A well-insulated home can keep you comfortable throughout every season. But did you know that when insulation keeps conditioned air from escaping the house, it also helps lower heating and cooling costs? The EPA estimates that 15 percent can be saved on heating and cooling costs by adding insulation.
If you live in an older home, NAIMA recommends conducting an energy audit to ensure insulation is up to code. The audit will test the important insulation locations in your home, such as the attic, floors, walls, and basements.
DIY Insulation and Energy Audit
Attic Space – First, for a swift energy audit, conduct a walk-through of your attic. Look for holes in the ceiling; no light should shine through into the attic. Inspect existing insulation for black spots; this indicates that dust and air can travel through the insulation. If you notice one or more of these things, it’s time to inspect your insulation levels. Use this checklist to ensure your attic is well insulated.
- Check the attic door is insulated and closes tightly.
- Inspect sealed openings such as pipes, ductwork, and chimneys. If you need to seal any openings, it is recommended to seal using an expanding foam spray and, if the opening produces heat, a non-combustible one.
- Insulation should be covering the attic floor. EasyTouch™ is an excellent option for adding insulation to your attic space. It is easy to install, cost-effective, and helps conserve energy.
Exterior Walls – Checking insulation levels in an exterior wall is more involved than our attic inspection. If you suspect additional insulation is needed, but do not feel comfortable conducting this test, please reach out to our credentialed contractors. Energy.gov recommends inspecting insulation by inspecting behind an electrical outlet cover plate on every floor. To do so, follow these steps.
- Before beginning, turn off the circuit breaker for the section of the house you will be testing. This is critical for your safety.
- Remove the outlet cover and use a flashlight to observe the exterior wall insulation. Doing so will help you determine the insulation thickness.
- Pull out a piece of insulation from your wall to identify its type.
- Lastly, measure the thickness of the insulation in inches to determine the R-value.
Optima® Blown-In Insulation is an excellent option for adding insulation to your exterior wall. It will fill any void and create uniform coverage, optimizing thermal efficiency in your home.
Basement/Crawl Space – Inspect your basement for any cracks or holes. Like the attic inspection, no light should be shining through the walls. If your basement is a conditioned space, add insulation to your walls. We offer insulation specifically designed to accommodate basements walls with two perforated facings, white PSK and standard FSK.
Air Barrier and Vapor Retarder
Now that you have carefully completed your home energy and insulation audit, you can consider the essential accessories needed to support your insulation’s performance. It’s recommended that both an air barrier and vapor retarder are installed. Lucky for you, our MemBrain™ Continuous Air Barrier & Smart Vapor Retarder offers both features in one product, providing your home with a better performing building envelope and year-round moisture protection!
Having balanced attic ventilation is an integral part of roof maintenance.
When attic ventilation is balanced, the amount of intake ventilation is equal to, or exceeds, the amount of exhaust ventilation. The more intake ventilation, the better. An effective ventilation system removes heat from the attic in the summer and removes moisture in the winter. Here are six reasons why balanced attic ventilation is important.
1. Mold and mildew growth
A properly ventilated attic helps fight moisture buildup in the winter when warm, moist household air rises to the attic. A buildup of moisture can cause dry rot and mold or mildew growth. It can also lower the R-value of insulation, making it less effect. The R-value measures an insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow, or its thermal resistance.
2. Poor air quality
The buildup of moisture, and the mold that goes along with it, can lower the air quality in the rest of the household.
3. Ice dams
A balanced attic ventilation system keeps the roof deck more uniformly cool in the winter. This helps protect against ice dams which damage gutters and shingles and can stain interior walls. Ice dams are formed when the heat from the attic, combined with the heat from the sun, melt the show on top of the roof despite the fact that the temperatures outside are freezing. The melted show slides down the roof, then freezes again at the eaves and gutters.
4. Pre-mature shingle deterioration
In the summer, heat builds up in the attic. Without proper ventilation, this can lead to the de-lamination of roof sheathing and cause the shingles to loosen or break down.
5. Utility bills
Proper attic ventilation in the summer can also reduce the cost of utility bills. A cool attic lightens the load on air conditioners, refrigerators, fans, and other cooling appliances.
6. Roof warranties
Most building codes and shingle warranties require proper attic ventilation. In fact, for many shingle manufacturers, proper ventilation is required to validate the full terms of the warranty. If damage occurs to your roof because of improper ventilation, it might not be covered ~
10/22/21|KNOW YOUR ROOF™
Landlords, look to these Rental Property Roof Maintenance Tips this Fall
Checking for roof issues will also bring peace of mind for property owners who need their rental units to perform as expected.
Early fall is a perfect time to take care of roof maintenance for homeowners and landlords. As the heat of the summer begins to slack off and days become cool, getting up on a ladder to inspect a roof becomes far more inviting. The due diligence of checking for roof issues will also bring peace of mind for property owners who need their rental units to perform as expected. Preventative roof maintenance also makes sure roofs are watertight and ready for wintry weather before the first storms of the season roll in.
