roofer billings mt

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!

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.

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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!

Roofing Contractor Billings MT

How to Find The Right Roofing Contractor

Choosing the right roofing contractor is harder than it sounds, and there’s a lot riding on your choice, because if work isn’t done just right, your home could suffer interior damage, and you could be faced with the need for re-work. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice on this very important decision.Roofing Contractor Billings MT

Good communications

As you go through the negotiation process with a roofing contractor, make note of how communicative they are. For instance, your phone calls should be returned promptly, there should be good follow-up from them on unresolved questions, and they should be easy to reach. When you are talking with them, they should be clear about the work and not give you evasive-sounding answers. When you don’t have good communications right from the outset, it’s not likely to improve as work progresses, and you might well end up unhappy and unsatisfied.

Willing to provide job details in writing

Be sure to have written specifications for what your roofing job entails and how long that work will take. If your contractor candidate is unwilling to provide you with these, it’s a sign that they lack confidence in their own processes, and a sign that you should steer clear.

Local Roofing Contractor

A great number of homeowners have been fleeced by roofing contractors who promised fast, reliable work, and then disappear into thin air after shoddy workmanship is complete. You can avoid this scenario by choosing a local contractor who is a member of the community, and has a solid reputation in that area.

Covered by insurance

It is essential that your contractor is covered for workmen’s compensation, and has liability insurance. No one ever expects accidents to happen on the job, but they do happen all the same, and you’ll want to know that such unanticipated eventualities are covered. 

Don’t be swayed by price

For sure, you’ll be able to find a roofing contractor who is willing to do the work for far less than most other roofers – but in practically all such cases, you’ll also be getting far less in return. A guarantee of good workmanship from a somewhat more expensive contractor can be a lot cheaper in the long run, than having to do the same work over again by a cheaper bidder.

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

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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.

 

Becoming Eco-Friendly

Regardless of the side of the aisle you stand on in the current talk about global warming, I think it’s safe to say that most everyone has started to agree that eco-friendlier practices, such as green home construction/remodel, are becoming more important, and more prevalent in use.  The movement for the use of reclaimed lumber, for example (although trendy and hip), has been a huge benefit, although the costs of using it can be considerable, depending upon the project. But there are other ways to be more eco-conscious you may not think of. Here are a few (there are many, many more) to get you thinking about eco-friendlier remodel/building practices.

A clean jobsite
A clean work site is important, and there shouldn’t be trash everywhere, bottles from water and paper litter from building materials accumulating, blowing away with the wind, scattering throughout the neighborhood. A quality jobsite looks clean, professional.

Rehab old materials in a remodel
Often people consider remodels to be a complete tear down: thinking out with the old, etc. But consider the character that can be refurbished by rehabbing old materials such as windows.  Windows don’t always have to be replaced, but they can be rehabbed.  Brought up to the standards of more energy efficient models.  Some older windows in homes have so much character it would be an absolute shame to be rid of them. Also, shopping for materials like doorknobs or cabinet handles, drawer pulls, etc. is a great way to not only be eco-friendlier, but to bring character to your home.

Recycle
Recycling is important for so many reasons, but when you have appliances you’ve replaced, and those appliances still work, consider donating them, or possible giving them away before sending them off to clutter the local landfill. If, however, the appliances are no longer in working order, it’s important to recycle them properly. Consider taking it to a proper recycling center.

There are many other ways to be more eco-conscious, including adopting newer technologies such as solar panels, etc. If you have any questions as to the process of getting started in some of these new technologies, give Bruce Tall Construction a call.

Contact Bruce Tall Construction today for all of your roofing, siding and home contractor 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. 

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring, new hom contractor billings mt

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?

Home Remodels Billings MT

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.

Home Renovations Billings MT

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.

Kitchen Remodel Billings MT

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.

Kitchen Remodel Billings MT

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.