How To Know When Your Porch Needs A New Roof

The roof of a porch takes damage from wind and water throughout the year, but that damage often goes unnoticed until a leak or other similarly serious problem develops.

Naturally, you want to replace your porch’s roofing material before it starts allowing water in or otherwise loses structural integrity. But how do you tell when the roof has entered the “danger zone” and the cost of replacement is justified?

A realistic maximum life expectation for a standard porch roof with shingles is about two decades from installation. That’s the point at which even the sturdiest materials will generally degrade to the point that you’ll see leaks and serious damage develop. If you live in an area where you endure heavier rain, wind or snow than usual, however, you can knock up to five years off that expected lifespan. Poor ventilation will also decrease the life expectancy of a roof significantly.

If your roof is entering the danger zone in terms of age, or if you have reason to suspect it’s been damaged, look for the following signs:

  • Look for indentations or concave spots in the roof. These are signs that an unseen leak has been rotting away wood in the roof for some time. If you see these, you should discontinue use of the porch until the roof is replaced as it could potentially fall apart on you.
  • Dark streaks or trails on the underside of the porch roof are usually a sign not only of water damage, but that mold is growing in the area.
  • Look for problems with the shingles. The most obvious signs would be shingles that are completely gone or that are showing obvious signs of damage like missing chunks, being broken in half or turning up at the edges. Also check your downspouts for bits of shingle, however, as that’s a good “early warning” sign that there’s trouble in that area.
  • Slate tiles will last longer than standard tiles, but they do decay and fail eventually. A quick check to see what condition a slate tile is in is to simply knock on it with your knuckles. A tile in good condition should have a bit of a vibration or echo to the sound it makes; a tile that is aged past usefulness will sound more like rapping on concrete.

A porch roof failure represents not only a much greater expense than replacing it before things get out of hand, but also a serious safety issue as well. If you have any doubts about the integrity of your roof, it’s best to contact a qualified professional to verify.

Contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing needs.

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What To Look For In The Roof When You’re Buying A Home

A home’s roof is a one of the major parts of the home and often among the most expensive to replace. Here’s what to look for in a roof when you’re out house-hunting.

Look for the Obvious

The first step in looking at the roof of a potential home purchase is to inspect the roof from the outside. Stand at a distance and look at the roof. Are there missing shingles? Do any of the shingles have curled edges, or, upon close inspection, mildew or mold? Does the roof appear flat, or are there spots where it sinks or buckles? Are there spots where the roof looks lighter or darker? Any of these issues can indicate an older roof that may be in need of repair or even replacement. Ask the current homeowner for information on the age of the roof and when it was last inspected.

Check the Gutters

Be sure to ask homeowners about their roof’s gutters and drainage. If gutters are clogged or downspouts aren’t far enough away from the home, this could mean that water damage has occurred. When you look in the gutters, keep an eye out for shingle grains. A significant amount of shingle grains in the gutters usually indicates an older roof that’s losing the protective coating from its shingles. 

Inspect for Leaks 

Leaky roofs can cause a lot of damage to your home. Furniture, floors, and even walls can be completely ruined by a roof leak. Not only are roof leaks a nuisance in themselves, but it can be even more of a headache to find out where the leak is actually coming from. The area where you spot a water stain or leak may be 5-10 feet from the actual source of the leak. Check chimneys, wall flashings, and roof seams for leaks, and don’t forget to ask the homeowner if they have experienced any roof leaks. If there is evidence of leaks or the homeowner has told you that the roof has had leaking issues in the past, consider calling in a professional roofing contractor for a roof inspection.

Please contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing needs.

Rooftop Solar Panels

What You Need To Know Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your roof is a major undertaking. It’s a significant investment and one that needs to be considered carefully. Here are three important things to consider before investing in rooftop solar panels.

Are They Right for Your Roof?

The obvious first step before installing rooftop solar panels is making sure your roof is able to support the type of solar panels you want. Is your roof shaded the majority of the time? Is it made from a material other than composite shingle (like metal or cedar)? If so, or if only a small portion of your roof is useable for solar, you may not have enough sunlight to make up for the cost of putting those panels on your roof. Most solar panel companies only work with composite shingle roofs. A solar panel installation company can assess the suitability of your roof.

