How to Prep Your Deck for Winter

how to prep your deck for winter

Your deck has served you well spring, summer, and fall. It has been a place of relaxation and escape from these unusual times we live in. We must face the reality that winter is just around the corner. To make sure your deck is there for you next year, you should make sure it gets through winter. Here are a few tips on how to prep your deck for winter.

1. Inspect the entire deck surface

Walk across your deck. Take note of how each board feels. Are they sturdy, bouncy, or have give? These are indicators of a bigger issue than one bad board. Spongy deck boards, most of the time, are a sign of structural damage. This could mean a deck rebuild. 

Many times, decks are in good shape except for localized board damage. This can be caused by a tree or eave that constantly drips in the same spot after rainfall or mildew caused by potted plants. When you spot areas that are beginning to rot or weaken, you will want to replace those boards. It’s important to note that damaged boards are not the same as warped or weathered boards. Hardwood decks, even when properly maintained, will age. Aging wood is not an issue until it becomes structurally unsound. If boards are slightly warping, those do not need to be addressed. 

2. Check for peeling stain or paint

Peeling paint or stain is typically easy to spot, but if you want to check for certain, use tape. Lay down a strip of tape across the deck and yank it up. If you have an issue with peeling paint, it will pull up with the tape. With peeling paint or stain, the problem is, it allows water to penetrate through to the wood. This is particularly problematic with winter snows and spring rains. 

Refinishing your deck before winter is a good idea. Before you lay down that new coat of paint however, you will need to do some prep work. You will need to scrape or sand off all the old material. This will allow your new paint or stain to adhere correctly to the wood surface. Make sure you purchase a product rated for outdoor use. 

3. Check joists

The most important part of your deck is the structure itself. Joists and posts must be in good condition to ensure your deck has the structural integrity to hold the weight of snow. The underside of a deck is highly susceptible to rot. When moisture builds up around the screws and nails holding the joists together, and it doesn’t dry out due to lack of sun, you have a prime cause of rot. When you see rot, you have a very serious issue. Joist problems are a sign you need a deck replacement. Joists, unlike deck boards, cannot be replaced. 

Following these tips will make certain your deck is prepared for the winter months. Need help with deck maintenance or design? Give Bealing Roofing & Exteriors, Inc., a call. 

Keep Your House Safe from Water Damage

keep your house safe from water damage

One of the most damaging things that can harm your home is water, and as seasons change the potential only increases. Heavy spring rains can lead to flooding. Winter snow and freezing rain can also lead to some severe issues. It is always a great idea to get ahead of these problems before they occur. Here are a few tips to keep your house safe from water damage. 

Inspect and repair your roof

A leaky roof can cause some pretty significant issues to your home. These may start as unsightly water stains on your ceiling, but behind that stain could be lurking so much more. Roof leaks almost always lead to wet insulation. In turn, that damp insulation can lead to rot of wooden structure and mold problems. 

This damage, often unseen, can lead to some costly repairs. They must be addressed early and quickly. Hiring a reputable roofing contractor to inspect your roof is a great way to discover potential undetected leaks. 

Trim your trees

One way you can experience severe water damage is from tree damage. If a sizeable tree limb crashes through your roof, you’re likely to end up with an entry point for water from the damage caused by the limb. 

Check to make sure any trees near your house are alive and well. Have dead or unhealthy limbs removed. A dying tree or a tree with a dead limb may not seem like an issue but in a heavy wind storm, you will quickly discover just how much of an issue it can become. 

Clean your gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are designed to keep water away from your foundation. It’s very important to make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris. Also, remove any clogs you may find in your downspouts. During this cleaning process, repair any gutter leaks and install splash blocks or downspout extensions to direct water away from your foundation. 

Don’t forget your foundation

One of the most common areas of water damage in the home is flooding in the basement. To keep your basement dry and prevent basement flooding, the first step is to make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation. You will want at least a 6” slope over the first 10’.

A good investment to consider is installing a sump pump in the basement. Sump pumps help to remove any groundwater that may seep inside your basement. If your basement is finished, or you plan on finishing it, make sure you hang drywall approximately 1” off the floor. This way, if water seeps in, it will not wick up the drywall. Wet drywall is the perfect breeding ground for mold. 

