Emergency Roof Repair When You Need Help Fast

Most of us don’t realize that the roof is the most important part of our home. It keeps out the elements and protects us from the ravages bad weather. Serious damage to our roofs also greatly impacts the comfort and safety of our houses. What would you do if a tree fell on your house in the middle of the night? Who would call to get your home back in a livable condition? The fact is that emergency roof repair services are much more important than you might think.

roofing damage needing repairOnce a roof has been severely damaged, it’s important to start repairs right away. Water infiltration and leaks can start to damage the house structure almost immediately. It is necessary that a protective cover or intermediate repair job be performed quickly in order to preserve a home’s integrity. This way further damage is averted and more time is bought to start proper repairs.

There can many causes for roof damage with the most common being storms and severe weather. Strong winds of 50 miles per hour or more can tear the shingles from a roof and expose vulnerable layers. In addition debris such as tree limbs, branches, small stones, and other such things can be whipped-up and slammed against the roof by strong winds. In all of these cases, it is important to have emergency repairs made as soon as it’s possible.

Once the storm is over, an roofing specialist can come out and safely assess the damage. Heavy rains, high winds, and storm conditions can be dangerous to workers which is why the repair crew will wait until the weather permits.

In case of fire, the emergency repair team may wait until given an all-clear by a building inspector. This is because fire can cause unseen damage to the house’s internal support structure. Once it has been established that it is safe to access the roof, the team will begin emergency repairs.

It is never advisable to for a homeowner to try repair the roof on his or her own. This is a dangerous and highly specialized type of home repair. Roofing specialists have received training and certification for the work they do. Most of the repair work they do requires specific knowledge and safety precautions.

Don’t climb up on the roof yourself. If there is damage, do your best to document by taking pictures. If the insurance company wants to know more, they will send out their own claim specialist to document and photograph the damage. Avoid climbing up ladders or balancing on unstable surfaces in order to take pictures of a damaged roof. Keep your feet safely on the ground and take the best pictures you can from a distance.

A search for emergency roof repair should turn up plenty of results in your area. Always make sure that any roof repair specialist you hire is fully licensed and insured. This information should be available on their website or advertisement. Avoid fly by night roofers who appear from out of town after a huge storm has hit. Many times these are disreputable storm chasers who aren’t properly trained and perform shoddy repairs. Always choose a local and recognized roofing company with a good Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating

The Different Types Of Skylights Used In Homes

Skylights for homes are the perfect solution to increase the amount of natural light while reducing energy consumption. Passive houses use skylights as one of the elements of passive heating systems. If your house has an attic, skylights will make it habitable and friendly. More and more builders and architects integrate this type of windows in their projects, mainly because of their stylish look but also because of the benefits offered by natural light coming from above.

From mobility standpoint, skylights for homes can be fixed or ventilating. Each type comes with its advantages and drawbacks. It is up to you to decide which of them are the most important for you and choose your skylight type accordingly.

Fixed skylights can’t be opened, their sole purpose is to allow the passage of light. While the disadvantage is obviously the impossibility of using them to bring fresh air inside, the advantage is their better insulation. As they don’t have any moving parts, it is a much smaller probability to experience leaks during heavy rains.

Ventilating skylights are mobile. You may open them to get the air inside your house moving. If your intention is to install skylights in the bathroom or in the kitchen, you better choose this type, in order to be able to evacuate the steam that gets generated when you cook or when you take hot showers.

Since skylights can sometimes be situated at a height that doesn’t allow direct manual operation, they can come with a remote control system or with a hand crank. Remote control systems will probably add a little bit to the final price, but they are better because they don’t spoil the interior design and they are easier to operate than cranks.

The drawback of ventilating skylights is that they may not be perfectly insulated. As rubber gaskets get old, they may become less effective in preventing the temperature exchange and they may even start leaking. Nonetheless, if you do your homework when you shop for skylights, you can prevent unpleasant situations by choosing a trusted brand from companies that give you several years guarantee for both materials and installation. It is very important to have skilled workers install the skylights, because improper installation may cause leaks, even if you buy top notch quality materials.

