Posts Tagged ‘roof damage’

Winter Buildup Still Causing Headaches For Minnesota Homeowners

January 25, 2011

Minnesota Homeowners Still Solving Ice Dam Problems

Ice dams — or ice buildup on roof eaves — are all too obvious and all too familiar to Minnesota homeowners. The shelf of ice along the eave and the icicles are clearly visible, as are the dislodged roof shingles, sagging gutters, damaged insulation, and water stains on interior ceilings and walls that are the result of ice dams. What isn’t clearly visible is what causes ice dams.

Although sometimes thought of as a problem with roofing or attic ventilation, ice dams are actually caused by the presence of warm air in the attic, combined with snow on the roof and the right weather conditions. Ice dams occur when heat leaks into the attic and melts the underside of the snow on the roof. The melted snow then flows down the roof surface until it reaches a cold spot (such as the eaves or soffit) where it forms a frozen dam, behind which more snowmelt and ice pile up.

The ice build-up can back up under the shingles, damaging them and allowing water to leak ICE DAM to the ceilings and walls below.

The source of ice dams: attic air leaks

Warm air leaking from the house into the attic is the primary cause of ice dams. Anywhere there is a penetration into the attic space (around wires, plumbing vents, light fixtures, chimneys, and knee walls) there is the potential for air leaks. Even homes that are only a few years old may not be properly sealed. To avoid these types of problems and eliminate most ice dams, attic air leaks must be sealed with caulking or expanding spray foam.

Solutions

  • Sealing attic air leaks saves energy and is key to preventing ice dams.
  • An energy audit with an infrared scan can pinpoint trouble spots.
  • If damage has occurred and ice must be removed, hiring professionals that use steamers is strongly recommended.

What NOT to do:

  • Installing heating cables will shorten the life of your roof and cost you money to operate.
  • Removing ice with shovels, chippers, chemicals, or heat can damage shingles, gutters, and other building components—and can be very dangerous.
  • Adding roof vents—including powered vents—will not eliminate ice dams, and oft en makes the problems worse.
  • Additional insulation—especially on the top plate of exterior walls—can reduce heat transfer to the roof deck, but insulation alone is insufficient. Typical attic insulation will not stop air leaks or prevent ice dams.

If you are one of the many Minnesota homeowners with roof damage from ice dams, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor today!

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This Year In Minnesota Has Turned Out To Be The Mother Of All Ice Dam Winters

January 20, 2011

Minnesota property owners and homeowners have never seen ice dams as severe as we’ve had this year. The result has led to a surge of insurance claims for rotting ceilings and walls, collapsing roofs other problems.

For Minnesota property owners this has shaped up as a really bad catastrophe year. We keep hearing the same thing over and over from property managers and homeowners: “I’ve lived here a long time and I’ve always had ice dams, but they’ve never been this bad and they’ve never caused roof leaks until this year”, referring to surging ice dam claims on top of damage from 104 tornadoes in the summer. The worst year for ice dams was in 2001, when insurance companies paid out $50 million in losses. This year has been as bad or worse.  It turned from the garden variety of ice dam winters to the mother of all ice dam winters.

Until this year, ice dam problems were more evident in older houses in first-tier suburbs. This year, even newer suburban houses have problems because the snow is deep and blocking roof vents where warmer air usually would escape.

If your building has experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.

Prevent and Repair Water Damage From Ice Dams

January 2, 2011

Ice Dams and Water Damage

Ice dams can be a very destructive situation for a home in areas of the country with heavy or frequent snowfall and moderate temperature swings. Ice dams do not often occur where daytime temperatures remain below freezing for long periods of time. Snow is allowed to melt or evaporate gradually and ice dams are not formed. Knowing what to do before and after severe winter weather can help lessen the damage from ice dams or prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Ice Dam

Water damage to your home is one of the most costly repairs you can encounter. Whether it be from a roof leak or plumbing leak, materials in your home that get wet from leaks, like sheet rock, wood and carpet, can not only result in expensive repairs but pose a serious health threat from mold and mildew. If leaks are detected early enough you can prevent any resultant mold and mildew. Time is of the essence here though. For mold to develop to damaging levels on sheet rock it will need to remain wet longer than 24-48 hours and on wood if it stays wet longer than 2 weeks. So once the water source is removed the opportunity for mold to develop is inhibited.

