1 property inspection might secure you an $88,000 insurance claim.

This past week we began installing a new GAF TPO roofing system that we performed maintenance on and performed a periodical roof inspection. We documented the photos and reports in 2015 for our clients. On July 7th 2017 hail damage occurred, but no member walked onto the roof until the following fall (Face it, how many people walk their roofs?). Insurance claim gets filed. The insurance provider denies the claim and affixed the damage to a 2013 date of loss (Passed their filing statute of limitations). Everyone’s confused.

Beecher, Illinois 4.jpg

Phone rings!
The next week we dive into our archives to retrieve our report. We contacted the insurance company and provided our photos and reports that contradicted this “2013 date of loss” finding. Alongside our reports, the clients also had a licensed home inspector review the property. Both reports and NO MENTION OF HAIL nor visual damage noted in the roofing membranes. Upon further review and months of back/forth the insurance organizations eventually agreed to an $88,000 insurance claim settlement.

Something so simple
These inspections often are free estimates and allow you to have a 1st hand account on present issues, concerns, or longevity of the existing products. In addition, to providing you with an honest record, it does the same for your insurance provider. We understand they’ll use their own insurance “reporting” system, but we never recommend relying on the insurance providers to make that decision!


The true costs for our clients homeowners:
1 service repair call – Illinois unlimited licensed roofing contractor (Free Estimate)
1 property inspection – Illinois licensed home inspection ($350.00)

So what’s necessary? 

Perform: ANNUAL and SEMI-ANNUAL PROPERTY INSPECTIONS

A lot of times insurance companies will review your property 2 times during your relationship. The 1st inspection occurs during your initial insurance premium review. The 2nd time often during an insurance claim.  It’s common for these inspections to occur 5 to 15 years apart if damage never strikes your property.

 

What you can do?

  1. Call licensed contractor to perform a property report (Annually) -$350.00
  2. Get a home inspection (Every 5 years) – $350 to $750
  3. Become familiar with storm damage such as hail, wind, & etc. and perform the inspections in-house. Free – Cost of the ladder.
  4. Notify your insurance provider anytime you make significant upgrades to your exterior products (Roof, siding, windows, & anything else) and keep receipts of the MANUFACTURER <- In case they get damaged.
    Glenwood, Illinois.jpg

 

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2018 Mock Draft – Home Building Products

Every year products come and go within the home improvement market. We compiled our favorite building products to work with regardless of architectural specifications, current home trends, or style of your home. We drafted them in order of their intangibles: cost, quality, appearance, market availability, and longevity. Our company can stand by all these products due to their varying strengths and the manufacturers track record. If you have questions regarding the products please reach out to TRC (We have a ton of samples/literature) or review the products yourself on their webpage.

Round 1

Home-changing Prospects

  1.   Da Vinci Roof Scape Slate Tiles               Position – Roofing

    • We selected this synthetic product due to it’s unique characteristics, visual appearance, and current lack of market saturation. This product was built to mimic slate/ cedar appearance while maintaining it’s cost advantage over the real stuff. Recommended for premium home builds.
    • Roof Scae.jpg
  2. LP Building Product Smartside               Position – Siding

    • Is LP the stuff with a product recall in the early 00’s? Yes, Louisiana Pacific had issues in the early 00’s, BUT have reformulated their resin and have not had issues in over a decade. In fact, their exterior product is one of the fastest growing siding products in North America. Recommended for premium home builds or vinyl substate.
    • LP.jpg
  3. Royal Building Product’s Celect               Position – Siding

    • The most common siding products in North America is vinyl with the recent growing demand for engineered wood and fiber cement, the vinyl industry created this product. A system that emulates JH and LP appearances, but is much easier for the installer, safer, and maintenance free. This product is raw, but has high upside! Recommended for premium home builds or vinyl substate.
    • Celect Siding
  4. Polyglass Modified Bitumen                           Position – Roofing

    • Polyglass is owned by the largest sealant/coating manufacturer in the world and is headquarters in Florida. This manufacturer has been widely popular in Florida for it’s coatings and quality, but has entered the midwest market. If you have a modular home, sunroom, or commercial flat roof then this product is the ideal selection. With the correct installer this product can carry a 15 to 20 year product warranty from registered vendors! Recommended for commercial projects and sunrooms.
    • Poly glass
  5. GAF Glenwood Roofing System                                Position – Roofing

