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Can Pressure Treated Wood Rot?

When trees are cut for construction lumber, any of the wood that is to be used outside in the elements must be pressure treated. Without this special anti-corrosive treatment, wood will rot and will be consumed by insects and other animals.

How is Wood Pressure Treated?

Pressure Treated Wood

To pressure treat wood, lumber is placed into a pressure tank and sealed. Air is then extracted from the wood in a vacuum process, and a chemical solution is added. This solution – made up of copper, chromium, and arsenic – penetrates deep into the wood under pressure in the tank. Each chemical performs its own duty in stopping decay. Copper is a fungicide, chromium is a bactericide, and arsenic is an insecticide. When treated properly, this process should keep wood safe from decay for many years.

Is It Possible for Wood Decking to Rot?

While the pressure treatment process generally works well, it is not effective 100% of the time. There are a few factors that could cause even fairly new pressure treated wood to rot. Let’s explore…

Defective Chemicals

There are occasions when the chemicals used in the treatment process are defective. Because each chemical performs a specific function, if one or more are defective, rot can begin to occur. Or, if the chemical cocktail was not properly mixed, the solution could also be defective. 

Gauge Malfunctions

During the treatment process, wood is put under pressure so that the chemicals penetrate the wood completely. At the treatment plant, if a pressure gauge malfunctions, it is possible that the tank does not reach maximum pressure. If this happens, the wood may not fully absorb the chemicals.

Cracks Leading to the Inner Portions of Wood

It is not uncommon for pressure treated wood to develop cracks. In the construction process, holes must be drilled to attach the wood to its foundation. In warm weather wood expands, and in cold weather it contracts. This, along with foot traffic on decks, creates constant back-and-forth pressure on screws and nails. Over time, cracks can develop, allowing moisture to seep into the wood. If the chemicals deep within the wood are not present, or are scarcely present, this moisture can begin to rot the wood.

How Can I Tell if My Deck is Rotting?

Rot in Deck WoodCracks and wood rot do not always go hand-in-hand. While you need to keep an eye on cracks, if the wood was properly treated, having cracks doesn’t always lead to rot. However, if you notice wood that is splintering, or is soft when you press on it, you might be experiencing rot. It is best to have a professional take a look and determine whether replacement is necessary.

What Do I Do if I See Rotting on My Deck?

If you do see signs of rot, it is recommended that the damaged wood be replaced as soon as possible. Chances are that it’s not your entire deck that is effected. Replacing the boards that do show signs of rot will help your deck last longer.

With proper care, your pressure treated wood deck should last between 10 and 30 years. However, this life span is only possible when conditions are not extreme, and when you clean and seal your deck regularly. Decks left unsealed will have a shorter life span.

 

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Siding Choices – Get Creative!

As technology changes, new innovations in home improvement products are born. Such is the case with siding for your home. In this article, we will explore the history of siding, and how you and your siding contractor can get creative with today’s siding choices.

The History of Siding

When settlers came to America in the 1600’s, homes were constructed primarily from wood. After all, wood was plentiful, and conserving natural resources was not a priority. Logs were cut and used in conjunction with mud and clay to construct what we now call log cabins. From the 1600’s to the mid 1900’s, homes were mainly constructed from wood, stone, and brick. 

In the early 1900’s, a new product to protect homes from the elements was invented – asbestos cement siding. Manufacturers combined asbestos fibers with cement to form a highly durable and fire-resistant siding shingle. From the 1940’s through the 1960’s, in addition to wood, brick and stone, asbestos cement siding was the most recommended siding choice. Also in the 1940’s, a brand new home exterior option was invented. In 1947, Jerome Kaufman had the idea to create home exteriors using the same technology used to build plane exteriors during World War II. His invention would be named aluminum siding. He and a group of colleagues formed Alside Siding, which grew to be the largest producer of aluminum siding in the U.S. 

By the 1960’s, siding manufacturers were looking for siding alternatives.  Aluminum siding, while offering homeowners pre-painted, low maintenance options, was prone to dents, dings, and scratches. And so, vinyl siding was born. As opposed to being painted, vinyl siding’s color is within the vinyl compound itself, thus never requiring painting. Vinyl siding is also more flexible, and will not dent as easily as aluminum. While still in production, aluminum siding has since taken a backseat to vinyl.

