Author: Judd Griffin

Different Types of Roofing Material

Different Types of Roofing Material

If you are faced with having to replace your roof you’re probably shocked at the sheer amount of roofing materials that you have to choose from. All of them have their own benefits and drawback but before you replace your roof with the same material you should know what your options are.  Let’s have a look at the different type of roofing materials so you can decide what works for you.

Bear in mind there are a couple of factors that should go into your decision.  Look at the durability of the material and whether repairs are easy or not, the impact on the environment, how energy efficient it is and of course the cost.  With that being said, let’s move on to the materials.

Asphalt Shingles

By far the most common type of roofing material out there, asphalt shingles are among the cheapest of materials, recyclable and come in several different colors.  Your roofing contractor can show you all of the different styles available and help you to choose the right one that works with your home and your budget.  These types of shingles are typically made from fiberglass and asphalt  and then mineral granules are added to give them the right color and texture.  Shingles are easiest to install but they are also some of the least durable material.  You will have to replace them after a while and the shingles can blow off in extreme weather.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofing is the new kid on the block but it becomes more and more popular every year with steel being installed most often.  These roofs can be installed on older homes and made to look like tiles, shingles or even wood shakes.  Metal has grown in popularity because it is durable, light weight, it blocks heat transfer and is fire retardant.  It can be installed right on top of your old roof, it lasts up to 50 years and you need little or no maintenance.  The one drawback to metal is the upfront costs, it is going to be significantly more expensive that shingles.

Slate Tiles

Slate is a natural material that has been around forever and looks fabulous.  It is versatile, extremely strong, fire resistant and resistant to rot.  It helps to keep your home energy efficient and always increases your home’s value.  However there are definitely some drawbacks to using slate tiles on your roof.  First of all it is heavy so the walls and foundation of your home need to be strong enough to bear the weight.  It does not work well in cold weather and can easily break if it ices over.  It needs to be regularly maintained and it is expensive.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are another option you have if you want a natural roofing material and they are easier to maintain than slate.  You have a ton of options as far as color and style.  Each shingle is unique and gives your home a beautiful custom look.  It is energy efficient and will keep your attic both insulate and ventilated.  You are likely to find wood shakes on older homes, especially in New England. Wood shakes also have some pretty big drawbacks, to start with it rots and that causes mold and insects.  The roof needs to be inspected and repaired annually.  You also need a contractor who is familiar with the installation and maintenance of wood shingles since they are trickier to install than asphalt or your roof will look terrible.

There you have it all of the different types of roofing materials that you can use on your home, talk with your contractor to see which one works best for your property.

 

Come back to our site next week to see what we’re talking about next!

6 Tips for Finding the Right Plumber

6 Tips for Finding the Right Plumber

Nobody wants to deal with a plumbing crisis, but if you don’t deal with a small problem it can quickly turn into a big problem.  The last thing you want to do is try and find a plumber at 2 am because a pipe just burst and you have 2 feet of water in your basement.  Doesn’t matter if you have a leaky faucet or your tub is draining slower than it should it is important to get a plumber into your home to deal with it right away.  All that being said before you hire the first plumber that shows up in a Google search here are 6 tips for finding the right plumber for you.

1. Are the licensed?

Never ever do business with any type of home services contractor that isn’t licensed by the state.  This is a HUGE red flag!  It is actually pretty easy to find out, many companies will display their license number right on their website.  You can ask for proof of license and insurance, the plumber should have no problem showing you.  You can do a quick search online to double check and make sure that the plumber you choose is actually licensed.

2. Are they the right kind of plumber?

Plumbing is a pretty broad category and there are different specializations within the field.  A plumber who specializes in septic system isn’t going to come to your home to fix your dripping taps.  You want to make sure that the plumber you call can and will fix the plumbing problems that you are having.  Google is pretty good at matching you with the right type of plumber but double check just in case.