Something you should consider when buying skylights, as opposed to wall windows, is that you’ll be under direct attack of UV rays. In time they may damage your furniture and cause discoloration of your carpets. The solution is simple and it comes straight from the manufacturer: get LoE coated laminated glass. Not only it protects your stuff from the fading effect of UV rays, it also increases the energy efficiency of your home.

Other considerations depend on your local weather conditions. If you live in a climate where hurricanes strike often, getting impact glass is a wise decision. If you live in the mountains or in areas with heavy snowfalls, get glass that resists to snow load. If you aren’t sure what to choose, get in touch with an architect or a home improvement showroom specialist who is qualified to give you advice and help you make the correct choice.

Dealing With Less Than Perfect Walls When You Paint

In the do-it-yourselfer’s paradise, every wall is as smooth as a mirror and putting paint on them delivers a perfect result every time. Meanwhile, in the real world, you often find yourself stuck with walls that are damaged, worn or improperly finished. You probably already know that slapping a plain layer of gloss paint on them is only going to make the problem worse. Here are some alternative painting strategies to deal with walls that have issues.

painting the walls of a homeMinimize The Problem With Good Prep Work

No matter how major or minor the damage to your walls might be, you are going to make it look worse if you jump right into painting them without doing at least a little prep work. Fill obvious holes with joint compound and sand down joints, uneven patches, and other questionable areas. If you feel like your do-it-yourself skills are up to the challenge, you may even re-skim the whole wall. This takes skill to do properly, though!

Even if you don’t have obvious weak points to address, it is generally a very good idea to sand your walls thoroughly before you start to paint. This will not only eliminate the smallest imperfections but also give your paint a better surface to adhere to. If you know your walls have issues, you should also plan to paint them in two coats (primer + finisher) rather than using an all-in-one paint. The extra thickness of paint will help conceal small flaws.

Choose Your Paint Wisely

After your wall is painted, the way cracks, bumps, and seams are going to show up is through irregularities in the way light reflects off the paint. Choose paints that minimize the amount of light reflected and you are well on your way to concealing all but the most glaring of flaws. Matte or flat finishes are your friends here. Avoid high-gloss paint if at all possible.

Paint color can also make a difference for largely the same reason. Minor wall imperfections are much harder to spot on dark colors. (Of course, it may not be realistic to paint your breakfast nook black!) Choose the darkest shades that will fit with your decor when you’re painting a problem wall.

Consider Special Finishes

Besides simply selecting the right paint, you can go a long way towards concealing issues by choosing novel ways to apply it. A textured coat can cover up all sorts of little imperfections. Don’t be too quick to dismiss textured paint based on one or two unappealing examples you may have seen in the past. There are dozens if not hundreds of options available to you.

Faux finishes and glazes involve a little more labor, but they can hide a host of flaws. In these techniques, you are aiming to replicate the multicolored look of a historical wall finish (e.g. lime washing) or the aged patina of a weathered surface. Hit the internet to find examples of various faux finish options. Some require the application of multiple colors, while others may involve adding two or more additional thin layers of paint to your wall.

It’s not always possible to guarantee ideal results every time you take your paint roller to a wall. Preparing to deal with walls you know will be challenging is a great way to get better results. Explore your options fully before you resign yourself to living with a wall that looks flawed!

Eight Things You Need To Know Before Building Your Perfect Deck

A beautiful deck can add value to your home and enhance your enjoyment of your living environment. Imagine relaxing in your outdoor retreat, enjoying the sunrise with a cup of coffee or taking in the lovely colors of a gorgeous sunset. You might have some ideas on how you want your deck to look as you daydream about it. Your dream deck can become a reality, but you need to be mindful of several important tips that will help make this project a success.

Mid adult carpenter cutting wood with handheld saw while coworkeKnow What The Local Codes Are

A deck that is above a particular size and height will require a building permit. Check with your local building department on what those codes are to make sure that your project is in compliance. Any building projects that are not built to code will cause you problems if you ever decide to sell your home. Adhering to building codes will also ensure that the structure is safe for the intended usage.

