home improvement

February 10, 2017

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

When your home is energy efficient, it will be cooler while also allowing you to enjoy lower utility costs. Installing a metal roof on your home can greatly impact your energy use while giving you a roof that may last for 50 years or longer. Metal roofs have become increasingly popular because they are highly durable and cost-effective. They are lighter in weight than asphalt and other roofing materials and are less likely to sustain damage from hail. Choosing to install a metal roof on your home can provide you with a fast return on your investment with ongoing energy savings for your roof’s life.

What is a cool roof?

Cool roofs are roofs that help to keep interior temperatures lower. They are typically light-colored or white, and they are designed to reflect heat rather than absorbing it. They have high solar reflectivity and thermal emittance. Since metal absorbs little heat and releases it quickly, it is ideal to use as a roofing material. On the other hand, asphalt roofs absorb heat, which leads it to build up rather than being released.

There are other features of cool metal roofs that help to keep the interior temperatures comfortable. They have protective coatings with a number of different reflective materials that work to help with deflecting the sun’s rays. The highest reflective coatings that are used can help to reflect as much as 90 percent of solar radiation away from your home.

Cool roofs, Energy Star & LEED ratings

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program allows cool roofs to be rated as Energy Star. For this rating, a roof must be a cool roof that helps to reduce heat effects. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum solar reflectance of 0.25 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be at least 0.15. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum reflectance of 0.65 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be 0.50.

LEED certifications are also used to help you to determine your home’s energy efficiency. The LEED certification is granted by the Green Building Council. Builders and designers earn points toward LEED certification by using certain designs and materials that meet a specified Solar Reflectance Index, or SRI. Cool roofs are materials that earn points because of their energy efficiency and because they are recyclable. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 29 for LEED certification. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 78. The roof must also cover a minimum of 75 percent of the surface area not counting skylights, equipment and parapets.

Sustainability

Most metal roofs are made out of steel, a highly sustainable material. It is 100 percent recyclable and may be made out of as much as 95 percent recycled steel. Using recycled steel to create new steel takes just 25 percent of the energy that it takes to create virgin steel.

Discounts and incentives

If you install a metal roof, you may receive a discount on your homeowner’s insurance because of its fire resistance and durability. You can also expect your utility bills to be reduced by as much as 40 percent each year. Finally, you may be eligible to claim tax credits for installing a metal roof.

Variety

Manufacturers are able to create cool roofs in the shade you want although light colors or white will be needed to obtain the highest solar reflectance. The roofs can be formed to look like a traditional shake or asphalt roof. You can also choose to use the standing seam style because it sheds water well and is perfect for an installation of solar panels.

Installation

You will need to make certain that the professional who you are considering is one who has the expertise that is required to replace your roof with a cool metal roof. Installing metal roofs requires specialized skills. The company you choose needs to be knowledgeable about metal roof materials, local codes and the standards in your area. It is possible to install a metal roof on top of shingles if it is needed because the metal roofs are light in weight.

As people have become more aware of the environmental impact structures can have, new green-living initiatives have been instituted. A metal roof is something that you should definitely consider for your home.

December 30, 2016

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of your roof, preventing water from draining.

This can lead to leaks that can cause damage to your roof, walls, ceiling or insulation as the backup behind the dam forces water inside your home rather than draining from the roof as it should.

In order to prevent damage to the interior of your home, you need to understand how to prevent ice dams.

Keep Your Roof Cold

It may seem counterproductive, but one of the best ways to prevent an ice dam is to keep your roof cold. The underside of your roof should not be higher than 30 degrees Fahrenheit in order to allow snow to dissipate without creating large amounts of water. Check to be sure there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that allow warm air to exit the attic. Your attic also needs ventilation so that heated air escapes rapidly when cold air enters. The problem with a warm roof is that snow melts rapidly, but once it reaches the eaves, which are colder, the water freezes leading to ice dams.

Attic Furnaces

If your furnace is in your attic, it may be difficult to prevent ice dams. One of the best methods for preventing an ice dam if your furnace is in the attic is to add extra insulation between the roof rafters. Keep air space between the roof deck and the insulation to avoid condensation. Before adding insulation, install polystyrene rafter air channels that are available at home centers. Lay insulation batts or blankets over the heating ducts to help reduce heat buildup. If your ridge vents and gables do not dissipate the heat enough, add a motorized vent at one end to remove heat and another vent on the other end to draw in cold air.

