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How to Tell if Your Attic is Properly Insulated

It’s hard to tell if your attic is properly insulated without having a professional take a look at it, but there are a few telltale signs that will show that you need more insulation.

Ice Dams

If your attic is properly insulated, you will most likely never have a problem with ice dams during the winter. Ice dams form when rising heat melts only some of the snow on your roof. When the snow is away from the source of the heat, it freezes again and causes a buildup of ice on your roof. If you notice ice dams in the winter or the water damage that goes with them, you need to properly insulate your attic to prevent too much heat from escaping.

Temperature Changes

Knowing if the (lack of) insulation in your attic is affecting the temperatures in your home requires a little bit of work. First, open up all the inside doors to let the temperature in your home even out. Then, walk to different rooms and see if any of them are significantly warmer or colder than the rest of your home. If there are any significant differences, the insulation in those areas is probably poor and needs to be replaced.

You might also notice some drafty rooms even when you’re not performing this test. If you always notice a draft in a certain place, you definitely have a problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

High Energy Bills

If you have poor insulation in your attic, you will almost certainly need to spend more money heating and cooling your home depending on the time of year. If this is the case and you have higher than usual utility bills, take a closer look at your attic’s insulation and consider having it replaced.

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

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How to De-Ice Your Roof

Ice on a roof is something that is inevitable every winter, and while a little bit of ice won’t cause any trouble, too much can do some serious damage. Ice dams, falling icicles, and frozen gutters can all be serious problems if they are left unchecked, but there are a few ways you can get rid of them. Here are some tips for de-icing your roof this winter.

Use a Snow Rake
Before you do anything else, remove the snow on your roof using a snow rake. A snow rake is a retractable rake that can extend to about 17 feet, which is long enough to reach the roof of the average house. Stand on the ground (never on the roof itself), and use the rake to scrape excess snow off of your roof. This will not only keep the snow from melting and refreezing into a sheet of ice on your roof, but it will relieve the snow load that could be putting stress on your house itself. You may also be able to use a rake to remove icicles that are in danger of falling and causing damage.

Chip Away at the Ice
If you have an ice dam on your roof that is easy to reach, you might be able to chip some of it away with an ice pick or a hatchet. Stand on a sturdy ladder (once again, not on your roof) and chip away at the dam. You don’t need to remove all of the ice, just enough to create a channel that allows a steady stream of water.

Use a Chemical De-Icer
Chemical de-icers contain ingredients such as urea fertilizer, ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride and other materials that can melt ice. They are also readily available at most home improvement stores. Choose a product that you think will work best for your situation, and follow the instructions as closely as possible for the best results.

Heat Cables
Finally, you can place heat cables on your roof to melt some of the ice on your roof. Heat cables are electrical cables that can be installed on parts of your roof that don’t have enough insulation to keep water from freezing. It may not help you if you already have problems with ice dams, but they will keep new dams from forming.

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Cleaning/Maintaining Gutters

Many individuals and companies have learned the importance of cleaning and maintaining the gutters that rim their homes or office buildings, whether newly installed or several years old. Taking steps to keep gutters in good condition at all times ensures that they operate as they should in wet weather, eliminates premature replacement costs and keeps all kinds of other problems at bay. 

Read on for maintenance measures that you or a professional roofing company can take to make sure your roof and gutters operate properly in any type of weather for as long as possible.

Clear Gutters and Drains

According to House Logic, when gutters and drains become overloaded with leaves, twigs and foliage, they cannot efficiently stop water from assaulting roofs, siding, windows, doors or foundations. To keep gutters, downspouts and drains operating properly, begin by removing built-up debris with a gutter scoop, small shovel or trowel. T

hen, thoroughly flush the remaining dirt and small particles with water from a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting. Make certain to routinely remove debris at least once or twice a year, following heavy storms or whenever you can see that they have become clogged. 

Fix Problems Immediately

Frequently examine your gutters for problems. If you see any issues, be sure to fix them as soon as possible so that minor troubles do not worsen or escalate. For instance, if you see a loose, broken or severely worn gutter, do your best to repair it right away.

