Oh dam! Icicles :)

Look how beautiful those icicle look! Two day’s later, look how awful that stained drywall look’s!  Instantaneously, the homeowner pick’s up the telephone, dial’s 1- 800-nearest roofing company and scream’s “there’s water pouring in!”

3 Story Ciile

Winter is a love/hate for many people, but especially within the roofing industry. Every year midwest roofing companies expect the slow months of January and February, but mother nature alway’s has the last laugh. No one should install a “lifetime” roofing system in weather below 10 degrees (the manufacturer’s don’t recommend under 40 degrees) or very much be outside when it’s -10 windchill.

However, if there’s one thing many contractor’s can agree on, it’s that shiny icicles will keep us busy! The roofer’s mind is conditioned to flat out hate “ice dams” because they present many issues for homeowners and us.

The top reasons for ice damming

  1. Weather
    • Heck if it didn’t snow, melt, freeze, and repeat = THIS WOULDN’T HAPPEN! 
    • Weather review: If 18″ of snow comes within a 2 day period (February 9-11th) and the temperature rises shortly, then your roof needs to shed A LOT of water.
    • Example: Consider your roof is 2,000 ft. of roof and has 18″ of snow, this equates to 36,000 inches of snow! If you use the rule of the industry standard “10 inches of snow equals 1 inch. of water” (there’s varying measurements due to temperature differences). This means that the standard size residential roof must shed over 3,600 inches or 300 feet of water or 188 gallons of water before the temperature hits 32 degrees again (returns to freezing). Often this does not happen, and lead’s to beautiful icicles pouring over the gutters.
  2. An efficient ventilation system
    • Homes are under-ventilated or disportionally ventilated. This is NOT your fault, unless you’re the one building the home and fail to meet the current building codes. Most homes are under-ventilated, because the energy codes have been updated, so if your home has a 20 to 35 year old roofing system in place you’re susceptible.
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    • Do keep in mind:  Today, the manufacturer’s design their systems around current codes or attempt to set the new standard, which is far from the 1970’s standard. Why is this important? It’s important because if the “lifetime roof” is defective and was installed with inadequate ventilation, the manufacturer may use that as probable cause for the premature failure and avoid accept responsibility (aka – not pay for that “lifetime roof”).
    • There is an appropriate measurement for intake and exhaust ventilation. Check with your local, GAF MasterElite roofing contractor.
  3.  Insulation
  4. Poorly installed home. Each of the below item’s should be installed as per manufacturer and follow local building code to create a unison system.
    • The Roofing System – 2 courses of Ice & Water shield, Synthetic Felt, and proper drainage flashings.
    • Fascia  – Either wood fascia is hardened by the element’s, but expanding/contrasting moisture can damage metal wrapped fascia as well.
    • Gutters – Drip edge, positive pitch, downspout every 15′,
    • Soffit  &  Roof ventilation  – installed per your homes dimensions

 

So what can you do? 

First be patient, UNLESS you’re home is severely leaking and you’re experiencing ice damming similar to the photo’s showcased. Second, be mindful of the current weather.  If there was a severe snowstorm or whiteout, don’t you believe it might be difficult for the local roofer to drive right now? Third be proactive, we assure you if you follow a few of the trick’s mentioned you can decrease the amount of ice damming.

5 way’s to help eliminate ice damming 

  1. Install your roofing system, fascia, gutters, soffit, and vent’s correctly. TFrozen Icclehis will allow you to be ahead of the game (cough – Total Roofing & Construction)
  2. Clean your gutter system before winter! If you can’t, we can. (Click above). A clean gutter will allow water to shed more easily. Trust us we find Barbies & tennis ball’s all the time in gutters.
  3. Purchase or borrow a roof rake. This tool is beneficial for removing excessive snow near roof’s eaves, which allow’s any melted snow to freely get to the gutter system.
  4. Install heat cables or table.  You can apply this product above your gutters and throughout your downspout. We recommend installing this in late Fall – November.
  5. Last but not least, the hammer & salt method for emergencies.
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Roofing the game! The 1st edition!

