Reducing Roof Damage Due to Ice and Snow

Ice Damming on RoofWinter storms have been impacting New Jersey severely over the past few months, and more storms are predicted. Multiple snow storms, melting ice, and refreezing cycles can fuel the development of ice dams. Ice dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and leak into your house. Ice damming is a frequent occurrence in this intense winter weather, but there are a few things you can do to minimize the chance of roof damage:

  1. Clear 3 to 4 feet of snow closest to the gutters and overhangs on your roof. A roof rake is helpful.
  2. If you have a flat roof, the weight of the snow could cause major damage. We recommend calling a qualified contractor to remove the snow.
  3. Have your roof inspected for damage after the winter season ends.

Following these basic tips can help reduce damage to your roof from snow and ice in the winter.

Posted in Attic, Contractors, Home Improvement, Ridge Vent, Roof Ventilation, Roofing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I Have Both a Power Fan and a Ridge Vent System on My Roof?

Roofing VentilationNow that the hot days of summer are upon us, our customers have been asking this question.

Having both a power vent and ridge vent on your roof can short-circuit the attic ventilation system. When the power vent goes on, it can pull air from the ridge vent, which can cause an imbalance of airflow along the underside of the roof deck. When the power vent goes off, it acts like a roof louver (an opening on the roof without a motor); in this case, the ridge vent pulls its intake air from the power fan which can lead to “weather infiltration” and poor ventilation along the underside of the roof deck.

In most cases, it’s best to have only the ridge vent and remove the fan.

If you have a hip roof with very little ridge, a power fan with both a thermostat and humidistat (for both temperature and humidity) should be installed, with no ridge vent.

With any attic ventilation system, the attic can be 20 degrees hotter than outside. Attic ventilation should protect the roof sheathing, insulation, and shingles from temperature and moisture extremes. However, many variables can affect the attic temperature, such as shingle color (black shingles absorb more heat and can make the attic hotter than white shingles). Other factors are the geographical location, sun intensity, orientation of the primary roof plane, and amount of total ventilation.

Posted in Attic, Attic Ventilation, Construction, Contractors, Home Improvement, Ridge Vent, Roof Ventilation, Roofing, Ventilation | 2 Comments

What To Look For When Choosing a Roofing Contractor

There are many unscrupulous contractors out there scamming unsuspecting homeowners out of their hard-earned money, particularly for roofing work which is targeted the most by con artists. There are also many legitimate, honest contractors who simply don’t have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to work on your home. Would you hand over thousands of dollars to a stranger in the supermarket? This is what you are doing when you don’t research a new contractor!