Come Up With A Design

Walk around the house and decide on where this deck will be built. Will it be an extension from the back of the house? Is it on an upper level? Does it stand on its own? Sketch out a design on paper. See if your nearest home center has computerized design tools that can help you render a drawing of the deck. These types of tools can even generate a list of building materials from the design that you create.

Prepare A Solid Foundation

Your dream deck must be built on sound footings that are properly installed to code. The footings are set in concrete and the depth must be below the frost line determined by where you live. A typical deck must be able to support the weight of the structure itself, otherwise known as the “dead load”, and the weight of the furniture and people, known as the “live load”. A typical deck should be able to support about 60 pounds per square foot. However, if your live load will be heavier because you want to add huge planters or even a hot tub, the support structures will need to be reinforced for safety.

If your deck is going to be attached to your house, you will need to attach a large beam or the ledger to the side of your house where the substructure of the deck will be built. The beam is typically two inches thick by either eight, ten or twelve inches wide. The ledger and footings, when set properly and to code are the key to a finished structure that will be safe, level, and sound.

Proper Installation Of Joists

After you set the ledger, the deck frame will be built. The joists should be made from pressure-treated lumber. It is absolutely vital that you use accurate measuring tools like an engineer’s square to make sure that the joists are square when you attach them. The joist hangers should be attached 16 inches apart from the center of the side rails. Lay out all of your joists and then, using galvanized nails, secure them all at once.

The first floor board that you lay out should hang over by about half an inch. If your deck is protected by an enclosure, tongue-and-groove flooring material can be used.

Selecting Your Deck Materials

Traditionally, decking materials are made from wood. They can be natural, treated, and even resistant to insects. However, more and more consumers are turning to composite decking. Although this material might cost more than wood, the long-term advantages outweigh the extra cost. These benefits include durability, less maintenance in cleaning and the the lack of a need to refinish. Many composite decking manufacturers guarantee their products for up to 20 years. This reduces the need to replace deck boards as frequently as wood boards.

If you choose wood deck boards, select them carefully. Boards should not be curved or cupped. The edges of the boards should be devoid of knots. However, it is often difficult to have all of your deck boards in perfect condition. If you do end up with boards with a cup, install them so the top of the curve is upward.

Use fasteners, either screws or nails, that are labeled for building decks. These are designed for exterior projects. You can fasten your deck boards from the top or you can choose a fastening system that fastens from below. This allows the fasteners to be hidden from view for a more seamless appearance.

Space The Boards Apart

Wood boards will expand and contract based on weather conditions. When you lay down the boards, allow gaps between the boards so that water can drain through. Typically, wood boards will require a gap of one-eighth to three-eighths of an inch. Spacing for synthetic boards will depend on the manufacturer’s specifications. You can achieve even spacing by using special spacers.

Finishing

You will need to protect the beauty of your wood deck with a coat of finish. If you use lumber that was treated, you will need to wait a few months before finishing. There are many sealers and stains that will give your deck the color that you want. Your wood deck will typically need to be cleaned and refinished every two years or so.

Deck Railing

Be sure to consult with your building codes when installing your deck railings. There are usually guidelines similar to what you would expect for railings for stairs and inside the house. Railings come in many designs and choosing the right design can truly enhance the beauty of your deck. Make sure that you purchase enough for your entire deck.

Your deck can be a reflection of your style and taste. When you choose fixtures, use the style of your house and your furniture to find a complementary look. Enhancing it with the right trim and details will give it the unique qualities that will make the deck of your dreams extra special.

Look At Zoning Regulations For Tiny Homes And Storage Containers Before You Start To Build

Zoning regulations dictate “where and when” housing can be established. Urban cities are often stringent because of increasing demand and limited space. This can pose a problem for owners of tiny homes. Here is more information on how zoning regulations are impeding the tiny house movement at this point.