Your first roofing project bid: here’s the scope!

  • A new roofing system on a 200 sq. foot heated garden shed.Garden Shed
  • Products to be installed: GAF roofing products and a Timberline roofing system (GAF.com)
  • Must purchase material from a local supply house (http://www.55buildingsupply.com/)

Your client’s contractor’s check-list:

  • Must be installed within 1 day and not one drop of leftover debris
  • You cannot drive up to the shed and hand carry all equipment/material
  • Believes the companies employees should emit professionalism by being clean cut and company clothing.
  • Employees should also have a 2019 Ford 150, lettered truck
  • They should receive a 100 year workmanship warranty upon completionClock Master
  • Will not pay the remaining balance until they see fit
  • Must be a BBB company (bbb.org) and be preferred contractor from GAF.

Welcome to the roofing industry! 
Time to start your bid!

A few OSHA rules to know before:

  • Must have a safety-supervisor, in addition to a foreman  (Or possible fine)
  • All installer’s are to be roped off during construction (Or possible fine)
  • There must not be slack for each roofer more than 6 feet (Or possible fine)
  • Ladder must extend 3′ past the roof line and be tied up. (Or possible fine)
  • Entire premise free of hazards or potential miscues on the ground (Or possible fine)
  • On-site restroom facility must be available (Or possible fine)

Local laws/building codes:

  1. Registered and licensed within community/town (Or possible fine)
  2. Passed state roofing license exam  (Or possible fine)
  3. Have workman’s comp, appropriate bond, and insurance in place. (Or possible fine)
  4. Filed for your roofing permit (Or possible fine)

 

Now turn in your competitive bid 

(It must be below $100.00 or they’ll have their neighbor do it on Sunday).

 

 

 

 

 

Quality Contractor > Quality Product

Selecting the right contractor is far greater than the selecting the right roofing system or any service oriented systems (HVAC, flooring, etc.). Face it, installing a roofing system requires over 1,500 nails and 10 different accessories (Ice and water shield, ridge cap, chimney flashing, caulking/sealant, ventilation, underlayment, starter strip, drip edge, exhaust vents, soil stacks, and more!) all be intertwined, forming an efficient roofing system. And you and I can both agree, if those high-end architectural shingles were not installed correctly, we guarantee you’ll be seeking another contractor with the hopes they can preserve those $2,000 high-end shingles.

Informational

Unfortunately this is an ordinary circumstance

This situation is far more frequent than you would think. I would say 20% of all homeowner’s will bring up their previous contractor’s mishaps or inability to deliver on their promises, which led them contacting us.  So, our first recommendation to you homeowners, please perform your due diligence in thoroughly researching these professionals. The great thing about today’s economy is the internet.

Why is this important? This is important because the average roofing system last’s 17-20 years in the midwest. So, if you hire a qualified contractor to install “lifetime shingles” or the equivalent shingles you should be worry free. Even though the materials have active manufacturer warranties, we still recommend performing annual inspections or “roofing oil changes” to help preserve the existing material. We believe due to the unknown nature of the weather and normal aging this help’s prevent pre-emptive deterioration.

However, if you’re in the boat with “Jack the roofer and his friend’s” or “the Texas straight talker” did your roof in a recent storm, then 20 years might be cut in half. In addition, a lot manufacturer’s won’t warranty the first roof because of the negligent install or the original contractor is out of business (over 70% of roofing contractor’s are out of business in 3 years).

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So what does the industry do to help you?

