Tree Trimming to Protect Your Home

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A large, grown-up tree is a sight to behold. It stands tall and proud with its branches extended in all directions like its hugging the air. The leaves sing and dance with the changing tunes of the weather. It provides you shade, protection, fragrance, and possibly flowers and fruits too. There is something very stately about large trees. But everything is not that hunky-dory. Trees can pose some real dangers to your life and property. You may want to have a reputable tree service company inspect your trees. Let’s take a look at some of those hazards and find out how to safeguard yourself.

Falling Branches

This is an obvious and very real threat that large trees present. You are especially at risk during strong winds, rainstorms, and snowfall. A free-falling branch won’t discriminate when it is falling. It can cause considerable damage to your property or even yourself.

tree pruning
Tree pruning

What to do? As a general rule do not plant a tree within a 15-20 foot radius of your house. It will keep your property safe from intruding branches. Also, cut the dead and decaying wood. Look for any signs that show the tree is diseased, bug-infested, hollow, or weak. You need to regularly inspect your tree for that. Use abinoculars to observe the top of the tree. You can hire an expert for the job too, they are called arborists and goes by the popular name of tree-surgeons. Just do whatever it takes to keep the tree in a trimmed form.

The Root Problem

The roots of a large tree can cause some real troubles. A root is the mainstay of the tree that keeps it affixed to the ground. It also provides nutrients from the soil. The roots can go deep under the ground and cause mayhem with your water and sewage pipes. The roots may entangle the pipes to suck water leaking from the pipes’ cracks. This may cause the pipes to burst someday causing serious damage. The roots can also go under the foundation of your house and cause it to tilt, or become uneven. In the long run, it can even lift your house from underneath. Roots can also suck the water from underneath your house’s foundation and make it shaky and vulnerable.

What to Do?

Again, do not plant a large tree close to your house or where water and sewer pipes are running underneath. Certain trees go deep down the ground. Know about those particular species and take care while planting them or do not plant them at all. If you have trees close to your home, then keep inspecting your water and sewer pipes. See that the water is flowing freely and there is no obstruction in it. If you suspect anything, call for help. Sewer-cleaning companies have cameras that they send down to see what the human eye cannot. Any trouble can be easily detected.


It’s no doubt trees are a bounty from nature. They bring innumerable benefits to us. But we need to be careful while co-existing with them. They inadvertently may harm us. It is up to us to safeguard us to avoid some major disaster.

How to Properly Install an Asphalt Shingle Roof

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Replacing and installing an asphalt shingle roof

This article will give you the basic steps on roofing or re-roofing a house with an asphalt shingle roof. Unless you have done some roofing before, we strongly suggest that you don’t try this yourself. You might go to all the trouble and then find out you need to start over. For this article we asked Todd of Bel Air Gutter & Siding ( for his tips and to make sure we didn’t steer people wrong. (Despite the name, a large part of their business is roofing in addition to gutters and siding.)

Check the Old Roof First

Why? Because you need to determine if there is one layer of roofing or two. If there is only one layer, you can simply install the new layer on top. If there are two layers already, you will need to remove all the roofing material and start from scratch. Presumably obviously, a second layer is only an option with an asphalt shingle roof. You can’t do this with tile or slate or standing seam metal roofs. Another blog post here talks about what to look for to see if you need a new roof or can just do repairs. Click here.

Safety First

Unless you have a rancher that is only one story, there is a safety issue from falling. Even a one story fall can potentially be fatal. Here are some things to do:

  • Make ladders stable with a stabilizer bar or by tying them off
  • Only work on a dry roof, never a wet roof
  • Wear boots with soft soles for good traction
  • Keep everything as clean as possible – roofing debris, tools, dirt
  • Use safety equipment – safety glasses, safety net, safety harness-lanyard system

Roof Physics

Gravity is key. The design of a good roof is based on the fact that water will run downhill. The shingles are overlapped so that water will run down and off the house and not into the house. That is why shingled roofs with very little slope tend to have problems and flat roofs need a different technology. Strong winds can blow water up under the shingles or ice damming can cause water to be blocked and move upwards. Steps to prevent these issues are listed below.

Roof Deck Preparation

When a roofer talks about a deck, he is not talking about a place to sit around, relax and have a beer. The deck is the wood (typically plywood or Oriented Strand Board) that the shingles are attached to. If there are any wet or rotted areas they will need to be replaced. There should also be no gaps. It should be smooth and flat.

Bottoms Up

No, not in terms on drinking. You work from the lowest point on the roof and then move up from there until you reach the peak of the roof. You first need a drip edge to prevent any water from wicking upward. In colder climates, there should be also be an ice and water protector membrane applied to the bottom 2 feet of the roof to prevent problems from ice damming.

