Categories
Home Improvement

Essential Improvements for Your Home

It’s fun to plan and design improvements for your home. But when it comes to essential improvements, here is helpful information to know and our top ideas.

If you are addicted to home improvement shows, you probably dream of open-concept kitchens and luxurious en suite bathrooms. While these rooms can definitely add value to your home, the most important home improvements you can make are slightly less glamorous, but likely more necessary to the long-term health and safety of your home. Taking care of these essentials first helps you avoid unpleasant surprises when you are ready to move on to home improvement projects that you might consider more exciting.

Also, one of the keys to successful home improvements is choosing a project that will add value and functionality to your home. Not all additions or renovations actually increase your home’s value. Before you commit to a project, understand how it will affect your home’s resale potential.

Roofing

Having a solid, well-maintained, quality roof helps you avoid problems like leaks and pest damage. If your roof is more than 20 years old, it is probably time to consider replacing or repairing it. At the very least, have it inspected. Making roof repairs early is key to preventing long-term damage to your home. Upgrading your roofing can even improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Electrical

If you live in a home built in the last 30 or so years, you probably do not have to worry too much about electrical. But if your home is more than 40 years old, replacing the electrical should be at the top of your list. Doing so can avoid power surges, give you increased efficiency, and prevent the possibility of an electrical fire.

Appliances

The biggest source of energy usage in your home is your refrigerator, and other high-use appliances include your heating and air conditioning and your water heater. Having Energy Star rated appliances saves you money on your electric bill by being more efficient and better insulated. They are also more appealing to potential buyers if you are in the market to sell.

Solar

Adding solar panels can cost you a little upfront, but give you savings for decades. Look for rebates and incentives in your area to help subsidize the cost. You will appreciate the difference in your electric bill. Solar is also appealing to home buyers and may help your house to sell faster.

Once all of the important working parts of your house are in order, you can confidently move on to other home improvement projects. Keeping your home safe and up-to-date is essential to living comfortably and makes it easier to sell.

Replace Your Front Door

Surprisingly, the simple task of replacing your front door yields a 98% return on your investment. Plus, this is also one of the cheapest and easiest home improvement projects you can do. It greatly improves curb appeal without adding to your existing home maintenance.

Upgrade Your Siding

Siding has the most impact on your curb appeal because it covers most of your home’s exterior. Old and worn siding can knock up to 10% off of your home’s overall value. You can choose from vinyl, fiber-cement, wood, and other materials. Each siding type has its own pros and cons regarding design, durability, and cost.

Remodel Your Kitchen

When you hear kitchen remodel, you probably imagine a home improvement show where the entire space is gutted and redone. However, your transformation does not need to be so dramatic if you do not want it to be. An upgrade in appliances, countertops, cabinets, etc. can go a long way in adding resale value to your home.

What if You Live Near the Coast?

If you live near the coast, you might be wondering how you can get the most out of your wonderful location. There are a number of home improvements that can turn your ordinary home into a beach abode. Whether you recently purchased a run-down beach condo that needs some major TLC or own a lovely Cape Cod that could use a little sprucing up, here are some easy ways to transform any home into the perfect coastal retreat.

Open It up

Open floor plans are perfect for coastal homes, especially if you have postcard views of the ocean. An open floor plan makes the home seem much larger and lends a light, airy feel to any space. Combine the dining, kitchen, and living areas into one bright, large room and allow cool sea breezes to waft through the area from open windows. Use a casual, neutral palette to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Bring in the Light

Skylights are perfect for coastal homes. They can transform any dark, stale room into a bright, sunny space. Use skylights to flood your interior spaces with plenty of natural light. Strategically placed skylights can give a home a breezy feel and highlight stunning water views. In addition to diffusing your home with natural light, operable skylights can also help allow warmer air to rise and escape to the outside.

Create a Cozy Backyard Sanctuary

With gorgeous outdoor coastal scenery, you want to make the most of your outdoor space. Make use of your outdoor space by transforming it into a comfy living area. If your deck is not very large, extend it to allow for extra seating for parties and outdoor gatherings. Use durable, lovely outdoor fabrics to make your outdoor space both useful and stylish.

An outdoor deck, especially one that has an unobstructed view of the water is the perfect place for a summer bash or a quiet drink. If you live near the coast, it is important to maintain your deck to prevent sun damage and moisture problems. Periodic waterproofing and deck coating will ensure that your deck stays in top shape for many years of use.

Give Your Landscaping a Makeover

Updating your landscaping will help boost your home’s facade and add curb appeal. Use native plants in your landscaping design, as these plants require less maintenance and enhance your natural surroundings. Low-lying plants are perfect for coastal settings as will not obstruct gorgeous ocean views. Wide-leaf plants and delicate flowers add beauty to the landscape without being too distracting and taking away from the natural surroundings. A water feature is a great way to enhance the coastal feel of your yard. It can provide tranquility and drown out nearby noise.

Build a Party Dock

If you live right on the water, it is almost imperative to have a boat dock. Instead of a traditional dock, consider building a party dock. A party dock combines a floating lounge with a boat dock. These versatile docks are perfect for docking your boat and throwing huge summer bashes. You can outfit your floating dock with a swimmer’s platform, wet bar, television, and comfortable lounge chairs for the ultimate in fun.

Conclusion

As you pursue your home improvement options, do not forget to consult with professionals to get a realistic idea of the possibilities. Especially if you are looking at an invasive procedure like roof replacement, you will likely need to contact a contractor.

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Home Improvement

Why Is Proper Attic Ventilation Important In The Winter?

The cold winter weather is here and you must be keeping your home nice and warm. If so, do you have proper attic ventilation? Read below on why this is important this time of year.

As the winter season has truly rolled in, you’ll be ready to huddle up indoors next to the fire and escape from the elements. To be able to do that, your roof needs to be in top condition. If it’s not well ventilated though, it won’t be able to keep your home protected from that cold weather.

Here’s what roof ventilation does, and why it’s so important in the winter.

What is Roof Ventilation?

Roof ventilation is what allows air flow through your roof, all year round. Hot air in your home rises naturally, and ends up in your attic. With that hot air comes moisture. Of course, you don’t want that lingering in the attic, as it causes all kinds of damage to your roof and your home at large. That’s why ventilation is important.

