The Homeowner’s Guide To Reading Your Roof – What’s Normal And What’s Not

How to tell when your roof needs repair

Four out of five homes in the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roof. And it’s easy to see why. The wide variety of available colors and styles, combined with durability and affordability, has made asphalt shingles the leading choice for residential roofing in the country.

But, like all exterior building products, asphalt shingles start to age as soon as they are exposed to nature. Buildings experience aging factors differently, so it’s difficult to predict how long shingles will last. With storm chasers and insurance adjusters claiming roof damage or defective shingles after major weather events, it’s important for homeowners to arm themselves with information about what type of roof aging is normal, and most importantly, what type is not.

What is normal?

It’s natural for a roof to age, and the process begins as soon as shingles are exposed to nature. The sun can raise rooftop temperatures as high as 50-70 degrees above the ambient air temperature. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and heat have been shown to accelerate roof aging, as have pollution, hail, snow, ice, falling tree limbs and people walking on a roof.

Here are a few common signs of aging shingles:

Curling is a common phenomenon in some shingles and is not considered a defect. It is natural for asphalt to age and shrink with time, which may result in a slight curling of the shingle edge.

Minor cracks may also appear on the shingles as they age, but industry experts say it is a normal weathering characteristic and not cause for alarm, as long as the cracks do not penetrate through the shingle and the roof is still performing the intended purpose of shedding water.

“Minor cracks may not be noticeable from the ground, but people often spot them while hanging their Christmas lights,” said roofing industry expert Rick “the Roofer” Taylor, a longtime roofing contractor now working as a traveling trainer for shingle manufacturer TAMKO Building Products. “The intense heat from the sun can deplete some of the protective asphalt oils, and that can cause minor cracks.”

Dark brown or black streaks down the roof are common in particularly moist or humid areas of the country and are the result of algae growth on the shingles. While not particularly attractive, these stains should not affect the shingles’ ability to shed water.

Some granule loss on the shingles is to be expected, especially if a roof has been recently repaired or replaced, since extra granules are a part of the shingle manufacturing process. Loose granules are usually noticed collecting in roof gutters after the shingles are installed. This type of granule shedding is common and not a cause for concern.

What is cause for concern?

While minor curling, surface cracking, closed blisters, algae stains and some granule loss can all be signs of normal roof aging, some more serious roof wear and aging could be indicative of a potential problem and should be examined and monitored.

These roof issues may need attention:

Blisters, or small circular raised areas, are often the direct result of under-ventilated attics or excessive use of plastic cement — both of which are installation errors. If the blisters are closed and are not affecting the shingles’ performance, they are not a cause for concern. But if the blisters are open, exposing the asphalt, the roof is vulnerable to water penetration and requires immediate attention.

Buckling, a distortion of the shingles, can be a possible sign of inadequate roof ventilation, issues with the roof deck or other installation errors and may require attention.

Deep cracks that penetrate through the fiberglass mat should be investigated, as they may compromise the roof’s ability to shed water and make it susceptible to leaks.

Excessive granule loss that exposes the shingles’ asphalt layer is a reason for concern and requires immediate attention.

Armed with this basic information, homeowners should be able to distinguish between natural processes that are no cause for alarm and issues that do require attention and repair.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

5 Steps To Prepare For Natural Disasters

Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes or snowstorms, natural disasters can occur anywhere at any time. When they do, it’s often sudden, so being prepared ahead of time is key. However, only 39% of Americans are prepared for an unexpected natural disaster, according to a study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It’s important to always follow official evacuation orders. But if you are able to remain in the home, amplifying your safety now can help you and your family keep calm during an emergency,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “Save yourself from potential stress by taking these steps to prepare for any natural disaster.”

Plan for a natural disaster. Emergency disaster drills are often conducted in schools, but rarely in the home. Plan for potential emergencies with your family before they strike. To stay safe during a tornado, for example, have your family choose a windowless safe room in your home and designate a family member to open windows. For added protection get under something sturdy, such as a heavy table, or cover your body with a mattress.

Create an emergency disaster kit. Keep a well-stocked emergency disaster kit ready at all times. Fill your kit with first aid items such as bandages, gauze, tweezers and cleansing wipes. Additionally, include a flashlight, transistor radio, a portable phone charger, extra batteries, a fire extinguisher and enough bottled water and perishable food items to last at least 72 hours.

