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Gutter Systems Part Of Home Maintenance

Gutter Systems Part Of Home Maintenance

Home maintenance is an integral component of our lives and as homeowners it is very important to ensure that our house is in tiptop shape. We cannot stick to the old adage, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality given that it is not simply rational to let the house fall apart. The “it’s still okay” syndrome will do more harm than good and will be very costly for us in the long run.

The most common repair and maintenance project on any house is the roof and gutter system. This is due to the fact that these sections are the most exposed part to extreme weather conditions. No matter how tough and expensive the materials you used for these, Mother Nature will definitely take a toll on it whether you like it or not.

Most frequently replaced between these two are the gutters. Over time, the gutter system usually gets damaged due to the volume of water and accumulation of debris like leaves, twigs and stuff. If you try to analyze it, the look and feel of a house is very much dependent on the state of its gutters. A leaking and damaged gutter system appears to generate an impression that the house is very old and poorly maintained. It immediately brings down the value of the house and it also lowers the aura of the human inhabitants.

This is the reason why, this needs to be immediately fixed even before it is fully broken. Remember, it’s a system. One panel breaks down, everything else follows.

Types Of Gutter Systems

The common issue here is cost and it is always the main barrier for it to be fixed. There are two alternatives to choose from when replacing and installing the gutter system. First, there is the seamless gutter system, which is commonly installed by professionals and the other, the traditional pre-made gutters that you can buy from any hardware store. Both systems can be installed by a professional or by a handyman like yourself.Components of gutter systems

The most common is aluminum given that they don’t rust similar to the old galvanized gutters. There are several colors but white and brown are the standard trim. Custom colors are available to match your house.

Seamless gutter and Traditional Pre-Made gutter have both pros and cons. Seamless gutter systems have lesser tendencies to develop leaks because they are made on-site. The only places they can leak are at the end caps or a miter. If you are planning on installing them yourself, this will raise another problem. You will need to find a contractor with a gutter machine that is willing to come out and run out the seamless gutters. The pre-made gutters need to be short enough for you to haul from the store to your home. These lengths can be from 10’ – 30’. The choice of hangers will be limited by the store stock. Buying on line will give you the largest choice.

Every joint is an increased chance of a leak. Seamless gutter system is your best choice when doing home maintenance.

Skylights Get A Bad Name

Skylights Get A Bad Name

Are skylights a good idea? This is a common question. Skylights get a bad name from installer error 95% of the time.
This is what gives skylights a bad name. This skylight was designed for a shingled roof. The velux skylight leaked from the day it was installed. It was installer error. The roof cement on the sides was the way a few handyman tried to fix the leak. It is a temporary fix. Installing the correct skylight is the only permanent solution.

skylights get a bad name

Wrong Style Skylight Installed

Here we are removing the old skylight. Taking a little time to plan exactly where the curb will sit, saves a lot of time and makes for a nicer looking job.

skylights get a bad name

Time To Remove Old Skylights.

We installed a 6” curb for this roof. On a flatter pitch 8” is recommended. This makes sure no water will makes it way under the skylight.

This is where the planning shows. The roofing material fits around the new curb. We can flash the curb without fixing the deck sheet. We screwed the new curb to the roof deck using deck screws.

skylights get a bad name

Frame Curb-mounted Skylight With 2×6 Lumber

Because of the weather conditions we chose to flash the skylight in with edpm rubber. Cold process asphalt roll roofing would have been used if it were late spring or summer. We used uncured edpm so that we could use roof cement to tie the two different materials together.

skylights get a bad name

Flash curb with edpm rubber.

skylights get a bad name

Velux curb mounted skylight designed for flat roofs.

The skylight is installed on top of the curb. Screws are used to fasten the skylight to the curb. The picture below shows  the roof cement with embedded cotton fabric. The cotton fabric embedded in the roof cement keeps the roof cement from cracking from expansion and contraction from the temperature changes.
The difference in size from the old skylight to the new skylight was minimal. The inside could be finished off with a piece of quarter round molding. This also saved the added expense of having a custom fit skylight made. If you install larger or smaller size skylights you will also have to do structural framing and change some of the insulation. These changes will also add to the cost of installation.

