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    WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEBSITE

    Welcome to M&K Roofing and Siding, your premier roofing and siding company in the Philadelphia area. We are a family-owned licensed and insured custom home remodeling company for all your roofing and siding needs. 

    At M&K Roofing and Siding, we understand that any type of home service is a major decision and we’re more than happy to provide an initial consultation at your home free of charge. We can provide samples of materials and designs to provide a launching point for any ideas you have concerning your exterior home remodeling.

    Take a look at the convenient financing options offered to help you get going with your DREAM PROJECTS. Learn more!  To get started, simply call M&K today to schedule a free consultation right at your home. Your new home is waiting!

    Fully Insured & Free Estimates


    Contact Us For a Complimentary Consultation.

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    Gutter Guards and Leaf Catchers

    If the gutters on your home do not have a gutter guard or leaf catcher installed, debris can collect in the gutters, clogging downspouts and creating spillovers. These spillovers and clogs are not only damaging to your home, but they can also create very hazardous conditions, especially in the winter. 

    Here in Southeast PA, with our constant freezing and thawing cycle in the winter, rain or melting snow can form puddles under clogged gutters, which subsequently freeze and create a safety hazard. This moisture can also seep into and around the foundation, causing damage from the continual expansion and contraction of freezing and thawing water. 

    Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause further damage by allowing moisture to seep into walls, under the eaves, and into the roof and attic. No part of your home is safe from water damage if the lowly and often-forgotten gutters are left unattended. 

    At M&K Renovations, we’ve seen all these forms of damage caused by clogged, bent, or damaged gutters. New gutter installation generally is not an expensive project, compared to other home projects, but has a tremendous positive impact on the safety of the home. If your gutters are in good shape, adding a gutter guard of some kind can protect them and your home. 

    Different kinds of gutter guards

    Different guards and leaf catchers have different purposes and different levels of effectiveness. Talk to us about your particular situation to determine which is best for you. Some guards work well if you are surrounded by broadleaf trees, such as maples or oaks, but do not catch pine needles well. Some work well on low-sloped roofs but are less efficient on roofs with a steep pitch. Guards and leaf catchers also vary greatly in price. 

    Screens are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Homeowners who have the right equipment or who have low gutters often install these themselves. Screens can vary in material and style, from perforated sheets of metal or PVC to micro mesh. Fine mesh is very effective at keeping out debris; however, it can get clogged by moss, mold, or tar from asphalt roofs. 

    Solid-top gutter guards are sleek-looking. Water flows across them from the roof, and because of surface tension, the water follows the curve of the top into the gutter below, but debris drops right off the edge to the ground. Some solid-tops are more effective than others, so talk to an expert about which would be best for your house. For instance, while solid-tops guard against debris well, they do not work as well at preventing run-off from metal or steeply sloped roofs, because the water runs too quickly for all of it to be caught by surface tension into the trough below.

    Gutter inserts are an economical option. A gutter brush looks like a long, stiff bottle brush that fills the gutter. It’s simple to install, allows water to flow easily, and catches most debris. You will need to pull it out and shake the debris loose fairly frequently, so if you live near trees, it may not be the best choice. 

    Foam inserts are wedge-shaped and fit snugly into the gutter. Water goes through, debris blows off. Another kind of guard looks a lot like a dish-scrubbing pad. This woven nylon mat slips into the gutter, creating a slight dome, which allows water through while debris passes over it. 

    Call us for a free inspection of your gutters. If they are in good condition but have no guards, we can advise you on which kind may work best for your home and your budget. If you need new gutters, we recommend you protect them with a leaf guard or insert of some kind. Reach out to us at our office on the Main Line, (610) 353-2895. We service Philadelphia and surrounding areas.

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    Exterior Renovations That Add Value to Your Home

    Selling a home in the Philadelphia area nowadays requires the homeowner to really think critically and plan ahead. Some questions you should ask are: What are homebuyers looking for currently? How can I get my house to catch their attention online, where most buyers look first? How can I make my house so appealing that buyers will pay what I ask? At M&K Renovations, we can help you answer many of these questions. 