Signs of an ice Dam

Even if you take all the precautions mentioned for how to prevent ice dams, it is still possible that one could develop. If you notice dark lines on the ceiling, it is possible you have an ice dam. Even with insulation in your attic floor the bottom of your trusses are often bare. Because they are exposed to low temperatures, they create a cold strip on the ceiling that allows condensation to form. The moisture traps dust and can lead to mold growth creating the lines which are called shadow lines. You can clean the mildew by washing the area in a bleach solution of one part bleach to three parts warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.

Learning how to prevent ice dams is critical to keeping your home from damage due to leaks. For more information about preventing ice dams, contact us by phone or visit our website to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members.

November 4, 2016

What’s The Difference Between Vinyl Siding and Fiber Cement?

What’s The Difference Between Vinyl Siding and Fiber Cement

There are many factors that go into choosing the right siding for your home. You want to choose a siding that is durable and easy to maintain but you also want it to make your home look attractive. Choosing the wrong siding can lead to added expense, damage to your home and impact the look of your home from the outside.

Siding Options

Cedar shake shingles and wooden siding options create a unique look to your exterior, but they also come with higher maintenance requirements. They are also less durable than vinyl or fiber cement options. Cost is also a factor in those types of siding and they are less energy efficient. Therefore, many homeowners choose between vinyl and fiber cement when choosing a siding option.

Materials

Fiber-cement siding is manufactured from wood pulp and Portland cement. The substance is formed into either shingles or long boards and attached directly to your home with nails. Vinyl siding is usually made from PVC, a plastic material that is rigid. The siding allows for expansion and contractions as temperatures get warmer and colder. It has been the most popular type of siding in the United States for 20 years.

Visual Aspects

Fiber-cement boards are available in many styles, including half-round, staggered or square in addition to the traditional long planks. Because it can be painted or stained, you can make the exterior of your home any color you choose. Today, fiber-cement is available in prepainted versions as well. Vinyl has a wider variety of decorative options. This means you can maintain the exterior look if you own a home that is historic or if you want a modern appearance for your home. Recently, popular styles of vinyl siding are those that have the look of real wood.

Energy Efficiency and Durability

Both vinyl and fiber-cement siding are thin, so alone they do not offer much in the way of insulation. However, they are very effective at protecting your home from the elements. Vinyl siding does come in an insulated variety that has a layer of foam added for more insulation. Both types of siding are very durable, although fiber-cement can absorb water which could lead to wood rot under the siding. It is also susceptible to cracking and chipping, even during installation.

Maintenance and Cost

Unless you choose the prepainted version, fiber-cement must be painted. It must also be caulked when installed. You may need to paint fiber-cement as it ages due to fading and you will have to be sure the joints remained caulked properly. Vinyl needs only a spray cleaning with a garden hose. The average cost for vinyl siding, including installation, is just over $200 per square foot while fiber-cement is just over $300 per square foot. Both will recoup as much as 78 percent of their installed cost when you sell your home.

Before choosing a siding for your home, it is important to understand the differences between them. Contact us today for more information on the many different types of siding and to learn what is best for your needs. You can reach us online or by phone to speak to one of our knowledgeable customer service staff.

October 21, 2016

What You Need To Know About Roofing Ventilation

What You Need To Know About Roofing Ventilation

Proper ventilation in your roof is critical in your home as ventilation not only provides circulation throughout your home, it also keeps air fresh and reduces moisture levels. Choosing the right type of roofing ventilation, however, can be tricky as it can depend on several factors.

Box Vents

Box vents work best with soffit ventilation as they are designed for use in open attics. In addition, the vents do not need to be placed close to roof ridges for optimal performance. Box vents are static and not mechanical. They are placed in a whole that is cut into the roof and then use natural winds to remove hot air and moisture. Most homes need more than one of these types of vents. The actual number will depend on the square footage of your attic.

Continuous Ridge Vents

Continuous ridge vents are installed at the peak of your roof ridge so that warm air can escape from the attic. The vents also create a vacuum that draws the air from the attic and they are the best option if you have vaulted ceilings. Only one is required as opposed to the need for multiple box vents. Continuous ridge vents are also non-mechanical so there is no concern about electrical failures that could lead to problems. However, continuous ridge vents are more expensive than box vents.

