roofer billings mt

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.

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.     

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!

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!

roof ventilation billings mt

Does Your Home Need Roof Ventilation?

Roof ventilation is a subject that is often misunderstood by homeowners. While some ventilation is great for circulating air through your attic and lowering your energy bills, it pays to know how much roof ventilation you really need – or if you need any at all. Here are some tips that can help you make that decision.

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You Live in an Area with Harsh Winters

Winter is always a harsh season for roofs and attics. Not only can too much snow on a roof cause it to collapse, but it’s all too easy to experience a leak from ice dams. This can cause a lot of moisture to build up in your attic, which can lead to problems such as water damage and mold. Proper roof ventilation can improve air flow in your attic and help mitigate any moisture problems you may be experiencing, but you need to be careful that you don’t have too much ventilation. That might only give you more places where your roof can leak.

You Experience Exceptionally Hot Summers

Proper roof ventilation can keep your attic cool and lower your air conditioning bills, but it could also help keep your roof in good shape. An unventilated attic can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees in some parts of the country, and that kind of heat can cause shingles and other roofing materials to become damaged. It probably won’t ruin your entire roof, but you will need to replace your shingles sooner rather than later.

Speak to a Roofing Professional

It can be difficult to determine how much or how little roof ventilation you will need. Each home has its own requirements and its own quirks, so it is in your best interest to contact a roofing professional for advice. They will be able to tell you how much ventilation your roof will need as well as any problems you may experience should you have improper ventilation. There are bound to be plenty of professional licensed roofers in your area, so take some time to look around if you want to learn more about what is best for your family’s home.

If you have any further questions about your roof’s ventilation or any roofing questions, call Bruce Tall Construction today.

Billings Top Roofer

Spring Cleaning the Roof Checklist

Spring is nearly here, and with melting snow comes the opportunity to check out your roof and give your gutters a thorough cleaning. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends a roof checkup twice each year – once each in the fall and spring. Here is a guide to what to look out for when you’re performing your spring roof cleaning.

Billings Top Roofer

Start Indoors
You can begin your spring roof cleaning by checking your ceilings. Sometimes stains are simply due to snow or ice dams that have accumulated on the roof. But, they may indicate a larger issue. Once you identify any water stains, you know to check your roof for potential damage.

Check Your Gutters
Part of the spring cleaning of your roof should involve a thorough inspection of your house’s gutters. If gutters are clogged, it can lead to overflow. Overflowing gutters can cause basement flooding as well as foundation damage. Remove anything clogging your home’s gutters – leaves, twigs, and other debris is likely to have accumulated over the winter. While you’re cleaning your gutter, look for corrosion or holes. Holes in your gutter can be caulked or plugged. If you notice a section of your gutter sagging, it’s likely due to spikes that are loose or missing. Tighten these up or replace as needed. Don’t forget to inspect your downspouts, too.

If major – or even minor – repairs are needed, you may want to call in a professional contractor for the job.

Inspect Your Roof
There’s more to check on your roof than the shingles, though that’s a great place to start. Shingles can be damaged or blown off during the winter. Replace any shingles that are cracked, loose, or missing.

Check the flashing around plumbing vents, chimneys, and skylights for damage. If you notice rust forming on any metal roof parts, use a wire brush to remove the rust, then coat with primer and paint. Take time to make sure coping, fascia, or other metal roof edging is undamaged and secure. If you find that your roof edging is in need of repair, call a roofing contractor for an inspection and potential repair. An unsecured roof can be badly damaged in a severe weather situation.

If you have any further questions about spring cleaning your roof or any roofing questions, call Bruce Tall Construction today.

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Benefits of Having a Professional Roof Inspection To Assess Storm Damage

Storms of all kinds can do a lot of damage to a roof, even if you cannot see it. If your area has recently been hit by severe weather, here are some reasons why it may be in your best interest to schedule a professional roof inspection.

Catching Minor Damage

You will certainly notice things like having a tree fall on your roof or large bald spots where your shingles used to be, but a storm can do almost imperceptible damage to a home. Professional roof inspectors are trained to catch things like bald or loose shingles, a slightly damaged rain gutter, and other issues that could lead to costly repairs down the road.

Helping Your Insurance Claim

If your home has suffered extensive damage during a storm and you need to make an insurance claim, a professional inspector will be far better at assessing the damage than you will be. You will most likely need to tell your insurance company exactly what kind of damage your roof has suffered, so having a detailed report from a professional roof inspector will definitely help in that regard.

Making Repairs While They’re Still Small

A damaged roof can be incredibly costly and inconvenient to repair, and things will only get worse the longer you let any problems slide. Since professional roof inspectors are trained to catch even the smallest issues on a roof, they can help you fix problems while it is still affordable to do so.

Even though it is in your best interest to have a professional take a look at your roof after a storm, you still need to make sure that you are hiring an inspector you can trust. There are a lot of scammers out there who will inspect your roof and insist on repairs you don’t need. Before you bring in a roofing inspector, do your homework to make sure they are reputable. Look up reviews online, ask for recommendations from friends, and always insist on seeing the proper credentials of anybody who inspects or repairs your property.

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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.