  1. The leading roofing manufacturer’s provide accreditation and “pro-level” certification’s to approved contractor’s that abide by their (manufacturer’s) install methods and have adequate up-to date liability/license insurance. Almost all manufacturers offer contractor plus programs: Owens Corning, GAF, TAMKO, IKO, CertainTeed, and Atlas (TRC are certified if you’re curious 🙂
    • What’s does this mean for you? The manufacturer is pre-screening your local contractor’s and will list them on their website for you consumers. Additionally, some have their own review page such as GAF MasterElite contractor’s will have a GAF manufacturer representative follow-up with the homeowner and complete a 40-point roof inspection.
  2. Accountability: another great reference sheet is to call the local building supply houses & distributor’s that the contractor uses.
    • What does this mean for you? Request from the potential contractor a supply houses list. A supply house often is honest to inform of known shady practices or if the contractor has any outstanding balances. We do recommend being cautious of the suppliers trying to flip “their” contractor’s your way, but this reference could protect you from a future lien situation.
  3. Know your states rights. A lot of states offer you “homeowner’s right to cancel a contract” up to 3 business day’s. The length and circumstance varies among each state, but this does give you leeway to jump ship.
    • What does this mean for you? This provides you an opportunity to jump from a home remodeling contract within 3 days of signing it. However, you must notify them promptly and most ethical contractor’s will void a contract (even past the 3 days).

We hope this article will help in your roofing system endeavor! A lot of these basic principles are common throughout all service industries, but could possibly save you a lot $$$$$$ and headaches. Remember whether it’s plumbing, windows, or carpet most manufacturer’s offer accreditation programs to help separate the cream of the crop installer’s for you. We understand it’s easy to get sold by charm, but as the great GE CEO Jack Welch alway’s said “Trust Your Gut.”

 

The “small-mart” revolution

Do you like Wal-Mart, Home Depot’s, or Costco?

If you’re like most of the 300+ million in the United States it’s probably a love/hate relationship. You certainly enjoy the benefit’s of these large outfits such as the discounted rates, one-stop shop, or better yet the possibility of job’s. So, why wouldn’t we all love these stores?

The resounding answer is: the destruction of small businesses. America’s business economy consist of 90%+ of small businesses and it still continues to be sustained by “small-mart’s”, but this doesn’t mean these companies are unfazed. As these big box stores tend to cluster within our local economies, many  “family, owned, and operated” businesses see their market shares dwindle. Does your company have less than 100 employees?  There’s a strong possibility you’re facing  dillema or consistantly running against these behemouth stores or maybe Amazon’s platform is disrupting your book of business. The good new’s is that people still enjoy small businesses and even more so are requesting it.

Face it, PEOPLE STILL WANT SMALL MART’S! In recent years there’s been an ever-increasing trend of local farmer’s market, desire for quality good’s, and most importantly intentional customer service companies that thrive in local communities. Today’s tool’s (social media, web platform’s, freelance) help these top-tier local companies grow/scale stand out. In addition, the cost to enter the marketplace is much easier for entrepreneurs.

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We believe companies must maintain effective business development plans to stay competitive while avoiding complacency, but you local’s have a responsibility as well. If every local citizen spent $100 monthly of their hard-earned money, whether that be locally at a restaurant, family grocery store, or “Joe’s Home-good’s” this would significantly enhance the local economy. Let’s say Bob’s town has a population of 10,000 and 7,000 are adult’s (4,500 are working individuals). Those 4,500 individuals intend on spending $1,200 of discretionary income a year = $5,400,000 million dollar back in Bob’s friendly neighborhood. $5,400,000 of revenue will trickle to the local worker’s, manufacturers, and tax dollars. A recent study re-solidifies the importance of this new trend, by showing only 14% of revenue actually stays when you purchase items through a major chain! (http://www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/)

So why is this important? Specifically, in our industry (home restoration), we’ve noticed a two-fold trend individual’s purchasing from large box store’s or hiring a fly by night exterior company. If you felt more comfortable with those service companies or their representatives than the local service provider, I understand. That’s why it’s vital for small businesses to hone their craft with the intent of improving their communities (that’s our responsibility and loss)! However, it’s a disservice to the community when you don’t consider the local roofer compared to the clean-cut man from Texas in a large monster truck, who came knocking. The only thing that Texan is doing is steam rolling the economy at the nearby gas station. We always recommend asking the question “how long will you be calling ______ home?” This provides you an overall insight if that companies workmanship warranty means anything at all or will stand by it.

