Lancaster County Home Improvement Professionals
Magazine: Ask the Experts » Exterior : Roofing / Siding / Driveways
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I have an existing brick landing at my front entrance and I'm considering building a new front porch over it. Any tips?
Answer provided by: Philip Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
A new front porch can do a lot for a home! If done right
it can greatly improve curb appeal. In bad weather, it
can provide shelter for arriving guests as well as protection
for your front entry door from rain, ice, snow and
the blistering summer sun. Further, depending on the
size and setting, it can be a great place to sit and relax.
There are a number of factors to consider before diving
into a front porch project. Probably the most important
is design. A new front porch can look like a cheap addon
if not properly thought out. When properly designed,
however, it can greatly enhance your home's appearance
and should look like it was an original part of the
house. Things like post style/size, colors, roof type and
pitch, decorative moldings, railing style, ceiling covering,
etc. can all come into play and need to be considered.
It's important to work with a contractor who will take the time to help you work through the design. He/she
should be able to provide you with design elevations
that allow you to see what the porch will look
like before you start. Ask them to show you before
and after photos of other porches they've built.
Depending upon the complexity of the porch it may
be necessary to bring in an architect or design
professional if your contractor doesn't have these
capabilities in–house. Trust me on this, it's worth
the time and money up front for a proper design to
make sure the result is what you want!
Another item that needs to be considered is a
proper foundation for your porch. It's likely that the
foundation for your existing landing is sufficient to
support your new porch, but that will have to be
investigated. If your landing is a "floating pad" or
doesn't have a properly sized foundation for your
porch there may be some foundation work required.
If so, you may also want to consider enlarging
your porch, assuming a larger size would work
with the design of your home.
Finally, various municipalities and some homeowner's
associations have rules and regulations
concerning porches, mostly related to property line setbacks. There are also regulations concerning the
percentage of "impervious surface" lot coverage.
If you have a smaller lot this may come into play,
particularly if you're planning to enlarge your porch.
So it would be a good idea to check with your
municipality and/or homeowner's association and
make sure that you will be allowed to build a new
porch before you get too far into the design stage.
As with the design, a professional contractor should
be able to help you through this process as well.
At Eby Exteriors we are porch addition specialists
and have built many beautiful new front porches as
well functional, attractive screened–in porches and
sunrooms. Don't hesitate to contact us if we can be
of assistance in any way!
What are my options in low–maintenance decking?
Answer provided by: The Sales Team, Homestead Outdoor Products
Low–maintenance decking comes
in a variety of options, each with a
different cost, aesthetic quality, durability,
and required maintenance.
As decks are a permanent addition
to your home, selecting the right
one is important! The three most
common varieties of low-maintenance
decking are pressure-treated
wood, composite, and PVC.
Pressure–treated wood. Pressuretreated
wood is the most affordable
low–maintenance decking option.
It offers the aesthetic feel of a
natural wood deck with less danger
of mold, rot, and decay. It is created
by dunking timbers into a protective
treatment of liquid chemical
preservative. The wood is then
placed in a high-pressure chamber
to push the treatment deep into
each board. Pressure–treated wood
requires regular maintenance and should be treated with a stain or
water repellent after installation
and on a yearly basis afterward.
Composite. Composite decking is
made from a combination of wood
and plastic. The wood allows the
material to mimic the grain of traditional
wooden deck boards, while
the plastic makes the material
strongly resistant to weather and
water without requiring staining or
sealing. In some extreme climates
the material can retain heat, creating
an uncomfortable environment
for bare feet or the possibility of
warping. Some composite decking
is capped, or covered with a solid
protective layer of synthetic material.
Capped composite decking is
further protected against warping,
fading, or damage, making it a
durable decking option.
PVC. PVC decking is a completely
synthetic material, and therefore
contains no wood. Because it is
made of plastic, a PVC deck is extremely durable and long–lasting.
The boards stand up to moisture,
weather, sunlight, and everyday
wear and tear better than any
other decking options. Because
it is totally synthetic, PVC decking
does not have the same aesthetic
appeal as natural wood. The deck
will not require sealing, staining,
or waterproofing. This is the most
expensive decking option in terms
of upfront cost, but it can be a
cheaper long-term investment,
as it will not need maintenance
or replacement as often as other
So, to wrap up, here's a summary.
• Lower priced
• Closest to natural wood
• Requires yearly maintenance
• Less durable than synthetic
• Made from wood and plastic
• Requires less maintenance
• Medium priced
• Can be affected by extreme
• Completely synthetic
• Requires the least maintenance
• Highest upfront cost
• Longest lasting/most durable
If you have questions or would like
to learn more, feel free to reach
out! Call us at Homestead Outdoor
Products, 717–656–9596. We're
happy to help.
My wife and I have done extensive remodeling to the inside of our home and now it's time to move to the outside. What can you tell
us about exterior painting?
Answer provided by: Al Darrenkamp, Lancaster Store Manager, Grauer's Paint & Decorating
Now that you have the interior projects finished—yes, a good
starting point for the exterior is probably the same place you
found yourself starting on the inside of your home—paint!
One of the best ways to spruce up a home's exterior is a
fresh coat of paint. And, even though you may not be looking
for extra work, most exterior surfaces can, in fact, be
painted—including vinyl and aluminum!
Many people don't realize this, but by painting vinyl and
aluminum you can add a whole new look to your house.
