Wonderful Tips For Keeping Any Roof In Enviable Shape

People don’t spend too much time thinking about the roof, that is until a serious issue arises. A lot of people just don’t know what to do when they have roofing problems because they find it intimidating. 

You shouldn’t ever try to fix your roof if it’s rainy out, if the roof is slippery or wet, you may fall, resulting in a potentially major injury or even death. If you decide to repair your roof on your own, do it when it’s dry and sunny outside.

Before putting your signature on paper when getting a new roof or roof repair, pose several questions. A good question might be how many nails are going to be used in each shingle. You usually need more than three to do the job well. Ask them about what their methods are to see if the answer they give is satisfactory. Go with another contractor if you’re not happy with their answer.

If you feel pressured by a salesman, do not agree to anything and show him to the door. This type of salesman will do what they have to do to convince you that you cannot live without what they are offering. It could end up costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars if you do not put a stop to their pitch.

If it will be a little while before a contractor will come to fix your roof, you should probably think of a temporary solution. Nail heavy plastic over the leak. It isn’t a long-term solution, but it will do.

Beware of quick fixes when it comes to roof repair. It may seem like a money saver, but it may end up causing more damage, and that may cost you more. The smartest thing to do is to completely fix the problem as quickly as possible to prevent things from getting worse.

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential contractors, ask them what kind of warranties are available. Most roofers offer a warranty on their work for up to five years. The longer the warranty you can get, the better. It must cover workmanship and defective supplies, and they should also give you photocopies of manufacturer warranties too.

Be sure that your roofer has insurance. In the event that a roofer damages anything on your property and is not insured, it’s up to you to pay for it. You shouldn’t simply ask the contractor if he has insurance and take his word on it. Instead, request proof of insurance so that you can see for yourself whether they have current insurance.

After you’ve read this, you should feel better about your new roofing knowledge. The more effort you put into roofing maintenance, the less likely it is you will need to constantly care for it in the long term. If you need a new roof, or need your roof repaired, you should be better at handling that problem. 

Give Quality Discount Roofing a call today for all your roofing needs at 904.396.5000.

Low Slope Roofing Benefits

There are many myths out there surrounding low slope roofing, and as such, you may think that this is not the right option for your building. However, once you learn the truths about these myths, you may change your mind. Here are a few of the benefits of a low slope roof for a commercial building. 

Ease of Maintenance

One of the benefits associated with a low slope roof for commercial buildings is that it is relatively easy to maintain. The low slope of the roof offers both the benefits associated with no slope roofs and sloped roofs combined into one. Due to the small slope, installation and repairs are relatively fast and easy. On the flip side, because the roof is sloped, the water drains from the roof, preventing drainage problems that are common with non-sloped roofs. If you want a roof that is relatively easy to maintain, a low-sloped roof is a great option. 

Lower Overall and Long-Term Costs

Another benefit associated with low slope roofing is that the overall costs associated with the roof are low. When you are looking to install a roof, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is looking solely at the initial or short-term costs associated with the roof you select. Some roofs that are initially lower in costs have higher long-term costs. A low slope roof may cost a little bit more upfront, but in the long run, is a great low-cost roofing option. 

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Energy Efficient Solutions

The last benefit associated with low slope roofing is that this type of roofing offers many energy efficient solutions. Ultimately, this helps you to keep your heating and cooling costs low. For example, you can select metal low slope roofing. Metal roofing can be made from recycled materials, and also helps to keep your building cooler in the summer, reducing your overall energy usage. Low slope roofs are also great options for those who want to install solar panels on their roof, as the slope of the roof is perfect for panel installation. 

There are many benefits associated with low slope roofing, and now that you know the benefits associated with this roofing option, you may be ready to have yours installed. Here at Quality Discount Roofing, we can help you with all of your commercial roofing needs, including designing, installing and maintaining a low slope roof. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and be on your way to getting a low slope roof by calling 904.396.5000.

VA home loans: Everything America’s military veterans need to know

What is a VA loan?