A tiny white cottage with red shutters and red petunias.Required Need For A “Foundation”

The property cannot be established on wheels according to state regulations. Zoning regulations indicate primary housing on any piece of land has to be “set down”. The easiest solution is to remove the wheels and then establish the location of your house. These regulations apply to all land types (private or public).

Size Matters

There are sizing requirements present with zoning as well. The tiny house has to fit a minimum before it is deemed legal in states that allow such properties. What is the general requirement? It is set at around 450–1,500 square feet. Remember, this is for the “primary” residence. If you can show the tiny house as a secondary unit, it can be smaller.

The size is based on a property that requires plumbing, runoff control, emergency vehicle access, and water connections. Since, that is the case with a tiny house, it is important to follow through with the minimum requirements of your state.

What if the size requirements are not being met? There are a few states, which still have a workaround to this problem. The idea is to send a notice to your neighbors and apply with the zoning board in your city. If they approve the house, it can be established. This is “hit and miss” at best and a major hassle when such an investment is being made. Therefore, it is smarter to go for a bigger setup in states with rigid regulations.

Secondary Dwelling

The term used for this is “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (i.e. secondary house) which is smaller than the primary space. This can be troublesome for property owners who are hoping to use the tiny house as their primary unit. Even with the “accessory dwelling unit” tag, the property has to have a foundation as listed above.

Permission is required to deem a tiny house as your “primary unit” and there can be numerous hassles along the way. Unfortunately, many states are only leaving the change to accessory dwelling units. The primary unit needs to have appropriate plumbing along with being “grid-tied” (i.e. connected to nearby properties). Tiny houses are not able to do this, so they are deemed illegal.

An example where secondary dwelling units are not allowed would be New York City, Michigan, and Salem. There are online resources available to find out whether your state allows for secondary dwelling units or not. Reading through those state regulations is pertinent. If you are not heeding to these regulations, building officials will pay a visit if a house is illegally set up.

Rural Towns With No Zoning Laws

Rural towns do not pose a problem for tiny house owners in America. Most of these cities are sparsely populated and have acres of land to offer. To prop up the economy in these areas, zoning regulations are not pushed on local citizens. Tiny houses and storage containers can be used as required.

It is best to read up on the regulations in these towns before beginning. At worst, there are minor requirements, but nothing which poses a challenge.

Forecasting Change

The cities of Boston, New York, and Portland have legislated change in the development of “micro-apartments” (small rooms) because of the increasing prices. In a bid to manage real estate, these changes have been approved and are now a part of built-in regulations.

What about tiny homes and storage containers? Current laws remain in sync with what has been described above. Forecasting suggests laws will be enacted enabling freedom for those who are pursuing this option and wish to avoid zoning hassles.

These are the zoning regulations present at the moment in various states around the nation. There is a variation between what major cities are enabling compared to rural towns with no regulations in place at all. It is important to read up on these zoning regulations before starting the process.

Things To Consider When Deciding To Refinish Or Replace Hardwood Flooring

The good news is that if you have hardwood flooring, in most cases, it can be refinished. Unless the wood has been damaged from sanding too many times or if there is extreme movement in between the boards, you can get your floor refinished, which is a lot less expensive than the alternative of replacing it. The bonus is that you already know that the wood grain and species of wood suits your home and decor. After many years of use, the wear and tear does a number on them. Yet, it is still a big decision to decide if you would rather replace or simply refinish your floors.

Is The Price Right?

Hardwood FlooringWhen considering the price of flooring, it is the labor and the cost of the materials. Consider that harvesting new trees requires many natural resources, from the fuel and human capital to chop down a tree to the processing and shipping of logs from the forest to the factory to a local lumber yard.

The companies that sell the wood, likewise, have to market their products and pay people to handle everything from invoicing to cleaning the office. You pay for all of that when you order new floors. It costs more now than ever to buy flooring because the cost of everything from resources to salaries and labor continues to go up. The cost of professional installation by a trustworthy company is tacked onto all of these other expenses. All of these costs are the reason that many people revisit the option to refinish their floors.

