Cedar Shakes For Your Home: The What, The How, The Why

Posted on May 20, 2019
Cedar shakes for your home

With summer approaching, you may be looking to jazz up your home’s appearance and give it a warmer, more classic look. If that’s the case, you may be interested in learning more about a popular style of roofing known as cedar shakes. Cedar Shakes can be the perfect addition for your home to add curb appeal.

How are Cedar Shakes Made?

Traditionally, cedar shakes were created from hand split lumber logs and that is why they evoke such a timeless feel. Today, they can still be hand split using a special tool or machine produced with a hydraulic press for that same highly sought-after charm of authentic hand split shakes. Depending on whether the craftsmen flip the block over during the shaping process, cedar shakes can be uniform in thickness or tapered. Instead of being milled with a saw on both ends, like cedar shingles, shakes tend to be thicker (from ½” to ¾”) than shingles which tend to be ⅜” to ½”.

What do Cedar Shakes Look Like?

Mirroring the cross grain of the original log, cedar shakes have more of an uneven and textured surface. This unique appearance can lend your roof rusticness. For some homeowners seeking to add that special touch to their home and make their home stand out on in their neighborhood, cedar shakes may be a great option. Though with the proper roofing company, any option from asphalt to tile to metal roofing (all of which Bill’s Roofing also specializes in!) will make your home stunning and suited for your personal style, some may prefer the traditional look of the cedar shake.

The installation of shakes and shingles differ as well. Because of the unique way that shakes lay on the roof, fitting not as flat as shingles do, they require a felt paper layer between installations to prevent any potential wind blown precipitation from accumulating in between the shakes’ gaps. With proper installation, shakes can last a long time!

What is the Installation and Maintenance of Cedar Shakes Like?

Both cedar shakes and shingles are very durable and age well, oftentimes looking even more attractive with the years if properly maintained. Some homeowners may be worried that using wood as their roofing material may be less protective than other options but there are many ways to increase their durability. Cedar shakes and shingles can be pressure treated and chemically preserved to be fire resistant. In addition, professional roofers can help treat your wood to make it less susceptible to the elements and the build up of unwanted mold or rot. Treated wood can survive up to 30 years on a roof, which is a similar life span as asphalt. Cedar shakes and wood are also great for resisting incredible wind speeds, even up to 200 miles per hour!

Are Cedar Shakes Right for Me?

There are many different options for your roof, from the western red cedar to the Alaskan red cedar. Though they may cost more than the more ubiquitous asphalt or metal roofs, if you are looking to invest in the long term value of your home, you can contact us at Bill’s Roofing to see if this is the right option for you.

5 Steps To Spring Cleaning Your Roof

Posted on April 24, 2019

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Unfortunately for us, Washington is already one of the rainiest places in the United States. In 2018, we received a shocking 55.90 inches of rainfall, which ranks as the sixth-highest record in the U.S. since the 1870s. The huge amount of rain we experience is one of the main reasons you should pay special attention to spring cleaning your roof, which is designed to prevent moisture or water damage. The following 5 pro tips are the steps all homeowners should take to maintain the health of their roof and home.

1. Clear Surface Debris

Since winter has just left us, it’s extremely likely that your roof is now covered with dead leaves and pine needles. In moderation, this is fine, but these tiny pieces of debris can collect over time and trap moisture on your roof. Trapped moisture can encourage mildew and mold growth, which is bad news. A roof rake or air blower are both effective and simple solutions for a surface spring cleaning of your roof. Accumulations of leaves and pine needles can also easily block gutters as well, which leads us to our next tip.

2. Clean Out Your Gutters

Springtime is notorious for anything from a light sprinkle to a sudden downpour. Before the next big downpour hits, make sure to clean out any dead leaves, twigs, and other debris. Your goal is for water to flow through your gutters and off your roof without a hitch. Any blockages can prevent water from draining properly from your roof which, again, is bad news. You can start by simply removing debris manually and then following up with a garden hose.

Check whether or not your gutters are tightly bordering the edge of your roof. Sometimes, a loose nail is all that is needed for a quick fix. However, if you see signs of rust or corrosion, your gutters might need to be quickly replaced before they break away from your roof entirely.