Homebuyers who are considering a VA loan, but have questions, have come to the right place. Applying for a mortgage can be complicated enough even without adding a VA loan to the mix.

With so many steps, the VA loan process can sometimes feel overwhelming. In reality, the process can run smoothly if you know the basics and find a lender who’s knowledgeable and can walk you through it.

Common questions homebuyers ask about VA loans include:

  • What benefits do VA loans offer?
  • Who can get a VA loan?
  • What are VA loan requirements?
  • What are the benefits of VA loans?

For eligible folks, VA loans can be the key to homeownership. In 2018, 610,512 VA loans were made with an average loan amount of $264,197. In total, the VA was responsible for $161.3 billion in mortgages last year.

Here we break down what a VA loan is and how it can help you.

What is a VA loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage that is made by private lenders, but partially backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are no limits on how much you can borrow, but there are limits on how much the VA will guarantee.

One of the benefits of VA loans, also known as Veterans Affairs mortgages, is that they consistently offer lower rates than traditional bank financing, according to Ellie Mae.

Eligible borrowers may only use VA loans for their primary residence. You can’t finance an investment property or vacation home with a VA loan.

The main draw of a VA mortgage is that they make it easier to get financing by offering no down-payment loans and more lenient credit and income requirements than conventional mortgages. Once you have your certificate of eligibility or COE, you can apply for a VA home loan.

What are VA entitlements and why are they so important?

The VA guarantees a portion of your mortgage via “entitlements.” There are two types of entitlements offered to eligible veterans: basic entitlement and bonus entitlement.

The basic entitlement is $36,000 or 25 percent of the total mortgage if you default; you would get the lesser amount of the two. Generally, lenders will loan four times this amount, so you can think of the basic entitlement as a 25 percent down payment on a $144,000 home. However, you don’t have to use the full entitlement.

As home values continue to tick up, most homebuyers are faced with price tags in excess of $144,000, or the max loan amount for basic entitlement. This is where the bonus entitlement kicks in.

In 2018, the median sales price for a home hovered around $315,000, so for most VA buyers, the bonus entitlement is necessary. This is also called a second-tier entitlement.

The VA uses the national conventional financing conforming loan limit set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, to establish the bonus entitlement amount. The FHFA boosted loan limits in 2019 to $484,350. In high-priced areas, the ceiling is higher at $726,525, or 150 percent of $484,350. Homebuyers can check loan limits in their area here.

The VA usually covers 25 percent of your loan amount, so eligible borrowers would get 25 percent of $484,350, which is $121,087. Then the VA subtracts the basic entitlement, which is $36,000, from the $121,087, leaving borrowers with a total of $85,087 in bonus entitlement money.

Keep in mind, lenders will generally loan VA borrowers four times the amount of the entitlement. This means you would multiply $85,087 by four, which is $340,350. Finally, you would add the $144,000 VA loan limit from your basic entitlement to the $340,350 sum which gives you a total loan limit of $484,350 — the same as the national conforming loan limit.

For homebuyers in high-cost states, the entitlement amount is larger. In counties with higher limits, the VA will guarantee 25 percent of a maximum $726,525. If your mortgage exceeds that limit, the VA won’t cover it. That means on a $900,000 home in a high-cost area, the VA will only back 25 percent of $726,525.

It is possible to use your entitlement more than one time. This depends on several factors such as how much entitlement you have left (you don’t have to use all of it when buying a house), mortgage amount and county loan limits.

The goal of VA loans is to help veterans become homeowners no matter where they live, so don’t let a costly housing market or a prior VA loan deter you from exploring this option.

What are the VA loan eligibility requirements?

Most members of the regular military, veterans, reservists and National Guard are eligible to apply for a VA loan. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability also can apply.

Active-duty military personnel generally qualify after about six months of service. Reservists and members of the National Guard must wait six years to apply, but if they are called to active duty before that, they gain eligibility after 181 days of service.

