5 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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With November just two weeks away, now’s the time to be thinking about winterizing your home. In many areas of the country, the late-fall weather can be a bit unpredictable, so the earlier you prepare, the better. Here are some helpful tips for winterizing your home:

  1. Inspect your roof: For those of you who have a multi-story home or steep roof, examine your roof using binoculars from the ground. TAMKO CEO and President David Humphreys suggests checking for any signs of damage, including loose, missing and deteriorating shingles, dark spots, and rust on the flashing. Schedule a professional roofing inspection; a roofing technician will repair any damages before they become more severe.
  1. Check your heating system: Before the freezing temperatures hit, schedule a routine inspection of your heating system. Clean the vents and replace the filters as needed. If your home has a fireplace, have that inspected and cleaned as well.
  1. Clean your rain gutters: As leaves fall during autumn, they can get clogged with other debris in your rain gutters. Once the leaves have fallen, clean the gutters and downspouts and ensure your system is working efficiently. Be sure to replace any parts that show signs of wear and damage.
  1. Shut off your sprinkler system: If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to shut off your sprinkler system. During the cold winter months, your system’s irrigation lines can freeze and lead to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads. To turn off your sprinkler system, switch off the main water valve, as well as the automatic controller. Shake out any excess water from the drain valves and above-ground sprinkler heads.
  1. Put away your garden hoses: Remove your garden hoses from any outdoor faucets. Drain the hoses, turn off the valves that connect to the outdoor faucets, and store the hoses in a shed or garage.

With these tips, you can gear up for winter before the cold and frosty weather strikes.

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How Are Shingles Made?

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We see shingles all the time, they’re on almost every house, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself how they’re made?  There are several kinds of shingles, but roughly 80% of them are asphalt.  The two kinds which are less common are wood shingles and aluminum shingles.

Today, most wood shingles are cut from new growth red cedar and pine trees.  Because these shingles are cut from new growth trees they need to be treated with chemical preservatives to make sure they last a long time and are fire resistant.  For old growth trees this wasn’t necessary because of how the wood develops over a long period of time, but they are no longer available for shingles.

Aluminum shingles are long lasting, but are expensive compared to asphalt so you don’t see them as often.

Asphalt shingles have been in use for a longer time than you might guess at first.  Manufacturing of them first began in in 1893 in the United States.  The material proved popular once it began being sold in the U.S. in the 1910s and by the 1920s its popularity had made it available via mail-order catalogs.  By the 1950s the technology for shingles had improved quite a bit and the shingles available then resemble the modern shingles we have now.  One of the biggest efforts since the 1950s for shingle development has been the search for inorganic base materials over organic felt.  The inorganic materials are more desirable because they are more fire resistant and absorb less asphalt in the manufacturing process.

The modern shingles often have a foundation of fiberglass or organic felt.  Asphalt is a hydrocarbon substance and is obtained as a byproduct of crude oil refining.  The asphalt goes through a process called blowing which oxidizes it and removes all of the air from it and allows other minerals to be added to the substance before it is used to make shingles.  Some people have brought up the TAMKO shingles lawsuit and whether or not their manufacturing process has a problem, but the reality is it was how they were installed which was the problem.

The manufacturing process has several steps.

Dry Looping is the first step.  The fiberglass mat is fed into a roofing machine and the first layer of material is added to it.

Saturation is step two.  In this step the mat enters the pre-saturation chamber and is sprayed with hot asphalt which removes all moisture.  Then it enters a tank filled with hot asphalt and soaks in it so that there are no voids between any of the materials.

Wet Looping is step three.  In this step the matting is folded like an accordion and cools which helps bring the asphalt into the mat.

Coating is step four and this is when a stabilized mixture of powdered minerals is added to both sides of the mat.  After this is finished the mat is ready for mineral surfacing.

After the mineral surfacing the material is taken and folded to finish cooling.  Afterwards it is cut to the appropriate sizes and bundled into packages of shingles.

That’s how shingles are made, and now you will know each time you see them.

