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!

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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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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!

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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!

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Steel Buildings

The Montana countryside is full of barns. Ranch-style barns are an icon of the American West. Some of the barns you’ll see on the landscape were erected a century ago. Most barns are erected in two different styles: pole barns and steel reinforced barns. Pole barns are traditional structures in which poles are buried in the ground and used as supports for the roof. This type of construction is simple, although it’s definitely not a rugged, durable form of construction—but pole barns will continue to stand, with luck, for decades to come. Steel constructed barns, which give the appearance of pole barns, but with the added bonus of being truly durable, should continue to stand the test of time for the next century.

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There’s a few differences in the construction of both pole barns and steel-reinforced barns. Steel reinforced barns are constructed using steel columns that attach to a concrete foundation. Because of modern machinery, this makes the construction of the barn’s frame a quick process—quicker then a pole barn’s construction. The speed with which a steel reinforced barn can be built also makes the construction costs for the steel reinforced barn much cheaper. The steel barn frame is also highly weather resistant and resistant to mold. There’s no need for maintenance to the steel barn construction, and painting is not needed.

Steel barn frames are more expensive to build. It’s the upfront costs. Pole barns are less money to initially build, however there are other costs to consider for the life of the barn. A pole barns will need maintenance at some point in it’s life.   Steel reinforced barns also may not last as long as the steel reinforced barn, so there could be replacements costs, depending on the initial quality of the construction of the pole barn.

Steel reinforced barns are also much better for livestock. Pole barns can develop unsanitary conditions for the animal due to the style of the barn’s construction. A steel reinforced barn is a much better choice when the barn is to be used to house animals.

Please contact Bruce Tall Construction for all of your steel frame needs as well as your roofing and all of your construction needs.

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Home Care Tips-Hot Water Heater

The hot water heater is dripping water from the spout, and the tank isn’t putting out any more hot water. It appears to be time for a new hot water heater. While gas, propane, and electric water heater all involve a similar practice for removal of the old and installation of the new water heater, this article will focus on the process of replacing a broken electric water heater.

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