    Curb appeal used to mean just making your house look great from the road. Now it means making it look great online, too. Many buyers search through websites with thousands of houses on the market. You need to make your house look good in the picture so people will click to learn more.

    The exterior includes things like the roof, siding, windows, garage door, front door, landscaping, hardscaping, and outdoor lighting. Some improvements may be simple, like power washing your siding if it’s fairly new and in good repair. Others may require financial investment and professional help. Consider any of these changes you may need:

    Roof: If your roof was installed correctly, an asphalt shingle roof should last between 15 and 30 years. Metal roofs last even longer. But all roofs need regular maintenance. Have it inspected by a trusted roofing company, one with testimonies of many happy customers in the area. A disreputable company could recommend improvements you don’t need. At M&K, as homeowners ourselves, we treat our customers as we would want to be treated and give fair and honest free consultations. A new roof is definitely a big selling point, but if your roof is still in great condition, you may be better off spending the money in another area.

    Windows: Modern windows have a 15-30 year lifespan as well, but they also need some upkeep. If you are experiencing drafts near your windows, if you’ve had water damage, or if you have trouble opening and closing windows, at least some need to be replaced, but it’s usually better to do them all at once. If they are functioning well, you may only need to paint the trim and maybe add shutters. Shutters or contrasting color trim around windows really catch the eye and improve curb appeal.

    Siding: Clean your siding and check for any damage or warping. You could even consider replacing a portion of siding with stone veneer. This upgrade has a great return on investment. If your siding has signs of aging, consider new siding which also has great ROI.

    Hardscapes: Buyers like to see smooth driveways and attractive, functional walkways. You can create a powerful look with a walkway and landscaping combination that complements your home. If you have an old farmhouse-style home, a meandering walkway through a cottage garden would look fabulous. If you have a conservative brick home, a straight walkway with boxwood bushes complements the traditional look.

    Front door, garage: Your front door needs to be truly inviting. A new door is a small investment with a big return. A new garage door in an appealing color also has great ROI, because it’s a large feature whose color and design greatly affect the look of the house.

     Lighting: Create inviting lighting that adds safety when approaching the door at night, including lighting on the walkway. Good lighting around the house and driveway also makes homeowners feel safer, deterring possible prowlers.

    These are the major exterior upgrades you should consider when you’re looking to add value to your home in order to help your house sell quickly and at a great price. For a checklist of things you can do that are divided into easy and free, modest cost, and bigger projects, read A Checklist for Getting Your Home Ready to Sell. For interior projects that add value, read Interior Renovations that Add Value to Your Home.  

    Contact us at M&K Renovations at (610) 353-2895 for a consultation to discuss what exterior projects might make the most impact. Our professionals will examine your exterior and evaluate what repairs or upgrades may be best, then collaborate with you, our designers, and our building experts to develop a plan to help you get the most value out of your renovations.

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    Fall Is Coming – Check Your Roof

    Colder temperatures here in the Greater Philadelphia area bring big problems to roofs that are not in good condition. As the homeowner, you can do a basic check of your roof every year to make sure it’s ready for the winter weather. If you see anything that looks suspicious, call an expert to look deeper. 

    Where to look on your roof

    The first thing to do is to step back and look at your roof. Step way back. You may need to ask a neighbor if you can stand on their lawn or reach a higher elevation so you can see your entire roof surface. You’re looking for obvious things, like missing or broken shingles or a wavy look on what should be a flat roof. 

    You’ll also need to look at flashing and boots around chimneys, vents, along walls where they meet the roof, and other features. Try to avoid going out on the roof. Let our experts do that for you. If you have a sturdy ladder and someone to hold it, or if you have a window that will give you a good view of some parts of your roof, use those methods instead. Flashing can rust, caulking around features can shrink, and plastic or rubber boots can dry and crack. All these conditions can let in moisture, which is your number one enemy as a homeowner. It’s great for your landscaping, bad for your house. 

