When Should You Replace Your Gutters?

Gutters aren’t a big item most homeowners keep an eye on. If gutters are mostly doing their job, homeowners usually ignore them. So how to you know if your gutters need replaced or just repaired? Below are a few situations where your gutters should be replaced.

leaf protection on tan house with white gutters
5″ White  Leaf Protection on home in Normal IL

After a roof replacement – The best rule of thumb is to replace your gutters right after your roof has been replaced. When your old gutters are removed all the seals are broken. It’s hard to reseal old gutters once that’s been broken. If you keep up with the pattern of replacing your gutters everytime your roof has been replaced, you should not have any problems with your gutters.

Large Quantity of Rust Spots or Holes – Sometimes this can be repaired by sealant or a new section of gutters. But if rust or holes are consistent on every run of gutter, replacing your gutters will be better a choice to spend money on.

Sagging gutters are caused from improper pitch on gutters.
Sagging gutters are caused from improper pitch on gutters.

Sagging or Bowed Out Gutters – Sagging and bowing is caused by improperly pitched gutters. Water begins to pool and be held at sections of gutters; without being able to drain out the gutter sags at the weight of water over time. Once a couple sections are sagging, it’s best just to replace your gutters and make sure all runs have proper pitch to allow for drainage.

Flooded Basement – What a nightmare! And an expensive nightmare if you have a furnished basement. If your gutters are old and just aren’t making the cut your basement can flood. When your gutters aren’t channeling water away from your home’s perimeter, all that water seeps into your basement. Over time this can cause foundation damages too!

Wrong Size Gutters This can be hard for the average homeowner to decipher, but any contractor should be able to stop by (at no charge) to verify if your home has the proper sized gutters. Most homes come with the standard 5” gutter; however, if your home has a really steep pitch the water flow can amplify and overwhelm the 5” gutter system. Click here to visit our other article on 5” vs 6” Gutters.

Free Guide On Finding Trustworthy Contractors

grand ranch style home with green siding, cream trim and stone accents

Big home projects are few and far between. Chances are you’ve never shopped for a new roof or replacement siding. Or if you have, it’s been a very long time since. It’s overwhelming because you know there are questions you should be asking but…. how do you know what those are?

The hardest thing as an employee of a construction company is seeing people in my community get taken advantage of by local contractors. I wish this wasn’t the case – but it happens. Snakes are in the grass everywhere. As much as we want to to perform work for everyone, we know we can’t win them all. So, even if you choose not to work with us, we still want you to pick a quality contractor.

That’s why we created a FREE guide to compare contractors. Yes, you heard me, F-R-E-E. This guide is filled with insider tips like this one:

Many people know to look up online to make sure their contractor has a physical address. You should also drive by that address to make sure it’s an office with office hours, and not the owner’s personal house.

Or this tip:

When hiring a roofing contractor make sure their roofing license actually belongs to them and not a contractor friend’s license they are borrowing.

Get yours by clicking and downloading here. No entrance fees.

contractor-standard-guide-front-outside-cover

New Roof: Tear Off Or Layover Shingles?

When looking to purchase a new roof for their home, many homeowners debate laying new shingles over the existing shingles or just start fresh by tearing off the old shingles.  Usually homeowners think about laying over to save some money – but is it worth the saved bucks?

Most cases – no. Its worth tearing off your shingles for the following reasons:

Inspect Condition of Roof Decking 

Without tearing the shingles off and actually seeing the roof deck, one can only speculate the condition of the OSB. Obviously, if sections of your roof are rather soft to walk on the wood is bad and will need replaced. However, you can have smaller sections of wood rot and not know it until the shingles are torn off.

Roof Warranty

Many shingle manufacturers have rather poor warranties for roofs that have been laid over. Best case scenario you will get a 10 year limited life warranty – it will be pro-rated. If the shingle fails within the first year after your roof lay over, you will have to pay some money out of pocket. The best thing about a Carlson Exteriors roof replacement is the roof warranty. Any roof we replace will get a 50 year, non prorated warranty that is transferrable one time. It actually increases with inflation so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket! Woohoo!

