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Why You Should Take the Time to Look for the Best Roofer

roofer installing a red tile roof


When you stare at your home, what comes to mind? Is it the windows, front door, or garage? What about the roof? Even though it protects you year-round and keeps you dry during storms, we’re willing to bet that you barely think about your roof until something goes wrong. But instead of being reactive, it might be better to be proactive in seeking out roofing services.

US demand for residential roofing products is forecast to advance 4.0 percent per year to 147 million squares in 2020, valued at $10.4 billion. Clearly, many homeowners care deeply about the roofs on their homes and want to have the best available to them. When you consider all the reasons why it’s important to find the best roofer and get in quality roofing contractors, we think that you’ll agree.

Protect Your Investment

For most people, their home is their most significant investment. They’ve sunk money, time, and effort into a place that they can raise their families and perhaps grow old together. When you don’t maintain this investment, it ends up being worth less than what you paid for it. By investing in a good roofing service and trying to find the best roofer, you can be confident that you’re doing all that you can to protect your investment far into the future. Whether you eventually want to rent your home out or live in it until you die, you’ll be doing your due diligence as a homeowner by making sure that your roof is simply amazing.

Save Yourself from the Elements, Critters, and More

When you seek out the best roofer in your area to make sure that your roof is in tip top shape, you’ll be making sure that you’ll be protected from the elements and any critters that might want to get into your home. Squirrels, birds, mice, and more love to use the attic or upper spaces of your home to nest in. You can’t blame them: not only is it warm and dry, but who wouldn’t want to live in a home as lovely as yours? If that wasn’t enough to turn you off, a small hole or leak in your roof can wreak havoc when the next storm blows into your area. When you find a quality roofing company to repair or install a quality roof on your home, you’ll be making sure that nothing from the elements can get inside your home unless you open the front door and invite them in.

Cheap Prices Get Cheap Quality Work

In life, as the old adage says, you get what you pay for. While we all love getting a “bargain” and not paying full price for something, there is all too often a catch for this. In order for roofing companies to give you a cheap price on repairing or constructing your roof, they must skimp on materials, use low-quality labor, or cut corners. We don’t like to be the ones to break the bad news to you, but this is simply the way of the world. One of the most practical reasons to seek out the best roofer is so that you can guarantee that all of the work you have done for you is of superior quality. You get what you pay for, so expect to pay a fair price for the best roofer.

The Other Foundation

Every homeowner intuitively understands that the foundation of a home has to be rock solid in order to build upon and last. And the roof is actually equally important. Without a quality roof that has been built or repaired by the best roofer, your home won’t last long in the elements or after a storm. Unless you like getting invaded by critters from outside or having snowfall upon your head while you’re sleeping, it’s important to have a high-quality roof. When you do your due diligence to find the best roofer available to you, you’ll have a wonderful home to come back to every time. When you’re ready to make sure that your “other foundation” is in solid order, be sure to contact Hometown Roofing for all your roofing needs.

Shining a Light on Solar Panels

solar panels on a home's roof

Homeowners who install solar panels receive numerous benefits: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs. The magnitude of the gains can also vary widely from one house to another. This article will help homeowners make the correct decisions required to determine if solar panels are right for their homes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Those seeking to go green may want to consider equipping their home with solar panels.
  • Not only is solar power good for the environment, but you may earn money selling back excess power to the grid.
  • While costs have come down over the past years, installation and maintenance of solar panels can be quite costly.
  • Solar panels are best suited for homes that receive ample sun exposure throughout the year.
  • Before committing to solar power, be sure to understand both the social and economic factors.

The Nitty Gritty of Solar Power

Solar technology has been around since the 1950s. However, it has only been considered a financially viable technology for widespread use since the turn of the millennium.

Solar panel size is quoted in terms of the output potential in watts. However, the actual output of installed solar panels is between 15% and 30% of the potential output. A 3 kilowatt-hour (kWh) household system running at 15% capacity would produce roughly one-third of the typical electricity consumption needed for a U.S. household.

This can be misleading though, because there is no “typical” output. In fact, solar may make sense for one household, but not for the house next door. This can be attributed to the financial and practical factors you have to consider to see if they are right for your home.

