When to Replace Gutters: 5 Key Signs

When to Replace Gutters: 5 Key Signs

Just like your roof, your home’s gutters can age and wear out over time. While most of us don’t want to think about a gutter replacement, and while most gutter systems can last 20 years or more, there is a point where it becomes time to replace your gutters. If you’re not sure what to look for when it comes to gutter repair or replacement, here are 5 signs your gutters may be reaching the end of their lifespan:

#1 Cracks, Splits, or Separated Gutters

The seams where two pieces of gutter connect are the weakest points of any gutter system. If you start to see your gutters pulling apart at those seams, your gutters are probably close to the end of their lifespan. Cracks and splits elsewhere in the gutter are also signs that your gutters are wearing out. Even if you see a small crack or split, it’s worth it to start thinking about gutter replacement soon. Cracks and splits will only grow over time, especially when colder weather comes and ice is able to seep into and expand in those cracks. 

Looking for a new gutter system to replace the old? Seamless gutters are a great investment. They don’t have the same weak spots as a seamed gutter system and can offer a much longer lifespan. 

#2 Peeling Paint or Rust

Most gutters are painted or coated for weatherproofing. While peeling paint might not seem like the worst problem to have, it’s an indicator that it’s time to replace your gutters. Your gutter’s paint protects them from rain and water, and when that starts to flake away they’ll begin to rust. 

If you’re already noticing spots of rust or rust flakes on the ground outside your home, you’ll want to replace your gutters sooner rather than later. Rust spots quickly turn into holes, and you don’t want rainwater seeping through rusty spots on your gutters — it can leave big, hard-to-remove spots on your home’s siding, not to mention that holes in your gutters can cause water damage.

#3 Gutters are Sagging or Pulling Away from the Roof

As you might expect, sagging gutters are a bad sign. Gutters that are sagging are too heavy for their original supports or fasteners. That can mean two things: 

  1. Your gutters are too full of water. They’re not draining and likely need to be replaced. (Clogged gutters can also start to sag, and could benefit from a gutter cleaning. But, if they’ve started to sag significantly, you’re looking at a replacement.)
  2. Your gutter fasteners have worn out. Over time, the fasteners that connect your gutters to your home can wear out. When that happens, your gutters will begin to sag and pull away from the roof. In all cases, it’s a clear sign it’s time to replace gutters. 

If your gutters are sagging or starting to pull away from the roof, it’s a sign they’ve become too old to properly perform their job — directing water safely away from your home. You can only re-fasten them to your home so many times. If they continue to sag or pull away from the roof, it’s usually a sign that your gutters are done, or that the fascia board on your roof has started to rot. Either way, a gutter replacement is in order. 

#4 Dirt Channels or Pooling Water

Take a look at the ground below your gutters. What does it look like? If you notice big empty channels where dirt has been washed away, or pooling water along the edge of your house, near the foundation, it’s probably time to replace your gutters. 

This is another sign your gutters aren’t able to properly direct water away from your house. These signs show that water is spilling over the gutter, rather than running through the gutter system and into downspouts. It’s important to replace gutters soon if you notice this problem. The more water that spills over gutters and near your foundation, the greater your risk of a flooded basement. 

#5 Basement Flooding

One key sign it’s time to replace gutters that many people don’t know about is basement flooding. Properly functioning gutters work to direct water away from the landscaping around your house and foundation. When your gutters aren’t working properly anymore, water can spill over the edges of the gutter, where it’s able to seep into your foundation, and then your basement. 

If you’ve been noticing a lot of water pooling in the basement when it rains, or if your basement has flooded recently after a storm, your gutters could be the problem. 

Your gutters are an integral component of your home and your roofing system. They help maintain your foundation and your landscaping by directing water safely away from your house. When your gutters reach the end of their life, they’re no longer able to do their job. If you don’t replace gutters quickly, you may begin to notice your basement flooding, water damage on your siding, and more. If you’ve noticed any of the following 5 signs, it might be time to look into gutter replacement. 