Underlayment Layer

This is a layer of either synthetic material or asphalt-saturated felt. It typically comes in rolls 4 feet wide that is laid out horizontally on the roof. Put the first layer down at the bottom of the roof and work upwards, overlapping by 2 inches.


Flashing is used in places where leaks usually occur. These are places where a roof butts up against a wall or chimney, or in valleys. Flashing is usually metal and should be put in place before the shingles. Snap a chalk line 6 inches in on the flashing and when you put down the shingles, trim to the chalk line.

Other places where flashing or special rubber barriers are needed are dormers and skylights as well as plumbing stacks and vents.

Finally, the Shingles

As indicated earlier, you start at the bottom and work up, always overlapping. Most of the field of the roof are strips of the same shingles. However, the first layer is specially made to be resistant to the wind. Then use the regular shingles as you move up. The nailing is important. The nail needs to be flush to the shingle and not poking up but at the same time, they shouldn’t be over-nailed and tear the fabric of the shingle.

Ridge Caps and Hips

When you get to the top of the roof you need another specialized shingle. You can’t bend a regular shingle over the top. They make special shingles for the roof top/ridge.

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what goes into installing an asphalt shingle roof.

How to Install a Slate Roof – Part 1

As one of the oldest and the most popular choice for roofing, slates are certainly a durable and beautiful option for your home. However, they can be quite a project to install, especially for first-timers. We have compiled a comprehensive 2-part guide on slate roof installation. The first part includes all the information that you will require before you get started on a slate roof installation project.

Slate Roof
Slate Roof

Step 1 – Roof Construction

Before beginning any roof tiling project, it is necessary to check the readiness of the base roof. Specifically speaking, the roof should have at least a slope in the ratio of 4:12. In other words, 12 inches of run, for every 4 inches of rising. Also, steeper roofs tend to be more durable and last longer. Unlike an asphalt shingle roof, walking on a slate roof will usually damage it and break tiles. One easy way to limit the chances of this is to have a roof steep enough that you can’t walk on it. Of course, that works if you are designing and building a new house. But if you have an existing house, you obviously will just work with what you have unless you want to go to the expense of changing the roof on the house. That is not a choice that most people would make.

Other than this, it is a good idea to ensure that all the elements of a house and in particular, pertaining to the roof slating project are designed to last for at least 150 years since that is how long slates can last. Most importantly, steer clear of any glued or laminated roof decking products like plywood and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) since they will not be as durable. It should be ¾ inch to one inch thick boards and fasteners that will last that long.

Step 2 – Slate Selection

Once the roof base is ready as per step 1, it is time to head out and select the most appropriate slate. Slates come in different colors, thickness, size, quality, type, as well as cost. Above all else, you do not want to end up with a slate that requires frequent replacements.

The best criteria should be to select slates that are durable, easy to work with, and make your roof look elegant. You can always take a professional opinion while you are selecting slates. It is a good idea to see a few slate samples before you finalize one. It is essential to avoid buying slates without physically seeing them first so that you can be sure of their quality.

Step 3 – Preparation

The roof is ready, the slates have been delivered and you are all set to begin. However, before you begin, you must prepare yourself in the best way to complete the project. There is enough and more information available on the internet, not to mention some professional-grade tutorials to get you started. Read as much as you can, especially to gain clarity on do’s & don’ts. Find out what are the common mistakes in a roof slating project and make sure that you are equipped to avoid them. Once you are satisfied that you have gone through and understood every aspect of a roof slate installation you can proceed to the next step.

Step 4 – Tools

Gather all the relevant tools so that you are not faced with any unnecessary delays due to a lack of appropriate equipment. Some of the basic tools that you will need are slate ripper, slate cutter, as well as a slate installer. Go through ample video tutorials to gain a comfort level with all of these tools.

Stage one of the slate roof installation project is over. You can now refer to our guide for the 2nd and final stage for successful execution.

Signs You Need Roof Repair

The roof is an important part of a house and an expensive one at that. Depending on the size and type, putting a new roof in place can cost up to $100,000. Timely repairs increase the life of a roof and hence save money. Here are a few tips to help you know when your roof needs repairs.

Wear around chimneys, vents, pipes, etc.

Usually, a roof is more susceptible to weaken around openings like chimneys, vents, and pipes that penetrate it. Identifying and repairing wear in those areas as early as possible will lend more life to the roof.