The winters are a time when water intrusion into your home has an added opportunity to occur when it snows and the temperatures remain at or below freezing for a minimum of 2-3 days. Snow buildup on your roofs can form what are called “ice dams” and leak water into your attic. If enough moisture penetrates through your roofing materials and gets absorbed in the insulation or sheet rock, you won’t notice it until the damage has reached a level that could require a professional mold remediation team to remove it.

Ice Dam on Roof

Ice dams form when snow settles on a section of your pitched roof and the temperature above the packed snow is warmer than the snow below it, as this illustration shows. The higher, warmer temperature melts the snow and as it runs over the colder adjacent lower section of roof it freezes before it gets to the edge to fall off. This ice buildup sits against the snow and a void is then created between the two elements, underneath, where water forms. As this water sits there it can permeate roofing materials that have porous imperfections in them that may have occurred undetected during the building process or have developed over time as the elements have impacted your roof.

If you are one of the many Minnesota homeowners with roof damage from ice dams, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor today!

St. Paul Advises Residents To Clear Roofs

December 31, 2010

St. Paul Advises Residents To Clear Roofs

The city of St. Paul is advising residents to take action to clear their rooftops of ice and snow now, to avoid potential damage in the future. Taking action now can also help you avoid costly repairs to your roof  from ice dams.

Read full story:  CBS Minnesota – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Minnesota

Short URL:
http://tld30.com/a/?xRISI

Ice Dams Causing Serious Damage To Minnesota Homes

December 31, 2010

Weather Conditions Make Ice Dam Problems Worse In Minnesota

Finally, the rain. You think Thursday’s rainfall was a good thing because it whisked away some snow? Not necessarily. Water retention, especially on flat roofs, could compound the problem, as could freezing temperatures today and Saturday. The melting-freezing cycle is a big reason the ice dam epidemic could continue into the New Year.

In the Twin Cities, many longtime property managers and homeowners say this is the first time in memory they have grappled with significant ice dams. They fear gutter damage, water damage, mold and even collapsed roofs.

A spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance said the insurer has received about 50 claims per day regarding ice dams in the metro area, or more than 500 to date.

Why is this year so bad?

“We’ve had 34 inches of snow in one month,” said Paul Douglas, former Twin Cities television meteorologist and founder of WeatherNation, a weather news service in Excelsior.

Douglas called the convergence of snow, thaw and rain a “worst-case scenario” for ice dams. But he said there’s a pale light at the end of the tunnel: Drips and leaks should stop tonight as temperatures fall and rooftop snow stops melting.

We’re going to be below freezing through next week, so homeowners may have a chance to catch up and try to get rid of some of these ice dams.

There’s also the chance rain and higher temperatures knocked off enough snow and ice to eliminate some ice dams.

In some roof configurations, if there’s not good drainage, it could actually add to the problem. It just wasn’t warm long enough.”

If you have experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.

Prevent Those “Dam” Leaks!

December 13, 2010

Preventing Ice Dams

With the 16 plus inches of snow we were blessed with in Anoka County last weekend (and even more in Washington County to the south and east) it looks like we are in for a good old fashion Minnesota winter. Heading to grandmother’s house this holiday, will take us all over lots and lots of white and drifted snow.

The snow is pretty for photos and fun for snowmobilers, skiers, boarders and sledders but not so great for our houses. With accumulated snow well into the foot range already, there is another necessary chore to add to the list to avoid homeowner headaches that come with the snow melt. We have to remove the snow from our roofs!

Though a shingled roof won’t pop like the Metrodome did over the weekend , ceilings have been known to become waterlogged and collapse under the stress of too much snow and ice dams.