As a landlord,” explains Ian Joseph of Tacoma PMC, “a well-maintained property means fewer voids because your tenants are happy to stay longer. Besides, the law requires you to provide your tenants with a habitable rental unit. Among other things, that means ensuring the roof on your rental property is leak-free.
What to look for?
A roof can be damaged due to a variety of reasons, so it is important to look for the warning signs that repairs or a new roof might be necessary.
A primary culprit can often be improper installation. Roofing products improperly installed can decrease the performance of the products and overall life of the roof. Getting your roof installed, replaced or repaired by a trained and experienced roofing contractor is critical. Through the Malarkey Certified Residential Contractor Program, we ensure participating contractors are trained professionals and experienced with Malarkey roofing products. Prior to arranging for a visit from a roofing contractor, property managers can use the following tips while inspecting the surface of a roof.
Shingle Status: There are many, many shingles on every roof, and inspecting each one can be tricky and time consuming. However, a quick visual survey of the shingles can provide valuable clues as to the overall health of the roof. This is perhaps the easiest part of the inspection – checking for anything that looks to be missing, torn, battered, curled, cracked, or just plain wrong with the shingles. These symptoms can be indicators of roof damage from inclement weather events such as hail or heavy wind. On oxidized asphalt shingles, fading and brittle shingles can be evidence of granule loss, which prematurely age the roof.
Flashing Forecast: Roof flashing is the material (usually sheet metal) found between shingles and fixed pieces of the roof such as chimneys, vents, downspouts, and vertical walls. Assessing the status of this material for cracks, dents, mold or other aberrations can help identify issues before they become widespread.
Organize Any Organics
It is common for roofs to collect leaves, pine needles and other organic matter from nearby vegetation. While inspecting a roof, it is therefore important to identify areas with excessive moss, algae, or piles of leaves and debris – conditions notorious for causing water damage and costly leaks. These areas can be managed with a couple steps.
The first step in solving this problem is simply to remove organic matter from the roof. The second step is to limit the source of the material by trimming foliage of nearby landscaping. Thinning or removal of tree limbs that overhang a roof can limit the amount of leaves, needles and branches that may fall on the roof and damage shingles.
“So, that century-old oak in your front yard, as beautiful as it may look,” says Mr. Joseph, “may be a potential danger waiting to happen. As you inspect your home, make sure to check nearby trees for dead, overhanging limbs.”
Third, checking and cleaning roof gutters as well as downspouts are an essential home maintenance task. Clogged gutters may seem like a small problem, but they can wreak havoc on a rental property if left unaddressed. Obstructed gutters are inhibited in their ability to move water off the roof to the ground below. This can lead to more water on the roof and potentially leaking into the home. During winter months, ice damming can become increasingly likely.
Obstructed gutters create space that attract unwanted tenants to a rental property, cautions Joseph. Pooling water and excessive moisture that occupy a property – rather than draining from it – can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects. Wet soil near a building’s foundation can also attract subterranean termites. This combination may even invite mice and rats to build their nests near, or inside, a home, advises Joseph.
Check the Insulation & Ventilation
While inspecting a roof, it is also important to check the ‘underside’ of the roof deck, from inside an attic space for instance. An attic is much more than just a storage space, as it plays an important role for insulating and ventilating the overall roof system. During this part of the inspection, look for signs of water penetration or mold caused by moisture intrusion. These signs provide valuable information about the roof system as well as the status of the home’s insulation and ventilation throughout the seasons.
Making minor roof repairs on a rental property is a crucial component to improving the life of the investment and keeping inhabitants happy. Roofing repairs typically go beyond the abilities of a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project, so do not hesitate to contact a professional roofing contractor. ~
Types of Roof Damage You Can’t Afford to Overlook
The roof is critical in shielding your home from the sun, rain, and other elements of nature. However, your roof may sustain damage over time owing to a variety of factors such as high winds, falling tree limbs, and even local wildlife. Whatever the cause, the damage could progress to the point where repairs or perhaps a complete roof replacement would be required to remedy the situation.
Here’s a guide on the different kinds of roof damage that need your immediate attention.
Types of Roof Damage That You Shouldn’t Ignore
A blister occurs when trapped pockets of air form between layers of roofing. When the temperature outside rises, the air expands from the heat, raising that section of the roof and forming blisters.
You may be able to ignore small blisters for the time being, but they can rapidly grow as air accumulates. If you discover large bubbles (greater than 2 inches in diameter), it’s best to have them repaired as soon as possible. One large blister can spread to others on the roof, or become even larger and eventually rupture, resulting in leaks.
Shingles can become dislodged by high winds and flying debris, exposing the roof’s underlayment to weather damage. If you ignore the missing shingles, you’ll likely end up with leaks and harsher indoor temperatures. Wildlife such as raccoons and squirrels may seek shelter in the remaining roof structure, causing additional damage.
Loose or Corroded Roof Flashing
A roof’s flashing pertains to the thin metal sheets—typically aluminum or galvanized steel—that are installed under shingles. The flashing directs water away from the joints of architectural features, such as the chimney, skylights, or dormers.