    Look for signs of moss or lichen, which is a sure sign of moisture retention. If your wall is rotting along the roof edge, that’s another sign of trouble. If holes were drilled into your roof for a satellite dish, solar panels, or some other feature, they can let moisture in, especially if the feature has since been removed and the holes have not been sealed. 

    Check your gutters, too. Rain comes down to the edge of your roof and can cling to the underside of the shingle. If your roof doesn’t have a gutter apron on the edge to direct water from the underside of the roof into the gutter, the water could get behind the gutters and into your siding or under the roof boards. Clogged gutters can also push moisture up under the roof and behind the siding. And if you see a lot of debris from your asphalt shingles in your gutters, that’s a sure sign that they are past their prime and are starting to deteriorate. 

    What to look for inside your house

    Do you see spots around your ceiling fan in your bathroom? It may come from moisture extending down from the roof vent. Small stains on the ceiling could also signal a bigger problem. If you see mold on exterior walls, you may need to check the interior wall to see if it has worked its way inside. This might require removing some wall surfaces and insulation to see if there is any mold on the inside of the exterior wall material.   

    Check the attic on a bright, sunny day, to see if you can see sunlight shining through any holes. Also, look for ceiling nails that missed the beams. If they aren’t properly sealed, moisture can follow the nail down into your home.

     Check yearly

    By checking your roof at least once a year, you can usually stop small problems before they become big and expensive problems. But if you try to fix something on your own, you may not realize that damage has been done at a deeper level, which will just continue to worsen over time. That’s why we always encourage homeowners to check with us for a roof inspection. We know what to look for and we have the equipment and expertise to do it safely and accurately. 

    Give yourself the peace of mind to know that your roof will keep you warm and dry for another year. Call us today at (610) 353-2895. Family-owned and operated, we service the Philadelphia area from our location on the Main Line.

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    Check Your Windows 

    Summers in Southeast PA often come with torrential storms. Now is a great time to check your windows to make sure you can keep the rain out and protect your home from moisture damage. 

    Regular maintenance and inspection

    If you have heavy curtains or blinds, you may not look too closely at your windows very often. But over time, the upper sash can slip down just a crack, especially if the windows aren’t kept locked, allowing rain and wind to blow in. 

    As you give your windows a good cleaning this spring, take note of any problems – loose pieces, windows that do not open easily, panes whose caulking is beginning to peel. Sometimes the window latches wear or break, which not only allows an upper sash to slip down, it allows potential thieves to slip in! So always check those latches to make sure they’re properly operating. 

    Check for peeling paint around your windows, cracks, or loose sashes. Try to feel around the edges of your window panes and around the outer edge of the trim against the wall for a draft. This is a signal that your window or the sashes are not fitting well and could be letting in moisture. Certainly, they are letting out your a/c and heat. 

    It’s great to open the windows and let the fresh air in every now and then, even if you have central air, so check your screens for holes and tears. 

    Signs you may need to replace some windows

    Any windows that you have trouble opening and closing may have some damage that is causing the frames to swell or twist. If they are not operating properly, there may also be damage around the framing or walls as moisture can seep in. It’s important to have a professional take a look.

    If your energy bills seem to be high and you’re feeling a draft around any of the windows, they either need to be repaired or replaced. Condensation on your windows or between double panes is another sign that there is a crack or leak that’s letting air and moisture in.

    If you’ve had storm damage, you probably don’t want to leave those windows in. Often, homeowners’ insurance will cover replacements from storm damage that is covered by the policy. 

    Single-pane and double-pane windows can let noise in from the outside. If your area has gotten noisy since you had your windows installed, you may want to consider replacing them with more modern, energy-efficient windows that can absorb sound waves and keep the inside of your home quieter.

    Fixing the problem

    You may not have to have all your windows replaced, although many people like to do them all at once so they will all last the same amount of time. However, if your budget doesn’t allow a complete replacement, you should still look into fixing or replacing the ones that are aging. The more time you wait, the more moisture they will allow in. This will cause more damage to your home, resulting in a much bigger problem. 