Although individual cases look different, and often result in different types of damage, all ice-dam situations have two things in common: They happen because melting snow pools behind dams of ice at the roof’s edge and leaks into the house; also, ice dams and the damage that results from them is avoidable.

Cause

Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at roof edges. Anyone who has lived in cold climates has seen ice dams. We’ve enjoyed the sparkling beauty of ice formations built along roof eaves (of other people’s homes). However, most of us don’t stop to understand why these ice bands form until our homes are damaged by them.

Three things are required for an ice dam to form: snow, heat to melt the snow and cold to refreeze the melted snow into solid ice. Ice dams can form when as little as 1 or 2 inches of snow accumulates on a roof – if the snowfall is followed by several days of sub-freezing temperatures. Ice dams develop as snow on the upper part of the roof melts. Water runs down the roof slope under the blanket of snow and refreezes into a band of ice at the roof’s edge creating a “dam”. Additional snow-melt pools against the dam and eventually leaks into the building through the roof or roof trim.

The reason ice-dams form along the roof’s lower edge, usually above the overhang, is straight-forward. The upper roof surface (toward the ridgeline) is at a temperature that is above freezing. And the lower part of the roof surface (along the eaves) is below freezing. The upper roof surface is located directly above the living space. Heat lost from the house warms this section of the roof, melting snow in this area. During periods of sub-freezing temperature the lower regions of the roof deck remain at sub-freezing ambient temperatures. Roof overhangs are not warmed by indoor heat-loss.

Deeper snow and colder temperatures increase the likelihood and size of ice dams. Every inch of snow that accumulates on the roof’s surface insulates the roof deck a little more, trapping more indoor heat beneath the roof deck. Frigid outdoor temperatures assure a fast and deep freeze at the eaves. So the worst ice dams usually occur when a deep snow is followed by very cold weather.

Damage

It’s easy to understand that allowing water to leak into your house is a bad idea. Ice dams cause millions of dollars of damage every year. Much of the damage is apparent. Water-stained ceilings, dislodged roof shingles, sagging ice-filled gutters, peeling paint, and damaged plaster are all easily recognized and usually repaired when weather or budgets permit. But other damage is not as obvious and often goes unchecked.

Ice dams usually develop along roof eaves, above the plateline of exterior walls. Heat lost from homes at this point aggravates snow melting and ice-dam development. There are two reasons for increased heat loss at this point: Rafters on most homes sit directly on top of exterior walls leaving a shallow space for insulation between the top of the wall and underside of the roof sheathing: Low R-value = heat loss! And secondly, builders are not particularly fussy when it comes to air-sealing this point to prevent the movement of warm indoor air up to the underside of the roof surface. Air can leak through wire and plumbing penetrations here. Also warm indoor air can leak from the wall cavities rising upward and passing between the small cracks that exist between the wall top-plate and drywall.

Roof leaks wet attic insulation. In the short term, wet insulation doesn’t work well. Over the long term, water-soaked insulation is compressed so that even after it dries, the insulation in the ceiling is not as thick. Thinner insulation means lower R-values. It is a vicious cycle. The more heat lost – the more ice dams form – the more it leaks – the more the insulation gets damaged – and so on. As a result you pay more to heat (and cool) your house. Cellulose insulation is hygroscopic and particularly vulnerable to the hazards of wetting.

Water often leaks down within the wall frame where it wets wall insulation and causes it to sag leaving uninsulated voids at the top of the wall . Energy dollars are again robbed, but more importantly, moisture gets trapped within the wall cavity between the exterior plywood sheathing and interior vapor barrier. The result: smelly, rotting wall cavities. Structural framing members can decay. Metal fasteners may corrode. Mold and mildew can form on wall surfaces as a result of elevated humidity levels. Exterior and interior paint blisters and peels. And the well-being of allergy-sensitive individuals is compromised.

Peeling of wall paint deserves special attention here because its cause may be difficult to recognize. It is unlikely that wall paint (interior or exterior) will blister or peel when ice dams are visible. Paint peels long after the ice and all signs of a roof leak have evaporated.