Heat and moisture will corrode and deteriorate the flashing over time. The flashing could also dislodge when wildlife or debris pull or strike them, and result in water intrusion and costly interior damage to your home.
In the NW the occasional storm can cause wind-carried debris and overhanging tree branches to fall and puncture the roof. Punctures can also occur from the weight of foot traffic from people who visit the roof: possible HVAC contractors, painters, chimney sweeps, and house occupants.
Why Should a Bad Roof Be Addressed Promptly?
You might be tempted to put off roof repairs to save money. But keep in mind that you could end up having to deal with much costlier emergency repairs later on. Leaving the roof alone means you’re letting the damage worsen.
And since your roof is your house’s first line of defense against the elements, a damaged roof can’t protect you and the rest of your household.
What Are the Signs of a Failing Roof?
So how can you tell if your roof’s got problems? Let’s check out some of the common exterior and interior signs of roof damage.
- Water Stains: A leaky roof can let water run down to the ceiling and the walls inside your house, resulting in water stains.
- Pests: If there are pests such as rodents and raccoons in the attic, they might have entered through a loose shingle, a flashing, or even a roof puncture.
- Mold on Exterior Walls: If the flashing no longer directs water away from joints, the moisture that sticks to the walls can allow mold to grow.
Even if there are no visible signs of roof damage, roofing systems still have a life span. For example, asphalt shingles typically last between 15 to 30 years and have warranties that are just as long. Have your roof inspected to see what needs to be repaired or replaced. ~
As winter storm warnings sweep across the country, homes are likely to incur damage in one way or another.
Accidents and damage happen, especially when you’re in a storm-prone areas. As much as we encourage homeowners to prepare their homes and roofs in advance of bad weather to avoid certain issues, sometimes there’s no preparing for mother nature.
So, if you suddenly hear the “drip drip drip” or see the telltale signs of a roof leak, there are things you can do immediately to help mitigate damage until the storm subsides and a full, professional repair can be done.
This may not be your first instinct, but it’s really very critical to document as much as possible as soon as you notice the damage so you can provide this to your insurance company. The clearer you are able to make it that the leak was caused by storm damage, the more likely your claim is to be processed and the quicker it can be resolved.
Of course, do not put yourself in danger in the midst of a storm to get on your roof and take photos, but from where you can inside your house, photograph or video the active leak. Then when it’s safe, take photos on a level area from the outside. Some insurance companies suggest photographing your home when there is no damage and keeping those photos on file for comparison. This makes it easier to show where exactly damage has been done and prove that it was not there prior to the event.
Another first step in the event of roof damage is to remove any valuable items from the area of the leak. This is particularly important for electronics as they don’t play well with water and can cause electrical damage or fires. Any artwork or photos hanging on walls where the leak may spread should be removed. Curtains, rugs and furniture should be pulled away from the area. If items have been damaged, be sure to document that as well for insurance purposes. Then set them aside to be thoroughly dried and cleaned to avoid mold and mildew.
Contain the Water
If you are able to identify the source of the leak, and the leak is dripping straight downward, place a large container underneath it to catch the water. Check on this container often and empty it before it becomes too heavy or nearly full. It’s also a good idea to place a tarp or sheet of plastic underneath the container in case any water splashes out or spills over, but do not use plastic or tarping to collect water, as it can be difficult to collect and remove water from sheeting without further damaging insulation, flooring or drywall nearby. If plastic sheeting is used under your container, make sure to remove it as soon as the issue is repaired as it can become a vapor barrier, causing condensation where it should not be, without giving it a way out.
Temporarily Cover the Leak
Tarps can seem like a good, easy solution for leaks, but the fact is that putting them onto your roof is dangerous, and if they aren’t placed perfectly over the peak of your roof or tucked under the shingles just right, then they can actually collect water and direct it into other vulnerable areas of the roof. They are also likely to blow off or shift in ways that can cause additional damage. If a large portion of your roof is damaged, this may be the only option, but for smaller areas of damage, try a different patching method instead. Roofing tape and caulk can be used safely from inside your attic to help close up holes and prevent additional water from entering. You can find these items at your local hardware store, and you’d be wise to purchase them in advance of a storm so you’re not running out in the middle of one to stock up. But keep in mind – these are temporary solutions only and professional repairs will need to be made as soon as possible.
Dry Things Out
Anything that has gotten damp or drenched from a roof leak should be dried out as soon as possible. Good ventilation can help in some cases, but you may also want to use a large floor fan directed at any damp areas to help dry them out faster. This will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can lead to additional damage to valuables and your home’s structure. When possible, it is still a good idea to have a professional come out and inspect any wood or materials that got wet to ensure no rot, termite or other structural issues are present.
Call a Professional
As soon as you are able, contact a trusted roofing professional. Even if they cannot come right away, call them as soon as you notice the damage so you can be added to their schedule. It’s never advisable to try and repair your roof yourself – it’s dangerous and if repairs are done incorrectly, it can cause major damage to the entire structure of your home, not to mention your repairs may not meet code requirements and could make it difficult to insure or sell the home in the future ~