The vents in your roof will allow that warm air to escape, and allow cooler air in to the roof instead. With that constant cycle of air, your roof will be protected and your maintenance bills will be much lower.

Why is Ventilation Important?

As mentioned above, hot air and moisture are trapped in your roof unless it has a way out. When that moisture hangs around, it will damage the roof from the inside. You’ll see issues like mold and mildew, which create health problems for those in the home. It’s especially bad if anyone has allergies.

That moisture will also lead to wood rot. If the rot is allowed to set in long enough, there can be real damage to the roof. You may need to replace a section of the roof, or the roof as a whole if it’s really bad. Of course, this is a pricey job and you want to avoid it.

Another risk is that of ice dams. When hot air can’t leave, it heats up your roof. That’s going to allow snow to melt off and into the gutter, where it refreezes. That allows water and snow to back up, creating even more problems.

As there are so many risks to your roof, it’s important to check right now that your ventilation is up to speed.

Signs You Need Better Roof Ventilation

Not sure if your roof currently has enough ventilation? Take a look now to ensure that it’s ready for the colder months.

Here’s what you should be looking out for:

Condensation in Your Roof:

Get up into the attic and look for any signs of condensation. Is there water currently sitting in there? If there is, then that hot, moist air has nowhere to go. That’s a sign that you’ll need ventilation installed.

No Vents Currently Installed:

Can you see any vents in your roof currently? If not, then you’ll need to install some before winter comes, to allow that warm air to escape. 

Hot Ceilings:

On a warm day, touch your ceiling. If it’s warm, that’s a sign that your roof is holding onto heat and radiating it back down into your home.

Ice on the Eaves:

On the other end of the weather scale, take a look at your eaves when it’s snowy out. If there are thick ridges of ice on them, that’s showing you that warm air in the attic is warming the roof, allowing snow to melt and refreeze in the eaves. That will lead to ice dams, so you’ll need to address the problem quickly.

Types of Attic Ventilation

There are many different types of attic ventilation you can use on your roof to circulate air. Here are some of the most popular options, and how they’re used.

Note that it’s always better to have an expert come and handle installation for you. They will be able to install the ventilation while still maintaining the integrity of your attic.

Intake Vents

These vents are designed to draw air into your attic. There are several types: 

  • Gable Vents: These sit at the highest point in a roof’s gable, and can be painted to fit in with the rest of your roof. They can also be designed as an exhaust vent, too.
  • Under Eave Vents: This is a continuous, perforated vent that sits under the roof’s eaves. If you have attic insulation, it can actually cover the ventilation, rendering it inoperable. Check that you don’t have these kinds of vents being covered up.
  • Rafter Vents: These are used alongside under eave vents. They are installed along the rafters, and work to create clear airways to the under eave vent.

Exhaust Vents

These vents, on the other hand, allow air to escape the attic. There are a couple of different options for you here:

  • Turbine Vents. You’ll have seen these on many roofs, and not even realized what they are. The turbine vent has a small fan that turns in the wind. When the fan turns, it’ll pull the warm air out of your attic and into the atmosphere. These are usually installed on the roof’s ridge.
  • Ridge Vents: As the name implies, these vents sit on the ridge of your roof. These are another option that are very easily disguised, so it can blend in with the rest of the roof.

When getting ventilation, you’ll need a balance of both intake and exhaust fans. This allows you to let the warm air out and allow that cool air in, creating circulation and stopping your roof from becoming overly warm.

It’s best to talk to an expert about how many of each you will need, as they will be able to calculate how many will properly circulate the air.

Conclusion 

As you’ve seen, it’s so important that you have proper attic ventilation. In the winter, you’re going to be home more often and keeping the house heated. Unless that hot air has somewhere to go once it reaches your roof, you’ll start seeing problems with your roof.

Call on your local roof installers today, and they’ll help you get ventilation installed ready for the winter. It’s the best way to protect your roof.

Categories
Home Improvement Roofing

5 Ways A New Roof Can Transform Your Home

How is investing in a new roof beneficial you may wonder? Below is an outline of ways this action can help more than hurt you and your home. Read now.

Have you just purchased an older home? Are you thinking about selling your home? Have you been in your home a length of time?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be thinking about a new roof. Installing a new roof is a solid investment in your home, but also one of the largest investments you can make in improving your home.

Because it can be expensive, you may be wondering whether it’s worth it. We think it is, and have come up with 5 ways that a new roof is a beneficial improvement for your home.

1. Protection With a New Roof

First and foremost, a roof functions as a protective layer between you and the weather that threatens both your health and comfort, as well as the structure of your home. Rain, wind, snow, sleet — all types of weather can suddenly go from annoyances to extreme concerns when you’re not warm and dry and water is leaking into your home. Leaking water can cause many problems to your home.

An older roof may not have proper ventilation for your home, which is a problem because this is how moisture is cycled out of your home. If it does not leave the attic, you may develop problems with mold or rotting. Damaged soffits or fascia boards on your roof can lead to rotting.

Beyond just the damage these problems do to your home, they also create problems for your health, especially if you are allergic to mold. A new roof offers better protection, ensuring that you and your family are healthy and safe from any outside forces.

2. Energy Savings

Saving money on utility bills is every homeowner’s concern, and a new roof helps to better insulate your home. If you currently have a roof that has cracks, holes, or gaps, it can make it difficult for your home to maintain a consistent temperature. Your heating and air conditioning systems may be working overtime to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

By replacing the roof, it will give your home the insulation it needs to unwanted air out while keeping the energy in. This is essential to your comfort as well as your wallet. A new roof will keep you comfortable and your bill affordable. Saving energy is also good for the environment by using fewer resources, so this is one way you can do your part.

3. Resale Value

Installing a new roof on your home can bump up the resale value. It can also help to attract buyers who either don’t want to replace an old roof right away, or are concerned about damage from an aging roof.

Homeowners who replace their roofs can expect a jump in the value of their home, and can expect to recover an average of 71% of the installation cost when they sell their home. The national average increase of the sale price of a home with a replaced roof is over $14,000. A new roof ranks above a bathroom addition or installing a backup power generator.