Overall Roof Appearance

If your old shingles have warping or curled up edges, the new shingles that you lay over will take on the look of the old shingles. The new shingles may look wrinkly or bumpy. The new roof will look terrible from day one.

curled shingles

Shortened Roof Life

If a new roof is laid over, it will have a shorter roof life. The shorter lifespan is due to a couple reasons. First, not nailing directly into the roof decking can lower your roof’s resistance to high winds. The nails might not be driven as deeply or as securely into the plywood as they should be. On the other hand, some nails may be overdriven thanks to the old shingles “cushion” . When nails are overdriven, it can pierce directly through the new shingle and not provide any security at all. Some home insurances provide better rates if your shingles are nailed directly into the OSB. Secondly, the moisture trapped between the two layers of shingles will increase the speed of asphalt deterioration. The second layer of shingles will increase heat and moisture retention, especially if your roof is not ventilated properly.

Too Much Weight

If you already have two layers of shingles on your home, city code prohibits another layover. This is because of the unnecessary weight each layer of shingles add to your home. If you are outside of city limits and are not required to obey city codes, be mindful of how much weight and stress you add to your home’s structure

Carlson Exteriors always tears off the existing shingles for these reasons. The money that homeowners would “save” by not tearing off old shingles is not worth it. A layover roof can be deemed more expensive due to poorer roof warranty, possibility of more leaks, and the damage that could be done to home’s structure. In this case, the cons outweigh the pros.

Behind the Scenes with Shur FloX

Shur FloX leaf protection has ridges so no leaves get stuck and cannot blow off.JPG

This blog is part of a series. Search our site for “behind the scenes” to read other articles in the series.

Shur FloX is a hassle-free leaf protection. It’s an all aluminum protection system so you don’t have to worry about it warping or deteriorating over time. Tiny holes that pierce the leaf protection allow water or any small debris (that won’t clog) to run down the gutter and out the spout. The ridges promote air flow – allowing dry debris to blow right off.

Shur FloX leaf protection has ridges so no leaves get stuck and cannot blow off.JPG
Shur FloX leaf protection has ridges so no leaves get stuck and cannot blow off

Did you know that so many leaf protection systems actually void your roof warranty?  Shur FloX really shines because it doesn’t tamper with your shingles. This is why Carlson Exteriors chooses to use Shur Flox and no other brand. Most gutter guard brands will advertise the wonders of their product and will not mention how their product impacts other products already on your home. Asking how a leaf protection will affect your roof warranty is not a question homeowners think to ask – nor should it be! That’s why you’ve hired an expert to help you.

Having a gutter leaf guard that needs to be secured under your roof shingle will void any roof warranty.
Having a gutter leaf guard that needs to be secured under your shingle will void any roof warranty.

If you look at the images below, you will see that Shur FloX only attaches to the gutter and will not interfere with your shingles.

 

Click here to see Carlson Exteriors’ page on Shur FloX

Click here to visit Shur FloX’s website

Humidity Gone Rogue

Frozen attic condensation can cause a frost like appearance on the inside of your attic

Rogue : a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel.

Seems funny to apply the word “rogue” to humidity. But during midwest winters it fits. Here’s why:

Every winter is bound to have a couple days to a couple weeks of below zero weather. When temperatures start to rise, homeowners start to notice brown spots on their ceiling that resemble roof leaks. This could be a sign of a roof leak it could also be a sign that your home’s humidity was too high during the cold temperatures causing frozen attic condensation.

Furnace humidifiers are often forgotten to be adjusted during winters and create too much humidity. This moisture freezes when it hits your attic
Furnace humidifiers are often forgotten to be adjusted during winters and create too much humidity. This moisture freezes when it hits your attic

Many homes have humidifiers on their furnaces. Almost all new homes have this or homes with real wood floors. It’s a great thing to have but homeowners need to be mindful of appropriate humidity levels. If the humidity is set higher than it should be during negative temperatures, the moisture rises up to the attic and before it can escape, it hits the bottom of the snow covered roof and freezes. Sometimes icicles even form off the nails! Once the weather warms up and one of the first things to thaw is attic condensation. Depending on high the humidity has been set on your house, this can be a decent amount of moisture coming down – thus causing brown spots on ceilings. It looks identical to spots from roof leaks.

What is the appropriate level of humidity for your home?

