Monday, November 26, 2012

What Kind of Roofing Do I Put on My Roof?

Cold weather, rain and snow is on the way. Therefore it may be time to think about a new roof. Choosing the material and the installer wisely may be as frustrating as choosing a new fishing pole or golf club.

This may help:

Three tab shingles are the least expensive but look sort of plain. Architectural shingles are heavier, have a long warranty and look much better. We used to call them “fake shakes”. Metal resists staining, lasts a long time and has a nice long 50 year, warranty. 29 gauge is thinner than 26 gauge...go figure... but it's true.

We only use 26 gauge with 30 pound felt under. The difference between 15 pound and 30 pound felt isn’t much in actual cost but 30 pound takes more abuse and holds tight when men walk on it while installing the roofing.

Which one is best for your home?

If your roof has a low pitch metal may be your best choice, while with a high pitched roof either metal or shingles are ok. Metal comes in many colors that reflect the sun and can reduce the attic temperature a measurable degree.

On the other hand, if the roof is “cut up” and has lots of valleys and ridges, you may want to go with shingles. On such roofs metal looks more cut up and busy than asphalt shingles. Also, if you have trees hanging over your home you may want to avoid metal. It is a little harder, costly and slower to get metal repaired if a limb or tree falls on it.

On some roofs, metal roofing and architectural shingles and metal roofs may cost about the same once the job is done. Therefore, if you want the reflectivity of metal with the ease of repair that comes with an architectural shingle, you may want to look for a reflective architectural shingle rather than metal.
Applying shingles
If this is a project you are taking on as a Do-It-Yourselfer, take a few minutes before applying the new shingles to examine the decking on your roof. If it feels weak, bouncy or mushy it likely needs to be replaced before a new roof is put on.
Also, make sure you have called your insurance company before beginning a roofing project. Many times insurance will cover the cost of a new roof, so even if you are in doubt give them a call just to make sure.
If you are looking for a contractor to help with your roof project, ask some questions before giving them the job to make sure they:
1. Take off existing shingles if need be, dispose of them for you, and check out your decking before applying 30 pound felt and the shingles they have helped you choose for your home.

2. Prime the facia board and cover it entirely with metal facia to make it last as long as the metal roofing. This should always be done but many times isn't.

3. Have the skills repair any eve damage or rebuild your roof if need be.

4. Will be there ASAP if a leak in your roof appears. Companies like Mid South who have been around 30 or 40 years and are not going anywhere will be the best bet for quality guarantees like this.
For more information about Mid South Builders a free estimate or for advice about roofing, call us at 479-601-2002 or visit our Website.
You can also email us at
Call Mid South for all your roofing needs, including: METAL, SHAKES, ALL SHINGLES, EVEN TILE ROOFING.

Common Roof Issues

This week we had a question sent to us about roofing:

Should the cellophane strips be removed from architectural shingles during installation or left in place?
I had my roof redone 10 years ago and the contractor left the cellophane strips on (rather than exposing the tar underneath). Every wind storm some come shingles come off of the roof. I fix
this by using globs of asphalt calking to glue down the corners of every shingle that seems loose. Now I have no more trouble with those particular shingles, but do have lines on the roof where the tar I applied got warm and dripped.
Whenever I put on a new shingle I also take off the cellophane strip to stick down the edges (unlike what the contractor did).
What's the proper way to install those puppies?


No need to take the plastic strip off during installation. It's just there to keep the shingles from sticking together in the bundles. The tar dabs to "glue down" the shingles to each other will be where they are supposed to be during nail down and not covered by the plastic.
A roofing problem like yours happens every now and then for several reasons. One of the following
may apply your particular roof:
The tar dabs melt and glue down pretty well in hot weather but in cold weather they do not glue down until a warm day comes along, letting shingles fly off in a heavy wind before the warm day.
To mitigate this issue, in cold weather tar caulk can be applied just under the shingles, especially on the Northwest side of the roof.
According to the National Roofing Contracors Associacion (
"Both 3-tab asphalt shingles and laminated asphalt shingles contain a strip of factory applied adhesive that is activated by the sun's heat after installation and seals each shingle to the next course. The seal strip also provides much of a shingle's resistance to wind uplift. Shingles with factory-applied adhesive have a strip of clear polyester film applied to each shingle to prevent the sealing strips from bonding the shingles together when packaged. When the shingles are installed, the self-sealing strips will not align with the plastic film strips and will bond to adjacent shingles. For this reason, the plastic film strips do not have to be removed." 
Concerning the issue of your shingles, there may be other potential reasons this is happening:

