Protecting your attic, roof, and home from pests
Identifying the source of a leak is necessary to stop it, but as homeowners discover, this can start out as a guessing game. The slowly expanding circle of moisture on an interior ceiling could be due to many issues, including leaking pipes inside a structure. Once other culprits have been ruled out, it's time to get someone on the roof.
Professional roofing companies fix leaks regularly, so they know that where water seeps in can be very different from that spot on the ceiling. The majority of leaks occur at points where the roof is purposefully open. These penetrations are common, and they're created for special jobs, like installing skylights and venting appliances.
Penetrations can be difficult to seal properly, even by the professionals. Homeowners looking for a leak should inspect these areas first and use caulk or another sealant to close any small gaps.
A missing drip edge can allow moisture and even pests into a home. These metal components extend past the lip of the roof and lead water to the gutters. If the drip edge is damaged or removed, water can slide in between the roof sheathing and fascia or straight to the ground where it can pool near the foundation.
Sometimes, it's not the drip edge but the gutter that's the problem.
Gutters and downspouts should be free of debris, and water should run through them without any blockage. They should also be secured against the house and be placed at an angle to encourage water to run in the right direction. When one of these things goes awry, the gutters can dump water back onto the roof or onto the ground, leading in both cases to water damage.
Finally, flashing can slip, be blown out of place or be sealed with the wrong kind of product. Flashing is regularly used around roof penetrations and places where roofs and walls meet.
Of course, at the first sign of a spot on the ceiling, a trip to the attic is necessary. Homeowners should check for leaking pipes first and then check for open windows. The insulation should be checked for water damage. If damp insulation is the culprit, homeowners should make sure the attic is ventilated properly.
A leaking roof can cause a lot of damage, but homeowners may need some help finding the source. If an inspection of an attic or the exterior of a home doesn't identify the problem, it may be necessary to call in a roof professional.
Homeowners in California have some unique problems, but energy efficiency is something that roofing can improve anywhere. Sometimes, a change as simple as the color of the shingles installed on a house can drastically reduce the amount of energy used for heating and cooling. In California specifically, this is the kind of change that can take a bite out of utility bills, lower pollution and improve property value.
California homeowners pay for their electricity use based on not only how much energy they're using but also when they use it. This is why two people can have the exact same usage in a month, but the amounts they pay can be significantly different. There are a few effective ways to combat peak demand usage. Roofing choices can play a major role.
For instance, manufacturers like GAF are already making products to keep roofs cool. Roofing companies can install specially designed shingles that reflect the sun and reduce heat. There are also roof coatings that have a similar effect. By themselves, these products lower the need for air conditioning during peak hours, but combined with improved insulation and smart controls for appliances and HVAC systems, they really pack a punch.
In addition, a relatively new technique for lowering roof temperatures and reflecting heat has been gaining in popularity. It's a simple change, but one that may alter the residential landscape in California and other areas. Homeowners who are serious about cutting their electricity costs are making the switch to white colored shingles.
The US Department of Energy calls these "cool roofs," and promotes them as a means for lowering home temperatures. They claim white roofs can be 50 degrees cooler than a traditional roof at peak periods. No doubt, this has a powerful impact on interior temperatures, AC demand and overall costs. The DOE's Cool Roof Calculator can help determine the savings of installing white shingles for those interested.
Cool roofs have the potential to help entire neighborhoods as lowering the temperature of one house also impacts the temperature of surrounding structures. Homeowners may be able to contract for roofing work together in order to garner lower installation prices. This way, they'd reap the rewards of heading in a cooler direction.
Finally, these and other types of green features have a positive impact on property value. Those getting ready to sell their homes will be happy to take advantage of the 2 to 7 percent increase in price garnered from eco friendly enhancements. Homeowners can reduce their costs, reduce their pollution and increase their home value in a few ways just by changing their roofs.
The average asphalt shingle roof has an anticipated life span of 20 years. But in addition to the damage that happens over time due to age and exposure, pests can also infest and cause significant damage to a roof. The good news is that when caught early, the majority of infestations can be taken care of by natural means. This will often require the use of a pest control company, but to repair any damage to the roof consider calling a roofing contractor sacramento for an assessment.
The type of pests that homeowners should be on the lookout for vary by region, season and the type of roofing material used. But some types of pests are common to most areas. Birds can be a real problem, especially in the springtime during nesting season. First of all, bird droppings are very acidic and can actually eat away at roofing materials, especially tar based ones, eventually leading to leaks in the roof. Second, and less obvious perhaps, is the fact that bird nests are highly flammable, and their presence can create a fire hazard. Birds often build their nests in drainpipes and the corners of roofs where drains are located. Blocked drainage systems can lead to serious roofing problems. When water has nowhere to go out of a drain it will get wicked up into roofing materials where it can cause a leak.
Homeowners need to clean and clear their roofs regularly. Remove old bird's nests, and wash the roof of bird droppings with a hose.
Raccoons and squirrels will also cause damage to a roof. They will pull off shingles that are starting to bend. In the case of raccoons, their weight alone can damage a roof. It is even worse if they enter an attic to set up a nest. Raccoons will chew and claw through roofing to get into an attic. Keeping the home's roof repaired will make it more difficult for them to gain entry. An important step to take to prevent these furry creatures from accessing a roof is to trim any tree branches that overhang a house. No branches should be closer to the roof than 7 feet. There are humane traps homeowners can obtain, usually from the local humane society, which can be used to catch and release any of these unwelcome house guests.
Keeping trees trimmed, regularly clearing the roof of nests and droppings, and keeping the home's roof in good repair are the main steps a homeowner can take to defend against roof pests like birds, raccoons and squirrels.
If a homeowner hears scampering and scratching coming from the attic area of their home, there is a high probability that pests have made entry through the roof. Not only does this lead to a troublesome mess inside of the attic, but it can also lead to significant damage to the roof. The types of pests that can invade a roof run the gamut from birds to squirrels, raccoons to bats and bees to ants. Once discovered in an attic, pests need to be removed, and the roof needs to be repaired to avoid another infestation. A
pest control professional can assess the roof for entry points for pests and repair the roof as needed.
Squirrels are a common uninvited guest in the home. They will almost always enter the home at roof level, with late summer and early winter being the peak times of year for squirrels to gain access. They can crawl in where there is damaged flashing and in areas where house siding meets the soffits. Vents that don't have screens allow squirrels effortless entry. Typically, a female will go inside of the attic to build a nest and give birth to her young.
The best way to solve a problem with squirrel infestation is with humane trapping, removal and relocation of the squirrels. Humane cage traps can be baited with peanut butter or whole peanuts for the best results.
It is imperative to remove squirrels from the attic because they not only create a lot of waste, but they can also be extremely destructive. They are always gnawing and chewing and they will cause damage to wood, insulation and electrical wires. Consequently, they can cause electrical outages and even create fire hazards when exposed wires come into contact with wood or any other flammable material. In addition, if there happen to be PVC water pipes in the attic, squirrels can easily chew through them and create leaks.
To prevent squirrels from returning, the most essential thing to do is to seal all entry points. Put screens on vents and repair any openings in the roof. Also, trim down any overhanging tree branches that can serve as bridges to the roof. A typical recommendation is that any tree branches should be at least seven feet away from the roof. If there have been problems in the past with animals infiltrating the attic, walk around the house once a month to check for any access points or signs that an animal is trying to gain entry. Taking preventative measures will help to keep out squirrels and other pests.
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