Raccoon Behavior in Residential Areas

Living with Raccoons

Raccoons are medium-sized breed mammals that have made their homes in the woods and forests of North America for over 500 years. Once our society began claiming land and building cities, industrial complexes, roads, and highways, overtime, the raccoons and other wildlife were forced to leave their habitats and live among us in our residential communities. Today, it is common for someone to see a raccoon, squirrel, or rabbit running through the trees and bushes of a neighborhood. In fact, that person wouldn’t think twice about it. This is because we have become so accustomed to living side-by-side with these animals; consequently, sharing our porches, crawl spaces, attics, garbage, backyards, flowerbeds, and more with these critters, particularly raccoons.

Raccoons Are Mischievous

The species is known for their intelligence, and they use this intellect to cause more mischief than other animals do in our neighborhoods. For a raccoon, our homes and buildings are shelters for them to nest and breed in, and our garbage is their personal dinner buffet each night. They tamper with our belongings and create huge messes for us to clean up in the morning. Being a nocturnal breed, raccoons only come out at night, so they create all this mischief while we are fast asleep in bed.

Finding Shelter

Raccoons are attracted to shelters that are warm, dim, safe, and isolated from predators. In a residential community, the spots that most accurately encompass all of these qualities are areas in our homes and buildings. Spaces such as attics and crawl spaces are among a few of their favorites. This creates a problem because the accumulation of their scat, food debris, nesting, and breeding results in structural and electrical damages that is costly to repair. They gain access to these areas by scoping out weak and vulnerable spots on roofs and sides of homes and buildings.

Finding Food

Raccoons are thrifty animals, and along with their intelligence, they manage to find food sources in our neighborhoods, night after night. They can use their hands to turn handles and unlock gates, gaining access to our garages and backyards. They rummage through trash cans, city dumpsters, garden beds, crops, and more. A night of raccoon “food finding” is obvious in the daylight, because they create such huge messes with food and garbage; another reason why they are viewed as a nuisance.

Raccoons have become a nuisance in residential communities, but there are ways to avoid issues with them. By following certain guidelines and rules, such as sealing your garbage and never feeding raccoons, you can achieve a raccoon-free property.

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Why Can’t I Sell My House

Why won’t my house sell? If this is a buyers market, and homes are out there selling, how come mine won’t? Well there are a number of reasons why it possibly is not selling.

1. Is it priced right? Your real estate agent should provide you with a list of comparables (sq. ft., # of bedrooms, # bathrooms, lot size, etc..) that are similar to your property in the same area. It is important to understand these, and advise your realtor if you have any questions. Since it is a buyers market, this means that the buyers are determining the selling price. Remember, it is not how well your home is constructed, or the type of carpet you have, etc… that determines the selling price of your home. It is what the market is willing / capable of sustaining. For instance, one may feel that their house is worth $150,000, but if all the houses in the area are selling for $120,000, then you will not be able to sell for $150,000.

2. You may need to update. Since this is a buyers market, you must curtail to the buyers wants needs of the market. If your home is priced along with the other homes in your neighborhood, but your house needs a new roof, or new flooring, or kitchen updating, then your house most likely will not sell, UNLESS you drop your price to below what the other houses are selling for.

3. Don’t be closed minded. Sometimes, as we all do, we do not want to drop the price because of memories or even because of upgrades that you have made to the home. Just because you redid the landscape, or added curb appeal does not mean that the house will sell for an additional $10,000. Sometimes, people state that the house was built with a certain type of construction, or the paint used was $50 / gallon, etc.. Remember, buyers do not care about this. While these are nice features, in this market, buyers are not going to pay more for this. They care about square footage, number of bedrooms, number and type of bathrooms,updates to the kitchen, and yard size.

These are the three most common reasons why a home may not be selling in the market arena. A good agent can lead you through these points, and offer advice to get your house sold!!

