Your roof consists far more than the shingles you see: rather it is a complex network of vents and shielding designed to let necessary things out while stopping rain, snow, and debris from getting in. And while it is always the best idea to have professionals work on your roof, it doesn’t hurt to have a little knowledge under your belt when it comes to understanding what they are saying. Therefore, here are 9 components of a roof that you should know when speaking to your contractor.
SHINGLES: The most prominent and well-known portion of the roof. Roof shingles are most commonly asphalt, but wood, metal, slate, and tile are also popular options. It is vital to make sure that these shingles remain securely fastened and regularly cleaned for optimal lifespan.
VENT PIPE: A plastic or cast-iron pipe protruding from the home’s plumbing system and extending through the roof, allowing fresh outside air into the plumbing system. This ensures sinks, tubs, and toilets drain quickly and efficiently.
CHIMNEY: A tall structure usually made of brick or stone that extends beyond the roof to allow smoke and fumes to escape. While they are usually placed next to the roof, they can also protrude up through the ridge or slope of the roof. An important thing to do is make sure that the flashing along the side of the chimney has no leaks and is securely fastened, as a lot of leaks stem from flashing around the chimney coming undone.
FLUE: Within the interior of every chimney is a lining of flue, which helps carry smoke and fumes through and out of the chimney. Typically made of square or rectangular tiles of clay, they prevent smoke from being absorbed within any semi-porous materials lining the chimney.
RIDGE: A sloped roof’s highest point. Often has a vent running along its length to allow hot air out of the attic.
GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS: A roof’s primary drainage system. Is attached along the fascia of the bottom of a roof to collect any runoff rainwater and debris, where the water is then redirected to fall away from the home, to avoid damage to the facade as well as any patios, pathways, and gardens underneath. An important thing to do is clear your gutters regularly, in order to prevent blockages.
FASCIA: A horizontal board fastened to the bottom of a roof along the roof rafters. Rain gutters are usually attached to them.
DRIP EDGE: Metal flashing that is placed along a roof’s edge to ensure that rain does not fall straight down onto the ground below, and is instead redirected into the gutter system.
TRUSS: The framework of the whole roof, trusses run underneath the insulation and shingles, supporting the roof upwards. Usually, if a leak occurs, trusses are among the first to get hit with water damage, so failure to address leaks can lead to serious structural degradation, posing a hazard for anything underneath.
While you may not be a fully-fledged expert, this little tidbit of knowledge should be enough to get you started on knowing what your contractor is saying, as well as help convey what you want done on your roof. If you are looking to have some work done on your roof or are looking to install a new one, feel free to call us at 781-393-4427, or fill out an inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!
Siding is something that is often touted as one of the most important components in a home, and that is true, especially for those that live in humid or stormy climates. But exactly what is the right kind of siding is largely dependant on the conditions that you are in, as well as the intentions you have for your home (purchase for the long term, renting it out, fix up then sell). While we have talked about exterior materials in the past, this time we will go into the criteria that you should look for when selecting siding, with the aim to help you make the right decision when it comes to materials based on what you need.
How Long Do You Plan to Own It?
The first thing you should be asking yourself when going on your siding journey is how long you intend to keep the house. Is it going to be the future home of you and your family for the long run? Or maybe you are just trying to flip it for a quick buck. Whichever one you choose will be important, as it dictates how much longevity is a priority. If you intend to own the home for the long run, you will want to have a siding that is long-lasting and resistant to most forms of weather, in hopes of not needing to replace it during the entirety of your ownership of the hope. For this, materials like fiber-cement, such as the ones provided by James Hardie, are perfect for your home, as it lasts for long periods of time and can handle a wide array of conditions. This makes it worth the high upfront cost, as it works out to be more economical in the long run. If you plan to flip and sell the house, or are replacing the siding before selling it, then it makes less sense to invest in such expensive siding. Vinyl siding works better for this, as it is cheaper and is still decent quality.
Will You Be Living There?
Another question you should ask yourself is whether the siding job is for you or for someone else who will be occupying the home. For example, if you are living on the property, then installing a material that requires more maintenance or is less durable isn’t as much of an issue, because the care of the material is under your supervision, and you can trust yourself better to handle your home with caution. This is a risk that escalates if you were renting out the property to someone else, as you don’t know how they are going to treat your home. While you may be responsible for scheduling routine inspections and making repairs, mistreatment from their end as well as failure to do basic things like keeping the siding clean can increase maintenance costs. Therefore, less durable materials like wood and vinyl may not be the best option if this applies to you. Your best bet would be fiber-cement or metal.
