About Me

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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, to my Family, and my friends, and everyone in the construction business. I hope everyone has a great and healthy New Year. And to all construction people I wish for all of us alot of work.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter is Here

As all contractors know, winter is here, business is slow, and you don't even know if you are going to make it financially. It's the same thing year after year. As with everything else you try and save all year round for the winter, but everytime you do something comes up and there's the money flying out the door. Everyone that knows me thinks because I own my own company that we are so "rich". Well to tell you the truth we are just like every other working stiff. We still live paycheck to paycheck, especially in today's economy. Many many times we as a family didn't think we would pull through. Hopefully that never happens. Every day my wife search's companies to work for. You see I do alot of subcontracting work for the main companies. What does that mean, well when you call a contractor he calls me and we do the job. So my company is not the one making the big bucks. If you think that being self employed is all that like the news state the other day boy are you wrong. The NJ taxes, insurances and everything else will drain you dry. It was better a few years ago that's for sure. But like so many of you out there many times my company has been screwed. Not getting paid, has happen not once but a few. There's contractors out there that hire you and then take off with the whole payment from the homeowner or commerical properity owner. Guys like this shouldn't even be in business. Sometimes I even wish I had never even started a business. I have to pay my own health insurance that doesn't even cover jack. You train people to work then they go off and start their own business. Or you hire people and they don't show up to work. Speaking of that, a few months ago I needed sub's to help me out. I placed a ad online with a popular place, well everyone and everybody called. The problem, they said anything to get hired. Reason, the economy is so bad people will lie just to get a job. This is the only thing I could figure. One guy told me on the phone he had so much experience, had tools, had this, had that. Well when he showed up in the dead of winter, he was in shorts, and didn't even own a ladder. I of course had to tell him there was no way he was touching my job. The funny part was I told him to bring a copy of his insurance, "he did" a print out of something on the computer that was far from insurance. But you can't blame a guy for trying. I even felt bad after telling him to leave.

Other parts of the Roof

  • Chimney Cricket-Roof boarding and flashing used to create a pitched surface behind a chimney to deflect running water away from the back of the chimney.
  • Solar panels (arrays of photvoltaic cells) make use of renewable energy from the sun, and are a clean and environmentally sound means of collecting solar energy.
  • A window located on the roof of a structure to provide interior building spaces with natural daylight, warmth, and ventilation. A skylight can provide your home with daylighting and warmth. When properly selected and installed, an energy-efficient skylight can help minimize your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.
  • An attic fan can help lower excessive attic temperatures. Solar attic fans are available, but have limitations. Electric powered attic fans are available with thermostats to help conserve energy.  Wind-powered turbine vents are another option, but require Mother Nature to supply the power.
  • roof vents-A static, wind- or power-operated system for removing hot air and moisture from the air under your roof. Includes ridge vents.

Green Roofs "Roofs for the Future"

What are the most important factors in designing a green roof?
There are many complex, interactive factors that green roof design engineer takes into account, balancing many considerations for optimal performance, including:
•  Climate, especially temperature and rainfall patterns
•  Strength of the supporting structure
•  Size, slope, height, and directional orientation of the roof
•  Type of underlying waterproofing
•  Drainage elements, such as drains, scuppers, and drainage conduits
•  Accessibility and intended use
•  Visibility, fit with architecture, and owner's aesthetic preferences
•  Fit with other 'green' systems, such as solar panels
•  Costs of materials and labor
What is the difference between an 'extensive' and an 'intensive' green roof?
There is no strict demarcation. Generally speaking, 'extensive' green roofs are less than 6 inches deep, and, depending on depth, may support a range of plants, such as Sedums (low-growing succulents), herbs, meadow grasses, and perennials. Deeper 'intensive' systems can sustain complex landscapes, including small trees and even small ornamental ponds and fountains.
How much does a green roof weigh?
Green roofs vary greatly in weight, depending on their depth and the material components. The important measurement is 'wet' weight -- fully-saturated fabrics and plants. For example, Roofmeadow® systems, engineered to be both lightweight and efficient, generally weigh about 6.75 pounds per square foot for each inch of depth. Thus, the saturated weight of a 2-inch deep system is about 13 pounds per square foot, including a mature plant cover. Mid-range, 5-inch, systems weigh approximately 34 pounds per square foot and are compatible with wood or steel decks. 'Intensive' systems weigh 36 pounds or more, and generally require a concrete supporting deck

This type of roofing is fairly new and anyone who is interested should research this further, and find a contractor that specializes in Green Roofs.