Top 5 Ways to Save Energy at Home

1. Switch to Energy-efficient Lights and Fans

One of the most effective and simplest ways to reduce your energy bills is to switch over the lighting of your home to fluorescent bulbs. Skeptics have been raising concerns about the safe environmental disposal of these bulbs due to their mercury content. However, if you follow proper disposal instructions, this concern becomes addressed fully.

A single fluorescent bulb can produce light equivalent to an incandescent lamp at 70 to 80 percent lower cost. Therefore, if you change the complete lighting of your home to this energy efficient form of lighting, you can decrease the energy costs substantially. Similarly, install ceiling fans or buy portable pedestal fans for your home. This will reduce your need for air conditioning in the summers, and it is also a more environment friendly alternative.

2. Weatherstrip the Doors and Windows

One of the best lines of defense against the sun in hot summers and chilly winds and snow in winters is weatherstripping.* Once you weatherstrip every window and door in the home, you will be surprised by how much your energy bill becomes reduced.

Identify other gaps in your home for heat loss such as mechanical chases, mail slots, chimney, and outlets on exterior walls. Air leakage is one of the key factors responsible for heat loss in your home, so plug the leaks.

3. Regularly Maintain all Electrical Appliances

Make sure that various domestic appliances at your home such as the refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, microwave, and other kitchen gadgets are maintained in outstanding and operable condition.

Simple DIY maintenance projects can do the job for you, or you may make an annual appliance maintenance and repair contract with a professional company. This will significantly reduce your home energy consumption over a period of time.

4. Use Appliances Efficiently

When you use the washing machine with your dryer, try to wash the bulk of clothes in a single cycle. This will ensure that multiple loads of clothes are dried while the dryer is already warm. Similarly, adjust the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer according to the load and your cooling needs. If you have a computer at home, set it to auto deep sleep mode to save energy when it is not in use.

5. Install a Solar Device

If your environment receives plenty of sunshine for a major part of the year, consider installing a solar energy device or roof solar panels to reduce your monthly energy bills. Solar energy is clean, green, and renewable. You can also receive tax credits for such a move. Lead by example and conserve the environment while cutting down your energy costs with a solar device.

Tips on The Final Walk-Through at Your New Home

Often, people buying a house think that the final walk-through is time for some last-minute negotiating – it is not. Nor is it a closing contingency based on the results of the final inspection. It should take place between a few days to a few hours before closing. This way, if repairs or replacements were not completed as agreed upon the seller can give credits to the buyer at closing for the work that needs completing. The final walk through is the time to make sure that everything the seller has agreed to repair or replace has been and that nothing has gone wrong with the house since you last saw it. Following are the items that should be checked as near to closing as possible.

Home Exterior:

Roof Gutters and down-spouts
Stairs/Railing
Siding Porch/Deck Siding
Landscaping/lawn
Storm windows and screens

Home Interior:

Working Smoke/fire/carbon monixide Detectors
Water stains/leaks
Settlement/Cracks
Windows/Doors Fireplace
Screens are in place and not torn

Basement/Crawl Space/Garage:

Walls (Serious Cracks)
Water Penetration
Garage Door Operation

Kitchen:

Cabinetry/Counter – chips and cracks
Run Water Appliances Floors

Bathroom:

Check all plumbing fixtures
Check Drains for blockage and leaks
Floors

Electric System:

Operate Lights
Operate Fans
Check Outlets

Plumbing Systems:

Run water
Leaks and water stains
Pressure/Drainage
Operate Water Heater

Heating/Cooling System:

Run Systems

Have your real estate broker go with you on the final walk-through. This way if items that you and the seller agreed would be completed have not been finished your broker can contact the seller’s broker and have adjustments to the price made. Likewise, if something major comes to light, such as a new roof leak, your real estate broker can help in having the price adjusted to allow for repair or replacement.

The final walk-through is also a good time to make sure that the seller has provided you with appliance and other operating manuals such as for the sprinkler system, the garage door opener, the heating and cooling system and the water heater.

