Spring into Home Maintenance

home maintenance

A homeowner’s to-do list can seem endless – especially come spring. As the weather warms up outside, prepare to donate items you don’t need, disinfect all the room in your house, free your gutters and downspouts of debris, and assess what repairs may be needed. Completing home maintenance tasks during the spring season will ensure your place smells, looks, and functions better than ever.

We created the following checklist to help you spring into home maintenance.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Even if you cleaned your gutters in the fall, it’s a good idea to complete this outdoor task again in the spring, and especially after a big storm. Be sure to check for areas where the gutters may have pulled away from the house as well as for loose granules in gutter bottoms. Loose granules may indicate the need for roof replacement. You can clean gutters and downspouts yourself or hire someone to do the job for you.

Replace Damaged Siding or Trim

When siding is rotten or damaged, it can let air, water, debris and insects into your home. It also can also cause the materials around it to decay prematurely. Repairing or replacing damaged shingles now can head off larger problems; saving you money. In mountain states like Colorado, replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new siding has a 65.1 percent return on investment.

Inspect the Roof for Damage

Spring is one of the best times to inspect the roof. Look for shingles that are missing, brittle, curled, or damaged. Inspect the roof from inside the attic first, looking for any light that penetrates through the rafters, and then move outdoors. Once outside, use binoculars to check for noticeable damage. Always contact a local roofing professional for any repairs that may be needed.

Check Weatherstripping

If the weatherstripping around your home’s windows and doors is brittle or cracked, replace it. Weatherstripping helps to reduce drafts as well as block energy loss. You can find several different materials available at most any local hardware or home improvement store. The right one to choose will depend on the style of the window or door. Just cut to size and install according to manufacturer instructions.

Trim Overgrowth

Trim evergreen shrubs and other plants before new growth begins. Prune winter-damaged foliage as soon as possible to avoid additional insect or disease problems. For trees, only do light, selective trimming during the spring season. Experts agree that you should also avoid letting vines like wisteria grow directly on the house since they can damage the gutters, roof, and provide a “ladder” for rodents to use.

What Can Cause Roof Leaks?

roof leaks

Do you have to go running for a drip bucket every time it rains? Roof leaks are often a sign of a larger roofing issue. Issues resulting from natural deterioration; storm damage; clogged gutters; design flaws; ice dams; or lack of long-term care and maintenance. If roof leaks are left unchecked it could mean an investment in both time and money. Here are some of most common causes of roof leaks.

The Roof’s Age

The life expectancy of a roof is dependent on several variables, including roofing materials and the climate you live in, as well as the quality of installation and long-term care and maintenance. Longevity can also be impacted by shingle color, roof slope, and surface orientation. Most experts agree that a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years. If the roof leaks and is older than this, you may need a new roof.

Clogged Gutters

Your gutters are meant to help water travel away from the roof and foundation. When a blockage forms – as can happen after a storm – that travel stops. Rainwater or snow runoff can then backup, which can cause leaks or attract unwanted pests, and potentially lead to bigger problem.

How to fix it: At least twice a year (during the spring and fall), get up on a ladder, and pull out any debris using your hands. Flush the gutters with water until it runs clear. You can also purchase an extendable gutter cleaning tool kit or hire someone to do this for you.

Design Problems

Occasionally, roofs leak, sag or even collapse due to improper design and/or incompatible roof materials. A standard reroof is usually required to fix design-related problems. This is exactly why you should get three estimates with any home improvement project and be wary of choosing the lowest priced bid. Always hire a licensed and insured roofer.

Ice Dam Build Up

Icicles on your roof may look charming, but remember, looks can be deceiving. Typically, they are the calm before they storm; they are a sign that your roof is forming ice dams. An ice dam is a big, hard hunk of ice that forms when snow melts, runs off your roof and refreezes near the edge of your roof.

This only occurs when you have a problem with ventilation or air sealing – two issues that can also drive up energy costs. The best way to permanently stop ice dams is to have a professional evaluate your home’s attic ventilation, air sealing, and insulation. The ENERGY STAR program recommends that you insulate attic floors to R-49.

Additionally, if your ventilation system isn’t working or isn’t properly designed for the size of your home – a professional roofer should be contacted. Professional roofers can make repairs or install additional soffit vents without too much construction.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

Be honest: How often do your look at your roof? If you’re anything like most homeowners, you run in and out of the house, only glancing up at the roofline as you back out of the driveway or when your kid’s frisbee gets stuck up there. Regularly inspecting your roof, however, can prevent costly repairs down the road.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends you do a roof inspection at least two times a year – spring and fall. You may also want to inspect your roof after big storms. Grab a flashlight and make a trip to the attic to look for the following signs.

