November 14, 2016 1 Comment
For most homeowners, the most stressful part of a home remodeling venture is not the work itself, but rather hiring a contractor to take on the project. So where is a homeowner to start in locating someone reputable, competent and experienced? Here, we offer some helpful insight on where to get started, things to consider, and how to identify trustworthy review sites versus confusing complaint boards.
Understanding that even with an experienced contractor, remodeling projects can be stressful, expensive and possibly locate unexpected surprises such as; wood rot under previous roofing components, water damage around windows, or possibly electrical wiring issues in a kitchen remodel.
Despite these potential issues, in choosing a reputable and experienced contractor it can make all the difference in the end result between success or disaster.
Where to Begin:
Know What You Want: After identifying the issue you are looking to resolve, or update, take some time to research what you envision the end result to be before getting estimates. This will help give your contractor a better idea of your expectations and will avoid last minute updates that may take you over budget.
Things To Consider:
- Ask Around: Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Most consumers are more apt to hire someone that a friend or relative has used and found success with versus taking a chance on the unknown.
- Project Timeline: Know when you want to have your project completed, and understand that a quality contractor may not be able to start immediately.
- Finding Mr. Right: While general contractors are great for small to mid-size projects, a larger project (such as building an addition or replacing a roof) requires the right contractor for the right job. By hiring a specialist for your desired project, you ensure that they not only have the expertise, but also the tools to do things right the first time.
- Learn About Licensing & Insurance: A reputable contractor will be fully licensed and bonded. You can learn about their licensing by requesting they provide you with a copy, or via the Better Business Bureau.
- References & Reviews: It is common practice to request several references in addition to doing research on the company via online reviews. Understanding that not all online review sites are created equally for reliability and credibility.
Identifying Trustworthy Reviews:
A quality contracting company should follow the belief that an unhappy customer is their greatest source of learning. As we mentioned previously, even the best contractors can run into unforeseen complications that can cause stress mid-project. It is how those companies roll with those punches that makes or breaks them for reputability.
The common phrase “you cannot believe everything you read on the internet” is especially true when looking at online review sites. Here are some things to consider when conducting online research:
Review Sites Versus Complaint Boards:
- The “perfect” record: this should be a red-flag telling a consumer that the company they are looking at has paid to remove their “dirty laundry”, and more importantly how they resolved (or failed to resolve) their issue.
- Complaints Abound: On the flip side of the perfect record, there are sites like Yelp, Ripoff Report, Consumer Affairs and Pissed Consumer that can attack reputable companies without proper recourse. There is nothing stopping a competitor from creating a fraudulent account as a means of causing damage, and misleading reviews.
*Note: none of these predatory “review” sites are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and most scored an “F” rating on the BBB scale.
Who Can You Trust?
- Angie’s List: Number 1 for user reliability, they have a proprietary process for the verification of review authenticity. This allows you to get a clear picture of the customer impression of the company, work completed and approximate costs for their project.
- Better Business Bureau: With the BBB, consumers can view the history of the company with the BBB, in addition to the lifecycle snapshot of a complaint resolution.
- Home Advisor: Understanding that not every homeowner has the time to wait for a quality contractor’s schedule to open up, Home Advisor can match homeowners up to reputable contractors who are available to start the project ASAP. They also provided added piece of mind with background checks on every service provider accepted.
- Houzz: Offers design ideas to help homeowners get started in understanding what they want, as well as the ability to search for pro contractors in their area. The Houzz review function is verified for customer authenticity prior to going live on their site as a means of ensuring quality reviews for consumers.
At Erie, we pride ourselves on helping homeowners through every stage of their remodel. We strive to give consumers the tools they need to make informed decisions, even if that means they do not end up hiring us. Your investment is our priority, and we embrace the opportunity to work with our customers by helping them discover the look they love. Find out why we are different, call us for your free estimate today!
July 29, 2016 10 Comments
With fall a few short months away now is the time to consider you roof. Crisp temperatures often bring higher utility bills, not to mention drafts. Once winter delivers snow and rain, leaks can become evident. Ignoring a leak can worsen and could result in interior damage or even mold or roof deck rot.
While replacing a roof can be a significant decision, it also helps protect your biggest investment; your home. It gives you the chance to start fresh with a new exterior look and offering a great way to express your individual personality and add real value.
So, you are ready to consider it, but where to begin? We are here to help take the mystery out of the roof replacement process.
