Why Does Old Wood Turn Gray?

Is the cedar roof protecting your house grayer than the sky on a rainy day?

If you were to look at a picture of your roof the day it was installed and compare it to what it looks like today, we’re pretty confident you’d be upset at the difference.

We want to explain to you why this happens and then offer you a solution to fix this ugly problem.

old cedar roof

Over-Exposure to UV Light

When you’re in the sun for too long, your skin will begin to change colors due to the effects of UV light. The same principle applies to wood that’s exposed to the sun. However, instead of the skin pigment changing colors, the cellulose fibers that make up the wood will begin to degrade and deteriorate.

Over time, roofs with wood shingles will begin to turn gray due to the constant exposure to UV light. You cannot prevent your roof from being exposed to UV light, but you can treat the wood shingles to help restore those fibers. This will help keep your roof looking new, instead of a lifeless gray.

Precipitation and Mildew Growth

When it rains and snows, the moisture can begin to negatively affect wooden roof shingles as time goes on. New roofs with high quality materials (that are properly installed) are unaffected by precipitation. However, as time goes on, constant UV light and fairing against the elements will cause shingles to become weakened.

As wooden shingles weaken over time, they will become susceptible to the growth of mildew and other fungi. This can discolor wood, causing some areas to become darker or lighter than others. In addition to the loss of color from UV light, the growth of mildew will further the discoloration.

How to Prevent Discoloration of Your Roof

You can’t cover your roof to protect it from UV light or moisture, but what you can do is have it treated every few years. Cedar-Life is a treatment you can have applied to your cedar shingles that will preserve the wood and delay the negative effects of the sun and precipitation.

A cedar roof that is left untreated may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years. Having your cedar roof treated with Cedar-Life every few years can easily increase this lifespan to the range of 35 to 50 years!

Cedar-Life is a proprietary process designed and implemented by the pros here at Landmark Exteriors. So when you want to breathe new life into your roof and up your curb appeal, be sure to give us a call!

The Parts of Your Roofing System You Should Know

When you think of the roof, you probably think about the roofing shingles that cover the top of your house.

While the roofing shingles are a big part of your roof, there are many other parts that make up the entire roofing system.

Knowing each part of the roofing system will help you understand how the roof is supposed to work and what parts need the most maintenance.

different parts of the roof

The Parts of the Roofing System

  • Decking/Sheathing – The structure of the roof itself is called the decking of the roof. This gives the roof its shape and support. Laid on top of the roof deck is the sheathing. This is the plywood that lays flat onto the structure where you will nail in place all of the other roofing materials.
  • Underlayment – Once the sheathing has been nailed into place, it must be covered in an underlayment material. This black paper (usually a felt material) helps protect the wood it sits atop of from any rain or moisture that might squeeze passed the shingles.
  • Flashing – Like any structure, there are going to be areas of the roof that are “weaker” than others. In the case of a roof, there are areas that aren’t protected from precipitation as well as others. These areas include: hips, valleys, around chimneys, etc. To ensure water doesn’t penetrate these exposed areas, a metal sheet known as flashing is installed underneath the shingles. This will divert rainwater away from the exposed areas toward the gutter system.
  • Shingles – Now comes the most known piece of the roofing system — the shingles. The shingles are what give the roof its unique look, as well as helping protect the structure from the elements of Mother Nature. Shingles can be made from a variety of materials, including: asphalt, cedar, slate, aluminum, etc.
  • Fascias & Soffits – Roofs extend outward from the side of the house, leaving a few feet of additional roof. The face of the edge of the roof is known as the fascia. The underneath of the edge of the roof is known as the soffit.
  • Roof Vents – Every properly installed roof should have an attic space with the proper ventilation. This will protect the attic space from enduring extreme temperatures by ventilating the air out of specifically designed roof vents. Without the right number of roof vents, the underneath of the roof that lives in the attic can become damaged.
  • Gutter System – Yes, the gutters hanging on the edge of your roof are a part of the overall roofing system. They have the important job of channeling rainwater away from your roof to help prevent leaks. The gutter system is made up of the gutters, downspouts, elbows, gutter extension, splash block, etc.

Knowing what each part of your roofing system is and does is something every homeowner should know.

If any part of your roof is damaged and needs repair, or is missing and needs replacement, know that Landmark Exteriors is only a small call away!

What to Do if the House You Want to Buy Has a Bad Roof?

