Getting Started When Re-Siding Your Home

Re-siding your home can pay big dividends, including higher resale value and better protection. But it is definitely a major investment.

It is also a big project that creates a mess and takes time to complete. It is wise to be clear why you want to re-side, know what you want it to look like and what you can afford, and then find a reputable contractor to make it happen.

Step 1. Why Are You Re-siding?

Here are three big reasons that people choose to re-side:

  • Is your current siding damaged and worn? Many homeowners choose to re-side to give their home a more attractive exterior.
  • Are you thinking of selling? Re-siding increases your home curb appeal. That can increase your pride in your home today. At the same time, it makes it more appealing to homebuyers when you are ready to sell.
  • Do you want to increase your home’s energy efficiency? Re-siding will protect your home’s exterior from the elements, limit moisture and insects in walls, and improve insulation.
  • Are you tired of maintenance on your old siding? New types of siding materials last for years with minimal upkeep.

Step 2. What Do You Want It to Look Like?

Do your research by looking at houses on home improvement and architecture websites and in magazines. Download and cut out photos of homes you like. Look at sites like Houzz and FreshHome, and magazines like Better Homes and Garden. You need to be clear about what you want when you discuss the job with the contractor.

Step 3. Figure Out Your Budget

Do some preliminary figuring. Check with other homeowners about costs, research online and call a few contractors for a ballpark estimate. Then decide what you can actually afford.

Step 4. Find a Contractor

Check out review sites and talk to neighbors to find an experienced siding contractor. Check the best matches by making sure they have the right licenses and insurance. When you choose a contractor, show him what you want to accomplish and make sure he understands your needs. Then it’s time to re-side your home!

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

6 Tips for Improving Attic Ventilation

Attics get very little attention from homeowners. It’s a great spot to store clothes the kids have outgrown, unused wedding presents and old luggage. But family members seldom know what an essential role it plays in the comfort and health of the house.

A properly ventilated attic lets in fresh air and keeps the air quality healthier. It lets in cool air and allows air that is warmer and moist to get out. It stops the growth of rot and mildew, prevents ice dams, adds years to the lifespan of your shingles and cuts your energy bills.

Here are 6 ways to improve the attic ventilation in your home.

#1. Install Soffit Vents
Soffit vents are placed in the eaves of your roofline. If you live in a cold climate, this keeps the roof cold so snow doesn’t melt, refreeze, and form an ice dam. It also lowers the level of moisture in your attic, the cause of mold and rot.

#2. Add roof vents

If your home has a hip roof or pyramid-shaped roof, it has shorter ridgelines. You can improve ventilation by inserting rectangular roof vents.

#3. Insert ridge vents

Ridge vents that blend in with the roof can help circulate air and increase ventilation along your home’s roof ridge.

#4. Get custom roof vents

Some homes have rooflines with unconventional shapes. That means getting custom roof vents, including circular flash filters and starter vents.

#5. Add rafter vents

Place vents where the ceiling connects with the floor at the rafters. It is a smart idea to put insulation around them.

#6. Buy an attic fan

An attic fan can reduce the temperature in your attic by pulling in cooler air from outside. At the same time, it helps to drive out warmer air. To work properly, your soffit vents must be clear to allow air to circulate freely and your house should be well insulated.

Contact Bruce Tall Construction 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.

 

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Winter Tips for Your Foundation

Oftentimes this time of year we start to see a break in the winter weather, and the warmer days melt the snow, causing an immense amount of water to runoff. That water must go somewhere. If the ground near your foundation is not set to a proper sloping grade, then that water could be seeping into your home, and working its way through cracks or imperfections in your home’s concrete foundation.

Keeping water outside the home

The grade of the ground surrounding your foundation is the most important deterrent for keeping water away from your home. Ground sloping at your home’s foundation will only provide a downspout to push the water toward the home. Obviously, this is bad. When the ground clears of snow, check the areas around your home’s foundation to make sure that the ground slopes away from the foundation. The grade of the ground doesn’t need to be severe. It’s easy to correct if your grade goes the wrong way. Oftentimes a poor grade is just the result of a home settling, and the remedy is nothing more than adding dirt, packing it, around your homes foundation. However, do not add dirt up to the level of the siding.

Also, a functional gutter system is important to keeping excess water from your home. If your gutters are full of the dead leaves from last fall season, water is going to be trapped there, plugging up the gutters, and preventing water from draining away from your home properly. Make sure that all downspouts have an angle/elbow section at the bottom which turns the water out and away from the home. For homes with a minimal grade at downspout locations, it may be beneficial to add a lengthy section of downspout here to push water away from the foundation. Also, make sure that any downspouts don’t empty water onto common walking surfaces. This won’t affect the runoff of water, but it will push water onto the surfaces where we want to walk or drive, create ice where we don’t want ice.

If you have any further questions about how to protect your foundation or for more winter care tips, call Bruce Tall Construction today.

 

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Winterizing The Roof Checklist

Winter will be here before you know it, and it can do a number on your roof if you aren’t prepared for it. Before the snow starts to fall, take special precautions with these roof winterization tips.