What Climate Are You In?
This is probably the biggest determinant of what you should choose. While extremely durable materials like brick and cement are pretty much good everywhere, other materials like metal, wood, and artifical siding like vinyl and fiber-cement tend to be more volatile. Wood is good for moderate climates, but if it gets too hot and dry it can lose its integrity. Too humid on the other hand can result in water damage and algae and moss growth. It is also vulnerable to damage from insects, like termites.
Vinyl is among one of the best and versatile siding shingles around, and can have the classic look of wood without as much worry about the elements and the expensive upkeep. However, it still isn’t as durable as brick and cement and are subject to cracking and denting, whether it be from temperature changes or heavy impacts from debris like hail. They also are less impact-resistant and run a higher risk of letting in fungus and water if compromised. If you live in storm-prone areas, then vinyl may not be the best choice if you intend to keep the home for the long term. Look into James Hardie’s storm-proof fiber-cement options. A good comparison between fiber-cement and vinyl and wood exists here.
As you can see, it is extremely important to choose the correct external materials for your home. Making the wrong choices with materials that do not fit your needs and intentions could end up being a costly mistake that will cost a significant amount of money to fix. Therefore, it is best to take the preventative measure and contact an experienced contractor from Innovative Contracting Services to help assist you in your repairs. We have the knowledge to help you make an informed decision about your siding of choice, as well as the skills to help install it. Reach out to us either by phone, or through our inquiry form. We’d love to help you.
So you’ve pulled the trigger and decided it’s time to replace your roof. Smart move. Only question is, with the variety of options on the market, what is the right one for you? Here to help answer that question is a list of 3 of the most popular types of roofing, and the upsides and downsides of each one.
A common choice for many American homes thanks to their versatility. It can hold up pretty well against rain and snow, and they come in pretty much every style and color you could want. Really the quality of the shingles depends on the tier you are willing to pay for, as they have ones different price points. We personally recommend Certainteed’s asphalt shingles, one of the best names in the industry, for their renowned quality and durability. Overall the cost is low in comparison to other materials. However, these generally don’t last too long, and will need replacing after 20 years or so. Also consider how common stormy weather is in your area, as the shingles tend to be weak to strong winds.
Metal roofing is an option that has recently risen to popularity thanks to its unique industrial look and weather-resistant properties. It is great for snow, rain, and debris, as those substances simply slide of its smooth surface, and with its special attachment and sealing system, is more stable during windy weather as opposed to asphalt. It’s layer of foam insulation underneath also makes it great in terms of energy efficiency. How strong it is and how resistant it is to rust depends on the material used, but generally they last a long time, in excess of 60 years. The main downside to metal is its cost, as it can be significantly higher than any other material, however if you live in a particularly brutal climate, it might be something worth investing in.
Few things get more classic than slate, which are thin stone shingles fixed to your roof. It comes with all the properties you would expect from a roof made of rock: incredibly durable, resistant to moisture, insects, and fire, and if properly installed, immovable in the event of most storms. However, it is vital to choose the right contractors to install this kind of roof, as it is rather difficult to install. Furthermore, because it’s stone, it is heavy and will need to have a properly enforced roof to ensure that it doesn’t put excess strain on the structure of your home. If you feel that this may not make it right for you but still want the look, there are plenty of other rubber options available.
When it comes to roofing at the end of the day, it is a tricky balancing act of needs, personal preference, and cost. Each material has its own set of properties that make it ideal for some climates and inadequate for others, but that varies widely depending on who you get it from. What would ideally help you are qualified professionals with numerous years of experience, and can easily diagnose and repair/install any portion of your roof.
At ICS, we take pride in providing the best exterior contracting work in MA, working with the most renouned brands and the most qualified contractors to make sure your home receives the best of the best in terms of service and care. We would be more than happy to assist you with your roofing needs, and would love it if you would contact us or send us an inquiry to learn more.
Windows tend to be understated when it comes to their contribution to interior design. Yes, they allow light inside, but their purpose extends far beyond that in the form of bringing attention to certain portions of the wall and emphasizing certain portions of a room. They also dictate where your furniture will go, and determine the ultimate starting point for your interior design. So if you have a home remodel on the horizon, take a look at these 4 types of windows that will make all the difference in your home.