Soffit Vents

In most houses, soffit vents draw air up through the attic and then out a ridge vent. However, not all houses have continuous soffit and ridge vents, but instead have an opening at the gable ends. Houses without rafters or overhangs may not soffits and older houses may not have vents that open into attic spaces. Because older homes were not as airtight as modern homes, condensation may not be as much of a problem although roof ventilation may help reduce energy costs in those homes.

Prevent Condensation

Improper roofing ventilation causes colder air in an attic to mix with warm, moist air from the rest of your house. The combined temperatures cause condensation to form which can damage your home. If you have noticed peeling or blistering paint on gable-ends or exteriors, it could mean you do not have proper ventilation in your roof. Buckling roof shingles can also indicate improper ventilation. Ice dams, which occur often in the Midwest and Northeast where there is significant winter weather may indicate that you need to address your roof ventilation. Even water stains on a ceiling may not mean you have a roof leak, but that you have condensation dripping from your roof.

If you are interested in learning more about roofing ventilation, contact us today to speak to one of our knowledgeable customer service staff. You can speak to them by phone or complete the form online to learn more about the types of ventilation available.

October 14, 2016

Get the Facts About Energy Efficient Windows

Get the Facts About Energy Efficient Windows

Up to 30 percent of your heat and air conditioning is lost through your windows which is why you should invest in ENERGY STAR efficient windows. Over time, energy efficient windows can save you a considerable amount of money in heating and air conditioning costs. However, there are many different options available, so it is important to know if you are choosing the right windows for your home and exactly what they will do to keep your family comfortable.

What Makes Windows Energy Efficient?

There are three factors that determine if a window is energy efficient. Some types of glass are more energy efficient than others. Some types of energy efficient windows, such as the WeatherShield Zo-E Shield glass is coated with multiple layers of coating to add energy efficiency. They also have inert gas-filled airspace that adds additional energy efficiency. The type of window can also have an effect on the energy efficiency. Casement and picture windows often have more energy efficiency as do fiberglass windows while wood and vinyl windows are less energy efficient. Proper installation can also make a difference in how energy efficient windows are.

Energy Efficient Replacement Windows

If you are considering replacement windows, it is important to replace older windows with windows that are more energy efficient. Not only do these type of windows lower your energy costs, they can also increase the value of your home. The windows come in full-frame so you can replace the entire window including the frame or you can choose pocket frame windows which are fully assembled and able to be installed in the pocket of an existing window. If your frames are in good condition, you may only need to purchase sash kits that are more efficient.

Understanding Energy Ratings for Windows

There are several energy ratings for windows that can be important when you choose new or replacement windows. The U-Factor, which ranges from 0.20 to 1.20. The lower the number the better the window insulates. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) ranges from zero to one with the lower number indicating that less heat is allowed inside through the window. Visible Transmittance, which also has a range of zero to one, indicates the dimness of the room with higher numbers indicating a brighter room. Air Leakage must be 0.3 for most building codes and a lower number indicates an airtight window. Condensation Resistance ranges from 1 to 100 and indicates the amount of condensation a window may build up.

How to Read an Energy Efficient Label

Windows come with label approved by the National Fenestration Rating Council. Since the climates in different parts of the country vary, it is important to use the energy ratings on those labels before choosing windows. The labels appear in the upper left corner of a window and will also include the manufacturer, model, style and materials used in construction.

If you are looking for windows that are more efficient, whether as replacements or for new construction, contact us online or by phone today. Our experienced customer service representatives can help guide you to be sure you choose the windows that best meet your needs.

July 12, 2016

Roof Types, Vocabulary and Things You Should Know

Roof Types, Vocabulary and Things You Should Know

When replacing an old roof or building a house from scratch, you may quickly find yourself confused by the number of unfamiliar terms used when looking at the different roof types.  Not to mention the seemingly strange lingo being thrown around by those in the roofing profession. Square feet or squares? Gabled roof or hip-and-valley? Crickets, soffits, flashing and rakes…

The sometimes mystifying vocabulary employed by roofers may not be quite as arcane as, say, a football playbook or quantum physics. But there are a number of terms and definitions that the average homeowner should understand before talking with a pro. To this end, we’ve created an infographic that explains the basics of roof vocabulary, materials, construction and general things you should be aware of before you dive into a roofing project.

Roof Types, Vocabulary and Things You Should Know
February 19, 2016

Simple DIY Decorating Projects You Can Do This Weekend!

Simple DIY Decorating Projects You Can Do This Weekend

There are a lot of benefits to tackling household projects yourself, especially when it comes to the financial aspect.

