Category Archives: Roof Maintenance

How Much Weight Can a Concrete Roof Support? (2023 Update)

How Much Weight Can a Concrete Roof Support Cover

If you want to know “how much weight can a concrete roof support?” you are asking the most important question before installing that concrete roof. The following guide will definitively answer the question, “how much weight can a concrete roof hold?” and many other things.

Key Takeaway

A concrete roof can support about 1,200 pounds per square foot. However, variables like thickness, reinforcements, and installation quality all contribute to its maximum capacity.

When considering roofing materials, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Durability, cost, and a litany of other things can impact which material you go with for your residential or commercial roof. But weight capacity is another important one. And if you think that going with concrete means that it can support any amount of weight, you should do your homework first.

How Much Weight Can a Concrete Roof Hold Per Square Foot?

While the answer to this question can vary greatly on several factors within the concrete itself, a good rule of thumb is around 1,200 pounds per square foot, depending on the thickness of the concrete and whether or not it has any reinforcements.

A common mistake is that amateur roofers just assume that concrete is impossibly strong, but it has weight restrictions just like any other material. Knowing “how much weight can a concrete roof support?” is one of the most vital questions when installing that concrete roof.

Reinforcing the Roof

With newer installations, this is likely a common practice performed by the roofer doing the job. But on older homes, the question of “how much weight can a concrete roof support?” becomes irrelevant if it is quite old or has experienced a lot of damage.

While a complete replacement is the most ideal of scenarios, the cost of a new roof is often not so realistic. That is where reinforcing the roof can help get a longer life out of your roof while implementing a fast, quick repair and reinforcement that will keep the structural integrity of the roof sound for some time.

Again, it is highly recommended that you get a new roof wherever you can. Still, there are a couple of ways to reinforce your roof to give it a little boost in terms of life span.

Addressing Repairs with Patching

If the deterioration or damage to your concrete roof isn’t terribly bad, it can be patched to extend its life a little longer. But if you are implementing extensive patchwork, it is important to note that you should not assume that it can take on a proper load and will never be able to handle the maximum weight.

How much weight can a concrete roof support? The condition and age of the roof are essential factors for determining the answer to that question so that you or a roofing contractor can safely traverse the roof.

Strengthening Existing Trusses

This is a way to add durability to your roof. By using 2×4s, you simply combine them with any existing trusses that may be in place from one end of the structure to the next. This can allow for extra stability and twist the answer to “how much weight can a concrete roof support?”

However, this is not meant to be a long-term solution if the roof is showing signs of wear and deterioration. Exercise caution whenever getting on the roof and understand that this is just prolonging the eventual replacement of the roof entirely.

Signs That the Roof is Failing

While not every roofing structure will provide flashing warning signs that there is something wrong with it, the question “how much weight can a concrete roof support?”  It becomes moot when the damage becomes noticeable. This is because that damage makes traversing the roof unsafe and a serious hazard.

There are definitely a few things to keep an eye out for regarding the condition of your roof and whether or not there may be issues currently occurring.

Leaks

The biggest issue plaguing roofing systems, concrete roofs too, is in the form of leaks. If you see multiple wet spots in your ceiling or moisture retained on the roof, it is a strong sign that the roof has a weak spot that can lead to bigger issues.

Leaks are a huge issue not only for the roofing system itself but for the structural integrity of the rest of the building. If that water is allowed to persist, it has the chance to rot and decay wood that could provide structural support and lead to mold growth, making it a hazard to the air quality in the building.

Cracks

Cracks are a clear indication that there may be problems with your roof. This can mean that stress is being implemented onto the roof and spreading outward in other directions. This can lead to serious problems with your concrete roof, making it structurally vulnerable and making it unsafe to be near.

Small cracks are not a terribly big idea, but calling in a proper roofing contractor to survey the scene and understand the situation will allow you to stay ahead of any potentially disastrous situations. It is always better to exercise caution in scenarios such as these.

Other Weight Considerations for Concrete Roofs

So many factors determine “how much weight can a concrete roof support” that it isn’t a black-and-white question. A concrete roof can safely support around 1,200 pounds (0.54 t) per square foot when completely healthy and showing no signs of wear and tear.

But that figure can drop exponentially when leaks, cracking, chipping, and other damage rears their ugly head. If you see areas of your concrete roof that look concerning, the safest bet is to avoid stepping in those areas and leave it to the professionals.

Your concrete roof can stand up to a lot and prove to be a durable choice in roofing material, but it is certainly not immune to its own issues. You can consult this roof load calculator if you are worried about snow. And before asking “how much weight can a concrete roof support,” you need to ensure it is in optimal shape.

Can You Put New Shingles On Top of Old Ones?

Can You Put New Shingles on Top of Old Ones

Can your new shingles be placed over the top of the old ones? The short answer is “yes,” you can lay new roof shingles over top of the old ones (with asphalt), but there are other factors to take into consideration.