Exploring the Heel of Illinois, or I Don’t Even Know Where I Am

Exploring the Heel of Illinois or I Don’t Even Know Where I Am We had a destination when we started. It was the blue grass festival in Bean Blossom Indiana. This year was special because it celebrated the 100th birthday of the father of blue grass, Bill Monroe. We had attended once before but never camped so we picked a large open field hoping for some peace and quiet. This property used to be Bill Monroe’s home and farm where he lived and enjoyed making music with friends and fox hunting. We followed the bright sound of strumming banjos and guitars to the stage. Soon we were taping our toes and reminiscing about the songs our grand daddies sang even though we grew up in Indianapolis far from the hills of southern Indiana. Dr. Ralph Stanley topped off the evening with his rendition of “Oh Death, Won’t You Spare Me Over for Another Year,” made famous in the movie, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? We made our way to our tent at about ten o’clock and lay down for a peaceful sleep. Unfortunately the kids on golf carts had other ideas. They were still racing around the field, revving their engines and shining their headlights into our tent when I finally looked at my watch. It read a shocking 2:30 a.m., and we pulled up our tent stakes and headed for Nashville, Indiana and a Comfort Inn were they were doing an audit and couldn’t access the computer. We finally got to sleep around three in the morning.

The next day we were on our way to New Harmony a place where the Rappites and Owens had tried to establish Utopian societies in the 19th century, to visit my friend, an artist who paints subjects from the nineteen fifties and architecture along old highways like US 40 and Route 66. Serendipitously she found an old drive-in restaurant on state road 66 and converted it into a studio. We enjoyed seeing pictures of James Dean, Hank Williams, women in full skirts and high heels ironing with their new Steam-o-matic’s or admiring their snow white electric washing machines or ranges. One couple danced around the kitchen in front of their new refrigerator looking like they had just returned from the prom. Giant ice cream cones atop tiny restaurants promised relief from the summer heat with no worries about fat or calories. No worries about Chesterfields or Lucky Strikes either. No worries period. Just the promise of suburban bliss or Utopia 50’s style.

It is then that we strayed from the beaten path by crossing the toll bridge just a block from my friend’s studio across the Wabash into southern Illinois. Here was a different world which we had unsuspectingly entered into the previous evening when we went to hear a folksinger in Grayville. Everything seemed fine if a bit surreal. He sang of a minor league baseball player who spent time in Lynchburg and ended up with a pinched nerve. A few songs later he launched into “South of Solitude” about entering into the labyrinthine roads of southern Illinois and getting lost resulting in the lyrics, “I don’t even know where I am,” and ending with the lyrics, “I don’t even know who I am.” We didn’t know it then, but we would soon live the song. There were a grand total of nine or ten people in attendance, four of whom were some young German guys not paying too much attention to the singer. We weren’t too surprised to see them as southern Indiana abounds in descendents of German settlers and German restaurants. Travelers are never too far from a good sausage and sauerkraut dinner. But here in Grayville the waitresses seemed quite surprised and happy to see them as they actually spoke German and were young and not too hard on the eyes. We found out that they were in town to work in the coal mine for eight days and were enjoying some Grayville nightlife. The singer ended with some Dylan songs and his friend accompanied him on the harmonica. “That’s what you get for Loving Me” seemed appropriate to end the set, and the German guys smiled and said goodbye in English.

The next day, at the suggestion of my friend, we ventured across the bridge again following a vintage Airstream travel trailer, which again lent an air of the fifty’s, into surreal southern Illinois again to see the Garden of the Gods. We had seen the one of the same name in Colorado Springs and were not expecting much by comparison. But we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful and strange looking rock formations in the Shawnee National Forest. The wilderness area is over three hundred and twenty million years old and includes over 3,300 acres of beautiful old growth forest. The sediment rock in this area is over four miles deep and the fractured bedrock has created some interesting rock formations that represent various objects like anvils, camels, and mushrooms. Next we traveled south to the Ohio River and saw Pirates’ Cave at Cave in the Rock. Two riverboats had been built and had burned here, but now there was only the ferry taking cars and trucks across the river at no charge. As we reached the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, a truck with an oversize load in the form of an earth mover was waiting to board the ferry. We were glad we had crossed in the company of small cars.

