Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Do Bad Gutters Cause Roof Damage?

Maintain your gutters to prevent roof damage. Gutters are essential for keeping water from pooling around your exterior walls and foundation, but effective gutters are also an important part of maintaining the roof of your home. Gutters are susceptible to damage from weather or time, but poor installation and inappropriate building materials are also culprits in the case of bad gutters. Ignoring problems with bad gutters can lead to serious and costing roof damage. Does this Spark an idea?

Choosing Gutters

Choosing the most durable and cost-effective gutters for your home can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Aluminum gutters are one of the most common materials for gutters because they are resistant to corrosion and comparatively inexpensive. Steel gutters are also a durable material, and they are less likely to expand and contract with fluctuating temperatures, but they are more expensive to install. A durable material is less likely to crack and bend, both of which are common causes of gutter-caused roof damage. Other considerations in choosing gutters include limited seams, simple profiles and gutter screens to keep out debris.


Downspouts are responsible for carrying rainwater and small pieces of debris away from the roof gutter. Downspouts typically feature a joint at the end of the spout so that water doesn't pool around the foundation and cause leaks. If debris collects at the joint and causes a clog, water will collect in the gutter that runs across the roof line. Pooling water along the roof line rots the wood and leaves your roof vulnerable to leaks and damage. If your house is particularly long, you may need more than one downspout to manage heavy rains and prevent backup along the roof gutter.


Clogged gutters are the most common cause of malfunctioning gutters. Open-top gutters are collection zones for leaves, sticks and acorns. In some cases, gutters serve as nesting spaces for birds and squirrels. When a gutter is blocked, water spills over the edge of the gutter. The collecting water soaks and rots the materials of your roof. If still water remains in a debris-filled gutter after the rainfall, moss and mold will possibly grow inside your gutters and along your roof.

Installation Problems

Even gutters that are properly installed may cause roof problems down the road. One consideration during installation is the pitch or angle of both the roof and the gutter. To accommodate the specific angle of your roof, the gutter must be hung at a pitch so that water will collect inside the gutter rather than flow in front of or behind the gutter. Over time, gutters may loosen from their joints and disrupt the pitch, causing water to flow behind the gutter and along the roof line instead. Even well-attached gutters can be ripped from the roof during high winds or heavy snow. The force of the gutter pulling from the roof may also cause acute damage to roof wood or shingles.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reasons to Use Gutter Guards

When you own a home you will be taking on the task of having to clean out your gutters. Yes, this happened a few times a year. Before the winter, after the winter, before summer and before fall; especially when the leave start falling. Gutter Guards

The reason why you have gutters is to deflect rain water into the gutter and pass through the gutter drain. The problems most home owners have is this; their gutters are catching leaves, sticks, twigs, birds building nests in the guards. No matter how many times you clean them out there is always something. Even the best gutter guards will not keep out everything.

Gutter guards are good at keeping out the large pieces of debris, like sticks and leaves and birds from making nests. There are different types of gutter guards there are guards made from mesh, wire, vinyl and aluminum. There are guards that fit over the gutter and the mesh ones fit in the gutter. What happens when your gutters are clean and it rains you will see a stream of water come down the drainpipe. When the gutter are clogged or there is an obstruction then the guards need to be cleaned and this can happen even though you have guards.

Benefits of Gutter Guards

There are benefits to using gutter guards; by installing them and keeping the gutter functional you will have the maximum benefit of the gutters themselves, you will be able to keep the flow of water moving so your basement and patios don’t accumulate with water. The guards help protect the concrete around the home. The color of concrete and brick are protected. You will not create mud and mud puddles on the grass.

By having gutter guards you are preventing a back up of water from the roof from cutting into the home. Gutter guards can also be a great asset in the winter because it prevents freezing.

Clogged gutters can also manifest puddles of water. When you have gutters full of stagnant puddles of water for a long period of time, they attract mosquitoes, weeds and grasses can grow there as well causing a breeding ground for bugs (and the West Nile Virus).