Unexpected Threats to Your House

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As a homeowner you need to always be prepared for the unexpected.  You might think you’ve already done that, but trust us when we say that some of the following threats we will discuss are probably the last thing you’d imagine.  Being a homeowner is exciting and don’t let this deter you away from becoming one, but understand that owning a home involves a lot of responsibility.  If you’ve had some crazy and unexpected events happen in your time then feel free to share!

Roof Digging Raccoons

Ever see a raccoon dig a hole into someone’s roof?  Well, most people haven’t but not too long ago a number of raccoons began doing just that to roofs in a local community.  Crazy as it may seem, when animals want to get somewhere or think they smell something they want they will do just about whatever they can to get there.  Unsurprisingly this doesn’t qualify under the TAMKO Roofing Complaints issue or any other company when it comes to animals digging up your shingles.  Keep a close eye on your roof because this can happen in a flash.

Burrowing into Your Foundation

This is less likely in newer houses, but if you live in an older house then there may be parts of your foundation that have been worn thin by time and the elements.  Animals will exploit these weaknesses and any small cracks and can quickly make the small openings larger holes.  If you have a problem with mice this is likely where they are getting in.  These holes, if close enough to the ground, can also lead to flooding in your basement, so it’s important to regularly check around your basement and make sure you see no cracks or holes.

Trucks, Planes and Trains

Do you live on a road that experiences a lot of heavy truck traffic, or next to train tracks which see a lot of traffic, or near an airport?  The vibrations caused by all of these vehicles can, over time, cause damage to your walls and foundation.  The damage will first manifest itself in your walls as hairline cracks in the paint.  If you’re seeing these lines start to appear then it’s likely the damage could be happening in your foundation too.  Check in the basement regularly for cracks and be sure to repair them as soon as possible.

Time for the Trees

Do you have tree branches hanging over your house?  Be wary about them when big storms come along.  While it is definitely nice to have the shade they provide in the summer if the tree becomes unhealthy and those branches are weak then they can fall on top of your house.  Small branches may not seem like a big deal but they have the potential to break shingles and knock them off which will need to be repaired quickly.  If it’s a larger branch then it could break through the roof and cause a lot of damage.  The trouble with guarding your home against this is trying to determine if the tree is still healthy and if you’re not sure, hire a professional who can inform you.

Extreme Weather Slams U.S.

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Did you know that the damage caused by tornadoes, wind and hail in 2014 cost 13 billion dollars?  Then there were the ice storms and snow storms which slammed many parts of the country causing massive pile ups and damage to homes and businesses.  After the last couple weeks of tornadoes in the south and southwest it appears as though we are on track to tie or even exceed the cost in damage from last year which is a scary thought.  Over a 160 tornadoes have already smashed through the tornado alley and the current weather pattern appears to be perfect for more to hit the country in the coming weeks.

If extreme weather like this continues we will continue seeing a growth in the home repairs and roofing sector.  The amount of damage our roofs are taking today has grown and if we continue to severe storms will do the same.  Ethelemae Humphreys has found that TAMKO shingles and roofing products have proven to be more resilient than other brands of roofing products.  With heavier snowfalls that last longer than before it is important to have a roof that can handle the weight and moisture of it.

We have also found a lot of people aren’t keeping up with yearly maintenance of their roofs which can prove very costly if they experience multiple storms with high winds in consecutive years.  A strong windstorm where the winds are reaching 60+ miles per hour can cause a shingle or two to loosen up or start to fall off.  If damage such as this isn’t quickly fixed it will grow into very costly repairs from what should be a rather inexpensive fix.  The second storm that comes through will have an easier time ripping up more shingles because one is already loose or has come up.  Once one shingle becomes loose it also allows moisture to percolate through the rest of the roof and weakens everything.

If you’re a homeowner it is more important now than ever before to maintain your roof and make sure it is always in top condition.  As we continue to experience more of this extreme weather there will definitely be damage dealt but we have the option to mitigate it by making sure our houses are in good condition when the storm hits.  Keeping your roof in good shape also will help prevent animals from coming in and making a mess in the rafters and the attic.  The most often time when animals make it into an attic is when a storm hits and creates an opening for them to enter because it isn’t quickly repaired.

So stay safe in these storms and do your best to keep everything well maintained.

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