3. Ask your friends

If you have an emergency in the middle of the night then chances are good you will just look online for a plumber.  If you can put it off until regular business hours then you can ask friends, work colleagues or family who they recommend.  Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to get recommendations.  Another thing you should consider is asking someone else in the building trades who they would recommend.  Carpenter, dry wall installers or whomever all meet plumbers on a regular basis on the job sites that they work on.  Ask who they would want to work on their home.

4. Ask a couple of different plumbers

Never book the first plumber that you call, even if he sounds great over the phone.  Call a couple of different plumbers there will be different services they offer and different prices.  Remember that cheaper isn’t always better and the most expensive doesn’t mean they are the best.  Talking to different plumbers will give you an idea of their qualifications, how long they have been in business and how they do business.

5. Guarantees or warranties

Will the plumber stand by their work?  Do they offer any type of guarantees on the work that you need done.  Obviously you want to work with a plumber that is confident enough in their own work to guarantee it.  If they don’t then you may want to keep looking for someone that does.

6. How long have they been in business

As a rule you want to hire someone that has been in business for a while.  Skills improve and tricks of the trade are learned through experience and that turns into a proven track record.  There is nothing wrong with hiring a plumber that is new to the business, everybody has to learn but let the price reflect their experience. If you want to know how long someone has been in business their website is a good start.

 

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Is Siding Better than Brick?

Is Siding Better than Brick?

It’s time to give the exterior of your home a face lift and you’re faced with the choice between siding and brick.  Your contractor advises you to go with siding and you’re left wondering if siding is better than brick?  There are pros and cons to both of them and you probably have your own preferences but for now let’s take a look at why you may be inclined to choose vinyl siding over brick.

The Price

Price drives the size and scope of almost all renovations, the average homeowner doesn’t have unlimited funds to play with so they make many of their decisions based on price alone.  When it comes to brick versus vinyl there is no question that vinyl wins that contest hands down.  If you haven’t been in a home renovation store to price the costs of bricks then rest assured they aren’t cheap.  Add to that the sheer amount of labor to install bricks, it will cost you a fortune to use brick instead of vinyl.  Bricks, have a lifespan of about 20-25 years so at some point the brickwork will also need to be replaced.  Now siding is not only cheaper, it is easy to install.  You can have your house completely sided in just a day or two.  It doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance, just pressure wash it every now and then and it will look brand new.

More Versatility

Vinyl is far more versatile than most other building materials including brick.  Homes that possess unique architectural features like arches, gable or some other feature, vinyl allows you to keep these characteristics while having a durable exterior surface.  Talk to an experienced siding contractor about what you can and can’t do with vinyl siding and how complicated the features you want to install will be.  You will find that you can not only do more with vinyl but that it will still cost you less than brick.

Color and Style

We talked a bit about the architectural features that you can use with vinyl, now let’s talk about other features you have to work with.  Brick simply doesn’t even come close to the amount of color choices you have with vinyl.  You can get vinyl siding in well over 300 different colors and if it doesn’t have the color you like then you can simply have it dyed to suit your tastes.  It can also be painted in the future if you change your mind about the color and it is easy to attach things like shutters and window boxes.  You simply have more choice than you do with brick.

It’s the Greener Choice

That fact probably surprises you but the truth is vinyl has a much smaller impact on the environment than brick does.  Producing bricks requires more energy and creates more pollution than vinyl does.  Vinyl also lasts far longer than brick so there is that to consider as well.

This brings us back to the question of whether vinyl is better than brick?  Well, it is more versatile, it is cheaper and it lasts longer but you will have to choose for yourself.

 

 

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No Fuss Landscaping

no fuss landscaping

Your landscaping is one of the first things people see when they come to your home.  When realtors talk about ‘curb appeal’ they are talking about your landscaping and how it makes your property look.  Whether you have just purchased a new home or you want to spruce up your existing home you need to consider your landscaping.  Well-manicured lawns and beautiful flowers don’t happen by accident but rather they are carefully planned and maintained.  The question is how much time and money do you want to spend on your landscaping.  If time is not something you have in abundance then here are some some no fuss landscaping ideas.

