Homeowners are often familiar with the term winterizing (boats, pools, gardens, lawnmowers, etc.) but there are also steps you should take to prepare your home for fall. Make sure to add these five activities to your fall to-do list, if you haven’t already.
Fertilize Your Lawn
There is a common misconception that lawns should be fertilized during the spring. However, lawn fertilizer can help prevent winter damage to your grass. There are specific lawn fertilizers for fall and winter, so check with your local garden center before purchasing and applying.
With dirty gutters, your home may not be able to adequately keep rain, ice, and melting snow at bay during the winter months. While getting your gutters cleaned toward the end of fall, when all of the leaves have fallen off the trees, seems like a no-brainer, gutter cleaning at the beginning of fall should also be a priority. Pollen, flower petals, and maple tree seeds from spring are all gutter-clogging culprits.
Homeowners should also have furnaces cleaned before the weather turns too cold. It is unpleasant to turn off a furnace during cold weather for cleaning, but no one wants a musty smell lingering all winter long from a dirty furnace. A dirty furnace can also cause health problems for anyone in the home. Too much debris in a furnace or air duct can cause respiratory issues, while germs can be recirculated after colds and illnesses because they aren’t being adequately cleaned from the air ducts.
Painting or Staining
Fall is also the perfect time to finish up any summer projects you didn’t get around to, like painting your exterior or staining your deck. It isn’t as hot, so the work doesn’t feel as laborious. One challenge of waiting until fall is that sometimes rainy, damp weather can make completing these projects difficult. However, a weekend in early fall might be an ideal time.
The last thing a homeowner wants is to discover a leak in their roof when a recent snowstorm is melting. Fall is an excellent time to have your roof inspected for damage and leaks. While many roofing companies offer free inspections, sometimes their methods are questionable. Instead, find a third-party roof inspector. He or she can provide you with an unbiased report on your roof’s condition.
If your inspector does determine that some repairs are needed, working with a company that has a strong reputation, like Innovative Contracting Services Inc., is a must. Innovative Contracting Services Inc. can assist with multiple home improvement projects, from painting to re-roofing.
Summertime is known for nice weather, with outdoor activities and trips being far more common in order to take advantage of the enjoyable climate. However, this doesn’t come without its drawbacks, and similar to how bugs and heat affect you, the same applies to your home. Homeowners should have an understanding as to what they can expect to encounter over this season, and prepare themselves for it as a result. Here are some common problems homes tend to run into over the summer, and how to prevent them.
Mosquitoes and flies aren’t the only nuisances you have to worry about during the summer. Termites tend to become far more rampant during the summer, particularly in dry climates. They never stop eating and never rest, meaning it can be tough for you to pinpoint where they are since they are always on the move. Therefore, the best thing you can do is make sure your siding is in good shape. Keep an eye out for any cracks or peeling paint to make sure no insects can get inside. This can be sealed up with a fresh coat of paint, although if the damage is severe it may be necessary for you to invest in a new layer of siding.
Hot temperatures and increased humidity create a prime environment for mold and algae to grow in enclosed spaces, such as the inside of your walls and your attic space. This can lead to many medical conditions including allergies or respiratory illnesses. This can be avoided simply through air conditioning, where the air is cooled and constantly circulated. In addition to that, you should check your roofing and siding to ensure that there are no gaps and cracks letting moisture in. Our contractors can help you with this through scheduling an inspection.
Malfunctioning Air Conditioner
Air conditioning is a major priority during the summer, as they contribute to creating a place of refuge from the sweltering heat. However, since they aren’t in use for most of the year, they can sometimes malfunction when reactivated again, resulting in breakdowns and operational inefficiency. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, keep the surfaces surrounding the AC unit clear of dust and debris, and have an HVAC professional inspect your AC system if it malfunctions. Failure to do so can result in dehydration and increased risk of heatstroke.
If you want to make sure that your home is ready for the summer and beyond, contact us to perform an inspection on your home’s exterior. Call us at 781-393-4427, or fill out an online inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!