Solar Panels for the Home: Installation Costs

Solar power is expensive. The main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar panel itself will be the most expensive piece of the system. You will also need an inverter, metering equipment, and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear. Some homeowners also consider battery storage. However, batteries are prohibitively expensive and may be unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid. The installation labor cost must also be factored in.

There are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining solar panels. They need to be cleaned regularly and inverters and batteries (if installed) generally need replacement after a few years.

Solar Panels for the Home: Incentives

Determining subsidies available from the government and/or your local utility can prove more of a challenge. Government incentives change often, but historically, the U.S. government has allowed a tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s cost.

You can find more details on incentive programs in the U.S. including programs within each state on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) website. Such information is often available on government or solar advocacy websites if you are in another country. Homeowners should also check with their local utility company to see whether it offers incentives for solar installation, and to determine what its policy is for selling excess power into the grid.

97.7 gigawatts

The U.S. installed 19.2 gigawatts of solar PV capacity in 2020 to reach 97.7 GWdc of total installed capacity, enough to power 17.7 million American homes.

Solar Panels for the Home: Considerations

A significant benefit to solar panels is a lower energy bill. The magnitude of this benefit depends on the amount of solar energy that can be produced given the available conditions and the way in which utilities charge for electricity.

Solar Panels for the Home: Location, Location, Location

The first consideration is how much sun is available where the home is. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produces maps for the U.S. showing this. Homeowners can use the maps provided to help determine if their home is a good fit for solar energy based on how much the panels could produce. Government environmental agencies or renewable energy organizations in other countries offer similar maps and data. Homeowners should consider their home orientation as well. For example, a south-facing roof without trees maximizes the available solar energy. Panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house if this isn’t an option.

Solar Panels for the Home: Utility Companies

You also should be aware of when solar power is produced and how utilities charge for electricity. Solar power is produced primarily during the afternoon and during summer. This works well with overall electricity demand because this is when air conditioners consume the most energy. This makes solar power valuable because other energy production methods (often natural gas power plants) used to meet peak energy demand tend to be expensive.

The problem is that utilities often charge residential consumers a flat rate for electricity, regardless of the time of consumption. This means that instead of offsetting the expensive cost of peak electricity production, homeowners’ solar power systems merely offset the price they are charged for electricity. This is much closer to the average cost of power production.

Many utility companies in the U.S. have introduced pricing schemes that allow homeowners to be charged at different rates throughout the day in an attempt to mirror the actual cost of electricity production at different times. This means higher rates in the afternoon and lower rates at night. A solar array may be very beneficial in areas where this sort of time-varying rate is used since the solar power produced would offset the most costly electricity.

Exactly how beneficial this is for a given homeowner depends on the exact timing and magnitude of the rate changes under such a plan. Similarly, utilities in some locations have pricing schemes that vary over different times of the year due to regular seasonal demand fluctuations. Those with higher rates during the summer make solar power more valuable. Some utilities have tiered pricing plans in which the marginal price of electricity changes as consumption rises. The benefit from a solar system on this sort of plan can depend on the electricity use of the home. In certain areas subject to rates that increase dramatically as consumption increases, large homes (with large energy needs) may benefit most from solar arrays.

Solar Panels for the Home: Benefits

Another benefit of a solar system is that homeowners can sell solar-generated electricity to utilities. In the U.S., this is done through “net metering” plans. This lets residential consumers use the power that they put into the grid if they produce extra energy to offset the power consumed at other times. The monthly electric bill reflects net energy consumption. The specific net metering regulations and policies vary across regions. Homeowners can refer to the DSIRE database and should also contact their local utilities to find more specific information.

The final benefit is the potential effect on a home’s value due to the addition of a solar array. It is reasonable to assume that solar panels would raise the value of most homes.

So let’s recap. First, there is an undeniable financial benefit to having lower electricity bills as a result of a solar array. Second, the trend toward “green” living means there is a growing demand for homes that have a smaller carbon footprint and are powered by renewable sources. Finally, buying a home with solar already installed means the investment is financed (for the homebuyer) through the mortgage. This ease of financing potentially makes solar more affordable for a homebuyer than buying a house without solar and subsequently adding a solar array.