You have to make sure your vinyl and aluminum are in good
condition first, or else you'll be wasting time and money, and paying a professional painter is definitely more
cost–effective than complete replacements. But
even beginners can usually tackle painting jobs
such as this, so by only spending out-of-pocket
cash on paint and supplies you can save a lot
As with all painting projects proper preparation,
including a thorough cleaning and power
washing, is very important. I recommend using
a low-sheen or low–luster paint, because it will
shed dirt and not show small dents and imperfections,
but when painting vinyl be sure to use
a vinyl safe paint that is approved for use on
vinyl. You can also try to use a spray applicator
(for a smoother appearance) but brushes and
rollers work great, too.
Choosing your paints—choose wisely! Different
projects and surfaces often require specific
products and exterior painting is no exception.
Allow me to address three different surface
types for you here.
Painting Brick. With brick surfaces, you need to
clean and power wash for good adhesion, then
prime with a high quality masonry primer tinted
to the finish color. Finally, apply a100% acrylic
latex low luster paint with a medium nap roller.
Wood. If the wood is bare, prime it with a latex
exterior primer and then finish it with one or
two coats of a 100% acrylic top coat. If the
wood has been previously painted, it should be
properly prepared, spot primed and then finished with one or
two coats of 100% acrylic top coat.
Decks and Fences. The best way to update deck or fence areas
is with an exterior stain, and depending on the look you
want, there are several options. To see the most grain, use a
transparent or semitransparent stain; for less visible grain,
use a semi-solid stain; and a solid color stain will provide
a solid or painted look. Just keep in mind that the more
solid the color, the longer the stain life, so transparent and
semitransparent stains may need to be recoated after a few
years of direct exposure to sunlight.
Flat paint? Gloss paint? Is there really much difference?
Amateurs and pros agree on one important thing: in order to
"walk the walk" you need to "talk the talk." Paint sheen, for
example, refers to the amount of gloss a paint possesses.
Generally, there are three "sheens" used in exterior paints.
• Flat–little or no sheen; commonly used on stucco or
plaster, or on wood siding for a more rustic look.
• Low luster–slight sheen; used on larger siding surfaces,
it will not show all imperfections.
• Soft gloss–semi gloss sheen; used on trim, doors,
posts etc, for an accent look and easy cleaning.
Painting Tips—Quick Primer.
• Use only top quality paints. They will save you time and
increase the life of the job.
• Use a high grade brush designed specifically for today's
• Never paint over loose or peeling paint. (NOTE: If lead
is suspected in the paint, do not attempt to scrape,
sand, power wash, remove with a heat gun, etc., which
might put lead into the environment. Instead contact a
contractor qualified for lead assessment and abatement.)
• Be sure the surface is clean and dry.
• Sand or prime glossy surfaces for better adhesion.
• Do not paint in the direct sunlight.
• Spot prime bare surfaces.
• Use a primer tint that's close to your finish color—because
it may save a coat of paint.
For your project, don't forget that your front door makes a
huge first impression. To choose the best color possible
and avoid having to repaint if you don't get it right the first
time, here's something a friend in the industry told me
several years ago. Print a photo of your house, and then
cut out the front door. By placing different color samples
behind the photo you can easily see how each one will
look—BEFORE the first brush stroke!
Remember, when it comes to a house, beauty is often
"skin" deep, so by repainting the exterior you can enhance
the overall look of your home and make it stand out. Plus
you'll increase your resale value!
For affordable prices, exceptional service, and the largest
selection of premium quality Benjamin Moore paint in Lancaster
and Berks County, visit one of our three convenient
We recently had our front door replaced and were very surprised
when the contractor discovered a significant amount
of rot in the house frame underneath the door. We had no
idea! And the repairs added about $500 to the cost of our door
replacement. Now I'm worried that I might have more unseen
damage throughout my house. What can I do to find out?
Answer provided by: Philip Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
As a replacement contractor we find problems like this all the time. We'll replace
a roof, some windows, or a door, for example, and discover rot, and often with
it—mold. The fact is that a visible leak is much better than a hidden one because
it is noticed and addressed. Hidden leaks can sometimes occur over a period of
years before they are discovered and then there is often a large repair bill, not to
mention the bad air you may have been breathing due to mold growth.
Hidden leaks/moisture problems can happen all over your house and can come
through areas such as the roof, exterior cladding (siding, stucco, brick, etc.) and
windows & doors. Other problem areas can include bad gutters, foundation and
landscaping issues, and lack of proper attic ventilation that leads to condensation.
Most typically the hidden leaks that we find are the result of poor craftsmanship.
For example, installing a single nail at the wrong place on a roofing
shingle may not seem like a big deal, but in a few years, after the nail rusts, a
leak can develop that isn't discovered until part of the roof deck is rotted and a
section of attic insulation is ruined. Beyond shoddy installation practices, inferior
building components, lack of maintenance, and Mother Nature simply doing her
thing over time can all lead to hidden leaks.
As a homeowner there are a few things you can do. Start inside by checking out
your basement and your attic. Check for any signs of moisture like damp spots,
water stains or matted insulation. Look for cracks on your foundation. Then go
outside and look at the landscape around your house to see if it is sloped away
from your foundation or if it is actually funneling water toward your house. Examine
the gutters and take note if any of them are pulling away from the house or if
they are clogged or have standing water in them. Take a look at your siding, windows,
and doors. If you see areas that appear cracked or rotted there is a good
chance that some water may getting in. If you discover some clear problem areas
or suspect areas then call a reputable contractor and have them take a look.
They will be able to make recommendations for repairs or further investigation.
Finally, if you're not comfortable checking things out on your own hire a reputable
contractor or home inspector to do an inspection for you. Most leaks, if
discovered early, are easily remedied. This could save you hundreds (as you have
learned) and even thousands of dollars down the road.
