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How Can Heavy Rains Damage My Home?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

heavy rainfallThe effect of rainfall on your house depends on two factors: volume and duration. Once precipitation exceeds 0.30 inches per hour, it’s officially classified as “heavy rain” by meteorologists. At that point, water damage to certain parts of the structure naturally becomes more likely, depending on the materials involved in construction, the location of the house and its general state of repair. Here are some of the potential problems specifically associated with heavy rainfall on your house.

Roof Leakage

Heavy rainfall typically reveals any weak spots in your roof. A storm that includes one-half inch of rain deposits at least 400 gallons of water on a residential roof of average size. Leakage into the attic triggering mold contamination and ruining attic insulation are obvious consequences. Warped or deteriorating wooden structural components in the attic are another. Roof leaks may be caused by split or missing shingles and/or by gaps around vent pipes, chimney, skylights and other protrusions.

Basement Flooding

Once the soil is saturated by heavy rain, the basement may be compromised. Hydrostatic pressure pushing inward forces soil water through cracks and gaps in the concrete basement wall and /or upward through the basement floor, flooding the basement. Mold growth as well as damaged electrical panels, appliances and personal possessions stored in the basement are likely.

Exterior Wall Damage

If gutters aren’t fully functional due to clogs or not sized correctly to handle heavy rain, overflow is inevitable. Water from overflowing gutters flows down exterior walls. Though exterior siding is designed to repel raindrops and splashes, a continuous cascade of water from gutters will penetrate siding, entering the void inside the exterior wall. This hidden moisture rots wooden structure and forms a perfect breeding ground for mold.

Landscape Issues

If the land surrounding the perimeter of the house isn’t graded so ground water flows away from the structure, deep pooling may occur during heavy rain. In slab construction, this water may undermine the foundation over time with multiple incidents of heavy rain. In other homes, repeated flooding of the crawl space is another likely result.

How a Roof Inspection Can Save You Money and When You Might Need One

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

roof inspectorsWhen it comes to the condition of your roof, ignorance is not bliss. Left unaddressed, almost any roof issue eventually morphs into a major expense down the road. Roof life expectancy as well as prevention of secondary damage from roof leaks relies on regular inspections by a qualified professional and prompt repair of incipient defects.

How Often?

In general, a roof with asphalt or composite shingles should get a professional inspection every three years. Same goes for wood shingle roofs like cedar. Tile roofs are more resistant and can usually go for five years between check-ups.

Caveat: if severe storms with high winds and/or heavy rain have occurred, or events like a falling limb striking the roof happened, have the roof checked ASAP

Why Not Do It Yourself?

  • It’s dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 150,000 severe injuries occur annually from falling off residential roofs.
  • You probably aren’t qualified. Components of a residential roof include roofing material, sheathing, underlayment, flashing, gutters and downspouts and vents and chimneys. There’s a lot more to go wrong than meets the untrained eye—or the homeowner on the ground with binoculars.

How Inspections Save Money

Roof leaks typically trigger a domino effect of indoor water damage. An inspection by a qualified professional identifies roof issues before they inflict major expenses including:

  • Structural damage. With the exception of shingles, all other parts of the house structure are vulnerable to water infiltration due to insidious leaks. This includes the sheathing beneath shingles and extends down into wooden attic structure including trusses and rafters. Rotted wooden components can’t be repaired; expensive replacement is required.
  • Mold contamination. Growth of toxic mold inside an attic affected by roof leakage is virtually a certainty. Health consequences that may affect residents can require costly medical diagnosis. Covert mold growth inside an attic will also spread to other parts of the house, making contamination more widespread and costly to remediate.
  • Insurance woes. If damage caused by ongoing roof leaks results from a homeowner’s negligence—such as not resolving roof issues promptly—homeowners insurance may not compensate for the cost of repairs.


4 Tips For Preventing Attic Water Damage

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

attic water damageAttic water damage has several potential causes. It usually has multiple consequences, as well. A single incident of attic water damage may necessitate any or all of the following: roof repair, replacement of attic beams, removal of ruined insulation, repair of damaged sheetrock in ceilings below, replacement of carpet or other interior items affected by water, and mold remediation to remove toxic contamination inside the attic.