Picture This: You’ve been looking to purchase a new home for the last few months (or even years) and nothing has allowed you to say “this is the one.” Then out of nowhere, you find the house you’ve been looking for! Everything seems perfect until you take a tour of it and find out that the roof is in terrible condition

Should you still consider this house even with the roof damage?

Well, let’s talk about the types of damage it may have:

roof damage

Shingle Condition

The first thing you’ll look at is the condition of the roofing shingles. Each material will have its own telltale signs that they’re old and need to be replaced. Asphalt shingles can crack and curl, cedar shingles can split and turn grey, slate shingles can split and break off, etc.

Whichever material this roof utilizes, give the roof a visual inspection to assess the current condition of the shingles. You should also ask the realtor or owner of the house how old the current roof is.

Roof Leaks

When the condition of the roofing shingles or flashing are not in good condition (or are not installed properly), roof leaks are almost always a result. These leaks can cause mold growth, wood rot, and weaken the overall structure of the roof underneath the shingles.

A way to inspect a home for roof leaks is to enter the attic space and look for wet spots, warped wood, mold growth, and light that peers in during the daytime.

Roof leaks can be fixed if they’re newer and smaller, but if they’re larger or have been around for a while — the damage could have already taken its toll in shortening the roof’s lifespan.

Structural Damage

When old age, roof leaks, or too many layers of roofing shingles exists with a roof, the structure of the roof can become damaged and weakened. A roof with a weakened structure will need to be fully replaced — wood, shingles, flashing, etc.

Failing to replace a roof with a weakened structure can put the roof at risk of sagging and eventually collapsing. This not only fails to protect your home from the outside elements but also becomes a hazard to you and your family.

It’s Time to Make a Decision

When the house you want to buy has a bad roof, you have to take into account the severity of the issues. If there are a few missing shingles and small roof leaks that seem to be relatively new, it can be worth it to make the repairs in order to have the home of your dreams.

However, if the roof is well past its lifespan or there are multiple roof leaks that have caused some damage — the repair and replacement costs are only going to be worth it if you believe this is the ONLY house you want to live in. (Also, remember that while the upfront costs might seem expensive, you’re also reinvesting into the home and increasing its overall value.)

If the roof has severe structural damage, the house may not be worth your time, money, and energy.

Finding the perfect house is a moment of bliss — that can easily be ruined by a bad roof.

When you’re in need of a roof inspection, repair, or replacement, our roofers will be there for you with a competitive estimate sure to follow!

Animals That Can Ruin your Roof (and What to Do About Them)

When you think of roof damage, you usually think of leaks caused by heavy rainfall or debris that collides with the roof via highspeed winds.

While storms can cause serious damage to your roof, you should also be worried about your neighbors

No, not Jim next door. The wild animals that live right outside your home!

Squirrel on the Roof

Animals That Can Be Found on Your Roof

When you live in suburban neighborhoods (such as the many across Connecticut), running into wild animals can be a regular occurrence. You might be thinking to yourself:

“I’ve never seen a wild animal on my roof before though.”

However, certain wild animals are sneaky enough where they will explore your roof without you knowing — until you see the damage they leave behind.

Common wild animals that can be found on your roof include raccoons, squirrels, opossums, chipmunks, birds, bats, and a whole slew of insects.

How Animals Can Ruin Your Roof

The roof of your home is meant to protect your home from Mother Nature’s harsh weather conditions. Roofs aren’t meant to handle constant contact with animals (or humans) or their methods of trying to get inside of the roof to the attic space.

Wild animals like squirrels, raccoons, and opossums will use their paws and teeth to create openings in the roof. Whether the animals get inside of your home or not, the damage will then be susceptible to roof leaks which will lead to wood rot, mold, and a shortened lifespan of your roof.

Birds and bats can also cause damage to your roof simply by nesting in troublesome areas — like in roof vents. Nests (and the actual animals nesting) can block the flow of air in and out of the attic space. A lack of proper airflow can damage the structure of the roof during periods of extreme temperatures.

How to Prevent Animals From Damaging Your Roof

You can’t just put a sign on your roof that says “No Entry.” Therefore, you have to follow some preventative measures:

  • Trim back any trees and shrubbery with branches that hang too close to the roof. (Overhanging trees act as a bridge from nature to your home.)
  • Add anti-bird spikes to the edges of your roof to prevent birds from landing here.
  • Have mild roof damage repaired ASAP to prevent wild animals from using this as an easy access point to your attic space.
  • Perform visual inspections of your roof for not only damage but also to look out for any animals nesting.

