Is it Time for New Gutters?

Your home’s gutter system is very important for keeping proper drainage of water off your roof. Without damage from trees or debris, your gutters can last a while. Sometimes it can be very obvious when they are in need of changing can be very obvious, other times not. You don’t want to take down a good and functioning set of gutters if you don’t need to. Here are some signs to help you decide if it’s time for a change.

Separated gutters

Your gutter system only works when all the pieces are fastened together. If the gutters are separated, then they aren’t working as they should.

Cracks, holes and rust spots

Small cracks may seem insignificant, but small cracks turn into bigger ones. You don’t want to wait till there’s water leaking into your walls before replacing your gutter.  The small cracks allow water to further damage the gutters due to poor drainage. A few cracks and rusts can be fixed but if you see about 6 or more then it’s time for a replacement.

Broken or loose fasteners

If your gutters look like they’re pulling away from your roof-line, it’s time for a replacement. Gutters should not sag or pull away from the roof. A sagging gutter causes spillovers. This can be due to broken or loose fasteners or rotting in the fascia board.

Peeling exterior paint

If your gutter isn’t draining properly, water can seep down your siding and trim. If you notice paint peeling, this means your gutters haven’t been draining properly for a long time. In addition, peeling paint may be an indication of a water damage issue behind your walls.

Water damage

A poorly functioning gutter can lead to water pouring near your foundation and can leak into your basement. The damage can be costly if allowed to get extensive.

One or a combination of these signs can be an indication that your gutters need to be changed. If they do need to be changed, we can help!! Get a free estimate today!

Window Condensation Causes & Solutions

Do your windows looks like they’re sweating? It can happen with both new and old windows. Seeing condensation on your new windows can make you worry there’s a problem. We’ll explain some of the causes of window condensation below so that you can identify if there’s an issue with your windows.

Newer windows are usually airtight which mean less air can enter from the outside. This can make your window glass look like it’s sweating.  Condensation is usually because of environmental reasons.  You wouldn’t have noticed them with your old windows, because the air leaking out of them would have caused the moisture before it collects.

Is it Permanent and Should I be Worried?

Are you finding the condensation on the inside of your window? It means your home has excess humidity. Because your window glass is a cool surface, it makes the moisture visible. Does condensation on your windows usually form during showers, dish washing, laundry or during the start of the heating season? This means it’s probably temporary and not a permanent issue or problem.

How to Fix It

To help reduce the condensation on your windows, you can invest in a dehumidifier. Having a bathroom & kitchen fan can also help remove moisture from the air. Setting your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise can help circulate air and reduce condensation in the winter.

When Should You Be Worried?

If your condensation is between the window panes then that’s a cause for worry. Condensation between the panes can mean the window seals are broken and your windows aren’t properly insulated any longer[1]. If your windows are new, call the company you got them from and see about getting them replaced. If your windows are old, it might be time for a replacement.

Additionally, if condensation remains on the windows throughout the day even when things have warmed up, or if it’s beginning to run down the walls, it can lead to mold or mildew. If this is the case you should have them looked at by a professional.

At the end of the day, make sure to reduce sources of moisture, increase ventilation in your home or increase the air temperature. These things can help reduce condensation on your windows[2].

[1] https://www.stanekwindows.com/17-window-condensation-solutions.aspx

[2] https://www.sunrisewindows.com/faqs/care-maintenance/condensation/

Preparing for a Roof Replacement

Congratulations! You’ve taken all the necessary steps to get a new roof. Your contractor will be showing up in a few days to start working. But how do you prepare? How do you get ready? Here a few things you can do to be ready for your roof replacement.

Keeping kids and pets safe

When your is roof is under construction, there will be a lot of banging and debris everywhere. Your home becomes a work zone and it’s important to keep your kids and pets safe. The loud noises might startle your dogs or little kids. Your house might also be unsafe while the roof is under construction. Teach your kids to stay away from certain areas of the house where contractors may have ladders or tools laying around.

If possible keep kids and pets out of the house during the day. If you can, stay with family or friends until the completion of the project.

Remove loose objects from wall

All the banging might shake your walls a bit. Remove objects and pictures hanging on the walls directly under the roof. Removing them will prevent them from falling and breaking. Remove anything that isn’t permanently secured.

Make room for the workers

Your roofing contractors are going to need easy access to their tools and trucks. It would be ideal to clear your driveway for them to park in. They will also need a place to put a dumpster to clear debris and the old roof into.  Keep your vehicles a safe distance away from the work zone.

Move outdoor furniture

If you have outdoor furniture or a grill that will be in the work zone, move them. Moving them out of the way reduces the chance of them getting damaged or being in the way of the workers.