We were now on the Trail of Tears which the original Americans had been forced to take when their land was confiscated by the pioneer settlers. In 1830, Congress passed a bill permitting the removal of all native Indians living east of the Mississippi River. For the next twenty years, Indians were marched west to reservations in Arkansas and Oklahoma, including the bands of the Illini Indians in Illinois. In the Fall and Winter of 1838-39, Cherokee Indians were marched out of Georgia and the Carolinas across Southern Illinois to reservations in the west. It was estimated that two thousand to four thousand Cherokee men, women, and children died during this one thousand mile journey west. It became known as the Trail of Tears due to the many hardships and sorrows it brought to the Indians. The Buel Family told the story of their ancestor Sarah (Jones) Buel who moved to Golconda on Sept. 2, 1836. Two years later the Cherokees passed through Golconda. “My great-great-grandmother was acookin’ pumpkin an’ keepin’ an eye on her baby when she heard a strange noise outside. Before she knew it, the front door popped open and there stood two Cherokee Indian braves just alookin’ at her… They had smelled the pumpkin cookin’ as they passed by, but my grandmother had no way of knowin’ that. Finally, she understood what they wanted, and those Indians were mighty thankful when she gave them some of the cooked pumpkin. I ‘spect she was just as thankful when they left,” she added.*

Home For Sale? – Try Exterior Home-Staging For Sure-Fire Sales Results

What if I told you that there is one simple thing that every homeowner can do to siginificantly increase both the asking price, and the exterior appeal when trying to sell a home? So significant, in fact, that at an average cost of around $500, this simple decision alone can increase the asking price by as much as $10,000!!!

Home-staging is very popular these days, as it obviously gives the potential buyer better visual imagery to see what the home could look like as they may have it decorated. But, there is one big problem: 75% of homeowners make their decision BEFORE they ever enter the house. That’s a staggering statistic, but we all know that there is no second chance for a first impression. So, what can you do to ensure that your home is viewed in a positive light by passers-by, and prospective buyers?

Clean the Roof!!!

A simple roof cleaning does wonders for the exterior appearance, and selling price of your home. No one thinks ugly roof stains are attractive. But, there’s a catch: Roofs should NEVER be cleaned with a pressure washer. This is in direct violation of both ARMA and RCIA specifications for roof cleaning. Even if the prospective contractor promises to use “low pressure”, that’s still a no-no for proper roof cleaning. A pressure washer of any kind should never, ever, ever touch your roof.

In closing, one word of advice: be cautious when choosing a roof cleaning contractor, as the integrity and safety of your roof is of the utmost importance. Please don’t choose any contractor based on price alone, or you may end up paying for it in more ways than one. When it comes to roof cleaning, choose the Pros: the SoftWash Pros! Please visit our website for an approved list of roof cleaning contractors in your area.

The Use of a Deck As a Multifunctional Area

Most new (and old) houses have a deck off the side or rear of the house. In designing a new house, an owner usually just installs a deck of ‘X’ amount of space and really doesn’t think much about how the deck is going to be used. As an Architect, the deck design is just as important as the rest of the house design. In real terms, a deck can be used as additional floor space and storage, at a significantly lower cost than the rest of the house. The deck should be used as an extension of the living space, and the spaces below the deck used as storage. Here are some tips to make your deck work more for you.

