How to: Keep Your Home Cool in the Hot North Texas Summer

If you live in the North Texas region, you know exactly just how hot summer can be. Outside you lather on the sunscreen and spend as much time in the coolness of the water. But what are you supposed to do when you go into your home, and it is not cool enough? With the hot North Texas sun baring down on your home, you need to protect your house, just like you protect your body when you are outside. So here are some tips on keeping your home cool.

The first thing you need to do is be cautious and smart with your air conditioning. For smart ways to save on the AC, set the thermostat at 70 to 75 degrees when you are home. When you are away from the house bump it up to about 80 degrees. You don’t want to turn it off completely, though. If you turn it off before you leave, you will end up spending more money trying to cool the house back down from its overheated state. Next, you need to manipulate your air conditioning thermostat. When electric devices, such as your television, computer, lamp, or other electric producers of heat are near the thermostat, the AC senses the heat and runs longer than necessary. For the next step you might need to step outside. Bare the heat for a short while, as you look at where your unit is. You want to place room units on the north side of the house, when that is a possibility. Because of the shade it will get on the north side, the AC unit will use up to ten percent less electricity. In addition to keeping your unit on the north side of the home, you can plant some trees around your windows, providing shade, and saving you up to 25 percent of the energy a typical home uses. And last, you need to know when to upgrade. Consider purchasing a new air conditioner if you have one celebrating its tenth birthday (air unit). If your central air is more than 12 years old, it’s time for an upgrade.


The next tip is remembering that heat rises, which means your attic can reach a temperature of up to 150 degrees. So here’s how to help your attic. Make sure your attic is properly insulated from the rest of the house. You might need to install sweeps and weather-stripping around the door. Or, if you have a hatch-style entrance, purchase a stair-insulator cover, such as an attic tent, to seal it. Sealing off the attic will tremendously help keep your house cooler.

And finally, harness the heat. Because not all hot weather is bad for your electric bill, try changing up your laundry habits. Line-dry clothes outdoors, this means skipping the drying, saving you money, energy, and cooling off your home. And because you spend so much time outdoors in the pool, hang dry your towels. Bonus: solar rays can kill some smell-causing bacteria. It’s truly a win-win.


Top Reasons Your Attic is So Hot

Do you ever open the latch to your attic and feel a gust of heat attack you?  Attics are known for their ability to heat so rapidly and leave you feeling breathless.  But it is time to take away the heating power of the attic.  You have control over the temperature of your attic!  So take a stand against attic heat, by following a few simple steps.

The top reason your attic is so hot is because of ventilation.  Of course, ventilation is important, but did you know that many attics are not properly ventilated, regardless of your homes age.  So here is what you should look for when determining your attics ventilation status.  Look at the vents on top of your roof.  Vents on top of the roof are exhaust vents.  There are different vents, such as turbines, box vents, ridge vents, and power vents.  So look at your vents and make sure its size is appropriate for the size of the attic.  Your vents should be larger if you have a large attic, and thus, your vents can be smaller if you have a smaller attic.

The next area of ventilation that makes an impact on your attic’s temperature are the intake vents, or soffit vents.  These vents are located at the underside of your roof, the edge of the home.  Covered with a metal screen, these vents serve two purposes.  They push hot air up through the top of the attic and allow cool air to blow into the attic.  Because these vents are not on display, they often get overlooked, are not kept clean, and sometimes, they get painted over.  In addition to their misfortune of being small, there are not enough soffit vents installed when houses are built.  It is imperative to have enough soffit vents relative to the size of the attic.  With enough exhaust vents and intake vents, your attic has breathing room and is better cooled.

Another reason your attic is so hot is because of insulation.  Not the overabundance, but the lack of insulation in the attic.  The attic is a huge determinant in keeping your entire home cool, so the first place to start cooling your home should be the attic.  Within the attic, insulation is a must.  A thick insulation, between 14 to 18 inches, will help reduce heat from entering your home.  A good way to gage if more insulation is necessary is to look in your attic for ceiling rafters.  If you can see the ceiling rafters, you need more insulation.

