determine what course of action is best for your home and your family. 

      Structural Damage to Your Home

     By trapping pockets of air and slowing down the in/out process, insulation keeps the out door air from seeping into your home and the indoor air from seeping out. By reducing the number of trapped air pockets and leaks you have in a home, you are reducing the chances of moisture from being trapped in the structure of your home causing damage and mold. A good way to find out exactly where air pockets and leaks are located is by having an Energy Audit completed by a professional auditor. An auditor will use a number of resources and tools to find the leaks and pockets creating a plan for the insulation team. The Department of Energy has an entire page dedicated to the importance and facts about an energy audit that you can find here

     Improved Air Quality 
    When you have properly insulated your home, you are protecting your home from outside allergens and pollutants that can result in indoor air quality problems. The cleanliness of the air inside of your home is determined by the air flow and conditions which the air moves around. Advancements in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems can help to improve the air quality along with good insulation. When the air quality is poor, families can notice a decline in their respiratory health with issues such as breathing problems, coughing, sneezing and worsened asthma symptoms. 

     Reduction of Drafts

    Another cause for concern that can be reduced by properly insulating your home is drafts through out the space. A draft can cause issues with health and structural damage to the home if moisture comes in through the draft. Nothing worse then cuddling in your favorite chair only to feel a ice cold breeze every few minutes because your home is lacking insulation around a window, door or outlet. 

     Improved insulation Saves Money

    Loss of energy equals loss of dollars. As heating and air conditioned air seeps through the leaks in the home, it forces the HVAC system to work harder to keep up with the loss. Good quality insulation that has been professionally installed to prevent air leaks can reduce home energy by as much as 40% depending on the type of insulation and the R-Value. To learn the variables that come with the different types of insulation product and R-Values, you should contact a professional insulation company such as S & E Insulation. Our staff is fully trained on the latest in products and ratings to help you make a money saving choice for your future. 

    Monday, September 5, 2016

    Exterior Design Trends That Increase Home Sales

    In a recent article by Hearth and Home Magazine, the exterior of your home is a leading driver in the saleability of your property second only to size.

    During a recent study by Harris Interactive, 78% of buyers rank the exterior look of the home as “extremely” or “very important” when determining on the purchase of a house. With statistics like this, it is no wonder that companies such as CertainTeed have developed such a wide arrange of products to choose from to compliment each home style.

    When it comes to designing the new look to your home for sale, there are several trends to keep in mind as you build such as:
    •  Low Maintenance Products:  Consumers are searching for homes that involve little to no maintenance on the exterior siding and design of the home. Long gone are the days of people wanting to paint every year. Instead opt for a good quality, low maintenance siding product that requires only the occasional washing. 
    • Arts and Crafts Detailing: Don’t skimp on the little details that set your home apart from others in the market. Items like wood porches, low- pitched gabled roof, shingled siding, decorative trim and tapered columns all add a certain something to the look of a home.
    • Transom Windows:  These small windows add a lot of character and charm to a home and are relatively inexpensive when compared to the attraction it brings from buyers. Consider adding a Transom Window above an entrance door for a great look.
    •  Sustainable Materials:  As the world becomes more environmentally aware, home buyers are looking for products that are environmentally friendly. Products such as CertainTeeds Cedar Impressions Siding meets the Green Building Standards and are a hot product for home buyers. They contain a minimum of 60% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled material.
    •  Grand Entrances: Double doors entering into a foyer is now a big trend as it offers a new look to the home. Buyers are also still attracted to the single entrance with the sidelights but this trend is fast being replaced. Consider a good quality wood looking door of either Oak or Mahogany that sets off the front entrance and gives the home a feeling of warmth.

    Monday, July 18, 2016

    Should I be concerned about that? Signs of a failing roof.

