Contractor Tips Blog


Has Your Roof Suffered Hail Damage?

Hail is a natural enemy of homeowners, especially when it comes to the roof of their home. Hail storms can leave a roof permanently damaged, to the point where it needs complete replacement. One of the most pressing issues related to hail damage is that it may not be apparent to a homeowner right after the storm, possibly not causing any leaks or problems for months, or even years. However, if the damage is not reported soon after a storm hits, many times insurance companies may refuse to pay for hail damage to a roof later down the road. 

Importance Of Roof Inspections For Hail Damage

To protect yourself from losing a battle against your insurance company for roof hail damage, it’s important to inspect your roof after any hail storm. If damage did occur, yet a claim is not submitted until later, it may be difficult to prove the damage can be attributed to a storm, rather than normal wear and tear. After a hail storm, you should inspect your roof for: 

  • Dents in your shingles
  • Loss of asphalt granules on shingles
  • Lifted shingles
  • Loose shingles 

If you are not sure if there is hail damage to your roof, or if you are unable to inspect it safely yourself, it is best to call an experienced roofing contractor. They can properly inspect your roof, often noticing damage the typical homeowner may not detect. If there is damage, a reputable roofing company can help you file a claim with your insurance company and ensure that the insurance company has all the information needed to process your claim to have your roof repaired or replaced.

Posted on behalf of Atwood Home Builders


Benefits of Replacement Windows

Often older homes have the original windows that were installed when the home was built.  In most cases these windows are very energy inefficient and require a great deal of maintenance.  The reason that they are inefficient is because of the use of a single layer of glass.  In addition, these windows, which are typically either metal or wood, will have a poor seal, where the window sash meets the window frame. 

In many cases you can actually feel the transfer of either heat or cold thru the frame and the glass depending upon the season.  These windows also require regular maintenance, which includes periodic painting and the replacement of glazing compound, which holds the glass to the window frame.  Over time the glazing compound dries out and becomes brittle and often falls out.  This can result in the glass falling out, as well as additional energy loss. 

Vinyl replacement windows are an excellent solution to the problem.  These windows, which are custom made to fit into the opening, are made out of extruded vinyl and come with insulated glass.   The insulated glass consists of two panes of glass, with the space filled with argon glass, while the glass has a low e coating.  Both features dramatically improve the energy efficiency of the window allowing the window to qualify for an Energy Star rating. 

In addition, the window sashes are held tightly to the frame, which reduces air loss.  Since the window frame is made of vinyl, the window is extremely durable and never needs to be painted.  Once installed by a qualified replacement window contractor the windows will provide years of useful life and the property owner will see their energy costs dramatically reduced!

Posted on behalf of Atwood Home Builders


Finished Basements

One of the most cost effective additions to any home is easily achieved by finishing the basement.  The key is to finding a qualified finished basement designer who is capable of first designing a unique plan that meets the needs of the homeowner and their family.  In addition, the plan should maximize the use of the space and be affordable, as everyone has a budget to meet!  The next step is to find a contractor that is able to execute the plan, while meeting the budget, applicable building codes and the schedule.  It is now possible to use the same company to provide design services, as well as to do the actual construction on he space.  These “design build” services are becoming more and more popular in residential remodeling work, as it is a “win –win” proposition for both the homeowner and the contractor. 

The design of the basement will be based upon the needs of the homeowner, the available space, their budget and applicable building codes.  A company that provides both design and construction services will be able to provide instant feedback to the designer on costs and constructability issues.  Ultimately this interaction between the design and construction divisions of a design build company benefit the customer by providing a high quality product, which is within budget and exceeds the expectations of the homeowner. 

A qualified finished basement contractor who is licensed and insured will be able to provide both design and construction services on your new finished basement which will help ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget!


Kitchen Remodel Survival Guide

Once you have settled on the perfect kitchen design, hired a good remodeling contractor, and set up your budget, it’s time for the contractor to tear your old kitchen apart and start installing your beautiful new kitchen!  It’s an exciting time, but also a messy, inconvenient time.  Unlike on television, a major kitchen remodeling project will not be completed in an hour or even a weekend.

Your remodeling contractor will be able to give you a more accurate estimate, but depending on the scope of your remodeling project, plan on being “kitchenless” for at least several weeks while your contractor gets the job done.

Work with your contractor to minimize your kitchen downtime.  Try to put off demolition until most of the new fixtures and materials have been delivered.  Special order items like custom cabinets can take weeks for delivery and there is no sense in getting started until they have been delivered or at least until they are nearing the delivery date.

The easiest way to deal with living without your kitchen is to take a vacation or move into a nearby hotel for a while.  Unfortunately, moving into a hotel or going on vacation is not a practical or cost effective solution for most people.  However, you may be able to schedule the renovation to coincide at least partially with a vacation or a visit with family members.  Just a few days away from the mess and inconvenience of the renovation can provide a welcome “sanity” break.

During the time that you will be living with the remodeling project, you will probably be eating out a lot or living on take out or delivery food.  You can cut down on eating out by creating a “mini-kitchen” with a microwave, coffee pot, toaster, and small refrigerator in whatever space you can find such as an extra bedroom or a corner of the living room.  You may be able to temporarily put your old refrigerator in a garage or other area so you can use it during the remodeling. In addition, this may be a good time to consider brushing up on your grilling skills.

No matter how inconvenient, remember that your remodeling project will be done in a few weeks and you will be able to enjoy your new kitchen for years to come.


Planning a Kitchen Renovation

A kitchen renovation is a great project that can add value to your home and provide years of enjoyment.  Planning your renovation involves more than wandering through the aisles of your local home improvement center. For anything beyond a minor project, you will need to choose a good kitchen designer and a kitchen remodeling contractor.  Sometimes these are the same person or firm.

You may have a good idea of what you want to achieve from your remodeling project, but working with a great kitchen designer is usually worth every penny.  They know from experience what works well together and how to achieve the look and functionality you desire.  They will also have insights into the materials and fixtures that are available and will be able to offer suggestions for the design that you may not have even thought of that will result in a fantastic new kitchen that exceeds your expectations.

Some kitchen designers also function as the remodeling contractor.  If not, you will need a good contractor with experience in kitchen remodeling.  The contractor deals with and all the tradesmen who will be involved with the job.  You can attempt to do this yourself, but kitchen remodeling involves many different trades including plumbing, flooring, electrical, cabinet making, countertops, tile, masonry and general carpentry.

Finding and coordinating all these trades is much more difficult and time consuming than it seems.  A good remodeling contractor has the organizational skills and experience to efficiently manage your kitchen remodeling project.  They also have a good set of contacts and know who they can depend on to do good work.

When choosing your kitchen designer and remodeling contractor, you will want to be sure they have the appropriate qualifications and a good reputation.  Ask for and follow up with references and be sure the contractor is licensed and has sufficient liability insurance coverage.

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