Your gutters are an important component of your roof and are responsible for the discharge of runoff water to a safe place away from your home. However, they are often never prioritized as such, as they typically come secondary to roof shingles, since the latter is more visually striking. This is a mistake, as it supports the notion that the gutters aren’t as important as roofing, when in fact their malfunction tends to be more responsible for most common problems with roofing. Here are some signs for you to look out for before they cause serious damage.
Formation of Ice Dams
Ice Dams tend to be the bane of any roof during the winter, as they can be difficult to get rid of once they form. They usually are a sign of malfunctioning gutters that commonly form from clogs or damages that allow water and snow to build up along the edge of your roof. This is something that will not be solved by a roof replacement or repair, as it requires dedicated work on your gutters to resolve the issue.
Dents & Cracks
Obstructions like large dents or cracks in your gutters can lead to improper drainage. When water is not flowing freely or properly throughout the gutter system, it can be pushed back to soak your roof or make its way under your shingles.
Similar to your gutter, downspouts can warp or dent over time. This can result in water flow being blocked or disrupted, obstructing the proper flow of water and preventing the system from working as efficiently as it should. This causes your gutters to back up, leading to water damage on your roof.
Moss & Algae Growth
Moss & algae exhibit their own sense of natural charm when it is on your home, but in the case of your roof it can shorten your roof’s lifespan. Algae eats away at the protective granules on asphalt roof shingles, making it more delicate and more susceptible to damage from environmental factors. Moss and algae tend to thrive on wet and humid conditions, making it a surefire indicator of water leakage for your roof. Check to see if there is any growing near your gutters on the edge of your roof to see if its the cause.
Summertime is here, and with it comes the prime-time for prospective buyers and renters to enter the market in search of their next home. If you are someone who has been wanting to sell/rent out their home, now is a key time to make a major financial move, and capitalize as much as possible on your asset. Therefore, it helps to take certain steps to maximize your home’s value, inside and out. Here are a couple of things you can do for your exterior to help increase the desirability of your home.
Repaint/Replace Your Facade
Your facade is the face of your home and is the first thing many prospective buyers and renters notice when they first come to take a look. Therefore, it’s vital that it appears to be in peak condition. The easiest and most affordable way to achieve that is with a new coat of paint. This helps fix any fading on the siding, as well as cover up any small scratches, dents, and even cracks. It can also double as a way to take a closer look at your siding, and make sure that there aren’t any obvious or growing problems that could come up during an inspection. Better yet, it is smarter to have an inspection booked by you, to avoid any nasty surprises that can dent your property value.
However, this can only go so far when it comes to masking any imperfections in your siding. If your siding is in dire condition, then it may be worth it to invest in replacing it entirely. Fortunately, siding replacements tend to help increase the value of your home, particularly if you use James Hardie roofing & siding. In fact, James Hardie has the highest ROI out of any home improvement project, as rated by Remodeler Magazine. Our certified contractors can quickly install siding onto your home, ensuring that it gets done on time and under budget. Contact us to learn more about our siding installation services.
Have Your Roof Inspected
As eye-catching as your facade may be, any serious buyer is bound to have questions when it comes to the state of your roof. Renters won’t ignore it either, as they will want to know how well insulated the building is, particularly if heating is not included in their rent. Therefore, it is best to conduct an inspection on your roof to know what you are dealing with. ICS’s reliable contractors will spot the smallest indicators of a problem and can figure out what needs to be done. Smaller problems here and there may not need any repairs, as they are a small enough cost to not be a serious consideration for a homeowner. However, serious issues like leaks and worn-out roof shingles will require a replacement, otherwise your home’s value will take a big hit when discovered.
For many, summertime is everyone’s favorite time of the year. The weather is warm and the sun is shining, meaning you can go out and fully enjoy the outdoors. With all that on your mind, preparing your home to perform well in the hot summer heat is likely the last thing on your mind. This is something you should reconsider, as most homes in Massachusetts are built to handle the mostly cold climate throughout the year, but may not be as resilient against warmer, more humid seasons. Therefore to avoid putting a dampener on your summer fun, here are 5 things you should do now to prep your home for summer.
