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.

 

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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.

 

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.

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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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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.

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.