Snow and Your Roof: Developing a Plan

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By Gravitate Design

Once you have prepared your roof for the winter season, it is important to have a plan in place for how you will handle the snow and ice that will come your way. Developing a snow plan for your roof will allow you to be prepared to act quickly whenever a storm hits your building, minimizing any potential possibility of roof collapse.

The first step in your plan is to establish a monitoring system that warns you when snow and ice levels are reaching unsafe levels. This early warning system should give you ample time to remove snow from your roof. It is important to take into consideration the body weight of potential snow removers when ascertaining the level at which you will receive your warning. You want to make sure that it is safe for the snow removers to get on top of your roof.

The second step to your plan is to determine who will remove the snow. Snow removal can be a tricky process and it is important that the snow removers are properly trained and have the right equipment in order to prevent any damage to your roof. If you feel uneasy about removing it yourself, call a contractor who is trained in snow removal. Make sure that your contractor has adequate insurance coverage and that they are able to respond quickly to your call. It is always better to have an established contractor than to try and find someone in the middle of an emergency situation.

The third step in your plan is to prepare for the worst. Make sure that you have adequate tarps and other coverings that can be used to protect important items or equipment. Know where all of your utility shut-off valves are located in case you need to turn off your electricity, gas, or water.

Once your plan is in place, make sure that everyone in your building is aware of and comfortable with the plan. This will help you handle any potential problems with ease.

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How to Preserve Your Roof

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By Dymon Brady

Oftentimes, a roof that has an expected life of 25-30 years can be expected to have problems much sooner after installation if it is not kept up correctly. Areas with varied weather conditions, including high winds, humidity, rain, snow and ice can cause wear and tear on our roofs and homes, which must be carefully controlled. However, if you take steps to preserve your roof, it can last for much longer.

Inspect Your Roof Regularly

First, make sure you are carrying out regular inspections of your roof. Check the roof from the ground once a month. Inspect your gutters from the ground. If you see any build up, carefully clean them out. If debris is allowed to collect, water may back up and damage your roofs fascia. You should be able to see any significant damage by doing these monthly inspections from the ground.

However, it is best to catch any damage while it is small and easy to repair. To catch these damages, inspect your roof more closely by either walking throughout the roof or inspecting it from several angles from a ladder. Be sure to carefully inspect your gutters and your roof. These inspections should be done yearly. You can also hire a roofing company to do a roof inspection annually or every 3-5 years.

Keep Your Roof Clear of Trees and Branches

Next, as you carry out these routine checks, be aware of any trees or branches near your roof. If any branches are hanging over your roof, trim them down away from your home. In windstorms, branches often fall and damage roof structures and shingles. Also, if branches are allowed to grow out to where they are brushing against your roof, they can cause damage simply by wearing down your shingles or membrane over time.

Winter can pose some new dangers. If a tree is hanging above your roof, snow may accumulate on the branches, freeze, and then fall to your roof as large hunks of heavy ice. This can damage your roof as it falls. Avoiding these scenarios can lengthen the life of your roof significantly.

Remove Leaves and Debris Regularly

Even if you keep your roof clear of trees and branches, leaves can still be blown onto your roof. If these are allowed to sit and build up across the roof, they will accumulate moisture and may cause problems with mold or algae. They are also a perfect place for pests and insects to inhabit. During the fall season, be sure to sweep off your roof as you see the need.

Leaves can also be blown into your gutters along with other debris. Not only does this debris inhibit your gutters from doing their job, but they can wear down both your gutters and your roof, particularly the fascia. Be sure to clean out your gutters regularly throughout those autumn months.

Upkeep Your Attic’s Ventilation System

Perhaps the most often forgotten aspect of a roof is the attic ventilation. However, if the attic ventilation is not set up properly, or if it is allowed to become clogged or blocked, the consequential problems can become quite costly. If the attic heats to an extreme temperature, the structure of your roof and it’s integrity can be greatly diminished. For more information about attic ventilation, see our ventilation post.

Finally, be sure to stay away from pressure washers in your endeavor to lengthen the life of your roof. Many homeowners swear by pressure washing their shingles to preserve and clean them. However, this procedure simply weathers away at your roof and accelerates it’s wear and tear. If you feel your roof needs extra help after performing the upkeep we have suggested, call a roofing professional.

Brady Roofing is willing and able to perform regular roofing inspections, as we are confident that we can detect small problems before they become large and costly. For a free estimate or inspection, contact us at www.bradyroofing.net.