Prune & Trim Trees

Trim any trees or branches that are near the roof. Any branches that hang low near the roof can get in the way of your contractor.

Do all of these including suggested things from your contractor and your home will be ready for your roof replacement.

Haven’t found the right contractor for your roof replacement yet? We can help! Get a free estimate on a roof replacement today!

Signs It’s Time For a New Roof

Not sure when the right time is for a new roof? Check out these signs your roof shows when it’s time for a replacement.

It is leaking

If your roof is leaking or has a hole in it, it is time for a new one.  Some leaks can be repaired but typically, you want to replace the whole thing to avoid further damage down the line. When patching one hole, you might miss water damage or hidden leaks. Besides water damage, a leaking roof can cause mold or mildew to grow in your home.

It is old

The lifespan of your roof will vary based on the roofing material. If you know what your roof is made off, find out when it was installed to determine if it’s time for a replacement. Asphalt can last up to 25 years, and cedar shake can last up to 50 years.  These numbers are based off proper care and ventilation of your roof. Other issues like algae, leaks or even trauma to the roof might be a cause for replacement.

Broken or loose shingles

Loose or cracked shingles are a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Sometimes your shingles might just look curled or buckled. This is as a result of moisture in the attic pushing the nails and shingles up.  Whether broken, curled or loose, shingles that aren’t in their original form make your home vulnerable. They make it easier for outside elements to enter your home. For example, rain leaking into your attic.

Algae on roof

Have you noticed black streaking, or algae on your roof? Algae is bacteria eating away at your shingles. As the algae continue to eat at your roof they weaken the weatherproofing properties.

Ice Dams

Icicles and ice dams are another sign it may be time for a new roof. Sometimes the problem can be attributed to inefficient gutters but the roof plays a role as well. If you have ice dams it means your roof isn’t getting proper ventilation or adequate insulation.

Does your roof have one or more of these signs? Don’t wait till it’s too late, Get a free estimate for a roof replacement on us!

The Credibility of Online Review Sites

The popularity of online review sites has risen hand in hand with the growth of the internet. They make it easier to gauge how good a company might be before you get their services. Whether it’s looking for a new restaurant or searching for a contractor to redo a deck, we’re inclined to go online to find out what past customers thought.
 
Unfortunately, like everything else related to the internet you can’t trust everything thing you read. Online reviews are usually left by honest customers looking to share their experience. Yet, the ease of posting reviews means disgruntled employees as well as competitors can leave untrue reviews on a company’s review page to drive down their ratings, despite the fact they may be worthy of your business.
 
The Good
Let’s take our company, for example, we have an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with over a hundred reviews and thousands of customers. We hold a Top Rating with Angie’s List with a ton of reviews and award-winning customer service. We currently have 4.5 Stars on Google (out of 5).
 
The Bad
 
Now you’re thinking, what about Yelp? This brings me to the 2 review sites with unusual practices to say the least.
 
Yelp has a supposed algorithm that they claim filters out unreliable reviews while allowing what they claim are the real ones. As most business owners have come to find, this is untrue. They have filtered out all the 5-star reviews our customers have sent in. You can only see them when you click the link called unreliable reviews. Real people, real names and faces we have actually done business with, many of which are on our website giving testimonials in their own words.
 
Yet, Yelp’s algorithm allows the posting of reviews from people in states we’ve never worked in. There are reviews up there from people that we’ve never done business with. Sound suspicious?  We thought so too. Our company has contacted Yelp many times to complain and they have no interest in hearing any of it. They stand by their algorithm. Our CEO reached out recently and the representative hung up him on when he inquired about the reviews from people who aren’t customers.
Conclusively
As a result, if you go on Yelp, we are one star and the worst companies in the world. If you go on every other legitimate site, we are top rated. Now, Yelp calls us quite often to ask if we want to advertise. You can go online and google “Yelp scam” or any other similar description. You’ll see claims from countless businesses who say they’ve hurt, all throughout the country. Does that sound like a good way to vet a company? Nope.
 
Additionally, Rip-off report is another scam site that acts in a very similar manner as Yelp. The BBB is customer centered and doesn’t do it for the money. Home Advisor and Angie’s List are reliable and considered honest review sites. Google reviews are fair. The others ask for payment. Plain and simple.
 
Be aware. Here’s another thing to consider, if you put up a one star review on Yelp for a company, it shows up immediately. But a 5 star review gets taken down within a matter of a couple of days or doesn’t make post at all. Try it, let us know what happens.
 