    At M&K Renovations, we work with our clients to solve their problems while they’re small to protect their biggest investment. Give us a call from anywhere in the Philadelphia area at (610) 353-2895. We can come out and evaluate your windows and help you decide what’s best for you, your home, and your budget.

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    Your Roof and Its Warranty

    Your roof is one of the biggest investments you’ll make. It protects your home and takes the brunt of the weather, the sun, and falling limbs, and because of this daily beating, the quality of the products has to be top-notch. Manufacturing warranties can help ensure the highest quality roofing materials. 

    What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

    Manufacturer warranties cover the roofing product against defects in materials, but they vary tremendously. For instance, some are lifetime and some are limited warranties; some warranties will allow you to transfer the warranty to the next owner; limited warranties vary in what they will cover. So it’s very important to read the fine print. At M&K Renovations, we make sure our customers understand the different warranties associated with different types of roofing materials so they can choose what’s best for their needs. 

    How long do warranties last?

    Again, this varies from product to product; however, there are some general rules. Generally, architectural shingles carry a “lifetime” warranty, meaning for as long as you own your home. Some will allow you to transfer your warranty to a new owner, although sometimes that transfer incurs a fee. Most 3-tab shingles carry 20-30 year warranties. Normally, roofing materials will last as long as their warranties, but it’s important to be covered for the unlikely event that something goes wrong. 

    What is not covered in a manufacturer’s warranty?

    Typical limitations to a manufacturer’s warranty include:

    • Damage to other parts of the home from leakage caused by manufacturing defects
    • Damage caused by improper installation or by repairs specifically excluded under the warranty
    • Weather-related events, such as high winds, storms, lightning, etc.
    • Structural problems with your home that caused the damage to your shingles
    • Damage caused by installing solar panels or satellite dishes, etc.
    • Discoloration due to algae, mold, paints, or stains
    • Inadequate ventilation that caused damage to shingles
    • Damage caused by other components of the roof, such as gutters, flashing, etc.

    What are extended warranties or system warranties?

    Some manufacturers offer a variety of levels of warranties. These super-warranties go by different names, such as “extended” or “system” warranties, and may cover many of the issues above. Some may even cover the cost of repairs.

    In addition, installers and contractors should provide clear warranties for their workmanship. At M&K Renovations, we offer our customers a workmanship warranty to give them peace of mind knowing that we stand by our work. 

    What other coverage options are there?

    Many times, homeowner insurance policies will cover or partially cover damage to your roof, depending on the cause. “Home warranties” are a fairly new form of warranty that help cover the costs of repairs to major systems in the house, such as electrical, plumbing, and appliances. Depending on the policy, a home warranty may also cover your roof. 

    Do you have any other questions about a new roofing project? Contact us today at (610) 353-2895 for a free initial consultation to help you get started. As we partner with you, we’ll discuss your vision and your style, go over all the best roofing options to reach your goals, and help you choose the best warranties to protect your biggest investment – your home. 

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    Cracked Vinyl Siding – What Should You Do?

    Vinyl siding is one of the most popular sidings for homes. It’s low maintenance, can last decades, and comes in various price points. But it also comes in various degrees of quality. 

    Vinyl can vary in thickness and flexibility, which determines how well it withstands impact and the effects of the weather. But eventually, most vinyl siding will experience a dink, crack, or hole that will need to be repaired. Quick action on your part can prevent bigger and more expensive problems later. 

    What causes damage?

    As mentioned, quality plays an important role in how well your vinyl siding holds up, with thicker and sturdier siding withstanding more stress. Nonetheless, problems can occur. 

    An impact is often the cause of damage. Philadelphia and nearby areas can experience some pretty harsh weather that can beat on your siding. Higher quality and newer siding can often withstand the assault of Mother Nature, but debris from high winds or a falling limb may be too much to ask from any siding. Sometimes a rock thrown by a lawnmower or a misdirected baseball can cause a nasty dink. 

    The changing seasons also take their toll. Strong sunlight can weaken and fade siding, but around here the bigger culprit is the cold. When the temperatures drop below freezing, vinyl gets brittle, and it takes much less to cause it to crack and break. 