Help protect your home and family. Natural disasters can cause long-lasting power outages and lead to a spike in carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incidents, often because of improper generator use. It is extremely important to never leave your generator inside your home or the garage, as they are a source of CO. CO is an odorless and colorless gas, making it impossible to detect without an alarm. To protect your family from the threats of smoke, fire, and CO, consider installing a First Alert Combination Smoke and CO Alarm with a 10-year sealed battery, which eliminates the need to replace batteries for the life of the alarm. Test your alarms monthly and be sure all smoke and CO alarms have a battery backup if hardwired. Install alarms on each level of the home and near every sleeping area.

Know fire safety. Damaged powerlines, gas lines and other electrical systems pose a dangerous fire threat. If a powerline falls, don’t move or drive over it and immediately contact local authorities. Another potential danger is using candles during a power outage. Never leave any open flames unattended. In the event of a fire, a well-planned and practiced escape plan will be invaluable. To design a fire escape plan, identify multiple exits out of each room and choose a meeting spot for your family away from the home. Practice this plan at least twice a year.

Store your valuables safely. Important documents such as insurance papers, birth certificates, and passports are necessary when dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, so be sure they are safely stored. For maximum security, protect these documents as well as any family heirlooms or prized possessions by storing them in a waterproof and fire resistant safe.

“Being prepared for extreme weather often isn’t on a homeowner’s mind until it’s too late,” said Wey. “Make safety a priority in your home by planning for any natural disaster so that your family and your property are as protected as possible.”

For more information, visit www.firstalert.com

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

5 Smart Ideas To Refresh Your Deck

As the seasons turn, your focus begins to shift to the outdoors. Your deck or patio becomes your new living room — an ideal setting for memorable moments with friends and family. If you look at these spaces and long for a refresh, the time to start planning is now. You have options, and many you can do yourself with minimal effort.

To start, if you don’t have a deck or patio, research materials carefully before making an investment. One prevalent building trend involves making the smart choice toward natural, environmentally friendly materials that will never end up in landfills. As such, more homeowners are choosing Real Cedar because it is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects. It’s low-maintenance and easy to work with, being durable yet lightweight, laying straight and taking fasteners easily. Plus, nothing looks, feels or smells quite like cedar.

To refresh your deck with style and functionality, consider these five-trending outdoor-living projects:

Planter boxes: If you want to add beauty and functionality to your deck, construct planter boxes and put them in sunny spaces. From small boxes that house herb gardens to larger boxes that allow vegetables to thrive, you can have a bounty of fresh flavors right outside your door. No need for a garden plot! Planter box designs come in a variety of sizes and can be built low to the ground or at waist height for easy tending.

Outdoor sectionals: Built-in sectionals are becoming a focal point and favorite hangout spot on the deck. Perfectly set into a corner, these multi-directional couches can be built as large or small as you desire. Use Real Cedar for your project because it is pitch- and resin-free, so accepts and holds a wide variety of finishes beautifully so you can customize the look to your tastes. Finish with cushions for that decorator touch and you’ll have your new favorite cozy outdoor corner.

Water features: As homeowners look to make their decks and patios a true retreat from the stress of everyday life, they want to add elements of Zen, which is why fountains and water features are becoming so popular. New decks are often built to incorporate these features, including pathways where water provides a calm ambiance. If a pond is too significant an undertaking, fountains provide a more affordable alternative that can be used in any size space.

Pergolas: These beautiful semi-shelters can be built in a number of useful configurations depending on how much shade you require, what you wish to situate beneath it (A dining set? Outdoor couches and chairs? Grilling equipment?) and whether you want to incorporate climbing plants. For complete project plans and instructions on how to make your own pergola over a weekend, visit www.realcedar.com.

Lighting: When the sun goes down that doesn’t mean the fun should stop. Add lighting to extend the functionality and enjoy special moments under the stars on your deck or patio. Stair, railing and pathway lighting add a necessary safety feature, while under-table lighting and deck-post sconces provide the perfect illumination for the space without being overwhelming. For a touch of twinkle, add a few outdoor string lights in white, or for a more festive atmosphere, go for the color of your choice.

These five outdoor living ideas are sure to enhance any size deck or patio space. Make plans today so you can enjoy many seasons of fun outdoors with loved ones.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content

9 of the Biggest DIY Flooring Mistakes Homeowners Make

Installing new floors is a great way to update the look of your home while adding fresh appeal. While style and design are key components of the decision-making process, homeowners often neglect other areas that should be taken into consideration. Whether you choose hardwood, vinyl, or laminate flooring, be sure to do your research, especially if you’re planning to do it yourself. Otherwise, the cheapest flooring options can become more costly in the long run.