    • This high-end roofing shingle from GAF manufacturing is one of our favorites due to its overall appearance. It’ll give you’re home a STRONG WARRANTY, but more importantly the Hobbit like appearance. This product has been offered for less than 5 years, but asethically is one of our favorite asphalt based shingles on the market!  Recommended for premium home builds.
    • Glenwood Shingle
  6. GAF Camelot Roofing System                                   Position – Roofing

    • The GAF Camelot’s are the shingle of choice by the owner of Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. has on his home. These designer shingles are 50 year warranted products and are HEAVY. If you’re hoping for hail damage on your home these are not the shingles to buy, but if you want to avoid damage then order them today. Extremely durable and have a nice clean finish. Recommended for premium home builds.
    • Camelot.jpg
  7. Owens Corning Berkshire Roofing System           Position – Roofing

    • The Berkshire is equivalent to the GAF Camelot shingle in warranty, appearance, but is a bit more expensive in the midwest market. Recommended for premium home builds
    • OC
  8. James Hardie Siding System                                      Position – Siding

    • James Hardie has been well known of the last decade for their product appearance and as an alternative to the vinyl/plastic market. This Australian owned company has strong warranties and history of product durability.  Recommended for all home builds.
    • James Hardie.jpg
  9. Worthouse Metal Roofing System                           Position – Roofing

    • We enjoy North American manufacturers and distributers for the local economy. This metal roofing system is based out Illinois and has demand growing throughout the world. A great substrate if you dislike asphalt roofing shingles. The warranties about the same as the premium roofing materials previously drafted. We believe the longevity is here, but the appearance of the GAF & OC products are still ahead of Worthouses. Recommended for all home builds.
    • Illinois.jpg
  10. GAF TPO Roofing System                                     Position – Flat Roofing

  11. Owens Corning Atticat Blown-in Insulation       Position – Insulation

  12. Sunrise Windows – Vinyl Replacement             Position – Windows

  13. Velux Solar opening Skylight    Position – Windows

    • A high end skylight. No questions about it. Most skylights carry a 10-year warranty. This product does have the 10-year warranty, but it has the ability to opening and close completely off the grid.  Recommended for bungalow homes or second story homes with poor air flow.
    • VElux.jpg
  14. GAF Golden Pledge Roof System with Timberline Shingles  Position – Roofing

    • Most common architectural roofing installed in North America. This is a great pick up with the #15 draft pick. Recommended for all home builds.
  15. Owens Corning Solar Attic Fan   Position – Ventilation

  16. Behr Marquee Paint    Position – Painting

    • We do 5-10 interior home painting jobs a year and continue to swear by these manufacturers. These paints are more expensive, but the coats are much thicker and easier to wash throughout the years. We recommend 2 coats, even if the manufacturers states one coat. Recommended for all home builds.
    • Behr
  17. APA certified 1/2″ plywood  Position – sheathing

    • We recommend tossing the 3/8″ and OSB plywood off your next project. Whether you’re building a shed, home, or roof please go with a 1/2″ plywood substrate. We do not believe installing the manufacturer minimum is worth it for you. Unless you’re installing a Zip system, this should be your homebuilders starting substrate. If you’re in the process of an insurance adjustment, seek the 1/2″ plywood rather than what was installed in the 1970’s! Recommended for all home builds.
  18. Owens Corning Duration Roof System    Position – Roofing

  19. Plygem Vortex Vinyl Siding   Position – Siding

  20. Firestone TPO Roofing System  Position – Roofing

  21. Quality Edge Gutter system with Leaf Relief  Position – Gutters

  22. Plygem Camden Pointe DL Siding System  Position – Siding

    • Similar to Royal Building Products, Plygem is one of the largest exterior building product companies in North America. We believe Camden Pointe is a great pick-up with the #23 pick due to its cost, quality, and available color selections. All styles are available from board & batten, shake, dutch lap, and more! Recommended for all home builds and budget conscious
    • Camden Point.png
  23. El Dorado Stone Façade   Position – Siding

  24. TAMKO Heritage Roofing System     Position – Roofing

  25. Owens Corning Attic Baffles   Position – Ventilation Accessory

  26. GAF DeckArmor   Position – Roofing Accessory

  27. Variform Trim Coil  Position – Soffit/Fascia

  28. Owens Corning ProArmor Synthetic Underlayment   Position – Roofing Accessory

    • Synthetic Underlayment? Spend the $100 to $400 on a nice underlayment that goes under your shingles. Especially if you’re considering the premium products such as Berkshire, Camelot, Glenwoods, and etc. The building specifications still ask for #15 lb. Felt Underlayment in most municipalities, which has been code for over 25+ years! Building products have improved drastically in 25 years, so why not use the the new products? 
  29. Mi Replacment Windows   Position – Windows