Damaged shingles

Periodically inspect your roof for shingles that are missing, starting to crack, curling at the edges, darker in color than others, or wet. Get those replaced to prevent further damage to the roof. If the number of such shingles is very high, you may need a new roof entirely.

Leaks in the attic

It’s a good idea to check your attic regularly, especially after a rainstorm. Wetness in the attic, sagging roof deck or sunlight coming through the roof are signals that all is not well. The reason could be a simple one like some missing shingles or loose/rusty flashing or a complex one like problem with the underlayment. Get a professional inspection of the roof done immediately.

Signs of moisture on the exterior or interior of the house

Blistering or peeling of the exterior paint of the house could mean humidity is building up along your roofline. Similarly, moisture on the ceiling or interior walls could also be a sign of a faltering roof. If you see either of the above, arrange for a roof inspection and get the necessary repairs done.

Roof particles in rain gutters

Cleaning the rain gutters periodically is a good habit. If you notice granules of roofing material, pieces of shingles, or sludge in your gutters regularly, the health of your roof is declining. You should get professional help on the impending roof repairs in such a case.

Roofing system approaching end of life span

Most roofing systems have an average life span of around 20 years, which may increase or decrease depending on the material used and prevailing weather. Is your roof approaching that age? Have your roof maintenance costs surged in recent years? If yes, it’s probably time to plan a complete roof replacement.


If you follow the tips provided in this article often and act on time, the necessary roof repairs will be more localized. That will not only help lower the damage but also increase the overall life of your roof.

Commercial Roofing

A roof, as we all know, is the structure that covers and protects a building from the top. It forms an essential part of any building, be it residential, commercial or industrial. The term “Commercial Roofing” covers all aspects of roofing for a commercial building. This ranges from selection of a roofing system to its installation and maintenance.

How is Commercial Roofing different from Residential Roofing?

Despite a few basic similarities, commercial and residential roofing are actually two very different industries owing to the following factors:

  • Commercial and residential roofs are architecturally and design-wise dissimilar. For example, most commercial roofs are flat or near flat while residential roofs generally tend to be sloped.
  • Commercial structures are invariably much larger than residential ones.
  • Due to their larger size and more complex construction requirements, installation of commercial roofs is more expensive and time-consuming vis-à-vis residential roofs.
  • Since the variety of materials and roofing systems available for the commercial sector far exceed the corresponding options for residential roofing.
  • Commercial roofs require more frequent routine maintenance.

Important Considerations for a Commercial Roof

Selecting the most appropriate commercial roof is a significant decision in the overall planning of building construction. Below are some points that must be evaluated to arrive at the right roofing decision:

Weather and Locale: Weather and location specific conditions such as sunlight, wind speeds, rainfall and snowfall must be taken into account during designing of the roof and selecting the roofing material.

Purpose of the Building: The intended commercial use of the building may go a long way in deciding what top qualities to look for in the roofing system e.g. seepage-free material, strong insulation, acoustical strength, aesthetic value, ease of access, etc.

Durability: While factors like weather conditions, proper installation and efficient maintenance play a role in how long a roofing system lasts, the natural age of different roofing materials can vary between 10 and 50 years. Some materials are more maintenance-heavy than others. Consider carefully as to what suits your needs in an optimal way.

Budget: Nobody wants to over-spend but a roofing budget needs to be long-term and practical. Its better to invest more upfront for a durable roof with low ongoing maintenance costs.

Some Popular Commercial Roofing Systems

As mentioned before, there are a large variety of commercial roofing systems available on the market. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular:

EPDM Roofs: Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer is a lightweight and durable rubber membrane-based roofing solution. Its known to be easy to install and maintain.

TPO Roofs: One of the most in-demand commercial roofing systems, Thermoplastic Polyolefins roofs can withstand extreme temperature fluctuation. It is also amongst the best fire-resistant products available on the market.

BUR: One of the oldest and most preferred systems for flat roofs, Built-Up Roofing uses layers of insulating and strengthening materials topped with gravel or stone. BUR is fire-resistant and generally low maintenance.


Careful and meticulous planning is paramount for successful installation of a commercial roof. Last but not the least, choosing an experienced and reputed roofing company with skilled manpower is also of significant importance.

Roof Repair Tips

If your roof looks like this, you have waited too long to call your roofer. Kidding. This is actually a green roof made with sod. They are good insulators but there isn’t much demand for this yet in the US.

Why Are Roof Repairs Important?

You roof protects your house which is one of the largest investments you will ever make. The longer you wait to repair problems with your roof and gutters, the more expensive the repair is likely to be. Besides helping to insulate the house, the roof and gutter system are key to moving water away from the house. Although other issues can come up related to the roof, water issues are usually at the top of the list.