Inspect Your Roof
Before you do anything else, you will want to make sure that your roof is in good condition. You can inspect with binoculars from the ground if you have to, but the best way to get a good look at your roof is to climb on top of it. Look for issues such as missing, bald and cracked shingles, damaged flashing, moss growth and clogged gutters. If you see any serious issues, contact a roofing contractor to get them fixed as soon as possible. 

Keep Your Gutters Clear
Your gutters are intended to drain water away from your roof. They may not work as well with ice and snow, but they should be kept clean regardless. As the snow on your roof melts, it should drain safely via your gutters to the ground. Keep an eye on your gutters to make sure the water doesn’t freeze over and create an ice dam. That will cause water to pool in one place and do serious damage to your roof, especially if your shingles are damaged. 

Check Your Insulation
The insulation in your home will keep you warm during the winter, but it can also affect the state of your roof. Before it gets too cold and wet outside, have a contractor check the insulation in your attic to make sure it is in good condition. The last thing you want is to deal with wet or moldy insulation just underneath your roof.

While it is important to winterize your entire home before the snow starts to fall, your roof should definitely be a top priority. It is the most important part of your home’s structure, so you want to be sure it is in good condition sooner rather than later.

Contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing and siding needs!

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Replacing Vinyl Siding Panels

Vinyl Siding is the most ubiquitous siding material covering today’s modern home.  It’s popular because it’s made in a variety of colors, and it’s easily reproduced.  Also, when vinyl is damaged it can be easily replaced.

Repairing damaged vinyl siding is an easy job that most any homeowner, with an hour or two of free time in a day, can do.  To start, go outside and look at how the panels of vinyl lock together: the siding’s strength is in it’s simple click-together design, connecting with the panel both above and below it.  The panel itself is anchored to the wall with nails. 

When you determine the area that encompasses the entire damaged panel, you will need to remove that panel from the panel below it.  To do this, you will need a toll called a zip tool, which is a thin piece of metal with a hook at the end.  This hook grabs the connection point on the siding, separating the panels.  Pulling the zip tool along underneath the panel of siding, the panel will separate from the one below it.  When the bottom of the panel is free, use the zip tool to separate the damaged panel from the panel above it.  Then remove the nails holding up the panel.

Once the panel’s free, it’s time to make a decision: will you use a brand new panel fresh from the store to fill the gap, or will you use a panel from an inconspicuous location on another wall of the home?  Most likely that will be determined by the age of the siding and just how weathered the colors are.  A new panel will still be vibrant with color from the factory, so it might stand out against an older set of weathered panels.  Removing a panel from somewhere else on the home—think a side yard that no one sees directly—will increase the chance that the colors will match.  Then, use the new panel as a replacement to the replacement, and most likely no one will ever know.

Putting in a new vinyl panel is as simple as removing the old one.  To start, connect the bottom of the old panel to the panel below it.  You should only have to pull up on the panel for it to lock into place.  Then lift the panel into position and anchor it to the wall with nails.  With the panel anchored, use the zip tool to pull down the lip of the panel above it, and lock the two in place.      

Contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing and siding needs!

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring, new hom contractor billings mt

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring

The flooring trend for today’s modern homeowner is definitely either hardwood or laminate (tile and vinyl are also popular choices in the bathroom and or kitchen).  But, which material will be best in your home?  Both materials have a beautiful, lasting look that you can admire for years, and both materials even look similar.  Why then choose one over the other?

Laminates

Laminate flooring is less costly than hardwood.  It’s made of synthetic materials usually designed to resemble hardwoods.  The design choices of laminates are practically endless, and you can tour any big box hardware store and find countless options in various prices.  Also, laminates are generally much less expensive than hardwoods. 

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Laminates are very durable, great for areas of high foot-traffic.  Also, because laminates are a synthetic material, they don’t scratch as easily as hardwoods, making most laminates dog toenail-friendly.  Also, because laminates usually have a top coat of resin, making them harder than most hardwoods, they are stain resistant, and resist moisture damage. 

Laminates are easy to put in place, because most laminate boards link together on a tongue and grooved edge.  The simplicity of installing a laminate floor, makes them a popular option for the average home DIY’er.    

Hardwoods

Hard wood floors have a warmer feel than most laminates.  Also, because it’s actual wood, no two boards of hardwood will look exactly alike, because there are no two places on the board where the wood grain looks exactly the same. 

Hardwood floors are durable (homes one hundred plus years old may still have the original hardwood floors still in pristine condition).  However, because it’s wood, hardwood floors can be susceptible to damage.  Scratches, dents, liquid spills, etc., all can damage hardwoods.  Therefore, for most hardwood floors, durability involves finish. 

A quality contractor installing and finishing the hardwood floors is important to longevity.  Also, if your home has older hardwood floors that simply need to be refinished, a quality contractor can sand and refinish the floors to look as good as a new floor.  And, you would be bringing out some of the original, historic charm of the home.        

Contact Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Contractor for all of your construction needs.

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Home Remodels Billings MT

Today’s modern homeowner moves approximately every seven years on average.  Some of these homeowners are obviously forced to relocate for work, but what about the homeowner that bounces around similar neighborhoods of the same town, trying to find that home that actually feels like home?