  30. Atlas Pinnacle Roofing System Position – Roofing 

  31. Quality Edge Aluminum Soffit System  Position – Ventilation 

 

10 tips to know: buying a distressed property

Fixer upper, Rehab Addict, and other shows continue to romanticized the restoration industry, but more importantly the rental/flip market. These shows make for great television for many reasons such as the alluring before/after process, ROI (return on investments), or being your own boss. Yet our goal is not to poach your wallets or scare you off from potential opportunities, but give you some information that these shows often don’t showcase.

  1. Know the municipality codes, permits, and rules before starting the construction (Flip or Rental).

    Costs associated with permits could go as much as $3,000. There are villages and towns that have a fixed rate (3%) implemented in the overall job cost, while others have set fees per the renovation. However, some towns could and will backcharge you for renovations completed without a proper permit/building inspection (HVAC, electrical, etc.).

    • Advice: Allow your contractor to file for the permits. It’ll much be easier and you won’t have to paper chase the contractor.
  2. Avoid pools and decks

    If possible, avoid both of these property headaches. Both items will raise your homeowner’s insurance policy due to the potential risk, while also increasing the home inspector’s No.2 pencil. We strongly advise against a pool if this is a rental property due to maintenance, upkeep, and potential lawsuits pending worst case scenarios.

    • Advice: If it’s an in-ground pool, fill it in with the demo debris with items such as: deteriorated wood, drywall, and biodegradable items will help slash disposal costs.
    • Swimming pools.jpg
  3. Have a good lawyer (Especially in Illinois)

    THIS IS A MUST, if you are be venturing into the rental sector. It’s common to experience one bad apple during your landlord career. Ask any colleague whose a landlord and we assure you they’ll praise the good tenants as if they’re the second coming. The true benefit’s of a good lawyer are: timely evictions, cut future court costs, and provide sound legal advice.

    • Advice: We advise having state specific attorneys rather than using only one attorney. Due to the intricacies of rental law among states and to provide a checks/balances for yourself (more importantly your pocketbook).
  4. 1st screen the potential contractor’s 

    We recommend choosing the contractors before starting the overall restoration. There are general contractors who will seek 6 to 19 bids to get the lowest possible bid, but we don’t recommend this at all. If you’re flipping this property than you know time is not on your side. Every month of waiting for a bid equals: 1 more month of taxes, insurance, electricity, potential exposure to theft, and vandalism.

    • Advice: Review their trade license’s, insurance (is it active), and verify it with the village. Seek references from family and friends.
  5. Always over budget and add 3 months.

    For a peace of mind simply add 5% to the job cost and expect the project to be finished 3 months longer. We are aware that ROI (Return on Investment) is the reason for getting involved and this new venture is not for entertainment. However, projects can get dragged out due to weather constraints especially for exterior contractors, permitting, unexpected building finds, village inspections, home inspections, rental inspections, and more unnecessary politics.

    • Advice: It may be cost-effective to use a general contractor to manage the 1st restoration for yourself. They may already have pre-screened contractors whom are qualified and do quality work. We recommend shadowing and observing from them.
  6. Homeowners Tax Exemption (Rentals)

    This is the most common thing I’ve learned with 1st time landlord’s is they get bug-eyed after they see their taxes increase in the 2nd year. Often, it’s because the village discovers you do not live there.  If it’s not your “true” residential home and an investment property, you’ll more than likely lose the homeowners tax exemption. I agree, various communities taxes such as Park Forest, Illinois – $7,000 a year) are criminal,  but you should know this before investing. DO NOT TRUST ZILLOW OR TRULIA’S TAX RECORDS.

    • Advice: Understand the tax rate of the town especially if the intentions are renting the property. As previously mentioned with Park Forest, Illinois $7,000 a year in taxes = you’re splitting your ROI with the village.
  7. Know your goal (Rental or Flip)

    “Know your goal?” I want to make money! We mean are you renting or flipping the property? This can change the selection of products, colors, flooring, and exterior products you use. If you’re flipping the property you may install more trending products, but if you’re renting you’ll want to be cost conscience on the products to maximize your return. Also, if you’re renting a property you might get by without replacing items until you have too.

