Roof Maintenance

Roof Maintenance 

Most homeowners never think much about the roof over their heads, but it’s what protects your family and home from the elements and it can be easily damaged by weather and will probably eventually need to be replaced, if you live in the home for a long time.  Most roofing materials will last for at least 20 years, depending on the material composition.

roofing_galleryOne thing you should incorporate into your routine is regularly inspecting your home’s roof for damage.  This is especially important after a severe storm or natural disaster, but should be done at least once a year!

You can make many observations about your roof even from inside your home, including watching for dark spots and “bowing” on ceilings and dampness around fireplaces and water pipes leading to hot water heaters, swamp coolers, etc.  On fireplaces, it is common for the roof flashing around the chimney to loosen, which allows water to seep into the woodwork around the flue!

Even more roof wear and tear observations can be made from outside by actually going up on the roof and inspecting for damage.  If you are uncomfortable with ladders and high places, you may want to invest in a pair of binoculars to enable you to see the roof up close without actually going up there.  You can also always hire a professional to inspect the roof, many of which will do so free of charge.

On the outside of your home, you should watch for peeling paint underneath the roof over hangings, caulking that is cracked or peeling, rusty flashings around fireplace chimneys, skylights, evaporative cooler/AC units, etc.  You should also watch for warping and worn shingles, if you have asphalt roofing.  Any sign of mold could mean unseen roof decaying and needs immediate attention to prevent further damage that can happen very quickly once it gets started.

If you are diligent about inspecting your roof, you should be able to observe any damage before it gets out of hand and requires expensive repairs or roof replacement.  Most roof leaks can be easily repaired if caught early since they often are fixable with a little caulking.   If your roof suffers damage from a severe storm or natural disaster, the repair and/or replacement should be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy and you should contact a professional roofing contractor to undertake repair or replacement as soon as possible to mitigate roof damage.

If you have to replace your roof, the average cost is around $21,000 for asphalt shingles and the prices goes up from there for more durable materials like metal and tile!  Inspect your roof regularly to make it last as long as possible! 

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Remodeling ~v~ Buying a New Home

Remodeling Versus Buying a New Home

 There are many reasons for homeowners to consider purchasing a different home and moving their lives into it and, whatever the reason, many people are on the move today especially because of the glut of homes on the market that have been seized in foreclosure, low purchase prices and very low interest rates!

room_additionBefore you pick up and move into someone else’s “territory,” however, consider this:  not until you have moved repeatedly will you realize that the life you live changes from place to place and cannot be duplicated when you move.  So, if you are enjoying your life and the neighborhood in which you live, or you have great neighbors or good local schools, you may want to consider remodeling your existing home instead of moving to a different one.

People buy new homes for many reasons, including an increase in income, a growing family, lack of storage space for your possessions, etc.  You may have to spend many hours looking at different homes before you find one that fits your particular lifestyle and you will more than likely envision changes in that new home to better suit your needs.  Many homes on the market today have been vandalized by previous resentful owners and may present huge headaches for you if you come along and purchase that home “as-is!”  Remodeling your existing home may be a better solution for enhancing your living situation!

If you love certain aspects of your existing home and would like to enhance your lifestyle, remodeling your home ensures that you will get exactly what you want instead of settling for some other person’s idea of “home.”  Remodeling a newer home is not advisable unless you have deep pockets, as it can be very expensive and most people will better benefit from purchasing a different newer home, rather than remodeling their existing newer home to fit their lifestyles.

One of the most desirable aspects of buying a new home is efficiency of appliances and saving money on utility bills.  Newer homes tend to be more efficient and economical because of modern HVAC systems, water heaters, appliances, insulation and windows.  If you choose to remodel, these things are a good place to start!

Most homes are well built enough to withstand the addition of a second (or third) story and it’s always more economical to build “up,” rather than “out,” since building out involves a lot of site work, including the foundation.

Before you leave your present home for life in a different one, consider all the factors that will cause your life to change, often drastically, by selling that home and moving somewhere else.  Every home you live in will present you with a lifestyle that is not going to be replicated anywhere else, so make sure you really want to move before you turn your life upside down because it’s true that you can never go back!

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Roofing Options

Roofing Material Options

A light-colored roof will not absorb as much heat as a darker colored one and there are many materials to consider for your re-roofing project, from thatch-type dried grass materials to stone, concrete and tile.

roof7Composition shingles are very common choices since they offer a wide selection of types and colors and are affordable and easy to install.  In many cases, new composition shingles can be nailed right onto your existing roof, eliminating the need to remove old shingles.  However, many roofing contractors in the Pasadena area of Texas would argue that all old roofing material should be removed before re-roofing with any application.