Some Common Roofing Questions

  • How often should I have my gutters cleaned? You should clean them at least twice a year. If you have many trees in the area of your home you should clean them 3 to 4 times a year.
  • How Do I know if I need a new roof? You can usually tell with a visual inspection of the shingles. Look for cracks, peeling and any spots where the roof is leaking. If in doubt call a roofer for an inspection.
  • How long does it take to have a new roof installed? That depends greatly on your home and the pitch and design of your roof. Most residential roofs can be redone in two days but it could take as long as a week to complete your re-roof.
  • Should I worry about ice dams? Ice dams occur when snow or ice on the roof melts and flows to the bottom of the roof. It then refreezes and causes the water behind it to build up. This water then will often find a way into your home underneath shingles and in cracks. This can lead to extensive water damage. You should be concerned about ice dams if you have a roof in a colder climate with a very low pitch or have an older poorly insulated home. 
  • Why does a roof need ventilation? Ventilation helps remove the heat that builds up during the summer months and helps reduce moisture buildup under your roof. This helps your roof and shingles last longer by preventing the rooting of the wood and curling or distortion of your shingles.
  • What's The Difference Between 25 and 30 Year Old Shingles?
    Shingles are referred to as "25 Year" and "30 Year" because of the manufacturer's warranty. The difference in the two is the thickness which corresponds to the weight of the shingle. 25 year shingles are generally between 240 and 265 pounds per 100 square feet while 30 year shingles weigh between 265 and 300 pounds per 100 square feet.
  • What Causes Icicles Along The Eaves And What Can Be Done About It?
    The problem is a common one called "Ice Damming". Ice dams form when snow continually melts at the roof edge. When snow accumulates on a roof, the heat in the attic will cause it to thaw and the resulting water will run down to the eaves where there is no heat and it will refreeze. This can occur on a daily basis until large icicle form at the eaves. If no protection was installed when the roof was put on, the ice can eventually back up under the shingles and cause leaks. It can also get bad enough to rip the gutters right off of the building. Ice dams can allow moisture to damage attic insulation which reduces the R-value of the insulation and raises the energy bills, they allow water to penetrate wall cavities which can cause paint and plaster to peel and also rust nails, electrical boxes, or any other non-rustproof metal building material located in walls. There are three good ways to help prevent ice dams or the damage caused by ice dams. Proper ventilation will help maintain the ambient air temperature at the roof level thereby not allowing the snow located on the roof above the living areas of the home to thaw. Heavy attic insulation will help insure that very little heat gets into the attic. The installation of an ice and water protection membrane to the eaves and valleys of the roof which will help prevent damage, but doesn't treat the root of the problem, which is heat loss. Heat tapes are often used as a solution but rarely prove effective.
  • What will happen if I wait too long?
    If your roof is leaking, your repair bills will not only include the roof repair, but the cost of items associated with the roof leak.  For example: the repair or replacement of insulation, drywall, paint, furniture and flooring. Not to mention the longer you wait the more damage that can occur, which means more money out of your pocket.
  • Other signs you will need a new roof!
    The following factures will help you decide:

    Curled up Shingles:
    This can allow rain to get in and makes shingles easily susceptible to wind damage and/or other weather elements.
    Worn off granules:
    Granules protect the shingle from sunlight and water. If they are worn off, the shingle will deteriorate. Look for granules in your gutters or by your downspouts. You may also see dark spots on the shingles where granules are missing.
    Loose or missing Shingles:
    This can cause leakage.
    Cracked Shingles:
    A common cause of a roof leak.
    Nail Pops:
    Small holes where the nail has popped through the shingle. Also a common cause for a roof leak.
    Spots on your interior ceiling:
    May indicate that the roof is leaking or in need of a repair.
    Black or green Streaks:
    Mostly caused by Algae and can discolor your roof making it ugly.
    Age of your roof:
    Depending on the quality, most shingles last 10-25 years. If your home is the age as others in the neighborhood that are getting new roof replacement work, it may be time to replace yours too.
  • What are green roofs?
    Green roofs, also called “vegetated roof covers,” “living roofs,” and “eco-roofs” are thin layers of living plants that are installed on top of conventional roofs. Properly designed, they are stable, living ecosystems that replicate many of the processes found in nature.
    What are the major advantages of green roofs?
    Green roofs provide many ecological and aesthetic benefits, including:
    •  Controlling stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution,
    •  Improving water quality,
    •  Mitigating urban heat-island effects, cooling and cleaning the air,
    •  More than doubling the service life of the roof,
    •  Conserving energy,
    •  Reducing sound reflection and transmission,
    •  Creating wildlife habitat, and
    •  Improving the aesthetic environment in both work and home settings.

