In the area of Billings, MT, home improvement contractors may be able to help homeowners make their home a little more secure. A home’s windows and doors work together to keep the unwanted out. For many homes, sliding glass doors are a weak point in the safety system. Is there anything you can do to make your patio doors a little more secure?More
Billings MT Construction contractors
We’ll take any opportunity we can get to make our homes run more efficiently, especially with warmer weather just off the horizon. If you want to get a boost in energy while cutting down on your monthly heating or cooling cost, there are several upgrades you can make around the house to do so. Here are some of the best ways to make your house perform more efficiently.
Replace Your Old Roof
Depending on the type of material your roof is made of, it may be a great time to replace it. If you have asphalt shingles, for example, they typically last between 15 – 30 years. Shingled roofs older than 30 simply do not perform as well as their modern counterparts, and they could be doing a subpar job of insulating your home. Talk to your roofing contractors in Billings, MT about performing an inspection and discuss your options for replacement.
Invest in Siding
Another way to give your home superior insulation is to add siding. While it may not look like much more than a few panels on your home, siding is actually one of the best defenses against severe weather and extreme temperatures. If your siding is starting to get old, you may be able to gain tremendous savings by replacing it with a newer model.
Consider Upgrading to Modern Windows
All Billings, MT construction contractors know that one of the best-kept secrets to an efficient home is a modern window. Unlike single-pane windows of yesterday, today’s come with multiple panes and specialty reflective coatings. You can keep much more of the sun’s rays out of your home by upgrading to new windows.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters play a vital role in enhancing the efficiency of our housing and roofing in Billings, MT. When they’re bogged down, any incoming precipitation ends up on your roof or siding and contributes to a colder house. You can warm things up by cleaning your gutters regularly.
These are just some of the best ways to give your home a boost in energy.
Ask any Billings, MT construction contractors what one of the best upgrades to make around your home is and they will point you to replacement windows. Although we may not stop to think about them, our windows do quite a bit to keep our houses running efficiently. Here are four benefits of replacing your old windows.
1. Improved Efficiency
If your windows were installed more than 10 years ago, there is a high likelihood they’re allowing in more sun and elements than necessary. Modern windows have at least two panes and provide a much tighter seal. If you want to keep that air-conditioned air inside, invest in new windows.
2. Protect Your Furnishings
Construction companies in Billings, MT also love replacement windows for their ability to protect our furniture and décor. Whereas older windows allow the sun’s harmful UV rays to penetrate inside our homes, new windows send those rays back outside where they belong. With new windows, you’ll notice far less fading on your furniture, paint, and décor.
3. Reduced Heating and Cooling Costs
Because your new windows will be doing much of the work to keep indoor air in, you’ll also notice a drop in your monthly heating or cooling bill. Thanks to their specialty coating and reflective properties, new windows keep heat and cold outside. To you, it means less of a battle with your thermostat every month.
4. Stylish New Look
One of the very best reasons to install new windows is, of course, to get a boost in style! Modern windows are available in a wide variety of design and color options. You can either go for an upgrading version of the window you already love or give your home’s exterior a mini-makeover for added curb appeal.
These are just some of the best reasons roofing contractors in Billings, MT recommend replacing your old windows.
Commercial roofing is most often flat, which means it’s more susceptible to damage during the winter when heavy snow might remain on the roof for weeks or months. If you have a commercial building, there are some important steps you should take to protect your roof so you won’t need extensive repairs or roof replacement come spring.
Don’t wait until you notice a major problem to check the roof—schedule regular inspections to take a look at what’s happening up there. If you are not sure what you might be looking for in terms of commercial roofing damage in Billings, call a contractor to come and perform the inspection for you.
Check From Inside
When your Billings commercial roofing is covered in snow it can be difficult (or even impossible) to spot damage from the top. Instead of trying to inspect that way, look at the roof from underneath. There are plenty of tools available that can help you spot water leaks on the bottom side of the roof, which will give you an exact location where you need to do repairs.
Avoid Walking on the Roof
Commercial roofing is almost always flat, which means it’s easy to walk on. However, that doesn’t mean your staff should be walking up there. Talk to all your facilities and maintenance crew about minimizing the time they spend walking on the roof, and restrict access to the roof for building occupants except in cases where it’s necessary for an emergency.
Clear the Snow
Snow can build up and put unnecessary strain on your roofing, so rather than wait for it to cause damage, hire a commercial roofing contractor to clear the snow as soon as the storm is over. Snow, while it might seem harmless, can actually be pretty heavy when it accumulates, and it can cause other damage as it melts and becomes standing puddles of water.
Maintaining a commercial roof in winter doesn’t have to be a huge hassle or a big expense, but a few proactive steps now can save your roof from damage in the future.
It’s January, which means that winter weather in Billings is likely to stick around for a few more months. While you might be enjoying the time with activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, your roof might not be having as much fun. That’s because snow can be pretty heavy, and if you allow it to build up on your Billings roofing, there is a chance you could have some serious damage.
