Tips for Safely Decorating Your Roof for the Holidays Westchase Roofing is thankful to be serving the Tampa area, helping homeowners with new roof installations year round. We hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the “winter” holidays. While we generally don’t have to worry about snow or ice damage to our roofs and homes, there’s another kind of seasonal damage that can harm the integrity of your roof—decorations. Every year, big box stores and hardware shops stock bigger and bigger decorations for homeowners to deck their homes with, from inflatables and projectors to a myriad of lighting options and figures. However you choose to decorate and spread some cheer, here are some tips for safely decorating your roof for the holidays. 5 Tips for Safely Decorating Your Roof Think Ahead Before climbing on the ladder, know what you’ll be hanging and where. Have your supplies ready and your lights untangled. Check for any broken bulbs or worn wires before stringing your lights. Never use lights that look damaged or have exposed wiring. You don’t want to create a fire hazard. Use the Right Equipment Ensure that any decorations you use are meant to be displayed outside. This includes extension cords, which should specifically state they can be used outside. Find a grounded outlet that you will be using to plug in your lights and check that it can handle the lights you want to use. If you live in an older home with older wiring, you may want to opt for simpler lights. No one wants to seek out the fuse box because the holiday lights have overwhelmed the circuit! If you’re planning on a large display, try to utilize different outlets. Get Help Having someone hold the ladder steady or pass you items as you need them is a big help. This can make the experience safer and limit your trips up and down the ladder. Be clear on what you need and the best way they can help you to save yourself some hassle. Take Your Time Being on a ladder means you need your balance. Take your time and don’t try to rush throwing up the lights. It’s not worth risking your safety! Wear appropriate shoes and don’t allow yourself to become distracted. Don’t Puncture Shingles Your shingles help protect your home from wind and moisture. Putting holes in them for the sake of holiday decorations is unwise. When considering how to place your decorations, look for unobtrusive methods that don’t put holes in your shingles or otherwise damage your roofing elements. That means you’ll need to skip the staple gun, hammer, or drill. One popular way to do this is to use clips that can attach to gutters or shingles. A roof anchor can help you install decoration on your roof, however, we recommend you minimize any wear on your roof and place large decorations like inflatables or plastic structures on the ground. If you want the look of lights covering your roof, consider a projector. There are different color lights and designs that can give the look of everything from red and green lights to falling snowflakes—all without damaging your shingles or putting your home at risk. With fewer sunlight hours, holiday lights truly brighten the season and bring joy. Make sure to follow these tips for safely decorating your roof for the holidays so that joy lasts. However you plan to decorate your home, we hope you enjoy the time spent doing it as well as the results. If, when up on that ladder, you find your roof isn’t in as good of condition as you though, don’t fret. Give Westchase Roofing a call for a free replacement quote. We can help you determine whether it’s time for a new roof and show you the latest asphalt shingle offerings from our roofing partner, Owens Corning. Visit our website to learn more. Westchase Roofing Tampa Tips for Safely Decorating Your Roof

Tips for Safely Decorating Your Roof for the Holidays

Tips for Safely Decorating Your Roof for the Holidays

Westchase Roofing is thankful to be serving the Tampa area, helping homeowners with new roof installations year round. We hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the “winter” holidays. While we generally don’t have to worry about snow or ice damage to our roofs and homes, there’s another kind of seasonal damage that can harm the integrity of your roof—decorations.

Every year, big box stores and hardware shops stock bigger and bigger decorations for homeowners to deck their homes with, from inflatables and projectors to a myriad of lighting options and figures. However you choose to decorate and spread some cheer, here are some tips for safely decorating your roof for the holidays.

5 Tips for Safely Decorating Your Roof

1. Think Ahead

Before climbing on the ladder, know what you’ll be hanging and where. Have your supplies ready and your lights untangled. Check for any broken bulbs or worn wires before stringing your lights. Never use lights that look damaged or have exposed wiring. You don’t want to create a fire hazard.

2. Use the Right Equipment

Ensure that any decorations you use are meant to be displayed outside. This includes extension cords, which should specifically state they can be used outside. Find a grounded outlet that you will be using to plug in your lights and check that it can handle the lights you want to use. If you live in an older home with older wiring, you may want to opt for simpler lights. No one wants to seek out the fuse box because the holiday lights have overwhelmed the circuit! If you’re planning on a large display, try to utilize different outlets.