1. Use a large glass doors to open to the deck. You can use sliding glass doors or swing doors. Glass doors let you see the deck when they area closed. Have the opening at least 4 feet wide (minimum) or wider. On my house I have a 12′ siding glass door, which opens in the middle for a 6 foot wide opening. It allows free flow of people between the Great Room and the deck and gives a sense of Great Room and Deck being the same room.

2. Don’t skimp on the size of your deck–make it even larger than your Great Room or Living Room. Think of the deck as an additional Living Room, with couches, chairs, dining tables, TV’s, stereos. In other words, Think of it as living space to be used in the milder temperatures of the year. My Great Room is 22’x34′. The deck is 20’x38′, with 20’x28′ covered with a roof.

3. Don’t have a step between the deck and the house 1st floor. Instead have the deck flush with the house. This gives sense that the deck is an extension of the home.

4. Put a roof over the deck. The roof can be a canopy, metal roof, or an extension of the house roof (wood framing, asphalt shingles). Having a roof over the deck area makes it more “livable” when the sun is out. It also gives a “human” scale to deck. A roof overhead makes it feel psychologically more comfortable, putting a ceiling above where you sit on the deck, rather than open sky. A roof also makes the deck usable when it rains.

5. Use drywall and carpet instead of siding and decking.. If you put a roof over the deck, install moisture resistant drywall or “flat” siding on the home exterior wall and indoor/outdoor carpet on pressure treated plywood rather than expensive floor decking. It is less expensive, and gives the deck the look of being inside the house rather being outside.

6. The deck area and the furniture should be flexible. You shouldn’t cram a lot of furniture on it, but allow for people to filter out of the house onto the deck, or change the arrangement of furniture for large gatherings. My favorite use of the deck is for birthday parties. My son may have 30 guests arrive, so we rearrange the furniture and set up 4 long tables with chairs around. It keeps the Great Room open for guests to move around, and put dining on the deck.

7. Use plants, and wall hangings on the deck, just like you would in the house. Just make sure they are more “weatherproof” than normal. It will give the deck the illusion the of being part of the house

8. The deck can have shaded areas and sunny areas. Not all the deck needs to covered. Keep a small area uncovered for some of the in-between times of the year. In Indiana, it’s warm-sunny in the summer and cold-snowy in the winter. But in Spring and Fall, it’s in-between these 2 extremes. Sitting in the sun on the deck in March at 55 degrees is wonderful. The warm sun shine makes it feel like summer. Also if you have a grille, you don’t want it under the roof. Letting the smoke lift into the sky is more preferable for most people rather than letting filter into the house.

9. Change the function of the deck as seasons change. How the deck is used in spring, summer, and fall should be considered in your design. For our house, in the summer, The swimming pool is set up in the sunny area of the deck, while seating and dining is in the shaded area of the deck. In fall and spring, the pool is removed, and the seating and dining tables are in the sunny areas of the deck. In the winter, the seating and dining are kept under the deck roof to protect it from the harsh winter.

10 The deck railing and wall under the deck can be solid. Having the railing and space below the deck floor covered in the same siding as the house (even brick), rather than open fencing has a couple of advantages. First, it makes the house look bigger from the street. It visually seems like house has grown larger ins size. A solid railing (3′-6″ in height) allows privacy. If you sit down, people on the street can’t see you, but if you stand up, you can converse with your neighbors. A railing at 3′-6″ is also perfect “leaning” height for most people, you can rest your elbows on the top of the wall at this height.

11. The area under the deck change be used for storage. Having the space below the deck floor covered in siding allows for storage under the deck to be hidden from view. If the 1st floor of the house is 6 feet above grade, the deck effectively becomes a shed and is a perfect place for the storage of things normally in a garage. Having a roof above the deck also keeps weather off items under the deck. This is the place for bicycles, lawn mowers, scrap lumber, saw horses, and other bulky items normally found in a garage. Most people want a 3 car garage simply to have 1 bay of the garage for storage. Instead of building a third garage bay, put those items under the deck.