Refinishing floors costs much less than buying new wood flooring. It will definitely involve having the flooring contractor in your house for a much longer period of time. In addition, there is nothing you can do about the dust and fumes from the lacquer.

In the case of new flooring, dust is comparatively minimized. In addition, fumes may be unheard of with a new installation because pre-finished flooring is an option. One way many homeowners attack this project is by doing it themselves. This allows them to prevent strangers from being in their home on the many occasions it would take to complete a refinishing job. It also gives homeowners the power to perform the work at intervals that could minimize dust and fumes exposure to the whole household.

The Project Schedule

White empty simple old kitchen room with pastel blue ceiling and hardwood flooring. Refinishing a floor involves many steps that make it time-consuming when compared to installing new floors. From the preparations, multiple sweeps of the sander with different types of sandpaper to equipment rentals, vacuuming and lacquering, it is a job for patient people. If you have trouble watching a pot boil or watching paint dry, then this job will challenge you at the very core. It turns out there are many steps where you will have to simply wait for the next finish to dry. It is also very challenging for the whole household who cannot use the floors that are being refinished for the duration of the whole project.

Replacing flooring by comparison is faster. Even if you account for rebuilding of the subfloor or making repairs and removing the old flooring, it is much faster usually to replace the floor than to refinish it. In particular, if you take into account having a professional team that is known for doing a great job both quickly and efficiently, then you will have use of your floor much sooner when you purchase a new floor.

Is It Adding To The Value Of Your Home?

When you are replacing flooring or refinishing the wood, make sure that you maximize the potential for return on your money. For instance, if oak adds the greatest value, as long as it is in a traditional color (not painted bubble gum pink), you will, more than likely, boost your home’s value. What you may not know is that tackling a refinishing project delivers three times the payoff of the cost. That’s fantastic considering that it also costs a lot less than buying a new floor. If you replace the flooring entirely, you will realize a lower return on investment of only little more than two times your cost to replace the flooring with new materials.

Deciding whether to replace or refinish flooring is a big one. By taking the cost, the time and the return on investment into consideration, you can decide what makes the most sense for your particular home and needs.

Why Refinishing or Reglazing Your Bathtub Is The Better Choice

No matter how high quality a bathtub is, it is inevitable that it will one day begin to fail. Bathtubs are a part of the home that sees near constant use and over time, they begin to show signs of their daily wear. Permanent stains form, chips happen and the shiny finish that imbues them with that classic porcelain look starts to become dull. In this way, a bathtub that was once attractive and hygienic looking can start to be a major eyesore.

old fashioned luxirious golden bath tub in a bathroomWhen bathtubs begin to fail, the first impulse many people have is to replace the tub altogether. The problem with this line of thinking is that buying a new bathtub every time any sort of wear starts to show is an expensive and ultimately, wasteful habit. Despite its outer appearance, a bathtub with water stains and a few surface cracks or chips is still perfectly functional in every way. The superficial damage is just that, entirely on the surface.

Fortunately, there’s a way to rejuvenate the appearance of a bathtub without having to buy and install a new unit. Refinishing and reglazing processes utilize a two step process to make an old tub look brand new again. This procedure is effective, time efficient and has the potential to save you money in the following ways:

1. Increases Lifespan

When the coating of a bathtub begins to wear away and crack, the damage can quickly cost the tub its ability to retain water effectively. This means that the appearance of visible damage on a tub’s surface often signals the fact that a quick and merciless drop in the bathtub’s functionality is swiftly forthcoming.

An old claw foot bathtub in an old broken down house.Refinishing a bathtub essentially halts this process by applying an all new waterproof coating. This coating is generally made of a synthetic material like acrylic, which is bonded to the original surface of the tub by a solid bonding agent. Using this process to refinish a bathtub ensures that no bubbles or gaps between the coating and tub surface will form, which helps to guarantee that the tub continue to be water tight for years to come. The synthetic coating is flexible and resilient, which enables it to extend the lifespan of a tub by a significant number of years.