You may qualify if you:

  • Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
  • Served 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • Have been an active member of the National Guard or Reserves for 6 years or more
  • Are married to a service member who died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability

It’s important to note that getting a COE doesn’t mean veterans qualify for a mortgage — these are two separate processes. Once you qualify for a COE, you can shop for a home loan. However, you still have to meet lender requirements which include things like income verification, credit (FICO) score, and debt-to-income ratio.

Do VA loans require PMI?

Unlike other low down-payment mortgage options, a VA loan doesn’t require private mortgage insurance.  Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and conventional loans with less than 20 percent down require PMI, which can end up costing the borrower thousands over the life of the loan.

The benefit translates into significant monthly savings for VA borrowers. For instance, a borrower who makes a 3.5 percent down payment on a $200,000 FHA-insured mortgage would pay $100 a month for mortgage insurance alone.

What are VA loan funding fees?

Although the costs of getting a VA loan are generally lower than other types of low-down-payment mortgages, they still carry a one-time funding fee that varies, depending on the amount of the down payment and military category. This fee helps offset taxpayers’ costs since there’s no PMI or down payment required.

A borrower in the armed forces getting a VA loan for the first time, with no money down, would pay a fee of 2.15 percent of the loan amount. The fee is reduced to 1.25 percent of the loan amount if the borrower makes a down payment of 10 percent or more. Reservists and National Guard members normally pay about a quarter of a percentage point more in fees than do active-duty members.

Those using the VA loan program for the second time, without a down payment, would pay 3.3 percent of the total loan amount.

Can existing VA borrowers lower their interest rates?

The Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRL) gives existing VA loan holders the opportunity to get a lower interest rate. This option requires borrowers to refinance their current VA loan into another VA loan.

The advantage of the IRRL is that credit and appraisal underwriting packages are not required. Additionally, you won’t have to pay cash out of pocket for an IRRL. It’s structured so than any fees are rolled into the new loan or the interest is adjusted so that the lender’s costs are covered.

Are there VA loan home occupancy requirements?

VA loans typically require borrowers to move into their home within 60 days of purchase and to use it as their primary residence. However, exceptions can be made depending on the circumstances, says Chris Birk, director of education at Veterans United.

“Lenders will evaluate occupancy scenarios on a case-by-case basis. For active duty service members, a spouse can fulfill the occupancy requirement when the military member cannot. A service member’s minor child can also satisfy occupancy in some cases,” Birk says.

Borrowers can’t use VA loans to buy investment properties or second homes.

What are VA loan underwriting requirements?

The VA doesn’t require a minimum credit score for a VA loan, but lenders generally have their own internal requirements. Most lenders want an applicant with a credit score of 620 or higher.

Borrowers must show sufficient income to repay the loan and shouldn’t have a heavy debt load, but the guidelines are usually more flexible than for conventional loans.

VA guidelines allow veterans to use their home-loan benefits a year or two after bankruptcy or foreclosure.

What are VA loan amount limits 2019?

The limit on VA loans varies by county, but the maximum guaranty amount for 2019 is $484,350 in most US counties and up to $726,525 in certain high-cost areas.

Help for struggling VA borrowers

Another advantage of a VA loan is the assistance offered to struggling borrowers. If the borrower of a VA loan can’t make payments on the mortgage, the VA can negotiate with the lender on behalf of the borrower.

VA’s financial counselors can help borrowers negotiate repayment plans, loan modifications and other alternatives to foreclosure. Regardless of whether they have VA loans, veterans who are struggling to make their mortgage payments can call (877) 827-3702 for assistance.

How to apply for VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility

Before you can apply for a VA loan, you must prove you are eligible. Applicants must get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

Eligible service members, veterans and spouse must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You’ve served 181 days of service during peacetime.
  • You’ve served 90 days of service during war time.
  • You’ve had six years of service in the Reserves or National Guard.
  • You are a surviving spouses of a service member who died in the line of duty.

There are three ways to apply for the COE:

Request a COE from your lender. Lenders have access to a database which can produce your COE within minutes.

Apply for the COE online at VA.Gov. You’ll have to log into your account and navigate to the COE application page.

Mail in your application. Print out this form, fill it out and include applicable proof of eligibility.