Additionally, make sure your roof is in good condition before installing the panels. If your roof needs a major repair or full replacement in the near future, it’s in your best interest to take care of those issues before installing  solar panels. Another thing to keep in mind is landscaping, realizing that any trees you plant or that already exist on your property will need to be pruned to allow as much light as possible to reach your solar panels.

Which Solar Type is Right for You?

There are two major types of solar panels: thermal and photovoltaic. Thermal solar panels uses sunlight to heat air or water that you use inside your home. Photovoltaic solar technology uses solar cells to transform sunlight into electricity. Solar thermal panels may be your best choice if a lot of the energy you use goes toward heating your home or if you live in an area where heating fuel is expensive in relation to electricity costs. Photovoltaic solar panels are the most common type of solar panels, so it may be difficult to find an installer who is able to install thermal solar panels.

How Will You Connect to the Grid?

Details vary depending on your location, but if you have solar panels you have to work out the ins and outs of connecting to a utility company. Some things to consider are how long it will take for the utility to get you hooked up to the grid, if you have to pay a fee, and how you will be credited for the electricity you generate via your solar panels. These terms vary from state to state, so be sure you are fully aware of how your connection will work before installing your panels.

Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters

Cleaning and Maintaining Gutters

Even though you may not think about them very often, your home’s gutters are incredibly important when it rains. They are what keeps water from pooling on your roof and causing damage, and they will even allow water to flow away from your house and safely drain into your yard. Of course, this can only be done while your gutters are in good working condition. They need to be maintained and kept clean if they are to do their job.

Cleaning your gutters can be a challenge since it involves climbing up to your roof, but these tips should make things a little easier for you.

Cleaning Your Gutters from a Ladder

The easiest way to clean out your gutters is by using a ladder to reach them and pull out dirt and debris with a gloved hand and a scoop. It will take some time to get all of your gutters, but you can be sure that they will be clear when you are finished. It’s easiest to do this while the debris in your gutters is still wet and pliable.

If your roof isn’t too terribly steep, you can also stand directly on it and reach more of your gutters. Be very careful when you do this since it’s easy to assume that you can stand on your roof safely only to find that it is too steep after all. This does put you in a good position to use a leaf blower on your gutters, which is actually the preferred method for many professionals.

Flushing Your Gutters

Once most of the debris is cleared from your gutters, your next step is to flush them out. A hose with an on-off high-pressure nozzle will be able to take care of this. This can splatter mud onto your house. If this happens, the mud can be removed with a stiff scrub brush. You should be able to see the water flow from your drainpipes. If this isn’t the case, simply use a plumber’s auger to clear any obstruction that could be preventing the water and debris from flowing.

Please contact Bruce Tall Construction for all of your roofing and gutter needs!

Going Green without Breaking the Bank

It’s important to remember that it’s simple to be more energy conscious, and there are so many ways we can benefit, and, in the process, decrease both our energy usage as well as our energy bills, by just making a few simple changes. For instance, did you realize that one quarter of your yearly heating bill, is caused by the heat lost through inefficient windows? If new windows are not in your immediate budget, here are a few tips to get the heat loss under control.

Window Treatments

These window treatments can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. The first, a cellular shade, which is an economical and good-looking addition over most windows, can affect the heat loss by up to 33 percent. Obviously, the strength of the cellular shade will be determined by how thick it is—cellular shades come sized as single, double, or triple celled. Cellular shades essentially form a barrier between the window and the room, blocking the escape of air through a window (Did you know that it’s not the cold air coming through the window that affects a room’s heat, it’s the cold outside pulling the heat through the window—that’s why, when you’re standing near a cold window, your skin feels suddenly cool then cold, as the heat from your body is pulled through the window).

Sheers are common in most houses, and these include the cheaper plastic alternatives, however, the plastic versions are not great at blocking heat loss. Sheers can be backed by extra material to boost R-Value (R-Value is a rating determined for how efficient something is). Drapes, which often accompany sheers, can cut heat loss significantly, again depending on R-Value, and the two in combination work well. The last window treatment is something called a cornice—sometimes called a valiance—which traps the air that is lost along the top of the window. To put these in combination would greatly impact the heat loss in your home.

Going Green without Breaking the Bank

If you have any questions as to greener building practices, make sure to call Bruce Tall Construction today.     