3. Get Help

Having someone hold the ladder steady or pass you items as you need them is a big help. This can make the experience safer and limit your trips up and down the ladder. Be clear on what you need and the best way they can help you to save yourself some hassle.

4. Take Your Time

Being on a ladder means you need your balance. Take your time and don’t try to rush throwing up the lights. It’s not worth risking your safety! Wear appropriate shoes and don’t allow yourself to become distracted.

5. Don’t Puncture Shingles

Your shingles help protect your home from wind and moisture. Putting holes in them for the sake of holiday decorations is unwise. When considering how to place your decorations, look for unobtrusive methods that don’t put holes in your shingles or otherwise damage your roofing elements. That means you’ll need to skip the staple gun, hammer, or drill. One popular way to do this is to use clips that can attach to gutters or shingles. A roof anchor can help you install decoration on your roof, however, we recommend you minimize any wear on your roof and place large decorations like inflatables or plastic structures on the ground.

If you want the look of lights covering your roof, consider a projector. There are different color lights and designs that can give the look of everything from red and green lights to falling snowflakes—all without damaging your shingles or putting your home at risk.

With fewer sunlight hours, holiday lights truly brighten the season and bring joy. Make sure to follow these tips for safely decorating your roof for the holidays so that joy lasts. However you plan to decorate your home, we hope you enjoy the time spent doing it as well as the results.

If, when up on that ladder, you find your roof isn’t in as good of condition as you though, don’t fret. Give Westchase Roofing a call for a free replacement quote. We can help you determine whether it’s time for a new roof and show you the latest asphalt shingle offerings from our roofing partner, Owens Corning. Visit our website to learn more.

When Should I Replace My Roof Tampa - Westchase Roofing

When Should I Replace My Roof?

While we’d all like our roofs to last forever, we aren’t quite there technology-wise. Until then, it’s important for homeowners to know when they should replace their roofs and what signs of damage to keep an eye on.

Consider the Age of Your Roof

One of the easiest ways to identify whether you may need a new roof is to verify the age of your existing roof. If you have a shingle roof, for example, and it is over 20 years old, you may want to schedule a quote so you can plan to have it replaced rather than waiting for more signs of damage to appear. Shingle roofs typically last between 20 to 30 years, though current innovations are extending their lifetimes.

Check the Attic

If your home has an attic, it should be your first stop when determining whether you need a new roof. Signs of damage may be more visible in the attic area than from the outside to an untrained eye. If you spy water damage or see sunlight, there’s a good chance you need a new roof, though smaller damage may just require repair.

If you spot water damage, continue to monitor the site for change to determine whether it is an active leak that requires repair.

Look For Shingle Damage

If your attic shows no signs of wear, check the roof itself. If your shingles look like the edges are curling up or like the centers are bubbling up, they should be replaced soon. Wear from the elements and age can cause shingles to curl, which may eventually lead to leaks if not dealt with.

Cracked shingles, often caused by wind damage, can also indicate the need for a new roof, especially when damage isn’t specific to one area but spread throughout the roof.

Once shingles are damaged, their ability to do their job is diminished. While one or two shingles can be replaced as necessary, when numerous shingles are damaged, it’s time to consider a roof replacement.

Check For Granule Debris

If your shingles are starting to look bald or if you are finding more and more granule debris, your roof may need to be replaced within the next few years. Granules help protect your home from the sun. With age, granules begin to separate from the shingles. Once this starts happening, it’s a good time to start planning ahead for a replacement roof.

Identifying Structural Issues

If your roof is bowed or looks like it is sagging, this may be an indication of a structural problem with your roof or home. At this point, it is imperative that you have a professional look at your roof to determine when it needs to be replaced.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether you need a new roof is to consult with a qualified roof contractor.

Will Insurance Cover a New Roof?

When dealing with insurance, the most common answer to any question is “it depends.” A homeowner’s policy cover roof replacement on newer roofs damaged by hurricanes, tornadoes, and other weather phenomena or unpreventable issues (fire, vandalism). Those who have an older roof may find that insurance will only partially cover their replacement costs because their original roof has depreciated in value. If you are considering replacing your roof because of storm damage, it’s a good idea to read over your policy and speak to your insurance agent.

Westchase Roofing, an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor, is happy to provide a quote to individuals who believe they may need a new roof. Because we focus solely on roof replacement, we are adept at determining when homeowners should be considering a new roof. To learn more about our company and to schedule a quote, visit our website.