You have to keep in mind as great as gutter guards are that gutter will still need to be cleaned. There is no sure fire way to keep the gutters clean. Guards only help protect not prevent the gutters from becoming clogged. You will still need to clean them. Especially before the winter. If you live in an area that has a high volume of snow and the gutters are not clear then the snow will pile up on the roof and cause major problems for you over time.

When you go to your local home improvement store ask the sales people what they recommend that you use. Then ask them if you will have to still clean the gutters, the sales people will tell you no but give your self a challenge. Install the guards and then wait until the fall. Into the first week of leaves falling you will know whether or not the gutter do what they are intended to do.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hail Roof Damage

Hailstones are pellets of ice that sometimes form during thunderstorms. Hailstones can range in size; they can be as small as peas, or smaller, or as large as golf balls, and occasionally bigger than that. Even small-sized hail has the potential to damage structures on impact.


  • Severe hail damage can involve splits in wooden roof shingles. On asphalt shingles, hail can cause severe granule loss. In these cases, a portion of a roof, or the entire roof, may need to be replaced after the storm.


  • If the hail is smaller, damage to the roof may be mild. Mild damage will appear as small indentation marks that should dissipate over time and not effect the life of the roof shingle. In this case, the damage is cosmetic and is not a cause for alarm.


  • A 2009 San Angelo Standard-Times article explains that although significant damage doesn't usually occur unless a hailstone is at least the size of a golf ball, small hailstones can cause tiny exposures in the shingles, which can develop into damage over time.

Roof Inspection

  • To properly assess hail damage, it's necessary to schedule an inspection by a qualified roof specialist. Many insurance companies will not cover the cost of hail damage without a professional roof inspection.


  • There is no such thing as a fully hail-proof roof, according to However, individuals can invest in hail-resistant roofs. Most roofs are awarded ratings based on their ability to weather a hailstorm.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why All St. Charles Siding Contractors are not Created Equal

Have you been thinking about getting new siding for your home? Perhapes you are thinking about selling your home in a few years and want to start getting your home ready for it's "close-up". One mistake that many homeowners make is assuming that all St. Charles siding contractors are the same. Many homeowners are in such a rush to get the job done that they fail to ask the right questions and hire the person who says they can get the job done for a reasonable price. Your home is your most valuable asset and if you are leaving the exterior of your home up to some guy that you know little about is not a wise idea. The exterior of your home is the first thing people see when they visit your home - it is worth taking a little extra time to get it right.
Before you start getting in touch with St. Charles siding contractors, think about the type of siding you would like to have. Sometimes you will need to meet with a few contractors before you know the answer to this question. One may be an expert in fiber cement siding, like HardieBoard and HardiePlank shingles, while others may only offer vinyl siding.
Here are some of the questions you might ask upon meeting them.
  • Do you have a contractor's license in Missouri? May I see it?
  • Are you insured and bonded? Ask for details on thier insurance policy.
  • Is installing exterior siding products your primary business?
  • How long have you been installing siding?
  • Which types of siding material do you recommend? Why?
  • How long does it usually take from start to finish?
  • How soon would my job be completed if I hired you?
  • What will my cost be for this project?
  • Does this price include removal of old siding and clean up?

These may seem like simple questions, but they will give you enough information to make an informed decision. Whenever possible, conduct this interview in person with the owner of the business and get a written estimate that includes as much detail as possible about the contractor's recommendation. Obviously, the more St. Charles siding contractors you meet with, the easier it will become to make the right choice.

Once you had meet with a handful of siding contractors and all of your questions are satifactorily answered, it's time to make a decision. Make sure you have a comfort level with the siding manufacturer that you choose and don't be afraid to ask for references. Before you sign any paperwork , be sure you have a clear estimate of the cost of the job and a well defined project timeline. If nothing else you will be able to determine which St. Charles siding contractor suites you best and what materials they offer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Replace old windows with Energy-efficient models

Replace Old Windows with Energy-Efficient Models
By: Karin Beuerlein
Published: August 28, 2009
Adding new energy-efficient windows can pay off at resale, as well as boost your energy savings—$126-$465 annually—if you choose the right ones.
Home + $ = savings

Save Money: Med $126-$465/yr (in energy)

Value Added: High $8,200-$10,600

Effort: Med 3-5 days (planning/install)

Investment: High $270-$1,000/window (w/ labor)

Adding new energy-efficient windows can pay off at resale, as well as boost your energy savings.