Water from ice dams infiltrate wall cavities. It dampens building materials and raises the relative humidity within wall frames. The moisture within the wall cavity eventually wets interior wall coverings and exterior claddings as it tries to escape (as either liquid or vapor). As a result, interior and exterior walls shed its skin of paint.

So the message here is to check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn’t appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven’t gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow. Don’t just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn’t rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven’t developed. And then detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage. But more importantly, solve the problem.

Solutions

The damage caused by ice dams can be controlled in 2 ways: Maintain the entire roof surface at ambient outdoor temperatures or build a roof so that it can’t leak into sensitive building materials if an ice dam forms.

Cold roofs make a lot of sense. Here you let the cold outdoor air work for you. Keep the entire roof as cold as the outdoor air and you solve the ice-dam riddle. Look at the roof of an unheated shed or garage, a pile of lumber or an abandoned home. Ice dams don’t form on these structures because there is no uneven melting and freezing!

For new construction it’s easy. Design the house to include plenty of ceiling insulation, a continuous air barrier separating the living space from the underside of the roof, and an effective roof ventilation system. Insulation retards the conductive flow of heat from the house to the roof surface. An air barrier retards the flow of heated air to the underside of the roof. And a good roof-ventilation system helps keep the roof sheathing cold. In an existing house this approach may be more difficult to follow. Often you are stuck with less than desirable conditions. But let’s look more closely at all the issues that will guide your strategy.

Insulation: Houses in the northern United States should be equipped with ceiling insulation of at least R-38 (about 12 inches of fiberglass or cellulose). The insulation should be continuous and consistently deep. The most notable problem area is located above the exterior wall. Raised-heel trusses or roof-framing details that allow for R-38 above the exterior wall should be used in new construction. In existing structures, where the space between the wall’s top plate and underside of the roof sheathing is restricted, install high R/inch insulating foam (R-6/inch). Be sure to seal the insulation at this point to prevent warm-air leakage from the living space.

Ventilation: A soffit-to-ridge ventilation system is the most effective ventilation scheme you can use to cool roof sheathing. Power vents, turbines, roof vents and gable louvers just aren’t as good. Soffit and ridge vents should run continuously along the length of the house. A baffled ridge vent (like the one sold by Air Vent) is best because it will exhaust attic air regardless of wind direction. The exhaust pressure created by the ridge vent sucks cold make-up air into the attic through the soffit vents. A 2-inch space or “air-chute” should be provided between the top of the insulation and the underside of the roof sheathing in all applications. The in-coming “soffit” air washes the underside of the roof sheathing with a continuous flow of cold air. CAUTION: Be sure to install insulation baffles above the exterior wall to protect the insulation from the air that blows in through the soffit vents.

Air Leakage: Insulation retards conductive heat loss, but a special effort must be made to block the flow of warm indoor air (convection) into the attic or roof area. Small holes allow significant volumes of warm indoor air to pass into attic spaces. In new construction avoid making penetrations through the ceiling whenever possible. But when you can’t avoid making penetrations or when you need to air-tighten existing homes use urethane spray-foam (in a can), caulking, packed cellulose, or weatherstripping to seal all ceiling leaks like:

  • wire penetrations
  • plumbing penetrations
  • ceiling light fixtures
  • attic hatches
  • chimneys
  • bathroom exhaust fans
  • intersection of interior partitions and ceiling

Contact a Minnesota roofing contractor to do an in-home evaluation to diagnose the performance of your home and together decide what the best course of action is for your situation.

Storm Damage and Your Roof

August 26, 2010

By summer time we are well into the storm season.  Hail, heavy rain, high winds and tornadoes are all common this time of year.

Damage from these weather phenomena can of course be obvious.  Most know that if they have been hit by a tornado or if they have leaks after a severe storm.  You call the insurance company and your roofing professional and start the repair or rebuilding process.

But sometimes your property goes through a severe storm with no apparent damage.  Don’t be so sure.  Hail, high winds and even tornadoes can do serious damage that may not be noticed for quite some time.