The Indy 500 Festival

The 500 Festival is a non-profit organization which, in its own words, serves “to advocate and celebrate the history, heritage and legacy of the Indianapolis 500”. Since 1957 this organization, through its members and affiliates, has organized parades, dances, and community events in order to help shine the light on the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The Indy 500, in many ways, has helped shape the destiny of Indianapolis and its citizens. The founders of the festival were very much aware of the symbiotic relationship between the citizens of Indianapolis and the world’s most famous auto race.

The 500 Festival events are expected to draw nearly 500,000.00 spectators and participants in 2010. People from around the country and around the world show up in Indianapolis each year to be a part of these very special festivities. The four main events which make up the festival are the Mini Marathon (May 8th, 2010), the 500 Festival Community Day (May 26th, 2010), the 500 Festival Parade (May 29, 2010), and the Snake Pit Ball (May 29, 2010).

Each year the Festival designates a theme by which participants and guests can rally together in honor of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. In 2010 the theme will be “Embrace the Pace” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is not, however, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Because the race did not run during World Wars I and II, a total of six years passed without any action at the world famous oval. This year will be the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

The Mini Marathon (May 8th, 2010) is the largest mini in the United States and the fifth largest running event in the world. Nearly 90 thousand people show up to this event where 35,000 competitors roll, walk and run the 13.1 miles, which partially navigates the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway before returning to the beautiful downtown streets of Indianapolis.

The 500 Festival Community Day (May 26th, 2010) held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a family friendly event, where children are not only welcome, but expected. Drive the family truckster around the world famous track where the legends of racing made their mark. Listen to world famous bands perform live on stage. Tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Tour the race care transport trailers. See the official timing and scoring booth in the Pagoda. Photo opportunities and autographs from championship racecar drivers are all part of the fun waiting for you and your family at Community Day at the IMS. Tickets for the event can be purchased at gates #2 and #10. Adult tickets are $7.00 and children under the age of 6 are free. The event begins at 9:00 A.M. and runs until 6:00 P.M. Don’t miss your chance to join in all the fun.

The 500 Festival Parade (May 29, 2010), held on the Saturday immediately prior to the 500 Mile Race, electrifies the streets of downtown Indianapolis as the stars of Indy join with other celebrities from around the country and around the world to celebrate the worlds greatest spectacle in racing. Bleachers and reserved seating are available and secured by the purchase of a ticket. Tickets for adults can be purchased for $18.00 for reserved chairs or $14.50 for reserved bleacher seats.

The Snake Pit Ball (May 29, 2010), an annual event taking place on the eve of race day, is a star studded black tie gala held at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. Beginning at 6:30 on May 29, 2010, celebrities and fans will dine and dance the night away to the music of the fabulous Grammy Award Winning trio, The Pointer Sisters. This event is hosted by Paul and Cindy Skjodt, owners of the Indiana Ice minor league hockey team. Phone (317) 927-3378 for ticket information.

FHA 203k – 5 Tips to Make Your New Roof Last Longer

Whether it’s home improvements or house repairs or full-on rehabilitation, the FHA 203k is a great option. The mortgage loan option covers new purchases OR refinancing. Let’s take a quick look at what the FHA 203k is:

A home buyer can finance a house and many repairs, renovations or improvements right into the monthly payments, amortizing the work over the life of that home mortgage loan. The great thing is that with interest rates where they are right now, it will only add about $6 a month for every $1,000 in repairs or renovations you finance. That means a $10,000 roof will only add about $60 a month to the house payment. Then, when you decide to sell, that cost stays with the house.

Some of the work covered by the FHA 203k (Full or Streamline) includes these projects:

New roof
New deck
Waterproofing the basement
New windows
New kitchen
Interior paint, wallpaper and flooring
Several other projects

Let’s get back the project of a roof. Whether it’s simply replacing old shingles with new ones, or tearing apart the entire roof, wood and all, you’ll want to make sure you get the most money out this new roof. After all, you wouldn’t want to go through all the trouble again in 5 or 10 years. So here’s a look at a few maintenance steps you can take every season to make that roof last longer after the FHA 203k work is done.