1. Sometimes shingles are flawed when they arrive. They may old with dried out tar dabs. I had
one customer buy from one of those discount stores and this happened. I found out they were a color close out telling how old they were.
We always buy from "active" roofing suppliers who are selling enough product that there is less chance of getting old shingles and being stuck with them. By going with "active" suppliers we get good shingles and don't get a mix match of dye lots.

On a side note, getting a mix match of dye lots happens when less active suppliers send out an order of shingles that were returned from order "over" orders. If shingles come from several dye lots, times of manufacturing, etc there may be several colors on one truck going to a customer resulting in those streaks you see on many roofs.


2. Sometimes the applicator can also push the shingles to close together and pucker them...not letting them set down flat as they should. If shingles are puckered they will be more likely to catch wind and come off.
3. Some contractors use staples to put shingles on a roof. We never use staples. It is easy for the installer to use too much air pressure on the air stapler, nearly driving the staples all the way through
the shingles. I have replaced several roofs where half the roof blew off in one piece and left every staple in the roof decking. Nails may cost twice as much a staples but an extra $75 spent on a customer's roof is well spent. We never, ever never use staples. Nails pull the shingles down
better onto the felt. 
4. The next potential problem many homeowners have is the roofing felt. After felt is applied it can wrinkle if it rains, turns cold, etc before the shingles are nailed on. Shingles should not be applied on badly wrinkled felt. This doesn't let shingle lay flat... since they are nailed over the wrinkles.

5. One last potential problem could be the wrong length of nails or the lack of nails. Sometimes we have found roofs done by previous contractors have nails that are too short on 1 or 2 layers of shingles. Sometimes shingles also do not have enough nails. There should be 4 nails in every shingle applied to a roof.
6. If a roof is installed on a day that is drastically too cold for the job or the roof is installed in the rain, it is much more likely problems will occur later.
I have had a few shingles come off on a house or two in some windy storms. It is usually right in the same place on the roof. On one big house in Centerton it was always the NW side near the same valley. We calk-tared the replaced shingles down every time and this finally quit. I decided there must have been a wind increase in that area of the roof when the wind came in just right.

Most of the time, just a few shingles will come off just a few times and then it quits, even if the roof has the above issues.

For more information about Mid South Builders please visit our Website. We'll be glad to answer any roofing questions you may have or give you a free estimate on roofing or any other project you may have.

You can also email us at or call

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Painting Before Winter

Before you get out the hot chocolate and plan your next snowman, there are a few things your home may need.

A good coat of paint not only looks better in all your winter photos, it can help keep the heating bills a little lower. There are a few steps involved in correctly painting a home before winter's wonder strikes and several things that need to be considered to make sure it is done properly.

First, caulk all facia boards, trim and siding. This prevents rot and will keep you from having to do expensive repairs. However, if the facia boards, trim or siding are rotten they will need to be replaced (and caulked) before painting.

Second, power wash the areas you are going to paint. This cleans off any mildew, mold, dirt or old paint that may prevent the new paint from adhering correctly. While this may seem an irritating and time consuming part of the process, you will thank yourself later when the new paint you have invested time and money in stays on your house rather than chipping off and becoming unsightly.
Third, pick a new paint. There are many pretty colors to choose from and new paint can make an older house look more up to date. However, while you are considering a paint color keep in mind that dark colors will fade. Even if you pick the most expensive paint on the market, dark colors will still fade before lighter colors. However, this does not mean you should give up and get the cheapest paint on the market. Not all paints are created equal and getting a good quality exterior paint will help preserve the new look of your home (and the wood the paint is covering) longer.

