Different Types of Roofing

A new roof is a big purchase. With the numerous types of roofing and shingles, how do you know which one to choose?

Asphalt Shingles3

Take a look at the homes in your neighborhood, and you’ll likely see a majority of their roofs have asphalt shingles. Far and wide, asphalt shingles are the more used type of roofing. They are relatively inexpensive, however, they have a short lifespan relatively. You can expect asphalt shingles to last 20 to 30 years.

4Slate and Tile

If you’ve traveled to the Southwest states, you’ll be familiar with tile shingles. While these shingles last more than 50 years, they are among the most expensive. They are also much heavier than asphalt shingles. Before you get your heart set on the beautiful colonial Spanish style look of these tile shingles, make sure that your home can structurally support their weight.

In comparison to tile shingles, slate tiles are much more popular in the Northeast. Similarly, slate tile is extremely durable with a life span equal to that of tile. Slate shingles are also on the more expensive side. But if your budget won’t work with real slate shingles, check out synthetic slate. Synthetic slate isn’t quite as long-lasting, but it is just as aesthetically pleasing.

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Wood

Wood shingles can be made from any type of wood. Hardwood, such as cedar, shingles have been known to last as long as 50 years! Their earthy, rustic appearance makes them popular because of the aesthetics, however, they do require a bit of maintenance. Generally, wood shingles are more expensive than asphalt tiles.

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At Tri-State Home Improvement, we only use the best quality products so you can be confident that no matter what type of roofing you decide on, your family will be safe and dry no matter the season. Keeping your family safe and comfortable is our top priority. Ready to get started? Contact us today for a free estimate!

Organizing your Garage 101

Is your garage a thing of organized beauty or a dysfunctional mess? If you haven’t had time to organize and clean your garage, now is a great time to get started! Pick a weekend to tackle this project, and then prepare by reading over our list to help you get organized once and for all!

Don’t forget to get help! Round up your family or even hire an expert if need be! Organizing your garage, depending on how big it is, can take quite a long time on your own.

Decide What to Keep, Donate and Throw Away

When was the last time you got out your rollerblades or your tennis racket? If you haven’t touched it in over a year, you probably don’t need it. Take some time to go through everything in your garage and decide what goes, what stays, and what can be given away.

Once you’ve decided what you’re keeping, group like items together so you can start to organize your belongings in a thoughtful way.

Storing Items

Take advantage of walls and ceiling space. Shelving units high above your head and garage door mechanisms can be a great place to store those seasonal items you only use once in a while. Artificial Christmas Trees and yard decorations are great examples. But don’t be afraid to get creative! Do you keep a roll of trash bags in the garage? Try repurposing a towel holder to fit your trash bags.

Does your family have several recycling bins? Create bin hangers that not only free up some floor space, but also make it easier pick up and move them. Click here for specific instructions on these great tips and so much more!

7With a little bit of work, your garage can look like this in no time! Don’t forget to check the siding and look for any leaks in your garage while you’re cleaning. If your garage has windows, be sure you check those as well. If you find any leaks or other problems that need repair, be sure to contact the Tri-State team!

Preparing for School

1It’s August, and that means school is coming! For some this is an exciting time of shopping for new school clothes and supplies, but for some students anticipating a new school year can be stressful. As we say good-bye to the last few days of summer, check out our list of three steps to help your kids get off on the right foot this school year.

 

Create a Routine 

One of the worst parts of going back to school is getting back into the routine, but it doesn’t have to be. A few weeks before school starts, start preparing your family for their new routine by changing bedtimes and wake up times. On the first day of school, your kids (and you) will all be happier if you’re used to getting up and moving at the right time, and have had a good night’s sleep!

Get Organized and Prepared

2Make a list of the items your kids are going to need to be successful this year and then head to the store! Teachers will often send lists with needed supplies, but if not, you can’t go wrong with several notebooks, pens and pencils and other typical school supplies.

Talk it Out

Help your child battle their first day of school butterflies by talking to them and determining what is making them anxious. Do they know where their classroom is? If not, see if you can take them by their school and find their classroom together. Are they nervous about making new friends? Talk to them and give them some tips and tricks for how they can start talking to their classmates. Talking things through can often help relieve any stress or anxiety that your student might be feeling.

