Category Archives: tips

clean-organized-garage

Winterize Your Garage

When the first nice day of spring or summer arrives, everyone is chomping at the bit to get outside. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, or planting the first seeds for your home garden, the adventures often start in your garage. But why only utilize that space for six months, when you can enjoy it year-round?

Take some time this winter to tidy up your garage space with our helpful tips.

1. Utilize your wall space.

Older homes usually come with smaller garages, so if you’re constantly having a rock-paper-scissors war on what can and can’t stay in the garage, it’s time to utilize your walls for some alternative storage.

Instead of investing in a pricy toolbox, get some pegboard from your local home improvement store and hang it on the walls of your garage to store everything from hammers and screwdrivers, to drills and even cleaning supplies. Not only will this free up space on your garage floor, but you’ll also spend much less time sifting through supplies or trying to remember the last place you put your pliers.

Larger items can find a home on your walls, too. Shovels, rakes, leaf blowers, etc. can reside out-of-tripping territory with the use of a mounted tool rack, with some products holding as many as 20 tools!

2. Inspect winter equipment.

Year after year your snow blower lays dormant from the last snowfall of one season to the first of the next. It’s easy to push it out of sight, out of mind when there’s no snow to be seen, but the last thing you, or your back, needs is a faulty blower during the first blizzard of the season.

When the weather turns cold, it’s a good idea to run tests on your winter tools to make sure there are no kinks. If you find any, it’s better to deal with them then, as opposed to when there’s three feet of snow sitting between you and the rest of the world. A simple search in your internet browser for “snow blower tune up” will turn up tutorials and step-by-step guides for you to follow.

If you don’t consider yourself very handy, take your snow blower to a nearby hardware shop.

3. Upgrade the garage door.

Think about your own behavior for a minute. When you come home from picking the kids up from school, from work, the grocery store, etc. which door are you most likely to enter your house from? For many families, it’s the garage door and if you don’t have a well-sealed garage door, a lot of the cold outside air could be cooling your home.

Not only will replacing your garage door help with energy efficiency, it’s also an investment for your family’s safety. A favorite point-of-entry for many burglars are garage doors, with some being able to gain access to your home, family and valuables within a matter of seconds.

A solution to your energy efficient and safety needs would be investing in a steel garage door. This style of door is long-lasting, durable and insulated with polyurethane, or polystyrene, to keep the cold out and the heat in. Steel garage doors also eliminate the way burglars access your home with traditional roll-up garage doors, which makes it a safe and cost-effective investment for you and your family.

Tri-State Home Improvement is an area specialist when it comes to providing you with a safe, energy-efficient, high-quality garage. Our team of professionals provide you with custom solutions and designs to match your existing home and needs. Call Tri-State today, or click below, to access our free estimate on new garage construction!

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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!

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?

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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!

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!

Window Maintenance

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, but we’ve compiled a list of basic maintenance for you to take advantage of!

Cleaning

Cleaning is the easiest step in maintaining your windows. Using a damp cloth, regularly wipe down wooden windows to remove dust and dirt. Be careful not to use too much water!

Vinyl and aluminum frame windows can be washed with a mild detergent. Use a soft scrubbing brush if needed to remove any built up grime. After washing the frames, use a gentle glass cleaner to make your windows shine! Don’t forget to clean the window casing as well as the frame and glass. Keeping the casing clean will help to reduce window jams by keeping the area free of built up dirt and dust.

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Inspection

While you should regularly inspect your windows, a more intensive inspection should be done with every season. Focus on checking the condition of the window frame and sash, making sure to check for rot or moisture. If you have double or triple paned windows, be sure to check for moisture in between the panes. Moisture would mean that a seal has failed, and you should replace it as soon as you can. Pay attention to the weather-stripping on your windows and make note of any cracks or worn areas. Lastly, are there any gaps between your window casing and the wall? You can fix these easily with some latex caulk.

Sealing

The seals around your window play an important role in keeping your home energy efficient. Check for any holes that may be allowing air to come in and out of your home. If you’ve noticed any water leaks, or feel a breeze near your windows, it’s time to replace the rubber seals.

Repainting

Paint helps to protect your windows from the elements, as well as keeping your home looking great! Windows should be repainted every three to four years, but only after they have been thoroughly cleaned. And remember the cardinal rule of painting windows is to not paint over moving parts or a shut window

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Replacing Damaged Parts

Check your windows for any damaged parts. Any damaged parts should be replaced as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that more damage will be caused. Be sure to pay specific attention to damaged frames and broken glass—these should be repaired immediately.

Regular maintenance can help to extend the life of your windows, not to mention they look so much nicer! But, if it is time for you to start thinking about window replacement, check out our website for more information on how we can help get you set with new windows!

Common Winter Weather Woes for Your Roof

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Roof problems only get worse the longer they go untreated. And unfortunately, winter weather can play a large role in causing long-term damage to your roof. Here is a list of the three most common winter elements that can cause damage to your home’s roof and how to fix them.

