Where Do Roof Leaks Come From?

Picture this –

Your alarm clock goes off. You stumble to the bathroom, turn on the shower and walk over to grab your towel. As you look up you see a murky brown stain on the ceiling.

Before you went to bed storms had rolled in and it rained all night. Now you notice a new spot on the ceiling you have never seen before.

What happened?

Well chances are, your roof system has some sort of leak and surprisingly enough it has probably been an ongoing process. The intense storm just revealed what had been forming for some time.

The sun in NOVA is strong.

A few years ago a buddy of mine called and said he noticed a stain in his bathroom ceiling. The first thing I said was it is probably a pipe collar.

In Northern Virginia, there is obviously cold winters and hot summers. The changes in weather, coupled with sun and humidity can cause roof components like pipe collars to age quickly.

An old, worn down, aging pipe collar can crack, allowing moisture to penetrate your roof.

Typically, when there is a roof leak, the cause is often the pipe collar or the vent stacks – the pipes that vent from different areas of your home. Fixing a pipe collar is an easy repair for your homes roof.

But that isn’t the only way a roof can leak….

The Roof System

A roof system as a whole as many working components. The goal for your roof system is to seal your home off while defending it from the elements while allowing for ventilation.

Top Dog Home Pro follows Virginia code requirements when it comes to installing a new roof. Leaks can come from many things in addition to pipe collars including:

  • -Flashing (Material used to cover joints)
  • -Lack of Ice & Water Shield
  • -Improper Nail Patterns
  • -Lack of Drip Edge
  • -Missing Shingles
  • Lack of roof cleaning
  • -Debris in Roof Valleys
  • -Aluminum Ridge Vents (Top Dog Home Pro does not use or ever recommend these)

As you can see from the list above, a leak can come from many areas. While a properly installed roof shouldn’t have any leaks, awareness is key.


Would you like to learn how Top Dog Home Pro separates itself from the rest?Learn about our trusted roofing process here.

A newly installed roof by Luke with Top Dog Home Pro takes into account all the possible issues a roof might have.

Pipe Collars.

Top Dog Home pro uses a Permaboot which is made in the USA. Additionally, permabootsare designed to protect the area around your roofs pipes for 50 years.

Ice & Water Shield.

Virginia code requires ice and water shield, which we use on every roof. Top Dog also installs drip edge at the gutter line on all roof edges and like mentioned above, we never use/never will use aluminum ridge vents.

Planning ahead.

Considering these potential problem areas ahead of time ensures a higher quality roof. Not to mention the 10 year labor warranty and CertainTeed lifetime product warranty.

So if the weather has hit your home and you live in Woodbridge, Manassas, Lake Ridge and the surrounding areas, simply reach out to us here or on our Facebook Page.

Have a great day & thanks for reading!

How to Clean and Maintain Your Home’s Gutters

gutter guards gutter cleaning gutter maintenance

I recently read that a homeowner should expect to budget 1-2% of their home’s purchase price for annual home maintenance. For example, a $300,000 home would cost the average homeowner roughly $3,000-$6,000 annually in home maintenance and renovations.


Not only does Top Dog Home Pro aim to provide premier home exterior services in Prince William County, we also aim to provide common maintenance tips to help you save money in the long run.


Today’s topic:

Gutter Maintenance & Gutter Guards


Why should you maintain your gutters?


Before getting into the most effective ways to maintain and clean your home’s gutter system, understanding the importance of gutters is a must. At first glance gutters really don’t seem that important… but they serve a huge purpose.


In a nutshell, the main purpose of a gutter system is to channel and funnel water off your home’s roof and a AWAY from the home. Worst case scenario, without gutters, water runoff could erode the soil around the home causing the foundation to possible be compromised.


On the lighter side, without a properly maintained and cleaned gutter system, debris accumulation and build up can cause unnecessary stress on gutter fasteners.


Read up on our Roofing Process here!


Recent Example: Debris accumulated at the end of a gutter where it met the home’s downspout. With all the recent rain, the water could not funnel down the down spout, therefore water was running off the corner of the home. This caused the downspout to disconnect from the gutter, and partially detach from the home. One large rain had already started to create erosion on the ground surface below.


Simply maintaining and cleaning your gutters 1-2x a year can decrease the likelihood of the gutters detaching from your siding or roof.