Support is on the way

The historical shopping calendar of “black Friday”, “cyber Monday’s”, and others have now realized the void for local businesses. The economy is starting to participate and have even created “Small Business Saturdays” (https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-initiatives/small-business-saturday) during the week of Thanksgiving.

Other way’s to support:

  • Partake in a local coupon/golden book fundraiser (Coupons for local businesses restaurants, etc)
  • Use the local grocery store for your necessities (eggs, milk, paper towels)
  • If you had a great experience with a local vendor SHARE IT. Word of mouth and support is a fantastic way to showcase the area’s talented service providers
  • If you had a poor experience ask to speak with the owner of the company. You are much more likely to speak directly with the owner instead of a 3rd-Party customer service staff in Kuwait.
  • A large renovation project coming up then ask for 2 bids from local companies and the 3rd from the fly by night.
  • Review the Better Business Bureau

 

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What’s the best % to budget for emergency maintenance?

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Recently, a lot of our client’s have asked us about planning emergency maintenance budget’s and were curious on how to better stretch their HOA dollar’s. We will gladly tackle this question, because it’s important for property manager’s, maintenance divisions, and homeowner’s. Our definition of a emergency maintenance budget:  Item’s, which typically are not a concern or an ongoing issue for an individual, organization. This budget would help you fix emergency leaking, falling siding, etc.

For Condominiums/townhouses

Checklist items to have access to:

  • Running inventory of the age of exterior products (siding, windows, roofing, etc)
  • List of recent renovations & their contractor’s (along with warranties)
  • Yearly HOA receivables & yearly vendor bills (lawn care, tree’s, garbage).

These item’s will represent what must be completed every year to maintain your complex as is and now you see the product’s that are on the “best side” of a worst to best condition list. So now your board can focus a larger  % of receivables on the “worst side” such as those $25,000 + renovation project’s. Yet, where does this leave the maintenance budget? Our rule of thumb is 5% (low-end) to 15% (high-end) should be planned for emergency repairs or an escrow account. We understand not all repairs are the responsiblity of a property management company and might be the homeowners, but this doesn’t mean the funds will be wasted. A number of management companies we know will apply any unused fund to those larger renovation project’s or leave in an escrow account in case of an insurance claim (deductible)

The problem we found with condominium’s and committee board’s is the number of individual’s involved. A lot of the “wish list” renovation’s are decided by vote from designated committee members, which does speed up renovations. However if it’s possible, we recommend gathering insight from the on-site maintenance person or previous vendor’s during your review. We don’t suggest taking their vote as part of the decision (Constitutional bylaws), but take their advice with merit. These serviceman generally know your complexes extremely well and they’ll be honest to you, because there’s always problems throughout the complex. The input of the vendors/serviceman may shift your committee’s desire to replace that wood siding instead of installing a new pond liner.

The best part of having a 5 to 15% safety net you can afford an expert or reputable companies. Often organization’s will be tight on their budget, which lead’s them to hiring the unqualified contractor for 1/2 the cost of the local vendor. We understand every governing community is different in what’s important to them, but it will never hurt you to have 5 to 15% planned yearly.

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Homeowner’s

If you’re a homeowner then consider asking your “jack of all trades” neighbor, a licensed contractor, or call a licensed home inspector. Start these discussion’s off with “what item’s do you believe are my worst to best?”

Cost of these services:

  • Neighbor – Case of beer or a favor
  • Home Inspector – A scale fee based on how many items are reviewed
  • Contractor – Cost of your time (Often Free Estimates)

 

The amount we advise budgeting for a family or property owner is 2 to 5% of the property value. This recommended number is far less than townhouse/condo complexes (5 to 15%) due to their sheer size and # of issues. It’s far more common for condominium board’s to spend $100,000 on lawn maintenance than a homeowner to spend the equivalent. In addition, homeowners are not paying HOA fees and they have complete control over the repairs/vendors. The biggest reason this 2 to 5% is key, because A LOT of insurance providers are changing their policy holders to deductibles of 1 to 3% of their property value, which puts you in the driver seat of the ultimate emergency. We advise applying the unused amount in an insurance deductible escrow account or transfer it to your next big home remodel (HVAC, roofing, windows, etc.)