Start with simple projects that are easy enough for every skill level, and save a considerable amount of money buying the materials from a local hardware store.

Each of our ideas can be completed within a weekend from the beginning to the end.

Freshen Up the Flooring

Whether you have a hard surface or cushioned carpet throughout the house, adding area rugs and runners is a cheap and easy way to add style. This is the perfect project when winter is around the corner because rugs add comfort and insulation in any room.

Add Crown Molding

Make any room seem larger than it really is with the easy addition of crown molding. Hardware stores usually have corner pieces that simplify the do-it-yourself installation to complete a very clean look. It might be a good idea to update the existing baseboards to look more modern and match the color of the crown molding.

Clean and Decorate the Fireplace

The majority of the year, the fireplace only serves as a decoration in the center of the room. Once the cold weather has passed for the year, thoroughly clean the fireplace so that it can be decorated with indoor plants or artwork. If you are up to a larger project, you could take the opportunity to change the appearance of the fireplace with paint.

Organize and Redecorate Shelving and Bookcases

If you are like most homeowners with cluttered shelves, spend the day organizing all of the videos and books. It is going to be a major improvement when the shelves look tidy, and it will be much easier to locate specific items. Don’t be afraid to throw anything out that you no longer have an interest in using to free up some space.

Change up the Lamp Shades

Some of the most beautiful lamp shades look like a carefully planned art project. There’s no reason to spend a lot on new lamp shades with a few artistic additions to your existing decor. Add new fabric or adorn the lamp shades with beads so that it adds more uniqueness to the entire room.

Update Cabinet Hardware in the Kitchen

Antique knobs and handles can start to look drab if everything else has been updated. There is an entire aisle in the hardware store dedicated to cabinet and drawer hardware that you could easily install within a few minutes. The most time consuming part of this project is choosing between some of the great looking styles that are available.

Install a Tile Backsplash in the Kitchen

A longer weekend project involves picking out ceramic tiles to create a brand new backsplash. It might start off slow, but it should move along steadily once you get the hang of the installation process. Placing your own tile is going to cut a lot of the cost out of make a major improvement in the kitchen.

Make Picture Frames Uniform

Collecting new frames throughout a few years is pretty much a guarantee that they are mismatched. Without going through the trouble of replacing each of them with new frames, take everything down and add some paint. When everything is a unified color, they will give off the impression that they are all matching.

Redesign the Bedroom Decor

Pick out a few items that you would like to change in the bedroom and start redecorating. It doesn’t take long to add a fresh coat of paint, and then you can find matching curtains and a new comforter. By updating major visual elements, it will freshen up the entire room in as little as one weekend.

February 12, 2016

What Is The Best Color For My Roof?

What Is The Best Color For My Roof

It’s not always easy to find the perfect colors for your new roofing installation, especially when you discover how many choices are out there. Not only do you have to choose the right color, there are even more shades and color combinations to decide among.

A new roof has the potential to last more than 20 years, so it’s important to make a decision that you can live with long-term.

The Light vs. Dark Debate

In any area with really hot summers, possible heat retention in the roof can be a big concern. Dark colors are known to absorb heat from the sun, with solid black shingles being 10 degrees hotter than plain white. The difference in grays and browns are considerably less significant so there really is no sense in worrying about anything except quality and style.

Match Shingles to Your Brick

It’s always possible to change the color of shutters or wall paint, but the exterior bricks never change. Most homeowners start finding attractive options by comparing samples with the existing brick before taking paint colors into consideration.

Find a Material That Looks Good With the Exterior Paint Color

If you do plan to freshen up the paint on the outside of your home, it’s a smart idea to compare each of these different styles. Put a paint sample next to the roofing material options to find a combination that is appealing to your preference.

Add Dimension with a Complementary Color

Matching roofing too closely with brick or siding is going to make the house look dull and lifeless. A little variation is a very good thing because it defines the different materials for a more interesting visual.

Don’t Rule Out the Simple Colors

There is no requirement stating that shingles have to be multicolored or feature some type of pattern. Rather than risk making the house look too busy, use a simple shingle style to tone down the different exterior elements. If the home features a lot of neutrals, it would be a good idea to make sure that the shingles do stand out on their own.

Compare Shingles in Different Lighting

Brick, shingles, and siding all take on a slightly different look when comparing them in shade and direct sunlight. View samples at different times during the day to be sure that any variations do not throw off the overall harmony.