Common problems of improperly maintained gutters:


-Foundation Problems

-Moisture damage to plywood on roof/side of home

-Basement Flooding

-Shifted soil near patios & walkways



While some of the problems caused by gutters might seem self-explanatory, the others might seem shocking…. Like the mosquitoes. Believe it or not, clogged gutters can result in stagnant water – a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.


gutter guards no clog


Additionally, water runoff that is not properly funneled away from the home can cause soil shifts that can impact the foundation, walkway, or patios adjacent to your home.


However, here is how to simply avoid any of the above mentioned issues.


How do you clean and maintain your home’s gutter system?


In order to reduce the chances of problems with your home’s gutters, consider the following:


  1. Cleaning gutters in the Spring and  Fall.

  2. Installing gutter guards


It is safe to assume that if you live in a area where there are more leaf and pine needles debris, such as well-established areas like Reston, Fairfax, Springfield, Woodbridge, Dumfries, etc,  you will have debris in your gutters.


By cleaning your gutters out in the spring and fall, you will prevent any real build-up from severely impacting your exterior home.


To clean your gutters, you will need gloves, a hose and most likely a ladder. Depending on the layout and height of your home, this can be an extensive project. Remember to always be safe when getting on you roof, and it is best be to give us a call if you are hesitant about checking your gutters.


Why use Gutter Guards –


If cleaning your gutter sounds like a problem or a task you just don’t have the time for, consider installing gutter guards to save time and money in the long run.


Sometimes customers think the price of gutter guards might be a little high. However, if you were to take the average single family home gutter guard cost – approximately $1100,  and compare that to an annual gutter cleaning – $250, in 4 years your gutter guards pay for themselves.


For starters Top Dog Home Pro offers a 20 year non-clog warranty, paired with a 20 year Raindrop warranty. Essentially you save 16 years of cleaning when you use gutter guards with Top Dog Home Pro!!


raindrop gutter guard warranty


We have teamed up with Raindrop® to deliver gutter protection and make home maintenance easier. The Raindrop® gutter guard fits on every home, roof style and gutter system and is essential in providing a maintenance free & self-cleaning gutter protection system.


What makes Raindrop® Gutter Guard stand out from the rest is the system’s capacity to handle any amount of water – from a spring mist to a torrential downpour.  Keeping gutters clean and free of leaves using a gutter guard, is an excellent low-maintenance method to protect your home and gutter system.


If you have questions about your homes gutters, don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form or just reach out to us on our Facebook page!

Firework Safety & Your Home’s Exterior

NOVA Firework Safety at Home 4th of July

In less then two weeks Americans around the country will celebrate the Independence Day Holiday. Independence Day is synonymous with great food, friends and memories. However, July 4th is also known for something else – FIREWORKS!


At the bottom this article, find a complete list of firework shows in your area!


And while fireworks can be a great time and a sight to see, it is important to keep in mind that safety is always number one when it comes to July 4th and fireworks!


It is also important to know your localities laws. In the state of Virginia for example, there are laws when it comes to what kind of fireworks you can use at your celebration… sorry no mortars Virginia residents.


So what about Fireworks and your home? Keep Reading!


More fires on July 4th then and other day.


There are more fires on July 4th then any other day of the year. Each year fireworks cause 1,300 structural fires, and over 17,000 other fires resulting in 1,000’s of injuries. Due to the significant uptick in fires on Independence Day, it is important to keep a few things in mind when it comes to your home.


Bottle Rockets, Sparkles, Roman Candles – you name it – have all been linked to causing home fires. Properly lighting and discarding fireworks is essential for you and your home’s safety.


Read about improperly discarded fireworks causing a house fire in Loudoun County in 2015 here. 

Firework Home Safety 101


The following is comprehensive list to help keep your home and family safe on July 4th. Knowing potential problem areas in advance is key.


1.Inspect your home for dry debris in your gutters and roof.


There is no better place for a random spark to go then a patch of dry leaves in a gutter or the valley of a roof. Bottle rockets especially, often find themselves on roofs and in gutters of homes. Hot summers and dry debris on roofs can be a recipe for structural fire.

Did you know you should clean your gutters yearly? Read here


Inspect your roof before fireworks at home


2. Properly dispose of fireworks. 


This is the number one cause of fires on July 4th – improperly disposed fireworks. It is recommended to soak all used fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding. NEVER bring the trash can with used fireworks into your garage. Leave your trashcan on the street until trash pickup.