4. Secure the Sale

If you are considering selling your home at some point, a new roof can be a benefit because it increases the certainty of a sale going through. When building appraisers and inspectors spot a roof in poor condition, it can become a deal breaker. A roof is highly visible, and an important feature in determining whether a home is sound in structure, so taking the risk of not replacing it can become a risk that it won’t sell.

5. Curb Appeal

Whether it is for attracting buyers to your home when it is on the market, or for contributing to better property values in your neighborhood, a new roof can give your home a huge boost in curb appeal. A roof make up to 40% of your home’s curb appeal, so if it is old or damaged, it will not attract buyers. A new roof can make your home look newer, and you can take the opportunity to update the paint colors, too — resulting in an overall transformation of your home’s exterior.

Not only will neighbors admire how your roof looks when you install a new one, but it may inspire your neighbors to replace their roofs, too. When others update their homes, your whole neighborhood will become a more desirable place to live, attracting more buyers and raising home values.

How to Determine If Your Roof Needs Replacement

A new roof can do wonders for the appearance, comfort, and value of your home, but how do you know if it’s time to make the leap and contact a roofing contractor? If you want to transform your home with a new roof, you can start by evaluating whether your current roof needs replacing.

The first sign that it is time to replace your roof is if the roof is older than 20-25 years (for an asphalt shingle roof). Beyond 20-25 years, your roof is not going to offer the protection that your home needs, leaving you vulnerable to bigger issues. If your roof is that old, you can be certain that a roof replacement is necessary.

If you aren’t sure how old your roof is, there are other ways to tell that it needs to be replaced. Here is a list of things to check to determine if you need a new roof:

  1. Shingles are curling and buckling.
  2. Missing or damaged shingles in the roof valleys where water flows into gutters.
  3. Missing shingles: check to see if the shingle tabs are intact.
  4. Chimney flashing needs to be replaced.
  5. Shingle granules in the gutters, or worn spots on the shingles.
  6. Daylight through the roof boards (look in the attic).

If you still aren’t sure about whether you need a new roof, contact a roofing contractor to look at your roof. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the roof over your head. A professional will be able to determine whether it is time to replace the roof.

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Home Improvement

4 Important Dangers to Avoid During DIY Roofing

Keeping your roof healthy is an important part of being a homeowner, but DIY roofing comes with some dangers – here’s what to know.

Roof repairs can be expensive; easily a couple thousand dollars for what you might consider a small repair. In the unfortunate event that you need a full replacement, you can expect the cost to reach tens of thousands of dollars, and usually takes several years to pay off. Because of this, many people opt for DIY roofing.

Because of cost, and because of the popularity of do-it-yourself shows, websites, and tutorials; more homeowners than ever are choosing to redo their own roofs.

If you’re one of those ambitious souls there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind, and a couple things to avoid.

1. Ignoring Local Regulations During DIY Roofing

Every municipality has different rules governing the types of repairs that require a permit and inspection.

It’s important to find out your county’s requirements to ensure that your repairs meet the most current building safety codes, and prevent incurring fines or penalties.

Securing the proper permits and inspections is also important to the insurance process as well as the selling process.

Neither insurance nor appraisal companies will acknowledge repairs that were done without the correct permitting and inspections.

In the case of roofing repairs; that means not being able to take advantage of premium discounts for improvements, or a higher selling price for newer upgrades.

Not having such repairs acknowledged during the selling process can mean having to make duplicate repairs.

2. Reusing Old Roofing Materials

In most circumstances it’s beneficial to salvage as much of the existing material as possible then reuse it for the new project, but roofing is an exception.

Over time, roofing materials lose their ability to dissipate heat and the elements; they deteriorate and become faulty. Those materials shouldn’t be reused at all during DIY roofing.

Overlaying shingles is the most common way homeowners reuse materials.

Removing and disposing of the first layer of shingles is laborious, time consuming, and poses an additional expense.

Many homeowners also mistakenly assume that the wood base below the shingles is in good shape.

Homeowners also try to reuse metal structures such as the gutters and flashing. Most people are familiar with gutters, but unaware of the importance of flashing.

Flashing, sometimes called the drip-edge, is the metal sheet along the eaves that guides water into the gutters.

Flashing and gutters often appear to be in good working condition when they’re not. This is especially true if they’re extremely old, or haven’t been well taken of.

If several previous repairs were done there’s a good chance both items need to be replaced.

3. Improperly Nailing Shingles

Even something as simple as fastening the shingles can greatly impact the function of your roof.

Nails have to be driven in properly and correctly spaced. Improperly installed nails keep your shingles from sufficiently repelling weather, and also voids their manufacturer’s warranty.

Novice roofers without access to pneumatic tools often overdrive their nails.

Overdriven nails are nails that have been hammered too deeply into the surface, usually such that the head of the nail penetrates the mat underneath.

These nails allow the shingles to easily come loose and blow off, often in large sheets.

The other mistake do-it-yourselfers often make during DIY roofing is nailing in the wrong location.

Shingles have a narrow strip of material intended to be used for affixing the shingle to the roof; you’re not supposed to place nails anywhere else on the shingle.

It’s fairly easy to see when nails are placed below that strip because you can see them from the ground. But nails that are placed too high are more difficult to notice and causes a problem.

The nails are supposed to catch the edge of the shingle below it, and that doesn’t happen when nails are fastened too high.

Improperly nailed shingles are not something that can be easily corrected. You’ll have to understand the limitations caused from doing it yourself.

4. Not Taking Safety Precautions

DIY roofing is one of the most dangerous home improvement projects owners can attempt; the surface is high, often steep, and chances are you’re not accustomed to being up there.

That combined with the fact that many people wait until summer to do these repairs creates a perfect storm of safety issues.

The most common safety problems include: falls, ladder safety mistakes, and electrical issues.

Falls

Falls account for most DIY roofing injuries. According to Professional Roofing magazine six people die each month in accidents relating to falls.

It goes without saying that you should make sure the area is free of debris and equipment that could be a trip hazard, but you should also be careful to avoid working on wet surfaces.

Shoes are an important to preventing falls; soft-soled boots offer the best traction.

Also consider purchasing and using guardrails or a safety net.

Ladders

Ladders are the other important aspect of DIY roofing safety.