Documents required for COE:

Veterans and current or former National Guard or Reserve members in Federal active service

DD Form 214 – This must include a copy showing the type of service and the reason for leaving.

Active duty service members, Current National Guard or Reserve members who have never been Federal active service

An up-to-date statement of service signed by the adjutant, personnel office or commander of the unit or headquarters. It must include your name, Social Security number, date of birth, entry date of active duty, duration of lost time and the name of the command providing the data.

Current National Guard or Reserve member who has never been Federal active service

An NGB Form 22, report of separation and record of service for each period of National Guard service.

An NGB Form 23, Retirement Points Accounting and proof of the character of service.

Discharged member of the Selected Reserve who has never been activated for Federal active service

A copy of your latest annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service.

Surviving Spouse receiving DIC (Dependency & Indemnity Compensation) benefits

Submit VA form 26-1817 and veteran’s DD214 ( if available)

You must include the veteran’s and surviving spouse’s social security number on the 26-1817 form.

Surviving Spouse not receiving DIC (Dependency & Indemnity Compensation) benefits

You must submit VA form 21-534.

You must submit form DD214 (if available), which proves discharge orders.

Include a copy of your marriage license.

Include the death certificate or DD Form 1300 – Report of Casualty.

Send the VA 21-534 to the mailing address in your state. You can find that information on the following link. PMC States

How to apply for a VA loan

Once you have your certificate of eligibility (COE), you can apply for the VA loan. The application process is straightforward, however keep in mind that not all lenders originate VA loans. Here’s what you’ll need to do to apply:

Find a VA lender. You can do this by searching on the VA website, getting recommendations from friends or doing your own research online. Be sure to shop around for the best offer, as lender’s terms vary.

Apply for the VA loan through the lender.

Other uses for VA loan

Buying a house is just one way you can use a VA loan. Borrowers can also use VA loans in the following ways:

Cash-out refinance

Interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRL)

Native American Direct Loan program

Adapted housing grants

Common Garage Problems and What to Do About Them

Gone are the days when a garage was just a simple space to store vehicles that are not in use. Many homeowners require double, and at times, triple duty from their garage spaces. A garage is often subjected to heavy traffic and provides an access point to the interior of your home. Because of their many functions, there are a number of potential garage problems you will need to be mindful of.

Dirty

Things like frequent use, large doors that are constantly being opened and closed, and work being performed all combine to cause dirt, grime, and dust particles to settle in garage spaces. This problem is not one of aesthetics only as an unclean garage can become an unsafe environment for you and your family members. There are many simple techniques you can use to clean messes in the garage. For example, you can use dish soap, cat litter, and a wire scrub brush to remove stains from oil and other fluids. If you mix a solution containing warm water, vinegar, and bleach, this can be used to eliminate mold. After cleaning the walls and floor of the garage with a sponge mop, you can use a fan to dry the surfaces more quickly after a thorough mop job.

Cluttered

Garages are great places to store things you will not use on a regular basis. The space your garage contains for storage can quickly run out if you do not properly utilize it. You will also find you do not have enough space if you fill your garage with “junk” you do not intend to use again. Garage clutter is prevalent enough that 25% of Americans can’t fit a car in their garage. One suggestion to fully maximize space is the use of PVC slat-wall panels to facilitate the use of wall storage space. Tire racks and overhead storage racks can also be used to store large items.

Inadequate Garage Doors

Passersby and neighbors will notice if your garage door is outdated, damaged, or simply needs a little touch-up paint. Additionally, it is essential that a door used as much as the one attached to your garage works properly. The options available now for garage doors would have only been a dream 20 years ago. Now, homeowners can choose from a number of materials that include wood, fiberglass, and aluminum to find the perfect look for their home. Garage doors can also be designed to highlight a number of potential functions.

Damaged Flooring

The wear and tear on the floor of a garage are non-stop. Eventually, the effects will be seen in both the appearance and the structure of the floor. The damage may appear as cracks, chips, or crumbling of concrete garage floors. One inexpensive solution to this problem is to use a concrete resurfacer to give your garage floor a complete makeover. You will need to purchase a few special tools to get the work done but the project itself can be completed in a single day.