If you'd like to learn more you can check out our website, ebyexteriors.com or
waterkillshouses.com. We also are offering our "Exterior Envelope Inspection" for
Feel free also to call us at 733.9142 or come visit us at our Akron showroom.
We'd also be happy to visit you at your home or place of business. And, as always,
we offer free, no obligation quotes.
We have been looking
to purchase a home and
recently found one that is
exactly what we've been
dreaming of but we have a
concern with the roof. On
the back side of the house
the shingles have some
ugly black streaks on them
and we are not sure what
it is. Should we be concerned?
Answer provided by: Leon Lapp, Owner, Country Boy Roofing
Sorry to be an alarmist but, YES,
you should be concerned...very
much so! In addition to being
unsightly, black streaks on shingle
roofs in most cases, are a form of
algae that typically grows on the
north side of buildings or in shady
areas. If left untreated, the algae
can lead to mold or other nasty
stuff including fungus, lichens, and
moss. All of which can shorten the
life of your roof not to mention a
potential hazard to your health.
Now that I've got your attention,
I should point out that in situations
where you are only seeing
light streaks, there probably isn't a
health concern. Having said that,
however, as algae grows it decomposes
and then you run the risk of
potential mold which can become
a very LARGE problem. The biggest
problem with the algae is that as it
grows, the roots grow into the roof
shingle and loosen the protective
granules from the shingle. The
roots can also work as a wick and
transfer moisture into the home.
This will cause rotting and potentially
cause mold to grow inside the
home. Also as the algae grows and
decomposes it holds moisture and
acts as a magnifying glass from
the sun's ultraviolet rays. Moisture, ultraviolet rays and
thermo movement are the biggest
enemies of roofs. All three
of them are intensified as algae
grows and that is what will cause
an earlier then necessary roof
replacement. It also gives your
home a less attractive curb appeal.
Considering the cost of a new roof
(approximately $350 per square
foot or an average of $8,000 per
home), it makes sense to consider
The good news is that if your shingles
are still in sound condition
you can save your roof by having
the algae and mold removed. To
be done properly, this is a job for
a professional roof cleaning contractor
using a safe non-pressure
Many homeowners are under
the false impression that they
can remove the algae and mold
by simply pressure washing the
affected areas. Truth be told, a
pressure washer will only give the
algae and mold a haircut. The
benefit of using the non-pressure
washing system is not only that it
will remove the algae and mold–it
will also kill the roots, preventing
it from growing back. I feel
so confident in our process that I
back up that claim with a 5-year
guarantee. This safe non-pressure
washing cleaning system also
works to clean siding, decks,
patios, sidewalks and more.
As for the cost of having algae
and mold removed from a roof,
the average home typically costs
less than $500 and can be
completed in just a few hours. We
also offer a free roof inspection
to let you know if the shingles are
worth saving as well as how much
it would cost you to have them
Another service that we now offer
and that may be of interest to you
is our interior mold remediation
services. While mold on your roof
is not a good thing, mold inside
your home is a very serious health
hazard that should be dealt with
immediately. Similar to our free
roof inspection service, we also
provide free mold inspections to
your home's interior–especially in
the basement where mold is most
likely to surface.
From your roof to your basement,
we literally offer top to bottom
mold remediation services. For
more information or to schedule a
free inspection, please don't hesitate
to call me at 717.739.5596.
The 22–year old vinyl siding on my home looks terrible! It's
faded, wavy, and cracked in some places. I know I need to
do something about it but I don't want to go back to vinyl
siding—are there any alternatives?
Answer provided by: Daniel Miller, Market Developer, James Hardie, Building Products
As a consumer, you should be aware of all options available to you! Although not the only option, James Hardie fiber cement siding is an option that is
"Engineered for Climate" to protect your home against the toughest of elements,
providing an alternative that will outlast your current cladding and look
better longer! James Hardie also provides a patented ColorPlus Technology
that gives a breadth of color options, opening up design options to enhance
curb appeal and last on the wall! Re–siding with James Hardie can transform
the look and feel of your house and most importantly, keep it looking beautiful
for years to come!
James Hardie fiber cement siding consists
of a proprietary blend of cement, sand, cellulose wood fibers, and water,
when combined, create a highly durable alternative to vinyl siding. James
Hardie fiber cement siding offers the look and feel of traditional wood siding,
without the durability or maintenance cycles of real wood!
The long -term durability and savings from re–sides in the
future make fiber cement siding worth the extra initial cost vs. vinyl and can
actually add value to your home! For the 8th year in a row, re–siding with fiber
cement siding has been named the #1 Return on Investment by Remodeling
Magazine in their annual "cost vs. value report" and also has the Good
Housekeeping "Seal of Approval!" James Hardie offers a product that is
non–combustible, rot resistant, impervious to termites, resistant to shrinking/warping, resistant to wind, hail, snow, and sun, with a 30–year warranty giving
many advantages over vinyl siding.
For more information please visit www.jameshardie.com or contact Lancaster
County's only James Hardie PREFERRED REMODELER, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
My wife and I will be purchasing a home soon and we both like the rustic look of log homes or those with natural wood siding. We understand that these types of homes require periodic maintenance to preserve the wood and its beauty. What do we need to know?
Answer provided by: Rick Atkins, Lead Consultant, Atkins Deck Treatment Service, Inc.
At Atkins Deck Treatment Service Inc. we've been restoring log and cedar homes for over 21
years in the Lancaster area and over the years we've answered a lot of questions on the subject.
Since your question is fairly generic, I'll share with you the most common questions we hear from
our customers while we are giving them a free consultation at their home.
How do you take care of our log or cedar home?