If there is not a stock size to fit your existing opening, we can have one custom-made to fit. These custom fit skylights are very reasonable. The biggest difference is lead time in having custom skylights made and delivered.

No more worries. No more buckets. No more slipping on the wet tile floor. Let it rain. Let it rain.

skylights get a bad name

Finished Velux Curb-Mounted Skylight


Slate Roof Repairs

Slate Roof Repairs

By: Les Gove

Tread lightly on these slates, and follow these simple steps

Slate is a very desirable roofing material. Once the hard, dense stone is properly laid, it will require little maintenance to keep it in prime condition. And as a product of nature, a slate roof will permanently add to the appearance and character of a building.

Houses are sometimes enlarged or remodeled, however, requiring slates to be removed and replaced. Slates are broken in various ways (sometimes by careless workers). When replacing a slate, it’s absolutely essential to use the right size and to match the existing roof in both shade and texture.

The right size

The width of the replacement slates should be obvious. Some slates may be wider than the rest, such as those used along the rake or gable edge or in the valleys. The roof may also be made up of random-width slate having as many as five or six different widths.

To find the proper length, it may be possible to measure the slate along a gable end or some other place where the underside of the slate is exposed. If this is not possible, calculate the length from the amount of the slate exposed to the weather.

Measure the exposure, then multiply by two, and add 3 inches (7.6 cm) for the headlap. Bear in mind two factors: Slate comes in even lengths only – 12, 14, 16 inches (30, 36, and 41 cm) and so on. Also, steeper roofs such as mansards, or improperly laid roofs, may have only 2 inches (5 cm) of headlap (the area covered by three shingle layers).

Matching color

Slate color depends on chemical and mineral makeup, and it can vary drastically from quarry to quarry. The grey and black slates quarried in Pennsylvania are very common in some areas. Many times they can be identified by obvious streaks or ribbons. A higher quality slate from Virginia is blue-grey to black in color. This is a very tough and durable slate. An equally durable slate is quarried along the Vermont-New York border. It comes in a wide variety of colors,including grey, green, purple, and red.

Color is further qualified as either unfading (permanent) or weathering. ‘The former will not change in color over the years, whereas the weathering type may change to a brown, rust, or grey. This change occurs for the most part only on the exposed surface, so that the original color can be determined by looking at the inside of the broken slate.

Rippers and hooks

First, all remnants of the original slate need to be removed along with the nails that held them in. This first step is done with a tool called a ripper. Use the ripper carefully. When the ripper is slipped under the slate, it is very important to exert very little upward pressure on the slate above the broken one. Since slates break very easily, the result could be two slates to replace.

After sliding the ripper under the slate that is to be removed, hook the ripper on one of the two nails that hold it. Then hammer downward on the ripper to either cut or pull the nail out. (A rubber mallet will help the ripper last longer.) Repeat this procedure on the other nail.

The broken slate will now slide out. (Note:Some larger slates such as 24 x14-inch [60 x 35 cm] and bigger have four nails holding them). After all the slates are removed, install a slate hook. The slate hook is installed in the joint underneath the slate that is being replaced. Drive the 3-inch (8 cm) shaft of the hook into the roof above the headlap of the slate below it. Then simply slide the replacement slate up into the area once occupied by the broken slate. The slate is pushed up past the hook – then pulled down (usually with the ripper).

Slate hooks are available at some lumber yards, but these are usually galvanized. These will start to rust after only a couple of years and can fail completely after 40 or 50 years. For a more permanent installation, you can buy copper or stainless steel slate hooks through the slate quarries in Vermont and New York.


How do you get out onto the field of a slate roof to repair a slate or two? Many people work off a rope. This is economical, but in the end may cost more since slates may easily be broken. To spread the weight around, the work area can be padded with rigid foam insulation or plywood.

If it is practical, set up standard triangular roof brackets, but only after removing the state where the bracket is to be nailed. Broken or missing slates offer good spots to place brackets.

The preferred method in most cases is to work off a ladder with a ladder hook attached. As with plywood, this puts the pressure on a large portion of the roof rather than in one spot. But each project should be examined individually, and a bit of ingenuity is often required for successful staging.