There may come a time when your existing roof just isn’t doing what it should. Leaks, broken shingles, and a litany of other problems can creep up, bringing you to the conclusion that you need to make a change to your current system.

Key Takeaway

Yes, you can put shingles over shingles, but you shouldn’t. Other factors to consider include weight increase, surface defects, and the prevention of full inspections.

Is it Ok To Put Shingles Over Shingles?

Placing old shingles over new ones is only possible with asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles. You cannot place a new layer over top of slate or wood, and you should definitely never mix materials like laying asphalt shingles over cedar shakes.

And perhaps the most important rule for laying new shingles over top of old ones is that the old roofing has to be in pretty good condition. If you are laying new roofing shingles over an existing roofing system with a ton of leaks or damage, you aren’t doing yourself any good.

Why Add New Roof Shingles Over Top of Old Ones?

It might seem like an obvious benefit to having multiple layers of protection on your roof, but that is not automatically true. As a matter of fact, having multiple layers of shingles does not mean that your roof is any more waterproof than it may have been before.

Also, having multiple roofing layers can create problems all its own. The biggest reason to lay down new shingles over existing ones comes down to a simple matter of convenience and cost. Keeping the old shingles allows you to skip the messy labor and disposal costs of a tear-off.

It is important to note that both of these have caveats. It isn’t as simple as putting the new roof over the top of the old; special prep work needs to be done to complete the new installation. Things like removing ridge caps, vents, and misshapen angles are just the tip of the iceberg.

In addition, you might still have to replace or add new flashing. This can sometimes be tricky to do over old roofing. And the fact is that while you might be saving tear-off costs, you really are just delaying the cost. When you have to start over with a new roof, you’ll just have to tear it off and start over.

Putting new roofing over the existing structure is a “pay me now or pay me later” scenario. You will save on costs in the short term, but you will eventually need to pay for the full cost of a new roof at some point.

Why You Should Not Add New Roofing Shingles Over Old Ones

Though we already touched on a few basic reasons why shingles over shingles aren’t a good idea, there are also a few universal reasons not to reroof. Here are things to check out if you are seriously considering adding your new roofing shingles over top of the old ones.

Why You Should Not Add New Roofing Shingles Over Old Ones

Shingles Add Weight

Your roof is likely graded for a very specific amount of weight. This is factoring in the shingles and potential snow that could also accumulate. When you add extra materials over the top, you only add weight to the existing structure.

This creates an issue regarding how much your current roofing structure can handle. If you overload the roof, there is a chance that it may not be able to hold up. And when this becomes a possibility, there is a chance that your home’s structure is unsafe with the chance of a potential collapse.

Shingles are Designed for Flat Surfaces

Shingles are not meant to bridge over gaps, humps, or dips. This includes the stepped texture that is created by overlapping shingles. While some experienced roofers have tricks for laying new roofing shingles over the old, there is still a chance that they are curled, cupped, or misshapen.

These defects will then telegraph throughout the new layer. If you decide that you absolutely have to re-layer your roof, use laminated or dimensional shingles since they are thicker and offer, have staggered edge profiles that help to hide any high spots or dips that might be in the old roofing.

No Visual Inspection

Without that tear-off process, roofers cannot see what the decking underneath looks like. A roofer worth their salt will perform a careful inspection, known as a “walking” inspection, to look for spongy and problem areas. This allows them to make localized repairs before the re-roofing process.

When you hire a less-than-reputable roofer to do the job, they might not bother with this portion of the process. This leaves your roof susceptible to any damaged areas, which could permeate through the new layer of roofing shingles.

There is a litany of reasons why it is not a great idea to shingle over top of an existing layer of shingling simply. Understandably, some don’t want to fork out the upfront costs of new roofing installations, but it is beneficial to not roof over the older roof layer in the long run.

The reasons above should be enough to deter you from simply laying the new roofing shingles over top of the old ones, but just know that there are even more reasons why it is not a good reason to do so. You might save in the short term, but it will definitely cost you in the long run.

Take the necessary precautions when laying down your new roofing shingles and, if at all possible, remove the previous layer before doing so. It will save you a lot of trouble in the end.

Roof Flashing (Types + Techniques) for 2023

Roof Flashing Types Techniques

What is Roof Flashing?

Roof flashing is basically a thin material – typically a galvanized steel – that professional roofers will use in order to direct water away from the critical areas of the roof. Typically, it is wherever the roof plan meets a vertical surface, like a dormer or a wall.

Roof Flashing Near Wall

Roof Flashing Types

  • Continuous
  • Base
  • Counter
  • Step
  • Skylight
  • Valley
  • Drip Edges
  • Kickout

The Basics of Roof Flashing Installation

The flashing is installed to surround the features of the roof, like chimneys, vents, and skylights. Water should then run down the side of the flashing and wind up getting directed to the shingles instead of finding a way into the roof deck.

The Purpose of Roof Flashing

Without the roof flashing against those walls, water would slowly drip into the space between the roof and wall and even potentially into the home. So, what do you do when you find yourself needing roof flashing? Knowing the different types as well as the techniques to implement can be helpful.