Most people injure themselves on the ladder by either falling while trying to carry something, or by having the ladder fall out from under them.

Ladders should always be secured at their base by anchoring to a large object or staking it into the ground.

The top should never extend more than 36” above the roofline.

Your ladder should be positioned against something solid, and shouldn’t extend more than one foot for every four feet of height.

Electrical

Check the surrounding area for power lines that may interfere with your workspace. Also inspect the roof for loose wires such as cable, satellite, or solar heating.

Care also needs to be taken when using electrical equipment while on the roof.

Cords pose a trip hazard but it’s possible to suffer a shock by inadvertently touching frayed cords, or by arcing off of nearby flashing.

General Roofing Safety Tips

There are some safety tips you should always follow:

  1. Safety glasses and gloves should be worn while doing roof repairs.
  2. Serious injuries can occur from loose shingle granules getting stuck in your eyes.
  3. Blisters and abrasions are easily caused by handling abrasive roofing material; both are easily infected.

Conclusion

Homeowners are opting for DIY roofing and roof repairs because of increasing costs, and the popularity of home improvement media.

But completing your own roof repair isn’t a project for the novice do-it-yourselfer; only undertake this sort of project if you have prior experience.

Make sure to keep our guidelines in mind to help you stay safe, and reduce your frustration. You can always call your local roofing contractor to repair or replace your roof.

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Home Improvement

9 Things Your Homeowner’s Insurance May Not Cover In California

Homeowner’s insurance policies generally cover destruction and damage to a residence’s interior and exterior, but you’d be surprised at the 9 things that it won’t cover.

Taking out homeowner’s insurance is something that every home owner must do. If the worst happens to your home, the insurance will help you offset the costs of putting it right. You’d think that your policy would cover most things, but it’s surprising what it won’t cover. Here are the 9 things you’ll be amazed you’re not covered for.

What Your Homeowner’s Insurance Does Cover

In most homeowner insurance policies, you’ll see that you’re covered in the event of fire. You’ll also most likely be covered for:

  • Water damage
  • Theft
  • Wind
  • Liability

This covers you for the most common claims you’ll make on your policy.

What Your Homeowner’s Insurance Does Not Cover

The following things you won’t find you have cover for. In some cases, you’ll be able to buy a separate policy for them. This shows that you need to read your policy carefully before you agree to it, to ensure you’re getting what you need.

 1. Earthquakes

Yes, you would think than earthquakes would be covered under an insurance policy, but they’re not. They’re commonly not covered under regular insurance policies, but you can buy separate policies to cover them. You can also sometimes have endorsements put on your current policy, in order to cover them. If you’re in an area prone to earthquakes, this is something to be aware of. It’s worth noting though, if there’s a fire in your home caused by an earthquake, your homeowner’s insurance should cover that.

 2. Floods

Floods are another surprising thing that you’d think your homeowner’s insurance should cover. However, in California, they commonly don’t. This is another thing you can get a separate policy for. If you live in an area close to water, or get high rainfall, this is something you should consider.

 3. Damage Due To Improper Maintenance

It’s amazing just how much damage can happen to a home due to improper maintenance. For example, neglect to ventilate a room properly and mold is apt to start growing in the home. Leave gaps in your garage door, and pests can get in and start causing damage. If this happens to you, your insurance won’t cover the cost of putting it right.

The best way to avoid being in this situation is to keep up with the maintenance on your home. Avoid things like mold and pests, and you’re going to avoid a lot of damage to your home.

 4. Trampolines And Pools

These days, it feels as though everyone has a trampoline or a pool in their backyard. They’re a great way to have fun and stay fit in the comfort of your own home. The problem is, they’re often not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. You’ll see that many companies will reject insurance applications for homes that have them, or exclude liability for injury on a trampoline or pool.

Be wary if you do have one of these, and you don’t tell your insurance company about them. This can render your insurance invalid, leaving you uncovered if anything happens. It’s better to be upfront when shopping around.

 5. Canine Attacks

Yes, really. Most of the time, if your dog does attack someone and the injuries need to be covered,  your policy will cover the damage to the limit of your liability coverage. However, some breeds of dog won’t be covered. If your dog is considered a ‘dangerous’ breed, such as a German Shepherd or Pitbull, then you may find that you won’t be covered. If you have a dog, be sure to check this with your insurer as you don’t want to be left without cover.

 

 6. Expensive Jewelry

You would think your jewelry is covered with your homeowner’s insurance, but not all of it. The pricier items, such as an engagement ring or heirloom jewelry, is not going to be covered. Jewelry is at high risk of being stolen, so because of that insurers often only cover it up to around $1,500. If your jewelry is more expensive than this, you’ll want to consider getting an endorsement or separate policy for it.

 7. Your Items In Someone Else’s Home

Have you asked someone else to take care of your possessions? Maybe you’re in the middle of moving house, or just don’t have the space to keep something right now. Be wary, as your insurance won’t cover it if it isn’t in your home. Your insurance covers the home and its contents. Whether or not the items belong to you, they’re in someone else’s home, so your insurers aren’t liable for it. If anything were to happen to your belongings, you’d have to try and get the money from them after they’ve claimed on their insurance.

 8. Sewer Backups

No one wants to think about a sewer backup in their home. It’s unpleasant to say the least, and can cause all kinds of damage. If you’re dealing with a sewer backup, you’ll see that a regular home insurance policy won’t cover that damage at all. If you’re concerned about this, you can buy a separate sewer insurance to cover this.

 9. Stolen Or Destroyed Cash

You’ve seen those pictures online, where a wayward dog or a baby has found a stash of paper money and ripped it to shreds. It’s not really funny, and it’s less funny when you see that your home owner’s insurance won’t cover it. It’s very hard to prove what you had, and how much of it you had. Because of this, it’s much better to keep your cash in the bank, where thieves and excitable paper rippers can’t get at it.

These are just 9 things that your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover in California. It’s surprising how much of it there is, isn’t there? If you’re concerned, give your insurers a call and ask them what they will and won’t cover. If you need that extra cover for earthquakes, jewelry or more, you’ll need to consider taking out a specialized policy to cover them for you.