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What if homeowners could stay in one space, and make the space fit every one of their needs.  I’d be willing to bet there would be less people moving within a seven-year average.  It’s possible with the right contractor.  Even if there are space issues within the home: your having more children, you need a home office, or you would like to add that man cave hangout space: it’s could be possible with your current home.

There are multiple ways to get the home you want, but the two primary ways are renovation or remodel and addition.  Renovations can be as simple as a cosmetic upgrade in a kitchen, or adding tile to the bathroom’s floor and shower stall: your bathroom can be a wonderfully relaxing, spa-like place with the right materials and the right contractor.

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Design renovations are obvious, but what about the less obvious: space-issues?  What do you do if you love your home—schools nearby are perfect for your family; there are wonderful amenities in your neighborhood like walking trails and parks; or, maybe you just live in a quiet, safe place.  The obvious choice is an addition. 

Depending on the size of your lot, and the space to extend a home either vertically or outwardly, an addition can be as large as adding an entire level to the home, or even adding just a room.  One common addition is a sunroom or sun-porch. 

These rooms usually let in great amounts of light, and add space for a room that could be used for anything from a home office to relaxation space.  A simple addition or remodel like this can open up an entire room of the home for anything: baby, man cave, etc.

If your home is an important place, a place you would like to keep, meet with your contractor to discuss anything from a remodel or renovation to an addition.  You might be surprised at the potential of your current home, and you can build it up to be even more homey then something new.   

Contact Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Contractor for all of your construction needs.

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Decks and Additions

Springtime means more time spent outside in the warmer weather, enjoying the longer days.  For those of you that enjoy your BBQ or your outdoor entertainment, maybe it’s time to consider a new outdoor living space.

Decks
Decks are classic, stylish, entertainment areas.  Decks can be built as custom as the homeowner’s imagination, especially if the deck can be built multiple stories.  Tiered decks can create entertainment spaces, which, for instance, can allow a full cookout area—complete with grills and tables—and an entirely different tier, in which people can entertain or relax.  One highly customizable area of the deck is the handrail.  The handrail can be built to match the deck, or it could even be a customized metal rail which adds flair and class.

Patios
Patios provide outdoor living spaces to even the simplest homes.  Patios can be built with either wood or concrete.  Concrete patios allow the best customization.  Concrete can be easily stained in any color that the homeowner chooses.  Also, concrete can be stamped in a pattern that adds style to what would otherwise be a smoothed concrete surface—these patterns can resemble brick paths, or even swirling designs.  Concrete Patios work well for outdoor cooking areas.  These are great places to add enormous BBQ grills.  Maybe even outdoor televisions, so even when you want to spend time outside you wont miss the game—there are televisions today that are completely weather-proof! 

Lighting

Lighting is an important consideration in an outdoor living space.  If you have the new patio or deck it’s important that you install quality lighting to ensure that even if the party doesn’t wind down before it gets dark, it’ll still be possible to enjoy the outside space.  There’s numerous options for lighting that include everything from tiki torches to enormous, antiqued sconces.  Whichever designs you choose, make them as customized as the living space. 

If you’re one of those people that enjoy entertaining others outdoors in the summer, then remember that great movie line from Field of Dreams— “If you build it they will come”

Contact Bruce Tall Construction for all of your construction needs. We are Billings Top Roofer and Billings Best Contractor.

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Kitchen Remodel Billings MT

A kitchen remodel is difficult.  It’s difficult because there are so many choices for materials and areas of upgrade.  Everything should match and flow well.  And, if you are getting an entire kitchen remodeled, that’s a lot to consider.  However, kitchens are one area of the home where a complete overhaul is often not entirely needed.  A basic facelift might do the job.  Here are a few options for when your kitchen just needs a bit of a boost to feel functional and new again.

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First and foremost, countertops are an obvious, and, depending upon the quality of materials used, somewhat inexpensive upgrade.  A counter top upgrade would be cheaper than a whole new wall of cabinets.  Kitchen countertops are often made of anything.  Even concrete countertops have a place in today’s kitchen.  Popular choices are laminate and granite—granite is going to be considerably more than laminate, although the unique beauty of a granite slab makes it worth the extra price.  A quality contractor can outfit a kitchen with new countertops in short order—a job like this will not take over your home for days on end.

Flooring and backsplash are other areas that can be easily upgraded.  If your kitchen has tired laminate or something similar, a tile job, or even a new laminate floor—modern laminates are being made to have a look similar to tile.  Tile floors in the kitchen are beautiful additions.  The backsplash area over the countertop is one area where an overhaul could be done, and the results would be noticeable—it’s the smallest things sometimes that make a room beautiful.

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Painted cabinets are an option for the homeowner to whom a new set of cabinets may be a break from the budget.  Painted cabinets in the right kitchen can be unique and beautiful and classy.  It can be a big job to remove the cabinets for sanding, priming, and painting, but the finished results are usually worth it.  Consider the sleek look of white cabinets in today’s modern kitchen.  White cabinets could match a slab of granite or laminate on the countertops, and the paint would give the entire kitchen a new feeling.         

Contact Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Contractor for all of your construction needs.