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!

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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!

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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.

 

Roof Leaking Due to Ice Dams

Are you experiencing problems with roof leaking due to ice dams and snow accumulation? Bruce Tall Construction can help you repair the damage in a timely manner.

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What you need to do if you have damage from a roof leaking or think that you might have damage from a roof leaking:

  1. Safety first, check to see if it is safe for you and your family to stay in your home. If you are unsure, give us a call today! (406) 896-8525
  2. Take pictures of all damaged and surrounding areas
    3. Call your insurance agent
    4. Have you been wanting to have other work done or maybe some remodeling? Now is the time to have it done while undergoing the repairs. Save time and money.
  3. Call Bruce Tall Construction today if you have a roof leaking ! (406) 896-8525
  4. Keep good records of all repair and cleaning costs.

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Roof Maintenance

Roof maintenance is a topic commonly overlooked by many homeowners and building owners. However, performing preventive roof maintenance is the single most important factor in assuring the roof system lasts its expected lifetime.

Roof maintenance costs for a 2,000 square foot house range between $500 and $1,500 and for a 10,000 square foot warehouse they range between $2,500 and $3,000.

Roof maintenance is especially important for flat roofs where clogged drains and scuppers can cause ponding water which rots the roof membrane.

Ponding rainwater should be shallow enough to evaporate within 48 hours. In addition to rotting the roofing material, ponding water also cause strain to the roof deck which can result in structural problems such as deck deflection which also worsens the ponding problem.

Performing roof maintenance can spot and correct ponding areas before they create bigger (and more costly) problems. All manufacturers of roofing materials state on their warranty that if routine maintenance is not performed, the warranty will be void.

So performing roof maintenance is not only necessary to prevent premature roof failure, but also to ensure you’re covered if there is a material defect that should be covered by the roofing material manufacturer.

Contact Bruce Tall Construction for all of your roofing needs.

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!

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How to Know Whether to Repair, Patch, or Replace Your Roof

Your home’s roof takes a lot of punishment from the elements, and it’s important to know when your roof needs to be repaired or even replaced altogether. Here are a few signs that can tell you when it’s time to call a roofer.

Signs that Your Roof Needs to be Repaired or Patched

The best way to decide if your roof needs repairs is to look at the shingles. If your shingles are curling around the edges or buckling, you probably need to have your roof repaired. Look at the shingles that receive the most direct sunlight, as they are the ones most likely to show signs of wear and tear. You can also look for granules from your shingles in your rain gutters. Asphalt shingles shed granules as they age, so seeing a lot of loose granules is a good sign that you at the very least need new shingles. Broken or missing shingles are a definite sign that you need to repair or patch your roof.

Signs that You Need a New Roof

You might be able to simply have your roof repaired or patched if you only see problems with the shingles, but eventually you may have to replace your roof altogether. This may be the case if your roof is over 25 years old since it is almost certainly at the end of its lifespan. Other signs to watch for include flashings that are separating from the rest of the roof, missing shingles in the roof’s valleys or daylight that is showing through the roof’s boards. Your roof might also have a spongy feeling if you walk on it. Of course, you will almost certainly need a new roof if you notice any serious leaks when it rains or when snow accumulates on your roof in the winter. You might be able to get away with patching a minor leak on a relatively new roof, but as a rule any roof that starts to leak should be replaced sooner rather than later.

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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.