We have several cleaning methods for log and
cedar homes depending on the situation of the current stain application to the home. The most
common way to clean the home is by applying a peroxicarbonate based cleaner to the home and
then lightly power washing to remove mold, mildew and dirt from the home. You do not want to
use a chlorine bleach to clean the home as the chlorine will break down the lignin in the wood
causing it to become very fuzzy. A wood brightener is then applied to the home after the peroxicarbonate
if the wood is dark, especially cedar, this will lighten the wood for a more natural color
and remove tannin staining, the dark streaks on the wood. The other type of cleaning that we use
is to media blast the home. Media blasting is sand blasting except we don’t use sand. The media
we use is either crushed glass or corn cob depending on the surface. We use this method of
cleaning if there is a very hard shell type of stain that is peeling, or if there is a lot of air leakage
through the logs, or the owner tells me that the last time someone power washed the home water
shot through the logs and got everything inside wet. After the home is cleaned it may need to be
sanded prior to staining. Once the home is ready for staining we mask off all window and doors
then apply two coats of Gemini TWP semitransparent oil stain to protect the wood for many years.
How often does my log or cedar home need to be re-stained?
Depending on what product is
used it can be every year with some products or as long as 10 years with a solid stain. The typical
time frame with a good semitransparent stain like Gemini TWP will be about every 5–7 years
depending on the location.
I can feel drafts coming through my logs—what can be done to stop it?
Typically what needs to
be done is to chink along the log joints to seal the logs which will stop air and water from entering
the home through the logs.
The carpenter bees are eating my home—what can we do about it?
Depending on how much
damage the bees have done to the wood we can take care of the problem several ways. If the
damage is not too severe we treat all the holes that they are living in with Drione dust to kill the
bees and larvae and chink the holes. Then we add a product called bug juice to the stain when
we apply it to the logs or cedar siding. The bug juice will deter the bees from eating new holes
into the wood. If the damage is more severe we will replace the siding with new log or cedar in
that area to refresh the look of the house. In some cases we will apply a borate solution to the
home prior to staining which will keep wood boring insects from destroying the wood.
Our log home has areas that water is causing rot or the woodpeckers have made holes in the
logs—what can we do?
We can reface the damaged logs by cutting out the front portion of the
log as deep as the damage is in the log. Then we put new log siding to match the contour of your
logs so the repair blends in with the other logs. Then we chink around the repair to prevent water
from entering into the repaired area.
For other information on questions not addressed here please call us at 717.656.8928 to set up
a free consultation or check out our web page at atkinsdeck.com for more information and the
other services we offer. There are not many questions on log and cedar home restoration that we
have not encountered over the past 21 years
When getting my shingle roof replaced how do I know what products the roofer should be using?
Answer provided by: Chad E. Miller,
M&E Roofing LLC
This is a very important question to
ensure that your new roof performs
as it should and allows you to get
the maximum life expectancy from
your new shingles. Having your roof
replaced can be a large financial investment
and something that you will
live with for many years to come. All
of the products that I will be discussing
are not only a vital part of the
functionality of your roof, but are also
required by the shingle manufacturers
and your local building codes.
First and foremost after the old roof
is removed is the installation of a
self–sealing ice and water shield per
local building codes. This is a product
that is installed on the bottom edges
and in your valleys. In new construction
and reroofing ice and water
shield is required to be installed on
the bottom edges which spans a
minimum of 2' inside the thermal
envelope of your home. Basically
that means if you would extend the
exterior walls of your home above
the roof line the ice and water shield
would need to extend a minimum of
2' beyond that point. This applies to
all heated areas of your home. This
product is designed to help deter ice
back up during the winter months. I
also mentioned ice and water shield
to be used as a valley liner. Whether
you go with exposed metal valleys
or closed valleys where the shingles
become your valley this should be
The next product that would be
installed is the underlayment. The
purpose of an underlayment is to act
as a vapor barrier. Basically when
the warm air from the inside meets
the cold shingles (or vice versa in
the summer) condensation can form
between the shingles and your roof
sheeting. The underlayment acts as
a barrier so that the moisture does
not get to the roof decking. The most
common underlayment and what
most shingle manufacturers specify
is a 15 lb. asphalt roofing felt. There
is also a 30 lb. felt and synthetic
underlayment available, but keep in
mind these products are more money
and do not give you a better roof.
Aluminum drip edging should be
installed on all roof edges. They make
edging in a variety of colors so that
the roofer can match your existing
trim color to give you a nice finished
Next would be the shingles themselves.
There are many types of
shingles available, but for this
question I am going to focus on
one particular style. This would be
the architectural or also known as
3-Dimensional shingles. All architectural
shingles consist of a fiberglass
mat which is saturated in asphalt on
both sides and then colored granules
applied to the top surface. There are
multiple manufacturers of this style
shingle with a wide variety of colors
available. The one thing to make sure
of is that your roofing professional
fully explains the warranty and what it
means to you.
The last product I am going to discuss
is ridge vent. This is a very important
product when it comes to the longevity
of your roof. Excessive heat buildup
over the summer and condensation
over the winter are two major enemies
of your roof. Ridge vent is meant
to create a non–powered air flow between
the bottom edge soffit and the
ridge vent. The ridge vent that is most
effective in accomplishing this is one
that has an external baffle. There are
aluminum styles and shingle over
styles available which both have the
There are also
many ridge vents
do not have the
external baffle so
make sure you
style is being
When getting a
new shingle roof
you should make
sure that all of
are being used,
as well as a
We at M&E Roofing,
LLC would be
happy to help you
with any and all
of your home improvement
needs including your new roof. Please give us
a call at 717-626-4253.