Time to replace your gutters? Talk to the experts at Werner Roofing. We install top-of-the-line seamless gutters that minimize the upkeep you need to do and keep your home looking great. Give us a call at 616-844-5382, or contact us online for a free gutter replacement estimate.

roofing contractor

OUR FREE ROOF INSPECTION

How do you know when it’s time for a new roof? The only way to be sure of your residential roof’s current condition is to have a licensed professional personally inspect it. Werner Roofing is proud to offer free roof inspections for every client, so you can be sure of your roof’s condition. Every Werner Roofing inspection comes complete with our promise: “We won’t recommend or sell a roof replacement unless it’s necessary.” 

GAF Vs. Owens Corning Shingles: What’s the Difference?

GAF Vs. Owens Corning Shingles: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to your roof, you want to make sure you have the best available product for your investment, and a comprehensive warranty if something goes wrong. GAF and Owens Corning are two of the most popular and trusted shingle brands in the country. Known for their long-lasting products and contractor training programs, you can’t go wrong with either of these companies for your roofing materials. 

Let’s breakdown the GAF vs Owens Corning matchup to see how they compare where it matters most: product quality, contractor certifications, investment level, and warranty coverage.

GAF vs. Owens Corning Shingles Quality

GAF sets the industry standard for reliable and long-lasting shingles and roofing products. Roofers prefer GAF because they offer a complete “lifetime roofing system” which includes: Timberline shingles with a lifetime limited warranty, attic ventilation, roof deck paper, starter strip shingles for eaves, a leak barrier for valleys, and ridge cap shingles for vents and ridges. GAF shingles are made with fiberglass-mesh reinforced asphalt, offering three to five layers of protection, depending on the product line. With superior wind and impact resistance, GAF’s ArmorShield shingles are UL 2218 Class 4 rated, with further improved capabilities when supported by the lifetime roofing system.

Owens Corning also offers a total protection roofing system, with tiered products based on investment and protection level. This system starts with a seal of felt or synthetic underlayment, covers it with an ice and water barrier, protects the roof with starter shingles and hip/ridge shingles in roll or strip form, and ventilates with additional roof products. Owens Corning also has Class 4 shingles available, in the Duration Storm series. 

For GAF vs.Owens Corning in product quality, both carry excellent products, though GAF offers more protection for wind and hail. 

GAF vs. Owens Corning Shingles Contractor Certifications

GAF provides excellent training for contractors in proper product installation to ensure the very best performance for your roof. The highest certification level, the Master Elite certification, means the roofer is licensed and insured, has a great, customer-reviewed reputation for workmanship, and is committed to ongoing training with GAF for new products and practices. GAF certified installers are able to provide homeowners with enhanced warranties including System Plus or the Golden Pledge.

Owens Corning also has installer certifications that allow contractors access to enhanced warranties for their products. These higher level warranties can be added for an additional percentage of the project cost and require customers to install the total protection roofing system.

For GAF vs. Owens Corning shingles, the contractor certifications category goes to GAF, as the programs they provide are more thorough. Higher level certifications are available to an exclusive group of contractors who show complete mastery over the GAF product line, commit to ongoing professional training, and demonstrate customer-reviewed workmanship. The GAF Master Elite certification is held by only 3% of roofers in the country. A GAF Master Elite certified installer will build a roof you can trust, with the highest quality workmanship, and issue the best warranty GAF offers, known as the Golden Pledge. 

Investment in GAF vs. Owens Corning Shingles

Both GAF vs. Owens Corning shingles and roofing products require similar levels of investment. GAF shingles are available in an affordable range of options, from the budget 3 tab to the most durable shingles with superior resistance to impact, stains, and UV rays. Their popular dimensional Timberline shingles start around $110-120. GAF products are widely available in a large range of color and style options. 