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Winter Roofing Safety

  By Dymon Brady As winter arrives, it is always useful to review safety precautions you may need to take with your roof and the winter elements. Over the last decade, OSHA has investigated 16 falls in which workers were working or removing snow from a roof in the snow. There are many more unreported cases in which residents or business owners fall from their roof or a ladder. All of these deaths and injuries are preventable. Many accidents occur as homeowners blow leaves from their gutters or put up Christmas lights.

Winter and Membrane Roofs

Membrane roofing systems, especially TPO and PVC, are some of the most slippery roof coverings out there. They can be somewhat slippery throughout the year with water and rain, but they are particularly slippery when it snows. With the right temperature outside, if you slip on a moderately sloped flat roof (4/12 pitch or less), it can be almost impossible to stop sliding.

This can be surprising and unexpected when many owners of flat roofs may assume that because the roof is mostly flat, it is safer to walk on in the winter. However, even when a roof is completely flat, there is zero friction between your shoes and the membrane below. One wrong step can result in serious injury or death.

Safely Accessing a Flat Roof

If you feel that there is a definite need to get on your roof, it is important that you take every possible safety precaution. I want to emphasize again that even if you do take each of these precautions, it is still not entirely safe to venture onto your roof in the winter. There are too many things that could go wrong or be overlooked.

When setting up the ladder, an extension ladder is much safer than a step ladder. The rungs of the ladder need to extend 3' above the eave line and should be secured with a rope to the gutter or close pipe, etc before climbing from the ladder onto the roof. This should be done tight enough to keep the ladder from sliding to the side when getting on and off the ladder. Never step on a rung that is higher than the eave line as this could push the bottom of the ladder out and cause it to slide.

First, plant the ladder firmly, on a flat surface, and somewhere where there is no snow or ice. An extension ladder is much safer than a step ladder. The rungs of the ladder need to extend 3' above the eave line. Check the rungs for ice. A slippery step could cause a fall before you even reach your roof. Place the base of the ladder a distance from the vertical wall equal to one-fourth the working length of the ladder. For example, if your roof will connect with your ladder 16 feet off of the ground, place the bottom of the ladder 4 feet away from the side of the house or building.

Clean and dry your boots from snow before you climb onto the ladder. The typical rule of thumb is the ‘3 point rule’. Essentially, it is important to keep at least three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot are both acceptable positions to take as you ascend the ladder.

Stop when your head is about 2 feet above the line of the roof, so that you can easily reach down and touch the roof. If there is snow on the roof, it is essential to thoroughly remove the snow. A metal snow shovel or hammer to break the ice will damage the membrane. Instead, use a plastic bladed shovel. Remove the snow as thoroughly as you can safely remove it from the point of the ladder.

While removing the snow, keep the core of your body inside the ladder rails. Do not lean to the side so that you are hanging outside the rails, this could lead to a serious fall. Instead, move the ladder if you need to reach to the side.

Your ladder should be secured with a rope to the gutter or a close pipe before climbing from the ladder onto the roof. This should be done tight enough to keep the ladder from sliding to the side when getting on and off the ladder. Never step on a rung that is higher than the eave line as this could push the bottom of the ladder out and cause it to slide.

If there is a layer of ice on the roof, you may want to use some salt to deice the membrane. If there is no layer of ice, take a towel and wipe off the area you will be stepping on. You need to thoroughly dry the area, so that it is no longer slippery to the touch. Once it is completely dry, you can carefully climb on.

Repeat this process, removing snow and ice and drying the area you will walk on with a towel. Be very aware of where you are standing. Do not step anywhere where there is any snow. Do not think that you will be able to keep your balance if you step on the snow, it is incredibly slick and you can easily fall.

Other Safety Measures

Even if the membrane was not as slippery to walk on, you still would need to remove the snow to reveal any possible hazards as you are walking across the roof. For example, a layer of snow can easily conceal a skylight or other opening. If someone stepped in this area, they could fall through the roof. There are also gas pipes and other tripping hazards throughout the roof. In order to properly avoid these, and a serious accident, all snow must be removed.

In the interest of your roof, it is important to remember not treat your roof the same you would treat your driveway. For instance, do not wear cleated shoes on your roof to help improve traction; the shoes will cause puncture holes in the membrane. Hacking at snow and ice could also cause problems. Only use a plastic bladed shovel and salt to remove snow and ice.

Safely Hanging Christmas Lights

If you are looking to get on your roof to hang Christmas lights, try hanging them from a ladder instead. We recommend home depots instructional safety video at the top of this post. Remember to move your ladder often as you are hanging your lights.

In the end, it is not worth the risk to climb up onto your flat roof in the winter. Calling a professional will be a responsible, safe choice that will still fix whatever problem you may have. If you are worried about spending the money, just remember that any fee a professional would charge to remove snow will cost less than a hospital bill.