If your windows are more than 15 years old, you may be putting up with draftiness, windows that stick in their frames, and skyrocketing energy bills. Energy-efficient windows would be a great improvement, but replacement can be very expensive. In a 2007 survey conducted by Consumer Reports, half of respondents spent $8,000 or more to replace all the windows in their homes, and 16% shelled out $15,000+.

Windows recoup much of their cost .
The range for energy-efficient window pricing is wide, but Energy Star-qualified windows start around $120 for a 36” x 72” single-hung window and can go up 10 times that. With labor, you’re looking at about $270 to $800+ per window. Typically, windows at the low end of the price spectrum are less energy efficient.

But that doesn’t mean the numbers can’t make sense for you. For starters, window replacement is one of the best home remodeling projects in terms of investment return: For vinyl windows, you can recoup about 75% of the project cost in added home value, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report.

Based on the projects outlined in Cost vs. Value, that’s a value add of about $8,200 to $10,600. Plus, if you choose windows that qualify for the new federal tax credit (U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient ratings must be 0.3 or less), you can effectively lop $1,500 off the purchase price.
You’re also likely to see modest savings on your energy bill. In general, you’ll save $126 to $465 a year if single-pane windows in a 2,000-square-foot house are replaced with tax-credit-eligible windows, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, a coalition of government agencies, research organizations, and manufacturers that promotes efficient window technology.

Keep in mind, though, that the savings can vary widely by climate, local energy costs, and the energy efficiency of both the windows purchased and the windows being replaced. Finally, you may qualify for low-interest loans or other incentives offered by your local utility that can sweeten the deal.

Sample costs, incentives
Here’s a hypothetical situation to help frame your purchase decision:

Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Old windows: Double-pane, non-Energy Star windows

New windows: Energy Star-qualified, tax credit-qualified vinyl windows

Purchase price plus installation: $10,500

Subtract tax credit: -$1,500

Subtract local utility rebate for installing Energy Star replacement windows (12 windows, $25 each): -$300

Net price: $8,700

The Des Moines homeowner could recoup about 70% of the project cost at resale, according to estimates in Cost vs. Value. From a net price of $8,700, the owner has “lost” only $1,350.
And his annual energy savings will be $91. Had the original windows been single-paned non-Energy Star, his annual savings would be $385. Double-paned windows are more common.

Evaluate price vs. energy efficiency
The range for energy-efficient window pricing is wide, but you can expect to pay about $500-$1,000, including installation per window. The most efficient windows on the market are usually the most expensive, but it’s not necessary to buy the highest-end products to realize utility bill savings or improve comfort and aesthetics. So how do you choose the most energy-efficient models for the price?

Thanks to Energy Star, you really don’t have to, according to Nils Petermann, project manager for the Efficient Windows Collaborative. Energy Star labels will tell you whether a window performs well in your climate based on ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council.
However, if you’re looking for windows that qualify for the $1,500 federal tax credit, make sure the U-factor and SHGC are both less than or equal to 0.3 regardless of climate zone. Not all Energy Star windows qualify.

Know the language of windows
It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with terms that appear on many window labels:
Glazing is simply the glass used in the window. The number of layers of glazing (single, double, or triple) don’t necessarily equal greater efficiency; the presence or absence of the other items in this list affects a window’s total energy performance, says Petermann. Glazing coatings can substantially affect a window’s U-factor, or degree of insulation against the outdoors.

Low-E stands for low emissivity, the window’s ability to reflect rather than absorb heat when coated with a thin metallic substance. Low-E coatings add up to 10% to the price of a window. If your windows are in relatively good shape but you’d like better insulation, you can buy and apply Low-E films to your windows. They’re effective, but not as much as those put between glazing layers during manufacture. Look for the NFRC rating on these films, Petermann says. Low-E films start at about 50 cents per square foot, but you may want to check into the cost of having them professionally installed for large or complicated applications.