In the mid 1980’s, a brand new option hit the U.S. market – fiber cement siding. James Hardie, Inc., an Australian company, brought fiber cement siding to America, where it quickly became known for its rich, wood-like appearance and lasting durability. Although other manufacturers produce fiber cement siding, James Hardie is so widely known for the product that contractors often refer to all brands of fiber cement siding as “Hardieboard.”

Getting Creative with Siding Choices

Source: CertainTeed

While the most common type and installment of vinyl siding is horizontal, which comes in sheets up to 8-feet in length, there are many other options. CertainTeed, for instance, not only offers tradition horizontal vinyl siding, but vertical vinyl siding, and composite siding that has the look of real cedar shake and shingles.

To create a truly unique look, contractors and homeowners are combining different siding types and colors on different sections of a home. For example, using vertical siding for the garage area, composite shake for the upper portion of the home, and classic horizontal siding for the main area provides a one-of-a-kind look.

Source: CertainTeed
Click brochure image above to download.

If you would like to explore more siding options, color choices, and learn more about the siding, roofing, and other products that CertainTeed has to offer, you’re in luck! In this helpful (and gorgeous!) product brochure, you will learn all about how the right siding choices can make a huge difference in the look of your home. Click on the image on the right to download the brochure.

Need Help Choose Siding?

Choosing the right siding for your home may seem daunting, but we are here to help! The siding professionals at S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows can visit your home, and consult with you to create a siding plan that will give your home a brand new look. To explore CertainTeed siding choices online, visit https://www.certainteed.com/siding/  To schedule a free, no-obligation siding estimate for your home in Maryland or Virginia, call us at 1-866-836-7663, or click here to request an estimate online.

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Why Do Roof Shingles Blow Off?

Shingle Blow OffsAs roofers, we are often asked why shingles blow off even when there hasn’t been a bad storm or high wind day. There are a few different reasons shingles blow off. Some are obvious, while others…not so much. Let’s explore…

The Obvious – Age

You’ve heard the phrase ‘nothing lasts forever.’ That certainly applies to roofing — most standard shingle roofs have a life expectancy of around 20-25 years. When shingles near their end, they begin to fail. They come loose from their seals and attachments, they crack, and they break. Wind and weather will eventually pry these failing shingles loose and they will blow off. 

When you experience shingle blow offs due to age, it’s time to call a licensed roofing professional. An honest roofer will inspect the roof and let you know if a repair will get you through another few years, or if your roof is in danger of causing more serious damage to your home such as leaks. 

The Not-So-Obvious – Poor Installation, Underlying Roof Issues, and Product Defects

If age is not necessarily the culprit of your shingle blow offs, it could be that your roof was either installed improperly, that there is an issue beneath your shingles, or even that the shingle installed is defective.

Poor Installation

Having a roof installed by someone who is not licensed is risky at best. There are reasons licensing exists – and that is to ensure that installers are trained, and that the consumer is protected. Improper installation can be caused by not using the proper tools, sealing, underlayment, and nails. It can also be caused by not nailing the shingles to the roof in the proper location. If your roof was installed by a professional who may have simply had a bad day, no worries. They will make it right! However, installed by someone unlicensed and you’re on the hook for having it fixed.

Compromised Plywood

If what is beneath your shingles is compromised, it can cause shingles to come loose and blow off. At the base of your roof, there is plywood. As we know, plywood is not impervious to moisture, unless adequately protected. Should that protection become compromised, damage can occur. A common cause of water beneath shingles is the improper or failed sealing of pipes and vents that protrude through your roof. Look atop any home’s roof and you will see several protrusions that are necessary to the home. As with anything that requires sealing, these items should have periodic re-sealing to prevent water damage to plywood.

Product Defects

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then a shingle manufacturer will produce a product that fails years before its expected end. If the shingle was produced by a reputable manufacturer like CertainTeed, GAF, or EcoStar, there is no need to worry. They will work with you on replacement. Another solid reason to install a highly rated product by a highly rated roofer!

The Surprising – Blow Offs on a Brand New Roof!