Calculating Solar Power Costs

The viability of solar power is usually decided by finding the “levelized cost of electricity” (or “LCOE”), then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar is calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour ($/kWh or ¢/kWh). This is the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To find the LCOE, you can use the following equation:

LCOE ($/kWh) =

Net Present Value (NPV) of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership ($)
–                                                                                                            –
Lifetime Energy Output (kWh)

The useful life of a solar panel is generally assumed to be 25-40 years. The lifetime cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be subtracted from the Net Present Value.

The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility. Remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels for Your Home

Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. Some economic costs can be excused by the benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which is worth more than the financial hit.


  • Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
  • Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
  • You may be eligible for certain tax breaks


  • Installation and maintenance costs still high
  • Solar only works when the sun is out
  • Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
  • Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a House Run on Solar Power Alone?

It is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.

Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels?

It is possible that the system can pay itself back and more over time, but it depends on your location. This is because you won’t be spending as much money buying electricity from your utility. You can reduce your bills even further if you can sell back some power.

How Much Does a Solar Panel Cost?

Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. The cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000, after taxing tax credits into account.

How Long Will It Take for Solar Panels To Pay for Themselves?

It can take on average anywhere from 10 to 20 years to break even on a solar installation depending on where you live and how big your system is

The Bottom Line

It is important to remember that a solar system is a long-term investment. Solar power is a good choice from a financial perspective in many locations. Homeowners may wish to install solar power to avoid future changes in energy costs, even if the cost of solar power is found to be marginally more expensive than electricity purchased from a utility. They may also simply wish to use solar for “green” living.

If you’d like to learn more, just give us a call.

How to Pick a Roofing Contractor

contractors working on a home

Choosing a Professional

You’ve decided you need to fix your home. You know you can’t do it yourself, so you decide you should hire a professional. But how do you decide on who to call? There are a few things to keep in mind when picking any contractor (not just a roofer!):

How Long They Have Been In Business

Obviously, it means the business is doing something right if it has survived for a long time, especially in the construction world. It also means that the business is more likely to be around in the future if something goes wrong with the work they’ve done! Some roofing companies will go under after only a couple of years and then when the work they did fails, they’re nowhere to be found. Then you have to start your search all over and pay even more to fix the issues.

Do They Have Insurance?

You would think that insurance is a requirement if a company is doing construction on your home, and in Nebraska, it is! That doesn’t mean that every contractor follows that law though. Smaller contractors may not want to pay the premiums for insurance, so they skip it altogether. Why does this matter to the homeowner though? Well, if something were to happen at your home and the contractor DIDN’T have insurance, you could be stuck with the bills involved! A contractor should carry their own insurance to take that risk off the shoulder of the homeowners and put it squarely on their own where it belongs.

Are They Based Near Your City?

After a hailstorm, it’s possible you will get roofers knocking on your door offering an estimate and to do your roof within a week. These roofers are what we call “storm chasers” that just follow where the big storms are to cash in on the hail damage claims. Most of these crews are from other states and bring their own materials. Why would this be a problem?

Since each state follows different building codes, they wouldn’t be familiar with the ones for your state. This could lead to a subpar installation for your area that will fail very quickly. They also wouldn’t be around if you have any issues with their work, just like in the first point. By bringing their own materials, you can’t verify the quality of the material. Not every material is available in every region as well. It could be possible to get a product you can’t fix because it isn’t sold in your region! Manufacturers can also refuse to honor a warranty if you have a material you shouldn’t have in your area. Talk about a hassle!

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

This is probably pretty obvious, but read all the reviews you can. Read them from different sources like FacebookGoogle, and Customer Lobby. Take all the reviews seriously and also make note if the business owner responds to the reviews! An owner who is invested in making sure all their customers leave happy will continue the outreach even after the money has exchanged hands.

Just based on these criteria, you should be able to weed out the contractors who are just in it for a quick buck and focus your contractor search on the ones that will take care of you. Of course, Hometown Roofing is hoping to meet these criteria and would love to help you with your home project! Contact us so we can get started today.

Synthetic Felt: What Is It and Why Should Your Roof Have It?

green synthetic felt on a home's roof

What is synthetic felt?

