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


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).


pens and coins.jpg

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.



Brand new Royal Building Products Siding (Schererville, Indiana)



Nothing like a Blue roof!

The midwest has been getting destroyed by severe weather and the demand for temporary fixes have risen. Polar vortexes, blizzards, hail storms, tornadoes, & more have been plundering your homes. We have tarped houses since our company was formed. Additionally, we offer discounted services if you KNOWINGLY agree for us to complete the repair or re-roof.  However, before you contact us please glance over the five step tarp analysis.

Tarped Roof    Tarp

Five step tarp analysis

  1. Determine the severity of leak (Blown off shingle?)
  2. Estimate cause of leak (Hailstorm, old roof, etc.)
  3. Prepare buckets & move belongings to avoid further damage inside your home
  4. Contact your insurance company
    • Ask insurance holder questions regarding possibly tarping your roof.  Inform them of the current issue and ask about payment coverage.
    • WARNING, your insurance company may inform you to call for a tarp however, please understand that tarping a roof will compromise the roof where the tarp is located. It will direct the water away from the leak, but by tarping a roof is a quick-fix method.
  5. If given the ok, contact us.
    • Our service technicians will be dispatched
      • Take photos for you, insurance company, & complete a roof inspection



Make your own Jenga Set!

This video will demonstrate all you’ll need to make your own Jenga Set. This is a great DIY project that takes less than 4 hours and $20 (If you have all the tools!). A lot of us have played Jenga once or twice at some point in our life. This game is a great asset if you’re hosting adults during the summer or trying to entertain your children. We even suggest to have your children participate in painting, handling tools, or measuring the blocks. This can be a great activity to show them safety methods, proper procedure, tools, and material use. We hope the family has a great time and if you have questions contact Total Roofing and ask for Phillip!

Jenga set consists of 17 rows of 3 blocks that are 10.5 inches long!



Insurance Claims and what to expect….

Looking for a general contractor or roofing contractor to assist you? Did a disaster just vandalize your home? Are you frantic or panicking? If so, we don’t blame you, your BIGGEST investment was damaged and you don’t know what to exactly do. You haven’t even filed a claim, but you have 4 companies knocking on your door who are willing to solve your problems, which you don’t even know were problems yet?  Does this sound like you?

Team total is trained and experienced in roof insurance claims. After you contact your adjustor we recommend you contact us. Our project managers will meet your insurance adjusters during the initial inspector and walk along during the inspector. We assist during the initial roof inspection walk through to assure the adjuster does not overlook any items. We understand the process takes time, but our project managers will be there from day one to when your home is completely renovated.

Door Before  Door After

Storage BeforeStorage Door After

Products we’ve fixed for insurance companies:

Roofs ( asphalt shingles, EPDM, TPO), Fascia, Soffit, Windows, Doors, Siding, Mailboxes, Electrical boxes, Screened patio doors, Garage doors, Drywall, Painting, Carpet, Metal exhaust units, air conditioner units, & more. Depending on your policy and the objects that are covered in your insurance, we can assist you.

Insurance Claim Process:

First step:

  • Contact insurance holder (Set-up inspection date)
  • Contact Total Roofing (Inform us about adjusters inspection)

Second Step:

  • Complete inspection and await insurance line items they’ll cover
  • Allow Total Roofing to review line items to make sure their not leaving items out.
    • Common roofing products get left out: Caulk, & more

Third Step

  • Send revised items from Total Roofing to insurance company
  • Await changes.

Fourth Step

  • Get the ok from insurance and decide on the scope of work to get completed
  • Review TRC’s contract and move forward to setting a date for project.

Fifth step

  • Job is completed and final invoice is sent to insurance company.
  • You’re happy with the overall turn-out of the project.

We hope this helps you! If you have questions just email me at!



$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!


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

  • 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.


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


  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!

NBA free agency is similar to Roofing free agency.


NBA, NBA, NBA is all we’re hearing this week. Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, ESPN, NBC, or chatting in the office. We are on the cusp of our country’s day of birth and it seems the NBA wild west of free agency has overshadowed the conversation. This led me to thinking.

NBA free agency =Roofing free agency? Similarities?

NBA free agency is exceptionally similar to the spring time for roofing companies. A lot roofing companies generally use subcontractors for their work. It’s common. Owner’s generally want to avoid liability, insurance issues, healthcare, avoid training, and etc, so if they can outsource the work they decrease responsibility and save time, not necessarily cost. Many roofing companies seek out roofing crews for Spring, Summer, and Fall work after the snow break. However, not all companies do this. For instance Total Roofing and many proven companies can claim our professional crews who’ve been with us for over 20 years and then some. However, we understand why organizations love subcontractors. There’s many benefits to using subcontractors. This is similar to signing a mega superstar rather than drafting young talent and fostering the talent.