Roof Flashing Types

  • Continuous Flashing. This is also known as “apron flashing” because it acts in a similar manner to an apron. It is a long, single piece of metal that is used to carry the water down to the shingles that lay below.
  • Base Flashing. There are some roof features, like chimneys, that require two pieces of flashing. This is to ensure that the rain always meets a flashing surface to direct it downward. Not only that, it is notoriously difficult to install flashing around a chimney.
  • Counter Flashing. This is placed opposite of base flashing, or above the base flashing. Counter flashing completes the team with the aforementioned base flashing.
  • Step Flashing. This is a rectangular piece of flashing that is bent 90 degrees in the middle. It is generally used for wall flashing. In this instance, multiple pieces of flashing will be installed as layers with the shingles to make sure that the water flows away from the wall.
  • Skylight Flashing. There are some skylight manufacturers that include flashing with their product, but others will require you to create it or purchase it separately. Knowing which option you have beforehand is helpful.
  • Valley Flashing. Any open valleys on your roof have metal flashing in order to protect this area, which is a critical area of the roof.
  • Drip Edges. At the edge of the roof, there is a thin metal flashing that allows water to drip off the roof without doing damage to the home or causing a pesky leak that can do further damage to the roof or home.
  • Kickout Flashing. Roofing contractors generally need something to bridge the gap where the step flashing comes to an end and where the gutter begins. This kind of flashing is used to direct water away from the wall and down into the gutter.

There are also a few different roofing materials that you need to be aware of. In the past, this would be lead or materials that were lead-coated. Now, professionals throughout North America have switched to one of three materials.

Roof Flashing Materials

  • Aluminum flashing is generally easy for roofers to form and it is also quite lightweight. There is one thing to note, however: aluminum has to be coated if it is going to be used with masonry and concrete since plain aluminum degrades and reacts when it makes contact with alkaline surfaces.
  • Copper roof flashing takes soldering well and is also malleable. Not only that, it is highly durable and tends to have a longer-lasting life. On the other hand, there is some discoloring into patina, which can vary based on the homeowner. Copper flashing is routinely found around chimneys.
  • Steel flashing is the most popular choice for flashing. In addition to aesthetic value, it is also malleable and, when galvanized, is corrosion-resistant.

There are building codes to be aware of that may call out a specific material. Have your roofing contractor look into this so that you can be covered in the event that a certain material is disallowed.

Identifying Roof Flashing Types

There are quite a few types of roof flashing; nearly as many as there are parts to the roof. Each roof feature requires protection, hence why there are so many different types of roof flashing.

Longer pieces of continuous flashing have trouble flexing as the home contracts and expand during the changing of the seasons. If left alone, it could warp or break and fail to keep that water out. If using longer pieces, they should have built-in expansion joints so that they can move as the home does.

Another benefit to two-part flashing is that when the roofing materials expand and contract with the weather, those two pieces can move, so the system stays secure.

So, how do you properly install roof flashing? Here are a few helpful techniques.

Roof Flashing Techniques

  • Step Flashing: The best instance for step flashing is where the roof face meets a wall. An example of this is where the dormer projects out from the roof. In a spot like this, it is entirely possible that water could flow down the wall and get past the shingles into the building down below.
  • Plumbing vent boot flashing: To put it simply, vent flashing has a cylindrical piece of flashing. This piece of flashing fits around the vent itself. These shingles are installed over the base or the boot. The height of the boot is meant to force water to run around the vent itself.
  • Counter Flashing: Counter-flashing is commonly used to flash chimneys and involves two flashing pieces. The first piece, the base flashing, is meant to sit around the base of the chimney. The second piece, the counter-flashing itself, finds itself embedded in the chimney’s masonry. This piece sits over the base flashing. It ensures the water doesn’t slip in behind the base flashing. Professional contractors generally use counter-flashing for a litany of other purposes, but it typically involves a second piece of flashing that is set off from the first.

Before you can learn to install that roof flashing, you need to understand the three primary techniques that are involved. Each one is different and can be suitable for different areas of the roof. There are also flashing types that tend to correspond with a specific technique.

Step flashing is the way to ensure that the water is properly directed away from the wall and that it winds up in the gutter. This is called step flashing because it is installed in – you guessed it – steps. This involves layers of shingles between so the water gets poured down each step and down the roof.

Sealant Types

The main key when installing roof flashing is to use a sealant. There are roofing professionals out there, generally of the old school variety, that still use nails while flashing. This works, but they still need to choose whether to nail to the roof plane or to the vertical wall itself.

If the contractor decides to nail to both, the flashing could deform under the pressure from shifting wood or brick. If you decide to use nails and nail only to the roof plane or to the vertical wall, the flashing can then stay in place while the other materials used in the construction contract and expand as the weather changes.