 

If you take advantage of these tips, the first day of school is going to be a breeze! For great tips and tricks for getting ready for school to getting organizes and gardening, check out our Pinterest page!

Home Maintenance Tips for Summer

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Being a homeowner takes a lot of work and maintenance! Do you know where to start cleaning your home this summer? Take a look at our list of summer maintenance tips to help you keep your home in the best shape!

Schedule an air conditioning tune up

An air conditioning tune up should be at the top of your list when it comes to summer home maintenance! A seasonal tune up is the best way to avoid HVAC emergencies and to ensure that you’re staying cool all summer long.

Clean your gutters and inspect your roof

No one likes to clean the gutters, but it has to be done. Regular cleaning will help to prevent clogging and leaks. The best way to clean your gutters is to use a small plastic scoop to remove any of the gunky build up and then, using a garden hose, flush out the gutters and downspout. Be mindful and watch for any leaks in your gutters or downspouts and repair them as necessary.

Inspecting your roof as the season changes will help to ensure that there wasn’t any damage done over the course of the last season and to repair any damages you might find. For a complete list on roof maintenance for the summer, click here to read another one of our blogs!

Inspect and repair your windows

To keep your windows working their best and looking their best you need to know the importance of regular maintenance. Not only do well-maintained windows look better, they keep your home more energy efficient, and enhance the security of your home. The natural elements play hardball with your windows and contribute to their wear and tear. Check out this blog for more information on the best way to clean and maintain your windows.

Use your pressure washer!

Get out your pressure washer, or borrow your neighbor’s, and clean the exterior of your home. Keep your siding and exterior walls looking their best with regular cleaning to remove dirt, stains and any mildew. You can also use a pressure washer to clean your deck!

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Homeownership takes a lot of work, but we’re here to help get you started down the right path! Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent any issues down the road. But should you find a roof leak or that you need new windows, give the experts at Tri-State a call! We’re here to help protect you and your family. Contact us today for a free estimate!

Making an Entrance

It’s time to give your home a face lift, but that doesn’t mean having to undergo a complete overhaul! A new front door can change the entire look and feel of your home. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite doors and front stoops to give you some inspiration!

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Rich Colors and Frosted Glass

Updating to a rich, dark-stained front door immediately gives your home a more modern look. We still love the look of both the light and the dark stain and the variation in windows!

 

Color!22

A bright and colorful door is a great way to bring new life to your home. Bright colors are trendy, bold and unique. Stand out from your neighbors with a new and colorful door!

 

Pick a color that accents the color of your siding and roofing for a completed look.

 

French Doors

Are French doors more your style? French doors are beautiful and give your home a luxurious and classic feel. And with the variety of designs and styles, you can create a completely unique look and feel.

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Don’t forget that you can always accessorize your doors with fun or seasonal wreaths and plants! It’s a great way to show your personal style!

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Feeling inspired? At Tri-State Home Improvement, we only install the quality of products on your home that we would use on our own. That’s why we sell Therma-Tru doors. Whether you’re searching for a contemporary entry door or beautiful French patio doors, search no further than Therma-Tru. Contact the Tri-State team today for a FREE estimate!

Festive Fourth of July Recipe

We love the Fourth of July! It’s a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family and celebrate with a cook out. If you’re preparing to host or attend a Fourth of July party, you need to check out this fun and festive treat that you can prepare—people of all ages are bound to love it!

Patriotic Jell-O Cups  

Jell-O is a simple and inexpensive option that everyone will love! The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 1 3-ounce package of blue Jell-O gelation
  • 1 3-ounce package of red Jell-O gelation
  • 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • drained maraschino cherries

You’ll need to gather clear plastic cups before you start as well. Make the blue Jell-O as the box instructs. After allowing the mixture to cool, fill the cup up to one-third of the way with the mixture and then place in the refrigerator to cool.
1234While that cools, mix 1/3 cup of milk and unflavored gelatin into another bowl. Heat the remaining 2/3 cup of milk to a boil and remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of sugar until dissolved. Add the heated milk to the mixture of gelatin and milk and continue stirring until completely blended. Let this mixture cool and then pour it into the glasses that contain the blue Jell-O another third of the way up. Put the glasses back into the refrigerator to cool and set up.