Check Your Air Conditioner
Everyone knows that a colder, air-conditioned home is an essential refuge away from the hot summer heat. That being said, your air-conditioner can malfunction after spending the past several months being out of commission. Avoid this by replacing your air filter and cleaning the area around the air conditioning unit and vents. Try running your air conditioner to see if it is cooling your home effectively. If it isn’t working efficiently, you may need to call in an HVAC professional to check for leaks and defects in your A/C unit.
Shield Yourself from Moisture Damage
Humidity damage becomes more of an issue during the summertime, and this means cracking down on the state of your exterior even more than usual. Start by inspecting your siding for warping, cracks, or rot. A lot of the time these are more subtle than you think, however, so it’s best to call in a contractor to inspect it. You will want to do the same with your roof. Both your siding and roof shingles can be subject to condensation building up underneath as a result of the extra moisture in the air, and can sow the seeds for potential damages in the future.
Bug Proof Your Home
One thing nobody likes about summer are all the bugs that come out to play, and your home is no exception to this either. Beyond the internal damage that can be caused by certain types of bugs to exposed wood and material, a lot of insects find safety in the enclosed controlled environment of your home and will crawl through any nooks or cracks that may be in there. Make sure to hire a skilled exterior contractor to inspect your home, or at least check your windows or doors for cracks and gaps that can be taken care of with a little caulking.
Dust Your Ceiling Fans
If your home has a ceiling fan, chances are that it hasn’t gotten a lot of use, and has accrued a lot of dust. To prevent that layer of dust from spreading throughout the room the moment you turn it on, take the time to dust and clean them. One trick to prevent all the dust from falling down is to use an old pillowcase to clean it, allowing you to collect the dust inside the case.
Have a Storm Emergency Kit Handy
While summer weather is known for being nice and amicable, it can also get nasty pretty fast. Avoid this by preparing an emergency kit in advance, complete with any essentials you might need in the case of a powerful storm or power outage. These include a strong flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, bottled water, canned food and a can opener, duct tape, cellphone chargers, and a radio. While the chances of an actual disaster are unlikely, it always pays to have a contingency in place for when anything does happen.
These are a few of the things you can use to ensure yourself a fun and enjoyable summer. While many are things you can do for yourself, anything regarding your home’s exterior is something that is usually best left to the professionals. At Innovative Contracting Services, we offer top-notch roofing and siding services to ensure that homeowners can protect their investment for the long term, as well as have full enjoyment of their home. We perform regular inspections on homes to ensure that they are in perfect condition, and if there are any problems with it, our contractors have the experience and skill to execute any repairs or replacements needed. Contact us at 781-393-4427, or fill out an online inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!
Few things are better than the satisfaction of the end of harsh winter weather, and the introduction of warmer, brighter spring weather. Spring marks the period where you can spend more time outdoors instead of simply huddling inside all day. With this also comes the opportunity to go ahead and perform some much needed maintenance work on your home, one of which should be painting. Here are 4 reasons why you should paint your house this spring.
Your Home’s Exterior Is Stressed Out
No, this doesn’t mean you need to contact a psychologist for your facade! Rather, your home has been put through intense exposure to wind and rain over the winter. This excess moisture can wreak havoc on the paint outside your home, as penetration or prolonged exposure to it can lead to the paint swelling or softening. Neglect this and the result can end in cracking, blistering and peeling of the paint layer, exposing the more delicate siding underneath.
Beyond this, the expansion and contraction of the siding from the extreme temperature fluctuations can result in the paint layer underneath cracking and flaking of if it is isn’t flexible enough. Sun exposure is an issue as well, as it can break down a paint’s binder, releasing the pigment that gives the paint its color. Make sure to inspect for signs of this after each winter!
There Are Repairs You Need to Check For
While there are several issues with your siding that can be spotted at a glance, there are also many problems that tend to be more elusive to the eye. During the preparation work prior to painting, contractors tend to spot small issues and signs of danger among the surface of your siding that you otherwise would have missed. This is a possibility that grows with each year the paint is there, and if the paint reaches the end of its life expectancy, then it is vital you repaint it to avoid exposure to moisture rotting, insects etc. It is more cost effective to replace the paint layer when it’s time rather than the siding that’s underneath.
Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal
First impressions are important, especially when it comes to your home. As a reflection of how you and your family live, you want to convey a positive, well-kept image, and few things taint that image more than faded or cracked siding. Maintain a positive reputation with your neighbours by ensuring that your homes facade, and all other parts of its exterior for that matter, is well tended to.
Increase Your Property’s Value
In addition to good first impressions, having a positive facade is one of the best ways to retain your home’s value. People often decide whether a home is worth looking into depending on how it looks outside. If a home has peeling paint, broken or missing trim, and has faded coloring, then potential purchasers will assume that the inside is just as bad if not worse, and dismiss your property. Therefore, maintaining your home’s exterior paint not only saves you money on repairs, but can help you make more money in the long run.
As you can see, there are several perks to having a sealed, stunning new layer of paint on your home, which is why it is vital to replace that layer when it has reached the end of it’s projected lifespan, and even before that if necessary. Interested in having an inspection or new layer of paint added to your home? Contact us at 781-393-4427, or fill out an online inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!
When it comes to selecting a contractor to work on your house, it can be a difficult process to find the perfect match. There is a lot of trust that goes into having strangers work on your house and transform it into something new and better than every before! Because of this, there are a lot of different factors that homeowners weigh.
Innovative Contracting Services has been serving the greater Boston area since 2000 and we have seen countless homeowners get left in the dust from unrepeatable contractors that over promise. We wanted to share, what we believe to be the surefire way to know that a company can be trusted.
Recommended By Manufacturers:
This may be the number one thing to check when talked with contractors. Roofing and siding product manufacturers across the company hand out levels of recognition to contractors that install high levels of their product and to the ones that do it the right way. They do this to ensure that their materials are being represented the way they should.
The average person may not know the difference between company a and company b, but if no manufacturers back one company, than that’s telling you something.
At Innovative Contracting Services, we are recommended by James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding & CertainTeed Shingles.
If you are a resident of Massachusetts, you are probably familiar with the region’s famously intense winters. Strong winds, frequent rain, and several inches of snow are all signatures of the cold season up here. Luckily, you have modern conveniences like strong home exteriors and air heating to keep your living spaces warm and comfortable. This makes it ever more important to ensure that our home remains in solid condition, and ready for any calamities ahead.
For that, few things do a better job than HardiePlank siding from James Hardie. Their product has been a staple for homeowners looking for the strongest siding around that is resilient to any form of in climate weather, harsh Boston storms included.
There are numerous things about HardiePlank that make it so great. One is its composition. Consisting of a unique mix of water, sand, cement and wood fibers, the result is a strong and sturdy material that can withstand the rigors of any climate, including Boston’s.
The strong nature of the material also means that it is incredibly low maintenance. It doesn’t rot, it doesn’t crack or warp due to temperature changes, and it’s signature Colorplus technology means that you don’t have to worry about fading or peeling paint. It is also fire-resistant, a perk that traditional wood doesn’t have. This low maintenance and upkeep mean that the on-going cost will be very little, ensuring that the siding is well worth the investment.
Many would assume that all these perks come at the cost of appearance, as some would get the impression that Hardieplank would be too industrial for their tastes. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about it, as James Hardie comes in numerous different shapes, colors and textures to suit whatever look you desire. Your home can look as contemporary or as traditional as you want, without the slightest compromise on protection and quality. Plus, the previously mentioned Colorplus technology ensures that your home stays looking brand new for years to come.
As you can see, Hardieplank by James Hardie is quite the product. Its unique composition keeps it resilient to almost anything mother nature can throw at it, while still retaining an authentic look that is familiar to even the most traditional of tastes. It’s a favorite among homeowners and contractors alike, which is why we choose to stand by it and vouch for its reliability as an Elite Preferred Contractor. This means we are especially qualified to install their product, and with our work comes a special warranty vouching for our labor.
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.