Do-it-yourself Roofing Project

Homeowners often like to tackle home improvement projects on there own. Some of them are manageable others aren’t as easy. The Boston Globe recently ran a story about about a homeowner who tackled what seemed to be a simple home improvement project and ended up being a 5 day nightmare. If you need any roof repairs or roof projects it is wise to hire a professional.   It is not worth the liability and the time that it takes to launch such an adventure.Boston Globe Home Improvement Article … [Read more...]

How to prevent moss from growing on your roof

Are you struggling to control the growth of moss or lichen on your roof? There's a pretty easy fix - just cut strips of zinc flashing (copper and lead work, too) and slide them under a course of roof shingles and it will kill lichen and moss that grows there. There area also premade strips available from Shingle Shield. The premade ones are much quicker and probably neater looking.Here's a 'How To' video from This Old House that walks you through the installation of the flashing to prevent the growth of moss. … [Read more...]

What’s the Fate of a Weathered Slate Roof?


Q. I have a slate roof that is probably approaching 100 years old. I had one roofer tell me it is at the end of its life and should be replaced with asphalt. The cost to repair the area affected is $4,000. Full replacement is $13,000. Winter was rough on the roof because snow that usually avalanches off stayed on and chipped some of the slate. I will be getting a few more estimates. Can you give me some suggestions of questions to ask to determine whether the best investment is to go asphalt? I am retired and hope to stay in the house for at least five to 10 years. My slate is gray, not real thick, and may be Vermont. A. Average thickness for slate is 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. Also, Vermont slate is considered top grade. I suggest you get … [Read more...]

Do I need a new roof?


Shingles blew off my house. Do I need a new roof? This is common during high wind storms. It is caused by a failure of the tar or the sealant (called a tab) located under the shingle.  This tab is the glue that adheres the top shingle to the base layer. There are two main reasons why this seal fails:When do you need a new roof?Old Roof: The age of shingles has passed its life expectancy. New Roof: The roof was not properly sealed.Old Roof: While shingles can blow off from older roofs without indication that there is a serious condition. That is not always the case. If a roof has aged and is over 15 years to 40 years old it could be cooked or fried. This is an industry term for failing. As the shingles age they loose their … [Read more...]

Sloped Decks Last Longer


  Sloped Decks Last LongerQ. I live in a triple-decker which has back porches off the second and third-floor units. The third floor has a tongue-and-groove deck (we’re told it was replaced 10 years ago) that leaks badly. Of course, both porches get wet but the rain also is clearly leaking through the boards. Also, all that damp is peeling the paint on the bottom of the third-floor deck. A contractor tells us the problem is that the third-floor porch is laid flat and needs to be rebuild on a slight incline. Do you think that will fix the problem? A. Yes, if the third floor deck was sloped a little, it would make a big difference. I would have to guess the third-floor deck is covered by a roof, as in all triple-deckers I know. … [Read more...]

Dead Mouse in the Wall?


  Dead Mouse in the Wall?Q. About a dead mouse in the wall…and the resulting stink. I called an exterminator, who said he could not even try to find the corpse, and suggested just waiting out the smell, which is already abating. A. There are not many tricks that will succeed. I had the same thing happen two years ago, and I broke into the wall in several areas with no success. An exterminator searched the wall with his TV scope, a little like a colonoscope, also without success, so he charged only $50.00. A little later, a fly discovered the corpse, laid hundreds of eggs, which hatched into maggots that escaped to my porch and caused my wife to go absolutely ape and destroyed all she could find. Then came hundreds of flies, … [Read more...]

Chimney Maintenance


  Chimney MaintenanceQ. I have a gas burner/boiler and stainless steel chimney liner. Does that need to be cleaned by a chimney sweep? Additionally, the steel exterior door to my cellar entry is rusting. Suggestions?A. Burning gas produces nothing but water vapor (the fumes are toxic), so I don’t think there is a need to clean it. An occasional inspection would help. For your other issue, get a steel bulkhead and door that is secure, and with powder coat to avoid rusting. … [Read more...]

Pesky Squirrels


  Pesky SquirrelsQ. We have a 2½-story house that has been vinyl sided. Squirrels have climbed the siding on a bay window section and chewed through the corner strips twice. We replaced them, but it happened a third time. This time, the squirrel chewed along the siding panels next to the corner strips. How do I stop the damage? I tried sprays and considered a trap. A. If it is one critter, you probably have little choice but to capture and kill it. He might also quit with the approaching nice weather. Try again with repellents. Animal urine often is a deterrent. Also, consider building a sturdy metal frame covered with hardware cloth (1/4 or 1/3 inch steel mesh) to keep him from the target areas. Or, call Nixalite of America, … [Read more...]

Spring Maintanance Check List

 The winter has finally come to a close and the Spring rains are about to flow through Massachusetts. It’s time again to perform a roof inspection to check and see what the winter has put your home and roof through. As we all know this winter brought some of the heaviest snows we have seen in years, as well as blizzards that did a number on many coastal homes. Now that the snows have melted and the weather has turned warmer you should head out side and inspect many areas on the exterior of the home. Roof & Flashing If you have noticed any leaks in your roof, the most common place to check is the flashing on the roof. These areas are where protrusions such as vents and chimneys come through the roof. If the flashing is not properly set … [Read more...]

Fun Summer Activities To Do In New England

10 Things To Do in New England Before the End of Summer Posted in: News|August 16, 2011 It’s hard to believe it, but we’re already halfway through August. Summer is unfortunately winding down, and it’s time to squeeze in 10 more fun activities in New England and the Boston-area before the August sun sets on us.10. Duck Tour: A great way to see the entire city. Make sure it’s a nice day, and bring some friends and family. Information on tickets and schedules can be found here. 9. Freedom Trail: Do you know that many Bostonians still have never done a Freedom Trail tour? Although you probably see the sites from time to time, there’s nothing like taking a day to see them all at once! 8. Visit the mountains: Have you been up to New … [Read more...]