  8. Partner with a Lowes Pro, Home Depot, local building supply, or Menards credit card.

    If you can pay cash great, but you’re leaving a lot points/discounts on the table. The benefits of some of these programs: it’s easy to track receipts and previous purchases, which allow you to uncover your true cost on the restoration. Menard’s and Lowe’s often give a 5% discount on items purchased using their Pro-Cards, which can help you. Keep in mind all these building stores have a varying levels of product quality.

    • Advice: If you follow through on #10 by creating an LLC, than you can obtain a business credit card and avoid future personal credit issues.Project lao
  9. Don’t install appliances until you have too

    There’s no rush to install the appliances! We know you’ll probably be purchasing washer/dryers, stoves, refrigerators, and other premium items, but hold off. Theft is extremely high in renovation units and they’ll break in if $1,000 + of appliances is seen. Even if you have an insurance policy on the home, it’s generally not worth the claim. We know kitchens are exciting to see completed, but honestly if you want to fall within your budget and keep a sound mind, hit the brakes on the appliance installation.

    • Theft.jpeg
  10. Create a LLC. for the property

    If you know your goal is to rent the property then you should create a LLC. for the specific property. Consult with your chosen attorney. This is not uncommon, we know many investors that do this to eliminate potential financial risk from the tenants. A Limited Liability Company can protect your personal assets and avoid this side hustle from ruining your future.

We hope this help’s you a little. If you’re interested in venturing into the restoration industry please contact us at Total Roofing & Construction Services, Inc. or  Emerald Managment   Contact us today because there’s much more information and fact’s to be aware before purchasing property.

Is a Honda still a Honda with a Mazda motor? Roofing systems reviewed by Total Roofing

Every project is different! Whether it’s the location of the property, design of the home, color of exterior facade (brick, siding, cedar), or the homeowner’s intentions. The benefits of being in business for 30 years is knowing that ALL client’s are as unique as their projects ;).  These two reasons alone are why we offer different roofing systems instead of utilizing a single manufacturer (what happens if there’s a recall?).

The benefit’s of our multi-verse manufacturer relationships and product awareness positions us to educate/advise you to make the best decision. We understand it’s not your duty to read shingle reviews, industry trends, or be cognitive of breakthrough innovation, because that’s our job. So, we went ahead and featured our top 3 roofing systems that we suggest and are common for our clients throughout the Chicagoland area/ Northwest Indiana.

1. The most complete roofing system:

GAF Timberline Golden Pledge roofing system: $$

The benefit’s of the “golden pledge” system is its durability, entire system warranty, and being created by GAF’s who happens to be one of the largest producer of roofing product’s in North America.  GAF’s research and development have not only created an industry leading asphalt shingle (1st line of watershed defense), but innovative, top of the market accessories to compliment the system. This roofing system comes with a 50-year non-prorated product warranty, 25- year workmanship warranty, and GAF will complete a review of the installation. The best part only 2% of contractor’s in North America can offer such a warranty.

What’s in system?Clock Master

  • GAF Timberline Shingles
  • GAF Weatherwatch (Ice & Water shield)
  • GAF Deck Armor (Synthetic underlayment with permeability ratings)
  • GAF Starter course, GAF Snow Country Ridge Vent, GAF Cobra intake system
  • GAF Timbertex Ridge Caps (Heavy duty ridge caps)

2017: Total Roofing GAF Timberline shingles roof’s: 45 properties with 0 complaints 

2. A windy location, farm lot roofing system

Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration roofing system: $$

We love the OC Duration shingle because of the Surenail technology (OC Patented) that’s been incorporated within the main component: the asphalt shingle. The Surenail technology strip (show in the photo) reinforces the roofing nails & strengthens the bonding agent by its fabric woven technology.  The 130 mph wind rating with a 6 nail installation is why we recommend this for farm houses, 12/12 pitches, mansard roofs, or properties that are located near wind tunnels. Similar to GAF, Owens Corning offers a full line of accessories that are quality and efficient formulating a cohesive roofing system.Surenail technology.png

What’s in a system?:

  • Owens Corning TruDuration Shingles
  • Owens Corning ProArmor Synthetic Underlayment
  • Owens Corning Weatherlock (Ice & Water shield)
  • Owens Corning ridge ventilation, starter course
  • Owens Corning ProEdge ridge caps

2017: Total Roofing Owens Corning roof’s: 90 properties with 0 complaints

3. Color’s & Transparency

TAMKO Heritage Architectural System: $

What does TAMKO mean? Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. This manufacturer is located in Joplin, Missouri. We love this manufacturers color options and product transparency with their 30 year product warranty. It’s uncommon to constantly review your roof’s color, unless you strongly dislike the existing one. The benefit of this manufacturer is the well versed color schematics and varying colors from competitors. We thoroughly enjoy this company for not following the industry trend of “lifetime warranties” and standing by their 30 year warranty mark. This shingle has  a 15-year non-prorated product warranty with depreciating after 30 years (which is still a strong warranty).

