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Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. Time to put up the tree, adorn it with lights and hang the stockings with care by the fireplace (unlit of course here in Houston).
For some of us, many of whom have seen Christmas Vacation one too many times, our expression of holiday cheer ends up spilling out of the home, onto the lawn and eventually onto the roof. After every first good downpour of the New Year, before I even have a chance to break my New Year’s resolution, I begin receiving calls about leaking roofs. Upon inspection, there seems to be a pattern of holes in the roof that spells out some cheerful holiday sentiment such a Merry Xmas, Tis the Season or something of that nature. Well, there is one thing for sure… they are no longer cheerful.
This year I was hoping to save folks the post-holiday headache and expense and advise everyone not to nail or even staple lights directing into the shingles. Ideally, you should avoid putting lights on the roof path from a personal safety standpoint let alone for the fact it invalidates your manufacturer’s warranty.
However, if your holiday cheer must be spread to the roof, I would highly recommend hiring a professional. As with anyone you hire, I suggest verifying their reputation through Google reviews, the BBB Houston Chapter and your neighborhood website (sometimes contractors will offer group discounts to neighbors :)). This will save you money you probably already spent on Christmas and have you headed in the right direction for the New Year… NOT falling off a roof.
So Happy Holidays everyone and stay safe and off your roof.
As we all know, storm season can be particularly brutal here in the Houston area. High winds, hail, hurricanes and frequent thunderstorms can have a devastating impact on your home if left unprotected. A small issue can transform into a major one during one of these events.
Just like with your automobile or health, it is a good idea to have an annual checkup. Frequent maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your roof and stave off the damaging effects of a storm. It is a good idea to get a professional opinion so you can rest easy at night knowing that your home is protected.
The main issues are generally penetrations such as plumbing jacks, HVAC vents and chimney flashings. There can be larger issues such as missing, torn or wind lifted shingles which are not noticeable to easily detectable from the ground.
Why Proper Roof Ventilation Is So Important
The importance of properly ventilating your roof cannot be stressed enough especially here in Texas. Underventilation your roof has many short-term and long-term ramifications for your home. Without proper airflow, heat gets trapped in the attic and causes the shingles to become brittle and blistered. These issues prematurely age the roof. An overheated attic raises ambient temperature in the rest of your home as well, taxing your air conditioner and lessening the lifespan of the unit.
There are multiple options available for ventilating your attic. Within these options, there are two main types: passive and active ventilation. Active ventilation refers to electric fans, solar fans and turbines. These are good options that actively siphon heat from your attic and expels it from the roof. The downside of these options are the higher costs of the materials and labor as well as maintaining the equipment. Anything with moving parts, such as a spinning turbine or an engine that powers the motor of an electric fan, eventually wears out over time. Passive systems, on the other hand, have no moving parts and rely on the airflow. Air enters through the intake, then pushes the air in the attic through the vents on the roof. Heat naturally rises, so placing the vents at or near the top of the roof is most effective. Well placed vents at or near the peak of the roof allows for the heat to escape from the attic at its highest point. Conversely, the intakes should be at the bottom of the eaves as much as possible to provide the greatest amount of airflow.
Both active and passive systems work well when designed to accommodate the needs of the individual home. Please call us at 713-808-1990 to get a free evaluation.
Every now and then a customer will ask about upgrading to impact resistant shingles. These types of shingles come in many shapes and sizes but are typically thicker and heavier than traditional shingles. They are designed to defend against updrafts, crosswinds and all manner of gusty, blustery weather. They carry a Class 4 rating which means that during a 2218 hail Impact test where they drop a steel ball from 20 feet, no evidence of cracking or tearing is observed. These impact rated shingles are able to achieve these ratings by adding a durable reinforcement on the underside of the shingle. This “backer shim” contains an impact resistant reinforcement.
Now that we understand what makes an impact rated shingle different, let’s get back to the question of are they worth it?
Well these shingles will theoretically last longer because of the extra reinforcement they carry. Due to this enhanced life expectancy, many insurance companies will offer discounts to homeowners that install them. These savings vary from carrier to carrier, some of which give considerable premium discounts depending on your area.
Another thing to consider is the frequency with which your home gets adverse weather. Here in Houston we can see all four seasons in four days which makes us pretty susceptible to hail and high winds pretty often. With the added reinforcement of the impact rating, it may make overall maintenance of your roof less expensive and a full roof replacement less likely.
So we know why we would all want impact rated shingles… then why don’t more people have them? It boils down to the cost of the upgrade. Whether you are paying for a full roof replacement out of pocket or going through the insurance, it will cost you a pretty penny to upgrade to impact rated shingles. Insurance companies will only pay for the replacement of the type of shingle currently installed, so the upgrade to an impact shingle will be your responsibility. What kind of price point are we talking about here? Well the shingles can add 10 to 20, sometimes even 30% to the cost of the materials depending on the manufacturer and type of impact shingle you choose. That can add up pretty quickly.
Soooo… ARE THEY WORTH IT?
Unfortunately we cannot give you a blanket answer. That is going to boil down to your individual situation. As with any major purchase, it is best to evaluate it with the return on investment. To recap, some of the things to consider here are what kind of discount can you get, how long you plan to stay in your home, how often you see hail and high winds and of course the price difference for the upgrade. Finding out the answers to these questions should help you decide what is best for you and your home. As with any roofing situation, we here at Blue Ribbon would love to help! Give us a call for a free inspection and we can help you answer some of these questions and get you on your way to a new roof you feel comfortable with.