Westchase Roofing Vet a Roofing Company Contractor

How to Vet a Roofing Company

Westchase Roofing Vet a Roofing CompanyWhen faced with a big decision like getting a new roof, many homeowners don’t know where to start. They may ask friends or do a quick search to find a local contractor. While you may find a reputable Tampa roofing company that way, asking the right questions and doing a little background work can help ensure you find the best roofing company for your house.

Ask Potential Roofing Contractors These Questions

Are you licensed?

Not having a license should be a nonstarter. For a contractor to legally work in Florida, they must be licensed. Someone who does not have a license may still be a good contractor—and if so, they should apply for a license.

What kind of insurance do you carry?

Roofing contractors should carry general liability insurance and worker’s comp at a minimum. Some companies may carry additional insurance like business auto insurance for their work trucks, however, the most important for a homeowner is general liability insurance. General liability insurance helps protect your property if something goes wrong.

Who will be working on my home?

When a company comes out to do a quote on your roof, you may assume that the kind face you see will be the person you’ll see on the ladder in a couple of weeks.

Don’t.

Too often, roofing companies subcontract their work. They focus on getting the clients and then outsource the jobs. Protect your home and hire a company that maintains its own crew. Only then can a company truly guarantee its work.

How long will the job take?

Everyone wants to know how long a job will take and it’s a homeowner’s right to a good estimate. A roofing contractor should be able to provide you with an estimate for when they will be starting work, how long they will be working each day, and how many days they believe it will take to complete the job. Hiring a company that works on only one house at a time may ensure that they get the job more quickly and are better able to meet their estimates.

What kind of roofing options do you offer?

Not all roofers carry all roofing options, which can actually be better for homeowners. Roofers who specialize in one or two roofing materials are better able to become experts in the material. They can keep up to date on the latest advances in roofing for their chosen material and understand the nuances of installing it. Before setting up an appointment, check to see if the roofing company installs the type of roof you want.

Do you offer any warranties?

Some roofing materials come with warranties, though those warranties generally don’t cover workmanship. Ask any potential roofing companies what type of warranties they are able to offer you and what exactly the warranties cover.

Watch For These Red Flags

They ask for a deposit.

Often, someone asking for a deposit up front is running a scam. You should not write a check or hand over cash before any work has been completed or you may not see them again.

They come to your home unsolicited.

Very rarely does a reputable roofing company knock on doors to advertise their services. This can be a sign of a storm chaser.

“So and so’s cousin can do it.”

While trying to find a roofer, you may come across a well meaning friend who tells you someone they know can do the job on the cheap for you. While this may work for patching a spot of drywall or doing other handyman tasks, it’s not advisable for roofing.

Roofing a home can be a dangerous endeavor. It is important that anyone that works on your roof knows what they are doing and that they’re appropriately insured. In addition, shoddy workmanship by someone with little or no training can lead to more problems down the line. Water damage, mold growth, and poorly installed shingles can be expensive to repair. Rather than hiring a local handyman for a roofer’s job, stick with the professionals.

Checking Reviews and Testimonials

Seeing what others have said about a company’s work can help you better understand the company. GuildQuality allows home improvement contractors’ clients to share their experiences and rate the company who has remodeled their kitchen, built their new home, or installed their new roof. Check any potential contractors and make sure you like what you see.

At Westchase Roofing, we understand that choosing a contractor can be a difficult decision. We try to make it a little easier by being completely upfront with our potential clients. As a licensed and insured roofing company operating in the Tampa area, we take each and every job we do very seriously. We know we aren’t just working on people’s houses, we’re protecting their homes.

We’re ready for your questions and we’d love to give you a quote on a new asphalt roof.

Westchase Roofing Hiring a Roofing Contractor

Check for These Certifications Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor

Hiring a contractor isn’t easy. Many people feel a sense of unease when thousands of dollars are on the line. We completely understand. When you’re entrusting your home to the hands of a contractor, you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. Checking for these certifications and memberships before hiring a roofing contractor can help set your mind at ease and assure you that you’ve made the right choice.

Appropriate Licenses

For a roofing contractor to legally work on your home, they must be licensed to work within the state of Florida and in their particular county. Aspiring contractors are tested by the state to receive their license. In addition, contractors can apply to be certified.

To be a state certified contractor, a contractor must provide a copy of their state contractor license, proof of liability insurance, and proof of workers comp insurance coverage.

Westchase Roofing Services is licensed as a certified roofing contractor in the state of Florida and in Hillsborough County. Not only have we passed all requisite tests, we also carry the necessary insurance to protect your home and our crew.