Firework Safety


3. Keep a hose and bucket of water handy when lighting fireworks. 


Keep a hose close by to the area where you are lighting fireworks as well as a bucket of water just in case. After lighting off fireworks, dispose of the used fireworks by placing them in the bucket of water.

Just to be extra safe, keep the fireworks in the bucket of water overnight, then dispose of them the next day.


4. Other Firework Safety tips to consider: 

  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eye-wear
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks


Enjoy the 4th & Be Safe!


We hope you have a great 4th of July and spend lots of time with family and friends. Enjoy the cookouts, weather and memories.  Most importantly, it is great to celebrate our countries independence.


While firework safety as adults might seem silly, it is important to keep in mind that most fire incidents that occur on the 4th were because of improper disposal or improper handling. Best recommendation – go watch professional fireworks with a blanket and friends!


Here is a list of local events and firework shows:


Dale City – link here.

Falls Church – link here. 

Herndon – link here. 

Manassas – link here. 

Manassas Park / Signal Hill – link here.

Mt. Vernon – link here.

Vienna – link here.

Washington D.C. – link here.

Alexandria – Saturday July 7th – link here.


Feel free to share this article with friends and have a happy 4th of July from the Top Dog Home Pro crew!


Adding Protection with Gutter Guards

House siding

As the seasons change, a frequent sight is people on their ladders cleaning their gutters. While a gutter’s benefit is immeasurable—protecting the house from water—its cleaning can be less than desirable. Homeowners may consider getting gutter guards, which often provide numerous hassle-free benefits.


The greatest benefit of this kind of system is that it helps prevent leaves and debris from blocking rain flow. This can significantly reduce the amount of time a homeowner has to spend on their roof or a ladder. Homeowners typically only need to clean out their gutters every couple years instead of twice a year.


Besides not having to get on the roof to clean, they can help reduce the potential for clogs, which may result in overflow down the home. These can lead to leaks in the basement and other rooms, which can create an environment for mold and mildew to grow. It can also impact a home’s foundation.


Since gutter guards are typically mesh, vinyl or aluminum sheets placed over the gutters, it keeps out more than just leaves. It may deter birds, insects and small rodents from making a nest. Their design typically results in minimal standing water, which mosquitos love.


Longevity is another potential benefit. No standing water can help the gutters age better and reduce rusting. While adding them does have an associated price tag, they often can help the drainage system last significantly longer. This could mean significant long-term savings. In the winter, proper draining can help eliminate a leak from freezing and causing damage.


For homeowners in areas frequently battling wildfires, these guards can help protect the home. Dry leaves and other material can ignite easily. This extra layers keeps material from settling, giving a floating ember nowhere to grow.


Like any purchase, the decision to install gutter guards requires research. Luckily, there are many professionals who can help a homeowner decide if it is right for their home.

Considerations to Make When Replacing Windows in a Ranch Style Home

Ranch style home windows nova top dog home pro


As the summer heat approaches, keep in mind that it is always best to apply sunscreen when your outside. All kidding aside, just how sunscreen helps prevent damage to your skin, the exterior makeup of your home works the same way.


The exterior home includes your roof system, windows, protection around the home (siding or brick typically), and doors. Additionally, gutters and gutter guards can be included as well.


While a lot can be said about your home’s roof, today’s topic will actually be more focused on windows. How do you select the best windows for a ranch style home?


3 Tips for Deciding on Window Replacement


Many ranch style homes are simple in design which is why every last design element matters. From the landscaping to the front door, and from the windows to the eves troughs, every last detail makes a statement.


If you feel that your home looks a little blah compared to your neighbors’ homes, there are a few updates you can make, starting with window replacement. Before you replace the windows in your home, however, there are a few considerations you should make first.


1. Window Function Comes First

Though you may have opted to replace your windows because you want to improve the appearance of your home, you should not negate function. Depending on where you live and what the weather conditions are like, you may need double or triple pane glass.


If you live in an area that receives a lot of sun, pay particular attention the UV rating. The more energy efficient your windows are, the more you’ll save in the long run.

windows mezzo

2. Window Style

Once you have found a type of window with satisfactory energy saving features, it is time to shop styles. Keep the style of your home in mind first and foremost—which, in this case, is ranch style. If you need a window that closes and locks firmly for security purposes, casement windows are ideal. Casement windows also provide clean lines that match the sweeping style of your home.