It is that weather change that can cause the most havoc. If the wrong materials are used or they are installed in an improper manner, that constant expansion and contraction can lead to the materials to bend and warp, making them more brittle until it finally breaks.

That is why roofing cement is generally accepted as the most common type of roofing sealant. This is because roofing cement is meant to create a waterproof seal. Roofing professionals can use a trowel to apply it evenly so that it adheres properly.

Protecting Your Roof

Ultimately, the installation of flashing and the application of a proper sealant are meant to protect your roof and its trouble areas from water and other damaging elements. Those hard-to-reach areas can be the first to go without proper flashing, so it is imperative for the life of your roof that you have to flash that will expand and contract with the elements and divert the water off the roof.

Those tough-to-reach areas can go unnoticed by amateur roofers who may not have the knowledge or experience necessary. Having a proper roofing contractor is necessary to ensure that those trouble areas do not worsen.

If not handled properly, areas around vents or the chimney could have a pooling of water. This water can do damage to areas of the roof, creating discoloration and even leaks. Those leaks can be a real trouble area if left unchecked, potentially causing structural damage if left unchecked.

A proper roof flashing can do wonders for protecting your roof from water damage and unnecessary wear and tear to those trouble areas on your roof.

Can You Live in a House While The Roof is Replaced?

Can You Live in a House While The Roof is Replaced

When preparing for roof replacement, homeowners have a simple question: can you live in a house while the roof is replaced?

Roof Replacement: What to Expect

Key Takeaway

You can live in your house during roof replacement, but there are annoyances you will have to endure during the process. The most important thing is securing your pets and ensuring any outdoor furniture is out of harm’s way.

Whether or not you can stay home is the most obvious thing to consider when replacing a roof.

The answer is yes… but there are some caveats that we will get into later.

Roof Replacement: What to Expect

There comes a time for most homeowners where the worst-case scenario happens: you need to have your roof replaced. We all hope to avoid dealing with it but may have to deal with it during our time as homeowners.

The need to replace your roof can come for several different reasons. One of the most common is in the wake of a hefty storm. Rain and wind damage can lead to several parts of the roof that are broken, which means you have to replace the roof as a whole.

It could also be due to the age of the roof. If your roof has not been replaced in a long time, weather and age can take a toll on your roof, which can leave it less than effective in protecting yourself and the rest of your home.

Whatever the reason, there can come a time when you need to replace that roof and upgrade to something more effective and current than what you might have had. This doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario if you choose the right roofing company.

But the one question you might have is, “can I live at home while my roof is being replaced?” After all, if the roof is under construction, you might feel like you aren’t protected from the elements, so how can you live there while the roof is being worked on?

You Can Stay Home When Your Roof is Being Replaced

While it can be a sizeable inconvenience to your life, you can still live at home while your roof is being replaced. A roofing company worth their salt will take special care to ensure you are not inconvenienced during the replacement.

Roofers fully understand that you have things to do: raising the kids, household responsibilities, cleaning, taking care of the pets, and any other things that you might have to do.

Of course, you will want to know how long and when to wait for the roofing job to be completed, so you don’t plan any family gatherings or have friends over during the repairs, as that could cause inconveniences to the roofers.

FAQs About Staying Home During Roof Replacement

Should I Stay Home During Roof Replacement?

There are things that you will have to put up with, but as long as you follow a few safety guidelines, you should be able to do so without any major concerns or issues while replacing your roof.

How Loud is Roof Replacement?

The replacement process can be very loud, and depending on your noise tolerance, it might annoy you considerably. Take a listen for yourself:

Do Roofers Need to Come Inside?

It depends on where you are in the replacement timeline. There will be periods when the roofer must access the indoors to inspect the attic. But this is done before the replacement.

How Long Does Roof Replacement Take?

With a quality roofing contractor, the job should take a few days to complete, and you can still live and work about your home as normal. However, in some cases, a replacement can take up to 14 days (2 weeks).

How Long Does a Roof Replacement Take

Most roof replacement projects conclude in just a few days, but larger homes may require more extensive projects that can last up to two full weeks or 14 days.

Other Considerations During Roof Replacement

Keep Your Pets Secured During Replacement

One of the more important things to keep in mind during this process is to keep your pets secured during the entirety of the roof replacement. Because there are many new and different things happening, they may not adjust well to these noises and new people in the area.

If possible or necessary, you might want to take the pets out of the home during the repairs that are being done and then bring them back later. You will be thankful that you did it for both the sake of your pets and your sanity.

This might be a good protocol to follow with your kids as well. Make sure that they are not playing around the house while the roofing is being done, and make sure they know to only stay in the house or within designated areas so that they do not put themselves in harm’s way or get in the way of the roofers at work.

Cleanup Your Outdoor Area

For those with outdoor furniture or any items of value that might be outside, make sure to remove those items before the crew arrives. The last thing that you want is to have something damaged during the process that could have been simply stored away.

Anything that can’t be moved should be properly covered and protected to ensure that it is not damaged in any way. It can also help to make the roofing company aware of these things, especially if they are larger items that can’t be moved out of the way easily.