Trim Nearby Branches

A large tree next to your home can be lovely. However, tree branches that hang over your roof might actually lead to some serious problems. Unhampered growth of branches can scrape off protective granules on your shingles or even damage the shingle itself. Due to the potentially hazardous nature of pruning high branches, we recommend contacting a professional service to remove branches. Cutting back vegetation and increasing sunlight onto your roof also gives you the added benefit of drying off any excess moisture.

Inspect Your Shingles, Chimney, and Flashing

Winter weather can be disastrous for many roofs. When ice freezes underneath shingles, it can force the shingle to curl and even separate from the roof. Loose shingles will expose your roof to the outside elements (think spring showers), and leave you with huge water damage repair costs down the road. The same can happen with roof flashing.

Spring Cleaning Your Roof Is Important – Don’t Wait!

Don’t wait until it’s too late when it comes to the condition of your roof. Simple steps, like a routine “spring cleaning” can go a long way. A thorough inspection is pertinent to preventing serious water damage to your roof and home, especially in geographically wet areas like Washington. We recommend contacting a roofing professional, like Bill’s Roofing, for a comprehensive and detailed inspection today.

Torch Down Roofing 101: Is It Right For You?

Posted on April 8, 2019

Using torches to repair your home may sound like an unlikely combination but in the case of torch down roofing, it’s one that may have several rewards.

What is Torch Down Roofing?

Torch down roofing is a type of installation where sheets of modified bitumen, a type of asphalt that is mixed with rubber or plastic, are laid down on a roof and then adhered to the surface using an open-flame propane torch. This process may be repeated for two or three layers.  Because of the additional safety measures involved, torch down roofing requires highly trained and certified roofing professionals.

Once all the sheets are properly “torched-down” to your roof, it creates a waterproof layer that also can expand and contract in response to both hot and cold weather conditions without incurring any damage to the roof, such as melting or cracking of the sheets.

What are the two types of torch down roofing?

There are two-layer and three-layer systems, in which both have a base and a smooth cap sheet. A base sheet is made of modified bitumen that is adhered to the overlay board through torching or other methods. Afterwards, a smooth cap layer is torched onto the base to create a seal.

In a three-layer system, a final application of a layer with granules is laid down using similar techniques. This step helps increase the roof’s durability by offering more protection against the elements, heat and cold, and other benefits such as an increase in energy efficiency.

What are the Pros of Torch Down Roofing?

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against precipitation — that’s why it’s important to make sure that your roof can withstand any potential heavy snowstorms, hail, or rainy days. That’s why torch down roofing may be a great option for your home.

It offers superior water-resistant properties due to the way that the bitumen layers are welded together to create a seamless surface. For homeowners with flatter roofs in snowy climates, avoiding water collection on your roof can be a challenge. Torch down roofing allows waters to drain instead of pooling on your roof, creating sagging weight, or seeping into the overlay boards. Also, this type of roof is very durable for both extremely hot or cold climates because the layers are less likely to melt or crack.

In addition, torch down roofing affords other benefits such as UV ray resistance and reflectivity, which can keep a home’s heating costs down and make it more energy efficient. In the event of a repair, torch down roofs require rather simple and less invasive steps — a roofing professional will use a torch to weld down a patch of modified bitumen to fix any rips of broken seams.  

Is Torch Down Roofing Right for Me?

Torch down roofs are best suited for buildings with a ¼ pitch, especially those in snowy environments. According to Verisk Analytics, in 2004, more than 41% of all estimated home improvements involved roofing repairs. Given the increase in harsh weather conditions, that percentage has surely increased. That’s why it’s so important that your roof is sturdy and ready to hold up for any storms for years to come. Homeowners with slightly pitched roofs who are seeking more weather-durable options will benefit.

I want to Get Started on Installing a Torch Down Roof. How Do I Begin?

Make sure to contact a reputable roofing company like Bill’s Roofing to start the roof installation process. It’s important that your contractor is both qualified and trained for this higher risk style of installation in order to have a quick and seamless torch down roof.  