Liability Insurance

Any roofing contractor you hire should have insurance. An uninsured contractor poses a risk to your home.

General liability insurance covers any property damage caused by a contractor or injury to a non-employee. Workers’ compensation covers employee injuries that may occur on a worksite. Together, these two policies help protect a homeowner’s property as well as a contractor’s employees.

Don’t hesitate to ask whether your roofing contractor has liability insurance. A certified contractor will have insurance, however, fly by night operations that tend to pop up after a storm are generally uninsured and unlicensed. Be wary of anyone knocking on your door and telling you that your homeowner’s insurance will cover a new roof. (You can learn more about these scams here.)

Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau helps consumers find reputable businesses to work with. The BBB supports businesses by providing them ethical standards they can implement and providing educational resources. For consumers, the BBB is a hub where they can share their experiences with a company and research companies they are considering hiring.

To be a Better Business Bureau accredited, a company must sign up with the organization. It’s a voluntary organization, and membership tends to show a commitment to the values espoused by the BBB.

Westchase Roofing Services is a BBB accredited contractor with an A+ score. We work hard to maintain that top score by continuing to provide excellent service.

National Roofing Contractors Association

The National Roofing Contractors Association is a trade association for roofing professionals. They provide training and resources for contractors and other roofing professionals. The NRCA is a nonprofit organization supported by its members that advocates on behalf of roofing contractors, manufacturers, distributors, engineers, and more.

Membership in the NRCA illustrates a commitment to improving one’s skills and staying on top of the latest roofing information and technology. Westchase Roofing is a proud NRCA member.

Hiring a contractor can be difficult. Look for these certifications on a potential contractor’s page to make the job easier. In our next post, we’ll be discussing how to vet a contractor. However, if you’re in need of a roofing contractor to replace your roof, don’t wait! Schedule a quote with us today.

We’d love to discuss our certifications and memberships with you and let you know why we’re the best roofing contractor for your roof replacement. Give us a call and learn more about Westchase Roofing.

Roof After a Hurricane - Westchase Roofing

10 Tips for Inspecting Your Roof After a Hurricane

As the proverbial dust settles after the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, now is the time to pick up the pieces and carry on.

Hurricanes hit with incredible force and hold no mercy for those in their way. And chances are, your home is now in need of inspection and repair.

Let’s take a look at ten tips for inspecting your roof after a hurricane.

Tip 1: Clear All Debris as Soon as Possible

It can be easy to put off inspecting your roof after a hurricane. The time. The effort. The hassle. The money.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that those you love are safe before you start surveying the damage.

But the longer you allow branches, leaves, and other debris to rest on top of your roof, the more chance there’ll be for damage. Lying debris harbors moisture underneath that can quickly turn to mildew, mold, and rot.

The debris can hide significant issues like missing shingles or holes that could lead to expensive water damage inside your home during the next rain.

You’ll want to clear all debris from your roof as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.

Tip 2: Watch For Popped Nails

When you examine your roof after a hurricane, check for any nails that may have popped up during the hurricane. The wind, rain and relentless pressure on your roof can eventually drive nails to the surface.

In addition to looking on the roof, inspect around your yard and driveway for nails. These could do damage to lawn equipment, vehicles, or children. Use a metal detector if needed to avoid this hazard and protect your family.

It can be hard to know what to do to keep your roof safe during storm season. There are a few excellent measures you can take in the future to prevent nail popping during a hurricane.

For instance, there are specially designed nails to protect roofs during hurricane season. These nails offer great preventative measures to help your roof survive the intense impact of hurricanes.

Tip 3: Check Your Attic

An indirect, yet just as important, task to remember when inspecting your roof after a hurricane, is to thoroughly examine your attic for water spots or leaks.

You’ll want to check your attic’s insulation, especially in the corners and crevices where pools of water can easily lurk just outside of view. Look for wet spots, potential leaks or any other damage.

When water spots are forming on your ceiling, your attic is likely where it started. This is because the water has to go through your attic from the roof to get to your ceiling.

Water in the attic may lead to mold and mildew problems down the road. So if there’s even a small leak, it needs to be addressed immediately.

Tip 4: Watch for Water Pooling In Your Fixtures

When you inspect your roof after a hurricane, always closely examine your light fixtures, especially ones that are connected to exhaust fans. If your flashings are damaged, water could begin pooling in through your fans or other ceiling fixtures.

The flashing are a protective piece of metal that goes around the pipes that protrude from your roof. These pipes allow heat to escape from your home. You also have these exhaust pipes coming out from your stove fan and your bathroom exhaust.