Metal roofs have become a popular choice in many areas and some metal roofing can also be nailed directly to existing roofs, reducing the costs of removing old roofing and excessive clean up.  Metal roofs are obviously fire-retardant and are also extremely durable, as well as energy-efficient since the metal roof reflects the heat of the sun.  Initial costs of re-roofing with metal will be higher than with other composites, but the metal roof will pay for itself over time with its durability and longevity.

Wood shake roofing materials offer a lot of character and a variety of looks with many choices of color and styles that will result in a unique looking shake roof every time.  This type of roofing material is harder to install and requires a lot of maintenance and repair.  Wood shakes are also prone to damage from rotting and mildew as well as insects, so shake roofing may not be a good choice for many applications.

Clay tile and slate roofs are popular for homes of southwestern design and offer a variety of looks with the different styles, shapes and colors from which to choose.  They are generally more expensive and harder to install, but will outlast the home on which they are installed because they are so durable!  They are also very heavy and may require additional roof support and the roofing tiles/slate will break if not carefully walked on during tasks such as gutter cleaning.  The colored clay tiles and/or slate surfaces fade over time, but very little maintenance is necessary after installation of a clay tile or slate roof and they offer good protection from fires!

Concrete is being used for everything from countertops to flooring to roofing material!  Concrete roofing mimics the look of clay/slate and even simulated wood shake roofing and offers good fire protection, low maintenance and resistance to elements like insects, mold and rotting.

Hot Mop roofing is a much less expensive option and holds up well if properly applied, but this product has been banned in many urban areas due to the smelly pollutants released into the air when applying the melted asphalt mixture to roofs.

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Houston area Building Trends

Houston Building Trends:

The Texas towns of League City and Texas City are enjoying expansion because they are situated near the shoreline of Galveston Bay, a body of water that is an important part of the petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing industry in the Gulf Coast area.

With the expansion of those industries come jobs and the need for housing.  There are many homes on the market, but the best way to get the home you want is to build it from the ground up, according to your particular specifications.

Building trends in this area and others have changed from large, spacious homes to homes that are smaller and therefore, more affordable to build and easier to maintain.

The focus of most homebuilders today is on efficiency and practicality, which necessarily requires simplicity.  The average house size continues to shrink and homeowners want to create functional space in every room.  Homebuilders are even utilizing simple geometric lines for the outside structure of their homes, which makes them easier and less expensive to build, as well as more affordable to heat and cool.

Many homebuilders today pay attention to details that include energy efficiency and anything that leaves less of a “footprint” on the environment.  This includes using paints and stains that are less toxic, along with cabinetry and floors made from natural products like bamboo and other types of wood and HVAC systems that improve indoor air quality.  Water efficiency has also become popular in home building and includes toilets, showerheads and other bath and kitchen features designed to save water.

Since the kitchen is the heart of most homes, homeowners are remodeling kitchens that have multi-functional uses for interacting with family and friends.  This usually includes a larger kitchen with invisible appliances and lots of cabinets for storage and a bar with seating which eliminates the need for dining rooms.  Today’s trend is for kitchens that are connected to (or part of) the “great room” or main family living space.

With smaller homes comes the necessity for wiser use of space, including seating that doubles as storage space and closet organizers with many cubbyholes, bins and baskets for storing various things.

The main objective in building a home in the 21st century is to create a house that is energy-efficient and small enough for easy maintenance, but large enough to serve your purposes, which may involve multiple bedrooms with today’s multi-generational households.

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Remodeling Contractors

Kitchen Remodeling

The kitchen is the central room in most households and many people in the League City, Texas area are choosing to remodel their homes, including kitchens, instead of purchasing a new home.

There are many things to consider if you want to remodel your kitchen and you should determine the design elements most compatible with your lifestyle before starting the remodeling process.

You should be wary of the “trendy” kitchen that includes bold colors or shapes, like whitewashed cabinetry.  Don’t over-customize with things you don’t need, like fancy chandeliers that provide inadequate lighting or fixtures designed for top of the line chefs, unless you are one!  You should keep the future in mind and choose options that will be appealing to others in case you decide to sell your home in the future.

Many people think the best way is to “do it yourself.”  Unless you are a seasoned builder and have lots of time, this is probably not the best way to remodel a kitchen.  There are many aspects to redesigning a kitchen and you should realize that hiring a professional contractor is probably the best way to go, since he will have contacts with other builders who specialize in various things, like flooring, cabinetry, plumbing, etc.  Hiring a reputable, licensed contractor will ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams.