3 Popular Types of Skylights To Open Up Your Home

Posted on February 20, 2019

There’s something lovely about skylights. Because they allow natural light in during the day, an entire room can be instantaneously filled with a light and airy ambiance. The natural light itself can save you on your electricity bill big time. At night, skylights give you a stunning view of the night sky, allowing you to stargaze in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve been considering installing a skylight, we’ve compiled the most well-loved types that will transform your home into an oasis.

Ventilating Skylights

Most people like to open windows from time to time for some fresh air. Whether after a hot shower or some time cooking in the kitchen, good airflow in the home is essential. It not only is healthier and more comfortable for our families, but also prevents overheating and indoor stuffiness.

It’s no surprise, then, that ventilating skylights remain a perpetual crowd pleaser. These skylights can be opened either through manual or electric operation and are easy to clean. Many people like to have them installed in bathrooms, kitchens, or other areas with excess moisture. Having a ventilating skylight in your roof also takes advantage of the stack effect, which is caused when warm air rises and is essentially stacked on top of cooler air. If warm air can leave the building out of a roof skylight, fresh air can replace it. Even in cold months, regular and frequent airings are important to maintain comfort for you and your family.

Keep in mind, however, that these skylights take up a considerable amount of space in your ceiling, although with almost no other drawbacks. A professional installation done by a reputable company should leave you with no chances of leaking or further complications.

Fixed Skylights

Think of a fixed skylight as a window in your roof that cannot be opened. Fixed skylights are ideal for spaces where you’re more concerned about getting more natural light, such as a living room or bedroom. These skylights will allow you to enjoy looking at the night sky with your family and loved ones.

When installing skylights, it’s also important to consider the size. The goal is to maximize lighting without excessive solar heat gain. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a skylight should be no more than 5% of the floor area in a well-lit room and no more than 15% of the floor area in a dimly-lit room.

Tubular Skylights

Tubular skylights are a great alternative for those who wish to save space on their ceilings. Imagine a tube extending out of your ceiling with a clear dome at the top. Sunlight enters through the dome and is spread in a bright white glow. The interior of the tube itself acts as a continuous mirror that channels the sunlight all the way down. Although these skylights are more compact, the effect is still dramatic (in a good way).

A 10-inch tube is equivalent to three 100-watt bulbs and channels as much as 98% of exterior light. Because installation of tubular skylights requires no framing alteration, the possibilities are practically endless. The only place where you would want to avoid installing one is directly over a TV or computer screen, which can create glare.

Installing a skylight is one of the best investments you can make in your home. Not only will it open up your entire living space, boost healthy airflow, and lower your energy bill, it will also increase the property value of your home. If you are wondering whether your home is compatible for a skylight or perhaps need some guidance about placement, style, or budget, contact a professional and trusted roofing team, like Bill’s Roofing, to learn about how you can use a skylight for your benefit today.

What To Do For Your Roof After A Hailstorm To Minimize Damage

Posted on January 18, 2019

Last year, Western Washington experienced a mixed bag of snow, hail, and rain. The Washington Post reported about $8 to $10 billion in hail damage last year in the U.S. We don’t quite know what the upcoming months have in store for us, but we do know that all homeowners deserve a reasonable heads up about how hail can damage your roof, as well as the best course of action. Read on to learn how to protect your roof after a hailstorm.

What Factors Affect The Impact of Hail?

Hail can come in many sizes. Some hailstones are merely a few centimeters in diameter, while others can be as large as baseballs. Most, however, do not have rounded edges, meaning that they can cause considerable damage upon impact. Furthermore, high wind speeds in a hailstorm is not a good sign for your roof and property.

However, you may get lucky with natural barriers around your home or block. Tree cover or protection from neighboring structures can greatly reduce the impact of a hailstorm. Keep in mind, though, that improperly pruned trees near your property increase the risk of loose branches hitting or otherwise damaging your home.

So How Can Hail Damage My Roof?

By far, asphalt roofs are the most popular roofing choice across North America. Simply put, asphalt shingles are made of 3 layers: a fiberglass mat or cardboard, asphalt coating, and granule covering. The most common type of damage results when hail knocks off granules from the shingle. This exposes the underlying asphalt layer to the sun’s UV rays, which accelerates the breakdown of the material over time. This not only weakens the structural integrity of the shingle, but also increases its susceptibility to expand and contract in winter. These compromised shingles are at great risk for leaks and wind damage. A hail-damaged roof is almost certain to fail prematurely.