    Problems can also occur with your home or installation. The shifting and settling of your home can cause your vinyl siding to shift and possibly crack, and poor installation causes all sorts of problems. Finally, it could just be that your siding is getting old and it’s time for it to be replaced.

    Can I repair it?

    Many homeowners can save themselves money and future problems by quickly addressing small dinks or damage to siding. It’s critical to act quickly, though. Your siding’s job is to keep your home watertight, warm, and safe. Openings of any kind in your siding or around windows or doors invite in a host of problems, including mold, mildew, leaks that can damage the house’s structure, and pests that can do serious damage. 

    If you see a small crack or dink in your siding, or if you notice when it happens, you can fix it yourself if you’re handy. You can fill a small hole with caulk or repair a larger hole with a spare piece of siding. To patch a broken area using extra siding, cut a piece of matching siding larger than the hole or dink. Apply caulk all the way around the damaged area as well as to the back of the patch. Carefully cover the broken siding with the patch and apply pressure to ensure a good seal. 

    If you don’t know how long the hole or crack has been there, or if you see several damaged areas, it may be best to carefully remove the damaged sheet of siding and look for signs of moisture or damage underneath, which would indicate a larger problem. 

    When should I get professional help?

    If you’re handy and the problem is small and new, you should be able to patch the damage yourself. However, if you don’t know how long the damage has been there, the damage is extensive, or you have reason to believe moisture has seeped into your home, it is best to call us for a free consultation. We will determine how extensive the problem is. A small repair job is not very expensive, and you will have peace of mind knowing that it was done right and there is no further concern. However, if we do find additional problems, you’ll know that we have the expertise to fix them and prevent further damage to your home. Call us here at M&K Renovations, (610) 353-2895, for all your siding and home repair or renovation needs.

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    What Goes into Your New Roof Installation (or What Should)

    The various aspects of a roof work in concert with each other to make the roof waterproof, long-lasting, and attractive. The materials and hardware must be chosen by an experienced, high-quality roofer to ensure that your roof lasts for decades. 

    Here in the Greater Philadelphia area (including the Main Line), there are many older/historic homes and larger custom-built homes that need special care when replacing a roof. Be sure to work with a reputable roofing company so the job is done correctly.

    Materials

    The major materials of a roof installation include:

    • Decking/sheathing
    • Ice and water shield
    • Flashing
    • Underlayment
    • Drip edge
    • Top roofing material, usually shingles or metal
    • Vents and piping
    • Pipe boots

    The general roofing process

    As any highly-skilled, experienced roofer knows, every roof is a little different and needs its own special attention, especially in the small details. That said, the typical roofing process for a home is as follows:

    1. Remove old shingles (or other top layer), underlayment, and flashing.
    2. Inspect existing decking for any damage. Decking, also called sheathing, is the layer of material laid on top of the roof frame – usually wood panels for residential homes.
    3. Repair any damaged existing decking. Severe damage may have affected the framing below, which would need to be addressed.
    4. Install ice and water shields in the roof valleys (the low area where two roof surfaces meet) and other vulnerable areas.
    5. Install an ice and water barrier around the edges of the roof and nail it down for extra stability.
    6. Install drip edges (this is installed in two phases – before the underlayment along the eaves, that is, the hanging edges of the roof, but over the underlayment along the rake edges, that is, the flat sides of the roof that don’t overhang).
    7. Install the underlayment. The underlayment is generally a material made of felt, sometimes with synthetic, and rolls out looking something like tar paper. It comes in various thicknesses and designs and its purpose is to waterproof your roof, protecting the wood decking below.
    8. Install pipes and vents (depending on the pipes or vents, some may be installed before underlayment or after roofing) and paint them to match the roofing material.
    9.  Install flashing around chimneys, along walls, skylights, and other features. Flashing is generally a thin, rust-resistant material, such as copper, aluminum, or galvanized steel, and is usually – but not always – installed under the top roofing material. Different kinds of flashing are used for different features, are installed differently, and have varying costs.
    10. Lay the top roofing material, usually shingles or metal roofing.
    11. Install the ridge cap.
    12. Clean up thoroughly. 