A common mistake made by many homeowners is allowing the construction contractor to make decisions for the homeowner.  You should always relay what you want to your builder in any way you can, including pictures with examples of workmanship that you desire for your home.  Be sure to visit kitchen show rooms or big box stores to see what’s trending in kitchen designs and make your own decisions as to what elements to include in your new space.

There are many things to consider when remodeling your kitchen.  Do you use a portion of your kitchen as your “home office?”  Do your kids do their homework in the kitchen?  Do they assist in preparing meals?  Do you want a flat island bar or a raised one?  What materials are available for cabinetry, countertops and floors and which are the most functional for your kitchen?  What brand of appliances do you want in your new kitchen?

Don’t let other people’s opinions affect your decisions in choosing remodeling options for your kitchen.  If you take the time to carefully plan your kitchen remodel, with all the details, and hire a licensed building contractor, you will be well on your way to an up-to-date, modern, functional kitchen that will serve your purposes for many years to come!

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Roofing Contractor Tips

Roofing Contractor

Roofs and Storm Damage:

Your home’s roof is the most important part of the structure since it protects you and your possessions from the adverse affects of nature’s elements.  There are many things that can damage a home’s roof, including rain, snow, wind and even sunshine!  If you live in the League City or Pasadena areas in Texas, you are no stranger to the affects of those forces on the exterior of your home, including siding and roofing.

Once weather strikes and damages your home, there’s little you can do but make repairs to the structure to prevent further damage from future storms.  Regardless of the quality of your home’s roofing materials, the forces of wind, rain, hail and snow can jeopardize the integrity of your roof by creating small holes and cracks or loosening of tiles or other roofing materials which can quickly lead to more serious problems.  If you’re a homeowner in Texas, you should make a habit of examining your home’s roof after every violent weather episode so that you and your home’s roof are prepared for Texas’ next inevitable adverse weather event!

After a violent storm has passed through your area, you should immediately examine your roof for signs of damage.  Most of the time, roof damage from the weather is not visible from the ground, so you’ll have to get that ladder out and actually climb onto the roof to inspect for damage.  (If you are not comfortable using ladders and climbing onto the roof, ask someone who is experienced to inspect your roof for you!)  Some things that may seem inconsequential to the average homeowner can actually lead to extensive roof damage in the future, if left un-repaired and include missing or damaged shingles or tiles, broken glue seals that are only visible by lifting the roofing tiles and looking under them and debris collecting under shingles or tiles.  If you discover any damage, your next step should be to contact your homeowner’s insurance company and immediately hire a roofing contractor to make the repairs.

Since any damage to your home’s roof can jeopardize the integrity of its structure, you should make sure you hire a competent roofing contractor for the repair work.  There are many competent building contractors in the League City and Pasadena areas, but you should hire the one that provides satisfactory answers to the following important questions:

  1. Does the company maintain liability insurance?  If so, ask to see a copy of the policy to ensure that the insurance coverage has not lapsed and is still in effect.  If the company does not have a policy of liability insurance, look for another contractor!
  1. Has the contractor repaired other roofs in your area?  If so, ask for names, addresses and telephone numbers so you can obtain references for their work.  If not, look for another contractor!
  1.  Most roof damage should be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy and any contractor you hire to make repairs should be willing to work with you and your insurer for arranging payment for their services and reimbursement for materials the contractor provides.  You should work directly with your homeowner’s insurance company to make sure you are within the guidelines of your policy and the building contractor should be willing to work through the insurance company, as well!
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Building a Garage

Residents of the Pearland, Texas area that includes the Sugar Land and Baytown metro areas are fortunate to have many options for constructing various types of buildings and numerous competent builders from which to choose.

Constructing a garage or carport is a great way to increase the usability and value of your property.  There are many things to consider before you begin construction of a garage, the first of which is contacting your local building authority to inquire about permits and procedures to follow to legally add a garage to your property.  This is also something a contractor will do.

Adding a garage will involve many decisions, including deciding where to put it and whether it should be attached or detached.  After you’ve determined what kind of garage to construct and where to build it, you’ll need to decide how big it should be to accommodate your particular needs, which will determine the ultimate costs of your new addition.  Consider all the uses of your new garage so you build it big enough to accommodate storage of your cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, four-wheelers or whatever else you plan to store there.  You may even decide that you only need a covered carport, which will greatly reduce the costs involved in construction.  Or you may want to add an upper level or attic for additional storage space.  Will your new garage include a bathroom and, therefore, plumbing?