After you have prevented the heat from entering, you need to work at getting cool air into the attic.  But you have to be careful in this attempt.  Brining in in a powered attic fan can actually pull the air out of the house, giving your attic the desired effect, but causing your home to lose cool air.

Make sure you look at your attic’s vents and insulation to determine why your attic is so hot.



Wood Roof Shingles

Many of our area's most beautiful homes are protected with wood roofs. Natural wood roofs have been protecting homes for centuries. Wood shingles are esthetically pleasing. At one time, the vast majority of homes in America were protected with natural wood. Problems with combustibility, reduction of the old growth cedar forests, competitive products and shipping expense have completely changed this one- time market domination.

Wood Roof Breaking Up

Worn Out Wood Ridge


Worn Out Wood Roof


Wood Roofing is just not the same as it used to be!


The quality of wood roofing has changed drastically. In earlier times, the old growth cedar, with its very tight growth ring pattern, was stable and lasted extremely well. But the old growth became rare and expensive and the wood roofing industry moved on to utilizing younger 2nd growth trees. These younger trees are much less stable in the Texas heat and they just don't last as long as the old growth. Wood shingle roofing right now is lasting about 13 to 17 years.


Curling Fragile Wood Shakes



Some Wood Roofs Are a Fire Hazard!

After the Plano Fires in recent years, area wood roofing shingles were required to be impregnated with fire retardant resins. However many wood roofs that were installed in the 80's and early 90's were never treated. Wood shingles have lost their market share because of this vulnerability to fire and the loss of reliability due to the scarcity of old growth cedar. They have also become much more expensive to produce and ship from Canadian Mills.

Wood Gone Bad                                                               Wood Roof Ridge Gone Bad

Wood roofing materials are often abused by poor roofing practice


And of course, wood shingles are at the mercy of the roofing mechanic putting on the roof. Great wood roofing products when installed poorly create a poor quality roof. The exposure or required distance between each row of shingles is not always correct. Different qualities of wood shingles each require a different exposure.


Bad Wood, Bad Vents

How does this situation impact you?


There is increased risk of fire when a home is covered with a combustible roofing product. This is probably impacting your homeowners premiums.

Also, you might have noticed that your shingles are twisting and curling. This might not be a serious water shedding problem and sure can be esthetically displeasing. These cured and twisted shingles are more vulnerable to hail damage and damage by foot traffic.

Hail comes in the spring. Foot traffic can come any time of year. The painter, the chimney sweep, the Christmas Tree light installer, the neighbor kids retrieving their airplanes, kites or cats, can break up fragile shingles with their footsteps. Falling or blowing tree branches, flying footballs and bouncing basketballs and baseballs are another source of breakage problems. Wood shingles will split under impact and destroy the carefully woven effect of overlapping shingles to shed water.

Wood Roof Coming Apart



Roofs Gone Bad

An Ugly Mess

Roofing systems keep homes dry and waterproof. A proper cricket flashing around a chimney is critical to the integrity of a sound roofing system.  You can see the shingle roof is relatively new.  Somebody thought they were saving some time or money by constructing a cricket fast.  They were wrong. The cricket leaks evidence the patching cements someone hopes covers for a structural problem in the cricket.

Get it done right the first time. Keep your deck dry, keep your insulation dry, keep your interior dry and well painted.  There are an infinite number of ways to foul up roofing.  You are seeing one here.


Bad Chimney Left Un-Repaired

This is a chimney flashing that might seem remote to the roofing system but in fact, this wood chimney frame forms the protective flanks to the actual roof flashing and shingles.  If you don't solve the problem with this chimney flashing when you re- roof this house you have a built in problem that will cost the homeowner more money in the long run.  The chimney is poorly designed in the first place.  There is no crown to the metal flashing and so it does not drain well.  It probably started out flat but the lightweight metal has bowed in the middle. Someone cheaped out during original construction.  The roofer you want is not going to cheap out now and sell you a roof that does not solve this problem.