Keep Resale Value in Mind

Pleasing your personal style is important, but it is valuable to consider a broader audience if you ever plan to sell. A unique shade of green might be your favorite option, but it’s going to be a tough sell for a lot of buyers. Neutral is always a safe way to protect the resale value of your home when investing in a new roof.

July 31, 2015

5 Things To Look For When Choosing a Roofing Contractor

5 Things To Look For When Choosing a Roofing Contractor

A new roof is a major expense that a homeowner should see as a long-term investment. The quality of the job is very important, and choosing the right contractor to handle the project is going to provide the best result. Use the following guidelines to start narrowing the selection of roofers based on the most important factors.

Choose a Roofer Local to the Area

An expert that is familiar with the location is going to understand the typical weather conditions and climate. This ensures that the type of roof recommended and installed will be suited to handle adverse conditions so that you do not have to worry over the integrity of protection.

Experience

A handyman or general contractor may not have the relevant industry experience necessary to handle roofing work. Rather than get overwhelmed with dozens of contractors willing to take on the job, do the research to find someone with at least 3 years of experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you feel confident with the reputation and knowledge of a specific contractor.

Recommendations

Everyone has a roof over their home, so why not start your search with a few personal recommendations? Ask around to find out the names of professionals your friends and family have worked with previously, especially if they were given great service.

Testimonials

The Internet has provided business professionals an opportunity to advertise their services to a wide audience of potential clients. Check out the customer testimonials to get an honest review of positive and negative experiences others have reported. Some may be featured on the site of the roofer, but don’t forget to check out review sites for an unbiased opinion.

Warranty

Manufacturers that create the materials used in roofing offer warranties that will come in handy if there is ever an issue. Homeowners need to be aware of the protection they have on their finished product by reviewing the warranty with the contractor ahead of time.

It is important to feel confident in the skill and knowledge of any roofing contractor you are interested in hiring for a replacement installation. Always verify that they are licensed, insured, and able to provide the peace of mind provided by an exceptional product. We are happy to take on the responsibility of providing our roofing services to any local client. Take a moment to fill out the contact form so that we can schedule a consultation visit to your home.

July 3, 2015

4 Summer Projects for The Exterior of Your Home

4 Summer Projects for The Exterior of Your Home

Early summer is the best time to start planning small outdoor projects to get ready for the seasons of nice weather. Maintenance is important to anyone that cares about the appearance and value of their home exterior. Take advantage of the sunny weather by getting down to business taking care of the necessary chores you’ve been avoiding the rest of the year.

Every home has different features, but you can easily complete some of these tasks without a major time commitment. Begin with the quick fixes to shorten the list before committing to the major home improvement projects.

Clean the Gutters

Clean the GuttersLeaves, sticks, and other outdoor debris gradually accumulates in the gutters between cleanings. The longer these materials are allowed to sit, the easier it is for them to cause surface stains. The pollination cycle of spring also deposits materials that stubbornly cling to the gutter surfaces. Give them a thorough scrub to remove the pollen and stain discoloration for the next few months.

Wash Your Siding

The great thing about equipping the home with a high-quality siding is the minimal maintenance required for upkeep. Using a siding cleaner, work your way from the bottom up to scrub away any dirt, mildew, or mold on the surface. Although these substances do not cause aggressive wear, the integrity of siding will decrease from continuous exposure.

Repair and Clean Your Deck

Maintaining an outdoor deck is a smart way to make sure that your investment is not a waste. Put in a little work by clearing out any debris lingering between the floorboards. Ignoring such a minor detail allows the moisture to linger and potentially lead to rotting. Sweep the surface of the deck so that it is easy to check for splintering areas, water damage, and rotting of any boards. If you notice that any nails are sticking up, use a hammer to secure them into place. Check the rails to ensure that they are tight and also make sure the bolts securing the deck to the house are still holding strong. The final step is to use deck cleaner and then apply a special deck sealer to protect the surface until next year.

Clean your Outdoor furniture

The durable materials of outdoor furniture are able to easily withstand constant weather exposure without much consideration. Remove any built up grime and dirt to get a good look at the quality of existing paint or stain. Freshen up the furniture with a suitable non-toxic paint if it appears faded or lackluster.

If you need any help with outdoor maintenance projects or you are considering a new addition for the home, fill out our contact form to receive an estimate.