On occasion, it is possible for shingles to blow off of a new roof – even one installed by a licensed professional. That is because it can take a few weeks for the seal that is beneath the shingles to set. The seal needs a bit of heat to set, which is usually produced by the sun even when the temps outside are freezing. However, if your new roof is installed when it is cold, if it does not have direct sunlight, and you experience a windy day, blow offs could occur. Here again, hiring a pro is key. Should this happen, rest assured that it will be fixed!

Need Help? Give Us a Call!

If you have experienced shingle blow offs on your home, give us a shout. Our roofing professionals will inspect your roof to see whether a fix or replacement is necessary. Call 1-866-836-ROOF (7663) or complete our online Estimate Request form. 

 

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Preventing Ice Dams on Your Home

How to Prevent Ice DammingIce damming on your home’s roof is caused by fluctuating weather conditions during winter. Snow and ice that accumulates on your roof, then thaws and re-freezes can cause a build-up of ice at your roof’s edge. This build up is often highly concentrated, and when thawing begins, it can over saturate your roof, causing leaks.

This winter we have seen prime conditions for ice dams – lots of precipitation and temperatures that swing from extremely low to warm. Hopefully your roof will escape the effects of ice damming, but just in case, here are some tips that can help prevent it.

  • Make sure that your attic has proper ventilation. Approximately one square foot of ventilation opening is recommended for every 150 square feet of attic space.
  • Check for air leaks in your attic from pipe vents, electrical junctions, etc. Seal any leaks.
  • Be sure that your attic is well insulated. Insulation such as Owens Corning Atticat blown-in attic insulation provides a high R-value, helping to ensure that your home does not rapidly lose heat.
  • If you are able, use a rake or broom to clear snow from your gutter, and approximately 3-4 feet above it. This will help allow water to properly drain into the gutter.
  • Pay close attention to ceilings during snow/freeze/thaw period. If you see signs of a leak, contact a professional to check for damage. Mold can begin forming in as little as 72 hours, so taking care of leaks promptly is crucial.

After all of the snow and ice thaw in the spring, it is wise to check your roof for any damage. Harsh winter conditions can cause shingles to loosen or fall, particularly on older homes. Be sure to have loose or missing shingles repaired or replaced right away to prevent future damage.

As always, when you need assistance with your roof, contact the professionals at S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows. We have helped homeowners care for their home’s exteriors since 1980. We are licensed, bonded and insured, hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and have received Angie’s List Super Service Award for 9 straight years. Contact us today at 1-866-836-ROOF.

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Social Distancing from a Contractor’s Perspective

Drone Roof MeasuringIf there is one phrase that will likely define the year 2020, it’s “social distancing.” Two simple words, one very big impact. How humans interacted prior to 2020, and how they will interact has changed – most likely long-term.

From a contractor’s perspective, the necessary practice of “social distancing” takes on a variety of forms.

How Things Have Changed for Contractors

Before March, when you would call a contractor and ask for an estimate, you’d receive a visit from an estimator or sales person. During that visit, you would probably shake hands, and invite them in to discuss the project you need completed. You may spend quite some time together at your kitchen table or in your living room going over the process, looking at samples, and even chatting about family, kids, or the weather.

Before March, your contractor may have had an office full of people – managers, scheduling staff, estimators, contract prep staff, accounting staff – every person that makes the wheels of an organization turn. They would gather in a small conference room for meetings. They would gather in kitchens for lunches and breaks. They might even head to a local restaurant on a Friday after work for happy hour.

Before March, every business owner considered their business essential. Essential to their customers, essential to their employees, and essential to the economy.

Now, things are different.

So how has social distancing and the other methods put into place to eradicate a pandemic changed the home improvement industry? Like many other industries, home improvement was both hurt and helped by these sudden changes. Hurt, like most others, in that business slowed or even stopped for enough time to cause financial strain. Helped, also like most others, in that contractors have been forced forward in time from a technological perspective.

What We’re Doing Now, and What We’ll Keep Doing

Long prior to the pandemic, a number of companies have offered amazingly accurate satellite imaging and drone technology for use in the construction industry. Contractors can virtually inspect many parts of the exterior of your home without setting foot on your property. Accurate measurements can be taken, even on the most complex of roofs. Potential problems can be spotted, such as missing or broken shingles, loose gutters, and issues around piping. While there are still some advantages to having someone get on your roof for measuring and inspection, the speed and accuracy of utilizing technology for this step is often a better choice. This technology is definitely here to stay.

