Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shingle Blow-Off

This time of the year we start to receive calls about roofs in the Triangle which have shingle blow-off. Here is an example below.

These types of situations don't actually need to happen. In most instances, these blow-offs are as a result of a workmanship issue. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:
1) The shingles are nailed improperly. The nails are placed too high on the shingle. Instead of nailing into 2 shingles with 1 nail, by nailing too high, only 1 shingle is fastened.
2) The shingles do not have enough nails in them. A minimum of 4 nails is required. Shingles on the (rake) edges and/or on very steep roof slopes should have 6 nails per shingle.
3) Many older roofs do not incorporate a "starter" course of shingles along the rakes and eaves. The starter provides more protection against high winds as well as prevents the shingles from sagging.

Repairing this roof problem is relatively easy. The damaged shingles are removed. The felt paper is evaluated. If it is sound, it is re-used. Otherwise, it is removed too. The repair is finished by installing a starter course of shingle(s) and new shingles on the roof deck as well.

We are coming into a season where we will be seeing higher winds. Inspect your roof safely from the ground after we experience those windy days.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Short-Screwing a Downspout

We recently were asked to look at downspout which had recently fallen from the house. You can see below what I am referring to. (I hate ending sentences with a preposition.)

Looking closer, we found the gutter contractor used a 1/2" screw to hold the downspout pipe band to the house. There were 3 pipe bands securing the downspout, but unfortunately each one only had a 1/2" screw as you see below.

The best fastener for this application would be a 1 1/2" zip screw. Needless to say it provides a "better bite" into the corner post.

You can check your home's downspouts very easily. Simply hold the downspout and give it a gentle pull. If there is not any movement or wiggle, you know they are secure.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Pipe Collar Nightmare

Last week I posted about pipe collars and the problems they can create if they are not replaced on a regular basis.

Today's repair took on a whole new dimension. But not because of the effort of the homeowner.

We were called to provide a quote on leaks in the second floor hallway. Upon further review, here is what we found.

The previous repair of the pipe collar/boot was done by simply installing a new collar directly over the old one, without removing the old cracked collar. In order to keep (or attempt to keep) the second collar on the roof, it had to be nailed aggressively, which ultimately never ended the leak.

We removed both collars and installed 1 new collar, solving the problem.

However, there was another vent pipe to the left of the one we repaired. Out of curiosity we inspected the other. What do you think we found. Another vent pipe with 2 collars on it. Although there were no signs of a leak, we repaired the second as well.

Here is a completed look of the roof repair with the 2 original collars in the foreground.

If you cannot watch the repair being performed, at least ask what was actually done. You can also ask to see the old parts, in this case the collars.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pipe Boots: A Small Item Which can Create LARGE Roof Problems

There are several items on any given roof. One of the smallest items are pipe boots or pipe collars. These are the black rubber and PVC units you see on the bottom of those white (vent)pipes protruding from your roof. Their purpose is to prevent water from penetrating through the hole in the roof deck.

As you can see here, this boot is severely cracked. As a result, every time there is rain, the attic below is getting wet. Left unchecked, penetrating rain water will begin to rot the plywood or OSB (Orient Strand Board)decking creating a more serious leak issue.

Generally the pipe boots will start to deteriorate in 7-10 years after they are installed. Certainly their exposure to the sun will increase the deterioration process. The seal on top becomes brittle and begins to crack.

In a sense, pipe boot failure is much like brake failure on your car. Rarely, do the brakes go bad on both wheels simultaneously. The same is true with pipe boots. Not every boot on your roof will fail at the same time. But with some time, all the other boots will begin to fail as well.

However, just like brakes, your mechanic will recommend replacing both or all brakes simultaneously. It is wise to replace all pipe boots at once. By doing so, you will have the satisfaction knowing your roof will be "water-tight" at those vent pipe (boot) penetrations.

If you have a pair of binoculars, why not have a look at the pipe boots on your roof? If you do not see any indication of cracking you can be sure they are doing their job. If there is evidence you should contact you roof contractor to have the boots removed and replaced.

Downspout Problems

We run into this problem quite a bit. It can as much as several times a month. What is this problem? Gutters overflowing. But wait for a moment here. The title says 'Downspout Problems'. What do you mean?

We find all too often that gutters that chronically over-flow are as a result of trash (gutter debris)or no outlets in the gutter. I want to address the latter today.

Too many gutter contractors in the past, (80's, 90's and some even today) do not take the time, effort or expense to install an outlet in the bottom of the gutter. Instead they simply cut an "X" and literally punch a hole in the gutter, using the 4 tabs as an "outlet" IT IS QUICK, EASY AND CHEAP.

In the photo above, you can see an example of an "X" cut in the bottom of gutter. The opening here is for a 2"x3" downspout. You can clearly see how easy it is for trash to collect in the opening allowing water to over-flow the gutter.

If this is the case in your gutters, you do have a solution. They are as follows:
  1. Clean your gutters more frequently.
  2. Install gutter protection.
  3. Install a larger (3"x4") outlet and downspout.
The latter is the most common solution for homeowners. It does allow more water (twice as much) to flow and also will allow more debris to pass as well. However, this doesn't mean you no longer have to monitor and clean your gutters. That unfortunately will still have to be performed.

If you are experiencing this type of problem, have a professional take a look and evaluate the problem(s). Finding the right solution will give you "peace of mind" and well as protect your home.