 

Categories
Home Improvement

The Best Roofs to Choose Based On California Roofing Codes

There’s several things to consider when you’re picking a new roof for your home. You’ll consider price, style, and more. What you may not have thought of, though, is California roofing codes.

These are the legal requirements for your roof, that ensure your roof is safe and fit for purpose.

How do you choose the roof that’s right for you?

Here’s some of the best roofs you can choose for your home, based on California roofing codes.

 

Ask A Roofer

If you’re thinking of buying and having a new roof installed, then the best person to speak to is a professional roofer.

They have all the information on California roofing codes, as it’s their job to know them. They’ll come take a look at your current roof, and talk to you about your needs.

With that info, they’ll be able to recommend a roofing type for you.

The best thing to do is read this guide and see what’s recommended to you. Ask a roofer as well, and you’ll get a good, informed idea of which roof is best for your home.

 

6 Types of California Roofing Codes

There are several different codes that dictate, to a certain degree, what kind of roof you should have on your home.

1. Roofer Licensing

Whichever roofer you hire, you need to know that they have the proper licensing. This is required under California law, to ensure that you’re working with true professionals.

  • Usually, this is required if the roofing job is valued at or above $500.
  • In addition to this, the roofing company must have adequate worker’s compensation insurance, to cover their workers in the event of an accident or injury.

When you’re checking out a roofer, you should see their licensing information on their business card. Don’t work with any company if you’re unsure about them, as your roof is a large and important job.

You want to be able to trust whoever you hire to do it.

2. Roofing Permits

Most of the time, if you’re going to have a new roof installed, you’re going to need a permit. The exact requirements for a permit differs, depending on what district you’re in.

In some cases, for example, you’ll need a permit if you’re having repairs done, rather than a full roof replacement.

Your roofer will be responsible for getting the permit, but you’ll be responsible for paying for it.

Make sure you factor this into your budget.

3. Roofing Codes

There are so many roofing codes, it’s hard to cover them all here.

They encompass everything from

  • The materials used in creating your new roof
  • How they work with each other
  • How they’re installed

Generally, California roofing codes require your roof to be both weather and fire safe.

When you look into codes it feels intimidating, but you can talk to a qualified roofer to see what you can have installed on your home. It’s their job to know the codes inside and out, so don’t be afraid to ask.

4. Cool Roofs

A code unique to California law is that of cool roofs.

This is the requirement that a new roof should be able to reflect heat back from the home, cooling your home and therefore reducing the amount of energy you use cooling it with AC.

This is an environmentally friendly code that comes under energy codes for your home.

To get the right roof for your home, your roofer will show you which ones will work best for you.

5. Fire Safety Codes

As many areas of California are at risk of fire, your new roof needs to be capable of resisting fire.

Many roofing materials are classed highly in fire resistance, so you’ll be encouraged to pick those materials when choosing your new roof.

You’ll need a roof that comes under Class A or Class B for fire resistance, if you’re having more than 50% of your roof replaced.

6. Solar Roofing Requirements

One of the newest California roofing codes is that starting in 2020, California roofs must have solar panels on them.

This is part of an effort to improve the energy efficiency of California homes.

Other requirements include:

  • Energy efficient walls, attics and more
  • Increased LED lighting
  • High efficiency air filters

 

 

Which Roof Should You Choose?

With so many California building codes, how do you pick the right style of roof for you?

The roof you choose will be dependent on codes in your district, so you’ll need to think carefully about which one you choose.

Here are some of the more common roofing choices for California homes.

– Metal Roofing

Metal is an increasingly popular choice in California, as it meets so many needs for building codes.

Firstly, being metal, it’s a Class A roofing material and won’t burn if a fire should break out in your home.

It’s also made of a high percentage of recycled material, and excellent at reflecting heat back away from your home.

– Clay Tile

This roofing material is made from natural clay that is fired in a kiln. As a result of this process, the tiles are very fire resistant, helping your roof meet that particular code.

Be aware that if you choose this material, your roof may need reinforcement as it is a heavy material.

– Wood Shingles

Many homeowners dismiss wood shingles, as they feel they wouldn’t be fire retardant.

However, many styles are treated to become fire resistant, making them safer to use on your roof.

– Asphalt Shingles

These are a very common choice, as they’re inexpensive compared to other roofing materials. You’ll also see that they often meet all the codes needed to be used in California.

However, be aware that only last for around 20 years, as compared to metal’s 50 years.

 

Conclusion

These are just four options for you as a homeowner. Talk to a professional roofer and see what they can recommend to you.

You can get a roof that’s completely to code, but still beautiful and long lasting.

Get a quote today and see what you can get.

 

Categories
Home Improvement

5 Roofing Scams To Look Out For (And Avoid)

 

Your roof is arguably the most significant part of your home. It protects it from the elements, ensuring you’re warm and comfortable all year round. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right company to mend or replace it when the time comes. Sadly, there are plenty of roofing scams out there that will leave you without your money. Some will even damage your roof further.

Here are the most common scams to look out for, and how you can avoid them.

 

5 Common Roofing Scams

  1. The Door-To-Door Salesman: this salesman promises low, or free roofing if you have any damage.
  2. The Disappearing Act: your roofing company suddenly disappears after you’ve paid or put a deposit down.
  3. The Rising Costs Scam: once your contractor begins work, they suddenly need more money for various reasons.
  4. The Storm Chaser: these contractors suddenly appear in your time of need, after a major storm. Yet, they don’t actually repair your roof.
  5. The High Pressure Scam: these salespeople give you extreme deals and promises in hopes you will sign right then and there.

These five roofing scams are unfortunately more common than you’d like to believe. However, in this article, we explain these common roofing scams, and how you can avoid them.

 

1. The Door-To-Door Salesman

Now, not every door-to-door salesman is untrustworthy. However, many of them are from companies you have every right to be wary of.

These salesmen will come to your door and claim to offer a free inspection of your roof, right there and then. They’ll often target senior citizens, but honestly everyone is vulnerable to these people. If you have an older home, or there’s just been a major storm, you’re more likely to see them.

They say if there’s damage to your roof, they can get you a new one for free. If you let them in and let them inspect the roof, that’s where the trouble starts. If they can’t find any damage, they’re known to create it themselves. They’ll tear shingles off, hammer at the roof to mimic hail damage, or even present a photo from another home’s roof damage, claiming it is yours.