What’s in a system?

  • TAMKO Heritage architectural shinglesTAMKO pro
  • TAMKO Heritage starter course
  • TAMKO Ice & Water and underlayment
  • TAMKO ridge caps.

 

2017: Total Roofing TAMKO Heritage: 50 properties with 0 complaints

Other roofing system & product’s we install: Owens Corning Oakridge, CertainTeed Landmark Pro’s, IKO cambridge, and Atlas Pinnacle. These product’s all have a time and place. For instance, we will install a number of Atlas Pinnacle in treed lots or near lakes because of their formulated copper granules technology, which deters algae, life organism’s from growing on the shingles (That yucky green moss!)

Our final notes: Keep in mind every contractor offers a varying level of accessories (#15 lb felt – STOP IT ALREADY), but we listed the above system components you should REQUEST INFORMATION ON. Yes, a complete manufacturer systems tend to cost more than a piece by piece system, but trust the manufacturer’s suggestion. They advertise those warranties when you utilize their components, because do you think a Honda would really be a Honda with a Mazda motor?

The last bit of advice,is that these systems are only as good as their installer’s. Do NOT SPEND THE MONEY on these top products if you’re getting a below the industry standard “workmanship warranty” on the installation (Anything less than 3 years is concerning). An analogy would be like buying a Corvette Stingray and not using premium fuel or synthetic oil. That beautiful vehicle will be breaking down much sooner than your monthly payments!

I hope this article may help you or provide some insight,

Phillip Cooper

 

Homewood Deck

Do you watch HGTV? TRC does.

If there’s anything a few contractor’s enjoy, it’s catching an television show such as: This Old House, reality brothers, or Fixer Upper. Many of us may not identify as a “fixer upper” addict’s, but I’m lying if I said I dislike “Chip & Joanna” completing a 30 minute home restoration. They make for good television and the reality tv is not overly dramatized, but it’s still cheesy. Especially as a contractor, these show’s provide our spouses a glimpse of the our day-to-day work life in the contracting world and showcases that we don’t drive our truck’s all day.

I won’t bore you with our favorite television shows, but I’m advocating that you as homeowner should be watching these programs!  Don’t watch television solely to dull your senses or waste time, but at least before the next big renovation project. If you’re building a home for a family of five than the show “tiny homes” won’t exactly make much sense.

Fixer upper

There is a number of quality pro’s & con’s to these shows.

Pros of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Oversight of the industry trends: colors/designs
  • Breakthrough building product’s (Manufacturer’s will market their new product’s in these shows)
  • A visual of a construction site (Debris, equipment, & inconveniences)
  • Synergy of a project: crew, foreman, contractor, supplier, homeowner
  • Learn from other’s mistakes (Don’t like that color, now you know!)
  • Need for a quality and honest contractor.

Con’s of contracting/home improvement shows

  • Unrealistic timeframes – (Extreme makeover home edition)
  • Perception of cost – (Labor rates vary across the nation)
  • Not all contractor’s are qualified to be on television, let alone feature their work (Do your research)
  • Best choice building product’s for you (Often location is addressed, but not all building products are suited for the midwest or east coast).
  • Alway’s a surprise moment (There are times, the homeowner does not like the final color)

Extreme Makerover.png

 

I’m sure we’re all grown enough to understand that television is not reality, but it’s a fantastic tool.  These programs provide you with an ability to do homework before the big test (paying a contractor with your $$$) and you’ll learn industry jargon, products you might want, and an understanding the style of home you’re seeking.

What do I do if I don’t get cable or HGTV?

My family is in the same boat! We decided to cut the cord and opted for Netflix and a local antenna. Though I don’t know a way to stream HGTV, I do know YouTube has played or showcased old episodes of “home restoration” shows. In addition, local providers do have a few “do-it-yourself” and home improvement channels throughout the week (mostly featured on Sat/Sunday) that are similar. I’m honest in stating that the local renditions are MUCH different from the commercialized and scripted version of HGTV’s.

Chip and jo.jpeg

 

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.
    • Grid.jpg
    • 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.

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).

DCIM102MEDIAMAX_0100.JPG

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.”

 

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)