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Isn’t this covered by insurance?

A question you might be asking yourself or a local contractor “isn’t this covered by insurance?”

You are not alone! We deal with this question with many clients during the initial consultation and property inspection. Unfortunately, through our experience the items discussed are often left off or exempted from homeowner’s policies. This is one of the reasons we preach that you not only renew but “review” your policy annually.

Northfield Saltdome

Why is this such a popular question?

  1. Homeowner’s lack a thorough understanding of their particular policy
  2. Homeowner’s are not equipped nor competent in home maintenance
  3. Realities of economics (home improvement can be expensive)
  4. Their neighbors received free roofs or a family friend did
  5. Question’s help solve their answers

In the past we’ve discussed the general flow of the claims process. Everything from calling in the claim, receiving bids, meeting an adjuster, requesting a second adjuster, meeting an engineer, supplementing items, and more.

So what do I do? 

Call us first! The project manager’s at Total Roofing are versatile in their abilities to diagnosis visual damage, review scopes of work, gather storm data, coordinate adjuster appointment’s, and provide you with a confident answer as to that question  “Is this covered by insurance?” We will not force or coerce you into making an insurance claim nor use our positional power to wrongly advise you to do as such. We’re professional’s in knowing our products, but we ask you to be diligent in knowing your policy and deductible!

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Face it, the insurances safe practice of getting “3 estimates” after you call your agent does make a homeowner believe their roof is covered. However, we’ve seen where this was not true. We believe these are unethical practices from a contractor’s point of view, because when they dispatch their adjuster (generally after they see the cost of the potential repairs), there’s still a chance the roof won’t be covered due to their findings.

SO WHAT DO I DO????

Gather the appropriate facts about your problem. For instance, how old is the product that is under review or underperforming? Do you remember when it was replaced or installed? When was the last time that it was maintenance? I ask these questions not to make you feel inadequate, but to understand the possible cause for that underperformance.

A few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is it a newer product?  Maybe covered under a service warranty or workmanship Warranty
  2. Is it an older product & failing?  Exceeded it’s life expectancy or not under warranty.
  3. What type of product? Possible product recalls or discontinued?

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These questions might allow you indemnify the issue, without even contacting your insurance, because maybe it’s a faulty install, lackluster product, or aged beyond repair. I’m not stating these to avoid an insurance claim, but to make you ask the right questions. Do you remember a hail storm in the last 2 years, because if you don’t, then why are you making a claim? We are not a company that believes in making claims for the hope of getting “money from heaven.” We only suggest it if there’s apparent wind damage, hail, or etc.  We’ve worked on many properties where neighbors have received full payouts and their neighbor only received one section  (3% deductible too!). Our tip of advice don’t always try to “keep up with the Jones,” but ask them questions too!

 

 

 

 

 

Solving the “but I recently bought the house” question.

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Every contractor encounters client’s who begin the conversation with “but I recently bought this house” dilemma.  Generally this opening line occurs once the homeowner  discloses an ongoing problem such as: leaking roof, damaged drywall near windows, and etc.  Personally, I’ve already encountered this scenario 4 times and year is not over. So why is it prevalent that many homeowners seem confused about product lifespan or is homeownership not projected properly?

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Understanding US Housing statistics:

The average individual in the United States purchases between 3-5 homes in their lifetime (starter home, family home, downsizing home, retirement, etc.). Generally this much exposure to properties (under the expectation – not all homes were newly built) mean’s you’ve already had an issue or will experience such an issue in your lifetime. So we provided key insight’s (common knowledge) and a few “nuggets” to prevent calling a contractor a year after the closing. So how do you protect yourself from being like one of my clients?