Synthetic felt is called by many names. It’s called synthetic felt, roofing felt, roofing paper, underlayment, roll roofing, and roofing tar paper to name a few. But what is it made of and how is it applied?

Roofing felt is comprised of a base and a coating. The base is made from natural materials (such as wood cellulose) or more commonly synthetic materials (such as fiberglass or polyester). The base is then coated or saturated with a protective coating such as bitumen (asphalt), which repels water but still allows the product to breathe.

Synthetic felt is typically applied over the whole roof directly to the roof deck. The only places that do not have synthetic felt would be where a roofer installs ice and water barriers and any holes, or penetrations, in the roof.

Why use synthetic felt?

Roofers know that adding a layer of protection between your roof decking and your roof shingles helps create a better-looking and longer-lasting roof. In fact, according to the 2018 International Buiding Code, it is required on all shingled buildings! But just how does it do that? Here’s a quick list that why roofers use felt:

1. Repels Water

Wind-driven rain or snow can get trapped under your shingles. This puts your roof deck at risk of moisture damage, leaks, rot, and mold. Roofing felt helps ensure the water drains off the roof and doesn’t leak into your home. The felt is waterproof, so any water that gets stuck will roll right off of it.

2. Provides Protection In Case Of Damage

In northern climates, ice dams are a common cause of water damage. When the heat from your home melts snow or ice on your roof, the water can then seep into your roof’s nooks and crannies and ultimately into your residence, causing damage to ceilings, walls, or insulation. Your best protection against an ice dam is an ice and water shield that lines the edges of your roof. Roofing felt covers the rest of the roof, offering an extra layer of protection against leaks.

3. Provides Extra Weather Protection

Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against the elements, but having a backup layer of weather protection underneath helps extend the life of your roof deck. In the event of a major weather event that breaks your shingles loose, the roofing felt guards your wood deck against rain and water until the shingles can be replaced. In fact, roofers will use felt to weather-proof a roof before they can do a repair!

4. Synthetic Felt May Be Required For Fire Protection Ratings

Shingles are evaluated for their fire ratings by testing a small deck with the roofing felt underlayment in place. Without this underlayment, the shingles alone may not meet the Class A fire requirements.

5. Protects Deck During Installation

Roofing felt prevents the deck from being exposed to the elements before or while the shingles are being applied. This is especially helpful on larger roofs that take several days to roof.

6. Improves Aesthetics of Roof

Your roof deck might not lie perfectly straight or flat. This is normal, but a layer of felt gives an even, uniform surface upon which you can install your shingles. It can help prevent the pattern of your wood decking from showing through your shingles.

7. Prevents Wood Resin Stains

Certain types of wood sometimes have a risk of leaching small amounts of resin over time as it ages. Having a layer of roof felt will block the resin, preventing it from staining or compromising your roof shingles.

Ready to learn more? Just give us a call.

Storm Season: What You Need to Know

lighning over three homes

May through July is storm season in the Midwest, so we need to do our best to prepare our homes for the incoming storms. There’s plenty we can do before, during, and after a storm. 

Preparing for a Storm Goes a Long Way

Before a storm even hits, there are a few things you can do to protect your home. First and foremost, you should check the roof’s condition. Are shingles lifted and falling off? Previous damage to your home can make storms even worse by letting in water, which could cause mold and further damage. You should also check your insurance policy carefully. Some policies won’t cover “aesthetic” damage, even though there is truly damage! You’ll also want to make sure that code upgrades are included. All builders are required to follow a book of building codes that changes every few years. If your policy doesn’t include code upgrades, you could be stuck paying hundreds or even thousands out of pocket! Lastly, check what your deductible will be. That is how much you will pay out of pocket after a storm.

Stay Safe!

During a storm, you have to prioritize yourself and your family. Take proper cover from rain and hail. If there is a tornado, go to the basement. Always listen to a storm radio or news station for the latest updates. Do not go outside, even if you see parts of your home blowing away! If the storm can tear apart your house, imagine what it can do to you.