With fall approaching comes
my annual chore of cleaning
up leaves. While I'm okay
with raking the yard, I'm getting
too old (and perhaps a
little too heavy) to be climbing
a ladder to clean out rain
gutters. And while my grown
kids have offered to help, I'm
not comfortable with them on
a ladder either. Suggestions?
Answer provided by: Ralph L. Wilhelm, Jr.,
Ralph L. Wilhelm, Jr., Inc.
Your safety concern is understandable.
According to the Consumer Product
Safety Commission, thousands of
people are treated for broken bones,
bruises and cuts from ladder injuries
every year; many are permanently injured
including paralysis, and over 300
people die of ladder related injuries.
Another thing that's not good is ignoring
the problem. Clogged rain gutters
and spouts can do serious damage
to your home—including soffit, fascia,
wall, and foundation damage. Repairing
these problems can be VERY costly.
And don't think that you'd be better off
by simply removing your gutter system.
Although such a move would certainly
relieve you of your annual gutter cleaning
duties—you'd be doing it at a very
high risk of serious damage to your
foundation. If you don't have water
in your basement already, more than
likely, you soon will.
Paying someone else to clean your gutters
is an option—but it won't be cheap
and it'll be an ongoing expense. And
don't forget to consider the liability issue
in the event of an accident. You
may very well be liable.
Another option is to install screens to
block the leaves and other debris from
getting into the gutter. The only problem
with screens is that they too will
need to be periodically cleaned leaving
you back to where you started.
This may sound like I'm taking the long
way around the barn to answer your
question, but I feel it's important to
address what NOT to do before suggesting
a permanent solution to your
problem. Drum roll please...
The solution for you is a gutter system
called LeafX™. The LeafX™ closed–system
design ensures that your gutters
won’t clog with debris or allow moisture
to ruin your home. And, LeafX™ is
guaranteed to work for life—providing
it is installed by an authorized installation
specialist (such as my company,
Ralph L. Wilhelm Jr., Inc. Seamless
Spouting). LeafX™ has a lifetime No–Clog Guarantee for your gutters as well
as a lifetime Finish Warranty. And, both
the guarantee and warranty are fully
transferable should you ever sell your
Here are some additional selling points
that you might want to consider:
• the LeafX™ system installs in 4–foot
panels that are easy to replace in
the event of damage from falling tree
• there's no danger of voiding your
roof warranty since LeafX™ screws
directly into your gutter and interlocks
with adjoining panels—absolutely nothing
punctures your roof—in fact, factory
preset installation guides allow fasteners
to be recessed, thereby maintaining
a seamless and uniform appearance;
• the system can be custom fit to new
or existing gutters of any size or style;
• it's 100% aluminum and the end
caps and miters completely enclose
the system to keep out debris and critters;
• the nose-forward cover extends past
the gutter lip, allowing water to follow
the curve of the hood and flow into the
gutter, while leaves and debris are effectively
• the Flex–Drain collects additional
water through the vertical perforations
and bends to allow your system to custom
fit to your exact roof pitch;
• the preset opening keeps water
where you want it—flowing through your
• the low–profile design and variety of
matching colors (14 colors including
copper) available combine to enhance
the appearance of your home;
• the ridges slow water, forcing it to
sheet rather than flow in streams and
also strengthen the system, allowing
LeafX™ to handle the heaviest snow
and ice loads; and
• unobstructed gutters allows water
to flow freely—handling even the biggest
rainfalls on record.
As for cost, I think you'd be surprised
at how affordable LeafX™ actually is.
My personal feeling is that LeafX™ is
the best value of any premium gutter
protection system on the market. For
more information, don't hesitate to
give me a call 717.548.2322 or visit
me and my display booth at one of the
upcoming home shows.In the meantime,
if you must get on a ladder...be
My roof is only 17 years old but it has black
"streaky" looking stains all over it, especially
on the north side (the side facing my street
of course!) What exactly are these stains, and
how can I get rid of them?
Answer provided by: Philip Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
We've all seen it, those dark black streaks on a roof. Sometimes
they look more like ugly blotches than streaks, but either
way they don't do a lot for the appearance of a house.
The black streaking and staining is actually algae or fungal
growth. It begins when a small spore lands on your roof and
takes up residence. Over time it often spreads and grows.
Typically, you'll notice the staining on the north-facing sides
of a home or on roof sections that get a lot of shade. However,
it is not necessarily limited to those areas and I have
seen it many times on south-facing, sunny roof sections
as well. This type of staining seems to have become much
more prevalent in the last 10-20 years in our area. Some
say that this can be attributed to the increased use of
crushed limestone as filler in roofing shingles. The calcium
carbonate in limestone supports algae growth.
Most new shingles come with some type of
warranty against staining, usually lasting
5-15 years. Shingles are generally manufactured
with zinc or copper granules mixed
in with the colored stone granules. When it
rains the zinc or copper are released and
inhibit algae growth. Zinc or copper are
expensive additives so adding enough to
prevent staining for the life of the shingle
would simply make the roof cost too much.
In most cases, using a safe, manufacturer recommended
cleaning solution, combined
with a low-pressure rinse, algae stains can
be removed from your roof without damaging the shingles.
Your roof can actually look new again! The "ideal candidates"
are roofs that are in fair condition or better. If your
shingles have aged to the point where we feel that they may
not be able to handle the low-pressure rinse, we won't attempt
to clean them, not to mention the fact that it may not
be a wise investment if your roof needs to be replaced within
a few years.
Costs will vary greatly depending on factors such as; roof size,
roof pitch (steepness), and degree of staining among other
things. Also, we do not guarantee that the stains won't return.
However, in most cases it took years for the black staining to
grow to the level where it is on many roofs. If you notice new
staining, it can typically be removed easily and inexpensively,
without having to clean the entire roof. Another option is to
install new zinc strips that will prevent new algae growth.