Prevention tips

Attic water damage can originate from above, below, or from sources inside the attic itself. Here are four tips to prevent it:

  1. Inspect the roof. Rain water seeps behind split shingles or through leaky flashing. Dripping inside the attic may occur some distance from the actual roof leak however, as water travels along the sub-roof panels and/or attic beams. Dark streaks on the underside of the sub-roof are one indicator of ongoing leakage.
  2. Prevent ruptured pipes. Water supply lines are often routed through the attic. In unconditioned attics, frigid winter temperatures can rupture pipes. Insulate all exposed attic pipes to prevent freezing. Inspect for evidence of pinhole leaks as well as seepage around joints. Refer any signs of leakage to a qualified plumber.
  3. Control condensation. Water vapor chronically infiltrating from living spaces below accumulates in the attic. Make sure soffit vents and roof vents are unobstructed to optimize passive air circulation. If condensation issues persist, consider adding a powered vent fan at the roof peak. To reduce infiltrating water vapor, seal air leaks in ceilings, around recessed lights and weatherstrip the attic access hatch/door.
  4. Maintain attic appliances. In some homes, the water heater is installed in the attic. Flushing the water heater tank regularly per manufacturer’s instructions reduces chances of attic water damage due to tank corrosion and leakage. Where the central A/C air handler is mounted in the attic, a clogged condensate drain line may trigger an overflow. An overflow safety switch can be installed to automatically shut down the unit before water damage occurs.

Taking time to inspect your attic periodically and do some routine maintenance can prevent a costly repair bill later.

Winter Is Coming – Know How To Protect Your Roof From Ice Dams

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

roof ice dam
Winter water damage inside a home often begins with ice dams up on the roof. The average homeowner’s insurance claim for damage from ice dams is over $4,500. Understanding the sequence of events that lead to formation of ice dams, as well as how they cause indoor damage, is essential to effective prevention.

Heat accumulating inside your attic rises, warming the underside of the upper part of the roof disproportionately. Outside, snow covering the upper roof melts faster. Water runs down the shingles to the lower portion of the roof that is still at freezing temperature and re-freezes, forming a barrier of ice forms that dams free flow of runoff into gutters. Water begins backing up on the roof.

Roof shingles are designed to resist water running down the surface of the roof—not standing water. Pooling water penetrates shingles and sub-roof into the attic, then leaks through ceilings down into living spaces. Consequences include damage to wooden structure in the attic, saturated attic insulation, water damage to ceilings and to possessions inside the house. Mold growth in the attic is also triggered by moisture from roof leakage.

The key to ice dam prevention is keeping warmth that heats the roof unevenly out of the attic:

  • Measure the depth of attic insulation and verify that it meets current Department Of Energy standards. If needed, you can add additional insulation on top of the existing layer.
  • Locate and seal any openings, cracks or gaps in the ceiling that allow heat in living spaces to infiltrate the attic.
  • Check the attic pull-down stairs or access hatch to make sure it closes fully and is weatherstripped to prevent air leakage into the attic.
  • Make sure the attic is properly vented with outdoor air. Verify that upper vents are open and lower vents down at the soffits aren’t obstructed by insulation or items stored in the attic.
  • Ductwork routed through the attic should be inspected for leakage and insulated to prevent thermal loss into the attic.

Ask the professionals at Rytech for additional information about prevention of ice dams this winter.


Why You Need To Deal With A Leaky Roof As Soon As Possible…

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

leaky roof damageA leaky roof never gets better by itself. In fact, once water penetrates the roof membrane, things get steadily worse with every rainfall. First, leakage damages roof decking, seams, and fasteners, compromising the structure of the roof. At this point, unless you are regularly inspecting the outside or underside of the roof, you may have no idea that a leak is occurring. Soon, however, the signs will become much harder to miss.

Reasons to keep an eye on your roof for leaks

Here are some reasons why a leaky roof must be addressed ASAP:

  • Once water-saturated wooden structure inside the attic begins to rot, there will be no remedy other than removal and replacement of these constituents, which means substantial and expensive construction work.
  • Mold growth inside a chronically wet attic is not merely probable, it is presumptive. Airborne mold spores will contaminate living spaces below through the HVAC ducts or vents, spreading mold throughout the house.
  • Electrical wiring, junction boxes, recessed ceiling lights, and other powered components in the attic are often ruined by water exposure. They may also short circuit when wet, causing potential fire and shock hazard danger.
  • Water degrades two common types of attic insulation. Water-saturated cellulose insulation will not dry and must be removed and discarded. While fiberglass insulation doesn’t absorb water and will eventually dry (thermal performance of the material will be substantially reduced during this period), moisture may still trigger mold growth inside the insulation. Moldy insulation must be removed and replaced.
  • After insulation, the downward migration of water from a leaky roof has one more place to go: your ceiling. Ceilings affected by roof leakage first exhibit water stains. As drywall that composes the ceiling becomes increasingly saturated, it may sag and eventually collapse.
  • Homeowner’s insurance typically pays for water damage due to a leaky roof only if leakage is recognized and dealt with in a timely manner. If a homeowner ignores stains on the ceiling or other conspicuous indications of water in the attic and delays repair, coverage may be denied.