For those experiencing roofing problems because of wild animals, make sure you contact your local pest management specialists to explore the best prevention methods.

In addition to pest control, contact your local roofer to have them perform an inspection of your roof and repair any damage these wild animals may have caused.

3 Pests That Can Damage Your Siding

Pests don’t just infest the inside of your home looking for spilled drinks and leftover crumbs like a mouse or an ant would.

There are some pests that will do damage to your home from the comfort of the outside.

For those with cedar or wood siding, make sure you know a little bit about these specific pests, as they have been known to do some damage to people’s homes.

woodpecker on the side of the house

1) Woodpeckers

You’ll know you have a woodpecker problem the moment one lands on your home. These birds will drill into your home in search of food or to build their new “home.” They’ll also drum, which is simply them drilling holes as a way of marking their territory.

Homeowners with cedar shakes may see woodpecker activity if they live in an area the birds inhabit. To keep woodpeckers from drilling or drumming into your cedar siding, place shiny objects around your home’s siding, as woodpeckers view this as unattractive in terms of where they want to drill. Also, look into woodpecker feeders and place them on the edge of your property away from your home.

2) Termites

One of the most costly pest infestations you can have is a termite infestation. The reason termite infestations are so dreaded is that you never really know you have one until it’s too late.

And guess what? They LOVE wood

Termites eat wood from the inside out, so you’ll never see a group of them walking around your home like ants would. The warning signs you have to look for are discarded wings (from swarmers that search for new places to colonize in spring), mud tubes on nearby wood, and hollow-sounding wood when you give it a knock.

It’s important that you have a termite prevention plan in place with your local pest management professionals. They can supply your home (and its siding) with the systems and defense it needs to keep termites away from your home.

3) Carpenter Bees

There are many different species of bees and wasps, however, the carpenter bee is the one you have to worry about most when it comes to the health of your home — and it’s siding.

Carpenter bees will create tunnels inside of the wood in your home and use this as their nest. Therefore, your cedar siding could be at risk.

Luckily, carpenter bees are decently easy to get rid of. All you have to do is use the right insecticide when dealing with their tunnels, and then plug them up with the proper caulking and sealant.

To learn more about cedar siding or if you’re interested in siding repair, don’t hesitate to give our siding pros here at Landmark Exteriors a call!

Why Slate Roofs Are Always a Good Choice!

When you look at some of the most beautiful buildings (whether they’re houses, museums, or grand cathedrals), many of them have slate roofs.

Why?

Because slate is one of the BEST roofing materials you can use! And here are a few reasons to back up that sentiment.

slate roof

Standing the Test of Time

The average roof (depending on the material) will last roughly 20 to 30 years if you provide it with the proper maintenance and repairs. This is good, but not the best out there…

On the other hand, slate roofs can last over 100 years if the slate is properly installed and maintained! There are slate roofs that were installed toward the end of the 1800s that are still in use (with repairs and maintenance made throughout the years) that are still holding up incredibly well.

In addition to lasting a very long time, slate roofs are also resistant to fires. This can help prevent your home from catching fire if there’s a house fire next door.

Money Well Spent

The reason many folks don’t always go with slate as their roofing material of choice is because of the price. Yes, it is the most expensive roofing material available.

However, with slate roofs being able to last roughly a century, you (or the future owners of your home) won’t have to replace the roof every 20 to 30 years as a normal homeowner would. By cutting down on anywhere from three to five new roof installations, this exponentially cuts down on the amount you’ll spend on your roof over a lifetime.

Therefore, if you’re planning on staying in your home for an extended period of time (or are looking to up the resale value of your home), slate makes perfect sense.

A Thing of Beauty

There’s a reason that some of the most beautiful buildings across the world are all built with slate roofs covering them. Yes, they are reliable, but they are also a thing of beauty with a timeless look.

Some of the most beautiful buildings in the world include Oxford University, Rockefeller Mansion, Walt Disney Residence, and a LONG list of famous cathedrals — all of which have slate roofs.

When choosing slate for your roof, you can choose the size, thickness, and color of the tiles you want. This will allow you to match it to your desired color of siding, the size of the house, and the overall look you’re going for.

Choosing slate for your home’s roof might be one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make.

When it’s time for your roof to be replaced or repaired, feel free to give us a call and we’ll gladly provide you with a fair estimate!

Why is My Attic So Hot?

During the summer, temperatures in Connecticut can reach well past the 90s — sometimes even hitting the 100-degree mark.