    Where some poor-quality roofers cut corners

    Some inexperienced or unscrupulous roofers may attempt to cut corners in order to keep the costs low. They may low-bid in order to get the job, or they may pocket the savings themselves. Watch out for these typical areas where a roofer might cut corners:

    • Reusing old flashing material and old vents – new holes won’t go into the old holes in the old flashing or vents and new material may not fit snug around them, thus allowing water to seep below the surface.
    • Cutting corners with the amount of roofing materials used
    • Using the wrong types or sizes of nails or nailing techniques
    • Not thoroughly checking existing decking and not replacing damaged parts
    • Using 3-tab asphalt shingles for ridge capping instead of shingles designed specifically for the cap
    • Not sealing vent and pipe boots properly under the shingles or metal roofing materials and ensuring a tight fit
    • Using the wrong types of flashing

    Cutting corners could significantly compromise the waterproof quality of your roof, decreasing its lifespan and possibly causing substantial damage to your home. You may be able to identify some of these issues by looking at the detailed estimate and the Scope of Work that should come along with the estimate. For instance, if the estimate doesn’t include flashing and the scope of work doesn’t include laying new flashing, you know they’re cutting corners. But it won’t be easy to tell if they are shirking on materials unless you compare their estimate to that of another, more reputable roofer.

    To prevent the risk of falling prey to the wrong roofer, we recommend you only get estimates from roofing companies that are well established, local, and can provide you with a list of satisfied customers to contact. 

    Keeping the roof over your head in great shape will protect your home for years to come. When you hire a local, certified, reputable, and experienced roofing expert, you can avoid roofing problems. Contact us at (610) 353-2895 today from anywhere around the Main Line area so we can get started on your new, beautiful roof to enhance the value and safety of your home. 

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    What Can Go Wrong with Gutters

    With the hot and humid summer weather in Southeast PA comes the threat of heavy rains and thunderstorms. If you took care of your gutters in the fall, as a good homeowner should, you may think you’re set for another year. However, gutters should really be checked and cleaned twice a year, in early fall and early spring, to prepare for the extreme weather that each season of the year can bring. 

    If you haven’t yet taken time for this important task, we recommend having it done as soon as possible.  

    Signs your gutters need attention

    We recommend you clean your gutters whether you see problems or not, because once you see a problem, a lot of damage may have already been done. Signs you may have a bigger problem:

    • Rainwater is overflowing from the gutters
    • Gutters look crooked or sagging
    • There are leaks in the gutters when it rains, or icicles hanging from them on cold mornings
    • You notice standing water near your foundation
    • Mold is growing along the edges of your gutters
    • Squirrels and birds like your gutters 

    Things that can go wrong if gutters aren’t right

    Several problems with gutters that we often see are:

    • Clogged gutters: Clogging allows water to seep under roofs and behind walls, creating mold and causing wood rot. It can cause waterfalls to land on your foundation and your landscaping, harming plants and doing potentially serious damage to your home.
    • Gutter leaks: Old gutters can begin to leak at joints, causing rusting of your gutters and a possible slow dripping along walls that may go unnoticed for too long.
    • Backflows: When a gutter is improperly installed, instead of water flowing off the roof into the gutter, it flows from the edge of the roof underneath the roofing material or down the side of the house. As with clogged gutters, serious water damage can occur.
    • Improper gutter slopes: Gutters should gently slope toward the downspouts. If they do not slope, the water stands in the gutters. If they slope too much, water gushes and overflows. Additionally, if gutters get loose, they sag outward, again causing a waterfall over the gutters instead of down toward the downspout. Either way, water pours down onto your foundation.
    • Clogged or leaky downspouts, drainpipes, or run-off areas that don’t direct water away from the house: When the downspout is the problem, the damage is usually found on the lower level, in the basement, or along the foundation. Water should not just pour out of the downspout and land a foot or two away from the house, thus seeping into the ground right near your foundation and causing untold long-term damage. Rather, it should be directed at least 6 feet away.
    • No gutters: Yes, this is a serious problem, because it can lead to all the issues listed above.