There are thousands of homes with roofs like yours in our
area—roofs that have lots of life left in them but that appear
old, worn, and downright ugly due to algae staining. Cleaning
roofs like this can be a great way to restore curb appeal. It's
also a smart idea for folks looking to sell their home. Even
though the functionality of the roof may
be top-notch, if it appears worn out it can
put a lot of caution flags into a potential
If you'd like us to take a look at your roof
to determine if it's a good candidate for a
roof cleaning, don't hesitate to give us a
call. We don't charge for estimates and our
roofing professionals will give you an honest
answer as to the best course of action
for your home.
My husband and I are about
to replace our roof. We have
concerns about product warranty
and product durability
to name just a few. The
only thing we are certain
about is that our roof definitely
needs replaced. As
consumers who don’t have
the slightest idea of what
is involved or what to look
out for, what advise can you
Answer provided by: Belinda Adamson, Chief Executive Officer, Aspen Home Improvement, Inc.
Your roof is designed to protect your
home from the elements. Too many
homeowners take their roof for
granted and don't act until a problem
has surfaced. By then, serious
home damage may have occurred.
Another function of your roof is to
aid in heating and cooling. A new
roof that has adequate insulation
and is made from efficient materials
prevents hot air from escaping as it
rises to the attic, reducing your need
for home heating. This saves money
on heating fuel and helps the environment
since you'll use less gas,
oil or electricity to keep your home
One thing that many homeowners
overlook is that your choice of roofing
material can have a long-term
impact on your energy costs. The
sun's rays beat down on your roof all
day and cause the roof and attic to
heat up. This in turn causes your air
conditioner to work overtime keeping
your home cool. Some roofing products
do a better job at reflecting the
sun's rays, keeping the attic cooler and giving your air conditioning system
a break. Studies have shown
that white or light colored roofing can
keep your attic temperature significantly
lower and reduce energy costs
for cooling your home by nearly a
third. Energy-saving asphalt shingle
manufacturers have recently started
using high-tech ceramic granules on
their shingles that are designed to
reflect the sun's rays. Many of these
shingles are so effective at reducing
energy costs that they have earned
an Energy Star rating.
As far as your situation is concerned,
the first step is to have a professional
walk the perimeter of your
roof looking for the proper ventilation
(breathing is what we call it). They
will then go on the roof and inspect
all flashing's (notorious leak sources),
making sure that all edge metals
are properly functioning, checking
any valleys and or crickets are working
and are installed properly (these
are where angles change and the
water, snow, ice, and debris will accumulate).
Next should be a visual inspection of
your interior walls, ceilings, skylights,
or other through roof penetrations.
You should also check your attic and
inspect for any apparent structural
issues, water damage, mold, and any
other roofing related concerns. Once
all of the above is completed, have
your chosen professional go over
the issues of the roof, the suggested
solutions and the recommended
The entire roof system and the products
installed should be covered by
the manufacturer's warranty and as
in most cases the better the product
the better the warranty. Keep in
mind that the entire system must
be installed to the manufacturer's
specs and also the system must be
installed by certified installers.
The most important thing to remember
is your roof is only as good as
the installer who installs it. Since the
guarantee for a 30-year roof is contingent
upon proper installation, it's
critical that your installers know what
they're doing. While short cuts give
the industry a bad mark—they give
homeowners their worst nightmare.
For more information, please give
us a call at 569.3700 or, better yet,
come visit us and browse through
our showroom while you're here!
I'm tired of cleaning out my gutters every fall but there are so many gutter protection products on the market that I'm not sure which one is best for me. How do I decide?
Answer provided by: Philip Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
Over the years I'm sure many of you
have dealt with the headache of repairing
a clogged gutter or downspout or
faced the frightening prospect of the
annual gutter cleaning event, braving
an old, rickety ladder or steep
roof edge and risking a broken leg (or
While these tasks are thankless (no
one notices that your gutters are clean
and working well), dirty, and often dangerous,
they are very important. Why?
Because WATER KILLS HOUSES!
Gutters that aren't functioning properly
can lead to all kinds of problems, like
rotted face boards and roof edges, wet
and moldy basements and washed out
landscaping and yards, just to name a
So how do we keep the water flowing
through our gutters and away from our
houses without going through all that
risk and pain? The solution is proper
gutter protection...a product that keeps
debris from piling up and clogging up
your gutters in the first place. What is
that product? Well, it seems that everyone
has a solution. At last count I'm
told there are over 80 gutter protection
products on the market—and counting.
It's a bit mind boggling!
So how does one decide? There are
several things to look for when trying to
find the best value in gutter protection
but by far the most important is...
Performance. Does it work?
Ask your contractor to give you several
references that have had the product
installed on their home or business for
at least 1 year. If they are unable to do
so, don't buy their product!
Other important things to consider...
I'm amazed at what some people
pay for their gutter protection! There are
plenty of products out there that work
effectively but don't cost you an exorbitant
amount. Get 2 or 3 quotes from
reputable contractors before signing!
Many of the products on the
market are large, bulky and plain down
ugly. They can significantly detract from
your home's appearance. Make sure
you understand how the product will
look on your home after it is installed.