Lots of snow on the roof, coupled with poor insulation in the attic, could lead to the snow melting from the peak of the roof, then freezing again as it reaches the colder outer edges. This forms what is referred to as an ice dam, a dangerous blockage that doesn’t allow snowmelt to get to the gutters. If and when more snow melts, it could pool up on the roof side of the ice dam, and standing water is likely to cause roof leaks if left for prolonged periods of time. The easiest way to spot ice dams is the presence of icicles hanging over your roof. If you see them, talk to a Billings roofing contractor about how to fix it in both the short- and long-term.
Another easy way to identify potential roof damage from snow is to just look up there once in a while. If you see buildup of 18 inches or more on top of the roof, it’s likely putting a serious strain on your roofing. The National Weather Service calculates that 18 inches of snow can put as much as 90 pounds per square foot of strain on a roof. While your roof may be able to hold up for a short period of time, the longer the snow sits on the roof, the more dangerous it becomes.
The winter months aren’t a season when people spend a lot of time outdoors, but you can even identify some of the signs of excessive snow load from inside. Listen for loud cracking or popping sounds, check for roof leaks or sagging areas of the roof from the attic, look for cracks in walls or masonry, and pay attention to doors and windows that previously opened easily and now are “stuck” or difficult to open.
If you see these signs, it’s important not to panic, and to call a roofing contractor right away to help you identify ways to clear the roof (safely) and/or ways to reinforce the strength of your Billings roofing.
GAF is one of the oldest and most trusted manufacturers in the U.S. for roofing materials, but they also understand that quality roofing shingles are no good if you don’t match that with quality installation. That’s why they created the GAF Master Elite Certification—it’s an honor only awarded to the top 3 percent of all roofing contractors in Billings and around the U.S., so you know if you’re working with a Master Elite contractor, you’re getting the cream of the crop.
Why GAF Certification?
In the state of Montana, any construction contractor or subcontractor who hires employees is required to register with the Department of Labor and Industry, but this registration is essentially just to ensure that the company is complying with Montana worker’s compensation insurance regulations. While worker’s compensation insurance is important, GAF certification takes it several steps further to ensure that your Billings roofing contractor has the right experience and a track record of quality work.
What is GAF Certification?
GAF requires contractors to go through several different questions and evaluations in their screening process, with the end goal of making sure that anyone who gets their highest level of certification:
- Is properly licensed according to all state, city, and other municipal regulations
- Carries the right amount of insurance, including both worker’s compensation and general liability insurance, to protect against workers who get hurt on the job as well as property damage
- Has a solid reputation as a quality roofing contractor, according to independent surveys as well as reviews and complaints from organizations like the Better Business Bureau
- Is financially solvent and has a good banking and credit history (in which case they are probably less likely to take your money and never do the work)
- Trains employees continually on all the latest trends and techniques in the roofing industry for the most efficient installation processes
How To Find a Master Elite Contractor
If you’re thinking that it would be nice to have a GAF Master Elite roofing contractor in Billings, but are not quite sure how to find one, the great news is it’s a simple process. Just go to the GAF website and put in your zip code for Billings, MT – Sprague roofing is the first contractor on the list with a near-perfect rating from over 100 homeowners in the area who have used their services. Great installation matters, which is why GAF Master Elite certification is critical in your search for a Billings roofer.
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, when we focus on giving gifts and spending time with those that we love. With all the holiday cheer, it can be easy to forget that these are also a dangerous time for your home because there are more risks around than normal that could lead to fire damage. To avoid the need to call a restoration contractor in Billings, take note of these three common holiday hazards and do what you can to make your home safer.
Christmas trees are beautiful during the season, but they are also a potential fire hazard, especially if the tree is real, as wood and pine needles can provide fuel for a fire. About one in three Christmas tree fires is caused by an electrical issue, and while tree fires are not really common, when they do occur they can be pretty damaging to your home, and dangerous to those living in the home.
To be safe, make sure all the lights on the tree are working properly, place the tree at least three feet from heat sources such as your space heaters, the radiator, candles, heating vents, or a fireplace. Keep real trees properly watered so they don’t get dry, and dispose of them as soon as Christmas is over.
Those tiny twinkling bulbs on the inside and outside of your home can be a great reminder of the holiday season, and they look amazing, but they are also a potential fire hazard. Make sure your light strands are not damaged before you hang them up. Don’t connect more than 50 lights to any one strand, and don’t connect more than three strands together to avoid excess heat.
The number one cause of fires around the holidays is candles (and 2 out of every 5 home fires are caused by candles), so if you plan to burn candles around this time of year, be sure to practice some basic safety:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended in a room
- Never leave a candle burning when you leave the house or go to sleep
- Keep all candles at least 12 inches from décor and your Christmas tree
- Don’t put burning candles on your Christmas tree
Follow these fire safety tips to have a merry holiday season, and if your home does suffer damage, be sure to contact a restoration contractor in Billings to help you restore it as quickly as possible.