Survey the Storm Damage

After the storm, after you’ve verified your family is okay, it’s time to take inventory of the damage to your home. Check your windows, window wraps, siding, gutters, and roof for any signs of damage. Damage can look like small holes or dents in any part of the home. Also, be on the lookout for shingles in your or your neighbors’ yards. These are all signs that there could be more damage to your home than you can see! Take pictures of what you can, and then call both your insurance agent and a roofer you can trust to inspect the damage. 

Once you know the steps you need to take in case of a storm, it will help you feel much less anxious about what to do. Our representatives will even walk you through each step of the way if you want them to! Just give us a call.

When is the Best Time to Have Your Siding Replaced?

home with yellow vinyl siding

Keeping Your Siding in Shape

Most homeowners know that a roof replacement can be accomplished almost any time of year—especially if your roof has been damaged by hail or other weather factors and it’s no longer safe to live in your home. Though temperature does have an effect on your roof, most professional roofing companies can still repair or replace it during all four seasons.

When it comes to your siding, though, some seasons are not ideal for a replacement. Do you need to replace the siding on your home in the near future? Here’s what you need to know about timing.

Hot Weather and Siding

Vinyl siding, which the most versatile and common type of siding used in the Midwest, is affected by the sun. Vinyl is made of plastic and plastic can melt if it’s exposed to high temps. Even if the sun is not hot enough to melt your vinyl siding, it can still cause it to expand and stretch. If siding is installed when it’s either at its shortest (in the winter) or longest (in the summer), it may not fit properly throughout the year.

Cold Weather and Siding

When temperature drop below 50 degrees, the panels on vinyl siding contract. If they are contracted, they can be nailed on to your home too tightly and cause major problems when the panels expand when the weather warms up. 

In addition to shrinking vinyl, cold temps also make vinyl more brittle. When panels are nailed onto a home when it’s too cold out, they could break apart or crack. This could increase both the time spent on your siding installation as well as the cost.

Moisture and Siding

Springtime seems a natural choice for installing siding because it’s neither too hot nor too cold. However, spring is also the season that typically has the most moisture. If a rainstorm occurs while your contractor is in the middle of siding your home, the sheathing and walls will be exposed and could start to form mold. It could also delay your project by days or weeks if too much rain falls while your home is undergoing the vinyl installation process.

The Ideal Season for Siding Installation

There are several reasons why fall is the perfect time to install vinyl siding. First, a lot of siding material goes on sale because contractors are getting new winter inventory and must make room for their older products. Many contractors are also less busy in the fall, meaning they have time to work on your project. Finally, fall tends to have moderate temperature without heavy rainfall so your project can be done without delays and without the complications of extreme heat or cold. Of course, having your siding project completed before winter is also a plus as you’ll benefit from the added insulation. Though it is possible to have your home re-sided in any season depending on the weather, fall is usually the best time to shoot for. Start planning now for your fall siding insulation so you and your contractor can properly prepare. Want to know your options when it comes to new siding? Reach out to our team for information.

Does Your Roof Have Hail Damage?

close-up of hail-damaged shingles

Dealing With Severe Weather

As we approach spring, the likelihood of damaging snowstorms diminishes, but the possibility of even more damaging hailstorms increases. When we hear “hail”, we most often think about how it will affect our vehicles. However, many don’t stop to think about what it could do to their homes. When hail hits your home’s roof, it can damage the shingles, gutters, and other structures. Depending on numerous factors, the damage can range from aesthetic to a full loss that will require you to get a new roof. Here’s how to identify if your roof has been damaged by hail and what to do next.

How Severe is Your Damage?

You can often tell how severe the damage to your roof is by paying attention to the hailstorm. These factors will have a huge influence on how much your roof is impacted by the storm:

How strong the wind is  Wind speed and wind direction affect the angle of impact of accompanying hail as well as how hard it strikes your home. The stronger the wind, the more damaging the storm will be.

Density and size of hail  The size and density of the little balls of ice that strike your house is the biggest factor when it comes to damage. Hailstones can range in size from that of a pea to that of a softball. The larger and more jagged of corners the hailstone has, the more likely it is to damage your home.

What your roof is made of  The type and quality of materials used on your roof will affect how much it can absorb without being compromised. A hailstone can tear shingles, crack tiles, put dings in metal roofing, and create tears in the vinyl coating. In general, the higher the quality of materials on your roof and the better the condition they are in, the less damage the hail will do.