Brady Roofing is experienced in working on flat roofs throughout the winter. To receive a free estimate, contact us today.   Share This:
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Roofing Safety Procedures

rappelling-755399_1920By Dymon Brady

When deciding whether to inspect your roof, do a repair, or walk on your roof for any other reason, there are several steps you can take to ensure your safety. These safety procedures are often overlooked, causing accidents that can effect a person and their family for years to come. However, if you invest just a small amount of time educating yourself of the potential dangers of your roof, you may avoid these incidents all together.

One of the most important things you should know is to avoid getting on a steep roof unless you have proper safety equipment. For example, a safety harness will prevent any falls from doing serious damage. If you do not have access to safety equipment, or if you are inexperienced on a roof, you may want to call a roofing company to inspect or repair your roof.

Even regular and low sloped roofs require precaution. Before climbing on your roof, ask yourself the following questions:

-Could the roof be slippery from dew, ice, rain, snow, etc? If so, wait until your roof is dry.

-Is there debris on the roof? Sawdust, wood, shingle particles and even leaves should be swept up frequently.

-What type of shoes are you wearing? Rubber-soled boots will generally provide good traction, as opposed to leather-soled boots. Be sure your shoes are not badly worn.

-Is the roof stable? If you suspect a leak or any other problem that could effect your roofs stability, be very careful when you walk – testing each area before putting your full weight on it.

If you encounter any issues that could pose a hazard, call a roofing company immediately. They should be better trained to know the hazards and prevent any further damage to your roof or themselves.

There is a vast array of safety gear available to roofing employees. These devices would include harnesses, slings, ropes and cleats, among many other items. Each roofer should easily find the safety equipment that best suits their needs. However, as many as 80 percent of installers do not use these safety devices.

You may be wondering how the use of safety equipment would affect you and your property? Statistics show that the use of roofing safety gear increases productivity, meaning the job will be completed faster and with more efficiency. Also, roofing companies that show care in keeping their employees safe will be more likely to ensure that your property is kept safe and intact.

When faced with the task of picking a roofing company to work on your property, ask about the safety precautions they may or may not have in place. Brady Roofing adheres to all of the current OSHA (occupational safety and health administration) requirements. They also take great care in keeping your property and anyone on it safe during construction.

For more information on safe roofing and procedures, review our quality control checklists.

Contact us with any questions.

Request a free estimate today!

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How to Locate a Leak on Your Roof

Rain Roof

By Dymon Brady

Why is my roof is leaking? What do I do if I find a leak? How can I locate a leak on my roof? Finding a leak in your home can cause frustration and anxiety. However, there is a simple step by step process that will help you know what to do when you find a leak, how to locate it’s source, and prevent further damage.

Is My Roof Leaking?
It is important to keep in mind that if you find a sign of water damage in your ceiling or wall, it does not necessarily mean that your roof is leaking. The problem could also be the result of leaky plumbing or even condensation. If you find water damage on a ceiling that is not directly below the roof, you may want to consider these other possibilities as causing the leak.

Even if you find sign of water damage in your attic, these signs may not equate to a current leak. For example, if your house is 50 years old, it would have had two or three layers of roofing, and the leak could have occurred anywhere during the life of either roof. A water stain on the roof’s rafters is often what sets off an alarm with the building or home owner, but is far from conclusive evidence of an existing leak.

To determine if your roof is leaking, check the water damage during a rain storm or while snow is melting on your roof. If the damage shows up within 5 hours of recent rain or snow activity, it is probably the result of a roof leak. If the damage occurs outside of this 5 hour range, you may want to have the area checked by a plumber.

With any leak, water can build up and put a heavy amount of weight on your ceiling. If you see a bulge in the sheet rock or paint of the affected area, you will want to drain the water to prevent the sheet rock from collapsing and causing more damage to your home. Simply put a bucket under the affected area and poke a hole in the sheet rock with a 16 penny nail to drain the water.

How to Locate a Leak
Once you are confident that your roof is leaking, you can call a certified roofing contractor to locate and repair the leak. If you would like to find the source of the leak yourself, we have provided a step by step guide.

Throughout this process, remember that water runs downhill. If moisture penetrates the roof, it sometimes travels down and even diagonally in both directions before finding it’s way through the underlayment. Once through the underlayment, it needs to find a seam in the roofs sheathing. Then, the water will either drop to the ceiling’s insulation or travel down a rafter. Once the moisture is on the ceiling, it will usually soak up some insulation before finding it’s way to the sheet rock or plaster ceiling material. About 90% of the time, the leak will manifest itself in a joint in the sheet rock.

To find a leak:

1. Determine how many roof layers is on your home. If your pitched roof has only one layer, it is much easier to find the source of the leak.