If you are looking for a reliable, local contractor for your next home improvement or repair project, give Bealing Roofing & Exteriors, Inc. a call. We treat every project like it’s our own!

Tips for Fall Home Maintenance

fall home maintenance

Check Out These Tips for Fall Home Maintenance

Cooler weather and beautiful falling leaves have started and that means it is a great time to tackle some maintenance projects around the house.  Because it is not very humid and vacations are over, many people find themselves with a little extra time before winter hits. Here are some tips for fall home maintenance to help you determine what to do first.

Roofing

Winter is coming and fall is a perfect time to inspect your roof, which is the main source of protecting your home from the elements.  While we recommend that an experienced local roofer be the one to do so, you can tackle this on your own if you choose. Check for any missing shingles, bubbling, cracking, and curling. All of these issues can be seen pretty easily by the naked eye. Having a lot of damage means it is time for a replacement, but if you think a repair is sufficient, have a roofer come out to do an official inspection.

Gutters

It is definitely time to clean out your gutters and rain spouts. Doing this close to the end of the fall season is best because all the leaves should have fallen at this point.  If you are able, investing in a guard for your gutters is a great way to prevent backups and having to clean them out so often, if at all.

Windows

The trim around your windows is important, so if you can, inspect all of the trim outside. You can use a screwdriver to check for any gaps and holes.  If there are any, simply fill them with caulk.

Siding

Just like your roof, siding is important to the life of your home and protecting your family. Do a quick walk around your home, inspecting the siding for imperfections. Cracks, warping, bubbling, and missing pieces are all cause for concern.  Contact us to take a look and let you know what your repair or replacement options are.

Bealing Roofing and Exteriors, LLC can help you with all these fall maintenance tips if you want an experienced team to take a look. We strive to provide our PA and MD customers with quality work and will always value our customers and put their needs first.

Steps to Make Gutters Work Better This Winter

Steps to Make Gutters Work Better This Winter

Winter Maintenance Tips for Gutters

Gutters tend to get ignored during the winter months. Considering the extreme temperatures South Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland tend to experience along with the shorter days, it comes as no surprise to professionals at Bealing Roofing & Exteriors, LLC. While gutters play an important role in your home’s roofing system by diverting water away from the foundation year-round, they are more important in the winter than they get credit for.

Winter in the northeast means freezing and thawing of snow, ice, and rain. When these elements freeze, they also expand, pushing on any surrounding surfaces which can cause damage. When snow in your gutters melts and then freezes, gutters experience pressure from the expansion which can result in gutter damage. Homeowners can’t control the weather, but there are steps that you can take to keep your gutters working properly all winter long.

Clear the debris.

When gutters are filled with debris, there is no room for water to flow freely towards a downspout and away from your home. During the winter months, debris increases the chances of water pooling inside the gutters, freezing, and damaging the gutters. Using a sturdy ladder, heavy gloves, and a mini garden shovel, homeowners can remove the debris rather easily.

Properly insulate the attic.

A properly insulated attic impacts more than just the home’s interior. Having the right insulation maintains the roof temperature and prevents water from freezing in gutters before draining off the roof. It also keeps snow from prematurely melting and draining into the gutters. Double check attic insulation or hire a professional roofing company to inspect it and assure the right amount of insulation is present.

Check for leaks.

Inspect gutters for leaks at the seams or holes in the metal. This is also a good time to ensure all bracings and anchors are sturdy and attached to the house properly.

Inspect downspouts and diverters.

In addition to clearing debris from gutters, downspouts and diverters should be checked for clogs. Inspect the area where water drains away from the house to confirm water flows freely and doesn’t pool at the base of the downspout.

Don’t ignore damage.

If homeowners find damage in any area of the roof or gutter systems, they should tend to it quickly. Some tasks can be completed without help; some should be completed by professionals that thoroughly understand roofing and gutter systems.

A professional roofing company will also be able to suggest whether or not heating elements for gutters or the roof would be helpful. When installed properly, gutter heating cables melt snow and ice during the winter and prevent freezing from occurring.

Contact the professionals at Bealing for a free roof and gutter inspection this winter. Our team thoroughly inspects the roof, gutters, and attic to make sure you are ready for the cold temperatures and minimize unexpected mid-winter projects.