 

How To Avoid This Scam

If someone comes to your door, don’t let them in right away. They may be persistent, but you don’t have to let anyone into your home. Look up the company, and see what others are saying about them. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable, avoid them.

 

 

2. The Disappearing Act

Another one of the most popular roofing scams is known as the disappearing act. The roofing company may look legit, but then you’ve got to put down a deposit. You’re told it’s for labor or parts, which sounds reasonable. You give the roofers the check, and they’re never seen again. In the meantime, you’re out the money and you still have a roof that needs replacement. It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

This often happens when roofers know there’s been an insurance payout to fix damage to a roof. They’ll cash the insurance check you were given, and disappear with your money.

 

How To Avoid This Scam

Do not give any money until the company has shown they’re going to do the work. This means that they either have to come and complete the work before you hand over the money, or at least drop off the supplies first. You need to know they’re going to do the work you’re paying for, so hold onto the check until they show willing.

 

3. The Rising Costs Scam

Many roofing scams will use what is called the ‘elevator ride’. This tactic involves giving the homeowner a lower than average quote for the work, which they will jump at. After all, they’re inexperienced in what a roof should cost, and the job is an expensive one.

Once they start working, they’ll claim that they need more money from the homeowner. Maybe the price of materials has increased, or they’ve found more damage once they started working. Either way, they’re going to get more money out of you. Some scam artists are even known for stripping the roof down, then threatening to leave unless you pay up.

 

How To Avoid This Scam

Check the contract with this service carefully before you agree to any work. In most reputable roofer’s contracts, they will include a section on what happens if they find any damage. They’ll list out a fair price if they need to extra work, usually to the decking, as it’s often not possible to check it before starting work. If the contract doesn’t have this, walk away.

 

 

4. The Storm Chaser Scam

There are plenty of roofing companies that travel the weather, following storms. If there’s been a large storm in the area, they’ll swarm it. They’ll hand out leaflets and even show up on your doorstep, offering help with your damaged roof.

If you allow them in, they’ll do the bare minimum to fix the damage. Often cosmetically your roof will be fine, but they’ll have done nothing to help you get any lasting damage fixed. Often, victims of this scam will find that they need a whole new roof, just 5 years after having it replaced.

 

How To Avoid This Scam

Again, look into the company before you agree to any building work. Visit their offices if you can. If their address is just a PO box, then that’s a major warning sign that you should steer clear of them.

 

5. The High Pressure Scam

The problem with having your roof replaced is that you only do it once or twice in a lifetime. Less than scrupulous roofers know that this is the case, so they’ll pressure you into a sale any way they can. After all, you won’t know until you’ve already handed over your money.

Pay attention to the way a roofer talks to you about a potential sale. Someone using high pressure tactics will lean on you if you show any reluctance to buy from them. They’ll promise things they can’t possibly deliver, or use scare tactics to make you give in there and then. It’s intimidating and worrying for a lot of homeowners.

 

How To Avoid This Scam

If this roofer is on your doorstep and you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you can ask them to leave. They may not want to, as they know you’ll do your research once they’re gone and you may not go with them. Stand your ground, though, and don’t let them intimidate you. In the worst-case scenario, you can call the police if they refuse to leave your home.

Unfortunately, there are roofing scams all around us. However, these tips will help you spot a scam roofing company before they get their hands on your roof. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line, and you’ll have a roofer that’s reputable.

Categories
Home Improvement

California Wildfire Home Protection Tips

 

Wildfires are becoming more commonplace in California due to the increasing effects of climate change on the environment. Protecting your home from the elements is an important step for any homeowner. With this California wildfire home protection guide, you can prepare your home as best as possible.

There are several ways to ensure your home is as protected from natural disasters as possible, including completing a risk assessment, ensuring that defensible products are kept a safe distance from the home, the materials and assembly used while building or repairing the home are high-quality and fire-safe, and ensuring you have an adequate action plan in the event of a California wildfire affecting your home.

 

The Importance of California Wildfire Home Protection

In 2017 alone, there have been over 8,000 wildfires in California burning over 1 million acres. The threat of wildfire is extremely high, especially during the dry season. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to be prepared in case of an emergency. One way to ensure your prepared is with these California wildfire home protection strategies.

Designing your home in order to delay ignition from a wildfire is an important investment for any homeowner. Building your home from the ground up gives you the many benefits of being able to choose your materials as fire-resistant at all levels, thus safeguarding the home more thoroughly from wildfires.

If you are buying a standing home, you can still take actions to prevent your home from catching fire quickly in the event of a wildfire.

Here are four California wildfire home protection tips to keep in mind when preparing and protecting your home from wildfire.

 

Using High-Quality Fire-Safe Materials While Building or Repairing the Home

The first California wildfire home protection tip is to ensure your roof is made of fire-safe materials. Roofs are the most susceptible to wildfire damage, and must be protected. Building materials for roofs fall into four different categories: class A, class B, class C, or unrated.

Class A are the highest-quality materials to prevent damage to your home from wildfires or other natural disasters. In order to be considered a Class A roof, the material must resist 15 cycles of a gas flame turned on and off, last 2-4 hours before ignition, experience a maximum flame spread of 6 feet, and withstand a burning brand of 12”x12” and weighing 2000 grams.

Some building codes may require you to have a Class A roof, especially if you live in a wildfire prone area. Materials used to achieve Class A quality can include asphalt fiberglass composition shingles, clay tiles, and concrete tiles.

Alternatively, the roof can be deemed Class A by assembly, meaning that the roof covering and roof sheathing must have additional materials between them, like aluminum, recycled plastic and rubber products, and fire-retardant wood shake products.

By choosing roofing Class A roofing contractors and materials for your home, you can better protect your home from California wildfires.

 

Create Defensible Space

Performing a risk assessment on your home is an important part of determining the viability of its protection against wildfires and other natural disasters.

There are many ways in which to design your living space in order to protect your home from wildfires, including placing concentric rings of fuel reduction around the property, ensuring defensible spaces stretch out at least 30 yards from the house, and storing firewood away from the house so as not to stoke any approaching flames.