Preparing For Spring Rains: Prevent Water Damage By Inspecting Your Roof

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

damaged roof shinglesAn effective strategy to prevent water damage inside the house begins up on the roof. Exposed to all weather extremes, especially heavy spring and summer rains, a compromised roof structure is the first step in a sequence that leads to water infiltration into the attic and, finally, into living spaces below. Here’s a primer on inspecting the roof to prevent water damage before it becomes a major and costly issue.

Always take appropriate safety measures when accessing the roof. Don’t attempt it if the roof setting appears dangerous or you’re not confident that it can be safely inspected.

  • Assess the shingles. Look for shingles that are buckling, cracked or curled. These will allow water to seep into joints between sub-roofing sheets and eventually drip down into the attic. Also, look for algae or mold growing on shingles, particularly in shaded areas of the roof. This growth may deteriorate shingle materials and, over time, result in leakage.
  • Look for damaged flashing. Metal flashing installed around vent pipes, the chimney and other roof openings may loosen and dislodge over the years. This allows water flowing down the roof to penetrate around the opening and into the attic, eventually dripping into rooms below. Loose flashing can usually be repaired individually without removing large area of shingles.
  • Evaluate the gutters. Make sure gutters aren’t obstructed or pulling loose from their mountings. If you have asphalt shingles, take note if a large amount of asphalt granules are accumulating in the gutter. This is an indication that aging shingles are deteriorating.
  • Inspect the attic. Climb up into the attic and examine the underside of the sub-roof for water stains, wood rot or other indications of hidden leaks. Also, look for wet or moldy insulation caused by ongoing water infiltration. Note the status of attic vents: all should be unobstructed and fully open. An under-ventilated attic can overheat in summer, buckling the sub-roof and shingles and causing roof leakage.

Ask the professionals at Rytech, Inc. for more steps to prevent water damage from roof leaks.


Proper Roofing Maintenace to Prevent a Leaking Roof

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

leaky roofA leaking roof is the final and most obvious symptom of a roof that hasn’t been properly maintained. Roof leaks for the most part aren’t due to a sudden, isolated event. Typically they are the end result of a process of deterioration over an extended period of time. Because most of the roof is generally out of sight of a homeowner, it’s easy to remain oblivious to what’s going on up there. However, once a leaking roof ruins the attic structure and/or spawns toxic mold indoors—or water starts dripping down through ceilings into the living spaces—it will be hard to ignore.

Because of the safety hazard of working on a roof, major roof repair should be left to professionals. However, a do-it-yourself inspection and some minor fixes are possible if taken with great care and never in wet or icy conditions.

  • Look for shingles that are missing, broken or deformed. Most defective shingles can be replaced individually as a DIY procedure or the job can be done by a roofing contractor.
  • Be aware of signs of fungus growth on the roof. Moss or algae growth on a roof is common, especially in shaded areas. It’s also very destructive to shingles and other roof components. Installing lead or zinc fungus control strips prevents this damage.
  • Examine metal flashing around vent pipes and/or the chimney. If the caulking that seals the flashing has degraded, remove whatever is remaining and re-caulk.
  • Sweep off accumulated debris on the roof such as leaves. Rotting leaves and other organic matter accelerates the deterioration of shingles.
  • Trim away overhanging branches. Observe trees adjacent to the roof for any signs that the tree or a portion of it is likely to fall and impact the roof.
  • Keep gutters clear of leaves and other obstructions. Clogged gutters filled with water are extremely heavy and may over-stress the eaves where they are attached, eventually pulling loose and damaging that part of the roof.

To address water damage issues caused by a leaking roof—or more advice about how to avoid it—contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.


Avoid Water Damage From Unknown Leaks With Regular Home Maintenance

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

home maintenanve prevents Preventive maintenance helps avoid water damage in the home by reducing the potential of hidden or unknown leaks. In many cases, leaking water happens silently and doesn’t trigger any alarms. A water leak may persist for an extended period before it’s noted and repaired. By then, possessions may be saturated and ruined, mold growth may have begun and structural components of the house may be damaged.  (more…)

7 Signs Your Roof May Be Leaking — Take Action Before Water Damage Ensues

Monday, December 9th, 2013

roof leakA leaking roof can cause severe damage to your home, which will in turn be costly to fix. Major leaks can result in structural damage, water damage to your possessions and even mold and mildew growth. This means that even the smallest of leaks should be fixed right away. The best way to do this is by hiring a professional water damage restoration and mold remediation service. The following are seven signs of a leaking roof that you should be sure to check for:  (more…)