Face it, you’re hiring an individual (at least expected) that can perform the work demands or required craftsmanship. Instantly, roofing organization forgos the need to train a young apprentice, avoid the learning curve/rookie mistakes (mistakes happen), and provide the necessary trade tools. You pay for what you get. That same goes for the NBA. Why hire the services of a 21 year old recently out of college with one year of experience, and has many questions about his game? Especially, when there’s a 28 year old with four years of playoff experience and has proven 3 point shot? You want to eliminate the question marks and be assured of your ROI. Same goes for a roofing crew.

For instance consider the Los Angeles Lakers. This organization is in a state of chaos. They have a small amount of young talent budding in their organization and an aging star who wants to win now (who doesn’t want to win though?). So, the Laker’s chase after LaMarcus Alridge. An under 30, proven NBA superstar, and is in his physical peak for NBA careers.  You acknowledge he’ll give you 20/10/2 a night (points, rebounds, blocks) because of his work log (past seasons) and your team lacks a presence like him. Factor in that the organization is in a WIN-NOW/produce mentality and Laker Nation will shell out the big bucks.

So, they most certainly shell out the big bucks for his presences.

Now flip back to roofing. Roofing companies are as only good as the services they provide and if you have a lackluster crew, you’ll have a poor final product. Instead of the summer meetings, we have our spring meetings. Generally a foreman or leader of a crew comes in to inquire about work.  Well, why did they leave? Ask questions, questions, question, and more questions to the roofers and to your staff. NBA teams complete analytics on their opponents, themselves, market, and almost as much research than NASA. So you’ll have to do the same as roofing company. Ask your company, how long do I want to be competitive? What type of service am I providing? However, if a roofing company was in the same position as the Los Angeles Lakers, we would all recommend the same. Sign young talent, train them, and build a culture. For the longevity of the business that makes the most sense. Unless your organization has the stance of maximizing that particular year then go for the big fish.

Questions for those subcontractors (Basketball free agency questions.)

Why are you no longer with ABCDE roofing company? (mgt woes, bad ethics? Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors?)

What type of products are experienced in? ( Left handed, right handed, shooting off the dribble, what was your role?)

Do you have an address list of jobs you’ve completed in the past? (College resume/statistics, championships)

References? (Coaches, GM’s)

Expectation for salary? (Five year max deal, Player option)

After every signing everyone believes they made the best relationship. Face it, with the resources you had and the research you completed the decision made sense. The same goes for roofing. We use the best information we have and the factor in the direction our management is trying to go. However, with roofing companies we can proudly say we aren’t giving out 5 year $140 million dollars for the services of one person. Our industry is slightly different in regards to the salary cap. Would we love to have a set salary cap and the ability to compensate our hard working installers with millions of dollars, of course! Our team signings won’t receive the NBA type of publicity until we have a roofing television channel, partnership with Dunkin Donuts, and roofers starring in the next “Entourage” movie. So stay tune for the Spring of 2016′.

If a roofer was stranded on an island…


The five most important items for a roofer.

    1. Dunkin Donuts phrase  “we run on dunkin” is right on the money! Now we’re not pushing one type of coffee over the other (Don’t get offended Starbuckers), but it’s well known DD already has the “average joe” coffee market share.  We don’t know many roofers grabbing a triple whip americano with extra soy and a hint of cinnamon. However, as much as we love coffee it takes second to
      Unleash your beast!

      Total Roofing loves Monster

      Monster, Red Bull, & other drink that uses terms such as Voltage, Shock, Heartattack, Gorrilla Blood, or Warhead. This extra boost gets the day running for ALL. There’s no better way to start that 6 am shift then with a high-cranking energy drink!

2. QUALITY TOOLS  As skilled as most craftsman and roofers can be, you still need the appropiate tools. Tools such as magnetic sweepers (clean up those roofing nails that surely will puncture your tire), roofing hackets, blades (a dull blade helps no one), and more. These items depreciate quicker than your car, but are as important. For the journeyman or everyday roofer invest in quality tools. This will be the best investment you can make. They’ll make your job easier andHow can you roof 10 square in a day without an air compressor or hammer? Preparation allows you to be prepared to be your best. When you have the tools to succeed, you will.