Combustible debris should be cleared from your home often, such as dry grass and brush, as they can prove incendiary to approaching wildfires.

As well, if you have a wooden deck in your yard or a wooden fence surrounding your property, those items act as kindling for fires. They can be fire-treated in order to provide a delay to ignition and spreading the fire towards your home.

If you are building your deck and fence from the ground up, it is best to choose non-wooden materials such as concrete or metal, or to choose wood with a metal core in order to prevent flammability. Deck protection throughout the year can help ensure your deck is in top-shape and can help protect your home.

By being mindful and fire-conscious throughout the year, you can be more successful with your California wildfire home protection and preparation.

 

Designing Your Property With Wildfires in Mind

Picking the location of your home to prevent against California wildfires is arguably the most important step to building a fire-safe home. If you are building your home from the start, then choosing a location that is not surrounded by a large forest or isolated from emergency service locations is important. If your home is inside a covering of trees, having a standing water source nearby can provide quick access to combating the flames.

In a California wildfire, home protection should be an important factor when designing your home. Therfore, window treatments, ventilation systems, and home exterior materials prove essential to combating wildfires. In order to properly prepare your home to defend against a wildfire, you must safeguard every step of the building process and include fire-resistant materials and techniques where possible.

Choosing the correct window treatment to delay fire damage to your home is essential. Picking double glazing with tempered glass on the outside is the safest glass to protect against radiant heat from wildfires, which can shatter single glazing quickly.

For ventilation systems, plastic is the most commonly used material for pipes and vents, but it is highly combustible and can melt quickly. In order to safeguard your ventilation system from a wildfire, covering plastic exits from the ventilation system in metal can help to reduce the damage.

As well, home exteriors can catch fire and provide extra fuel to the spreading wildfire. Choosing a material such as stucco, concrete block, or metal siding can block the fire from spreading so quickly to the rest of your home. An extra layer of protection is choosing metal core doors on the exterior of your home in order to prevent more damage from the fire.

 

Emergency Preparedness

One of the most important California wildfire home protection tips is to be prepared in case of an emergency. Your safety comes first. In the event of wildfire affecting your home, it’s key to have an emergency plan in order to minimize the severity of the damage. If it is safe to combat the fire on your own before emergency services are able to respond, you will need a few basic items on hand. A ladder long enough to reach the roof, a shovel, a rake, and a bucket are essential to combating fires. You will also need to ensure your driveway is at least 16 feet wide for fire trucks and emergency vehicles to approach the premises safely. The closer to the home they can get, the better the chance of protection against the wildfire your home has. As well, you must be prepared to evacuate the area on short notice. Do not attempt to enter the affected area in order to stay safe.

Overall, there are many California wildfire home protection tips to safeguard your home against a wildfire to the best of your ability. In choosing the correct materials to combat flammability to preparing your property with emergency preparedness and fire spreading capability in mind, you are well on your way to protecting your home as effectively as possible.

Categories
Home Improvement

DIY Apartment Projects to Make Your Newly Purchased Apartment a Unique Space

 

Not everyone is interested in owning a house and having to take on all of the yard work, roof maintenance, and other tasks associated with that kind of real estate. The ideal solution for some people is to purchase an apartment and set about making it into a unique space. Many want to improve their space with DIY apartment projects to make it somewhat different from the other apartments in the building.

If you find that the latter option is a good fit for you, there are all sorts of ways you can update the newly purchased space and make your apartment unique. Here are some DIY apartment projects that will help you begin formulating a plan.

 

Benefits of DIY Apartment Projects

You don’t have to be some sort of creative genius to succeed with DIY apartment projects. The following projects are simple, cost-effective, and will make your new apartment home. These improvements help you to make your apartment perfect. Here are some of the best DIY apartment projects that you can do to create the perfect apartment for you.

 

Changing the Floors

When you purchased the apartment, all the floors were carpeted with the exception of the kitchen and the bathroom. While you have nothing against carpeting, it would be nice to go with something different. There are three different DIY apartment projects that you could use throughout the apartment or even mix and match to suit your tastes.

One strategy is to rip up the carpeting and install wood veneer over the existing floor. Wood veneer comes in many different shades and styles. That makes it easier for you to choose something that’s in line with your vision for the space. Some of the perks associated with installing veneer are that the project won’t take that long to complete, upkeep and maintenance is a snap, and you can expect the flooring to last much longer than the standard wall to wall carpeting.

Another way to go is to install vinyl flooring throughout your space. The nice thing about vinyl flooring options today is that they can take on just about any look you want. Does the idea of having what appears to be a marble floor in the dining room sound appealing? What about a living room floor that appears to be a mosaic made with a mixture of stones? You can have these looks and many others by choosing vinyl as your floor covering of choice.

Don’t overlook the possibility of making the best out of whatever is lurking under the carpeting. Once it’s pulled up, you may find that there are already hardwood floors in place. Have them cleaned thoroughly before you decide if they need to be refinished. While there may be some imperfections, those little nicks could add character to the place and fit right in with your decorating vision. If so, then all you need to do is have an expert apply some type of protective coating to the newly cleaned wood and it will be time to bring in the furnishings and accessories.

These three DIY apartment projects can help you find the perfect flooring for your new apartment, and create a space that is truly yours.

 

Doing Something About the Windows

While you are not a hundred percent happy with the condition of the windows, the cost of replacing them seems prohibitive. Before deciding you’ll have to live with what’s in place, consider these DIY apartment projects.

Have you considered the idea of installing what’s known as retrofitted windows?

There are a couple of reasons why retrofitted windows for your apartment makes a lot of sense. One has to do with the ease of installation. Unlike investing in replacement windows, the retrofit design makes use of the existing window frame. That means there’s no need to rip out the frame and possibly some of the interior and exterior wall materials in the process. Instead, the windows are designed with what’s known as a Z-bar. That bar helps to fill in any tiny gaps between the existing frame and the actual window. Once the window is fitted in position, a few screws and a little caulking is all that’s needed to finish the job.

Another benefit of retrofit windows is that the cost of purchase and installation will fit into your budget easily. Depending on the size and type of windows you want, the difference in overall cost could be as much as 50%. Think of the other DIY apartment projects you could do with the money you save on the window project!