    Over time every home's roof begins to show the signs of wear due to weather conditions and age, however, you can prevent yourself from having major roofing problems by following with these simple check up steps on your roof.  
    1.  Missing Shingles:   Sometimes this is as easy as walking around your yard after a big storm to find the missing shingles. Other times, you need to get up on the roof and take a look. Missing shingles is cause for concern, as that the water can begin to leak into the roofing decking or sheathing. 
    2. Gutter Granules:   Check inside of your gutters at least once in the spring and fall while clearing out debris. While removing leaves and such, look for tiny roofing granules that gather at the bottom of the gutters. This granules will leave areas of your roof looking darker then others where the shingles have worn. 
    3. Roof Valleys:    A roof valley is where two sections of the roof come together making a ridge type valley. This area should be checked thoroughly, as that this is where the rain and snow gather the most. A hole or missing shingles in this are can cause roof leakage. 
    4. Buckling and Curling Shingles:    A shingle does not have to be missing to be a problem, as that shingles that are curling out or buckling in can be just as damaging to the roof. When checking your roof, make sure that no curling or buckling shingles exist. 
    5. Age Does Matter:    In the roofing industry the standard roof will last 20-25 years depending on the type of materials used and amount of damage the roof has had. 
    6. Leaking Roof Boards or Light Coming through:    You should check your attack at least twice a year for wet spots, water stains, light shining through the roof boards or damp insulation. Any of these mean that your roof has some holes in it and it should be replaced.
    7. Spongy Feel when you walk on it:    If you walk around on your roof and it feels soft or spongy in places this is an area that is having some leaking or weakened roof issues. 

    If you spend some time each year checking for these simple things, it may save your home from serious roofing problems. For those who do not have time, or the ability to check your roof, contacting a professional roofing company such as Allrite Home & Remodeling, for a roof inspection is also an option. 

    Friday, March 4, 2016

    5 tips for Historical Renovation of your old home.

    If you have an older home that is in need of Historical Renovation there are some important decisions that you need to consider before signing with a contractor.

    Because of the delicate nature of this type of work, specialized care needs to be used when updating a home to its original historical glory.

    So, how do you balance your renovation project with respect to the original design of the house?

    1) Prioritize What You Want To Change

    Many times home owners get caught up in the ideas they have with restoring their home that the list of repairs gets rather long. Before starting any home restoration project, you should sit down and decide what projects should be done first and which can wait. Create a master plan which maps out what projects get handled when. We suggest that you take care of any items that can effect the structure of your home first. Items like roof leeks and window leaks  can cause damage if not taken care of right away. Old electric systems can be a fire risk. Decide what is a priority and label it in your master plan. Do this with each item on your renovation list until each project has a place and is handled by priority. 

    2) Respect its architecture of the roof lines and pitches 

    Be careful not to destroy the integrity of your home by adding a roof that does not meet the historical concepts of the original architecture. Altering the roof's design can ruin your home's proportions. If your home was made with a slate roof as the home pictured here, be sure that the contractor you use specialized in historical preservation and understands the design. Also, make sure that they have access to the products needed to meet the projects needs. In this case, had we changed the home from a slate roof to a shingled roof or a copper roof, the look would have not been the same and the project would have failed. 

    3) Replicate Original Exterior Details and avoid cutting corners. 

    When working on a restoration project, considerations must be made for repairing and not replacing certain aspects of the design. For instance, those big beautiful columns that are on porches sometimes are in need of repair due to weather and rot. Some people are going with a style of post that is straight from the lumber yard that is not a pillar but 2 x 4's to cut cost. This changes the look and feel of the original architecture. Instead, you should consider getting new big fat pillars to replace them with. Sometimes these have to be special ordered but the wait is worth it. Also, when looking at restoring things like the interior plastered medallions, it is best to find a craftsman to work on these projects with you. This may cost a little more however, it plaster is a key historic element of any old house.

    4)  Sometimes what you don't know can hurt you. 

    Just because you don't see it, does not mean that it shouldn't be a big part of your restoration project. Older homes are known for having problems such as asbestos, lead, radon, mold and wood rot. All of these environmental issues can cause health problems. Before you start any restoration project, you should always keep a reserve fund handy in the event that these problems are found so that they can be taken care of properly.

    5) Windows are a key part of any restoration project. 

    It is common for older homes to have unique window styles such as curved arches, rounded corners and crafted wood work. Try to stick to a style as close to what the original window looked like. In some cases, you may have to have the window repaired rather then replaced. There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of these windows and speaking to an expert will help you achieve the look and the energy efficiency that you're looking for. Be careful to find the right company to do the job. Many novice remodelers will replace the windows completely with one's they picked up at a local hardware store. Our suggestion is to see if an expert can get you custom made windows that keep the historic look of the home instead.