Start with Low Maintenance Plants

Matt always says that orchids, roses and other flowers look and smell beautiful but you will spend hours upon hours maintaining them.  These plants are delicate and require time  and attention, instead choose plants that don’t require constant pruning and tending.  Your landscaping contractor can recommend some but you want to look for shrubs, trees or perennials that grow easily in your climate.  You want plants that are native to the area and can stand the weather, bugs or whatever Mother Nature has in store for you.  Here are some easy low maintenance plants that can work in your yard.

Use High Quality Materials

High quality landscaping materials can last for years, but they aren’t always in the price range that you want.  You may think you’re saving money by going with lower quality material but not if you have to continually replace them.  Good materials include fences, decks, hardscaping  and gazebos should all be of the best quality and they will look fabulous and last for years.

Plant Placement

Where you put your plants and trees is just as important as the type of plants that you choose. You can use different plants to hide the flaws in your landscaping and planting different plants together makes them easier to look after.  However you don’t want to plant trees in particular too close to your home or your neighbor’s property.  You will be responsible for trimming limbs that hangover into the neighbor’s yard, roots spread under the ground and can cause problems with your plumbing and you don’t want anything too close to power lines either.

Lawn or No Lawn

You may think that a big rolling lawn is easy to maintain, you cut the grass every week or so and that’s it.  If you are using a landscaping company to take care of your property then this is properly your best and least expensive option.  If you are looking after your own landscaping then you have to rake, mow, water, fertilize and keep the bugs out.  You can kiss Saturdays goodbye.  You can instead opt for clover or moss to cover  your yard along with other plants like shrubs and trees.

Landscaping can be a lot of work, you always have the option of having a landscaping company take care of it for you.  If you don’t have a green thumb and simply want no fuss landscaping then look to adding a stone garden instead of a bunch of live plants.

 

 

Large Scale Home Remodeling

Large Scale Home Remodeling

Large-scale home remodeling can be expensive. There are two ways you can do this. You can either choose to do it all yourself or hire professional contractors to help you with the job. If you aren’t really a do-it-yourself person then it might be wise if you hire a professional contractor to get everything done at once. There will also be some things that you might be able to do yourself that will save you money. For instance, you can easily install new lighting, paint, or flooring without spending the extra money for professional help.

  • Start with a Budget- If you’re like most home owners then you probably have a budget to work with. This is the first tip to keep in mind when renovating your house. Start out by establishing a budget and finding out which costs are just wants and which ones should be prioritized. Let’s say your budget is $10,000. You should want to take the obvious low-hanging fruit first. If you have old appliances that you hope to replace then give them away or sell them and use the money for other things. If you’re torn between a new floor or a new bright paint job then choose the floor. Paint will probably last the longest before you have to redecorate the room. It is also less expensive than carpet, wallpaper, or tiles.
  • Always Choose Good Quality- It’s true you get what you pay for in most everything. When it comes to home improvements, especially on the larger scale they are not all that cheap. Look for good quality materials that will last the longest. Also, if you have the money to spare you should focus on making sure that your home is leak-proof from top to bottom. With a little preparation and work you should be fine.
  • Build First, Implements Second- When it comes to home improvements be sure to check out the level of your budget. Start by adjusting your budget for basic costs in the entire project. For example, you may not be able to marble countertops, but you can save a little bit by choosing granite which looks just as good but it is better priced. Talk with your contractor, and definitely shop around.  You may find better prices online rather than buying locally, always look at all of your options.  Take these numbers with you when it’s time to re-estimate your costs.
  • Start Doing as Soon As You Have Money- Don’t let your finances get the best of you. Many times home owners embark on projects because they had a set amount they were aiming for. If you follow a strict budget though and start doing as soon as you have the money, you’ll be able to complete most projects on a lower budget in the long run. Just trust your own abilities and you’ll be fine.

Taking time to look for ways to make your home improvements go faster, less money, and do a lot of projects yourself can be very rewarding and help to save you a lot of money in the long run. When it’s all said and done the savings should exceed most of your expectations.

 

 

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