 

Softening the Look of the Walls

The neutral color of the walls does make it easier to go with just about any type of furniture, but you would like something that’s a little more visually interesting. Using darker colors like jewel tones is not what you have in mind, but adding some color would be nice. You can accomplish this by utilizing a method that was all the rage a few decades ago but doesn’t receive as much attention today.

All you need is a gallon of paint in a color you like, a little water, and some old rags. Mix two parts paint with one part water to make a thinner solution. Dip the rag into the paint and then begin to wipe across the existing wall color.

As you move along, it will be easy to add swirls, somewhat straight lines, or any other effect that you want. You can even bundle up the rags into a ball, dip them in the paint, and daub the wall surface if you like. The result will be a wall that has a textured look unlike anything found elsewhere. Even if a neighbor decides to use the same approach, they will never be able to come up with the same pattern you created.

 

Mix and Match to Your Heart’s Content

It’s easy to create a picture-perfect room by sticking with one period or one style. It takes real talent to utilize an assortment of odd pieces and come up with a space that’s visually cohesive and inviting. Instead of trying to make your room into some type of period piece, step back and have fun mixing and matching furnishings that most people would find a little out of the box.

It’s fine if the sofa is a Mediterranean style and you choose to pair it with a couple of overstuffed chairs. The styles may be different, but you will unify them with the use of color. The throw pillows on the sofa can pick up the upholstery color in the chair. Use the sofa upholstery as your inspiration for the throw pillows gracing the chairs.

These are only a few DIY apartment projects to make your apartment fit your personality and stand out from the other units in the building. Take the time to explore unique ideas about accessories, painting techniques, and even doing something with the doors and windows. Over time, with all of your DIY apartment projects, it will take on a life of its own and be everything you want it to be.

Categories
Home Improvement

Five Tips for Millennial Home Buyers Looking to Buy a House

As the Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) comes of age and begins their ascent into adulthood – with all the fun and responsibility that entails – more and more sectors find themselves at a crossroads, trying to cater to both the needs and style of Generation X and the more tech-savvy Millennial approach to life.

Millennials are generally characterized by their increased use and familiarity with social media and technology in general. They are largely marked by an increased sense of political and social liberalness. Their attitudes about life, politics, and work were profoundly influenced by the Great Recession, and while some researchers have categorized Millennials using terms like “special” and “sheltered,” others have identified them as achieving, confident, and team-oriented.

If you’re a Millennial, though, you know that the only thing that really matters to you are results. Whether it’s in your workout, at your job, or in your search for a new home, you want the best results for the time, money, and effort you put in.

Millennial home buyers looking to buy a home, heed these five tips to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible:

 

Have Your Finances in Order

Perhaps the most important aspect for all home buyers – not just Millennials – is to make sure you’re in a financially secure spot to purchase a home. This means not only making enough money to afford the monthly payments, but also having enough for a down payment, as well as a nest egg large enough to cover any unforeseen hiccups. Once you’re a homeowner, you will be responsible for fixing anything that breaks – unlike your time as a renter, when your landlord was responsible for the general maintenance of your home.

In addition to paying the monthly bills, you may need to invest in things like lawn mowers and lawn care equipment, shovels or a snow blower, new appliances, new carpeting, paint, and other day-today maintenance items. This means making sure your finances are in peak condition. Whether it means asking for a raise, obtaining a loan from your parents, or buying a home with your significant other, don’t run the risk of becoming house poor.

 

 

Do Your Research – On Homes and Neighborhoods

Millennials are largely a generation of information junkies. They are media and tech savvy, and know how to ferret out information that they want or need. Nowhere is this more critical for home buyers than in the home buying process. It’s easy for home buying to become an emotional process – you see a house you love, feature you love, or a park that you love and you jump, buying the property based on nothing more than that gut reaction.

But buying a home isn’t an impulse purchase, it’s a years-long (sometimes lifelong) commitment. Make sure you research neighborhoods that you’re interested in, ensuring that they’ll be a good fit not only for your life right now, but for your long-term goals as well. Make sure you also research what is important to you in a property that you’re interested in. Is it modernization? Square footage? Consider how much work you’re willing to put in – do you want a fixer-upper or a move-in ready home? Are you willing to put in the time and money for roof repairs, external painting or remodeling? Having the answers to these questions in advance of your purchase will ease the buying process.

 

Tap Into All Available Resources

Millennial home buyers can research all angles of the home buying process – from pre-approval to home search to mortgage and insurance acquisition – using the technology with which they have grown up, the technology through which they harness their power in the world.

Home buyers can get pre-approved for a mortgage online through one of several online mortgage quote companies. Websites like Zillow and Realtor.com offer ways through which home buyers can shop for, examine, consider, and even take virtual tours of homes on the market. Home insurance policies can likewise be purchased online and then digitally sent to the lender of your home loan.

Tap into all these resources – and more – as you shop for your new home. Check in with your parents and older adults you trust who may have experienced this process before so that they, too, can help you make sense of what you have read and researched. Consult your realtor to ascertain their opinions as well. The more perspectives you have, the better.

 

 

Take Your Time

In an age of immediate gratification, it’s important to take your time and consider each aspect of the home buying process. Again, don’t rush through the process because you think you’ve fallen in love with a home. Look at multiple homes for comparison’s sake, consider the homes on the market and how the price trends might help you negotiate better. Shop carefully for your mortgage, comparing rates and fees so that your payment can be as low as possible.

 

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself in the house hunting process is to hire a licensed real estate agent. Your agent will have the knowledge and experience and must abide by a specific ethical industry standard in helping you search for your house.

A realtor will help you decipher the research you’ve done, help you stave off your emotional responses, and will – most importantly – negotiate the best deal possible for you. They will organize and maintain all necessary paperwork and protect the home buyers interests. Their experience will bring a discerning set of eyes to your hunt, helping you look beyond aesthetics to see whether the important structural elements of the home are strong as well.

The Millennial generation is a strong, capable generation that thrives on information and both ease and speed of access in every sector of life. These can be wonderful, successful qualities, but in the case of home buying, it may be best to temper these strengths with the knowledge, savvy, and experience of your local real estate agent. Before you know it, you’ll be in the home of your dreams!