First thing: Understand what homeownership means:

Review the true demands of homeownership and begin reviewing the expected costs of lawn maintenance, seasonal maintenance, change your books of choice from the Dark Tower to DIY stuff. A great insight is to compare renting vs owning materials.  Keep in mind, a home is similar to car minus the rapid deprecation, but the components that make your house very much depreciate and deteriorate. These items include: AC units, Water heaters, siding, windows, carpet, light fixtures, and roofs!

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Second thing: Before buying a LEMON do these items:

  1. Understand your true price and what you can afford (Yes, you can afford the listing price, but what about the soon to be updates). It’s better to avoid being “home broke” and have the ability to save reserves for those future expenses. This doesn’t mean because the bank approved us for the larger loan we should over reach on sq. footage or the home with a pool.
  2. Complete Professional home inspection – eliminate minor headaches or possibly discover huge unknown issues.home inspection.jpg
  3. Ask the “how old” questions: (Roof, siding, windows, door, heater, ac unit, flooring, & more).  Common questions such as these will allow you to compare to the chart provided below and see where you stand.
  4. Read our cheat sheet:
    • Asphalt Roofs – 13 to 17 years in the Midwest (due to harsh elements)
    • Aluminum siding – 50 years
    • Vinyl siding – 25 to 30 years
    • Aluminum windows – 15 to 20 years
    • Vinyl windows – 20 to 40 years
    • Carpet – 3 to 5 years (once fibers are worn & frayed)
    • Exterior doors – 20 years
    • Wood flooring – up 75 years
    • Linoleum flooring – 25 years
    • Garage doors – 15 to 20 years
    • Furnaces – could be 15 to 25 years
    • Water heaters –  10 to 20 years
    • In-ground pool liner – 7 years
    • Skylights – 15- 20 years
    • Contact your local neighborhood contractor for insight. If your curious about the current pricing for a specific product contact the local guy or Total Roofing & Construction ;). A lot of contractor’s provide Free estimates and more times than known will give you advice that maybe worth more. We advise doing this long before you actually need the work completed (6 to 18 months ahead of schedule). This allows you to budget for such a project and not be burden with burning your emergency fund or adding more debt.
  5. Homeowner Insurance Policy knowledge
    • We always recommend reviewing your newly acquired homeowner policy after you make your purchase. This policy is what will protect you from serious issues and your solution to those out-of-blue emergency situations. Important items to understand is your deductible, covered perils (hail, wind, etc.), and claims process.

Third Thing: If you did your research, don’t panic.

If you have completed the recommended tips mentioned above or currently purchasing your fifth home, then don’t panic when disaster strikes. Generally whenever you have sudden damage it’s commonly storm or weather related (covered by your homeowner insurance policy) – contact a company seasoned in restoration work (TRC).

When speaking of interior damage that didn’t arise from exterior damage – water heater, sump pump, furnace, and etc. these are preventable with seasonal maintenance and a planned schedule on replacing such items. If you over spend and don’t budget for yearly renovation then yes, you may be in pickle.

 

Conclusion:

I can attest that all contractor’s will offer you assistance regardless if your a homeowner of 5 months to 50 years. However, we believe these steps can save you ENORMOUSLY before you’re closing on a property or when that  disaster strikes. For instances, the Hurricane Harvey is a sad and frightening situation for many reasons (safety, families affected, shelter, & etc.). However, a question we ask is did all those homeowners have flood insurance or covered peril to protect their damaged homes? A lot of us never consider scenarios such as the Hurricane Harvey, but its better to be safe than sorry.

Hurricane Harvey

If you have any questions please message me at pctotalroofinc@gmail.com

Junk in the attic?

Have you checked your attic lately? Or maybe you finally began putting those Christmas decorations away in the attic? If not, pull down that hatch and give it a peak.

We advise each homeowner to inspect their attics at least twice a year (Winter & Summer) and not because you’re searching for old family photo’s, but because attic inspections can save you a lot of money. Not only will you save money, but it you’ll also gain a more thorough understanding of your home.

The top five things to look for:

  1. That creepy, dark space is not for STORAGE!
  • An inhabitable attic or garret is first and foremost for air flow.
  •  If you have stuff in the attic, do you need it?