Do you have any Yelp horror stories? Let us know in the comments below!

DIY Home Repairs

There are a lot of common home repairs out there that people often think only professionals can handle. Before calling up a professional and spending your money, take a look at our list of easy-to-fix DIY home repairs.

Clean faucet aerator

Water not coming out the way it’s supposed to? Your faucet’s aerator screen may be dirty or clogged. You don’t need a professional to clean out the screen. Make sure the sink’s drain plug is closed, then use a rag to screw the aerator open.

Unclog toilet

Nothing worse than a clogged toilet that you can’t unclog with the plunger. Before you grab the snake, grab some dish soap. Pour in about half a cup of liquid dish soap and let it sit. The soap will help everything slide through much easier when you flush[1].

Cover-up ceiling stain

Water stains on the ceiling can be tough to hide without painting the whole ceiling. If the stain is isolated, you can use a spray on product, Upshot by Kilz. This works by matching an aged ceiling and sprays vertically. This way you can just stand and spray up. Just make sure to cover up the walls with plastic and put a cloth on the floor.

You can also try to bleach water stains to reduce how prominent the stains look. Just make a bleach solution with water. Spray the spot and wait a few days for it to fade.

Loose shower head/pipe

Got an unsteady shower head or wobbly pipe? Easy fix, all you need is some expanding foam.

Sticky lock

Are your keys sticking in the lock? Don’t give up on it yet. You can fix it with a pencil. You can rub pencil graphite on the teeth of the key. When you insert the key it will distribute the coating on the lock. This will help the key glide much more smoothly.

Squeaky Door

A door that’s sticking or squeaking, when opened or closed, can be very annoying. An easy less messy way to get rid of the squeak is some petroleum jelly. Just rub some on the hinges and that should help with the squeak.

Do you have other DIY home repair tricks up your sleeve? Share them with us in the comments!

[1] https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/diy-home-improvement/10-minute-house-repair-and-home-maintenance-tips/view-all/

Home Improvement Scams to Avoid

Scams are unfortunately increasing over the years. We all know someone who has either been scammed or been targeted with a scam. The Better Business Bureau showed over 45,000 reported scams in 2018, and those are just the reported ones[1], there were likely many more that went unreported.  The home improvement industry is not immune to scams. Here are some common home improvement scams to look out for and avoid.

Storm Chasers

Not the storm chasers you’re thinking about. Unlike traditional storm chasers, the ones we’re talking about show up after a storm has hit. Home improvement storm chasers or disaster chasers, show up to areas affected by natural disaster to offer their services. These scammers show up and offer cheap and quick services to fix whatever damage your home suffered. After storms, reputable companies are probably very busy and have long lines, so they take advantage of your desperation to do shoddy work. They disappear before you even realize they’ve done more harm than good.

Free Mold Check

Someone shows up at your door and offers to give you a free mold check. Don’t let them in, unless you’ve consulted and specifically set an appointment for a mold check. What usually happens is they offer free mold testing and when you let them in, they always find some mold whether you actually have mold or not. They would offer to fix it for you immediately.  No homeowner wants to be living with mold so you’re more likely to agree to the same-day fix. These scam contractors usually will cause damage instead of actually fixing anything and then disappear with your check before you’re realized the damaged caused.

In some cases, the person is not a contractor at all but rather a burglar wanting to take a closer look into your home. So, remember to be cautious with this and only do a mold inspection with a reputable company that you set an appointment with.

Leftover supplies

These scam contractors show up at your house and claim they have some leftover supplies from a previous job in your neighborhood. They will offer you a discount on the labor and supplies to work on your home. Trusty companies and contractors usually don’t roam trying to find a customer to sell their extra supplies too. Additionally, most contractors know how much is needed for a job and order the right amount. Leftover supply contractors are more likely to do a shoddy job or just take your money and disappear.

Permit Avoidance

If a contractor or company ever suggests not getting a permit for a job that requires one, run. This is a big red flag. This means they don’t want anyone taking a closer look at the job they’re doing. Which means they might be doing a shoddy job. Never cut corners, don’t hire unlicensed or uninsured contractors. If you do, you’ll be paying a bigger price down the line.

Always get everything in writing. From the number of supplies, exact costs, liability, to timeline of the job, verbal agreements are never enough. Make sure you’re covered always, and always do your research before hiring a contractor. Read our blog for more on how to hire the right contractor for your project.

[1] https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us

Roofing Terms Simplified

Searching for a roofing contractor can be stressful enough on its own. Add in complicated roofing terms and it gets confusing. Confusion about the terms makes it difficult to understand what you’re getting. Aggregate? Weep holes? Not sure what any of these mean? No worries! That’s why we’re here. We’re going to simplify it all to make your search for a new roof easier.