Snowfall
Every cubic foot of snow piled on your roof adds up to 20 pounds of additional weight your roof needs to hold. The longer this extra weight sits on your roof, melting and refreezing, the heavier it can get. Accumulation of snowfall isn’t as large of an issue for homes with slanted roofs, but for homes with flat roofs, it can amount to a very large problem. For flat roofing systems, the extra weight of this snow can lead to cracking support beams and shingles, potentially causing water damage to the inside of your home. To keep winter snowfalls from damaging your roofing system, Tri-State recommends clearing excess snow off your roof after each heavy snowfall.

Icicles
Icicles are a common occurrence in the winter months, and as beautiful as icicles on your roof may look, they are a common sign that your roofing system has been compromised. Large icicles are typically caused by poor or missing insulation and commonly form as a result of air leaking from your house into your attic.

To prevent icicles from forming on your roof, try installing heat tape along the seams of your home’s roof. This will help to cut down on the amount of air leaking into your attic, as well as improve your roof’s overall insulation. To learn more about the long-term solutions to prevent icicles from compromising your roofing system, contact Tri-State today.

Ice Dams
You can’t have icicles without ice dams. Building up large amounts of ice on your roof, ice dams can damage the integrity of your roof, resulting in leaks, shingle damage, mold and mildew development and other home issues that come about from leaking roofs. To prevent ice dams from forming on your roof or to fix ice dams that have already formed, check out these three fast fixes.

When it comes to keeping your roofing system healthy all year around, Tri-State is here to help! Remember, leaving roofing problems untreated will not only lead to larger issues down the road, but will also result in a rather large bill. Avoid the pain and hassle and schedule your winter roofing inspection with Hank and the Tri-State gang today.

 

 

 

 

 

How to decorate for the holidays without damaging your home

lightsIt’s that time of year again—time to dust off those holiday lights and light up the neighborhood with your festive decorations and holiday cheer! While decorating your home is a beloved holiday tradition, decorating with outdoor lights has the potential to cause long-term damage to your windows, siding and roofing. Avoid the hassle and make decorating more enjoyable with these outdoor decorating tips from Tri-State!

  1. No jingles on your shingles: NEVER hang holiday lights directly from your shingles. If hung from your shingles, these lights have the potential to tear or rip your roofing—especially when made heavier with fallen snow or other debris from your roof. When hanging lights from your roof always attach the lights directly to the gutter using clips or hooks that have been specially made for outdoor lighting.
  2. Avoid the shock factor: When decorating your home, make sure all decorations and lights are hung at a safe distance from power cords and electrical lines. You may also want to make sure that all decorations are plugged into a portable outdoor circuit—this includes any inflatable decorations, as well. This precautionary measure will prevent your home’s circuits from becoming overloaded and eliminate any risk of an electrical fire.
  3. Think of the cleanup: Never pull on your lights to remove them from their clips or hooks. Pulling the lights may get them off your roof, but it will also cause damage to your gutters or windows in the process. Instead of pulling, use a ladder to get at eye level with the lights and gently remove them from their hooks—this will also allow you to keep the lights from becoming a tangled mess!
  4. Call a pro: If you plan on elaborately decorating your home—or even if you feel uncomfortable on a ladder or have areas that are difficult to access—don’t be afraid to call a professional. While it may be an extra expense you weren’t anticipating, ensuring your home’s windows, siding and roofing remains unharmed will save you major bucks down the road.

Outdoor decorating is a holiday favorite for many homeowners! However, before you string up those lights this year, be sure to take the necessary precautions to keep your home in great condition all year long. As always, for additional questions or concerns regarding your home’s windows, siding or roofing, contact Hank and the Tri-State gang for help!

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Get Your Roof Winter-Ready

Winter weather will soon be upon us—is your roof ready to tackle the snow and freezing temperatures? As you begin to prepare your home—and yourself—for the winter, don’t forget to take care of one of the most important features of your home—your roof. Here’s some simple jobs you can do to make sure your roof is winter-ready:

  • Clean your gutters of debris and install leaf guards to keep your gutters blockage-free. Consistently cleaning your gutters will prevent water and ice from building up and will help reduce the chance of leaks and water damage to your roof down the road.
  • Inspect your roof for damage and deteriorating shingles. Checking your roof for damage before the winter storms hit is a smart idea. Plus, it will give you plenty of time to repair the damage before the weather gets too cold. Remember, any damage you notice should be repaired by a certified roofing contractor as soon as possible.
  • Check vent stacks, chimneys and skylights for potential leaks. If you do notice leaks in these areas, be sure to call a roofing contractor to reseal all the leaks before the first snowfall.
  • Install extra insulation in your attic. Extra installation will help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof and will reduce your chance of water damage and leaks in your home.
  • Extend your down spouts to move melting snow and ice farther away from your home. Basically, thefarther you can move the ice and snow away from your home, the better off you will be.

Don’t forget, if your roof needs repair before the winter season strikes, call Tri-State Windows, Siding & Roofing! Our team will work hard to ensure your roof is ready to handle all the damaging elements the winter weather brings.