Owens Corning shingles are comparable in cost to other leading shingle brands, including GAF. Their mid-range Definition Duration shingles start at $80-110. Although a slightly lower price per square, you might be able to upgrade to the OC Duration Designer shingles for a similar value to GAF.

Keep in mind that shingle installation, whether GAF vs. Owens Corning shingles, will include labor costs and extra roof accessories like underlayment, ventilation and hip/ridge shingles. Owens Corning shingles might be available at a slightly lower investment cost, but you’ll likely pay the same price overall for installation, and potentially more over time in maintenance for the Owens Corning shingles. 

GAF vs. Owens Corning Shingles Warranty Information

GAF is considered to have some of the best warranties in the industry, and is a trusted brand of roofers everywhere. If something goes wrong with your roof shingles, contractors and roofers are usually blamed first, so they prefer to work with better materials to make their job easier and build a roof you can trust. 

Roofers who have the prestigious Master Elite certification can issue a Golden Pledge warranty. This warranty not only covers the materials, but also labor and installation. When you have the protection of a Golden Pledge, a GAF representative will inspect the roof once it’s complete to make sure it is up to their brand standards. GAF warranties are also transferable if the ownership of your home changes — an uncommon feature with most brand warranties. 

Owens Corning also offers comprehensive warranties for their products. Their warranties are tiered based on the type of products installed, the number of products installed and the certifications of the installer. The Standard Roofing System warranty is available to work by any contractor, and covers structural defects in the shingles only. If you use the total roofing protection system you are eligible for the System Protection Warranty. Preferred Protection System warranty and Platinum Protection System warranty are offered by Owens Corning certified contractors. These enhanced warranties cost extra and require installation of the total protection system.

Warranties usually cover defects in the shingles or failure due to manufacturer error, not failure due to installation. Most claims are denied based on this difference. All shingle companies face customer service issues with this distinction.

GAF vs. Owens Corning Shingles Claims

Warranty claims with shingle companies are tricky for customers, no matter what brand they choose. Most claims on warranties result from improper installation, not product failure, and are not covered by the warranty. GAF is well-known for having some of the best warranty options in the industry, but Owens Corning has had more success with customer service. 

There’s something to be said for having a great shingle product and a lifetime warranty, but those two are useless if the roof is not properly installed. Having a knowledgeable GAF certified installer will help you get the most out of your products and roof, and if there’s any problem, you can trust that you’re covered by the Golden Pledge. The pledge is more than worth it for the peace of mind and added protection of your investment.

If GAF shingles sound like the right option for you, get in touch with the Werner Roofing team. We’re proud to be a Master Elite certified installer. We can install GAF’s full line of shingles, and have been recognized with their President’s Award for four consecutive years. To learn more about our products and available warranties, give us a call at 616-844-5382 or reach out to us online.

The 5 Best Types of Gutters For Your Home

The 5 Best Types of Gutters For Your Home

There are many types available, so it can be hard to choose the best types of gutters for your home. This important level of protection means you need to make a good choice in the material and style. We’re going to look at 5 best types of gutters for a variety of homes, classified by material. Some gutter types can be made seamless, which can provide many advantages for an extra cost. Ultimately, your choice will depend on the style and durability you require of your gutters, as well as the budget you’re working with.

Best Types of Gutters

Different materials vary in their strength, durability, cost, and ease of assembly. The five best types of gutters are vinyl, aluminum, galvanized steel, stainless steel, and copper.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters are popular because they are very simple to install. Sections snap together easily and can be installed by a homeowner with little experience. Vinyl will never rust, and its lightweight material makes it inexpensive. Vinyl is the best type of gutter if you’re looking for something effective on a budget.