After determining the size and style of your new garage, you should consider what materials you will use to build it, including roofing material, siding, stucco, plumbing fixtures, if necessary, and concrete applications.  When considering these options, keep in mind the environment of your particular area and build accordingly.  You may want to choose aluminum siding instead of stucco if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain or high humidity, since stucco is not a good choice for those climates.  Also keep in mind the costs of these various materials, since the bottom line in any construction process is how much it will cost to build.

The costs involved in building a garage will vary, depending on the types of material you choose to utilize.  Excavation and soil preparation for your garage’s foundation will be greatly influenced by the soil on which it’s being built, local zoning regulations and weather, so plan your construction for the time of year when your area enjoys the best weather.

Additional necessities will be roofing, framing and siding materials, as well as doors and windows, all of which vary in price according to material and quality.  Also, don’t forget to include labor costs in your plans.

How much will it ultimately cost?  Construction quotes for basic garages should be in the $40 to $50 per square foot range and will vary greatly depending on the builder and quality of materials used in construction.

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Remodeling Inside Your Home

Every home has something about it that could be changed for the better and remodeling your home will usually produce a good return on your investment.

Unless you’re an experienced builder, you’ll want to find a contractor who can achieve the results you’re looking for with quality work and appealing craftsmanship.

The first place you should consider remodeling is your kitchen, which is the center of activity in most people’s homes.  This type of remodel would consist of replacing cabinets and counter tops, appliances, lighting and possibly flooring.  If you are one of those people who got stuck with whitewashed wood for your cabinetry, it’s definitely time to replace them!  There are many beautiful shades of oak, maple and other wood products from which to choose for your kitchen cabinets.  You also don’t have to stick with wood since there are other materials available for cabinetry, as well.  Many of them are specially designed to accommodate spice racks, cleaning tools, bread drawers, trash bins and the list goes on and on.

Once you’ve decided on the cabinetry, you should start looking for counter tops, which also are available in a plethora of materials from wood to granite.  You should choose the material that will accommodate your cooking lifestyle and counter tops that will hold up for many years to get the most out of your investment.

Another good place to remodel is your bathrooms.  There are many nice features to choose from in accomplishing this including Jacuzzi bathtubs, walk-in showers without doors and a wide selection of options for sinks and toilets.

An easy remodel for bedrooms is adding a window seat, if space allows, which will greatly complement any room.

Replacing flooring is also a great way to remodel your home and completely change the way it looks.  Here, too, there are many options from which to choose, including, of course, carpet, tile, wood and even concrete, stamped or not.

Remember that it is a good rule of thumb to avoid “color” in things that are permanent like counter tops, sinks, appliances, flooring and window coverings.  A All of those things can be replaced, but doing so will be very expensive, time consuming and messy, as a general rule.

With careful planning and consideration, you can revamp your living space to make your home more comfortable and add to its value.

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Houston General Contractor

Houston General Contractor

A property owner or real estate developer develops a program of their needs and select a site (often with an architect). The architect assembles a design team of consulting engineers and other experts to design the building and specify the building systems. Today contractors frequently participate on the design team by providing pre-design services such as providing estimations of the budget and scheduling requirements to improve the economy of the project. In other cases the general contractor is hired at the close of the design phase. The owner, architect, and general contractor work closely together to meet deadlines and budget. The general contractor works with subcontractors to ensure quality standards.

The real estate developer or property owner determines specific needs of any particular construction project, including site selection and assembling a team of experts to complete the project.  These experts usually include an architect and a General Contractor, who has knowledge pertaining to all phases of construction and is responsible for overseeing its subcontractors, as well as ensuring quality control and the timely completion of the project.  The owner/developer works closely with the architect and the General Contractor to stay within budget and meet construction deadlines.

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Hiring a Contractor in Houston?

Contractor in Houston

Businesses and home owners may choose to hire and Independent contractors over employees for a variety of reasons. For legal reasons it can be easier to hire and to release a contractor compared to a permanent employee. Additionally, business owners may choose to hire contractors because of economic uncertainty or other factors that make hiring employees impractical. Other reasons include access to specialist skills, flexible hiring and firing, and lower costs. The first step in vetting a general contractor is to perform a contractor licensing lookup to ensure the contractor is properly licensed to perform the work. Most states in the United States have free online license check databases available to the general public. Many businesses hire subcontractors instead of permanent employees because of economic uncertainty and other factors that make hiring employees impractical, including easier access to workers with specialized skills, lower costs in the form of taxes and insurance, more flexibility with hiring and firing and legal issues that make it easier to hire or fire a subcontractor than to hire or terminate a permanent employee. Were a premier Remodeling Contractor in Houston.

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