At Eby Exteriors we
are also roofers. We know that it is best
to leave the bottom edge of your roof
un-tampered. Many gutter protection
products are designed to slide under
the shingles. This can cause the bottom
edge of your roof to be more susceptible
to wind-blown shingle loss. If
there are ever shingles blown from the
edge, the shingle manufacturer typically
will not warrant the problem because
the original roofing system has
Does the product have a
warranty? Does the contractor offer
a workmanship warranty? Are they in
writing? It's important to know that you
have a manufacturer and a contractor
that will stand behind the product being
Feel free to contact us if you would like
to see our selection of gutter protection
products. You can come to our showroom
in Akron or we'd be happy to visit
your home or place of business. And
as always we offer free, no obligation
I'm tired of my home's drab
appearance but I don't have a lot of money to spend. How can I enhance the look of my home's exterior without breaking my budget?
Answer provided by: Philip Eby, Owner, Eby Exteriors, Inc.
There are many ways to dress up the
exterior of your home without spending
a lot of money! I routinely notice
homes that with a few inexpensive
exterior changes could easily go from
ordinary to eye-catching. Beyond the
personal enjoyment of feeling good
about how your house looks, improving
your home's appearance will most
likely increase its value. The added
curb appeal could more than pay for
the cost of the improvement. With
that in mind, I'd like to share a few of
the more popular, low-cost ideas that
we use to create better-looking homes
all over central PA.
Replace a Bay/Bow Window.
Old, worn out
bay/bow windows can greatly
detract from your home's overall appearance
because they are usually a large part of the facade. They also tend to "date" a house. Aesthetics aside, you're probably losing a substantial amount of energy through that old glass as well! Today's bay/bow windows come with a tremendous amount of interior and exterior options including multiple colors, pre finished wood or laminate interiors, Corian seats, decorative art glass, etc.
Also, a new bay/bow window provides a great opportunity for our next idea...
Add Specialty Roofing.
Small sections like a bay/bow window, a porch roof,
or a "pent" roof provide an ideal location for a specialty roofing product.
Standing-seam copper or steel, synthetic slate shingles, or designer
luxury shingles in a variety of colors can provide a beautiful accent to the front of your home.
Add Specialty Siding.
A front porch and
reverse gable in the front of your home
are great places to add a specialty siding like cedar shakes, scalloped shakes, or board and batten siding.
The definition and character that specialty siding provides will add a huge "wow" factor to your home's appearance.
Replace your Front Door and/or Storm Door.
For most homes, the front door is the focal point of the house! New
doors are surprisingly inexpensive and they can dramatically improve the aesthetics of your home! The styles and options are almost limitless. Also, many homes have an attractive front door that is covered up by an old, unattractive storm door. Adding a
new "full-view" storm door in a color that matches or enhances your entry door can do wonders for your home's
appearance. Again, for both of these options, you will most likely increase your energy efficiency as well.
Add or Replace Shutters.
Shutters are a great way to add color and definition
to a home. They are easily installed and come in a wide variety of refinished colors that will never need to
be painted. Styles include louvered, raised-panel, board and batten and more. Arched or elliptical tops can
be added to match similar windows. Decorative pieces such as "S" hooks and hinges can also be added to enhance
an authentic, traditional look.
Add Window and Door Headers and Surrounds.
Headers and surrounds
can take an ordinary-looking window or door and give it character and class. These options are available
in a large selection of pre-finished colors and styles. Surround profiles can be subtle with a basic flat option or molded profiles and keystones can be used to add more flair. Overhead garage doors, which often dominate the front of a home, can be greatly
enhanced with the addition of a surround system such as a wide header with a keystone and fluted pilasters along the sides.
These are just a few of the possibilities that can be employed to increase your home's curb appeal without spending a lot of money. Most of them can also be done with minimal intrusion into your home and your lifestyle. At Eby Exteriors, Inc., we
gain a lot of satisfaction from improving the appearance of the homes we are privileged to work on! We'd love the opportunity to meet with you and share some ideas as to how we can take YOUR HOME from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY. (717) 733-9142
ebyexteriors.com Route 272, Akron.
How can I tell if my roof
needs to be replaced or simply
repaired? And should I be concerned
about the employees a
contractor is sending to work
on my home?
Answer provided by: Ed Iovino,
Hackman Roofing •
Siding • Spouting
Regarding roof repair versus replacement,
all homeowners struggle with
this question. Your roof always appears
to be doing its job of keeping you dry,
but its color may be fading a bit. On
the other hand, you might be noticing
some dark spots, or some other
ominous sign that has you wondering
about your roof. Regardless, before
calling roofers and having them bid on
a roof replacement, you can do a little
of your own research.
The web site www.repairvsreplace.com
is an incredible tool that can give you a
general idea of the status of your roof.
Before logging onto the site, take a few
moments to walk around your home
and assess your roof. Afterwards, take
the seven-question quiz on repairvsreplace.com. In just minutes, you will
be given an idea of whether your roof
is healthy, may require some repair, or
should be replaced immediately.
It's important to note—if your roof is
beginning to look a little ragged or
you’re questioning whether it should
be replaced—you should have it inspected.
In fact, the National Roofing
Contractors Association recommends
you have this performed at least once
a year. While your home may not appear
to be leaking now, spots and
discoloration can be signs that a leak is beginning. Repairvsreplace.com also
is a great resource to find qualified
roofing companies who can perform
these inspections honestly and give
you a true status report of your roof.
On the issue of who is doing the work,
our recommendation is don't trust
your home to just anyone! Look for the
Technician Seal of Safety.
Inviting a contractor or service employee
into your home is an important event.
Why? Well, you’ve heard it on the news
from time to time—someone assaulted
in their home, or family heirlooms go
missing after a service call. How do
you protect against strangers taking
advantage of you while in your home?