Poor Lighting

You have probably seen a friend or family member depend on a 60-watt light bulb or two in order to provide lighting for their garage. It is possible you have tried to do this yourself. The good news is poor lighting is a simple and inexpensive problem to fix. Lumens are a unit of measurement used to measure the output of light. One guide is to ensure you possess 50 lumens per square foot for non-work areas in your garage. In areas where work will be completed, 300 lumens should be used. Once you know the lumens you need to provide proper lighting to a garage area, you can use the lumen to watts chart provided by the Federal Trade Commission to learn how many lightbulbs you need.

Door Immediately Opens After Closing

Photo eyes are plastic devices located on both sides of a garage door. When your garage door opens on its own after being closed, it could mean there is a problem with the alignment of these photo-eyes. Check for flashing green lights to ensure the photo-eyes are powered and working. You should also make sure no debris is blocking the path of communication to the photo eyes. If neither of these issues proves to be a problem, you should then measure from the floor to the photo eyes on both sides of the garage and line them up properly.

Garage Door Fails to Respond

Regardless of the type of garage door opener you are using, a problem with the photo-eyes is likely the culprit if the garage door does not respond to prompts to open or close. You can try switching the breaker off and on if you do not see light on the photo eyes. If the problem persists, make sure the garage door opener is receiving adequate power. One way to do this is to try another object in the power supply to see if it works.

Lack of Parking Space

Garages are asked to be so many things that often homeowners forget their original purpose. Your vehicles are safer from both people and the elements when stored inside your garage. One way you can add parking space to a garage that serves multiple purposes is to add a car lift. Car lifts can elevate your vehicle off the ground allowing you to have more space for everything you need.

Noisy Garage Doors

Garage doors are capable of making sounds you will not hear anywhere else. These sounds can range from a small squeak too loud grinding sounds capable of disturbing everyone in the neighborhood. A noisy garage door can be more than an annoyance and might be a sign that a larger problem exists. If a simple squirt of WD-40 or other simple methods don’t alleviate the noise, you may need to look at the mechanics of the door.

Homeowners are constantly finding new ways to make use of their garages. This added burden can cause damage to your garage if you are not paying attention to the accumulated wear and tear. Paying attention to the nine potential problems above and learning how to address them early will help ensure your garage is a valuable part of your home as long as you possess the property.

If you’re looking for more tips about updating your garage, read on, here!

Vinyl Siding vs Hardie Board Siding

Replacement siding boosts your home’s curb appeal, helps protect and safeguard it from the elements, minimizes street noise, resists unwanted pests, and provides a layer of security for your home. There’s no better way to protect your home exterior than a fresh siding replacement. When your home’s outdoor beauty and indoor comfort increase with new siding, your overall home value increases, making new siding a worthwhile and rewarding investment.

How to choose the best siding option for your home exterior

James Hardie® Fiber Cement Siding – pros

Hardie board comes in a variety of styles and color options. Its resilience and lengthy warranty make it the most popular choice in the siding industry. Hardie board, or fiber cement siding, has been refined for years, providing a long-lasting, beautiful looking siding homeowners love. Hardie board is made of cement, natural cellulose, and sand, which makes it environmentally friendly.

Jacksonville Florida homeowners appreciate the strength and durability of James Hardie siding, particularly since the weather can produce some exceptionally high, potentially damaging winds. James Hardie siding is found in over 8 million homes in America. Here are some reasons homeowners appreciate this amazing siding:

1. Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Hardie board siding creates eye-catching curb appeal and increases the resale value of your home. It’s so thick, it easily imitates the authentic look of wood, yet it is more long-lasting than wood siding (and doesn’t hold moisture like wood siding does).