    There are many seemingly insignificant issues our experts can spot before it’s too late when we come out for a gutter inspection. Having your gutters professionally cleaned twice a year is not very expensive or time-consuming, and it’s a lot safer than trying to do it yourself. It’s also a lot cheaper than the very serious problems that can occur if a gutter problem remains undiagnosed and unfixed. 

    Most of the water damage repair work we do could have been easily prevented with regular maintenance of gutters, windows, and roofs. We’d like to see you before any damage is done. Call us today at (610) 353-2895 for a free consultation.

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    Roofing Materials that Last the Longest

    We have four full seasons of weather here in the Greater Philadelphia area and your roof is one of the biggest investments that will protect your home.  It is also one of the most important. A properly installed, well-insulated roof using quality materials will last decades and will protect your entire home from moisture damage and heat loss. But different roofing materials have different life expectancies. It’s important for you, the homeowner, to know all your options. At M&K Renovations, we have industry knowledge about all the materials needed in building your roof and the different grades of quality available. We’ll help you sort it out in order to choose the best combination of materials within your budget to help your roof last as long as possible. 

    Parts of a roof

    There are many parts of a roof, including:

    Frame (rafters): These are the wooden boards over which your roof is laid. Unless water damage has occurred, your rafters and framing do not usually have to be touched when laying a new roof.

    Decking (sheathing): Wooden sheets are laid over the roof frame to provide support for the roofing material and a nailbed for the shingles.

    Underlayment: Underlayment is a waterproof material that protects the shingles against resin from decking and protects decking from moisture.

    Roofing material (shingles etc): This is the upper layer of your roof, the part you see.

    Eaves: Your eaves are the parts of the roof that overhang the side of your house. They include the soffit (the part underneath that is parallel to the ground) and the fascia (to which gutters are usually attached).

    Flashing: Flashing is the material installed around roof features such as vents and chimneys in order to prevent water from penetrating and to direct the water off the roof and into gutters.

    Gutters: The gutters are attached to the eaves to catch rain and melting snow that runs off your roof. 

    Choosing quality materials

    While most homeowners only consider the top layer – the visible roof – when choosing materials, the materials used in each layer of your roof will have a significant impact on the longevity of your roof. 

    Decking: Any parts of your current decking that show wear and tear or moisture damage should be replaced. The most common form of decking today is sheet decking, either plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Plywood is sheets of solid wood and comes in various thicknesses, from 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch. OSB consists of wood chips that have been pressed into flat 7/16 inch sheets. OSB is slightly less expensive and considered stronger than plywood, but plywood is stiffer and holds fasteners better. 

    Underlayment: New underlayment will be laid for your new roof. Options are asphalt-saturated felt, rubberized asphalt, and synthetic. All three are waterproof, although the asphalt-saturated felt becomes less waterproof over time. It is the least expensive and easiest to install, but it tears easily and gradually deteriorates. Rubberized asphalt underlayment is 100% waterproof and seals better than felt, but is more labor-intensive to install. The synthetic underlayment is becoming the most popular underlayment because it has the longest lifespan, is resistant to UV penetration, tearing, and fungal growth, and withstands the widest temperature swings.

    Roofing materials: In Southeast Pennsylvania, the most common roofing materials used are asphalt shingles and metal. Other roofing materials include wood, slate, clay tiles, and concrete tiles. These are often used as accents or for houses of a very specific style. 

    Asphalt shingles: Asphalt shingles come in a dizzying array of styles, levels of quality, and cost. They can be the least expensive roof or one of the most expensive. Typically asphalt roofs can last from 15 to 40 years, depending on quality and weather conditions.

    Metal roofs: Metal roofs vary in lifespan, as well, but almost all metal options will outlast the asphalt shingle option. The least expensive, steel, lasts for 30 years or more. Copper roofs can last more than 70 years, but they are expensive and subject to expansion and contraction. Zinc roofs are the most durable, last over a century, and are the most expensive.