2. Locate the area where the leak is manifesting itself inside your home.

3. Transfer this area up to the roof. Is it coming through a penetration such as a pipe, ventilation, swamp cooler, chimney, or skylight? The majority of roof leaks come in around penetrations. Look within 5 feet uphill of the affected area, though it can be as far as 10.

4. If you locate a penetration within this area, look for problems with the flashing. These are usually very simple repairs.

5. If there are no penetrations within this area, look for blown off shingles, torn shingles, and nails coming through. Also, pay close attention to valleys, as these areas tend to leak as well.

If you are able to locate a leak in the flashing, you may be able to repair this yourself if you have some knowledge in roofing and can secure the necessary materials. More complicated leaks should be repaired by experienced professionals. Brady Roofing is able to both locate leaks and effectively repair them. We install a large majority of roofing products. We also offer free estimates. For more information, contact us today.

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How to Inspect Your Flat Roof

Leak from the ceiling

By Dymon Brady

When buying a new commercial building, chances are you have a lot to think about and prepare for your new space. However, it is important to spend time on inspecting the flat roof before making your major purchase. If you have owned a flat roof for several years, it is still a good idea to inspect your roof and know how to maintain it. Undiscovered leaks can be devastating and costly, especially in areas with irreplaceable paperwork or expensive equipment.

Indoor Inspection

The first thing you want to do is check each room in the building thoroughly. Look at the ceiling for any discoloration. If there is a leak, a dark colored ring will usually form around the saturated area. If you see this, you will want to call a roofing contractor before proceeding. Just because you see damage from a leak in a specific area doesn’t mean the leak is located directly above. Flat roofs have layers that may direct the water to another area in the building, often many feet away. The damage could also be from a plumbing leak or another source other than your roof. It is also possible the leak causing the stain was already fixed, and the ceiling was not. To be safe, it is best to hire a roofing contractor to locate the leak.

Roof Inspection

If you do not see any discoloration or other obvious signs of a leak, it is still a good idea to inspect your roof. Cracks could be forming that could soon become problems. It is better to deal with these before they cause any internal damage to the building. It is a good idea to walk your roof and do a simple inspection. Be sure to always remain aware of where you are on the roof and never walk backwards. Be aware of penetrations and don’t put any weight on skylight covers as they are not designed to hold your weight. While walking, pay attention to how the roof feels underneath you. If it is weak, immediately get off the roof in a safe manner and call a contractor. If there is a leak, it may soak the insulation underneath the membrane. If you sense a sponge-like feel to the roof beneath you, you want to contact a roofing contractor. This is also true if you see water coming out of any area of the membrane.

Check Penetrations and Seals

Next, you will want to check penetrations and seals. A large portion of leaks are at penetrations and seals, which make up a small percentage of the total roof. Penetrations are areas such as pipes and flashings that ‘penetrate’ the roof. They are usually surrounded by flashings, or sheet metal. Check around these penetrations for any cracks. These cracks may not initially be a problem, but as water gets in and freezes, the ice will expand the crack until it is deep enough to cause a leak. Seals are where two waterproof materials overlap or come together. Check these to be sure they are smooth and fully adhered. Other serious flat roof issues include:

Blisters: these are areas that appear as bubbles or as an uneven surface. They could be moisture trapped under the membrane, but are more often a result of an installation error. Ask a roofing contractor if a particular blister on your roof will cause problems.
Splits: These are often indicators of poor building structure or poor insulation installation. Even if the membrane was installed correctly, shifting or movement inside the structure could have caused a split in the membrane. If this is the case, the flashing in this area will usually fail as well.
Movement: If the membrane seems to have moved from it’s original location, it may be due to the slope being too steep for the membrane installed, inadequate adhesion, or thermal problems. This can contribute to ridges, splits and other roof problems.
Damage: Obviously, if your roof is punctured or shows any signs of damage, report it to a roofing contractor.
Shrinkage: Some membranes have a tendency to shrink excessively. You will see this as an issue if membrane seams to be pulling against a penetration such as a plumbing vent pipe, or the membrane can pull away from the eave’s edges. You may also see “bridging” at angle changes such as parapet walls against other walls etc.

Moving Forward

If you have completed your roof inspection and have decided to hire a roofing contractor, be sure to get multiple bids to be sure you know what really needs to be done. Also, if you get multiple bids, you are more likely to pay a fair price for your roof repair or replacement. Your contractor may also be able to help you prolong your roof and give specific instruction on what you can do to properly maintain it. Brady Roofing offers free roof estimates. We specialize in flat roof installation and feel confident in helping you to prolong your roofs life as long as possible. Contact us today.

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