Roofing System Components
Before meeting with a contractor or salesperson, it is helpful to understand the basic roofing system components to better be able to understand the roofing jargon.
|Deck:||The structural base for the roof, usually made of wood or plywood|
|Dormer:||A structure containing a window that projects vertically through the slope in the roof|
|Eave:||The lower border of the roof that overhangs the wall|
|Flashing:||Sheet metal or other material installed into a roof system’s various joints and valleys to prevent water|
|Gable:||The triangular section of the outer wall at the peak of the roof. Also a type of roof.|
|Hip:||The intersection of two roof planes that meet to form a sloping ridge running from the peak to the eave.|
|Off-ridge exhaust vent:||Individual exhaust vents usually located on the upper half of the roof that allow warm, humid air to escape from the attic. May be round, square or resemble a pipe or stack.|
|Rake:||The outer edge of the roof from the eave to the ridge|
|Ridge:||An intersection of two roof planes forming a horizontal peak|
|Ridge vent:||An exhaust vent that runs horizontally along the peak of the roof allowing warm, humid air to escape from the attic|
|Sheathing:||Boards or sheet material that are fastened to roof rafters to cover a house or building|
|Square:||One “square” of roofing material equals 100 square feet of roofing area. Many roofing materials are bought by the square|
|Under-eave Vent:||Intake vents located under the eaves of the roof that help draw cool dry air into the attic.|
|Underlayment:||A layer of protective material between the deck and the shingles|
|Valley:||The intersection of two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff|
Understanding Ventilation & Insulation
One of the most critical factors in roofing longevity is proper ventilation. Without it, heat and moisture can build up in an attic area causing rafters to rot, sheathing to rot and mildew and even mold. An ideal attic has:
- A layer of insulation that that is gap-free along the attic floor to regulate heat loss and gain
- A vapor retarder under the insulation, and next to the ceiling to stop moisture from rising
- Open & vented space to allow air to pass in and out freely
- Minimum of 1” between insulation & roof sheathing
What Roofing System Is Right For Me?
This is the million-dollar question for many homeowners. It really depends on how much you are willing to invest in your roof. The right answer for your home is the one that answers these 5 considerations:
- Architectural Style
While asphalt shingles take up more than 50 percent of the market share, there is an emergence of new and alternative materials on which people are willing to spend the money, due to style and longevity benefits. If you are looking to break away from the “sea of sameness” found in most residential neighborhoods, explore these options:
A newer product on the market, synthetic slate has gained popularity. Some features of synthetic slate are that it is lightweight and easily customizable in color, which is not possible in natural slate materials.
One drawback to synthetic slate is that due to its relative newness to the marketplace, the warranty is largely unproven. The materials could last upward of 50 years, but that has not been proven at this time.
Cedar shingles are a very durable product, and are very resistant to wind. Western Red Cedar is the most popular style of this type of roofing material, typically seen in Northwestern states like Washington.
While cedar is beautiful, there are several things to be aware of with this type of roofing material. They largely cost significantly more than asphalt roofing, have a poor fire rating and often need breathing room to swell and dry out in seasonal weather.
The most widely used roofing material is asphalt. Most typically, the shingles are a mix of fiberglass and cellulose mix. They can be easily customized to various color schemes and generally can be found for a quick DIY project. They offer a moderate lifespan of 15 years if properly maintained throughout the year.
They are most commonly a B fire rating, which means that they are combustible. In the event of a fire, they are likely to burn and implode into the burning building.
Another concern with asphalt shingles is that they often will loosen around chimneys and pipes, as well as they can curl, buckle or blister in the elements like snow, wind or sun.
It is a common misnomer that all metal roofs look like those found on a barn or warehouse. In fact, if you like the look of the above-listed roofing options, without the drawbacks, metal roofing may be for you.
Metal shingles come in a variety of styles reminiscent to their asphalt and cedar-shake counterparts. They can be customized to a wide variety of colors, offer a Class A fire rating and offer a lifetime transferrable warranty. They will not buckle, curl or peel, and can withstand all that Mother Nature has to offer.
Additionally, metal roofs are energy efficient and can lower your utility bills year-round.
Call us today to see how we can save you money! 1-800-563-4200
January 20, 2013 0 Comments
LIFX Smart Bulb is set to revolutionize home lighting. This Wi-Fi enabled bulb allows you total control of your home lighting via your smart phone or other internet-enabled device. Control color, intensity, and even schedule your lighting around your needs.