When temperatures are this hot and the sun is shining directly onto your roof, your attic will heat up to unsafe temperatures. Temperatures inside of the attic may reach up to 50 degrees hotter than the temperature outside.

hot attic in summer

The Negative Effects of a Hot Attic

When your attic reaches dangerously hot temperatures, being unable to go into your attic isn’t the only thing that happens — serious problems can occur.

  • Roofing materials (like asphalt) can literally overheat to the point of melting and deteriorating. This will result in a shorter lifespan of the roof and premature replacement.
  • As shingles begin deteriorating further, your roof will become susceptible to roof leaks. Once water gets behind the shingles, water damage, rot, and mold will now further damage your home until these problems are addressed.
  • Extreme temperatures like this are oftentimes no match for your home’s insulation. This heat will enter your home which will cause your cooling system to work harder to cool your home. As a result, you will have to deal with increased wear and tear on your cooling system and higher energy bills.

How to Cool Down Your Attic

In order to prevent your roof from becoming damaged by the effects of an overly hot attic, there are some steps you’ll need to take to prevent it from happening.

  • Add a Ventilation System – Every attic should have ventilation AND an adequate amount of it (based on its size). An attic experiencing temperatures over 100 degrees means your ventilation system is either not doing its job or is non-existent. A professional roofer will be able to explain which ventilation system is best for your home (gable vents, soffit vents, ridge vents, etc.), as well as providing you with an estimate of the optimal amount.
  • Address the Insulation – Old insulation isn’t always able to do its job of keeping the temperatures between your home and the attic (and outside) separate. Ensure your home has the proper amount of insulation and that it’s of the right quality — preferably an R-factor of 19 or better. Insulation and a ventilation system go hand in hand, so be sure to address both.
  • Install a Fan – Once you have a proper ventilation system with quality insulation, you may want to add an attic fan for good measure. Attic fans and other electric ventilation systems do a great job of removing hot air from attics. Pair one of these with a thermostat and this fan will turn on once temperatures within the attic begin increasing.

When your attic is so hot that you can’t even go into it for a few seconds, that’s how you know something is wrong.

Don’t deal with a hot attic and all of the negatives that come from one. Instead, make sure you give Landmark Exteriors a call. We’ll install all of the ventilation your roof needs, as well as an inspection of your current roof for any damage it may have previously sustained.

Parts of Your Home You’re Forgetting to Maintain

When you’re a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to maintain your home.

Unfortunately, many homeowners will only pay attention to parts of their home that are used often, instead of the more important parts.

In this blog, we’ll show you parts of your home you probably forgot about but should be maintained more. Otherwise, you could end up with an expensive repair bill…

maintaining your home

The Gutters Filled With Leaves and Debris

In the fall, cleaning your gutters should be on every homeowners’ checklist. Why is this on almost every list? Because clogged gutters can do a TON of damage to your home. But this should be on your checklist at least once per season.

For example, clogged gutters can cause rainfall to pool up and overflow onto the edges of the roof. This can cause roof leaks, rot, and water damage to your roof and inside of the attic.

Additionally, this pooled rainfall can also overflow to the ground below where flooding of your property can occur. This can do some damage to your lawn, as well as flooding your basement if the water finds its way down there.

Oh, and in the summertime, clogged gutters filled with pockets of water along with wet, mulch-y debris will attract mosquitoes.

The Roof Above Your Head

As a homeowner, you have to worry about a lot of things in your home. However, the one thing that is often forgotten about is one of the most important — the roof!

The roof protects your entire home from the elements of Mother Nature, we’d like to say it’s pretty important. Unfortunately, many people don’t spend the time to give it the love it rightfully deserves.

All you need to do is give it a visual inspection once per season (and after extremely harsh storms) and call your local roofer to have it repaired when shingles, flashing, and other parts of your roof become damaged.

The reason you want to pay attention to your roof is that if you don’t, you’ll end up having to replace it prematurely. And with roofs costing thousands of dollars to install, what’s a few minutes out of your day?

The Trees Surrounding Your Home

Having a home surrounded by trees adds beauty to your property. Between the different colors throughout the year, the shade it provides, and the overall aesthetic of the property — the curb appeal of your home is definitely sky high when you have trees nearby.

But like all things on your property or in your home, these trees need to be maintained. Luckily, trees are extremely low maintenance (unless you’re planting new ones).

The only maintenance they’ll need is when their branches get too close to your home or if they become damaged. In this case, you can have these branches cut back or removed to ensure that they don’t come crashing into the side of your home during the next storm.