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2.    The recommended insulation R-VALUE for an Attic is R-49 to R-60.

  • This R-Value is the recommended northern Illinois & Indiana.
    •  R- 49 is approximately 16.5 inches of insulation!
  •  The average homeowner loses at least 10% of their energy through the attic.

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3.  Does your roof even have ventilation?

  • Do you see any natural lighting inside your attic (soffit holes or roof vents?) because many times a home lack’s proper ventilation if any.
  •  Why? This is how your attic releases it’s steam after seeing all your old boxes.

4. Do you have mold and mildew located in your roof?

  • The photo will show you an example
  • Depending on your ventilation, and humidity a power vent may be necessary to remove excess condensation from your attic.
  • Many remedies can remediate such scenario (Please contact a profession or Team Total 😉 for proper consultation)

5. Does your attic hatch or door have insulation?

  •  This goes back to #2.
  • You can fix this in less than an hour and spend no more than $40,
  • Go to your local department store and purchase insulation board and adhere it to the top of your attic door!

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We hope these tips can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. If you have questions please let us know and shoot us a message. Our experienced staff has seen it all when it comes to attic insulation and is well prepared for just about any situation. Thanks again!

 

 

Sharpen those no. 2 pencils, it’s tax time.

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We’re neither accountants nor tax advisors, but we have been serving the construction industry for over 30+ years. A LOT of things have changed in the tax world since 1985, but we’ve heard enough feedback from our clients over the years to share with YOU the most important tax considerations. The information may be helpful or merely a refresher for you. However, we believe the more educated you are as a homeowner the better position you’ll be in to save some money. These are the top four tax items we suggest you reviewing:

  1. Mortgage Interest.

The greatest part about a home loan is the home. Face it not many of us look forward to that monthly mortgage bill. Home lenders will alway’s state “well you can’t write off the mortgage interest” and you SHOULD. There are varying policies and requirements when it comes to a refinancing loan on a cash paid property, $1 million caps, and more tax rules, so we advise you to do your homework before writing anything off.

    2. Home Improvement Loan Interest

We understand owning a home and having a family is an expensive feat within today’s economy. Maybe your finances were affected by the housing bubble, job market, or merely bad luck, it’s ok. So a lot of people utilize a Home Improvement Loan. The great news about this loan is the loan interest is tax deductible!! There’s no upper dollar limit, but the project must increase your home’s value and prolong its life. Examples: A new roof, pool, garage, porches, insulation, HVAC, landscaping, and more. We strongly advise you to reconsider increasing the square footage of your home, unless you’re prepared for possible reassessment (higher property taxes).

 

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Home Improvement loans can help you increase your home’s value!

 

 

    3. Property Taxes 

We’ve known about these since our day’s playing Monopoly. Your city or state property taxes can be deducted from income. Keep in mind that city or state property taxes refund reduces your federal deduction by a like amount.

   4. Home business

Do you run an ETSY store or EBAY shop? As long as use a portion of your home exclusively for business purposes, you may be able to recoup certain home costs. We do recommend making sure your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your house if you do have a home business (double check). A great video showcasing this was in the movie “The Accountant” here’s the scene.

 

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Brand new Royal Building Products Siding (Schererville, Indiana)

 

$500 DIY “Not So Extreme” Makeover

Shortly after watching the DIY network do you immediately brainstorm the house of your dreams or do you consider sprucing up your current dwelling? What exactly happens once that television’s off? I asked myself that question first because too frequently those wishlist items get put off and added to the growing Pinterest list (limit my pins please!).

However, I’m simply tired of neglecting those items and so should you! There are TOO MANY home improvement projects that the everyday person can do that, which will give you a sense of accomplishment, increase the value of your home, and save you money! These 5 tips will all fall below $500 and transform your home.

All I ask for is $500 and two days of your time.

#1. We’re painting two of your rooms!   

