5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

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.

Gutter Cleaning

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.

Furnace cleaning

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.

Roof Inspection

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.

Common Problems To Look Out For Over The Summer

Common Problems To Look Out For Over The Summer

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.

Insect Damage

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.

Molding

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!

How To Know When To Replace Your Gutters

How To Know When To Replace Your Gutters

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.

Warped Downspouts

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.

Interested in having us work on your home? Contact us at 781-393-4427, or fill out an online inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!

Why James Hardie is Perfect for the Winter

Why James Hardie is Perfect for the Winter

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.

Interested in installing James Hardie? Contact us at 781-393-4427, or through our online contact form. We’d be happy to assist you!

Which Siding Is Right for You?

Which Siding Is Right for 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.

3 Different Types of Roofing You Should Consider

3 Different Types of Roofing You Should Consider

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.

Asphalt

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

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.

Slate

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.

4 Windows That Should Be Part Of Your Home

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

 

Gable Windows

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 Window

 

Transom Window

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.

French Doors

 

French Doors

“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

 

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.

 

DIY Roofing is Dangerous, and Here is Why

DIY Roofing is Dangerous, and Here is Why

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.

Experience

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.

Dangerous Heights

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.

Time

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.

Call Now: 781-393-4427