Mold versus Mildew

mold versus mildew

What to Do If you Spot Mildew in Your Attic

The terms mold and mildew are often used interchangeably, and while they have similar characteristics like thriving in damp areas, they are not the same. Mildew is considered surface fungi that can be treated and removed fairly easily. Mold is more dangerous and difficult to manage. Finding either one in your home’s attic is cause for concern and can be a sign of faulty roofing system.

Understanding the Difference

Mildew can grow on a variety of surfaces including food, paper, and wood. It typically appears in a gray or white patch on a damp surface. To combat mildew, homeowners can use specialty cleaners and a scrub brush to remove it from the impacted surface.

Mold is usually black or green in color and sprout from air-borne spores. In many cases, mold isn’t limited to one surface area because the spores float through the air and can land anywhere in a home. Once mold makes an appearance, homeowners should contact a professional mold removal company to uncover how severe the mold infestation is.

Removing Attic Mold

Whether you hire a mold removal company or decide to tackle the project on your own, there are a few key things to remember. In addition to being physically apt to work in small attic spaces, understand that not all molds will be readily seen at first glance. Mold infestations usually spread behind drywall and insulation and even throughout heating and cooling systems.

What Causes Mold to Grow in an Attic?

Removing mold from an attic is the just the first step in the remediation process. It is also important to identify what caused the mold in the first place because removing it won’t keep it from coming back if you don’t fix the cause. Attic mold can be caused by a few culprits including:

  •         Leaky Roof
  •         Faulty Siding
  •         Poor Attic Ventilation
  •         Not Enough Insulation
  •         Incorrect Venting

Once you confirm there is mold in the attic, it is essential that you schedule a roof inspection to uncover which of the above culprits is the cause of attic mold. A professional roofing company will inspect the roof as well as the attic and ventilation system to check for faultiness and leaks. Mold removal should only begin after the cause of the mold is found and fixed, so mold doesn’t continue to grow.

When was the last time you had your home’s roof inspected? Contact the roofing team at Bealing Roofing today. We offer free roof inspections and service Gettysburg, York, Hanover, and surrounding northern Maryland areas.

Fall Roofing Checklist

fall roofing checklist

Fall Roofing Checklist: Maintain Your Roof All Year Long

It’s hard to believe that it is already October and just around the corner are the cold months of winter. In addition to football games, apples, and picking pumpkins, it is also the perfect time to take care of your roof and prepare for the potential harsh weather like ice and snow. Taking preventative measures not only increases the lifespan of your roof, it also prevents potential unwanted damages from occurring during the winter.

Here are our top recommendations to take care of your roof this fall.

Schedule a Roof Inspection.

Your roof should be inspected twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Contacting a professional roofing company is ideal because they have the experience and knowledge necessary to identify any potential causes for concern. Bealing Roofing & Exteriors offers free roof inspections to homeowners in South Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland.

Trim Trees.

Heavy rain or snowfall can cause tree limbs and branches to break off unexpectedly. Plus they give easy access to unwanted rodents like squirrels looking for a place to nest in the winter. Fall is the perfect time to remove limbs and branches close to your home or other buildings on your property.

Clean out Gutters.

When gutters are clogged with leaves, sticks, and other debris, they can’t protect your home from water damage. Clean any build up out of gutters now to avoid clogs when snow begins to melt later. In addition, it is wise to make sure the gutters are fastened securely and repair any loose pieces so they can function properly.

Check the Attic. 

The best roofing companies will check the attic when they conduct a roof inspection. You can also check the attic for signs of moisture, mold, mildew, or leaks from the outside. If you notice a leak, contact a roofing company to review the damage and provide you with a solution.

Just like your car or truck, a roof requires attention and preventative maintenance to maximize its potential. Add these four items to your October to-do list so you can enjoy more of the winter months. Bealing Roofing & Exteriors is a locally-owned roofing company in Hanover PA ready to assist you with your roofing needs including inspections, minor repairs, and full roof replacements. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

How to Clean Your Vinyl Siding

How to Clean Your Vinyl Siding

Steps to Clean Vinyl Siding

Installing vinyl siding is a popular choice for homeowners because it is highly durable and low maintenance. Because it is outside and subject to various elements, siding still needs the occasional cleaning to remove dirt and filth and keep your home looking presentable. Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland homeowners should also be concerned about potential mold or mildew forming thanks to the humid summer climates.