If the outside weather is…

  • 20 to 40 degrees, humidity should be less than 40%
  • 10 to 20 degrees, humidity should be less than 35%
  • 0 to 10 degrees, humidity should be less than 30%
  • -10 to 0 degrees, humidity should be less than 25%
  • -20 to -10 degrees, humidity should be less than 20%
  • below -20 degrees, humidity should be less than 15%

This will prevent attic condensation, mold, or any other issues caused by overly humid and warm air.

What about you?

These guidelines are the optimal levels to make your home comfortable, but what about the people living in it? Dryer air is not always the best for us to live in but there are ways to keep both you happy and your home comfortable. Instead of using whole house humidifiers use individual ones when you are using the room. Use programmable timers to turn on and off humidifiers. Buy indoor humidity sensors – these range from $5-$50. Click here to see the “indoor hygrometers” on Amazon.com

 

It’s so easy to forget to monitor or change your humidity. Many people don’t even realize this is what’s going on until it’s too late – brown spots appear! If this happens to you, don’t  panic but it’s still good practice to have a trusted roofer inspect to confirm no roof leaks.

 

Early Signs of Roof Failure

roof with loose shingles

As the snow and ice melt off your roof, it’s a good time to see if your roof sustained any stress or damage from the winter.

  1. Brown Spotting or Tea Staining on your ceiling. This is the easiest way for you to catch a small leak early. The spot might not drip or be wet to the touch but it’s a sign of a leak and will be worth having check out. If you know the leak has been fixed and want to get rid of the stain, use a stain-blocking primer like Kilz or Bullseye first then use your regular ceiling paint. Without the stain blocker primer the brown spot will come through the ceiling paint, even if the leak has been fixed.

    brown spot on ceiling tea stain on ceiling
    A tea stain or brown spotting on ceiling is an indicator of roof leak
  2. Missing Shingles. If you can see your roof in it’s entirety you will still know if you are missing shingles by finding pieces in your yard. Shingles lose adhesive strength as it ages. Drastic temperature changes are hard on the shingle bonding strip. After this is weakened, wind easily blows off your shingles leaving you exposed.

    roof with loose shingles
    Over time weaker shingle lose adhesive bond strength and may blow off easier
  3. Curled or Cracked shingles. Over time asphalt shingles dry out and become brittle and fragile. Frail shingles are no defense against environmental dangers (like hail) and need attention sooner rather than later. It’s easier to see curled shingles from the ground – the edges are often described as looking like a potato chip. Cracked shingles may only be visible while standing on the roof.

     

  4. Cracked or Damaged Pipe Flashing. Pipe flashing wear out quicker than the rest of your roof. It’s an easy fix in terms of roof repairs but may be harder for the average homeowner to see. The only way to inspect pipe flashing conditions is from being on the roof. Often it’s just best to call a local contractor that you trust to come over and inspect!

    cracked pipe boot flashing
    Cracked pipe boot flashing causes leaks

You might want to check out our short video by Project Manager Nick Coyle on why your 30-year shingle won’t last 30 years.

Water Management

Rotten OSB and moldy insulation from water running behind siding and house wrap

Uncontrolled water is the biggest threat to homeowners. It’s a slow and silent killer. Here are the most common issues we see on homes.

Lack of Kick-Out Flashings. Even if your gutters are pitched correctly and don’t leak, they may appear to be leaking where the gutter butts up the wall. Or it might look like nothing is wrong at all. Overtime, water constantly slipping between the wall and gutter will find its way behind any house wrap or moisture barrier you have in place. Read more about kick-out flashings

siding and underlayment rotted from water running down the wall
Without a kick-out flashing, water is free to run down your siding and can creep behind your house wrap.
Rotten OSB and moldy insulation from water running behind siding and house wrap
Once you remove the house wrap you can see all the damage that the un-controlled water did behind the house wrap.