Poor Attention to Chimney Flashing

This roof area has a couple of problems.  We are interested here in the chimney counter flashing and the condition of the chimney itself.  It might have saved a few bucks on an estimate but the dollars saved passing over this poor excuse for a chimney flashing, will cost the homeowner much more through water penetration and deterioration.  The counter flashing on the chimney needs to be replaced and the chimney itself needs attention from a brick mason. The shingle roofing is close to the elevation of counter flashing. It is likely that the visible shingle roof has been recovered over an original roof.  This dooms roofing materials to an early grave in the intensity of the Texas sun. What was considered a right roofing decision will cost significantly more much sooner than expected.


Chimney Flashing Done Right


Here you see a roofing mechanic installing a proper counter flashing on a chimney.  He is scoring the masonry so that a reglet joint can be sealed and the counter flashing will properly shed water over the step flashings.  You can see the properly installed step flashing interlaced in the tile roofing.  This roof will hold up well because the potential problems on the roof have been eliminated by proper construction techniques.  You can afford nothing less on your home, if you are trying to save money.


Structural shifting has damaged this chimney.  The preceding roofers have also not paid proper attention to the step flashings and the covering counter flashing. You can see sections missing here.  Water is getting into the superstructure and is conceivably the reason that the chimney has shifted. Somebody saved some time and hard work by skipping over the installation

of roof flashing to a proper specification. Somebody is going to cost the homeowner a lot of money to solve the resulting problems. Get roofing completed with quality the first time.  Save your hard earned cash for other better purposes that to make premature repairs.


Chimney Base No Cricket

Broad encumbrances to the flow of water need a roofing cricket. This point is emphasized on this roof because this is the eave of the roof so there is a maximum of water flow at this point. The cricket construction would have been extra work in this case so a short cut was created to save time and energy. The siding is rotted out now and the cure is much more expensive than the original savings.

Step flashings are missing along the rakes, or outside sloped edges, of the chimney.  Deck could easily have been wet for some time. Shingles are pretty new.  You can reasonably conclude that the existing roof was installed with this defective chimney flashing in place.  Complete repairs were not made.  Some money was saved on an estimate and a buying decision was made on price.  Don't make this expensive mistake yourself.  Make sure the estimate you choose solves the problems on your roof.


Don't Want An Overlay

Well, here we see one roof overlaying another.  This saves the cost of tearing off the old roof.  It also reduces the life of the roofing by more than half.  It also throws off elevations of roofing and creates vulnerabilities to leaking. Several other problems are created. The extra layers of roofing are too heavy and the standing weight loading of the roof deck has been compromised. This overlay is also a violation of the roofing manufacturer's installation specifications.  Homeowners have to watch out for themselves here.  There are no cities with municipal roof inspectors on staff. This overlay did not save any money.  These mistakes will cost more in the future.  Don't make this mistake yourself. You don't want to afford it.


Get Skylights Right Or Create Damage

Skylights are a protrusion through the roofing just like a chimney.  They need special attention paid to proper roofing procedure to make sure they do not leak into the superstructure.  It is not rocket science to create a watertight roof.  It just takes proper roofing knowledge and attention to detail.  Unfortunately in this case, something went wrong and the result is rottted decking and wet insulation. Make sure your roofer understands proper roofing procedure and is committed to quality roofing.  Don't buy on price along. That lower price can get you into a lot of extra expenses.


Inadequate Flashing

These skylights are improperly installed too close to the roof surface. Problems with them are likely even though these skylights are very high on the ridge. The power vents are not properly installed either. We get very heavy rain in Texas during which water can enter these defective flashing assemblies. Perhaps not enough to actually leak into the home's interior. Just enough to wet some insulation and destroy some decking and maybe grow some mold. Not a good bargain for the homeowner.