Investment: $138.60

Everyone has that one room they’ve been waiting to change! We advise the ugly duckling room to go first and then the one you frequent the most (kitchen, etc.)! The paint we selected is top notch, so if you’re looking to save you can easily downgrade the paint. Plus it’s always cheaper if you already have some items below!

painting

Items needed:  Home Depot pricing

  • (2) Gallons of BEHR Marquee paint  $39.95 ea.       
  • (1) 8 Piece Tray Kit     $14.95                                             
  • (1) Plastic Tray Liner           $0.9                                      
  • (1) 2”Angle trim Brush  $11.00                                    
  • (2) Scotch Blue Tape (Trim-board & Walls)  $6.58  
  • (1) 10 x 10 Tarp  $6.00                                                         
  • Pandora Radio                                                                        = Free

                                                                                $138.60 (.1 tax included)

Time: 10 Hours (1 room = 5 hours)

Keep in mind: Color selection, neutral colors are always the best option if you’re going to resale or rent! We ask that you shun the following colors below unless you’ll live in the house forever. These colors are recommended as “no-go’s” from Realtor.com.

  • Peach Fuzz
  • Orange Popsicle
  • Poppy Red

Remaining Budget:               $361.40

#2.  Time to SEE your savings!  

Investment 143.39

We’re switching our homes bulbs to all LED bulbs! Why buy the expensive bulbs, when replacement incandescent bulbs are only a few dollars? The up-front cost may deter you, but the don’t be blinded by the cost. The ROI (return on investment) of LED bulbs is uncanny and they last 5x longer than an incandescent bulb (25,000 hours LED vs 1,200 hour Inc bulb). Why not get ahead of the curve and make the change right now! Many sources reported the common US household has between 40 to 60 bulbs that are in use in their home. LED bulbs use less than half the energy of the standard original “incandescent” bulbs uses. You will start chipping away your electric bill, but keep in mind you still need to shut them off!

Amazon has a great 16 pack on sale for $32.59 with free shipping for prime members!!  (That’s 2.24 a bulb!)

Order 4 x $32.59 = 143.39 (.1 tax included)

Time: 2 Hours

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-03-51-pmNow with your brand new 64 bulbs, you can replace those old ones! We recommend making the change ASAP to start saving on energy cost because LED use less energy and you’ll start seeing the difference in your energy bill. If you decide to phase into the change, we recommend changing bulbs in the most lit areas of your house (kitchen, dining rooms, etc.)

Remaining Budget:  $218.01

#3. No more bottled water, hello tap water!

Investment: $150

This is one of the biggest savings you’ll immediately reap. The amount of money spent on bottled water is staggering and is only increasing. This filter is installed underneath your kitchen sink and requires a few hours to install. I get it, this type of DIY thing is not elaborate or visually beautiful, but you need clean water! Having an efficient purifying system allows you to drink without tasting metals or whatever might be in your area’s water. Also, you won’t be ashamed of sharing a glass with a friend.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-54-35-pm

Water facts:

Bottled water costs 300x more than tap water in the United States

The United States accounts for 15% of the world’s water consumption

Remaining Budget: $68.01

#4.CLEAN YOUR OWN CARPETS

  Investment: $60.42

You have not lived till you cleaned a carpet or two! This is a great cost-effective way to extend the life of your carpet and give your home a fresh feel. The duration of cleaning varies on how many rooms you chose to clean. If you have pet’s such as dog’s or cat’s be prepared!

Home Depot Pricing:

  • Carpet cleaner (1 day rental)  $29.99                            = $29.99
  • 2 Bottles of Premium Carpet Shampoo 12.47 ea.      = $24.94

                                                                                                               $60.42 (.1% tax included)

Remaining Budget:  $7.59

#5 Home Maintenance for DUMMIES    

Investment: $7.23

Reading a book similar to the one suggested will provide you tremendous knowledge of home maintenance which will be a huge asset to you. The ability to solve issues and be proactive before minor issues become serious headaches will save a lot of money down the road. We suggest going to Amazon and grabbing a used book or one similar!

Remaining Budget:$0.36!