Cleaning vinyl siding is a relatively easy task to cross off your to-do list. Before you start the cleaning process, check with the manufacturer or warranty for recommended cleaning guidelines. If you don’t have this information readily available, consider using the steps outlined here to clean your vinyl siding.

Spray the Dirt Off.

You don’t need to rent or buy a pressure washer to get rid of the dirt buildup on your siding. A garden hose with a spray nozzle will work too. If you choose to use a pressure washer, don’t set it to the maximum setting. Instead, choose the medium spray setting.

A few tips to remember when spraying your home:

–          The spray pattern should be wide enough so too much pressure isn’t on one specific area.

–          Keep the nozzle moving at all times to avoid damage.

–          Work your way up from the bottom and back down to thoroughly rinse the area.

–          Avoid water seeping behind the siding by spraying evenly with the alignment.

Cleaning the Siding.

There are numerous vinyl siding cleaning solutions on the market to choose from. There are also some DIY cleaning solution recipes you can follow. Whichever you decide on, you will need a bucket and long-handled soft bristle brush.

Start by mixing the solution in the bucket. Dip the brush into the solution and gently scrub the siding working your way from bottom to top. Rinse off the solution and then work your way with the brush from top to bottom. Rinse again.

Handling Mold and Mildew.

If you notice mold or mildew on the siding, you will need a special solution known as a mold and mildew remover.

Safety Precautions.

Since you are using chemicals, it is best to always wear gloves and clothing that covers your arms and legs. Follow the instructions on the labels and never mix chemicals.

If you have questions or concerns about your siding, contact the roofing and siding professionals at Bealing Roofing & Exteriors today.

 

How Do I Fix My Leaky Gutters

how to fix leaky gutters

Tips for Fixing Leaky Gutters

Leaking and sagging gutters can cause serious water damage to your home’s siding and foundation as well as your yard. In many cases, the damage can equal thousands of dollars in repairs.  Proper gutter maintenance and repairs early prevent these extensive damages. Here are some helpful tips for fixing leaky gutters:

Clean out the clogs.

Gutters that are in good condition can still have water leaking from the sides as a result of being clogged with leaves, twigs, and other kinds of debris from storms and animals.  Keeping your gutters clear of clogs is tiresome and time-consuming, so if you don’t have much time or energy for this sort of thing, you might consider hiring a pro to clean them out or having a new seamless gutter protection system installed.  These systems are connected directly to the downspout and have fewer leaks and clogs over their lifespan.

Seal the holes.

Sealing leaky gutter joints and small holes is relatively inexpensive.  You can purchase a tube of sealant for around $5 and apply it from the inside the gutter.  For larger holes, you can use a gutter patch kit found at home improvement stores for about $10 or try gluing sealant to a scrap of metal flashing. If the hole is very large, replacing the gutter is the best solution.

Re-fasten gutters.

Sometimes the hangers, nails, or screws used to fasten your gutter to the roof come loose, allowing runoff water to flow over the edge and damaging your facia boards. If this happens, you’ll need to grab the ladder and re-attach the gutter to the roof.  Use a stronger fastener or several for security; however, if your fascia boards are deteriorating, the gutter won’t stay attached and you’ll need to replace them.

Properly space hangers.

Hangers are used to properly mount gutters onto your home. For best results, hangers need to be placed a maximum of 3 feet apart. Any further apart, and you risk sagging from the weight of the rain and melted snow. As the water settles and builds up over time, the gutter system can rip away from your house, leaving you with a hefty bill to install another gutter system.

Replace weak joints.

The joints in a gutter system are the weakest areas and are prone to clogging and causing leaks.  The obvious fix for this is replacing the joint, but sealing/caulking it might not be enough to get the job done based on the exact type of leak.  If the gutters are sagging at the joint, the leak may return.

 Fix the seams.

Welding or soldering your gutter system together is sometimes beneficial; but if you use too many seams or don’t secure them properly, the gutters can break.  A seamless gutter system is the best way to prevent this from occurring.

Schedule an appointment with the gutter professionals at Bealing Roofing & Exteriors today by calling 717-634-3355 or filling out our online request form.