Regularly Trim Trees

Routine tree maintenance can help limit damage to gutters caused by rodents, tree branches, fruits and leaves. Since contact with any of these things can break, scrape or tear up your gutters and roof, routinely trim trees so that branches are no closer than 10 feet from your structure.  

Cleaning and maintaining your gutters can pay off in the long run, whether you choose to do the job yourself or hire experts. Many individuals wisely choose to contact professional roofing experts whenever they need assistance with inspecting, cleaning and maintaining their gutters. Roofing experts possess the tools, training, skills and experience to keep you safe and your gutters in tip-top shape. 

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Siding

There are different types of siding.  Without a doubt the most popular and most ubiquitous being vinyl.  Spend time in most any subdivision in America, and you will see it protecting almost every home on the block.  And it’s popular for a good reason: it’s cheap, it’s available in multiple colors, and it’s easy to repair.  But there are other types of siding that have great benefits for the home.  The two types that we will examine here today are fiber cement and steel.  Obviously there are other choices, natural materials such as wood, brick, stucco, and stone, and, while these have benefits, natural materials are not always as practical for the common homeowner.

Fiber cement siding has been a popular choice for decades.  Its benefits being similar to that of vinyl: easy maintenance, and low cost.  Fiber cement is also mostly impervious to termites, and its resistant to damage from fire.  Fiber cement can be purchased to look like natural materials such as stucco or wood.  It’s not a new building material, but today’s modern homeowner can choose from many different styles.   

Steel Siding

Steel siding is a beautiful, albeit more expensive, material option to use on your home.  Steel siding can be built to look like most any natural material.  Steel siding is also more durable than most other materials.  Steel siding is not vulnerable to extreme heat or cold.  It wont shift, expanding and contracting with changes in climate like vinyl.  Also, most other siding options have apparent seams where the panels connect, and steel siding can also be made to look seamless.  Quality steel siding could continue to look beautiful on the home for thirty years or more.  But a long lasting product is the result of a quality installation.   

While all materials have some variation in quality and durability, one thing that should never be compromised on is the quality of the contractor hired to put it on your home.  A quality contractor can make the best of the materials.   

If you are looking for a quality contractor or Billings Best Contractor, please contact Bruce Tall Construction today!

Billings Best Roofer

Summer Storms and Roof Damage

The summer is just around the corner here in Billings, and while the warmer days and longer night conjure such an appealing daydream, it also means that it is the time of year for dramatic hail storms, violent lightning storms, and even possible tornadoes.  It is not all that bad, unless you are one of those who has had to struggle with an insurance company to cover their end of a replacement roof.  If you think you have damage to your roof from a storm, give Bruce Tall Construction a call to assess your roof for you, and Bruce Tall Construction can even help you to take the next steps with your insurance company to ensure that your home stays protected from the elements with a functional roof.  It’s important to document damages to the roof immediately, so that insurance companies don’t have questions as to when or how the damage may have occurred. 

Determine if your roof has been damaged

You can easily check most of the roof from the street for most homes.  While it is beneficial to walk the roof and check for damage up close, the roof can be a dangerous place, and it may be best to call a professional for an up close inspection.  But, if you want to do the preliminary check on your own, head out to the street or backyard—if you’re in the street please be sure to check for cars—and inspect the roof.  The repetitive blast from hailstones can take out entire sections of asphalt shingles.  Also, shingles will bruise or dent from hail, although these dents or bruises are not always visible, so, it might be beneficial to have a set of binoculars to check the roof.  Also, one important sign of damage to a roof with asphalt shingles is to check the downspouts of gutter for grit that has been pelted from the shingles during the storm.  Even if you cannot see damage from the street, in the event that there is grit from the shingles either in the downspouts, on the ground at the base of downspouts, or in the gutters, it may be time to call a professional to check the roof.  If you have spotted damage to your roof post-storm, make sure to document the damage, if possible, with photographs.   

If your home or business suffered damage in the latest hail storm, please contact Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Roofer today!