Our Suggested Roofer Tool Brands:

Dewalt      Hitachi      Stanley    Bosch    Milwaukee

3. A RADIO A roofer can expect 8 to 10 hours of physical work throughout the day. However, what about his mind? One may assume his mind should be focused on the task at hand, which it surely is, yet what about the in-between? Material clean-up, job set-up, lunch, moving material, and switching blades allow individuals time to tune out. The radio has been intergal to the everyday blue-collar construction worker since it’s inception. Seriously, there’s a station for everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, and even religion! Do you enjoy sports? ESPN 1000 talk radio. Are you a political man? Rush Limbaugh (So crazy, you listen). How about everyday pop culture? Eric & Kathy on 101.9. This instrument is vital to the job of a roof and crew morale.

4. Plans for the weekend Roofing is not easy. It’s phsyically draining and tough work. 50 hours of honest work makes you want to imagine a beach with a corona with dolphins in the background.  Yeah seeing a project go from the before to after is great and motivating. However, I can assure you throughout the week of working, talking, and listening to the radio, plans for the weekend are being discussed. Sure, the idea “Why would a roofer on a stranded island talk about the upcoming weekend?” You don’t know roofers. We enjoy our weekends and there as necessary as water.

5. A nice lunch cooler. Sure a Big Mac and fry sounds delicious after 5 hours of lifting, pushing, sweating, and installing those shingles. However, I can assure you not every roofer is eating out and living off fast food during the week. We’ve all had some form of finance education whether in school or the hard knocks of life. The average fast food meal runs about $8 a day and let’s say you work 5 days a week. Within a 5 week month you spent $200. I’m no mathmatican, but the cost for sandwich meat, loaf of bread (easily two weeks worth), cheese, and snacks will run you $100 or less! In the midwests seven month roofing calender year that’s a savings of $700. Here’s a few things that cost $700

55″ LED SMART Television                    Two Round Trip Tickets Southwest Airlines

The cost of making lunch and eating out every day is this Smart TV. Jimmy John's Freaky Fast sounds good, but so does watching Ricky Bobby go Freaky Fast in the Legend of Ricky Bobby

The cost of making lunch and eating out every day is this Smart TV. Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast sounds good, but so does watching Ricky Bobby go Freaky Fast in the Legend of Ricky Bobby

Fly anywhere or continue eating Burger King?

Fly anywhere or continue eating Burger King?

Roofers take notes from Jehovah witnesses


What’s your weather been like?

  1. Hail, rain, 80 degrees, rain, rain, rain, hail
  2. Rain, hail, 95 degrees, hail, rain, 60 degrees, rain, hail.
  3. Tsunami, hurricane, gorgeous weather
  4. Nothing out of the ordinary

The past few days have been intriguing. Every form of weather has occurred in some capacity (Hail in Tinley Park, IL, Rain in Schererville, IN, Tornados near New Lenox, IL, & more). Honestly, it may have even snowed last week in Chicago. I’m by far no meteorologist or figurehead regarding climate change, but our weather is out of whack. Whether the cause is from emissions, natural occurrence, or simply “it is, what is.” Somethings up.

Well you’re a midwestern veteran? Many would presume you adjust to the weather after 24 years. Nope. It gets stranger as you get older. After living a quarter of the century in the great heartland of the United States, I’m still adjusting. So here’s the quick moving litmus test question: Would you rather drink water daily or get water dumped on you, then pelted with five inch soft ball size sculptures of hail? Most individuals prefer drinking daily water ( 7 glasses a day?) or seasonal changes that come along with winter, spring, fall, and summer. So, why does continue living in such a harsh climate?

Recent weather changes in the midwest have caused severe damage to homes and insurance companies

Recent weather changes in the midwest have caused severe damage to homes and insurance companies

As an employee of a roofing and construction company, I side with drinking water even though our Ice Mountain jugs have been lax on their delivery of late, I would also stick with the midwest. Have you ever installed an EPDM roof when it’s 96 degrees and you’re on the hottest part of a roof.  Now when it comes to vacation…..give me a frozen drink and sand. Seriously though, as an employee of a roofing company wouldn’t you want to operate in the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana region? The four options above wreak  havoc on all building products (exterior and interior). That means continual employment? As recipients of such chaotic weather it’s unfortunate, however as roofing professionals it’s a catch-22. This weather creates potential for opportunities, but can tarnish the industry’s name or a quickly diminish a company’s reputation enough you void those chances. Every industry has it’s price points, quality, and out-of-the-truckers. However, of late these bad companies have scared consumers, while receiving the most media attention (bad stories get the best ratings), which creates a misconstrued perception of us. This week a client called and said “I had between 5 to 10 roofers knock on my door, each day of this week.” That individual had over 50 separate “companies” inquire about their home and roofing system. Imagine if you had 50 people come to your house in a week. Most families don’t enjoy that many people for family events and they were invited.