Vinyl gutters don’t last as long as other gutter types because over time the material can become brittle and crack, especially in cold temperatures. It will likely need replacing faster than other gutter systems, but the savings are hard to beat.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters are also very lightweight, but unlike vinyl, they are rust-proof and weather resistant. They are also a cost-effective gutter option, depending on whether you choose primary or secondary aluminum. Primary aluminum is thicker and stronger, where secondary aluminum is a little thinner as it’s made of mostly recycled materials. 

Aluminum that is less strong can be dented by hail or branches and misshapen by ladders. Aluminum has the advantage of being available in seamless varieties. This increases its durability, but also the cost.

Galvanized Steel Gutters

Galvanized steel gutters are very strong and very sturdy. They are a long-lasting gutter option and not as susceptible to dents like aluminum. Galvanized steel is vulnerable to rust, however, and will eventually need to be replaced for this reason. 

Stainless Steel Gutters

Stainless steel is as sturdy and long-lasting as its galvanized cousin, but it is also rust-proof, and therefore resistant to weather. This added durability comes with a higher price tag, sometimes twice or three times as expensive as cheaper gutter types. However, stainless steel is the best type of gutter for the homeowner that doesn’t want to worry about having to replace them. 

Stainless steel gutters can also be made seamless, which increases their capability and strength.

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters are the most expensive gutter type, even more than stainless steel. They are just as sturdy and weather resistant, but the copper finish makes them the most attractive gutter type. Copper gutters are noticeable on a home’s exterior and add to its curb appeal. 

Some home styles particularly benefit from the addition of copper gutters. This factor makes it the best type of gutter if curb appeal is your most important consideration, particularly if it’s more important than price. 

Seamless vs. Sectional Gutters

As mentioned earlier, some gutter types can be made seamless, while others are only available in sectional varieties. The advantage of seamless gutters is that they have fewer weak points. Over time, erosion from water or other traveling debris can get stuck on and widen gaps in the sections, particularly in economy gutters. 

Seamless gutters eliminate these holding points, making for a longer-lasting design. It’s the best type of gutter if you want your investment in your gutters to be protected. Aluminum and stainless steel are a few examples of gutter types that can be made seamless. Your gutter supplier will be able to help you choose the best seamless gutter type for your home.

And the Winner Is… You

All of these gutter options will provide a quality service to you and your home, helping to collect excess rainwater and channel it away from vulnerable places on your home’s exterior. The deciding factors for the best type of gutters are going to depend on you and your home’s needs. 

Would you rather spend a little extra for added durability, or do you want to complete your new gutter project on a tight budget? Vinyl and aluminum will be inexpensive options, but aluminum could be the more durable choice. 

Is the appearance of your gutters important to you, or is their only purpose efficiency? Copper is the most attractive but probably the most expensive. The best-looking for its value is probably seamless stainless steel.

Are you planning to have help installing your gutters, or do you plan to DIY? Vinyl sectional gutters can be assembled and installed with ease, while some of the heavier materials might require professional assistance.

No matter what type of gutter you’re looking for, Werner Roofing can help. While we specialize in seamless gutters, which really make your life easier, we also install more traditional vinyl gutters, too. Request a free, no-obligation quote today!

Do I Need to Clean my Metal Roof?

Do I Need to Clean my Metal Roof?

While metal roofs generally require very little maintenance, cleaning your metal roof will help keep it looking and working great, year after year. If your metal roof is painted or has a special coating, it’s especially important to keep it clear of debris and residue. The coating is there to protect the metal from breaking down. Even though it’s been formulated to stand up to the elements, regular cleaning will help it do its job to protect your roof.

You should plan to clean your metal roof at least once per year, or when you notice a buildup of debris, stains, mildew, moss, or mold.

Why You Should Clean Your Metal Roof

Keeping your metal roof clean is a great way to extend its life, maintain its appearance, and protect your home. Over time, UV rays and contact with oxygen in the air will naturally cause the paint to break down. If you’ve noticed a white, dusty residue on your roof’s surface this is known as chalking — a common sign that oxidation has started to wear the surface of the paint. It doesn’t mean your roof is compromised, but it is a sign that you need to clean your roof. 