What barriers are present  The more barriers you have around your home to affect the speed and angle of the hail, the better. If there are neighboring homes, trees, landscaping features, fences, and other barriers present, your home will be safer during a hailstorm.

How Do You Know if You Have Hail Damage?

The best way to identify hail damage is to work with a professional like those at Hometown Roofing who can come to your home after a hailstorm and see if the storm caused any damage. They are experienced and have seen hundreds of roofs with hail damage and can easily spot damage to different types of roofs. Damage to wood shingles looks much different than damage to composition and asphalt shingles. For example, hail can cause loss of granules on shingle covered, exposing the underlying materials. It can also cause areas on the roof to look shiny or polished. Some areas that are impacted by hail may be soft to the touch or have a spongy quality. Splits in shingles are also common.

Not only is it dangerous for you to get on your roof to try to identify damage, it also may be tough to get a good idea of the level of damage when you don’t know what to look for.

There are many things that can damage your roof. Knowing common culprits, such as hailstorms, will help you keep an eye (and an ear) out to identify when possible damage has occurred. If you think a hailstorm has compromised the integrity of your roof, give the experts at Hometown Roofing a call for a free consultation.

What is the Process of Putting on a New Roof?

roofing materials from Hometown Roofing

New Roof Installation

You likely already know that installing a new roof on your home is a big project with many different moving parts. Whether you are having your roof replaced due to normal wear and tear, damage from pests, or failure due to cold temps or ice, a new roof is an expensive and time-intensive process. When you work with a quality roofing company such as Hometown Roofing, you won’t need to know the details of how a roof is installed as they will take care of everything. However, some homeowners are interested in what goes into the process of putting on a new roof. Here are the steps of the re-roofing process that your Hometown team will perform when they install your new roof.

Step 1: Delivery of Materials

One of our team members will deliver the roofing materials to your home on the day your project is scheduled to begin. We will place the materials in a designated location where they are out of your way and accessible to our team.

Step 2: Tear-Off of Old Roof

Before your new roof can be installed, the old one has to be removed. Our team will get on your roof and tear off all the old shingles and felt paper down to the plywood. All torn off materials will be disposed of by our team. If we find that your plywood is damaged or rotting, we will also remove it and replace it with new plywood. This gives us a clean, smooth foundation on which to install your new roof.

Step 3: Installation of Roofing Felt and Shields

After all the old or damaged materials have been torn off, our team will lay down new roofing felt. This is sometimes also referred to as roofing paper or tar paper. At this stage, we will also install water and ice shields in the valleys of your new roof and around the chimney to protect against the harsh Omaha weather. Before laying the shingles, we dry the entire roof.

Step 4: Installation of Shingles

When your roof is sufficiently dry, we begin installing the new shingles you chose during your consultation with our team. The time it takes to install shingles varies depending on the size of the roof, the materials being used, and the weather conditions. Higher-end materials like slate will take longer to install as they can crack or break if not handled carefully. Once shingles are installed, the team will paint vents and pipes to match the new color of your shingles if necessary to give a more uniform appearance.

Step 5: Final Inspection and Cleanup

Once the project has been completed, the Omaha roofing contractor from Hometown will inspect the roof to make sure there are no issues or flaws in the roofing materials. They will then inspect your entire property and look for nails, shingles, or fallen debris. A final cleanup will be performed to restore your property to the condition it was in before we started the project. We enjoy every new roofing project we perform for our customers and are happy to share our process! If you need a new roof or just want to have an inspection done to make sure your roof is in good shape, give the team at Hometown a call today.

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Ice Dams

close-up of an ice dam

A Major Winter Hazard

It’s wintertime, and along with hot cocoa, joyful holidays, and warm, fuzzy socks, the season also has its drawbacks. One of those is weather conditions that can cause major problems for important parts of your home. One of the biggest winter hazards for your roof is something called an ice dam. Ice dams can damage your gutter system and cause your roof to leak, eventually leading to damage that may require a full roof repair. Here’s what you need to know about ice dams and how to prevent them this winter.

What is an Ice Dam?