Larger repairs

If a larger area has to be removed -whether for an addition, dormer, or skylight – the same principles can be applied. Starting at the uppermost spot to be stripped, remove these states using the ripper. From that point on, many of the slates can be taken off simply by pulling the nails with a hammer, with some help from the ripper.

When it’s time to reinstall the slates, two preliminary steps are necessary: cutting the slates to size and making the nail holes.

There are two ways to cut slate. The old-fashioned, but still acceptable, way is with a slater’s stake and slate hammer. A somewhat easier method for a novice would be to use a slate cutter. These tools are available through most slate quarries.

To make nail holes, either punch them with a slate hammer (one end of the hammer comes to a point specifically designed for this very use), or use a drill. A 3/16-inch (0.5 cm) masonry drill does very nicely. Punch or drill the holes, one quarter to one third the length of the slate from the upper end, and approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from the edge. On slates larger than 24 x 14 inches (60 x 35 cm), a second course of nails is recommended 2 inches (5 cm) above the regular holes.

As you reinstall the slates, work them back into the areas that remain open, cutting them to fit where necessary. The joints in each course should be well broken with those below. They should never be any closer than 3 inches (8 cm) from the joint above or below.

Nail the slates so the nail heads just touch the slate. Do not drive them home or draw the slate into the roof. Rather, the slate should just hang on the nails. For a better quality job, use copper or stainless steel slating nails instead of galvanized..

If the new slate roofing comes up to a vertical wall or a skylight, use step flashing. If only half of the upper portion of a slate is exposed for nailing, use either a slate hook or use two nails on that side of the slate. Space the two nails as far apart as possible along the edge of the slate in the upper half, and these two nails will hold the slate firmly in place.

A great article by Les Gove, published in the Journal of Light Construction and Stone World Magazine, explaining how to make repairs to a slate roof.The following article is reproduced courtesy of the Journal of Light Construction, Stone World Magazine and the author: Les Gove, Middlebury Slate Company, (802) 326-4036

Extending The Life Of Your Roof

Here is a list of things you can do to extend the life of your roof.

Take care when working on ladders. A fall may kill you, if you don’t feel safe contact Holencik Roofing immediately and we can inspect your roof for you.

  • Check for damaged, loose or missing shingles. Look for nail pops in the shingles.
  • Examine your ceilings looking for signs of staining or discoloration.
  • Inspect inside your attic making sure that insulation does not block the air intake vents and that the insulation is not compacted or wet.
  • Check for signs of leaking in the gutters. Check for misaligned seams. Make sure downspouts are firmly attached to the gutters and to the wall. Look for rusted gutter fasteners.
  • Make sure gutters are free from debris and make sure any strainers or screens are also free. Don’t forget to check the downspouts.
  • Cut back tree limbs which are close or in contact with the roof, or close to the house in general.
  • Check any TV antenna or satellite dishes to make sure they are sturdy. Especially check where the antenna or satellites come in direct contact with the roof as these are prime areas for leakage.
  • Check all flashings in the roof especially at chimneys or around pipes and skylights for signs of leakage.
  • Check vents, chimneys, and louvers for brid or animal nests. Also inspect the vents to ensure they are not crushed which will block hot air exhaust.
  • Check your intake vents at the soffits/overhangs to ensure they are not blocked by dust and have not been painted over which will restrict air intake into the attic.

 Do these things twice a year to ensure your roof and gutter system will last as long as intended. Neglect these things and your roof won’t last as long as it should. A small investment in your time will extend the life of your roofing and gutter system.

Gutter Cleaning

Time to Clean Your Gutters

It is that time of year. All the leaves have fallen and your gutters need to be cleaned out. If your gutters are not kept clean and free flowing damage can be done to your roof and the interior of your home.

A lot of wet basements are caused by gutters that are not cleaned or pitched properly, causing them to overflow. This water does not drain away from your home. This means the water soaks into the ground close to your home increasing the chances of a wet basement.

If you have sidewalks beneath were the water overflows, in the winter it will freeze and make it hazardous to walk.

Holencik Roofing will clean and maintain your gutters.

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