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.
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. 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.
There’s a lot that goes into getting your roof replaced. How well things go relies on the contractor you pick for the job. Whether you’re going by referral or research there are some questions you should always ask. Here is a list of questions to definitely ask your roofing contractor before signing anything.
How long have you been in business?
- It is good to know if your contractor has been in business for a while or if they are new and starting out. It isn’t necessarily a negative if they business is young, but if they have been around for a while it is safer to assume they know what they are doing.
How many projects like mine have you completed?
- If your roof or home is unique, you want to make sure they’ve done similar projects before.
Are there any completed roofing projects I can see?
- If they have done similar projects, it is a good idea to get referrals and some pictures of past jobs. This will help build your confidence in your roofing contractor. And you can also confirm that they know what they’re doing.
Is the whole crew insured?
- Your roofing contractor should have liability insurance as well as workman’s compensation. Working on a roof can be dangerous, making sure they are insured protects you from any damages during your roof replacement. It will also give you peace of mind to know the workers are covered in case of injuries during the project.
How much experience does your crew have?
- Experience is important. Sure everyone needs to do their first roof to get experience. But you want to make sure at least 90% of the crew working on your roof including your main contractor has a good amount of experience working on roofs.
What licenses do you have?
- Make sure your contractor is properly licensed by your state to actually work on your roof. Each state is different so it’s important to make sure your roofing contractor has all the right paperwork.
Can I have a written estimate?
- Having a written copy of the agreed estimate and cost of the roof will help avoid possible price hikes during or after the job is done.
Can I see the warranty before you start the job? How long is your warranty?
- Find out how long the job is guaranteed. Are you covered for repairs up to a year or longer? Is the quality of the job guaranteed at all? Every roofing contractor is different so make sure to find out before you sign anything.
Does the warranty cover the job or the materials or both?
- Does the warranty cover the materials or is the manufacture taking care of that? Finding out if your warranty covers the labor or the materials will give you an idea of who to contact if you start having problems with your roof.
How long will the job take?
- This essentially gives you an idea of how long to expect a crew at your home working on your roof. It’ll help you plan your schedule better. Asking about rain dates is important as well. It is good to find out what the plan is when the weather changes.
How is the payment going to be handled?
- Are you paying half upfront or 25% up front? What happens if the job is not done as agreed or on time? If they are using subcontractors are you paying the sub-contractors separate? Are you paying for material and labor or just labor and purchasing the materials on your own? Make sure all parties are clear on how the payment is going to work and what percentage is due up front.
These are some great questions to keep in mind when you’re looking for a company to replace your roof. Feeling comfortable with the process is always important when you are having a big project done on your house.
The roof is an essential part of your home that sometimes tends to be forgotten about. Out of sight out of mind right? Unfortunately, you can’t just put a roof on and forget all about it. Regular maintenance and inspections are necessary to make sure your roof is in good shape to ensure longevity. It doesn’t have to be too often, maintenance once or twice a year can make a big difference. You can catch and fix problems before they become an emergency. A healthy roof can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Know Your Roof
First thing is to always know what type of roof you have. Knowing the roofing material gives your foresight into what problems might ensue. Different materials have their benefits and disadvantages, you can read more about what the best roofing material for your home is here. Some roofing materials work better in warmer climates and others in colder climates. Single ply roofs run the risk of open seams. Metal roofs expand and contract and also rust over time.
Either hire a professional or safely inspect your roof yourself. Don’t just inspect for problems that already exist. Be sure to look for things that might become a problem moving forward. Check for tree debris, insecure drains, wobbly joints, missing shingles, algae, etc. If you just purchased the house or are planning on purchasing, you want to check to make sure past problems haven’t gone unchecked. Avoid temporary fixes. Don’t inspect just the outside of the roof. Sometimes the damage culprit may be on the inside. Check indoors for bug infestations or water damage that might compromise the integrity of your roof.
Broken tree branches, leaves, and animals can all damage your roof. It doesn’t hurt to clear debris off your roof once in a while. Something as normal as snow in the Northeast can cause your roof to collapse. When removing debris and snow make sure to do it carefully so you don’t cause damage to your roof. A snow rake can be used to clear snow off the roof. It never hurts to hire a professional to do it, so you know it’s done properly.
Roof maintenance is very important and should never go overlooked. Make your roof last longer and save money in the long run.
Are there any other things you do to keep your roof healthy? Let us know in the comments.
How to find a good contractor:
Get referrals from friends and family.
Make sure to conduct thorough online research. Read more about vetting a company online.
Go in knowing what you want before you start asking for estimates.
Do over the phone followed by face to face interviews so you can put a face to the name of the person who’s going to be working in and out of your house.
Don’t let price be your only deciding factor, don’t forget that price does not always equal quality.
Get everything in writing – pricing, start and finish dates, etc. This makes it easier to follow up and fight a case if worst case scenario your contractor starts the job and disappears before finishing.
Verify with the contractor which part of the work they will be doing and which parts a subcontractor will do.
Before you make the final payments get receipts for all materials purchased.
Things to Check for:
You want to check and make sure your contractor has a license and insured in your state.
If you’re getting work done on your walls or pipes, check to make sure your contractor is EPA Lead-Safe
Check the references of anyone you interview for the job.
Length of the warranty that comes with the job and what the warranty covers in totality.
Things to be wary of:
The contractor is unable to give you a demo or actually show you what they’re going to be installing.
Your contractor can’t provide you with the written warranty or estimate.
The contractor tries to sell you on either the cheapest or the most expensive material without consideration for the quality.
Home improvement projects can take some time and be hefty investments, but once complete it can be worth the effort. Home improvement projects can help to brighten up your home, help your home feel less cluttered and even improve the resale value of your home. Not everyone has the time or can afford big home improvement, but there are definitely quicker home improvement projects that are just as effective in helping your home look better. Little changes and updates that can make your home feel almost new again.
Here are some DIY home improvement projects you can get done over a weekend.
Has your garage become the holder of junk instead of a place to park a car? It may be time to clean it out and reorganize. Clean out garage clutter by throwing away what you don’t need, and keep what is important. Make some room in the garage to make it easier to move around and possibly have enough room in there to put the car back in. A weekend may be all it takes to actively clean your garage out.
Repainting/staining the fence
A fence plays an important role in protecting your home, providing some privacy and also framing your home’s aesthetics. Over time the paint fades on the fence. A faded fence ruins the aesthetics of your home. Luckily you just need a dedicated weekend and the right supplies to get your fence looking its best once again. Grab a few friends or family members and make it fun with some snacks as you work.
Rearrange the furniture
This can be one of the easier DIY home projects. If you’ve had your furniture in the same place for over a year it might be time for a slight change. You can move furniture around in the living area, like repositioning couches, moving the coffee table closer to the wall or center of the room. These are little things that can help improve the energy of space, sometimes making the room seem more spacious.
Repaint a room
Is the paint on the walls peeling, or in need of a change in color? With the right tools and a dedicated weekend, you can repaint a room, add a new gloss or matte finish with
new colors or patterns to change the feel and look of the room.
Apply new wallpaper
Not up for the task of repainting? For more patterns and options you can cover the walls with wallpaper. Wallpapers are sold in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and sizes. It’s a simple DIY project that brings some personality and uniqueness to your home.
These are just a few DIY projects you can do without having to pay a professional and still have your home feeling almost new again.
For bigger efficient home improvement projects, we can get you started. Just get your free estimate here.