  • Natural light showing through the roof
  • Places where the roof deck is sagging
  • Signs of water damage or leaks
  • Trails of dark spots

Once you’ve inspected the roof’s interior, it’s time to move outdoors to look for damaged flashing; missing or buckling shingles; algae growth; an excessive amount of shingle granules in the gutters; and any other signs of damage. These all require immediate repair by a professional roofer.

Out with the Old and In with the New Roof

 

Year after year, Americans resolve to exercise more often, manage their time better and/or pad their savings accounts. New Year’s resolutions are certainly a great way to make a positive change (or two) in your life!

Another good New Year’s resolution? Vowing to make some home improvements – whether minor or major – in the coming year. One place to start is your roof; especially if any of following conditions apply to your existing roofing system:

  • Moss growth
  • Dark streaks or stains
  • Missing or cracked shingles
  • Bald spots where granules are missing
  • Curled shingle edges or cupped shingle tabs
  • Your roof is at least 20 years old; while many shingles today are produced for durability, certain factors can lead to premature roof failure, including (but not limited to) inadequate ventilation and storm damage.

A new roof, professionally installed in either the fall or spring – barring emergency replacement – can help add curb appeal and will increase the perceived value of your home. This may be especially helpful if you intend to sell your Colorado residence in the foreseeable future. Additionally, return on investment (ROI) is right up there with major remodeling projects. such as renovating a kitchen or bath.

Would you like to receive more information on the different types of roofing materials available and the benefits of each? Contact the experts at Jenesis Roofing and receive a free roofing estimate. You can call us at (303) 789-1505 or find us at www.jenesisroofing.com.

Note: This post has been updated for 2018; the original blog can be found here.

Holiday Lights: Dos and Don’ts

holiday lights

The holidays are less than four weeks away! Before you begin stringing holiday lights and hanging garland, there are a few dos and don’ts you should keep in mind, ensuring you don’t damage your roofing system in the process.

Do Inspect Holiday Light Sets

Carefully inspect previously used light strings and extension cords. Frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cords should be responsibly disposed of. There should also be no broken sockets or loose connections. The lights could short out and cause a fire. Additionally, any string lights or extension cords you plan to use outdoors must safely stand up to the elements; look for the UL-rating.

Don’t Use a Staple or Nail Gun

Fans of the holiday classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will recall Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) using his trusty staple gun to attach lights directly onto the roof. Not only was this dangerous, it was incredibly damaging to his roof! Stapling or nailing holiday lights into your shingles can damage them and ultimately cause a leak. Instead, use clips designed to securely fasten lights to shingles and gutters.

Do Use a Sturdy Ladder

Always use a good, sturdy ladder when installing your lights. It’s also a good idea to make sure someone is helping you with your display – one person on the ground to hold the ladder steady and the other hanging lights. Better yet, hang lights from the ground, and in less time than it took Clark with a pole that extends to help you hook the clip directly onto the gutter or shingle.

Don’t Overload Your Outlets

When Clark plugged in his lights, overloading the circuit, he took out most of Chicago –  leaving his neighbors in the dark. Unlike Clark, you probably won’t run this risk, but you can certainly pop some breakers and possibly create a fire hazard. Always use lights according to manufacturer instructions.

Do Purchase LED Holiday Lights

Incandescent holiday lights are terribly inefficient, and despite careful storage, often emerge damaged. LEDs, while a little more expensive, are a much better option. They use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer. Because they also produce very little heat, they are much safer to use for both indoor and outdoor lighting.

Don’t Leave Your Lights on Unattended

Don’t leave holiday lights on when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house. Should a problem develop, it’s essential for someone to react quickly, thus thwarting potential property damage or personal injury. Add a timer so you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn your lights on and off.

Do Properly Store Your Holiday Lights

At the end of the season, when you must put your lights back into storage, make sure to use cord holders to avoid a tangled mess. You can also make your own using leftover cardboard or empty paper towel rolls. It’s also a good idea to store them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water or rodent damage.

Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Roof Now

 

protect your roof

Winter is one of the toughest seasons – especially for roofs. Protect your roof from snow, ice, and dips in temperature using the following advice.