Another thing to remember is that the replacement process can be fairly noisy. While this is easier to deal with within your home because you are aware of it, your neighbors might not appreciate it very much. Give them the heads up that you have scheduled to have your roof replaced so that they can make proper accommodations for dealing with the noise during this time.

Coordinate With The Roofing Contractors

Ultimately, the roofing replacement process is more of a team effort than you might think. You need to work with the roofing company to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that everything is accommodated. When this isn’t the case, it can make for a rough and uncomfortable experience.

A proper, professional roofing company will take any and all special care to coordinate with you and let you know what is happening each step of the way. Safety is paramount in these situations, and if there is any major inconvenience that you may have to deal with, the roofing company will be sure to communicate that with you.

Since your roof is your home’s first line of defense, keeping it in the best condition possible is paramount. Keeping it in great condition is important for the investment that is your home and for increasing the equity of your home.

The right roofing replacement professionals will take the most care possible each step of the way and will communicate any issues along the way. It might not be the ideal scenario, but having your roof replaced does not have to be a massive inconvenience.

It might be a few days of things being out of the norm, but you will be able to move forward with a brand new roof that will protect you and yours for a long time to come.

Best Commercial Chimney (Cleaning + Sweeping) Tools in 2022

Best Commercial Cleaning Chimney Tools

This post will outline the best professional commercial chimney cleaning tools for 2022.

A chimney sweep is quite literally a dirty job, but someone has to do it. It is the show Dirty Jobs come to life: hands (and other parts) coated in soot after a job well done. But it takes more than just a steady pair of hands to do a great job with commercial chimney sweeping.

As chimney cleaning technology continues to improve, so too do the tools that these technicians implement. Tools can range from basic to comprehensive, but chimney technicians should have several different pieces of equipment in their tool belts heading into 2022.

Best Chimney Cleaning Tools

  • Chimney Sweep Brushes
  • Power Sweeping System
  • Polypropylene Brush
  • Smoke Chamber Brush
  • Industrial Grade Chimney Sweep Vacuum
  • Full-Face Respirator
  • Powder-Based Creosote Remover
  • Chimney Sweep Inspection Camera

Chimney Sweep Brushes

This one seems like kind of a no-brainer, doesn’t it? After all, what is a chimney sweep without his brush? Every chimney sweep has the trusty wire brush that they rely on to take on those tough-to-reach nooks and crannies.

In your arsenal, a top-rated wire brush like the Master Sweep Wire Chimney Brush can make you more efficient and effective than ever. It is fitted with a heavy-duty, double-spiral spindle design for maximum effectiveness.

While this is certainly one of the best chimney sweep brushes around, it isn’t all you need. Brushes are meant to handle things like tarred or glazed creosote deposits along a flue, but sometimes, you must bring out the big guns for the big jobs.

Still, every chimney sweep technician should have this available at a moment’s notice. Besides, it would be weird for a chimney sweep not to have a chimney sweep brush.

Power Sweeping System

There might not be a more effective tool for the chimney sweep trade than a power sweeping system. Trying one of the best options available, like the SnapLok Power Sweeping Flue System, can make your life as a chimney technician much easier.

This rotary cleaning solution delivers the motorized capability of a traditional power tool with the durability that only solid nylon rods with a button lock system can offer.

The power sweeping system has an interlocking wire handle built to be incredibly strong while offering adjustability so that you can conquer any flue without having to break your back to do so.

Best of all, there are plenty of customizable cleaning head options. This allows you to deliver the right cleaning method that you need to sweep out an encrusted flue. It doesn’t matter if the job calls for a rotary mole brush or something heavy-duty like the Death Star PowerWhip; this type of cleaning system is one of the most powerful and trusted solutions that is currently on the market.

No chimney sweep technician should be without a power sweeping system to get at the toughest and worst grime and soot. You might as well invest in the best chimney sweep rods.

Polypropylene Brush

The traditional chimney sweep brush is made of wire to grind away the dirt, soot, and grime that can build up in a chimney. But a polypropylene brush is just the opposite of that, as it is a gentler alternative for cleaning chimneys with a certain type of lining.

When a chimney is lined with a more expensive metal, something like stainless steel, you want to ensure that the brush used will not damage or scratch the steel. Using a soft poly brush ensures that any warranty on the homeowner’s steel liner will not become null and void from needless scuffing and scratching.

An excellent choice is the Rock-Pro Poly Chimney Flue Brush. This brush will handle any stainless steel challenge with grace and aplomb. The polypropylene bristles make it capable of withstanding the acidic effects of coal, gas, and oil flues. These effects can wear down other chimney brushes far faster, meaning you will need to replace your tools before long.

Keeping this brush handy is a great idea, especially if you run across round, metal chimneys that are found most commonly in prefab units.

It is always ideal to have the tools necessary to take both the soft and rough approach. Having options like a chimney sweep technician is what every good technician should have on them.