When the flashing cracks, water may pool on the stove or in a fixture.

Fixtures that are not attached to fans may also collect water because water moves toward the lowest places in your home.

Check each ceiling fixture to ensure no water is getting through.

The dangers of water collecting around your fixtures include:

  • Electrical fires
  • Collapsing pieces of your ceiling
  • Electrocution
  • Mold, mildew and eventual rot
  • Signs that there’s a much bigger leak you haven’t found yet

You don’t want to ignore even the slightest of dampness surrounding your fixtures. Take note and get it fixed immediately.

Tip 5: Inspect Your Gutters And Leaf Guards

When you inspect your roof after a hurricane, check for any fragments or shingle granules gathering in your gutters. Look for any dents on your gutters or any other damage. If gutters are pulling away from the roof, have them refastened to avoid a bigger repair project down the road.

After you’ve cleared all the visible obstructions from the gutters, check the flow by running water from your hose at the highest point towards the downspout. If the flow out the downspout is slower than the pressure from the hose, there’s a blockage to be cleared.

It’s also a good idea to periodically check the downspout for any delayed trickling. This indicates that something is caught and needs to be removed.

Word of caution: gutters can conduct electricity, so if there are any downed trees or collapsed power lines, be sure to wait until these are cleared away or contact a professional.

Tip 6: Examine Your Shingles

When you examine your roof after a hurricane, look for rifts or more obvious cracks between the shingles and the metal flashing. Note any missing or broken shingles.

From the road, you may see dark spots that indicate your shingle got whipped up by the wind and were broken. In these cases, your roof may only be protected by a thin layer of roof underlayment fabric. This fabric only provides you with short-term protection once exposed.

Your roof needs immediate attention if you’re seeing these dark spots. They’re a solid sign that things can go downhill fast.

If you’re examining your shingles from the ground with binoculars, these spots may be difficult to see. Check for pockmarks up close. Pockmarks are caused by hail and fast-moving debris that leave craters in the shingles.

If pockmarks are the extent of the damage, they aren’t of immediate concern. But they will significantly reduce the life of your roof.

It’s likely that, even in the mildest of storms, some shingle replacement will be necessary. Be sure to take note of the extent of the damage before pursuing services to fix this.

Tip 7: Check for Leaks and Current or Potential Water Damage

Remember that the source of the leak may not be where the water actually ends up. Be sure to thoroughly examine all areas of your roof, walls, and ceiling.

Use a flashlight and closely examine your walls for water stains, as well as your ceiling. Be on the lookout for signs of moisture behind your walls that you may not be able to see.

This may come in the form of a damp feeling around the base of your walls or black mold beginning to creep out and across the paint.

If you have water in your walls, you may have a bigger problem on your hands than just a roof. But getting the roof fixed will at least stop further water from entering the home.

Run an industrial de-humidifier if you have one to get the indoor moisture levels down so that your home isn’t hospitable to mold, mildew, and creatures who like wet, rotting wood.

Tip 8: Investigate the Area Around Your Chimney and/or Skylights

When you check your roof after a hurricane, be sure to closely examine your chimney and skylights, if you have any. These are prime spots for water damage, mold, and mildew to begin building up.

Also, be sure to take note of any areas where you roof comes to a “V” where water may be pooling.

Chimneys and skylights will also have flashings and other barriers that prevent leaking. These may have been damaged during the storm, so be sure to check them out.

Tip 9: Monitor Your Ceilings For Several Weeks Afterwards

Even though the worst is over, issues could creep up over the next few weeks. If your roof and ceiling appear to be fine upon inspection, there still could be unseen damage that may crop up later.

Continue to monitor your roof, gutters, attic, ceiling fixtures and ceiling for several weeks following the hurricane. Issues may come to light, and you want to be able to remedy the situation as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Tip 10: Write It Off

Most of us don’t really care for tax season. But you might as well get the most out of the time, energy and money it took to repair your roof after a hurricane. You can write off hurricane damage for that year’s taxes.

This can mean significant savings on the tax bill or even a large refund to help you recoup some of what you’ve lost.

So keep up with how much you spend on repairs and document everything.

Protecting Your Roof After a Hurricane

The stress of a hurricane is about as much as many people can bear. And you don’t have to add to the stress by putting off inspecting your roof until the damage is extreme.

If you’re looking for help in repairing your roof after Hurricanes Irma, check us out at Westchase Roofing.