  1. Make sure that the contractor you choose is licensed in the state in which he is doing business. A licensed contractor is required by law to have his license number on all advertising, including flyers, business cards, and vehicles. You have little recourse against an unlicensed, uninsured or underinsured contractor if he doesn’t start or finish the work satisfactorily, damages or gets injured on your property, or simply takes your money and disappears.
    Most states allow you to do an online license search. The links for the Northeast Tri-State area are as follows:
  2. Make sure the contractor is fully insured. Ask him to give you a copy of their insurance certificate. This is a necessary and perfectly legitimate request, and the only reason a contractor will not comply is if he is uninsured or underinsured. Review the insurance certificate and check the following items:
    • Make sure that the policy has not expired. The effective and expiration dates are clearly stated on the policy; if they are not, the certificate is not valid.
    • Make sure that the policy includes “General Liability” and “Workers Compensation” insurance, which are both required by law for the contractor to do business.
    • A contractor who does roof replacement must have an additional rider on his policy stating that he is insured specifically for roofing. Look for it on the policy; it may be in a “Description of Operations” or “Additional Remarks” box towards the bottom of the page. This additional roofing insurance is expensive, and many roofers go without it, telling you that they are fully insured when in fact their insurance excludes roofing installation and replacement. What does this mean for you? YOU, the homeowner, will be liable if a roof worker damages your property or gets injured!
    • Contact the insurance agency shown on the insurance certificate to confirm that all of the information on the certificate is accurate and valid. Some contractors will go through great lengths to avoid expensive insurance, including fake certificates or adding false information to their existing certificate.
  3. Check the contractor’s status with the Better Business Bureau. You can check on the BBB website at http://www.bbb.org. Anything less than an A grade could be cause for concern. If your contractor is not listed with the BBB, or has no rating, this isn’t necessarily a red flag. But a contractor with a good reputation that has nothing to hide will want to provide as much information to the public as possible, and the Better Business Bureau is a great way to do that.
  4. Do an online search for the contractor, specifically reviews and testimonials. A lot of negative reviews from unhappy customers is obviously a very bad sign!
  5. The contractor should have been in business for at least five years. While working with a contractor that hasn’t been in business that long is not necessarily bad, an established contractor has more experience and has proven that he’s in it for the long haul.
  6. Make sure the contractor has a physical office, not just a post office box or “virtual” suite number. Although a contractor working out of his home is not a red flag, a physical office separate from the home shows that the company has “roots” and is more permanently established. Also, office personnel should answer the phone regularly, not an answering service or the company owner. You want to make sure the company has employees and doesn’t consist of just one person working out of his truck with a cell phone as an office number.
  7. Look at the contractor’s work vehicles. Are they in decent condition or falling apart? Contractors generally put the same level of effort into your home as they put into their equipment. Also check the license plates and make sure they are from your general region and match the area in which the contractor claims he is based. If he says he’s based in New Jersey but his license plates say Oregon, something is fishy.
  8. Make sure the contractor is certified with the manufacturer of the products he is installing on your home, which is especially important when you get a new roof. A contractor that is certified with the manufacturer can offer better and more comprehensive warranties than a non-certified contractor. If he says he is certified, check with the manufacturer. Most of the major manufacturers have pages on their websites that allow you to search for certified contractors.
  9. Does the contractor have references? Not just two or five references, but many references? Can he provide a list of testimonials, and can you contact those homeowners for verification?
  10. How did you hear about this contractor? Did you find a hand-written note or poor quality flyer in your mailbox? Did someone come to your door and tell you the company has “leftover” material from another job in the area, or to sign up now to take advantage of a “limited time” offer? Did they request a large amount of money upfront? These are all big red flags, and legitimate companies don’t use such sneaky, high pressure tactics.
  11. Do your homework! If any of the contractor’s claims don’t check out, no matter how small, or you just get a bad feeling about a contractor… RUN! Because roofing scams are so rampant now, there are tons of resources online to educate the public on how to avoid roofing scams. Just Google “roofing scam” and get informed!

Posted in Construction, Contractors, Home Improvement, Insurance Scams, Roofing, Roofing Scam, Siding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Recycling of Roofing Materials

recycling

"Contractors dedicated to making a difference in the environment are committed to recycling."

Have you ever wondered what happens to your old roofing material when it’s removed from your home? For years, old shingles and roofing material has ended up buried in landfills. Why is this bad? For starters, landfills are overflowing with waste. This waste increases air and water pollution and greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. It also takes more energy to build new products with raw materials than with recycled materials. And disposing of old roofing materials, shingles and other construction debris is a waste of our precious resources; why throw away something that can be transformed into something new? For all of these reasons, initiatives are being taken in the construction industry to recycle waste material from home improvement work, such as shingles and other roofing material. Waste reduction is an important component in “sustainable building”, or “green building”, programs. According to Owens Corning, the world’s largest manufacturer of building materials and a leading proponent of energy efficiency and eco-friendly initiatives, “Recycling your roof is like recycling more than 100% of a year’s worth of household waste.”

What happens to your old roofing material and shingles after they’ve been recycled? Asphalt shingles get recycled as asphalt paving, pothole filler, and new shingles. One roof can become about 300 feet of highway! Metal waste, such as nails and flashing, also gets recycled and reprocessed into new materials such as cans and street signs. And wood waste can be recycled as mulch, animal bedding, and other products. Every year millions of tons of shingles are torn off roofs, which can be used to create a lot of new roads and other products.

Although recycling programs and resources are steadily increasing, not all contractors recycle. Roof recycling involves some extra steps in the cleanup process, the most important of which is “source separation” (separating of different types of debris at the job site, such as shingles, tar paper, metal, wood, and other waste materials). Contractors that are dedicated to making a difference in the environment are committed to recycling and willing to take extra steps toward achieving a healthier ecosystem. It just makes good sense to take advantage of that opportunity to do something good for the environment!

Posted in Roofing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to the Emmons Construction blog!

Here you will find helpful information and tips on roofing, siding, windows, and insulation! We serve New Jersey (South, Central, and shore areas), Delaware, and Philadelphia suburbs.

Posted in Roofing | Leave a comment