Rather than just fixing the gutters or some shingles, if you wait too long you will be dealing with rot and mold. And, potentially in the roof and fascia but in rooms below as well. In addition, if it isn’t maintained properly and the water isn’t led away from the house, you can be talking about flooding problems and mold and mildew in your basement.

Where Roof Leaks Usually Occur

If a tree branch has fallen on the house and punched a hole, the source is obvious. However, it usually isn’t that easy. Even if the roof is old, the problem usually isn’t in areas of uninterrupted shingles. Look for leaks at points with flashing such as where the chimney comes through the roof or vent pipes from bathrooms and thing like this.

How to Find Roof Leaks

If you have a water stain in a room, look on the roof from that spot and then look up. Since gravity takes water downhill, the leak can be getting entrance well above where you are seeing the stain. If you can’t find it by looking in the attic then you will have to go onto the roof and look. You probably want a professional to do this unless you have a low roof or are comfortable with that sort of thing.

One way to find a tricky leak is to take a garden hose. Have a helper look inside for when they see water. Start on a low part of the roof and let the water run down in as small an area as possible. Let it run for several minutes before you move it. Move the hose up a bit and let it run for several more minutes. Continue this until your helper sees water. It could take a while but is usually effective.


This is the easiest to fix of all and will never generate much water. A shiner is a nail that came through the roof sheath and missed the roof frame. So, it is just sticking out nice and shiny. Water condenses on it and drips down. To solve this problem, just snip it off as close to the roof as possible with cutting pliers.

Plumbing Vent Boots

These are made of different materials. They can be metal, rubber or plastic or a combination. There is usually also a metal piece of flashing designed for vent pipes which goes down first and then the boot on top of that. You might need to replace one or both. The flashing should slip under the uphill shingles and be screwed down on the lower side with a rubber-washered screw. Then put the new boot on.

Walls, Dormers and Caulk

Dormers have side walls and windows. Missing or cracked siding lets water get in there and run down into the roof. Check the siding first. Make sure that you recaulk carefully if there is cracked or old caulk around the windows or anywhere. Replace the caulk to make a firm seal.

We hope you find this useful and prevent any problems from occurring with your roof or gutters.

Pros and Cons of Roofing Tiles

Roofing tiles have been used for hundreds of years across the world. The traditional tiles are made of fired clay or slate. A more recent innovation is to make the tiles from concrete. You can now buy tiles made with either concrete or clay. These tiles are known for their durability. They can last up to 100 years. The tiles come in several shapes and designs, including interlocking, flat, curved and fluted. These tiles are popular, especially in certain parts of the country like the Southwest. Before choosing to use them it’s important to understand their advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros of Tile Roofing

Regardless of whether you choose clay or concrete tiles, there are numerous benefits you can get from the roofing tiles.


Roofing tiles will last for over 100 years on your roof. Natural disasters can affect that of course, such as a tree falling on the house or tearing down the house or an earthquake or tornado. Concrete and clay withstand high winds, hail and even fire. The moment you install the roofing tile you will never change your roofing again in your lifetime.

Wide Variety 

You can choose clay, slate or concrete tiles. All of them offer the same performance. Every category of tiles also comes in different colors.

Resistant to Insect Damage and Rot

Concrete, clay, and slate do not rot or rust. They also do not corrode. In addition, no insect or pest can destroy these tiles.


You can recycle the tiles easily because the tiles are made of a natural material. They also have no effect on the environment when discarded.

Heat Resistant

These tiles do not allow heat or cold in or out of the house. They are resistant to any level of temperatures.

Cons of Tile Roofing

High cost. 

Roofing tiles cost up to three times the cost of asphalt. The cost of other roofing materials used together with the tiles is also very high. The cost of repair in case of any damage is also very high.

Difficult installation. 

You need professionals with extensive experience to help in the roofing of your house. They will install the interlocking portions carefully to ensure they don’t come out. When done in a wrong way there is a great risk of the whole building coming down.

Heavy weight. 

The overall weight of the tile roof is too high. This, therefore, requires a very strong house with strong pillars to support the roof weight. The heavyweight requires more roofing timbers or metals which in turn increases the cost of the tiles.


These tiles can break easily when they suffer a strong impact such as falling objects on your roof. Walking on the roof it’s also risky. You can break the tiles. This increases the cost of repair and maintenance of your roof. 

When building your house have a budget that is inclusive of the roofing. Have a budget that you can finance or source finances easily. It’s not wise to start finish construction and you cannot manage to fix the best roof for your house. Consult widely when you are coming up with your building budget.

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