Picture windows are also nice in the front as they add a cottage charm to a ranch style. However, awning windows are also favorable as they provide for a nice breeze. A window replacement company can go over all of your options and help you decide on the best style for your needs and home.


3. Window Frames

Window frames impact the look of a home more than most people think, which is why you should never overlook the type of frame that comes on each window. Most wood windows aren’t designed for ranch style homes, but because they’re the cheapest option, many homeowners opt for them anyway.


If you do go with wood frames, know that you can always paint them (We do not paint, but I am sure you can find painters if you ever paint your windows, just check out Home Advisor – Painters Near Me!)


Are you considering window replacement to revamp your ranch style home?


Keep the above tips and mind to find a style that works for you. Be sure to call or email us at Top Dog Home Pro. We can help you select a design and customize windows for your home. Even if you don’t have a ranch style home, we can help you out!


Windows and doors are two features that can make or break a house. The best thing about exterior home renovations is the return on investment for resale purposes. A brand new roof, front door, or new windows can be a huge selling point when you decided to sell you home.


Have a great summer & as always feel free to reach out if you have any exterior home questions!


P.S. Thank you for some of the recent reviews on Google! We love when people give us great reviews because one of our core values is to provide excellent service as a contractor. Thanks again!

Exterior Home Remodel 5 Star Review Woodbridge VA

exterior home renovation Woodbridge

Any kind of exterior home renovation is an investment, both in terms of money and time.

When choosing which roofing or gutter contractor should hire to help complete exterior remodeling, it’s important to take the time to ensure the right choice is made.

Even if the highest quality replacements are chosen, their correct installation is essential to functioning correctly. Things like price, professionalism, quality communication, haggle-free scheduling – they all matter. 

That is why here at Top Dog Home Pro we stand by our guarantee to be the best in Roofing & Gutters in Woodbridge/surrounding areas! 


  1. Best Gutter Companies in NOVA
  2. Roofing & Gutter Companies in Woodbridge

Who is Top Dog Home Pro (Woodbridge, VA)?

Top Dog Home Pro was founded in the spring of 2016 by owner/founder Luke Mitchell.

After graduating from West Virginia University in 2009 with a degree in business, Luke would work for his father’s exterior renovation company for several years before moving on to a large product distribution company to run their install division.

However, prior to college, Luke started working side by side with his father before he could even drive, gaining valuable insight on how to renovate roofs and gutters for homes (You can read all about the start in detail here).

UPDATE 2020:

Presently (as of Fall 2020) Top Dog Home Pro has no served countless customers in and around NOVA to help with their roofing and gutter needs.

In fact, we now have 63 5 Star Reviews!

Keys to Exterior Home Renovation:


A low bid might mean low quality. This kind of renovation is an expensive, long-term investment. It can be even more costly if it is not done right. Thorough research should be done to ensure a true professional expert is hired. It’s important to contact at least three contractors for consultation. Be sure to verify each is an established, insured company.


A good contractor listens to their customer and is open to answering questions. A window and door replacement professional should have no problem explaining their process, sharing their work stats, or providing licensing certificates, references or proof of insurance.

They should also be willing to provide a written proposal that outlines every aspect of the project. If the initial meeting results in confusion, it may be a red flag that they are not the right fit.

For example, all of our warranty info and transparent pricing can be found online!

  1. Gutter Warranties
  2. Roofing Warranties


Every homeowner has different needs and a different budget. Many contractors sell only certain brands or initially push stock that is the most expensive. A trustworthy expert will understand individual needs and work with the homeowner. If purchasing replacements through them, be sure to gain a solid understanding of the associated warranties and details of the products selected.

Homeowners make important, long-lasting decisions when it comes to windows and door replacement. That same thought process, along with the above tips, can help make it a little easier.

We can help with pricing! We put all of our prices online to make the ease of home exterior renovation simple!

Final Thoughts –

At Top Dog Home Pro, we are enthralled to be one of the leading exterior home renovation comapnies in Woodbridge, VA and the surrounding areas!

When it comes to exterior remodeling renovation for your roof or gutters, we got you covered and can help your home stay on TOP!

~Luke, Top Dog Home Pro