2. Express Your Unique Style

Hardie board is available in multiple styles and options, giving homeowners customizable design elements to match their unique style and complement their home’s architectural elements. Hardie board comes in one of two ways: in pre-painted, baked-on color options for long-lasting non-fading color, or primed and ready to paint after installation for additional paint color options. Homeowners personalize their dwellings by choosing from Hardie board siding options such as:

  • HardiePlank® Lap Siding – Homeowners appreciate the timeless look, color, texture, durability, and beauty of this best-selling siding product.
  • HardiePanel® Vertical Siding – Crisp, clean lines mark the modern look of vertical siding. The distinct visual design features of vertical siding work perfectly for farmhouse style or contemporary home exteriors.
  • HardieShingle® Siding – Homeowners enjoy the authentic look of cedar shingles with the strength of James Hardie. HardieShingle siding resists rotting, curling, warping and splitting—and it’s perfect for Cape Cod or cottage style homes.

3. Enjoy Easy Maintenance

Hardie board siding resists fading, so it doesn’t need to be repainted unless you choose a color change after a decade or so. It’s also easy to clean by simply rinsing it with a garden hose twice a year. A non-abrasive brush can help get any pesky dirt off your beautiful siding. Remember to resist the urge to power wash your siding, as that could damage it.

4. Experience Unmatched Strength and Durability

Hardie board’s long-lasting, durable makeup keeps homeowners happy for years to come. Its beauty is maintained regardless of the rain, wind, or other extreme weather elements that occur. While wood siding can rot from moisture damage, or be a doorway to insects entering the home, Hardie board siding resists moisture damage and insect infestation.

Vinyl siding’s appearance can be compromised due to denting from a lawnmower throwing unexpected rocks or debris. In contrast, Hardie board siding maintains its attractiveness while resisting damage from weather, insects, moisture, hail, extreme heat, and fire.

Vinyl Siding – cons

  • Cold temperatures can sometimes cause vinyl siding to crack.
  • It can be dented with the flick of an unwanted rock from the lawnmower.
  • It is treated with fire retardant, but that only slows the spread of fire.

What are your top priorities for your new siding?

The best overall choice can be made once you are familiar with the pros and cons of each siding type, and decide your priorities for replacement.

  • Energy efficiency—Vinyl siding can be installed with a layer of insulation to decrease overall energy usage.
  • Environmentally friendly—Hardie board is made from sustainable materials and doesn’t require the use of fossil fuels like vinyl siding does.
  • Lower price point—Vinyl siding may have a lower price point than Hardie board, but it also needs to be replaced more frequently than James Hardie siding.
  • Fire resistance—Hardie board is so well respected for its fire resistance that insurance companies offer a discount on homeowners insurance if you have Hardie board siding. Vinyl siding can melt in fire or extreme heat.

An expert siding contractor for your Jacksonville Florida home

Quality Discount Roofing offers custom siding replacement solutions for Jacksonville Florida and the surrounding areas. We install James Hardie siding—giving homeowners beautiful exterior home design with high performance and durability. Schedule a free estimate by calling (904)396-5000.

What does it mean to be Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor

Did you know that Quality Discount Roofing is one of the few roofing contractors designated as Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors? This program is an elite membership group that must meet Owens Corning‘s highest standards for professionalism, business stability and customer service. This designation is just one of the many reasons our roofing company is the best choice for all your roofing needs!

Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors

Out of the 67,169 licensed roofing contractors across the country, less than 500 are Owens Corning Platinum Preferred. Platinum Preferred Contractors are the top tier of the Owens Corning Roofing Contractor Network and receive exclusive benefits. They are invited to this program only after meeting the following requirements:

  • Have passed an installation workmanship inspection
  • Carry at least $1,000,000 in general liability insurance
  • Are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau
  • Have passed a Dun & Bradstreet® credit analysis

These contractors are the only ones who can offer the Platinum Protection Roofing System Limited Warranty.

When you hire an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor, you automatically gain peace of mind that your home will be in the hands of the best in the business. Our Jacksonville roofing company prides itself on being platinum preferred give us a call today at 904-396-5000 for a free estimate on your next roofing project.