What You Need to Know Before Installing a Skylight

There are seemingly endless details that you must consider when beginning a skylight installation that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. For instance, you may not know where to install it, what materials to purchase, or even how to properly install a skylight. Here are a few helpful tips you should know before beginning your skylight installation project.

roofing-contractor-skylight

Invest in A Quality Skylight

One aspect of your skylight installation that you should never cut corners on is quality. Details like ventilation, water tightness, and sound reduction may seem minuscule but they can actually be the deciding factor of whether you are happy with your finished product.

Location Matters

One of the first decisions you must make before beginning your project is determining where to place the skylight. For instance, rafters will largely govern skylight placement. Skylights are most commonly used in bathrooms since they offer a great source of light and ventilation, while still maintaining privacy.

Check the Weather Forecast

It is vital that you check then double check the weather forecast before starting any skylight installation. Bad weather can not only set-back the completion date but it can also cause serious mildew and other moisture issues if water gets inside the roof.

Always Be Safe

Be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear at all times while working on your skylight installation. Since the majority of the time will be spent on the roof, nonslip boots are essential. You should also follow other safety protocols, like using safety glasses and tying down your ladder.

Educate Yourself on Materials

As with any DIY project, make sure to know all your measurements while purchasing and cutting materials. A skylight that is too small or too big for your space will put your whole project to a halt. Also, make sure to determine the slope of your roof before buying any flashing kits.

If you want to install a skylight  or even have questions about your your roof, please contact us today!

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Repairing Your Roof vs Replacing Your Roof

Perhaps you’ve recently noticed some worrying spots on your roof. Maybe it’s a few shingles missing, or even a larger patch that seems to be sagging or looking a little worse for wear. You think about the age of your roof, and then you think about your bank account. Should you repair those troublesome areas or replace your roof entirely? Here are a few things to consider.

affordable roofing billings mt, Repairing Your Roof

Repairing Your Roof

If you have a few damaged or missing shingles from wind or tree limb damage, these can be easily removed or replaced for little cost. Repairing your roof can be more cost effective if you can by with that.

One downside to replacing shingles is that unless you saved some shingles from the last time your roof was replaced, it may be hard to find an exact match. Of course, this is a small price to pay in order to fix your roof and extend its life by another decade or so! Keep in mind, if you are doing roof repairs bin order to sell your house, make sure your contractor orders shingles that match the rest as closely as possible so you avoid a patching job that sticks out like a sore thumb.

More extensive damage in a confined area may need partial reroofing. A partial repair of your home’s roof will cost thousands less than replacing the entire thing. It can also make it easier for the new roofing to blend with the old, as slight color differences will likely be less noticeable. 

billings top roofer, Repairing Your Roof

When to Replace Your Roof

It may be worth replacing your entire roof even if only part of it is showing signs of disrepair. While this may seem to go against common sense, there is a case to be made for replacing your entire roof in one go.

Sometimes, an asphalt roof can already have two layers or more. Two layers are generally the maximum allowed, which means your contractor cannot simply lay down more shingles. They must remove all of the layers in order to reroof that area. This leads to more time to complete the job – and more money out of your pocket. The look of your roof may also be affected, with the layers of the patched area not matching the height of the rest of the roof.  

Another thing to consider when repairing your roof, is that partial reroofing is usually more expensive per square (a square is a 10′ by 10′ area). By redoing your entire roof at once, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars per square. Get a quote for a partial reroofing as well as the whole roof. If your shingles carry a life expectancy of twenty years and they’re on year 15, it might be wise to simply replace your roof instead of patching. 

Of course, as with most big projects, there are many factors at play. These tips should help you make the roofing decision that’s right for you! If you want to replace your roof or even just repair your roof, please contact us today!

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How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Roof

Replacing your home’s roof is a serious consideration. There are many factors that go into deciding whether or not you need to do so. Here are several helpful things to consider when a roof replacement may be needed.

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Consider its Age When It’s To Replace Your Roof

The typical roof has a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years. If your current roof was put down on another layer of shingles, your roof may not age as well. It must also be properly ventilated in order to live out its natural life. If your roof is 20 years older or more and was installed over another layer of roofing, there’s a good chance you need a new roof. 

Check the Shingles

Damaged or missing shingles can be another sign that your roof needs to be replaced. Look at your shingles in direct sunlight at an angle that allows you to see if any are curling or buckling. Are they losing their granules? All of these are signs that those shingles are past their rated life expectancy. If your roof is newer, there is potential that your roof is defective. A licensed roofing contractor should be hired to expect the roof in this case. 