Keep the roof clean. Keep twigs, leaves and other debris off the roof. Be especially vigilant after a storm. Make sure no branches fell on the roof from surrounding trees. As these wither, they can damage the integrity of the shingles and wood underneath.

Clean your gutters. You can get out the ol’ ladder in the spring and fall or find a gutter topping to keep stuff out. Either way, keeping those gutters clear and flowing will make sure no water gets backed up into your roof. Water in your gutters can make them heavy and rip them off your roof. It can also lead to leaks in your walls and water in the basement. I’ve even seen some houses with so much junk in the gutters, it looks like they’re growing trees!

Speaking of trees… Trim them! This goes along with the previous tips. Keeping the trees trimmed will help keep the roof and gutters clean.

Get rid of the moss. Keep your roof dry and moss-free to help make sure the shingles and wood underneath stay good for a long time. A little bleach and water mixture usually helps get rid of the moss, or call a professional if it won’t come clean

Where it snows – prevent ice dams. Preventing ice dams begins with keeping the gutters clean. When snow melts and has no where to go because your gutters are clogged, it build up, re-freezes and creates ice dams. So it goes back to keeping the gutters clean. Another way to help is to get a snow rake for the roof and keep the snow build-up to a minimum. You can also find snow melt cables that heat up and keep the snow and ice from building up (we do not endorse these products, because we’re not part of the inspection team or safety crew that makes sure they won’t catch anything on fire – but they sure look cool!).

Recommended Roofing Materials for Various Roof Pitches

Roof pitch plays an integral role in the type of material you choose for your home or property. In fact, it is one of the most influential factors. Continue reading to learn why, as well as, which roof materials work best with which pitches.

You wouldn’t think that something like pitch would matter when it comes to choosing a roofing material for your home. However, it is actually one of the most important factors to consider in the roof replacement process. There are numerous material options on the market, from metal roofing and asphalt composite, to built-up roofing, rubber roofing, wood shakes, and more. Choosing one can feel quite overwhelming, so narrowing down your options according to pitch is an excellent way to take control and find a viable starting place.

Measuring Your Pitch

Roof pitch must be measure by a professional. You should not grab a ladder and attempt to spread a tape measure across the surface of your roof. This is incredibly dangerous for anyone who is not experienced in roof work. Instead, ask your trusted roofing contractor to provide you information regarding your roof’s specific pitch measurements, and then use their findings to match a suitable roofing material for your home or property.

Roof Pitch Values

Roof pitches are read as a fraction or ratio, usually using the number 12 as the denominator. The numerator is the vertical height of the roof, and the denominator is the horizontal length (i.e. 4/12 = for every 12 horizontal feet, the roof drops (or rises) 4 feet).

Here are some recommended roofing materials for some of the more common roof pitches in Indiana:

1:12 to 3:12

These pitch values are in the lower range. Conventional shingles are not recommended for low pitched roofing systems because of the risk of moisture accumulation, which can lead to a long list of roof damages, including mold, mildew, algae, and moss growth. Low-pitched roofs have reduced water draining capabilities, which prevents shingles from being able to dry out thoroughly. Instead, you would need a water-tight seal, which can be achieved with a built-up and “torch-down” roofing, or standing seam metal roofs.

4:12 to 12:12

In this range, roofs are not too flat or too steep. They are comfortably in the middle range. For this reason, the most suitable materials for roof pitches in this range are asphalt and composite shingles. These are popular for a number of reasons, particularly for their cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and low maintenance.

5:12 to 12:12

For these values, it is common to see wood shakes or slate shingles. They are more inclined to leakages since they do not lay completely flat or secure tightly together, which is why they are not recommended for flatter roof types. This means they are best for steep sloped tops with good water drainage.