Ways to Help Prevent Your Roof From Being Damaged

As you go through the four seasons, there is a lot of wear and tear that gets placed on the roof of your home. Wind can cause shingles to be pulled up and blown away, and ice and snow can cause shingles to curl up. The heat of the sun can cause cracking, and materials can break down. Whatever the damage, it’s important to make sure that your roof is in good condition. Without it, your home could incur water damage, pest infestations, and much worse. Some common maintenance tasks can go a long way toward protecting the surface of your roof.

Keep Branches Trimmed

Keeping the tree branches near your home trimmed can prevent the dangers of overhanging tree limbs. When you have branches touching your home, a branch could snap and get hooked under a shingle and pull up an entire section. The constant hitting of the branch on your roof can be annoying inside the home, but it can also cause shingles to break down. You could even be providing an easy access route for pests and animals to get onto the structure of your home.

Clean Out Your Gutters

The gutters on your home are just as important as the roof. Gutters help move water away from the roof and your home. Without them, water would pool up and cause damage. Cleaning your gutters should take place one or two times per year, depending on the amount of debris that typically accumulates. If you let leaves and other debris accumulate, this could cause a major problem involving the structure of your home. If you’re not comfortable getting up on a ladder, you can hire a professional to clean your gutters for you.

Routine Inspections

If you notice that there is a problem with your roof, like a missing shingle, then it’s a good idea to call the professionals to help you out. However, routine maintenance for your roof is just as important as routine maintenance is for your vehicle. Investing a little bit of time and money now will make a big difference in the length of time that your roof protects your home before needing to be replaced. It’s important that you use a reputable roofing professional in your area when it comes to roof repairs and maintenance. Some things you can do on your own in just a few minutes. For the more risky jobs, call in the professionals. You’ll be able to extend the life of your roof by utilizing routine service.

Here’s another article you might like: The Basics of Gutter Cleaning

Renovations That Will Help You Maximize Kitchen Space

Your kitchen is the hardest-working space in the house. If you’re renovating your kitchen, there are a few important things to think about. Whether it’s small or large, your goal has to be efficiency. Making sure that the items you need are where you need them is critical. The following are a few renovations you could make to your kitchen to make sure you can get the most out of your kitchen space. 

Single-Bowl Sink

Unless you wash your dishes by hand, a two-bowl sink is probably not efficient. If you’re just rinsing off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, you likely have a bowl you barely use. By putting in a single-bowl sink, you gain counter space. If you’re adding a new countertop anyway, consider adding an under-cabinet sink for easy cleanup.

Cabinet Space

Cabinet design has expanded tremendously over time and actually can give you many options for layout. If you’re tall, be sure to include pullouts in the lower cabinets so you can easily get to the items at the back of the cabinet. Shorter cooks may want to add glass doors to the upper cabinets so they can use them as a display rather than as storage spaces. Every kitchen seems to have a black hole or a dark corner. However, new hardware that features either a lazy Susan or a pullout shelf can make your corner storage extremely useful. There are lots of options for corner cabinets for your unique needs. This may also be a great place to add a covered tool barn for items you don’t use every day, such as your mixer or juicer. A simple roll-up door can give a very clean look to your kitchen and can make it easy to keep things tidy.

Use Portable Pieces

Very small kitchens can still provide you with plenty of working space if you purchase a portable island. Many of these versatile pieces have drop-leaf features to one end, so the original footprint is quite small but the counter space can be huge once the leaf is up. In addition, many portable islands have cabinet or bin space underneath the countertop. These pieces come in a variety of materials, from heavy-duty stainless steel construction to wooden cabinets on wheels with butcher block tops. When you’re not using your rolling island, just fold down the leaves, and push it against the wall where it can serve as additional cabinet storage.

You don’t need a huge kitchen to enjoy your workspace when you’re preparing a meal. Renovations may take a little bit of time, but the results make the work worth it. By laying things out efficiently, you can maximize the space you have and still have everything you need.

Here’s another article you might enjoy: 4 Home Improvement Headaches You’ll Want to Avoid

These Are the Most Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Renovating

It is difficult to deny the urge to improve — just take a look around whenever New Year’s Day rolls around. People want to improve their bodies, their work performance, and when they get home, they often want to improve their houses. When you decide to undertake a renovation, there are a few common mistakes that homeowners make that you will most certainly want to avoid.