Gas fills typically consist of argon or krypton gas sandwiched between glazing layers to improve insulation and slow heat transfer. They often won’t work at high altitudes because differences in air pressure cause them to leak out.
Spacers separate sheets of glass in a window to improve insulating quality; the design and material are important to prevent condensation and heat loss.

Frame materials include vinyl, wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and combinations of. They each have different strengths: Vinyl windows are good insulators and are easy to maintain, but contract and expand with temperature changes, affecting the window’s air leakage; wood offers a classic look but is similarly affected by moisture changes and needs regular maintenance; fiberglass is very stable and low-maintenance but can be expensive; and aluminum is lightweight, stable, and a good sound proofer but is a rapid conductor of heat, making it a drain on energy efficiency.

Karin Beuerlein has covered home improvement and green living topics extensively for,, and She has also written for dozens of national and regional publications in more than a decade of freelancing, including Better Homes & Gardens, The History Channel Magazine, Eating Well, and Chicago Tribune. She and her husband started married life by remodeling the house they were living in. They still have both the marriage and the house, no small featRead more:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hiring a Contractor

It is extremely important to compare contractors before making a financial commitement toward any roofing project. You should solicit at least two or three bids from prospective contractors-bids based upon the same building specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project.
Discuss bids in detail with each contractor,making certain you understand the reasons for any variations in the prices. DO NOT automatically choose the lowest price. One contractor's bid might be higher because the materials used are of better quality or because the work will be especially thorough and, therefore require more time and labor.
Ask the roofing contractor for local references and find out if these customers were satisfied with the contractors work. If possible, vist and inspect thier completed projects.
Find out if the contractor is a member of a professional association like the NRCA( which has standards or a code of ethics for roofers.
Contact your better business bureau (BBB) to learn how long a contractor has been in business and if the firm has been reponsive to any complaints filed with the BBB.
Another important matter to consider before before hiring a contractor deals with insurance. Ask the contractor if the company is insured against claims covering workers compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Then call to verify contractor's insurance coverage after obtaining the name of the carrier and agency.
Finally, check with your state, county or city housing authority to see if the contractor must meet certain licensing and/or bonding requirements in your area. If so make sure your contractor is properly licensed and bonded. NEVER PAY a contractor for the entire job in advance and avoid paying in cash whenever possible.
Roofing is not an exact science. Expensive hidden problems can be uncovered once work has begun. Do your homework and you will be happy with the results.

Credit to the: Better Business Bureau

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Understanding Our Energy Star Tax Credit

By: Dan Mackin

I still find it hard to believe so many people do not know much about our tax credit we can still receive until December 31, 2010. Theses tax credits not only apply to windows and doors, but some roofing materials as well. In these hard economic times stretching your dollars is very difficult. If you were told the money you spend today can help you save on your energy bills immediately, you may give this another thought. Since some of the money spent will be a tax savings at the end of this year this, should be music to your ears. Here are some of the facts to help you better understand. If some of this is still confusing please do not hesitate to give us a call 636-887-2097 or go to

How much: 30% of the cost (not including installation/labor costs), up to $1,500

Timing: Tax credit in effect in 2009 and 2010. Must be installed in your "principal residence" between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.Tax credit in effect in 2009 and 2010. Must be installed in your "principal residence" between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.

From June 1, 2009 - December 31, 2010 windows (and doors and skylights) must have a U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) less than or equal to 0.30.
From January 1 - May 31, 2009 all ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights qualify, except for doors in several counties in California**.
You do not have to replace all the windows/doors/skylights in your home to qualify. And it doesn't need to be a replacement either - installing a new window where there wasn't one previously (like in an addition) would qualify.
More information on the windows/doors tax credits.

Find qualified models:
We do not have a list of qualified windows, doors, or skylights.
You can find the U-factor and SHGC on the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label. See an example of the NFRC label. NFRC is the only federally recognized organization for determining the energy performance of windows, doors and skylights. Please see the NFRC website for information concerning product performance.

How to apply:
File Tax Form 5695 with your tax return.
You must have a Manufacturer's Certification Statement to qualify.