2. Revives Style

Sometimes, a tub becomes an eyesore not because it gets damaged or worn out, but because the progress of style has proven unfriendly to the tub’s design. This leaves homeowners with a bit of a quandary: what do you do if a tub is still functional, but looks about as fresh as a fossil?

Tub refinishing provides an elegant and cost effective solution to this problem. Tub coatings come in a wide variety of different colors, patterns, and finishes. This means that even the oldest and least stylish of bathtubs can be given new life and made to look perfectly up to date.

Luxury white flat rim roll top clawfoot bathtub isolated against a white background3. No Need for Removal

Finally, replacing a tub altogether often presents a surprising challenge when the homeowner has to remove the original unit. Those who live in smaller homes or apartments will often find that due to changes in the building’s layout or structure, bathtubs have great difficulty getting out the way that they were brought in. Homeowners may have to hire movers or contractors in order to dispatch the unit or get the tub out the door. This represents a considerable excess cost.

In short, refinishing or reglazing a tub allows homeowners to revive their bathrooms at just a fraction of a new bathtub’s cost. This quality, combined with the fact that it can be completed in a very short span of time makes it a very desirable option for tubs that are looking less than perfect.

Problems That Can Be Missed With A Home Inspection

When purchasing a house, a home inspection should always be a part of the buying process. The services of an inspector who is certified by The American Home Inspectors can identify numerous types of problems in the home. However, it is not fail proof.

Male supervisor looking up while writing on clipboard against blue house standing with energy ratingEven the most experienced home inspector cannot detect everything. In some cases, you may consider hiring a specialist to inspect the problem areas that are missed during a home inspection. Here are some common issues that may arise after you move in:

Sewer Lines

While inspectors can determine if a line is entirely blocked, partial blocks are frequently missed. The water may need to run for substantially longer for the problem to appear, or it may worsen after your family moves in. Damage to the pipes may not show, particularly if the home has not been in use for a while.

Electrical Troubles

A home inspector does not have the training nor time to perform an in-depth inspection of the electrical workings of the home. They will check all of the outlets and switches in the home, but may not be able to determine deeper troubles and malfunction origins. For these, you will need to hire a certified electrician.

Leaks

From the roof to the piping beneath your home, leaks can be caused by a variety of home problems. Left untreated, they can be a source of mold and create damage to the foundation and structure of your home. However, they are not always easy to detect.

If your home inspection is during the dry season and the previous homeowner has painted any stains or otherwise covered the visible damage from the leaks, your inspector will likely not find it. For leaks inside of the home, if the previous residents have already vacated the building, the water may have already dried, leaving no trace of leaks. The water may need to be on for a few days before they become visible again.

Concept image of Business Acronym HVAC HEATING VENTILATING AIR CONDITIONING written over road marking yellow paint lineHVAC

Determining when an HVAC system is going to fail is virtually impossible. It may operate powerfully for years or have a vital part malfunction tomorrow. If an inspector checks out your home during moderate weather, the system will not be put through the same rigors as during extreme temperatures. One heat wave or freeze snap may be all it takes to cause system failure.

Because the price of an additional, thorough inspection is so high when compared to just replacing a unit, most inspectors do not recommend it. Check the maintenance records of the previous homeowner. The more diligent they were about regular maintenance visits, the greater the chance it is in good order.

However, if you have an old furnace, you may want to have the heater exchange inspected separately. A cracked one can be dangerous by raising carbon monoxide levels in the home.

Structural Damage

The roof, foundation and internal walls can have problems that are not detected in a traditional home inspection. In some cases, the inspector may suggest that you bring in a contractor who specializes in the area in question to make an assessment, including the cost of repairs.

Septic System

One advantage to using the public sewer system is that you need not worry about this one. However, if the home has a septic system, you will be responsible for it. Some states require an inspection of the system. Even if yours does not, you may want to see if the previous homeowner pumped it regularly and performed other relevant maintenance tasks.

Buying a home is the largest investment most people make in their life. Make sure that you are choosing wisely by having the house inspected and being aware of troubles that may arise once you move in. These are some of the most common issues you will encounter that even the best inspector can miss.