(P.S. Insurance won’t always cover wind damage via debris if you were negligent in not removing broken tree branches.)

If you’re a homeowner and you’re looking for a reliable roofer to inspect or repair your home’s roofing system, know that our professional roofers here at Landmark are eager and waiting for your call!

How to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is upon us and things are about to get a whole lot scarier!

While many of the hurricanes in the country occur along the east coast (mostly in the south), there are hurricanes that make their way to the Northeast.

No matter the location of landfall, Pennsylvania still sees an abundance of rain and wind that can lead to flooding and wind damage.

So before the first named-hurricane hits landfall, make sure you prepare your home (and your family)!

emergency hurricane checklist

1) Trim the Trees

When the wind starts whipping, tree limbs can easily break off and fly through the air.

Where do many of these tree branches end up?

Into the siding of your home, onto the roof, or through a window. Take the time to trim any weak branches and ones that are too close to your home.

2) Watch Your Windows

The wind can send debris flying into the side of your home and even into your windows. The last thing you need is a window shattering in the middle of a hurricane.

This is why permanent shutters are a great option for your home’s window. However, these can be expensive, so if you need something in a pinch, half-inch plywood can be an option to cover up windows when the wind speed becomes too dangerous.

3) Repair Your Roof

For those who haven’t provided their roof with maintenance these last few years or anyone who is experiencing roof leaks, NOW is the time to have your roof repaired.

Old, damaged shingles are no match for the wind and rain of a hurricane (let alone the multiple ones we see throughout hurricane season). One intense rainfall from a hurricane can cause your roof to leak, which will further damage the shingles, the structure of the roof, and the attic space underneath.

4) Create a Kit

If you’re forced to relocate from your home or the power goes out for an extended period of time, you’re going to need an emergency kit on hand. These emergency supplies should consist of:

  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Battery Operated Radio
  • Non-Perishable Canned Food
  • Can Opener
  • Bottled Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cash
  • Extra Socks

5) Know Your Emergency Escape Route

In whichever Pennsylvanian town you live in, you should know the proper evacuation route if flooding ever became too unsafe to stay home. This information is listed on your town’s website.

You should also know where the emergency shelters and hospitals are in your town. If you or a loved one happens to get injured or sick during a hurricane, it’s important to know how to get help ASAP.

Before the first hurricane is named, make sure you prepare your home!

For anyone who needs roof or siding repairs before OR after hurricane season, make sure you give us a call. We’ve got your back!

Is Storm Damage Covered By My Homeowners Insurance?

As a homeowner, having a good homeowners insurance policy is extremely important.

When you’re faced with extreme weather, like the weather conditions you see during hurricane season, it’s important to know what damage is covered by your homeowners insurance.

Hint: Not all storm damage is covered by your insurance policy

hurricane storm damage to home

Types of Storm Damage Typically Covered By Homeowners Insurance

Water & Ice Damage

Excessive amounts of rainfall or hail the size of your fist can each do their fair share of damage to your home — mostly to the roof. Your home can experience roof leaks, broken shingles, damaged siding, etc.

Luckily, most policies cover damage against these forms of H2O. However, there is a limit to the amount of hail damage your home sustains (and flood damage does not count here).

Lightning Strikes

You have to be extremely unlucky to have your home struck by lightning! But this does happen and it can cause a lot of damage via the initial contact, fire, and smoke.

Most policies cover damage from the lightning strike, but when it comes to power surges — it is covered by some policies, but not all. You may wish to purchase additional coverage in order to protect your home’s electrical system and the expensive electronics and appliances plugged into it.

Wind & Debris

Think about how fast the wind can blow when a hurricane is passing through your town (even if it is the ending of a storm). The wind can be strong enough to rip off older or damaged shingles and siding, while also being able to send debris flying into the siding of your home.

One of the most common causes of debris damage is due to tree branches and fallen trees. Luckily, many insurance policies do cover fallen trees — however, the tree had to have fallen due to the storm. If the tree needed maintenance before the storm and you were negligent in providing maintenance to it, you may not be covered.

Types of Storm Damage NOT Typically Covered By Homeowners Insurance

The types of storm damage listed below can be covered by insurance, however, you will need to purchase separate insurance policies.

  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes
  • Landslides/Mudslides

As a homeowner, it’s important to know how protected your home is, and what it is and is NOT protected from.

When your home’s roofing or siding is in need of repair due to storm damage, we’d be more than happy to help you out!