First, let’s talk about hail.  Even moderate hail can do damage to some single-ply and older built-up roofs.
PVC membranes may suffer tiny shatter areas that may no leak for quite some time.  The normal expansion and contraction of the membrane will eventually open these cracks enough to permit the entry of water into the system.
Some hail can also damage the fins on condensing units and rooftop equipment, if it is driven by high wind.
Large hail can cause immediate leakage, but no always.  Membranes that are resistant to hail can be damaged, yet exhibit no symptoms for one to two weathering cycles.  For instance, EPDM (rubber roofing) can be damaged by large hail but will not exhibit problems for while.  Small gull-wing cuts can start to appear long after hail hits.

Shingle roofs will suffer granule loss that will expose the underlying reinforcement and asphalt to UV degradation that will dramatically shorten the life of the roof.  The same is true for granule-surfaced modified bitumen roofing and fiberglass cap sheets.  Gravel-surfaced built-up roofs may have some of the gravel driven into the top plies which can allow moisture penetration that makes the membrane slowly deteriorate.

High winds and even tornadoes can also do phantom damage that is not immediately obvious. High winds are amplified by all roof structures.  Parapets, large open doors and varying slopes increase the speed and pressure that high winds exert.  Bear in mind that wind does not slow down as it climbs the side of a building and crosses the roof – it in fact speeds up.  Various irregular shapes on and around the roof and even the building structure itself produces lift, just like an aircraft’s wing.  This lift may partially or even totally destroy the attachment of your roof to the substrate.  Even though this attachment may be lost, the roof may look just fine as if it was lifted and laid back down in place.  However, the next high wind can have catastrophic results as it does not have to overcome the attachment as the first wind did.  This can be true of all membranes, as well as composition shingles.

Even if your roof shows no apparent damage after a severe storm, contact your insurance company right away and call your roofing professional to inspect your roof for damage. Some tests may need to be performed to determine the extent of the damage, but the expense is well worth it because you may face much more extensive damage if you do nothing.  Plus it always helps to have as much evidence as possible when dealing with an insurance adjustor.
Call a roofing professional if your building is hit by damaging storms, even if damage is not apparent to you.  You will avoid frustration with your insurance company if problems are detected immediately, as well as headaches caused by leaks that could result from undiagnosed roof system damage.

An even better idea is to call today and establish a roofing maintenance agreement that will provide inspections and maintenance at a fixed annual fee.  Such an agreement can help you avoid unexpected expenses and keep your roofing system functioning within your budget.

Acting immediately after the emergency can save time and dollars in the restoration work.  Contact a hail damage expert that has experience in storm damage. Someone that can help you with the  disaster restoration process.

Source: Midwest Roofing Contractors Association

Was Your Home Damaged In Any Of The Recent Hailstorms?

August 3, 2010

Hail Damage Minnesota

Hail storms have hit again and have caused significant damage to thousands of homes.

Living in Minnesota, we are all familiar with the extreme weather our beloved state can create.  Every year we experience a wide range of temperatures, weather conditions and of course POWERFUL thunderstorms and severe storms of all varieties.  The punishing storms that can leave the exterior of your home damaged are Hail Storms and Wind Storms. This results in red tape and paperwork from the insurance companies.

The Following Cities Experienced Hail and Wind Damage in the July 17th Storms.

  • Mound, Minnistrista, St. Bonifacius, Watertown, Cold Spring, St Martin, Kimball, Nicholas, Buffalo, Annandale, Staples, Little Falls, Winona, Hokah, Motley, Wadena, Kingston

The Cities Below Experienced Hail Damage in Excess of 1 Inch Along with Wind Damage in the June 25th Storms.

  • Golden Valley, Cottage Grove, Plymouth, St Paul, South St Paul, West St Paul, Inver Grove Heights.

The following cities in Minnesota experienced hail in excess of 1 Inch along with wind damage in the June 17th Storm 2010.  Get expert help with your hail damage claim from a MN hail damage and Insurance Claim Negotiation Expert.