Most Common Signs Your Roof is Worn Out

common signs your roof is worn out

Common Signs Your Roof is Worn Out

Whether you built or bought a new home or purchased an older home, the age and condition of your home’s roof play major roles in ensuring your home remains a warm, dry, and safe haven for you and your family. Some indicators that you may have a roofing problem are obvious; others are not.  Here are 6 signs that your roof has worn out its welcome:

Obvious Signs:

Your roof is sagging. 

This is obviously a big problem that requires a professional roofing inspection.  The issue is most likely structural and could be a problem in the attic or with your home’s foundation supports.  If addressed early enough, you may avoid serious and costly damage.

There’s a light in the attic.

And we don’t mean one that comes on by flipping a switchIf sunlight is coming in, then the likelihood that rain, snow, and cold air are also entering your home is high.  Check for water damage after the next few rainfalls, and if you see areas that appear to be larger over time, you probably have a leak that requires attention.

Missing, curling, or cracked shingles.

All of these signs indicate weather-related damage that is likely to turn into leaks sooner rather than later but doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the entire roof. If just a few shingles are missing, you may get away with replacing them as needed; but if the majority of the shingles are damaged or missing, you’ll want a complete roof replacement.

Not-So-Obvious Signs:

Your roof is 20 years old or older.

The lifespan of today’s asphalt shingle roofs is 20 -30 years; however, unseen factors like improper roof ventilation can affect the aging of even the most durable shingles, so just because you can’t see a problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.  If the homes in your area were built around the same time and you see that your neighbors are replacing their roofs, this is a sign you might want to “keep up with the Joneses!”

You see granules in the gutter. 

This may or may not be obvious.  If your asphalt shingle roof is new and you see some granules in the gutters, don’t worry—that’s normal. However, if your roof is 10-15 years old and you’re finding a large number of granules in the gutters, this means your shingles are losing their protective heat quality and are deteriorating. Only a roof inspection will tell the full story.

Moss and/or algae.

Areas where airborne algae have caused dark steaks or moss has grown (typical in cold and/or moist climates) may give the appearance that your roof is in big trouble, but these unsightly nuisances don’t necessarily mean damage.  Most homeowners will attempt to try to remove the moss or algae streaks themselves by brushing, scraping, or power washing their roof, but in doing so, may actually do more damage to the granules than if they just let the roof alone.  Try to put up with the less-than-lovely look for as long as possible, but if you decide on a roof replacement, consider algae-resistant tiles.

Spring Gutter Cleaning Tips

spring gutter cleaning tips

Spring is a season many homeowners look forward to because they can finally spend time outdoors taking care of necessary home maintenance tasks. Gutter cleaning is an important task that shouldn’t be overlooked but often is brushed aside because it’s not directly in front of you. Failing to check gutters and remove debris can cause roofing, siding, and gutter issues later in the year.

We’ve put together a list of seven tips to help make your spring gutter cleaning a bit easier:

Check your ladder.

There is no way around it – to properly clean gutters, you have to climb a ladder. Before doing so, make sure the ladder is in working condition and is safe and sturdy to climb. Set your ladder on even, solid ground to assure it remains steady. If the ground is too soft around your home from recent weather, wait until it dries.

Wear proper shoes.

The right shoes are essential for any home maintenance job. If you plan to climb a ladder or onto your roof, it is best to wear rubber soled shoes to prevent slipping and falling. Wearing sandals, flip flops, or dress shoes are not recommended for this task.

Place a tarp on the ground.

To help with the cleanup, we recommend placing a large tarp on the ground below you. As you remove debris, leaves, and dirt, you can drop it on the tarp. Once you are finished, you can discard the debris directly into a trash can from the tarp.

Use a hose to flush gutters.

To assure no dirt is left behind, use a garden hose to flush gutters and check downspouts for clogs.

Do a visual inspection of your roof.

While you are on the ladder, do a visual inspection of your roof. Look for missing or damaged shingles, cracks in your flashing, and pieces of debris that may have blown on your roof from recent storms and bad weather.

Clean all debris from your roof.

If you find debris on your roof, be sure to carefully remove it so it doesn’t cause any damage.

Call a roofing company for advice.

If anything appears off, contact a local roofing company for advice. Many roofing companies offer free roof inspections and will check both the exterior and interior well-being of your roofing system.

Now that spring has arrived, enjoy the warm weather and crossing home maintenance tasks off your to-do list.