If your home suffers damage, whether it’s from flooding, fire, mold, or something similar, your first priority is to get it cleaned up and return your home (and your life) to normal. While there may be a few things you can do on your own to get things cleaned up, hiring a restoration contractor in Billings, MT ensures that your home is appropriately repaired and structurally safe to live in, and that as many of your belongings as possible are salvaged.
They Have Proper Equipment
Unless you plan to clean up a lot of mold, or you have experienced several home fires (hopefully that is not true for the vast majority of homeowners), chances are you don’t have the equipment necessary to properly clean up these types of messes. A certified Billings restoration contractor will have specialized equipment that is designed to clean up fire, water, flood, and other problems.
They Have Proper Safety Training
Entering your home after there has been fire damage, or trying to clean up significant mold problems can actually be hazardous. Without proper training you could get hurt or suffer from things like respiratory problems if you breathe in mold, smoke, and other contaminants. It’s best to leave these things to the professionals so you avoid any additional problems.
They Know How to Work with Insurance
Hopefully most homeowners will not have extensive prior experience with homes damaged by water and flooding, smoke, fire, or mold and mildew, but that also means you won’t have a lot of experience working with homeowners insurance companies to get the costs of cleanup and repair reimbursed. A restoration contractor in Billings will know exactly what your insurance company needs, and the best way to work with them for optimal reimbursement outcomes, and can walk you through that process and help you get what you deserve.
They Can Spot Hidden Damages
Sometimes you will get lucky and that flooding in your basement will only cause some surface damage, but if you’re not sure how to spot the signs of deeper problems, you could easily miss something critical that needs to be addressed. Restoration contractors know what to look for to ensure that all areas are cleaned after your home suffers damage, so you get thorough treatment and can avoid problems later down the road.
If your home is damaged, don’t waste time and effort worrying about whether you can clean it on your own; simply call a contractor in Billings, MT to help you get it cleaned up right away.
Fortunately for most homeowners they don’t have to hire a roofing contractor or restoration contractor in Billings to make repairs on their home very often, but when you do find yourself in need of one of these professionals it’s important that you hire only the best. Here are four things that should be a red flag if you hear your contractor say them, and should warrant a further look into whether you really want to be working with them.
“I need full payment up front.”
If your contractor is demanding that you pay the entire bill for restoration services in Billings before any work has even been done, this could be a sign that they are either going to take your money and run (without providing any work at all), or they are not a very fiscally sound company and the contractor needs your money to purchase supplies and pay subcontractors. In either case, it’s best to work with companies that either require only a small deposit or don’t require any payment until the agreed-upon work is done.
“We don’t need to sign a contract.”
Another red flag is a contractor who tells you there is no need for a written contract. Before anyone starts any work or you make any payments, make sure all the details of the scope of work are clearly defined in writing, and signed by both parties. The contract should also specify the timeline for completion and what will happen if the contractor runs into unexpected expenses or cost overruns during the process.
“I don’t carry insurance, my team is just really careful.”
Insurance coverage—both general liability and worker’s compensation—are an essential requirement for any restoration contractor in Billings. Even the most careful and safe teams occasionally have accidents or cause damage to your property or the area around your home. When this happens, you don’t want to be liable to cover these costs, and insurance coverage ensures that you won’t be.
“We don’t have a local address.”
Contractors that come in from out of town to provide restoration work in Billings following a storm are often there just to drum up some quick business, and may not provide you with quality work or with all the work you hire them to complete. Instead it’s best to work with a local company with a Billings, MT address and phone number so you know they will be around if you need them in the future.
You may have seen wood shingles on buildings that are older, as they were a popular roofing material for centuries before the introduction of more recent materials such as asphalt or metal roofing. While wood shingles are often used to restore the historic look of older homes and buildings, they can provide many advantages to new homes as well.
More Natural Appearance
If your home in Billings, MT needs new roofing, it’s important to consider the overall appearance and style of your dwelling before you choose a roofing material. For more rustic homes or those that are set in the woods, out in the country, or on a range, it might make sense to go with wood shingles that can give your home that added ability to blend in to natural surroundings. Wood shingles also take on a pleasing weathered look over time, which can help contribute to that natural appeal and ruggedness of your home.
Better Energy Efficiency
One of the reasons that wood was so popular as a roofing material for so long is its natural ability to provided protection and insulation for your home. Adding wood shingles to your Billings roofing can provide you with improved energy efficiency, meaning that you will have lower heating bills in the winter and lower cooling bills in the summer. Saving money year after year can often make up for the higher costs of wood shingles when they are initially installed.
Simple to Install and Repair
Wood shingles are installed on Billings roofing as individual pieces, which means they are easy to install. They also don’t have interlocking or overlapping pieces, so if you have a single shingle or a few shingles that get damaged or broken and require repair, it’s easy to replace them without disturbing the shingles around it. That can be particularly beneficial for homes with severe winters, lots of snow, or high winds.
With their unique appearance, natural insulation capabilities, and simplicity of installation and repair, it makes sense why many homeowners choose wood shingles in Billings over other roofing materials. Talk to a contractor today to find out if they are the right material for your home.