Smoke Chamber Brush

Unfortunately, the flue lining is not the only area of the chimney that finds itself susceptible to creosote buildup. That is why having the right smoke chamber brush to help break up those creosote deposits is so important.

A good smoke chamber will not pose any hazards, simply performing the job as it was meant to. The Stiff Smoke Chamber ButtonLok Spin Brush is an excellent example of the range of motion in a smoke chamber brush.

This tool is ideal for getting into tiny corners or into cracks to get that soot that has become a problem for your chimney. Don’t ever battle those annoying, hard-to-reach corners that you have nightmares about for years.

Industrial Grade Chimney Sweep Vacuum

One of the measures of a great chimney sweep is the ability to do the job and keep the areas in someone’s home near the chimney as clean as possible. No one wants to hire a chimney sweep that will get the rest of the house dirty while cleaning the chimney properly.

A helpful tool for achieving this is an industrial-grade chimney sweep vacuum. One of these can help prevent messes as they build while also removing pollutants that might be released during the cleaning process. That latter part is crucial when considering the air quality in our homes.

And when working with the integrity of a home’s air quality, having an industrial-grade filter is also a must. Something like the SootMaster 641M is a must for chimney sweeps everywhere. It has a double filtration system that can stifle all the debris you can throw. Plus, it has a flexible hose that results in greater reach.

The metal hose and 6-gallon canister offer great resistance to hot coals, meaning your vacuum won’t accidentally combust when you are in someone’s home. This is undoubtedly the best choice for any savvy sweeper out there.

Being able to contain the mess as you go is something that customers will take note of and will help you to avoid any nasty messes that could leave the customer feeling upset.

Full-Face Respirator

This might sound shocking, but being a chimney sweep means constantly exposing hazardous chemicals. These carcinogens can be especially hazardous to your breathing over the long term if you don’t do anything to combat them.

Having a full-faced, powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) is about as essential a tool as you need in your bag of tricks. These respirators come with a commercial-grade HEPA filter that provides you with clean air while removing contaminants from the air.

Even better, many of these industrial-grade respirator masks come with comfortable padding and an eight-hour battery to ensure that you are comfortable and that you don’t have to worry about the battery lasting for the length of a workday.

Powder-Based Creosote Remover

While several tools can help you get into those hard-to-reach places, they might not make for the easiest of experiences. That is where having an industrial chemical cleaner can go a long way toward making your life easier than ever.

Having a creosote remover like A.W. Perkins Creosote Remover can help you get into air-tight fireplaces. Newer homes tend to have zero-clearance fireplaces, making them a huge hassle to clean properly.

With a powder-based formula like this, you can not only properly clean the fireplace but also improve its overall performance of it by removing any accumulated soot and ash. This will also benefit the overall airflow when it comes to the fireplace.

Chimney Sweep Inspection Camera

One of the toughest aspects of being a chimney sweep is finding all of the areas that might be covered in grime and soot. It’s a dark area, and that soot is black in nature. This can mean missed areas become a common occurrence.

But with a chimney sweep camera, you can get superior results immediately. Using a camera like the Wohler VIS 400 Visual Inspection Modular System, you get a top-of-the-line camera that allows you to adequately inspect all areas of the chimney and fireplace for soot and grime.

You can use this camera as a marketing tool with LED illumination, a waterproof camera head, and a crystal-clear screen. After all, who wouldn’t want to hire a chimney sweep with a cool inspection camera to get into all the nooks and crannies of their fireplace and chimney?

These types of tools can come with an investment cost, but they will more than pay for themselves over the life of their use. Not only that, you can become the most efficient and effective chimney sweep in the business before long.

Having the right tools is half the battle, and these tools will allow you to win the war against soot.

Roofing Tar vs. Silicone (2022 Analysis & Comparison)

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Roofing tar vs. Silicone. Which is superior?

Key Takeaway

Silicone is the superior roof sealant, but tar is nearly as effective. While you can’t go wrong with either solution, silicone presents better aesthetic appeal and greater stain resistance.

Perhaps you find yourself in the process of having your roof repaired or replaced. If you are, there are a few questions that you might be asking. One of these is “what is the best roof sealant for leaks.”

Since there are several different materials to choose from, like slate, asphalt, silicone, aluminum, clay tiles, and more, it is important to have the right type of material. Generally speaking, it likely comes down to tar asphalt or silicone.

These materials have distinct advantages, but knowing which is the best one for you takes a little research and a much more thorough look. Here are the two roofing materials side by side and what they can do for your roof.

Installation Process

Generally speaking, installing either roofing material can be a relatively straightforward process. For tar, you can install using a roller, but you have to ensure that the temperature is in the right range for it to stick to the roof effectively.

The last thing you want is the tar not to adhere properly. This could cause issues with peeling and potential water damage later on. Be certain that the temperature is right, and you will have no issues getting the tar to stick to the roof.