No Downspout Extensions. Often times homeowners remove these extensions out of aggravation. These extensions might seem like a trip hazard, a pain to mow around, or get trampled easily. – but don’t get rid of them! Your home and your foundation need these extensions to route water away from you home. You can add hinges to these extensions to eliminate all the hassle they cause. Click here to read more about downspout hinges.

downspout extension laying down and then in the up position
Left: Downspout is fully extended for proper water flow Right: Downspout has been lifted up to allow for mowing

Inadequate or No House Wrap. Depending on when your home was built and the history of your city’s building codes, your home might not have any house wrap or moisture barrier. For example, the City of Bloomington, IL did not start requiring any form of house wrap until the late 70’s. Practically all houses built before the early 70’s (in Bloomington, IL) are without house wrap. Siding, bricks, shakes or any other exterior cladding are not intended to protect your home from water intrusion. If your home does have house wrap, it might be done incorrectly: applied in small pieces, too many mechanical fasteners, or taped incorrectly. There are alternative moisture barriers to house wrap at similar expenses- Read about EnviroDri.

cedar siding on chimney. Underneath chimney is rotted usb
Cedar siding doesn’t always protect your home

Bad Pipe Flashings. Pipe flashing have a shorter lifespan than your roof and will need replaced a few times before you need a new roof. It’s a simple fix but if the flashing is cut too large, water will still get in. Watch Nick Coyle replace a pipe flashing.

cracked pipe boot flashing
Cracked pipe boot flashing causes leaks

 

If you are unsure about any of these, call a local, trustworthy contractor to give you a free inspection.

Fall Home-Exterior Maintenance Checklist

Fall is right around the corner! Before you get swept away in fall festivities it’s good to make sure your home is ready for fall/winter. The following is a list of maintenance tasks and to-do’s for your home while it’s still nice outside.

Get In The Attic

  • Look for any leaks, wet spots, or watermarks. Catching any problems before winter hits helps avoid any serious damage and helps keep utility costs down

Get On Your Roof

  • Sweep debris and leaves off your roof
  • Look for any missing, loose, and damaged shingles
  • Inspect flashing and caulking to make sure everything is watertight

Garage Door

  • Wash your garage door and windows, inside and out
  • Brush out debris in overhead garage door tracks
  • Lightly lube hinges, springs with engine oil, run door up and down a few times to evenly disperse oil

Siding

  • Powerwash all dirt and grime off your siding
  • Inspect for any damage or loose panels

Gutters

  • Clean gutters and make sure the water flow is still pitched accurately
  • Make sure all spouts are free of blockage

Dryvit- Friend or Foe?

What is Dryvit? Dryvit is most frequently referred to as stucco looking material by homeowners but is actually a composite material that was designed to be insulated and water resistant, while maintaining a “beautiful” exterior appearance. The use of this material in the U.S. started in the 1960’s but boomed in the 70’s. The promise of a water resistant decorative insulation made it a popular exterior choice. Why wouldn’t it?

Like most specialized products, Dryvit only works if installed properly. Dryvit is similar to brick’s installation where there needs to be a gap between your sheeting (underlayment) and the Dryvit to allow the moisture to dry without being up against the wood. Knowledgeable installers could not keep up with the high demand of Dryvit in the 70’s , so unqualified installers stepped in. The majority of those jobs were installed wrong, the Dryvit soaks up the water and retains it against the wooden underlayment, allowing it to rot and get moldy. There is no way to tell the condition of the underlayment without removing the Dryvit- many homeowners are living with severe rot and damage without being aware of it.

We were recently hired on to replace a homeowner’s dryvit exterior with a vinyl product because the homeowner was tired of the “dated look” the dryvit gave their home. When we tore off the Dryvit we found out it was not installed properly and a majority of the underlayment had to be replaced. In the photos, you can see all the black mold on the wood and in some cases the wood no longer exists from years of rotting away.

Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood

Take Notice of Roof Conditions: Post Winter

Winter can be brutal on roofs, especially if the shingles are nearing the end of their life. While this past Central Illinois winter has not been as rough as previous years, the cold, wind, and ice build up could have caused some major roof damage that has yet to be seen. Some roof leaks can take a while to become noticeable on the inside; while if caught sooner, less damage will have been done to your home’s interior. Carlson Exteriors is announcing their services for a free inspection of roofs. These inspections include a quality control check of your roof to identify any problematic damage accrued this winter, any sections that look worrisome but do not need immediate attention, and the estimated life expectancy of your roof. If any shingles require immediate attention, Carlson Exteriors will also provide a free estimate for the repairs. The professionals work with many types of roofing material to provide a durable and high quality replacement or repair.