Inspect Your Roof

Doing a roof inspection on your own is easy. According to GAF, the United States’ largest roofing manufacturer, you should check your roofing system twice per year. In the fall, you’re checking to make sure the roof is ready for the added weight of snow and ice, as well as BIG temperature swings between day and night. Those temperature variations can cause roofing materials to expand and contract, stressing the materials.

There are five key things to look for while doing a roof inspection from the attic:

  1. Water leaks or staining
  2. Outside light coming through
  3. Sagging decking (between rafters)
  4. Proper ventilation – make sure vents are clear
  5. Measure and calculate adequate attic insulation levels

If you don’t have an attic, an outdoor visual inspection is the next best thing. You can do this from the safety of your yard without the risk of going up on a ladder. However, for a more comprehensive roof inspection, consult with a professional roofer.

Clean Your Gutters

Your gutters are an integral part of your roofing system. Made up of a series of interconnected troughs, they help channel water away from the house, but only if properly maintained. A clogged gutter, on the other hand, can result in backed up/stagnant water that can cause water damage and/or attract unwanted pests. If you haven’t already, you should clean your gutters before fall transitions to winter.

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams form as heat rises from a home, causing accumulated snow to melt, which travels down the roof until it reaches the eave line and gutters where it refreezes due to colder temps. Ice dams have destructive effects, including drenched insulation, rotting joists, the formation of mold, and collapsed rain gutters.

Proper insulation and ventilation of the attic space helps to keep heat from reaching the roof, thus preventing snow melt in the first place. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adding insulation to an unheated attic will have the greatest impact on energy consumption, saving you money on heating and cooling bills.

Replace Your Roof

While built for durability, the life expectancy of your roof depends on several additional factors, including design, installation quality and the material used to cover it. Local weather can also influence lifespan – and potentially cause premature roof failure. Lack of long-term care and maintenance or if your roof is not properly ventilated can accelerate the aging of most materials.

Potential signs that you roof needs to be replaced:

  • Moss
  • Dark streaks
  • Cracked shingles
  • Curling or cupping shingle edges
  • Bald spots where granules are missing
  • Your neighbors are having new roofs installed
  • Your roof is more than 20 years old – few roofs last longer than this

We want to hear from you. What are some ways you prepare for winter?

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

fall home maintenance

Fall is the perfect time to think about getting your home ready for the winter months ahead. Check these easy to do tasks off your fall home maintenance checklist starting today.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Once most of the leaves have fallen, inspect, and clean out gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool, potentially damaging your roof, siding or foundation. You can hire a professional for this project or do it yourself. Either way, make sure the gutters are not sagging, and that all brackets are tightened.

Have Your Roof Inspected

Take a walk around your property, looking for signs of damage to the roof, siding and foundation. If you find any shingles that are torn, curling or buckling, schedule to have your roof repaired or replaced before winter weather hits. Damaged flashing around pipes, chimneys, and skylights also needs to be repaired to prevent any leaks from ice or snow.

Trim Tree Branches

Fall is a good time to trim tree branches, when dormancy has set in. It’s a good idea to trim branches back 8-10 feet away from your home, so that they don’t damage your roofing or siding in windy conditions or cause moisture problems. Always use clean landscaping trimmers to prevent the spread of disease.

Schedule a Chimney Sweep

If you have a wood burning fireplace that you plan on using during the winter, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to come inspect and clean it. Once clean, consider adding a chimney cap to make sure critters cannot crawl through it looking for warmth and food. You can find certified chimney sweepers at the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Increase Exterior Lighting

It will be getting darker earlier. To prepare, add path lighting, porch lights and spotlights to both the front and rear of your home. This a great way to extend your indoor living spaces, add warmth to your home, and deter theft. Motion-activated lighting often provides the greatest benefits.

Add Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors (the garage door included) will help you save on heating costs during the cold months ahead. Other measures you can do boost winter warmth and comfort include:

  • Caulk around windows and doors
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
  • Replace thresholds with those that feature pliable gaskets
  • Add a door sweep to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out

Take Care of Your Heating System

This easy tasks allows your heating system to operate more efficiency. Use high-efficiency filters labeled with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 or 12. Additionally, making sure your furnace is cleaned, maintained, and in working order before you need to turn on the heat will save you money and prolong system life. You should schedule heating system maintenance every fall.