What Does Hail Damage Look Like?

A hail-damaged asphalt roof may exhibit the following signs:

Random “Bruises” On Your Roof

These will look like black or dark-colored spots with no identifiable pattern. If the granule has been freshly knocked off, the newly exposed asphalt may cause the bruise to appear shiny. In some cases, these spots will even be soft to the touch.

Granule Accumulation In Your Gutters

Hail damage is notoriously tricky to identify. If you are experiencing trouble spotting bruises on your roof, check your gutters for a disproportionate amount of loose granules. They may have fallen off during the storm and accumulated in your gutters.

Dents In Metal Parts of Roof

If you notice small dents or imperfections to your flashings, valleys, vents, or sidings, chances are that your roof has taken an unpleasant beating as well.

Keep in mind, however, that hail damage does not have to be immediate. It is not uncommon for shingle imperfections to show up after a year. Hail can weaken the bond between the asphalt and granule layer without immediate and noticeable damage. Within a year, however, you may notice circular spots where granules have gradually fallen off.

What Should My Next Steps Be?

If you suspect that your roof has suffered from hail damage, it is extremely important that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Be sure to document any evidence of damage and read over your insurance policy to clearly understand your rights. Keep in mind that, more often than not, the manufacturer’s’ warranty for materials such as sidings or tiles do not cover for hail damage or weather-related damage.  Contact a professional and experienced roofing specialist, like Bill’s Roofing, to inspect your roof for damage and make the proper documentation and repairs.

What Does It Mean If My House Is Missing Some Roof Granules?

Posted on January 3, 2019

For homeowners and property owners, even small details can cause major headaches. If you have an asphalt shingle roof, you may have noticed loose granules in your gutters, or “bald spots” where granules have fallen off. Loose or missing roof granules may or may not indicate the need for a roof replacement or repair, depending on each unique roof.

So What Are Roof Granules For?

Due to their attractiveness, durability, and wallet-friendly price tag, asphalt shingle roofs are one of the most popular roofing options for homeowners. When properly installed, shingles are fitted tightly and overlap with one another, which provide additional stability and protection from the elements. Over the years, manufacturers have perfected the design of these shingles by adding granules. A 2006 report by the California Energy Commission found that exposure to UV rays can lead directly to material degradation in organic roofing materials such as asphalt. One important function of roof granules, therefore, is to help keep UV rays off the shingles’ asphalt coating. With granules, shingles are also more fire resistant and easier for manufacturers to package.

What’s Normal?

Since granules serve so many purposes for your roof, you may be concerned about loose or missing granules. But, it’s actually perfectly normal to lose some. No roof is designed to last forever, and some normal wear and tear is to be expected. After a storm or heavy rain, you are more likely to find loose granules in your gutters or on the ground. This is no reason to panic. If your roof is relatively new, more loose granules can be reasonably expected.

What Should I Be Worried About?

Without granules, your shingles are overexposed to the elements. Old roofs where most, if not all, granules have been stripped away are almost certainly leaking. If you notice that the edges of your shingles are curled or cracked, your roof is at the end of its life.

Being unable to see the bottom of your gutters due to excessive loose granules is a red flag. The same goes for visibly noticeable “bald” spots on your roof. If you have recently experienced a hail storm in your area, your shingles and granules may also have been compromised. Heavy hail can be strong enough to knock granules off of your shingles. Over time, these seemingly small damages can lead to water leakage. Among other possible reasons, defective roofing products can also be the culprit behind a large amount of loose granules.

Because there are many possible causes behind roof granule loss, it can be hard to identify and distinguish the real reason. Truth is, most homeowners are not roofing experts. When it comes to your roof, it is best to let a professional appraise the situation. This will prevent small issues from snowballing into more serious complications. For questions or concerns about your roof or its shingles, we recommend contacting a reputable and professional roofing company in your area, like Bill’s Roofing, to speak to an expert as soon as possible.