Excessive chalking is not typically covered in warranties, mostly because it’s easy to prevent. Regular maintenance like cleaning and spot touch-ups will help minimize the effects of oxidation and protect your investment in your metal roof.

Cleaning your metal roof is easy to do, and it’s a simple way to prevent rust stains and the growth of moss, mildew, or mold. When cleaning, you’ll want to remove any dirt, leaves, pollen, tree sap, and acid or substances deposited from rain.

What You Need to Clean Your Metal Roof 

To clean your metal roof, all you need is a washcloth, sponge, soft-bristled brush, or cleaning pad. It’s important to only use non-abrasive materials. Scratches to the paint may cause it to degrade faster as oxidation can reach further into the surface.

In most cases, you can just use water with your cleaning tool to remove debris. If there is some buildup of sap, grease, or other substances, you can add a mild detergent to the water to help break it up. Laundry detergent, detergent for car-washing, or dish soap are gentle enough to use on metal roofs. Bleach, rubbing alcohol, or mineral spirits can be used to spot-clean tough stains if they appear, but shouldn’t be used to clean the entire surface.

How to Clean a Metal Roof

Cleaning your metal roof is simple. Follow these steps annually to protect your roof against rust, mildew and other contaminants.

  • Rinse what you can with water.
  • Add detergent (¼ cup per gallon) to water.
  • Apply the solution with a sponge or cloth.
  • Rinse well after 5-10 minutes.
  • Spot-clean mildew, mold, or rust with appropriate safe cleaners.

Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning a Metal Roof

Don’t use a high-pressure washer.

Don’t use sandpaper, steel wool, or other abrasive materials to clean — even on mold, mildew, or rust stains.

Don’t let toxic run-off reach the ground if you’re using chemicals for stains.

Do use a small amount of bleach with an appropriate detergent to remove mold or mildew stains.

Do consult an expert if there is a stain you’re unsure how to remove.

Do wear protective clothing if you clean your roof yourself, including glasses, gloves, and shoes with good traction.

Do use safe practices when cleaning your roof including fall protection, a ladder compliant with OSHA standards, and a buddy.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. You don’t have to clean your metal roof by yourself. If you don’t have the time, don’t have safe equipment to use, or don’t want to deal with the hassle of the chore, hire a professional. Protect your metal roof by caring for it year after year, and it will last you a lifetime.

Is your metal roof looking a little worse for wear? Let the team at Werner Roofing know. We’re happy to help get your metal roof looking brand new again, and we’re also here to answer any questions you might have about cleaning your metal roof. Give us a call at (616) 844-5382 or contact us on the web today!

Are Skylights Energy Efficient?

Are Skylights Energy Efficient?

A common misconception is that skylights can hurt your home’s energy efficiency by trapping heat during the summer or letting in more cold air during the winter. The truth is, if properly installed, skylights can help you save serious money on energy bills, including heating, cooling, and lighting.

Are Skylights Energy Efficient?

In addition to improving the appearance and quality of light in your home, skylights are energy efficient year-round. They can help to light and heat your home during the colder months, as well as keep it cool during the warm days of the year. In order to reap these benefits, you must choose your windows carefully and install them properly.

Complaints with skylights usually arise from improper installation or window selection. If you choose the wrong type of window for the area you’re installing it in, you may not be happy with the results. For example, choosing a window with a high solar heat gain will keep you warm in the winter, but could trap in heat during the summer. Thoughtfully placing skylights on your home will help you avoid this problem and keep you comfortable year-round. 

Also, if the window is not installed properly, it might have air or water leakage that could cause damage and discomfort. This issue could be resolved with expert help. If you aren’t sure you can do it yourself, it’s always better to work with professionals. They can help you plan which skylights to choose and where to place them, as well as install them perfectly to provide you with a beautiful and valuable energy-saving solution.