  • Hackensack, Bemidji, Millerville, St. James, Bena, Gibbon, Blue Earth, South Haven, Winstead, St Augusta, Clear Lake, Medellia, East Grand Forks, St Cloud, Montecello, St Peter, Elk River, Buffalo, Pemberton, Rush City, Swatara, Mankato, Lake Crystal, Palmer Township

If your home is located in an area that was hit this year by hail, call a reliable storm damage expert to get a free damage analysis to see if your roof qualifies for a possible full roof replacement. Time is not on your side however so call right away to have roofing expert look at your roofs condition.  Get help Filing an Insurance Claim for your Roofing Project today!

Roof Replacement After Recent Minnesota Tornado

July 2, 2010

Replacing Your Roof From Hail and Storm Damage

Make Sure You Use Experienced Roofers When Replacing Your Roof From Hail Damage

We have all heard some horror stories about roofers who take advantage of homeowners who have had hail damage and are not familiar with hail damage claims.

One example of this is where a roofer ordered their shingles, had them delivered, and completed the work:  but then the roofer skipped town without paying for the shingles after collecting the money from the homeowner.   Guess who had to pay for the shingles?  You got it…the homeowner!

Remember to be sure to check references before agreeing to anything with a contractor.  There are plenty of reputable companies who will take care of your needs, and it pays to do some homework.

Eliminate the guesswork by hiring a local, licensed, bonded, and insured crew, with a proven track record of quality work.

If you think you have hail damage on your roof after the recent tornado in Minnesota, and you would like a professional team to assist you in the claim process, call a professional roofing contractor today.  We will work with you through the entire process.


Minnesota Homeowners: Beware Of Storm Chasing Roofing Contractors

July 1, 2010

If you have subjected to the recent Minnesota hail storms, there can be a challenge of sorting the good from the bad in order to avoid accepting offers to mend your roof from roofing contractors who are simply “storm chasers” and may not be up to scratch, or supportive of local work. Here are some indicators to help you to decide.

  • Be patient and calm.  Most homeowners after a hailstorm are desperate to find a contractor. Being desperate leaves you open to being preyed upon by “drifter contractors” who claim to be local.
  • Look for out-of-state tags on their trucks.  The vehicle is likely to be registered anywhere but locally if the contractor is not local. This indicates that the contractor is only in town for storm work and won’t be hanging around for upkeep or remedying any damage that is poorly fixed.
  • Be wary of claims of staying in town.  Quiz an out-of-town contractor very carefully. Extract a promise of return for further mending even if the contractor leaves the state; get this in writing. Long-term warranties, however, won’t be much good if your contractor has left town.
  • #”’Check to make sure that any non-locally engaged roofing contractor has been properly licensed locally.”’ Ask for current certificates of workman’s compensation and liability insurance. This is for ”your” protection. They must have both, as one covers property damage and one covers their workers from injuries if they fall from your roof. Roofing contractors usually use sub contractors to install the roofs, and a lot have crews that travel with them. In most states, the homeowner or their insurance company will be liable if something happens; you don’t want to risk your home.
  • Be aware that roofing insurance is expensive.”’ This can lead some contractors to cut corners to avoid the expense. Insist on seeing proof of current dated insurance.
  • Avoid signing any contingency agreements.”’ These will be very vague, lacking in description of the work to be done and will lack information about insurance proceeds.
  • Do your own research.”’ Check your local Yellow Pages; go back two or three years to find stability of business continuity. Check the BBB when they joined, as they often join the local BBB because when they come into town, they will be new members.
  • Make sure that all materials used are paid for.”’ There have been instances where stormers come in, roof a bunch of houses, and leave without paying the suppliers, thereby leaving the homeowner to pay twice! Ask to see invoices for payments.
  • Prefer the local roofing specialists.”’ In a storm situation, it is always best to buy from an established local roofing contractor that specializes in storm damage repair, as they will be around to service their work afterwards. If your state has any state licensing requirements, you will be able to check these online.