Perhaps the only downside to installing a tar roof is the fumes. When the sun hits the mixture, it creates toxic fumes that can leave you feeling dizzy and cause respiratory issues. Always wear a mask when installing a tar roof to protect against the side effects. No one wants to get dizzy and fall off the roof while installing it.

With silicone shingles, the process is a little more time-consuming but generally easy as well. There are no adverse side effects as far as fumes go, making it a safer option for installation.

Ideally, you should have a roofing professional come out to perform the repair or installation of your roof. It can be dangerous to take on the job if you are not experienced, as those without experience often forego or forget the important safety procedures that should be taken during the process.

The overall installation advantage is tar roofing simply because you can roll it out relatively easily. Yes, toxic fumes are involved, but as long as you wear a mask, you should be okay during the process.

Solar Energy

Silicone shingles reflect UV rays away from your home or business. This helps keep the structure cooler without increasing the amount of energy you use through air conditioning or other cooling devices. Until you see a sky-high utility bill, you won’t understand just how much money that can save you.

Tar, meanwhile, has similar properties. It protects the structure from those harmful UV rays and helps to keep the building cooler even when the temperature is at its hottest. This is crucial during the hotter summer months when energy bills can soar.

Properly handling UV rays is one of the most important aspects of a roof. If it isn’t doing its job, your home could turn into an oven during the hotter months. This means cranking up the air conditioning and seeing your home energy costs skyrocket.

As both deal with the same problem in very similar ways – keeping those UV rays at bay and reflecting solar energy to keep the building cooler – either works fine for this specific concern.

Eco-Friendliness 

When it comes to roofing tar, they are very effective at keeping your home or business cooler during those warmer months; up to twice as much as most traditional energy-star certified roofing materials. This means that you can save substantially on your energy bills. You could also see benefits from green organizations like NAHB, LEED, or others.

The one drawback here is that the fumes can be quite dangerous to be around, though the effects on the environment aren’t quite as bad. If you do the installation yourself, be sure to wear a breathing mask to avoid those toxic fumes that could be dangerous to your health.

Silicone is also great for saving money on energy costs. Even better, silicone offers protection against things like staining, dirt, and mildew. This gives them a distinct advantage: they will look newer over time than a tar roof.

The benefits are slight, but the advantage here goes to the silicone option. Both save you from expensive energy bills and are fairly easy to install, but Silicone protects against ugly staining while tar roofing material has toxic qualities during installation. Any time you can save yourself work on your roof, cleaning, or repairs, that is a victory for you and one that you should take.

Aesthetic Appeal

With roofing tar, you are oftentimes limited to black or white. Some companies specialize in offering a variety of different colors but don’t be surprised if the majority of roofing companies in your area stick with tradition.

Still, if you can find the color that best suits your design scheme, it can match perfectly. Not only that, tar provides a smooth, seamless aesthetic without grooves or breaks.

As for silicone roofing materials, they routinely come in various colors and designs that allow you to get as specific as you want to when it comes to the color of your roof. Also, as previously mentioned, silicone is resistant to staining and dirt, which can cause unsightly spots to appear over time, making your roof look dirty and worn down.

Because of the versatility, choice in color, and ability to protect from things that may stain your roof, the advantage here goes to silicone. While getting different colors of roofing tar is not impossible, it is not as common as the selection for silicone roofing.

Durability & Longevity

Above all else, this is the most important feature of a roof. Because of the cost involved in replacing or installing a roof, it is not something you want to do again in your lifetime. That is why using a roofing material meant to last is imperative.

Tar roofs are very durable. This is because they remove the seams and cracks that we generally see in roofs and create a smooth surface. This is incredibly important when it comes to dealing with high winds or keeping snow/water buildup from forming on the roof.

The latter is essential. Most roofs experience some level of damage that can lead to leaks or water damage in other home areas. With a tar roof, you limit the possibility of that happening drastically. And as we all know, water damage is a real wild card that can play havoc on your home or business.

Silicone roofing material is also very durable. In addition to being resistant to the damage that sunlight/UV rays can cause, it also protects against things like rain, snow, and extreme temperature changes.

The latter is very important in a roof, especially considering that most of us live in areas where the weather swings drastically depending on the time of the year. If you don’t have a roof that can withstand a snowstorm, you could find yourself in a pile of trouble before long.

These two are about even when it comes to durability. This is because both are meant to stand up to extreme temperatures, high winds, rain, and snow. They protect against water accumulation and help prevent those problematic leaks from occurring.

Perhaps the only real difference here is that many silicone roofs come with a 50-year warranty, which should last you for life. Having that kind of security and peace of mind can go a long way toward picking the right roofing material for your repair or replacement.

Final Call: Roofing Tar or Silicone?

Even though this piece will give a slight advantage to silicone, the reality of the situation is that you really can’t go wrong with either material. This is because choosing a roofing material comes down to what your own individualized, personal needs are.

Silicone might have a better overall aesthetic value and the ability to stand up to staining and mildew, but using a tar roof won’t make much of a difference. The same goes for being energy efficient – both are great at cutting down on your overall utility bills – and their overall durability.