 

How are Skylights Energy Efficient?

If chosen and installed properly, skylights can be an excellent and efficient addition to your home. Here’s how it works: 

Energy Efficient Skylights 

The specific skylights you choose matter. If your skylights are energy efficient, they will have a low U factor. The U factor is how window performance is measured in terms of transmitting non-solar heat energy. A lower U factor means the window is more energy efficient. You can find your window’s U factor in the energy efficiency rating. 

You’ll also want to look at the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) which will tell you how it transmits solar energy and converts it to heat. If you want your window to transfer more heat into your home, during the winter, for example, you’ll choose a window with a high SHGC rating. Conversely, if you want a window with a better shading ability, you’ll opt for a lower SHGC. Whatever skylight you choose should have minimal air leakage and be able to transmit the right amount of visible light for your space. 

Proper Skylight Installation

The skylight installation process can determine if your skylights are energy efficient or detracting from your home’s energy savings. It involves careful planning and many layers of sealing to create a moisture barrier to make the skylight as effective as possible.

After locating the ideal location for your new skylight, the installer will create and frame the opening. If the ceiling is not sloped with the roof, they can install a light shaft that will pass through an attic space to the roof. Then, they will place an underlayment which goes beneath the shingles to make sure water moves away from the window properly. 

Depending on the skylight type and brand, the installer will place about three phases of flashing, one around the bottom, step flashing around the sides, and solid flashing over the top, attached to the skylight to create a water-tight seal. Different types of skylights will have different mounts and are suitable for various types of roofs. Your skylight supplier will be able to help determine which type is right for your home.

Choosing the Right Skylight

Energy efficient skylights come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Tubular skylights are particularly efficient, but they’re not as common as traditional flat skylights. 

Tubular vs. Flat Skylights

Tubular skylights have a domed window at the top to capture light from various angles throughout the day. They are especially efficient because they capture maximum sunlight with minimal heat gain or loss, but they don’t have the usual look. Flat skylights offer the traditional experience of being able to see the open sky above, and can still be very energy efficient. Adjusting these characteristics will maximize the energy efficient abilities of flat skylights:

Skylight Size

Flat skylights should be about five percent of the size of the floor area of the room they’re located in, especially if the room has other windows. This way they will maximize light transmittance without creating an overwhelming glare.

Location of Skylight

In warm climates, skylights should be placed on north-facing roof slopes, while in cold climates, south-facing slopes will capture the most possible sunlight. In areas that experience both warm and cold temperatures, consider locating skylights on east-facing slopes. Here, the morning sun will provide some heat and the skylight will be shaded from the most intense afternoon rays. Putting a skylight under the shade of deciduous trees will also help limit summer heat gain.

 

Skylight Slope

Your skylight should be tilted to the angle of your latitude plus ten degrees. This enables the skylight to capture the most sunlight and heat in the cooler months and deflect the high summer sun.

Skylight Material & Ventilation

Energy efficient skylights should be double-pane, with a low U-factor. You might consider coatings on the window to limit heat gain, but remember that heat gain can be energy-saving during the winter. 

Adding ventilation capabilities to your skylight can improve indoor air quality and reduce the possibility of mold. Ventilating skylights are energy efficient in kitchens and bathrooms. Some skylights have built-in sensors that close when they detect rain or moisture on the outside.

Professional Skylight Installation

Once you’ve chosen skylights that are energy efficient, it’s important to install them correctly to capitalize on their benefits. The best way to do this is to work with professional installers. Not only can you rely on them to help you choose the best skylights that are energy efficient for your home, but they will make sure they are water-tight and working perfectly for you.

Whether you’re worried about how skylights affect your energy efficiency, or you’re ready to get a few skylights installed, talk to the Werner Roofing team. We proudly install Velux Skylights, and we’d be happy to help you decide whether skylights are the right option for your home or not. Reach out to us online to get started.

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