    Wood shingles: Natural wood looks wonderful and generally lasts 25-30 years with regular upkeep. They are more expensive than asphalt but less expensive than metal.

    Clay and cement tiles: Tiles look stunning, can last up to 100 years, and are comparable in price to steel roofing. 

    Gutters and flashing: These two elements are absolutely critical to preventing water penetration below your roof and into your home. High-quality materials should be considered for these elements, especially since the extra expense would probably not significantly impact the overall cost of your roof. 

    At M&K Renovations, we’re your roofing experts on the Main Line and in the surrounding Southeast PA area. Contact us today at (610) 353-2895 so we can help you choose the right materials within your budget to help your roof last for generations.

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    Spring and Summer Gutter Cleaning

    If you missed cleaning your gutters in the spring, there’s no time like the present, as summer weather and thunderstorms with heavy gusts of wind could be around the corner here in Southeast PA. You want to make sure your gutters are in good repair so that they can keep your house dry inside when it’s wet outside. 

    Parts of a gutter

    Your gutters are made of many individual parts that all need to be in good condition in order for your gutters to function properly. The long sections along your roof line are simply called sections, which are often joined together to extend the entire length of the roof. Some gutters are fitted with gutter guards of some sort to deflect debris. The end cap closes the section at the end so that water stops flowing along the section and is directed down the downspout.

    Downspouts often have elbows, which direct the downspout toward the side of your house. Without the elbows, your downspout would probably hang a foot or more away from the side of your home, making it very susceptible to damage from wind or debris. It is more secure against your house. The spout and sections are all secured to the house with various types of hangers and straps.

    The downspout should lead down to a splash block or a pipe that directs water at least six feet away from your house in order to avoid moisture collecting along the foundation. 

    What can go wrong

    With so many different parts, there are a lot of ways things can go wrong. First, while gutters look horizontal to the naked eye, they should have a slight slope in order to direct water towards the downspout. Too little slope and the water sits and creates an environment for mold and mosquitoes and increases the risk of rusting out the gutters. Too much slope and the water rushes too fast into the downspout. The pressure of rapidly moving water can cause sections and hangers to come loose. 

    If your gutters aren’t fitted with a gutter guard, debris easily fills them, especially if there are trees near your home. This debris can also create a moist environment for mold and rust, and it can run down into your downspouts and create clogs, especially in the elbows or at the base of the downspout, which can cause water to accumulate around your foundation, potentially causing serious damage. 

    Backflow is another problem. If gutters are not properly slanted away from the side of the house or are not positioned the proper distance from your house, water can flow from the edge of the roof underneath the roofing material or down the side of your house. This can cause serious water damage inside your home. 

    Finally, just the general passage of time can cause the parts of the gutter to come apart, hangers to loosen, and metal to rust. If you have gutter guards, they could be dislodged by strong winds or heavy debris and no longer function as intended. 

    Cleaning your gutters

    As gutter experts, we are well aware of the dangers associated with cleaning gutters along a roof that is more than one story high. If you have a rancher or low gutters, you as the homeowner may be able to clean the gutters without a ladder. But we do strongly recommend you call an expert to handle higher gutters because tragedy does sometimes strike when a homeowner is trying to clean gutters without the proper equipment or training. 

    If you have a hose with an extension, you can try to flush debris out of your gutters while you remain safely on the ground. If any elbows or downspouts within reach seem to have gotten dislodged, you can reconnect them and add caulk to any small leaks. If you see any loose nails from gutter hangers, tap them back into the wall or trim carefully to tighten your gutters’ position against your house. But as previously mentioned, unless you’re an expert, you won’t be able to tell whether your gutters are positioned properly to direct water away from your home and down the spout correctly.  

    If you notice any other issues with your gutters or you suspect leakage into your home, please contact an experienced contractor to help you. Avoid choosing someone randomly or someone who comes to your door soliciting. 

    At M&K Renovations, we have years of experience and many testimonials from happy customers to assure you that we will always do what’s best for you as a homeowner. Call us at (610) 353-2895 from anywhere in the Philadelphia, PA area to see how we can help you.

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