In addition to using technology for estimating purposes in the field, contractors are also using it internally to go paperless. Product sample brochures, for example, can be provided to homeowners via a web link. Contracts can be sent to homeowners, and returned to contractors by e-mail. Payments can be taken over the phone or online. Supplies can be ordered online, and crew coordination can happen virtually as well. Going paperless makes sense, both from a speed perspective and an environmental one.

Prior to March of this year, when meeting with homeowners, it was the practice – even a requirement – of many contractors to meet face-to-face. While it has never been the practice at S&K, some contractors went as far as to require 90 minutes or more in a face-to-face meeting with all homeowners. That in-person meeting would also likely including hand shakes. While we can still meet face-to-face, that is up to the homeowners. And when meeting face-to-face, social distancing is followed.

We recognize that each individual has their own level of comfort with personal interactions during this trying time. The most vulnerable among us in particular require an extra level of care and caution. So from now on, although we have always considered ourselves to be kind and courteous, an “extra mile” effort is being put forth to ensure the comfort and safety of customers.

From an installation perspective, while crews may not always be able to maintain more than 6 feet from one another on the job, they will always maintain that distance from homeowners. For S&K, 90% of our work is done outside, so social distancing is not an issue. And when we do need to enter your home, all precautions will be taken, and time inside will be kept to a minimum.

To use another phrase from the pandemic, we are truly “in this together.” The owners and teams at S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows are committed to continuing to go that extra mile in everything we do.

If you are interested in learning more about our No-Contact Service, or to schedule an estimate, call us at 1-866-836-7663, or click the Estimate link above.

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement?

DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER ROOF REPLACEMENT?
During inspection for insurance purposes, your insurance adjuster or roofing contractor will take photos of any damage.

As with most homeowners insurance claims, you may be wondering “does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?”, but that will vary from company to company, policy to policy.

If you suspect that you have roof damage caused by severe weather such as hail or high winds, or damage caused by animals or birds, it is possible that repair or replacement could be covered by your homeowners insurance. Normal wear and tear due to age is not likely to be covered. However, if your roof is less than 10-15 years old and has missing or broken shingles, the shingle manufacturer may be to blame, and repair or replacement could be covered by insurance. This does not happen often, but every now and again a shingle manufacturer produces an inferior batch that fails prior to its warranty expiration.

In either case, the first step is to contact your insurance agent. They will ask you a few questions to determine next steps. After that, if they decide that further investigation is necessary, they will send an insurance adjuster to your home to asses the situation.

Once it is determined that a claim will be covered, the agent may provide a list of local roofers for estimates or recommend that you contact contractors in your area. In our experience, they generally require more than one quote (usually 3) to ensure a fair price.

Prior to having the work done, your insurance company will need to approve the company/estimate that the homeowner is most comfortable with, and work can begin.

Beware Storm Chasers

When areas are hit by severe weather, storm chasers aren’t far behind. In our industry, storm chasers are usually fly-by-night companies looking to capitalize on storm damage. They often canvas door-to-door after storms asking if the homeowner would like them to get on your roof to assess any damage. Often times their tactics are not only shady, they can be illegal. Storm chasers have been known to CAUSE damage to your roof while “inspecting” it, then encourage you to file a claim. This practice is illegal, and insurance companies know how to spot it. In many cases, insurance companies can find enough evidence of this man-made damage to reject your claim, leaving you with a damaged roof that you must pay to fix.

Should you choose to have your roof inspected for damage prior to contacting your insurance agent, it is wise to be present to observe the process. Illegal tactics by storm chasers include hitting shingles with a hammer to mimic hale damage, curling the edges of shingles by hand, or breaking shingles. Unless a roofer is fixing missing or loose shingles, an inspection should be observation only. You should ask for photos to be taken and a report to be written and provided to you for your records. You can provide these to your insurance provider.

As always, never hire a contractor that is not licensed, bonded and insured. Ask your contractor for their credentials prior to enlisting their services, and ask for a written contract/estimate for the work to be performed. So “does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?”. If you’re still having concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us!

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows has worked with most insurance providers, and are listed as a preferred contractor with many. If you’re curious if you have roof damage that is covered by insurance, contact your insurance provider. They will guide you through the process the right way.

 

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