If you are experiencing a repair or replacement of your roof and don’t know which material might be the best for you, make sure that you consult a roofing professional. You will be able to discuss your overall goals for the roofing projects, be able to understand your local climate better and be made aware of any weather conditions that could affect your roof.

Commercial Roof (Cleaning + Washing): Is It Worth It in 2022?

As one of the most essential investments in your building’s long-term safety, your roofing system deserves much respect. Any business owner can tell you just how essential professional repairs are to the life of the rooftop. But what about the cleanliness of the roof? Does that have an impact? In our discussion today, we’ll explain why regular commercial roof cleaning matters and how it could impact your monthly expenses!

One quick note before we start. Not all commercial roofing systems are healthy enough to receive a thorough washing. If you suspect your structure has sustained serious structural damage, it might be time to talk with your local contractor about a commercial roof replacement.

Looking at a Building Prior to Commercial Roof Cleaning

Even durable commercial roofs benefit from regular cleaning and washing. The cleaning process can extend your roof’s lifespan, enhance building appeal, and prevent minor damages that lead to repairs.

What is Commercial Roof Cleaning?

Roof cleaning is simply the process of removing debris, trash, algae, and other forms of growth from the surface of your roofing system. Depending on the type of roof and material involved, a commercial roof cleaning may entail pressure washing or even chemical treatment. Ultimately, the goal is to leave a clean, vibrant surface after the project.

While some retail products may temporarily relieve some of your commercial system’s many threats, a seasoned professional is more likely to provide the long-term results you desire.

Threats Against Your Roofing System

Commercial Roof Cleaning Professional Sprays Algae
Algae Threatens to Discolor Both Flat and Sloped Commercial Roofs. Watch for it in Moist Environments!

Years of exposure can leave any roofing system vulnerable to natural hazards. For metal roofing systems, rust slowly eats away at the metal panels, weakening the integrity of the affected areas. Plus, it just looks terrible!

Other roofing systems suffer from dirt, mold, and algae. Not only do these elements create an unsightly smear on your beautiful roof, but they can also speed the process of long-term degradation. If mold and algae get sucked into the building’s heating and cooling system, your employees could experience some unpleasant side effects. Finally, removing all the debris also reduces the potential for ponding water, one of the most dangerous threats to flat roofing systems.

While rooftop debris may not be an immediate concern, it represents a significant threat to your roofing system in the long run.

Key Benefits of Roof Cleaning

Renewed Efficiency

What image comes to mind when you think of TPO, PVC, metal roofing, and other cool roofing systems? If a brilliant white or silver roof springs up, that’s certainly the right picture! Over time, dust, dirt, mold, and algae accumulate on the surface of your roofing system. This darkens the membrane or metal. Darker surfaces naturally absorb more light, causing the rooftop to heat up and conduct heat towards the building interior. That’s the typical process of heat gain that so many businesses (and air conditioning systems) struggle with daily.

By washing away the murky grime from the surface of your flat or sloped rooftop, commercial roof cleaning renews the reflectivity and restores efficiency.

Commercial Roof Cleaning Over Metal Panels

Regular commercial roof washing keeps your metal roof reflective while preventing dirt accumulation. Over time, regular cleanings save you money on costly roof repairs.

A Cleaner, Healthier Environment

Sometimes cleanliness is its own reward. In the case of many businesses, however, a moldy rooftop may actually violate local health codes and put the business in jeopardy! No matter what industry you work in, protecting your building from the terrible smell of long-term mold growth makes sense. Those particles can get drawn in through the building AC unit and start circulating inside the building.

Talk with your local roofing contractor if your community deals with regular algae or mold growth. You may require a special chemical cleaner to protect your rooftop.

A Close Look at Your Roof Surface

Dirt and other smudges tend to obscure more serious problems beneath. A clean rooftop is much easier to inspect for surface level degradation, such as…

  • Exposed and/or weakened seams
  • Puncture marks
  • Deep scarring
  • Brittle spots
  • Depressed areas

Identifying these problems early on could prevent all kinds of problems. Finding a weakened seam, for instance, could prevent hundreds of dollars in future water leaks. Preventing a system-wide problem could even save you thousands of dollars and an early roof replacement!

Flat Roof With Weakened Seams

Sometimes a roof cleaning reveals underlying problems, saving you from expensive repairs or replacement. For example, roof washing often reveals brittle spots and puncture marks.

Find Your Commercial Roof Cleaner

Commercial roof cleaning is a common requirement for businesses with upcoming repair or restoration projects. For some, however, it’s simply a prudent investment to avoid the unpleasant effects of algae growth, mold smell, or diminished energy efficiency. Timely maintenance can make all the difference!

Finding a commercial roof washing service can be a challenge in some areas. Make sure you evaluate the company’s reviews on Google Business Profile, Yelp, and other reputation platforms. Also, check out their website for examples of previous commercial roof cleanings.

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