Terms:

Aggregate – A roofing system surfacing that’s made from crushed stone or rocks or gravel.
 
Base Sheet – An asphalt or coated felt used as the base for a built-up roofing system.
 
Bitumen – A black sticky mixture, also known as asphalt.
 
Butyl – Rubber-like material used in making sealants, coatings, and adhesives for roofing[1].
 
Cap sheet – A waterproofing membrane added to the base sheet using an open flame.
 
Double Graveling – The application of two layers of gravel in hot bitumen.
 
Eaves – The part of the roof that hangs over the walls of your home. It is the edges of the roof. Gutters are generally installed on the edges of the eaves.
 
Rafters – Support frame attached to a roof deck.
 
Ridges – Where the roof lines intersect at the highest points. On the ridges you will find shingles.
 
Single-Ply Roofing – This is a roofing system with a single-ply membrane.
 
Soffit Ventilation – A vent that allows fresh air in through the attic. The eaves of the roof contain the soffit.
 
Underlayment – Your roof’s base layer that is between the roof deck and the shingles. It is usually waterproof or water resistant. This all depends on the quality and type of the underlayment[2].
 
Weep Holes – Found along the top ridge of the roof, these holes help get rid of any absorbed water.
 
Wind Uplift – Displacement of a roof’s shingles due to wind pressure.
 
 

Winter Home Survival Guide

Winter is finally here and snow is not too far away. Check out these tips to make sure your home pulls through the winter in one piece.

Gutter Cleaning

Ideally, your gutters should be cleaned out in the fall to avoid debris overflow. Before the first heavy snow hits it important to clean debris out of your gutters. When the snow melts it needs to go somewhere. A clean gutter allows the melted snow to flow easily. If your gutter is filled with debris, you risk melted snow and water running behind the gutters and leaking into your walls. Water leaking into your walls can lead to mold growth.

Proper Snow removal

Heavy snow can be overwhelming for a roof, especially when it piles on after many snow storms. It is only logical to try and remove some of that burden by getting rid of some of the snow yourself. However, when removing snow off your roof, it has to be done correctly or else you risk damaging your roof or possibly even hurting yourself.

You want to invest in a snow rake for this, they’re available in most hardware stores. When removing snow, take off a few inches at a time[1]. Don’t dive straight into trying to scrape the roof clean in one go. Remove icicles from the edge of the roof and make sure your gutters are clean. Avoid stepping on the roof if you can. If going on the roof can’t be avoided, hire a professional or always have another person with you as you work.

Attic Insulation to prevent Ice Dams

Before the winter hits its peak make sure your attic is properly insulated. You want it to be comfortable but you don’t want your attic getting too warm either. A really warm attic causes snow to melt at high points on your roof and freezing back up as icicles and ice dams. Ice dams can block your gutters and cause water damage to your home. If your attic is getting warm enough to melt snow in freezing temperatures then you’re probably losing heat and money. It’s important to have a professional take a look at your attic if this is the case.

These are just a few of many ways you can make sure your house makes it through the winter in one piece.

For more home improvement tips, check out our other blog posts.

[1] https://www.mass.gov/service-details/roof-collapse-and-snow-removal-safety-information

How Heat Mirror Helps with Climate Control

Comfort is what makes a house a home. Your home should be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There are many factors that go into making your home cozy and warm. Energy efficient windows are one of the factors. The HR40 window system is one of the best windows on the market. Its heat mirror technology is one of the few things that differentiate it from the rest.

How does heat mirror help with your home’s comfort?

Heat Reflection

Heat Mirror film technology utilizes Nano-scale coatings of metal which reflects heat back to its source. This comes in handy in the winter because reflects heat back into your home and it helps in the summer because it reflects the heat from the sun out, helping keep a cool home.

UV protection

Heat mirror blocks up to 99.5% of the sun’s UV rays. The UV protection helps protect your furniture and plants from harmful UV rays. The clear glazing transmits photo-synthetically active radiation and controls temperature swings. This helps your plants flourish and avoids growth stunts.

Additionally, heat mirror keeps you and your family safe from UV radiation while you relax near your windows.

Energy Efficiency

HR40 Windows provide year round comfort for your home. By reflecting the sun’s heat in the summer and reflecting heat back in your house in the winter, it helps control your home’s internal temperature. As a result, you experience less heat loss in the winter.

Please note that for ultimate home comfort, your home should be probably insulated. Heat mirror and the HR40 windows are great for managing and reducing heat loss.