Stock Up on Winter Supplies

It’s a good idea to complete these tasks in the fall:

  • Pack emergency kits for both your home and car
  • If needed, pick up a bag or two of pet and plant safe ice melt
  • Check the condition of snow shovels, ice scrapers, and sleds; replace as needed
  • If you have a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel now for the winter
  • Rotate storage so that summer toys and tools are towards the back, and winter items, including holiday decor are in the front

How To: Prevent Roof Damage

prevent roof damage

We see it too often. Homeowners ignoring their roofing system until something drastic happens. That “something” could be number of things, including a recent storm that’s pulled off some shingles, or a leak caused by clogged gutters. By this time the chance to prevent a major problem has passed you by. It shouldn’t be that way. There are several things you can easily do to prevent roof damage and save yourself the cost of repairing or replacing your roof.

Here are 4 ways you can prevent roof damage:

Ignoring debris

Twigs, branches, and leaves can cause water to dam up and leak inside your home. This is easily avoidable. We recommend trimming trees and removing dead branches so they won’t damage your home should they fall because of wind, ice or snow. Additionally, clear gutters and downspouts of debris, ensuring water flows freely. Clearing your gutters in the fall and spring will eliminate the potential for damage. If you notice something isn’t right with your gutters, don’t ignore it; contact a professional roofer.

Skipping maintenance

By keeping an eye on how your roofing system is functioning over the years, you can catch small issues before they become major problems, saving hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars. It’s always recommended to have your roof inspected annually by a professional roofer, but in the meantime, there are certain signs you can be on the lookout for including: ponding water, damaged shingles or masonry, discoloration, leaks, sagging ceilings, mold and/or mildew, and loose granules.

Power washing your roof

Did you know? Power washing is one of the worst things you can do for your roof. In fact, too much pressure forces water under your shingles, which can result in mold and mildew growth on shingle and masonry roofs. Power washing can also wash away the granules that help to protect your home from water leaks. If your roofing material is sporting algae lines, you can hire a reputable roofing company that uses a “soft wash” cleaning method, approved by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.

Hiring an unqualified roofer

Avoid being stuck with an unqualified roofer by doing your research; asking around to your friends, neighbors and relatives for referrals; checking references; and ensuring that the contractor you are interested in hiring is licensed and fully insured. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to no less than three local contractors, collect bids, also known as estimates or quotes. Remember to avoid choosing based on price. The adage “you get what you pay for” often holds true of the lowest bids.

Fortunately, roofs are designed for longevity – with some materials featuring a lifespan of 50 years or more, provided you care for them properly. At Jenesis Roofing, we can assist you with preventative maintenance to prevent roof damage. Our licensed, residential roofing technicians have years of experience, making them highly skilled at what they do. Our services include residential roofing repair, commercial roofing repair, new roof construction and remodels, gutter installation, ridge vent installation, and more. Insurance claims are welcome.

Contact us today at (303) 789-1505 for a free estimate.

The 7 Most Common Roof Problems

common roof problems

Depending on material, a roof can last thirty years or more, but that is not to say it cannot be damaged or fail prematurely. Falling debris, high winds, ice dams…these are just of the problems that can cause you to need roof repair or replacement. Structural issues with roof vents, flashing, and the chimney can also cause damage. Here are the seven most common roof problems you should watch for.

Common Roof Problems

Trees – Overhanging tree limbs can rub on a roof, abrading the surface of the shingles and wearing away the protective top layer. Branches can also break off, fall on your roof, and cause even more serious damage. Limbs should be trimmed back away from the roof as much as possible to avoid damage caused by trees.

Ice Dams – Formed when melted snow refreezes on your roof, ice dams are not only structurally damaging, they can also present a dangerous situation should they fall. Ice dams can also cause your roof’s underlayment to become wet, leading to bacterial growth, such as mold or mildew.

High Winds – Regardless of material, shingles are susceptible to high winds, which can cause them to lift, damaging the integrity of your roofing system. Lighter shingles, like asphalt and composition are more prone to lifting up, while tile shingles are less likely to be affected by bad weather.

Bad Ventilation – Ventilation is an integral part of making a roof last, and is something that occurs naturally when vents are placed at the roof’s base and top, so that the flow of air is not impeded. Adequate ventilation regulates temperature and moisture levels in the attic as well as helps to prevent the occurrence of ice dams. Inadequate ventilation, on the other hand, can lead to a host of problems including: damage, high energy costs, and bacterial growth.