Inspect Your Gutters

Are your gutters full of shingle granules? Your roof will lose more granules toward the end of its life expectancy. Another sign of granule loss is an inconsistent roof color. Check for darker or uneven color on your roof if you suspect granule loss. 

Look Inside

A spongy or bouncing feeling to the roof can mean moisture has weakened the underlying structure. Check inside your attic to see if you notice light coming through the boards of the roof. Moisture in the insulation can also signal a leak. 

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Many people begin thinking about roof replacement because they’ve noticed a water stain on their ceiling, which can indicate a roof leak. Stains are something to be concerned about, but they often aren’t the first sign of roof damage, and can be caused by other things. Of course, checking the attic as mentioned above and getting to the bottom of where a leak is coming from is in any homeowner’s best interest.

Bruce Tall Construction is the top roofing contractor in Billings, Montana. Please contact us today for all of your roofing needs!

Custom Built-in Shelves

Custom built-ins are the perfect way to apply a completely customizable and classy touch to your home’s décor. And best of all, this applies to the brand new custom home, and the home that just needs an updating (built-ins display a quality and craftsmanship unique in most any home). When most people consider built-ins, they think of the huge beautiful libraries, and, while a library with custom-built bookshelves is truly a spectacular show-stopping piece in most any home, built-ins are also good for other purposes.

The purpose of Built-ins

First, let’s consider built-ins simply—consider them for what they are: vertical storage and vertical displays. That’s it. Built-ins are a series of shelves built of whatever wood you choose, stained dark or light, it doesn’t matter (that’s the first level of customization). So, considering a built-in simply, now consider how a built-in would change the look of an entire room. First let’s consider built-ins on a large-scale, and picture an entire wall or walls, meant to display photos, books, artwork, etc.
The wood shelves add that custom, comfortable warm-wood feel, and while this in and of itself is a statement as to the homeowner’s personality, whatever they then choose to put on those shelves, to display, gives a further impression. Built-ins on a medium scale include china storage in a dining room, maybe bookshelf storage in a room intended to be used as an office; maybe even in the closet (there is another article in the blog that discusses in-depth the possible customization of closets).
Built-ins in a media room can spectacularly display your television, your music collection, possibly even DVD’s, or, include a wall of cupboards, where these things can be stored, but put away, out of sight, but quickly accessible.

The possibilities for built-ins are practically endless. If you think built-ins in any form are an important addition in your next custom home, it’s time to speak with Bruce Tall Construction as to how to incorporate them into the plan of making your dream home a reality.         

If you have any further questions about Custom Built-in Shelves, your roof or any roofing questions, call Bruce Tall Construction today.

 

Installing Rooftop Solar Panels Billings MT

What You Need to Know Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your property’s roof are one major way to show your commitment to an environmentally friendly lifestyle – and they can save you money on energy bills. Let’s look at a few things to consider before purchasing solar panels for your property.

Installing Rooftop Solar Panels Billings MT

Call in a Professional

Before you can install solar panels on your roof, you’ll need a construction professional to conduct a property assessment. They will examine your roof and home for structural issues or other problems that could pose a risk and make it unsafe or more costly to install solar panels. It’s possible that roof repairs or replacement may have to happen before solar panels can be installed. 

Do Your Research

Solar is an industry that’s growing at an incredible rate. There are many manufacturers offering dozens of different types of solar panels. Make a point to compare the different types of panels so you’re able to choose ones that are ideal for your particular property. Request a quote from several different companies, then add in shipping and installation costs in order to compare pricing between types and manufacturers.

Assess the Costs for Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Installation is likely to be your biggest expense outside the cost of the solar panels themselves. Be sure to find an installer with a history of happy clients and an excellent reputation. Solar panels are durable and rarely need replacing, but might need general maintenance and repair at some point. In order to save costs over the long term, try to find a solar panel installer that provides a discount to existing customers for these services.
 

Remember Your Rebates for Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Under the Energy Policy Act established in 2005, federal tax credits for solar panels can be as much as 30 percent of the cost of purchase and installation. Your state and county may also offer rebates to homeowners who install solar panels. 

Bruce Tall Construction is the top roofing contractor in Billings, Montana. Please contact us today for all of your roofing needs!