We live in a hyper consuming economy and it is honestly getting more difficult to make a living. However, there should never be a situation where you take a advantage of an individual. So, we ask all roofers and roofing salesman to act in the best discretion when it comes to door-to-door marketing. It’s a great technique to help serve others while putting food on your table. However, remember an awful experience may not only ruin the process for the roofing industry and you, but also other organizations that make a living off it. Not all of people are watching your best interest regarding your upstairs, but some are and respect that.

A common Fly by night roofing comic.

A common Fly by night roofing comic.

Yesterday a man commented on our Facebook saying “roofers are like ambulance chasing lawyers.” As someone aware of the competitive nature of storms and insurance wars, he’s kinda right. Be smart, read the dotted line, and call a licensed roofer. Too be honest I would say storm contractors are quicker on the fly than ambulances, in getting the paperwork signed. Be Safe.

Waterproofing roofers place on the totem pole

So you’re a roofer?

Often discussing fields of occupation there are times we feel inept. Especially when the grandest question of them enters your life. So “what do you do?”

This question regardless of one’s job can cause discomfort especially within your physical body. Common symptoms such as intense sweating, a lack of eye contact, or worse body odor! It happens and it’s natural. That’s why you have to instill the nerve to say: I work in the roofing industry and I’m damn proud of it. Even after years of trial and error you become cognitive of patterned responses such as “Oh,” “really”, “that’s hard work”, or the common glance away/lost their interest type. Don’t let others perception and ignorance affect your mood.

Seriously, why the discomfort or embarrassment?

Don’t be! Embrace your job! This trade is honorable and necessary. Unless you’re a professional baseball player or work solely outside, do you not need a roof?

Here’s a list of places that don’t need a roof: National Park (I bet there gift shop has one), soccer field (that’s changing before our eyes), Garden, and few others. There’s no doubt you need a roof living in the Midwest. Even the homeless people of the Midwest find shelter in awful conditions. A roof is second nature to us. It’s such a necessity that people neglect its obvious nature. Whether you’re the 1 percent or fighting to make it through the day this product demands your attention. Heck, even the Mennonite uses this product!

Why does one delay their next roof project? Believe it or not it’s common for a home with a tarp to sit as-is for a year or two. It’s astonishing that individuals will avoid getting a watertight system on their home. They say “well, it’s expensive” and I think well yeah! Why wouldn’t it? It protects your family, things, and biggest investment from the elements. How many times have you slept in or even under your Lexus? Nice car, bad roof? Priorities. Yet the homeowner believes the roofer is taking advantage of them and on to the next estimate they go.

Master degree or master at decking (roof decking) that is.

Our society so-often is preached to praise doctors, teachers, and technology careers. This article is not intended to relegate that praise towards our field, but start taking the joy we deserve in our hard work. At the end of the day most/if not all work under a 20-year single-ply roofing membrane or asphalt shingle you installed. So enjoy the moment knowing that you’re the one whom installed that product that allows them to continue performing what they love to do.

What caused this article one may ask. Well, I opened the NRCA Roofing Manual: Steep-slope roof systems 2013 book regarding an installation question on fire-treated insulation. I wanted to make sure it was the best product for a specific structure. Based off my research it wasn’t and there were alternatives. See this NRCA Roofing manual consists of over 2,000 pages of knowledge pertaining to a roof: installation, code, best methods, & breakthroughs. See our field is more than four nails per shingle even if today most believe “I can do his job.” You may be right. However, with WebMD and the Internet I could also, do yours too. So, lets quit competing with other people and start embracing YOU.wa

Letterman loved his roofs.

We believe with David Letterman retiring it’s fitting to showcase a “roofing” video. . The video was filmed on a five story-flat. The noticable roofing product consisted of EPDM (black rubber) and was once installed on almost half of the flat roofs today. However, the innovative product TPO is starting to emerge as the top flat roofing product on the market. However, the roofing product didn’t bother dave. Watch as Dave throws a plethora of objects without fall protection. Oh Dave, thanks for the memories and keeping us roofers up late!