Furthermore, using Latex or oil base paints depends upon your preference, how long you can let the paint dry, the last paint that was used on your home's exterior and other details. While picking a new paint, keep in mind that "one coat" paints are often not all they are cracked up to be. In order to get good coverage and to adequately preserve the wood they are protecting, paint often needs to be applied in more than one coat.
On a side note, you can also add a pesticide to your paint to help it resist spiders and other bugs. This can help keep bugs out of the eves and crevices of your siding.
Fourth, all bare material (wood, concrete sidng, etc) should be primed before paint is applied. This ensures new paint will adhere well and helps to protect the wood or other material better and longer. 
Fifth, read the manufacturer information about the optimal temperature, humidity, and time of day for painting to ensure the best results. Typically paint will not dry as quickly on very humid days. Also, although many contractors and homeowners will use only paint sprayers when painting large projects, this may not give optimal results. In many cases, either rolling or brushing paint on is best although sometimes a combination of spraying and back-rolling will work. The proper application will ensure good, even coverage.
Lastly, if this project sounds too large to handle on your own and you plan to hire a contractor, make sure the contracor you choose prepares all surfaces before applying paint. You will save a lot of time, money and irritation by finding a contractor who, before painting, will take the time to caulk, power wash and offer to repair parts of your trim or facia that need work.
Many times, Paul also suggests applying metal or vinyl facia before painting to give your home an exterior that will need less maintenance and be attractive longer. The facia board always gets the brunt of rain, gutter leakage and snow run off. Therefore, metal or vinyl saves many ugly and expensive failures.

Want to learn more about Mid South? Visit us on our Website.
You can also call or email for a no charge estimate or advice for you home needs in interior and exterior painting and repairs.
479-601-2002 Paul

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A while back a friend of mine, Floyd P Knipe (he goes by Floyd and Paul) got ahold of me. He has owned and operated Mid-South Builders/Construction for 30 years or so and since he has been in business so long, or since before the dinosaurs as he would say, and is an engineer (he has an engineering degree from the U of A) he wanted to share some of what he knows with the world. Floyd and I have long conversations about construction, design ideas and engineering. I tell him about my great ideas and he sometimes brings a little reality to my dreaming.

The goal of this blog is to help homeowners, people who are thinking about building a home or dreamers such as myself to benefit from Floyd Paul's wisdom and experience as we dream and plan.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hydrostatic Pressure

You've picked out the perfect spot for your home or workshop. It has a beautiful view nestled in a valley or on the side of the hill. You're ready to build, right?

If your plan is to build on the side of a hill or in a valley, it is important you have a contractor with engineering experience to help navigate any pitfalls these beautiful locations may have. Your first potential pitfall could be hydrostatic pressure.

Unfortunately, many homes have not been built with hydrostatic pressure in mind and not all contractors are aware of correct building methods to prevent hydrostatic pressure from becoming a life-long irritation.

Hydrostatic pressure builds a lake of water that pushes against the footing and basement walls and homes that have not been given proper drainage will most likely have wet basements. In worst-case scenerios, homes affected by hydrostatic pressure may have cracks in their foundations, basement walls and other walls throughout the home.

In order to avoid this issue, homes need to have curtain drains filled with gravel installed at the time when the basement or foundation is poured. In some cases, homes need to have trenches dug around the foundation perimeter and filled with gravel, putting the home up on a island where it will be safe from incoming water.

Water can come from above and from deep undergound. Even if a house seems to be in a potentially safe area, underground water can still affect a home's foundation or basement.

The good news is that even if you have a home with a wet basement or your home has otherwise been affected by hydrostatic pressure, it might not be too late to dig around the foundation, install proper drains and fix problems that have been caused by underground water.

Beautiful building sites can be wonderful assets, if they are managed correctly. To ensure your home stays a dry and healthy structure, make sure your contractor is aware of issues related to hydrostatic pressure and is familiar with correct building methods to mitigate such issues.

For more information about us visit MidSouthBuilders.