The final step in this recipe is to make the red gelatin as the box describes and repeat the earlier instructions. Before returning the cups to the refrigerator, add a cherry to each and put them back in the refrigerator until it’s party time!

Your guests are bound to love this fun treat! For more recipes for every occasion, check out our Pinterest page! And when it’s time to update your roof, windows, siding or front door to really impress your holiday guests, contact the Tri-State team for all of your home improvement needs.

The Benefits of Metal Roofing

metal roofing 1

You’ve decided it’s time to install a new roof. Have you considered a new metal roof? If you
haven’t, you should! A metal roof is a great choice for your family’s home for more reasons more than just the aesthetics.

Longevity

A metal roof lasts between 40 and 70 years, when maintained properly—a huge difference compared to the 12 to 20 years you can get from traditional asphalt shingles.

Durability

Depending on the type of metal, some metal roofs can withstand up to 140 mile per hour winds. They also require less maintenance than traditional shingles. They should be inspected periodically to make sure no repairs are required, however.

Safety

Unlike asphalt shingles, a metal roof is not flammable. Should lightning strike your home with a metal roof you can rest easy knowing it won’t burst into flames.

Energy Efficiency

You can reduce your cooling costs by 10 to 25 percent thanks to the solar radiant reflecting properties of the metal.

Environmentally Friendly

If purchasing products that are environmentally conscious is important to you, a metal roof is perfect. They are made of 25 to 95 percent recycled materials and are 100 percent recyclable at the end of the roof’s life.

metal roofing 1

A new roof is a big investment and one you should do all of your research for. A metal roof is safe, durable, energy efficient, environmentally friendly and has the staying power of 40 to 70 years. Install a metal roof and rest assured that you and your family are safe. Give us a call today or visit our website to discuss metal roof options!

Dry Rot

You’ve probably heard of dry rot and know that it’s not a good thing. But what is it? And how do you know if your home has it? We’ve put everything you need to know together for you here!

Does your home have dry rot?

Dry rot is a fungus that, as it matures, shrinks and cracks the wood in your walls. In the end, it looks like you have cut a bunch of small rectangular cuts out of the lumber.

What does it look like?

dry rot

In more humid areas, dry rot looks puffy and cotton like. “Teardrops” and “fruiting bodies” tend to grow on this fungus. If that’s not gross enough, they produce spores. The wood also crumbles away easily when poked.

Spores

Spores are where your troubles start. They float through the air and cause problems once they come into contact with moisture. Moisture causes the spore to germinate and grow. It develops thin strings of hyphae that join together and form mycelium. Once evolved from the spore, mycelium can take over and area and that is when you get dry rot.

Foundation

Rot threatens the integrity of the foundation of your home. It’s best to start finding a contractor now before it gets any worse.

Fixing it

A licensed contractor is the best—and safest—bet when trying to repair the dry rot areas.  Here are the basics of how your contractor will repair the dry rot

  1. The first step is to expose all of the dry rot, and that means removing the siding, insulation and drywall. All of the damaged wood will need to be removed and replaced.
  2. Next, the contractor will cut out all of the wood that shows damage.
  3. The wood near and around the affected pieces should be treated for the fungus, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced.
  4. Now the wood can be replaced. Again, don’t do this on your own. It’s important to hire a contractor to make sure the job is done correctly.
  5. Get rid of all the damaged wood and put everything back together.

 

Dry rot is no laughing matter and can affect the health and safety of your family.  To prevent dry rot from happening to your home, make sure your wood siding is sealed properly and installed by a professional, have your roof checked annually for damage, make sure your home is properly ventilated and be sure that you don’t have any plumbing leaks. Lastly, if your home has a wooden deck, it should be properly sealed as well.

When you need your roof inspected or need new siding, give us a call at Tri-State. We know how important the well-being and safety of your family is, and we’re here to help!