The #1 Dumb Mistake Creating Roof Problems

Rubber Vents Crack Not Properly Installed

The number one mistake that creates roofing problems all relate to the placement of vents in roofing.  The roof assembly must accommodate pipes and metal chimneys to vent plumbing, to vent gas water heaters.  Placing proper vent flashings are easy.

You just need to know what you are doing, use proper components and construct the roofing materials and flashing components in a manner to properly shed water.

However, for a variety of reasons, roofs leak around vents.  Lets look at some of these problems and learn from other's mistakes so that these types of dumb mistakes are not allowed to damage our roofing systems and our homes.

Rubber vents are cheaper than lead flashings.  Unfortunately they don't last well under the intense Texas sun.  These cheap rubber vents are the #1 cause of leaks in the industry.  Rubber vent flashings are a poor investment. Don't let a roofer underbid by a few dollars and stick you with rubber vent flashings.  All roofers are not created the same. Make sure you understand the estimate and make sure it addresses the problems on your roof. Make sure your roofer is not installing a future roofing problem on your roof.


The second photo gives away the fact that the flashing is not properly installed into the layers of shingles. The shingles and all components must be layered together to shed water off the roof. This figure shows that the vent is cut down through all layers of the shingles. This is a problem. The nice messy application of roofing cement just might be someone trying to stop a roof leak through the area. Whatever, this dollop of goo has no useful purpose.


Pipe Not Cut

This lead flashing would appear to be properly placed into the layers of shingle roofing. Unfortunately, no time or effort was taken to either cut the pipe off to a proper length or find a lead pipe flashing to fit the length of the pipe.

Pipes move inside the lead sheathing by the coefficient of expansion of the material in the pipe, the length of the pipe and the change in temperature. Asphalt-based mastic is not flexible. Pipe movement causes a crack to form in the mastic between the pipe and the vent flashing. The mastic becomes a water funnel directing the water into the crack. Water entering the crack is entering the home.

Every drop of rain that hits the exposed section of pipe runs inside the house. Now in some climates, this might not be a big deal but in Texas, we get serious rain- several inches at a time. The vertical surface area of exposure on the pipe translates to an equivalent area on the flat roof. A mathematical function can be created to define this area. Now you will have to come by the office to see the math, but just understand that several inches of rain hitting the pipe translates to cubic inches of rain in the structure. The leak may not generate enough water to create visible damage inside the living space, but still leak into the structure enough to wet insulation, wet the roof deck, and create paint problems on the ceiling. Get the roof vents installed right the first time, by hiring a roofing company that does not skip over the minor details- like long vent pipes. Call Joe Hall Roofing and relax. We don't cut corners to low-ball bids. We get it all done right at the right price.


Poorly Flashed Vent

This photo shows another example of a pipe flashing that is not properly installed into the layers of shingles. The shingles and all components must be layered together to shed water off the roof. This figure shows that the vent is cut down through all layers of the shingles. This is a problem. You want your roofers to know what they are doing. Roofing is not difficult but poorly trained or poorly motivated roofers find an amazing number of ways to mess up the installation of basic roofing components.

This simple photo also raises suspicion that this roof might be an overlay of an existing roof. We talked about overlays earl ier. Overlays don't work, don't meet building codes, don't meet the manufacturer's specifications, but do create excessive weight on the roof structure and cost you money later to solve the problems created by an overlay.


Vent Not Covered Correctly

This photo is an example of a gas vent flashing that is not properly installed into the layers of shingles. Instead of being cut down through all the roofing shingles, this vent sits on top of all the layer of shingles, except for the very top exposed layer of shingle. The shingles and all components must be layered together to shed water off the roof. The gas vent flashing is to shed water around a large hole in the deck to vacate a gas venting duct. This flashing will not shed water properly. Water is entering and wetting roof members and insulation and doing a variety of bad things. This is a problem. You want your roofers to know what they are doing. Roofing construction is not rocket science. But it continually amazes us of the ways found to mess up the installation of basic roofing components.