Look for the Seal of Safety! What is the
Seal of Safety? It means three things:
first, all employees are subject to periodic
drug-screening; second, employees
go through an intensive criminal
background check as part of the hiring
process; and third, each employee is
professionally trained to be "best in
Making sure your family and home
are safe and secure during a service
visit is a very important part of what
Hackman Roofing does. Look for the
Seal of Safety on their employees' identification cards. Better yet, DEMAND
the Seal of Safety from anyone entering
your home on any service call.
There are many factors to consider in
selecting a roofing contractor. Rest
assured that safety, service and quality
workmanship are all important parts
of what HACKMAN Roofing • Siding •
Spouting will bring to your home—along
with a guaranteed solution to your roofing
problems. Discover how easily you
can experience the HACKMAN Roofing
• Siding • Spouting way of doing business.
Call 717-367-2348, today!
What are some of the benefits of stamped concrete and a
few questions to ask your concrete contractor before you choose who you want to install your stamped patio?
Answer provided by: Bryan Hahn, Owner/President, Stampcrete of Lancaster, Ltd.
Stamped concrete is very durable. Concrete has been around for a long
time because of its durability & strength. The next time you are on a main
highway take note that it is probably made of concrete. In the south a lot
of driveways are made of concrete since it is cooler and more durable than
Stamped concrete has come a long way in duplicating the look of many
hardscapes for considerable less cost than for example real flagstone or
brick. There are many border and Patina staining options to give your patio
your own personal fl air or character.
Stamped concrete is typically installed in about half the time of a deck or
hardscapes so you can enjoy your patio investment sooner rather than
later. As for maintenance there is the reseal every 2-3 years that needs
done to protect and retain the original beauty. The sealer has other benefits
as well. It keeps moss from growing on your patio, which can be an issue
with real hardscapes, causing it to become slippery, because a sealer is not
applied periodically. Plus the mortar in some hardscapes will deteriorate
over time and pieces of stone or slate become loose and create a tripping
With regards to stamped concrete installation and product quality, we
recommend a 4000 psiconcrete mix, a rebar mat, fibermesh, and 2 coats
of sealer. Make sure there is a 4-6 inch compacted clean stone base put
down prior to installing concrete. A solid base is as important to your patio
as footers are to your house foundation. Also insist that your concrete contractor
use an anti skid in both coats of sealer otherwise the concrete will
be a slipping hazard when wet.
Another part of quality is integral color. We feel if the color is added to the
concrete in the truck, instead of broadcasting it on the surface, it is a better
job. Because if the concrete is ever chipped, it will expose white concrete. If
the color is throughout you can apply sealer to the chip and it will blend in.
Remember a quality job is not always the cheapest price. Quality does cost
a little more up front and only takes a little more time & care to produce a
quality job. Poor workmanship with concrete can typically only be corrected
by removal and starting over. Research your concrete contractor well before
As with all types of businesses, there are a lot of “here today and gone
tomorrow” concrete installers. Building a business with quality and relationships
as the 1st priority will mean a happy customer and a growing company;
this is what we strive for at Stampcrete of Lancaster.
How do I care for my new asphalt driveway?
Answer provided by: Jay Miller, Director of Paving Sales, B.R. Kreider & Son, Inc.
Asphalt pavement needs time to cure, typically 18-24 months. During this time
the oils that make up the asphalt pavement will remain soft and pliable on the
surface, especially on hot and humid days. Once the new pavement has been
installed, we recommend that you keep any vehicles off of your new pavement for
a minimum of 3 days to a week, unless special considerations are discussed.
When using your new driveway, take care not to turn your vehicle wheels back and
forth while in a stationary position or make sharp turns. Radial tires will often grip
the surface of the pavement and ‘tear’ the surface, leaving noticeable marks. This
is referred to as ‘tire scuffing.’ Tire scuffing on new asphalt pavement is generally
minor, and while it looks rather severe, it will heal in time. One would have a
difficult time actually finding these scuff locations later in the life of the pavement.
Whenever possible, avoid gasoline and oil spills on your new asphalt surface. If this should occur, a
degreasing product such as Simple Green or another comparable water-based product can be used to
assist in cleaning the surface. Gasoline and oil will soften and breakdown the oils that make up your
asphalt driveway and cause premature deterioration of your pavement surface, which may need attention
from an asphalt installer.
Beware of placing heavy objects such as jacks, motorcycle kickstands, etc. directly on the pavement. We recommend placing a piece of plywood on the surface of the paving to more evenly distribute the weight of
the object you wish to place on the asphalt surface.
With regard to asphalt sealers, we recommend that you wait to seal your new driveway until the pavement
has had two full years to cure. Applying sealers to the surface of asphalt does not guarantee increased
longer life of your asphalt surface.
Sealers are primarily used to blacken or paint asphalt pavement, which has aged and has become
‘bleached’ by the sun where the oils become less pliable and hairline cracks may result. Thus, sealers are
used to cover over these cracks, but in time these cracks may reappear again as the pavement ages. It is
important to know that applying driveway sealers too often may result in premature deterioration of your
driveway. So the question often debated is: do I put money into sealing my drive every couple years or do I save that
money and invest it in an asphalt overlay when my drive is showing age and distress after 10 -15 years?
People often want to dress up their black or faded asphalt driveway to compliment their landscaping and
home. A new decorative product known as “Street Print” is an alternative to consider. ‘Street Print’ is an
imprinted design installed in the asphalt pavement, which offers various shapes and patterns of brick and
stone. A colored sealer coating is then added to the surface to create a highly attractive asphalt driveway. It
offers an affordable enhancement to any homeowner's property.
A paved surface area is an investment that should last a long time. Quality and careful application is critical for longevity. As you are considering the condition of your paved surface, we invite you to cal lour Paving
Sales department at B.R. Kreider & Son, Inc. and visit our web site at www.brkreider.com.