Signs that it’s time to re-side your home

Replacing your home’s siding probably isn’t number one on your to-do list, but maybe it should be. We’ve compiled a list below of the things you should be aware of when it comes to knowing when to re-side your home.

Frequent painting

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How often are you painting your home? If you’re painting every five or so years, something isn’t
quite right with your siding. You can expect the paint on your siding to last at least eight years, so chipping, peeling and other issues with the paint is a sign of trouble and it’s time to replace it.

High energy bills

A sudden jump in the cost of your heating and cooling bills is a good indication that your home needs new siding as air can escape through the siding. Do a visual inspection of the siding, paying special attention to where the seams meet the roof.

Damaged siding

A visual inspection can point out a number of different issues with your siding.

Rotting and warped boards

Take a screwdriver or some other sharp object, and look for warped or rotting boards. Poke under the siding using the screwdriver to see how solid the under layer is. If you find that it is soft, that means it’s starting to rot and your home is due for a siding replacement.

Holes

Don’t take small holes for granted, they can be a serious issue too.  Holes are generally caused by insects, and if insects have gotten into your siding moisture can easily get in as well.

Holes in siding indicate it's time to re-side your home.

Bubbles

Bubbles indicate moisture is trapped, and this should send up red flags. Siding is designed to keep moisture away from your walls under your siding, so bubbles are a sign that it’s time to replace your siding.

Bubbles indicate moisture in your siding

Peeling paint or moisture in your home

This is another sign that your siding isn’t doing its job and letting moisture in. Bad siding lets moisture seep its way into your walls and affect the walls inside your home.

Fungus and mildew and mold—oh my!

Fungus, mildew and mold is another sign that moisture is in your siding. Not all signs of fungus are a problem, but you should definitely investigate further.

 

Do any of these sound like your home? Protect your home from any further damage and replace your siding when you notice any of these issues. And don’t forget that Tri-State offers free estimates! Contact us today for your home improvement projects!

Risks of Unlicensed Contractors

unlicensed contractors

Homeownership comes with the cost of maintaining and repairing your home, and can be very costly. In the search for the most cost-effective way to repair your home, you’ll likely come across both licensed and unlicensed contractors. An unlicensed contractor’s bid will likely be lower than a licensed contractor’s, but promising the same work. It sounds like a great option, but the unlicensed contractor could cost you more in the long run.

If you hire an unlicensed contractor for a project, as the homeowner, you are technically the contractor on the job. That means you are liable for any injuries or mistakes that happen on the job! If an accident happens on the job and one of the workers is injured, you are liable for the incident and could end up paying for it, or even being sued.

As an unlicensed contractor, they don’t have the necessary permits and insurance required to do the job. Two of the most common complaints when working with an unlicensed contractor is their workmanship, or running off with the payment without doing the work. Paying for a cheaper, unlicensed contractor can really backfire if they don’t show up for the job, or the work is subpar.

Generally, licenses are required for work that will affect the structural or electrical integrity of a home—that includes roofing! Don’t fall victim to an unlicensed contractor. Do your homework and know what it means to be licensed.

  1. Find out what the licensing requirements are in your state. A contractor must be licensed in the state where the work is going to be done.
  2. Word of mouth is a great way to find a contractor you can trust. Talk to your friends and neighbors who’ve had work done on their homes and had a great experience. They can point you in the direction of a trustworthy source.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for their paper license.
  4. Fact check. Check with the county and state departments that your contractor is licensed and if there have been any complaints made about them. Be sure to get the contractor’s full name, company name and license number.
  5. Make sure your contractor is licensed to perform the work you’re hiring them for. For instance, you’ll want a licensed electrician working on the electrical aspects of your home and not a roofer.
  6. Hiring a general contractor to do the work of hiring specialized contractors for you can be a great help, but make sure whoever he hires is also licensed.

 

We understand that sometimes the lure of a lower bid from an unlicensed contractor can seem appealing. At Tri-State, we want to make sure you and your family are safe in your home and can trust the quality of products used on your home. Give us a call today, or visit our website to get started with a free estimate!