Lets talk terms and definitions

Asphalt:  A bituminous waterproofing agent applied to roofing materials during manufacturing.
Asphalt plastic roofing cement:   An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials. Also known as flashing cement or mastic.
Blisters:  Bubbles that may appear on the surface of asphalt roofing after installation.
Build Up Roof:  A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.
Bundle:  A package of shingles. There are 3, 4 or 5 bundles per square.
Butt edge:  The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
Caulk:  To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement to prevent leaks.
Chalk line:  A line made on the roof by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.
Coating:  A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the base material into which granules or other surfacing is embedded.
Collar:  Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roof around the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve.
Condensation:  The change of water from vapor to liquid when warm, moisture-laden air comes in contact with a cold surface.
Counter Flashing:  That portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.
Course:  A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.
Coverage:  Amount of weather protection provided by the roofing material. Depends on  number of layers of material between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck; i.e., single coverage, double coverage, etc.
Cricket:  A peaked saddle construction at the back of a chimney to prevent accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water around the chimney.
Cutout:  The open portions of a strip shingle between the tabs.
Deck:  The surface installed over the supporting framing members to which the roofing is applied.
Downspout:  A pipe for draining water from roof gutters. Also called a leader.
Drip edge:  A non-corrosive, non-staining material used along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction.
Eaves:  The horizontal, lower edge of a sloped roof.
Eaves flashing:  Additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water back-up.
Edging strips:  Boards nailed along eaves and rakes after cutting back existing wood shingles to provide secure edges for re-roofing with asphalt shingles.
Fiber glass mat:  An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fibers.
Flashing:  Pieces of metal or roll roofing used to prevent seepage of water into a building around any intersection or projection in a roof such as vent pipes, chimneys, adjoining walls, dormers and valleys. Galvanized metal flashing should be minimum 26-gauge.
Gable:  The upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.
Gable roof:  A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each side of the ridge. Contains a gable at each end.
Gambrel roof:  A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each side of the ridge. The lower plane has a steeper slope than the upper. Contains a gable at each end.
Gutter:  The trough that channels water from the eaves to the downspouts.
Hip:  The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. Runs from the ridge to the eaves.
Hip roof:  A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each of four sides. Contains no gables.
Hip shingles:  Shingles used to cover the inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
Laminated Shingles:  Strip shingles containing more than one layer of tabs to create extra thickness. Also called three-dimensional shingles.
Lap:  To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.
Low Slope Application:  Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes between two and four inches per foot.
Overhang:  That portion of the roof structure that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building.
Pitch:  The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.
Plastic Cement:  A compound used to seal flashings and in some cases to seal down shingles as well as for other small waterproofing jobs. Where plastic cement is required for sealing down shingles, use a dab about the size of a quarter unless otherwise specified.
Ply:  The number of layers of roofing: i.e. one-ply, two-ply.
Rafter:  The supporting framing member immediately beneath the deck, sloping from the ridge to the wall plate.
Rake:  The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall from the eave to the ridge.
Random Tab Shingles:  Shingles on which tabs vary in size and exposure.
Release Tape:  A plastic or paper strip that is applied to the back of self-sealing shingles. This strip prevents the shingles from sticking together in the bundles, and need not be removed for application.
Ridge:  The uppermost, horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
Rise:  The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge.
Roll Roofing:  Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form.
Run: The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span.
Shed Roof:  A roof containing only one sloping plane. Has no hips, ridges, valleys or gables.
Single Coverage:  Asphalt roofing that provides one layer of roofing material over the deck.
Slope:  The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in inches, to the run, in feet.
Soffit:  The finished underside of the eaves.
Square:   A unit of roof measure covering 100 square feet.
Starter:  Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.
Tab:  The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
Three Tab Shingle:  The most popular type of asphalt shingle usually 12" x 36" in size with three tabs.
Top lap:  That portion of the roofing covered by the succeeding course after installation.
Underlayment:  A layer of asphalt saturated (sometimes referred to as tar paper) which is laid down on a bare deck before shingles are installed to provide additional protection for the deck.
Valley:  The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff.
Vent:  Any outlet for air that protrudes through the roof deck such as a pipe or stack. Any device installed on the roof, gable or soffit for the purpose of ventilating the underside of the roof deck

Roof Anatomy

You might think a roof is just a roof and that as long as it is constructed properly, that this should be enough. Different locales have considerably different weather patterns, and there is the range from excruciatingly hot to bitter cold. Considerations in these opposites make a difference in not only your own personal comfort, but your wallet, too, when it comes time to pay the utilities.  The biggest thing to remember is that a roof is a system, not just something on top of your house. Roofs require proper ventilation, insulation and water barriers. Without these three things in place, the best laid roof is destined to fail. This results in interior damage and costly repairs. Knowing the basics of a roof system is more than just picking the best shingle you can afford. Older homes especially suffer from improper installation. When a roof is replaced, it is time to fix those issues to insure your roof and home don't suffer from the effects of an improperly installed roof.  

Do you do it or Hire a Contractor

Many times this question comes up. And it is all up to the person if they feel they can maintain the roof their self or if they need a contractor. The best way to decide is
  • what size is the roof
  • how many layers does the roof have
  • how badly damaged is the roof
  • do you have the proper equipment
  • do you even have the time your roof needs to finish the job
  • these are just some of the questions to ask your self
And don't forget there are other things on your roof that need attention, like the chimney the vents etc. which we will discuss later.

The Roof

We all know of course that the roof is the main covering of any building, weather it be our home, our office or even are outside shed. It protects are home from all types of elements. There are different shapes to the roof depending on the structure of the building. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous. The "Roof" of any structure is a global thing, which extends to the roofing material here in the U.S, or abroad in the Jungles in which they may use straw. Anyway you look at it, the roof of any structure is a valuable asset and must be taken care of.