When snow melts on the upper part of your roof, it naturally flows to the lower portion, which is cooler. If it’s cool enough, it will re-freeze. This is where icicles come from. In addition to looking pretty, this ice can also block the flow of more melting snow and soon begins to act like a dam and trapping water on your roof. As the moisture sits on your roof, it eventually begins to get under your shingles and leaking into your home. The most common condition for ice dams is a snowstorm that is followed by subzero temperatures. You don’t need a lot of snow, either. As little as an inch can lead to troublesome ice dams.

What Can an Ice Dam Do to Your Roof?

The biggest problem caused by ice dams is not the leaks but what the leaks lead to. If the leaks occur in the attic, you could ruin your insulation and breed dangerous mold. If the water leaks into your walls, it could ruin your drywall, rot wood, or even short out your electrical systems. If the insulation in the walls is affected, it can sink and leave the upper parts of your wall unprotected.

Signs of leaks in your home might not be what you’d expect. Stains on the ceiling, peeling paint, and damaged wall boards are obvious signs of leaks, but so are rotten smells, corrosion of metal connections, and mold growth and these signs may be difficult to identify.

How Can You Prevent Ice Dams?

While you can’t prevent snow from falling on your roof, there are a few actions you can take to help prevent ice dams from forming. The best way to keep them from forming is by keeping your roof cold. You can do this by having the right kind and amount of insulation in your attic and by finding any air leaks in your attic and filling them. Having adequate ventilation in your roof is another way to keep the ice away from your roof. It’s also recommended that you clean your gutters thoroughly prior to the first snowstorm of the season. Not sure how your insulation or ventilation is performing? It’s always best to call a professional roofing contractor like those at Hometown Roofing to check your roof out and make suggestions for improving it.

How Snow and Ice Affect Your Roof

icicle covered metal roof

Preparing for Winter

As winter settles in, homeowners in the Midwest start anticipating the inevitable snow and ice that are the hallmarks of the season. We all know that these weather phenomena have an impact on our roads, our comfort levels, and our outdoor maintenance routines. But have you ever thought about what impact ice and snow have on your roof? A frigid winter with a lot of precipitation can cause some major problems for your roof. Here is what to be aware of so you can be prepared.

Ice Dams

When ice and snow that have accumulated on your roof melt, they can flow down the roof and freeze on the edge of it. This results in ice dams, which can be very damaging to your gutters and your roof as it can tear off the flashing. Proper insulation and ventilation are usually the keys to preventing ice dams.


Heavy snows can cause a lot of extra weight on your roof. This results in stress that is hard on your roof as a whole. Adding to the problem is large blocks of ice that can form when melting snow or rainwater are allowed to accumulate on your roof. In the worst-case scenario, this stress can lead to a cave-in. To keep stress as low as possible, remove heavy snow from your roof as soon as possible.

The Freeze/Thaw Cycle

As snow melts, it can easily flow into cracks in your gutter or roof. When it freezes again, the water expands and can turn small cracks into larger ones that can cause major problems. Even small cracks can lead to leaks in your home and larger cracks could cause catastrophic water damage. That’s why it’s important to get your roof inspected regularly to identify cracks and other damage and get them fixed before they turn into larger problems.

Roof Blisters

Some of the damage done by the winter months isn’t apparent until the thaw. When warm weather arrives, it can trap moisture or air between layers in your roof. This is especially common in low-sloped or flat roofs. These blisters can compromise the integrity of your roof and eventually lead to leaks or failure.

Snow Removal Damage

Sometimes it’s not the weather itself but the act of mitigating it that causes issues. In the process of snow removal, some homeowners can puncture shingles or damage the waterproof membrane on the roof. This is even more likely if you’re trying to remove ice. If you plan to remove snow and ice from your roof yourself, make sure you have a safe and effective way of doing so. If you don’t, a better option is to have a professional do it for you.

Living in the Midwest means cold temps in the winter and hot ones in the summer, both of which can do a number on your roof. As winter sets in, keep the above possible hazards in mind and do your best to keep an eye on potential problems. If you do think you have a roof issue, contact the pros at Hometown Roofing to do an inspection and repair small problems before they become catastrophes.