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?

collapsing hosue

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!

rent vs buy.png

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

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NBA free agency is similar to Roofing free agency.

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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 what you don’t flow, might hurt you.

Do I really need gutters? Doesn’t the water run off the shingles into the dirt anyways?

I am sure we have all pondered this before while cleaning the rotted clumps of leaves out of our gutters, at least once. This seems like a very reasonable question, especially when considering the extra cost of gutters and the seemingly unnecessary service they provide.

However, this time of the year may be one of the most critical to have a proper functioning gutter system due to the immense amount of melting ice and snow on your roof! Without proper control of the melt-off from your home, the water would be liable to surround your home in a blanket of ice. Although, many of your children may have recently watched Frozen and enjoy this idea, thick ice is backbreaking to get rid of, and even more dangerous to leave sitting.

Ice Gutters

We often underestimate the effect a slip on the ice can mean for us. Hundreds of people every year suffer injury, and re-aggravate prior injuries, simply by walking to their car in the morning. Much of the ice around your home in our Chicago winters in unavoidable, however, large amounts at corners or around downspouts and at the base of massive icicles may mean your gutter system is actually the culprit!

If the gutters are leaking, or overflowing due to lack of cleaning, improper pitch, or inadequate size for steepness of roof, you could be setting yourself up for a potential morning of ice skating! We here at Total Roofing do our best to inform our clients, and all homeowners that maintaining an effective roof system, especially the flow of water, ensures a longer life for your house and hopefully, a safer environment altogether!

Here’s a short video to those do-it-yourself minded people.

99 inches of snow and counting!

The midwest strikes again! Polar Vortex 2.0? What’s the snow mean for roofing?

Every person throughout the construction industry heard rumors regarding the upcoming winter of 2015! Everyone was prepared after the winter of 2014. People upgraded their snow plow systems, stock piled salt, purchased roof rakes, and seeked parking lot contracts. The chance of another polar vortex meant potential jobs. Preparation is often central to a weather haymaker, especially when the weather bible aka “the farmers almanac” predicts a repeat.

Well, the construction industry should be happy to a degree. Because the best economy booster is often Mother Nature. Especially in the roofing industry. Recent years, a brand new industry has evolved such as storm chasers. Individuals so well tuned with insurance fine print that even your “friendly neighbor” cringes. These serviceman are the first to knock after a catastrophic or even minor storms. Masters of door-to-door marketing and extremely competitive in the roofing marketplace. Often they are the first people you see after experiencing damage without picking up your phone. These companies vary in quality, some are great and others unethical, but which industry doesn’t follow suite? What’s this mean? Why don’t we consider snow to be as much as nusicance as hail?

We call our local contractor or the guys driving bright, logo trucks after the latest rain storm or hail. Why, don’t we do the same after a midwestern winter? 20 inches of snow sitting on your roof is damaging to all your products: roofing shingles, deck, underlayment, drywall, insulation, heating bill, and more. The thing about snow too is that it could sit on your roof for awhile, whereas a hail storm comes and goes. A week of water isolated on the top of everything you own is not smart potatoes. Many homeowners would mention “well we have lifetime shingles.” I agree you purchased a quality shingle and it could last 30 years. However, did you research whether the thickness of snow for a prolong period will affect the product? Shingle specs are built off isolated studies and years of “trial & error.” It’s difficult to state whether those studies were put together based off winters that brought forth 20 inces & more, year after year. Weather is key to exterior products existence. Without the harsh weather we could live in the elements and lack appropiate shelter. The snow created plenty of construction products: insulation, ice pelts, ice & water underlayment, synthetics, & metal products that protect to date.

Ultimately we constumer have changed our attitude towards a homes. Recently, our industry has noted weather damage is a good thing, because that’s business for many. However, a loss for a gain is not right. Roofing started as a way to cover one from shelter. Shelter means survival, which means why aren’t we more proactive with things that should eliminate stress inducers than make them the actual stress inducers. The purpose of this post is ultimately to let you know that you NEED TO BE PROACTIVE with your house after this blizzard. Make a checklist of things to fix, change, or improve around the house. Don’t call your insurance because you have issues that could’ve been avoided with proper care and preparation. Take responsibility of your home, unless it’s a house (they are different). Familariize yourself with upcoming products, building codes, and ways to make your house more valuable. The internet is the most powerful learning tool. Mayber you don’t know where to go? Check out our facebook because we often post tips and videos that you could DIY. Give your house love and it becomes a home.

If your car needs an oil change you get it, hair long you cut it, and if you want to play sports you get a physical. Proper prepartion is the key to coming out of the winter 2015 with a few stratches or entering it with a lot of surgeries. Sure, at Total Roofing and Construction we love open-roof surgery, but you shouldn’t. We are here to assist and solve problems not pray for them.

The main concern this winter is ice damming and proper removal. The video below showcases great products that will benefit your roofing system and gutters during the long winter. Take notes and take action. Hope this helps

http://wgntv.com/2015/02/06/mr-fix-it-with-tips-on-removing-ice-dams/#ooid=R1NjQ3czqh7yAqXa-u5fTyouaguzcShw

Winterize your home lately? Yahoo Edition

1. Cleaning Gutters

The first step in roof and gutter maintenance is to have the gutters cleaned out. You can do this yourself or hire a professional, but either way make sure this is taken care of late in autumn. Since leaves, acorns, and other detritus can accumulate throughout the fall, you don’t want to take care of this too early and still have problems later on.

Hiring a professional will set you back between $75 and $300, depending on the size of your home and the number of stories. The DIY approach is free unless you have to buy the materials required: ladder, bucket or pail, leaf scooper, and broom. The good news is that most people can clean out their gutters in just a few hours one weekend afternoon.

2. Installing Gutter Covers

Roof and gutter maintenance are always required at inopportune times. Kids are headed back to school, the holidays are fast approaching, and you don’t have time to get up on the roof as often as you’d like. Gutter covers or guards are a convenient solution.

Simply put, a gutter cover slows or stops the accumulation of debris in your gutters. They filter the leaves and dirt from the water so you don’t have to clean them out as often. If you plan to do it yourself, set aside an entire weekend for the job. The process is time-consuming, and you might need to take frequent breaks.

Again, you can find DIY materials at your local home improvement store. Gutter guards vary in price, but range from $3 to $6 per three-foot length of guard. Wider covers (five inches or so) cost more than narrower options (about three inches). It will be more expensive to hire a contractor, but the guards will be higher quality and will last longer.

3. Trimming Trees

Tree limbs that seem stable through the summer and fall might not be safe once they are burdened with a few pounds of snow. Winter maintenance requires trimming of all tree branches that could potentially damage the roof.

Tree trimming prices vary depending on where you live, the height of the trees, and the complexity of the job. Get quotes from several different contractors, and look for quotes between $200 and $600.

4. Repairing Leaks

The final step in winter maintenance is roof repair. Any leaks, ventilation issues, or insulation deficiencies should be handled prior to the onset of winter. Look for stains on walls, missing roof shingles, and moisture accumulation around gaskets, gutters, downspouts, ridge caps, and dormers.

Many contractors offer free inspections for those who are uncertain as to whether or not they have a leak. Remember that roofing contractors are busiest this time of year, though, so make sure to call well in advance.

Information was found on Yahoo’s home exterior page.