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!

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.

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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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How to Remove Mold From Your Roof

Mold that grows on your roof may not be as dangerous as the stuff that can grow in your home, but it is still unsightly if you allow it to get out of control. Fortunately, removing mold from your home’s roof is easier than you might think. Here are some tips that will help you get rid of the mold and algae that can grow on your roof in humid weather.

Scrub Your Roof
Your first step is to scrub away at the mold and algae that you can see on your roof’s surface. This can be done with a soft bristle brush or broom. Long-handled brushes that are designed to reach your roof from the ground can be purchased at most hardware stores, but you may need to actually climb up to your roof to get the worst of the mold. If this is the case, make sure to wear good boots with plenty of tread to avoid slipping and falling.

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Spray Your Roof
Once you’ve scrubbed away most of the visible mold, your next step will be to spray your roof down with a substance to kill the remaining mold. This can be done with a chemical solution designed to kill mold, or with a 50/50 solution of water and bleach. This is best accomplished with a sprayer that will cover a large area.

Before you spray your roof with any mold-killing solution, you will want to water any plants around your house to make them less likely to absorb the solution that will run off your roof and into the ground.

Scrub Again
The solution you used on your roof should be starting to work, but it never hurts to go over everything again with a brush to get anything you missed before. After you’ve gotten all of the surface mold, spray your roof one last time and let the solution dry.

If you have any further questions about removing mold from your roof or any roofing questions, 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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Cleaning/Maintaining Gutters

Many individuals and companies have learned the importance of cleaning and maintaining the gutters that rim their homes or office buildings, whether newly installed or several years old. Taking steps to keep gutters in good condition at all times ensures that they operate as they should in wet weather, eliminates premature replacement costs and keeps all kinds of other problems at bay. 

Read on for maintenance measures that you or a professional roofing company can take to make sure your roof and gutters operate properly in any type of weather for as long as possible.

Clear Gutters and Drains

According to House Logic, when gutters and drains become overloaded with leaves, twigs and foliage, they cannot efficiently stop water from assaulting roofs, siding, windows, doors or foundations. To keep gutters, downspouts and drains operating properly, begin by removing built-up debris with a gutter scoop, small shovel or trowel. T

hen, thoroughly flush the remaining dirt and small particles with water from a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting. Make certain to routinely remove debris at least once or twice a year, following heavy storms or whenever you can see that they have become clogged. 

Fix Problems Immediately

Frequently examine your gutters for problems. If you see any issues, be sure to fix them as soon as possible so that minor troubles do not worsen or escalate. For instance, if you see a loose, broken or severely worn gutter, do your best to repair it right away.

Regularly Trim Trees

Routine tree maintenance can help limit damage to gutters caused by rodents, tree branches, fruits and leaves. Since contact with any of these things can break, scrape or tear up your gutters and roof, routinely trim trees so that branches are no closer than 10 feet from your structure.  

Cleaning and maintaining your gutters can pay off in the long run, whether you choose to do the job yourself or hire experts. Many individuals wisely choose to contact professional roofing experts whenever they need assistance with inspecting, cleaning and maintaining their gutters. Roofing experts possess the tools, training, skills and experience to keep you safe and your gutters in tip-top shape. 

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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. 

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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?

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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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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.

beware of storm chaser roofing contractors

Storm Chasers Vs. Bruce Tall Construction

Living in Montana, we are the perfect breeding ground for the post-storm blight known as “storm chasers.”

What’s a “Storm Chaser?” Following bouts of severe weather, these unscrupulous contractors descend upon unsuspecting Montanans like a plague of locusts.

Unlicensed and uninsured, these out-of-town contractors don’t care about the quality of their work. Storm Chasers just want to make a quick buck. Once your check clears, they don’t care anymore. They are gone and if you have any problems with your roof, well you are on your own and will have to pay someone else to fix it.

Storm Chasers simply want to get in and get out. Take everyone’s money and move on. And those are the nice ones!

Believe it or not there are even worse storm chasers, they will scare homeowner’s worse, scaring homeowners into paying large sums of money up front and then they leave town without doing any of the work. You are stuck because you don’t have enough information on who they really are or where they are really from.

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How Do You Spot Storm Chasers

  1. Check their license plates.

A company with out-of-state license plates is bad news. They don’t have register their vehicles with the State of Montana because they’re not moving here. They are here temporarily.

  1. Ask for a business address.

Most storm chasers will set up a P.O. Box instead of an actual office. Do they have a brick and mortar location? Ask for that address.

  1. Check with the Better Business Bureau.

If they aren’t listed with the Better Business Bureau chances are that they haven’t been in business long enough or they are a fly by night operation.

  1. Do they have a website and online reviews?

Do an internet search and see what is being said about them.

So how can you protect yourself from Storm Chasers?

It’s really easy really. Whenever hiring a contractor, always ask for three key documents:

* Contractor’s License
* Proof of Liability Insurance
* Proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

A contractor’s license is common knowledge. Without a license, you have no idea if this person or company is even qualified to replace your roof. This should be a prerequisite for the other required documents.

Make sure that provide proof of liability insurance! No matter who your roofing contractor is, you should always ask for proof of liability insurance. Roofing insurance is expensive because little mistakes can lead to costly repairs. Repairs that can be covered by Liability Insurance and not by you!

And finally check to see if they have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If a worker falls off your roof and he’s not covered by worker’s compensation, guess who’s held responsible? You are! So protect yourself!

Even if you say that you didn’t they weren’t insured, you are still liable. The responsibility falls on the homeowner.

Why you should use Local Contractors

Local contractors like Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Roofer, rely on their reputation and referrals for business. A quality job and a happy customer are the lifeblood of Bruce Tall Construction, Billings Best Roofing Company! Dishonest local contractors do not stay in business.

Bruce Tall Construction has served the greater Billings area for over 15 years. We’ve worked hard to build our reputation as an honest, reliable roofing contractor. There are no unknowns with us. When you hire Bruce Tall Construction, you’re hiring a roofing contractor with an extensive history of quality work and customer satisfaction.

If your home or business suffered damage in the latest hail storm, please contact Bruce Tall Construction, today! Billings Best Roofer!

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!