Arch Top/Gable Style Window
Rectangular windows are great, but when your room is rectangular and most of your furniture ends at a 90-degree angle, it can get a little monotonous. Break it with an arch top window, which is a rectangular window that ends in a curve instead of a flat top. The curve will bring softness to a room dominated by sharp corners, let in more natural light, and even make your room look a little taller as a result.
Transom windows are a horizontally-lengthened window that sits on top of a doorway or is up near the top of a ceiling, and it’s a great way to bring in light through wall space that was previously unutilized. Place them on top of any entrance into your home, or if you have some room between the top of your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling, install some in the wall space there to bring in more light into your kitchen area without any increase in electricity bills. A personal favorite of mine is putting them above your bed! It’s a great way to add more light to a place that not a lot of people prioritize when it comes to renovations.
“Bringing the outdoors in” is the phrase many a salesman uses when trying to sell a window, but with French doors it’s far more literal, doubling as both a window and a way to exit into the outdoors. French doors innately create a sense of grandeur when implemented into a room, and can be utilized to elevate a room to more formal standard since it is now an entryway into the home. Pair them with a set of sidelight windows to further increase light penetration, as well as frame the doorway to make it even more of a grand statement.
Bow and Bay Windows
If you have the luxury of having a home with large rooms, you may find that all that space comes at the cost of a certain feeling of intimacy, or if you have a smaller space, you lack a little nook you can call your own. Both problems can be solved with the addition of a bow and bay window, which is a trio of windows that protrude out from the wall to add an additional few square feet of space to a room. This extra room can be used for a seating area, a place to put your desk, or even as a small corner to tuck in a breakfast area. Regardless of what you do, having a space that is cradled by a view of the outdoors allows you to feel the coziness of a small room without feeling trapped. The fact that it makes the exterior of your home a little more interesting doesn’t hurt either.
Overall, windows play a huge part in how we utilize and interact with a space, which is why it is especially important that you select the right ones when given the chance, as they will likely be there for years to come. If you feel that you could use some assistance with that selection, we over at Innovative Contracting Services would love to help you. Feel free to contact us via phone call, or by inquiry form. We specialize in improving homes, and would love to assist you with your next housing project.
Houses are expensive, and so is maintaining them. That’s why a lot of people choose to cut costs and fix problems themselves, and for simpler things like furniture assembly, sealing drywall, and painting, it’s a viable option. However there are somethings that require more skill, and for the average person is just too dangerous to do. One of them, unsurprisingly, is roofing, and while many passionate homeowners believe they can do it, it is one of those tasks you should farm out to a professional. Here are 4 reasons why you should not attempt to DIY a roof.
Contractors have licenses for a reason. They studied and trained to ensure that the work they do is up to a suitable level of quality, and that that work lasts. Attempting to skip those steps and immediately carry out work on your home untrained can risk doing a job improperly, risking potential problems like leaks and structural issues.
Lack of Understanding
You may have a sense of what the problem would be, but chances are you don’t have the level of understanding required to spot it and then fix it. Small leaks can often be looked over to the untrained eye, and often times are not as obvious as you think. Even if you spot it, you would then need to repair it without damaging the electrical wiring, and improper sealing can still allow moisture through, causing rot and mildew.
Probably the most obvious danger of working on a roof is that you might fall off. Contractors have special equipment, protocols and training to ensure that the work they do doesn’t put themselves or others in serious danger. They also have experience in getting the tools they need up there and doing work, without letting anything fall down and risk hurting anyone below. Therefore, it is important to understand that while it may be cheaper to do it yourself, it is not worth it if it is at the expense of injuring yourself and others. Let contractors do it so that you don’t have to.
Even if you manage to get through the whole project without injury, chances are it took you a lot more time to get it done. Contractors have many years of experience doing work like this, to the point where it is usually pretty routine. In other words, they can get the job done faster, and likely to a higher standard of quality too.
Ultimately, while there are some DIY projects that you can do yourself, it is best to hire a contractor when it comes to things like roofing. Not sure who to trust with this job? Contact us at Innovative Contracting Services for work in roofing, siding, and windows. Enjoy your fun, DIY hobbies and leave the rest to us.