Vent Not Right

This picture makes a conscientious roofer shudder. Someone has basically cut a whole right through the roof and installed this pipe vent and instead of doing any roofing work at all just spread out some kind of asphalt-based patching material instead. This vent is leaking. This vent looks really ugly. Someone did not know what they were doing, or did not care. Whatever type of contractor you hire, make sure they work in your community and that you check references. See our list of criteria for picking out a contractor. We meant this list to help you pick out roofers, but the same principals exists for every kind of contractor.

Friendly and glib talkers sell you stuff by making promises to you. You need  to substantiate what they  promise or you may just be cheated out of your  hard earned investment.



Do You Have Defective Roofing Materials?

Manufacturing Defects Can Cause Premature Failure in Composition Shingles

Composition shingles are the most popular product used in residential roofing. There are many different manufacturers of composition roofing and many more varieties of manufactured shingles. Composition shingles are made up of a combination of paper, ceramic granules, fiberglass strands, natural and modified bitumens, talcs and fillers in a unique combination for each style of shingle.

All composition roofing will eventually wear out from the effects of the ultra-violet rays of the sun and the wear and tear of the elements. Our concern right now is when manufacturing defects cause composition shingles to prematurely fail. This does not happen often, but in our huge Texas marketplace and our many years of experience, we have seen manufacturer's defects create premature failure hundreds of times.

The premature wearing out of composition shingles can be manifest in many ways. Here are 4 specific examples.

Granular failure

This picture is an example of blistering in the roofing shingle. The difference here from hail damage is subtle but significant. This blistering is the result of asphalt problems in the manufacturing process.



These shingles are all obviously the same age but the ridge shingles have prematurely failed. This situation is caused by a manufacturer's defect.




This pictures shows a broad expanse of roofing shingle which is suffering from granular loss.



Cracking or Spawling

A close up of granular loss. These shingles have lost their ultraviolet protection because of poor granular attachment. This is an example of a manufacturer's defect.



Not all pre-mature failure is caused by manufacturer's defects

We need to be very careful not to confuse shingle problems caused by manufacturer's defects from shingle failure problems created by a lack of proper ventilation or even hail damage.

Inadequate attic ventilation can cause premature roofing failure. Roofs can suffer pre-mature failure due to mechanical damage created by foot scuffs or tree limb damage or other mechanical factors. Each of these roofing failure modes has nothing to do with manufacturer's defects.

Manufacturers Warranties and Installation requirements for Composition Shingles

Each manufacturer of composition roofing sells an initial warranty on their products and has a proper installation method for their materials. On those occasions when these manufactured products, usually organic and asphaltic shingle products, prematurely fail, homeowners can create a claim for warranty coverage.

Are you concerned that your composition roof is prematurely failing? We would be happy to help you understand what you are dealing with. We can help you document your situation and assist you with a warranty claim. Hall Roofing has helped guide hundreds of homeowners over the years through this process. Let us help you with the "knowing the what, how and where" to process your manufacturer's defect claim.

Get a Free Roofing Estimate

We have been in the roofing business for 25 years and are planning our success for the next 25 years. We want you to consider us as your roofing resource. We want you to call us for your roofing needs whether it is 2 hours, or 2 weeks, 2 or 10 years in the future. We would like to include you and your family in our future successes.

Each individual homeowner needs to know their exact situation from a roofer they can trust. It is our pleasure to be a trustworthy and knowledgeable roofing company. We enjoy helping people know the facts so that they can make informed choices that are best for them.

We are hear to help you understand your situation. Feel free to call us and ask us any question you might have. You don't need to worry, you just need the facts of what you are dealing.


About Joe Hall Roofing

Joe Hall Roofing is a reliable, reputable, resource for all of your roofing needs in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Quality work by quality people.

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Contact Us

  • Joe Hall Roofing, Inc.
    1925 W. Pioneer Parkway
    Arlington, TX 76013-6187
  • Telephone : 817-756-1315
    or 877-617-5777

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