Structural Issues – Faulty installation at the start, excessive weight from snow and ice, and years of neglect can all dramatically increase the likelihood of structural issues, significantly reducing a roofing system’s life expectancy. If your roof has structural problems, there will be telling signs all throughout the house.

Backed Up Gutters – Failure to clean your gutters can prevent rainwater from running off efficiently. With nowhere to go, water can pool up, pressing moisture into the plywood that forms the roof’s foundation causing a number of problems such as roof leaks, bacterial growth, and rotting. It doesn’t take much to avoid this damage. Clean out debris twice per year and test the gutters to ensure proper drainage.

Lack of Maintenance – It should go without saying that maintaining a sound roof is crucial. Routinely inspecting and maintaining your roofing system can extend its life, saving you the cost of a complete roof replacement – although replacement should be considered if your roof is older than 20 years, or it’s no longer structurally sound.

Professional Roof Repair

Addressing problems early on can save you money. This is because most problems start off small. However, problems left unchecked, can quickly lead to bigger issues. For professional roof inspection and maintenance, repair or replacement, contact the experts at Jenesis Roofing at (303) 789-1505.

Preventing Ice Dams this Winter

ice dams

With plenty of snow, and a freeze-thaw cycle of sunny days and frigid nights, ice dams are not a foreign sight for Denver area residents. They are, however, an unwelcome sight! Unfortunately, these giant icicles hanging from the eaves are quite dangerous to people walking underneath, as well as a sign of serious problems to come with your roof and/or attic. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to prevent the formation of ice dams, or to reduce the damage after they have formed.

What causes ice dams?

For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, the outside temperature must be below freezing, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof’s outside surface must be above freezing while lower surfaces remain below freezing. Under these conditions, the snow on the higher portion of your roof will melt, causing water to flow down to the eaves where it refreezes forming an ice dam. The dam grows in size as it is fed by the melting snow above it.

What damages can occur?

When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles, where it will eventually drip into your home’s attic insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eaves. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off it, damaging anything it falls into or on: cars, pets, people, windowsills, etc. If the roof sheathing remains wet in this environment, mildew and/or mold can grow, which can later cause rot.

How can I prevent ice dams?

Preventing ice dams begins at the top – your roof. The roof should have adequate pitch with minimal valleys to prevent heavy snow buildup. If considering a new roof, metal roofing materials, or cool roofing materials are your safest bet for preventing ice dams. Venting is also important as this allows a constant flow of cold air therefore preventing the snow from melting and causing problems. For more information on preventing ice dams, contact your local roofing companies Denver contractor at: (303) 789-1505.

Fall Bucket List

fall bucket list

Please find below a list of fall bucket list activities that you and your family can enjoy in, and around Denver, Colorado this fall season.

[] Go apple picking at a local orchard

What better way to celebrate fall than picking your own apples at a local orchard – such as can be found at Ya Ya Farm and Orchard in Longmont. Don’t forget to press your own apple cider while you’re there!

[] Enjoy a Fall Beverage like a Pumpkin Spice Latte or hot apple cider

[] Take a fall foliage drive into the mountains

That’s right – road trip! The most amazing views of fall foliage can be found in Colorado’s mountain ranges. Plan on heading out early in the day to avoid crowds at the better-known mountain passes.

[] S’mores anyone?

[] Make leaf art

Bring nature’s beauty indoors with DIY leaf art. Simply gather some of your favorite leaves and/or flowers, flatten them under a heavy book, copy with a color photocopier, then glue the prints onto inexpensive canvas boards.

[] Decorate your home for the season

[] Find your way out

Make this fall season unforgettable. Head on over to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms and get lost in their 8-acre Corn Maze. The farm offers activities that are fun for all ages including: mini-mazes, hayrides, jumping pillows, and pony rides.

[] Create a Jack O’ Lantern

[] Get your fright on

For those who enjoy feeling spooked, there is no shortage of haunted houses in, and around Denver. In October, Elitch Gardens transforms into family by day and fright by night, complete with all your favorite theme park rides.

[] Bake pies

[] Take part in the zombie crawl

For more than a decade, Denver has a celebrated tradition in which residents from all over Colorado share in the excitement of the Zombie Crawl, which takes place on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from noon to 6:00 PM at Skyline Park.

[] Have your roof professionally inspected

[] Clean your gutters

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to remove leaves, sticks and other debris from your gutters. Cleaning out debris-ridden gutters eliminates the risk of overflow and water damage.

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