Not Budgeting

Before you even embark on your renovation journey, the first stop you should make is at the bank. It is of the utmost importance that you do not undertake a project that is simply not financially feasible. According to Hometown Demolition, setting a price point before you begin planning any other part of the process is the best way to initiate a renovation project because you ensure that you can actually afford to make your dreams a reality. If what you want is not in your price point, stick to your budget. You can either use different types of materials to carry out the job or wait a little while until you have saved enough to get exactly what you want. You’ll be grateful in the future that you did not overspend. 

Adding Too Much

So many homeowners get carried away with the renovation possibilities in their minds. They end up adding entirely too much than is wise. You can spend so much on your renovation that it ends up costing more than what your house is worth. According to Rules of Renovation, homeowners who sell an overvalued home are often forced to sell at a loss. Instead, keep your renovations small and manageable to avoid not being able to sell your house for a good market price. Sometimes, less really is more.

Hiring the Wrong Contractor

The only thing worse than not hiring a contractor at all is hiring the wrong person for the job. Remember that you often get what you pay for. Hiring someone who is under qualified or simply not qualified to perform the job at all can lead to more work down the road and can even wreck the renovation. Instead, be sure to vet the individuals and companies you hire thoroughly. Doing so will help prevent a problem from occurring in the first place.

It’s understandable to get excited and want to plunge right in when you decide that you want to renovate your home. But renovation is a big project not to be taken lightly. Carefully plan out your budget, exactly what you want to remodel, and which contractor you’ll hire to do the job, and you’ll be on the right track.

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How to Avoid Damage to Your Home Electrical System

You rely on electricity every day, but is your home’s built-in electrical system safe? Without proper maintenance and precaution, damage can result in power outages, property damage, and, in severe cases, electrical fires. Following these tips to protect your home’s electrical system will ensure that you always have power when you need it.

Keep Everything Up to Date

You should have your home electrical system checked by a professional at least once a year, especially after a period of turbulent weather. Storms electrical damage can range from power outages to overheating and short-circuiting. If water damage comes in contact with damaged or exposed wires, you could have a major health risk on your hands. Be sure to practice electrical safety at all times, and never try to investigate damaged wires or electrical systems on your own. Leave that to a trained professional.

Don’t Overuse Outlets

A greater electrical demand on a single outlet can lead to overheating and create a fire hazard. American outlets have two standard voltage amounts: 120 and 240. Although your home has built-in circuit breakers or fuses to prevent electrical fires, they are not entirely fail-proof. During periods of heavy use, people tend to create a heavy demand on their home’s electricity supply. Common instances in which you may accidentally overload your electrical system and cause a fire may be DIY electrical work, installing holiday lights, running multiple appliances at once, or keeping exotic pets.

To prevent plugging too many things into an outlet, you just have to divide voltage by wattage to figure out how many amps are being used. If you have a 20-amp outlet, then you know that you can’t plug in more than that without risking damage. Be especially careful with “daisy chaining” — the practice of using power strips and extension cords to plug many devices into one outlet.

Conserve Wherever You Can

Aside from being good for the environment, reducing overall electricity use is a good way to preserve your home’s electrical system. Some of the easiest ways to conserve energy at home include using blinds and curtains to cool a room rather than constantly running your AC, only washing clothes when there is a full load, and using cold water and replacing incandescent lightbulbs with more energy-efficient LEDs. 

It’s also a good idea to unplug electrical devices whenever you aren’t using them. This includes phone and laptop chargers, printers and fax machines and kitchen appliances. Many people mistakenly assume that devices only draw power when they’re in use, but anything plugged into an outlet pulls energy. Overconsumption raises your electricity bill and wears down your system and appliances faster. 

Don’t underestimate the danger of overloading your home’s electrical system. Pay close attention to your overall power draw and what’s plugged into what. If you’re unsure, call in a professional electrician to have a look. Doing so will protect your family and save you money in the long run.

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