Here are 9 tips to help you avoid common flooring mistakes.

  1. Overestimating DIY Skills

While DIY projects can reduce overall project costs, many homeowners don’t have the advanced skills required for the installation. Poor installation may lead to countless problems down the road and can be quite costly. First, it is important to understand the complexity of the installation project. Flooring manufacturers’ websites offer DIY skill level information for each flooring type or a certified flooring retailer can provide information on the difficulty with installation. Second, be honest about your DIY abilities and, if needed, consider hiring a professional installer.

  1. Underspending on “Cheap” Flooring

Everyone likes a good bargain and finding attractive flooring at a low price can feel like hitting the jackpot. However, the old saying “you get what you pay for” often rings true with flooring. Be sure to have a good understanding of the floor’s construction, especially if it’s being placed in high-traffic or moisture-prone areas such as the kitchen or bathroom. Lower quality flooring is prone to scratches, scuffs, and stains. Purchasing flooring that is well made will keep your floors looking new longer and is worth the additional up-front investment.

  1. Failing to Research Prior to Installing

Be sure to look at the whole picture before selecting your flooring. Does the room you are installing the flooring in need enhancements such as mold and trim? Will you need a transitional piece between rooms? Is a subfloor needed? Be sure you have an understanding of these potential necessities, so you can install your flooring properly the first time.

  1. Preparing the Subfloor Incorrectly

After removing your old flooring, it’s critical the subfloor is properly prepared. The subfloor should be smooth, flat and dry. Taking the time to correctly prep your subflooring will help to ensure proper installation while increasing the longevity of your floor.

  1. Measuring Incorrectly

As the saying goes, measure twice, cut once. This wise advice is sometimes overlooked when prepping for new flooring. Homeowners should pay extra attention if they’re planning on installing flooring themselves, so they don’t end up ordering too much or not enough.

  1. Using Products that are Not Recommended for Installation

With any installation, you’ll need certain products to make sure the floor is properly installed. Depending on the type of flooring you’re installing, you may need adhesives, tile trowels, seam treatments, or grout. Be sure to read the manufactures installation guide for a list of necessary tools and products. This is also not an area to take shortcuts since buying less expensive products can result in an inferior installation.

  1. Not Considering Moisture and Humidity

Moisture is a commonly overlooked factor in DIY flooring, especially in hot and humid areas. Moisture and humidity can cause wood flooring to warp, leaving it looking way different than when you installed it. Be sure not to install the boards too close together so they have room to expand. If in doubt, consult with a professional.

  1. Ignoring the Manufacturer’s Recommended Care Instructions

Different flooring types require different cleaning methods. Be sure to carefully read the cleaning and maintenance instructions for your flooring type. For example, using a steam mop on wood or laminate flooring could cause long-term water damage and is something you definitely want to avoid.

  1. Disregarding Maintenance Recommendations

Much like your car, your floors need to be properly maintained to extend their longevity. Improper maintenance of your flooring can lead to unnecessary wear and tear and can even void your warranty if you use a product that is not recommended for your floor type. You can find this information on the manufacturer’s website or by calling their customer service hotline.

Follow these tips when purchasing your flooring and you’ll avoid the headaches of poor installation and improper maintenance, so you can receive the maximum enjoyment from your home improvement investment.

Author bio: Jennifer Karami is a writer at Redfin, a technology-enabled real estate brokerage whose mission is to redefine real estate in the customer’s favor.

HomeTeam Inspection Service Debuts New Location in North Washington D.C.

Milford, OH – For over 25 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has been providing fast, trusted and accurate home inspection services throughout the United States, and is proud to debut its newest location in North Washington, D.C.

Owner Roland Mitchell was born in Germany but grew up in the United States as his dad was in the military when he was born. He lived in Nebraska from the age of 4 until he left to attend college at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.  There he majored in Industrial Technology and Manufacturing and played various sports including volleyball, and soccer. After graduation, Roland joined the United States Air Force.

Roland served 20 years in the United States Air Force and retired in June of 2018. His primary specialty was navigation and instruction, but for six years he served as a Joint Plans and Operations Officer and supervised officers and civilians in all four branches of the military and various government agencies. He flew over 2,500 flight hours and achieved a final rating of Master Navigator. Other roles he held included Chief of Safety, Instructor Navigator, Courseware Manager, Joint Air Planner, Crew Resource Management Facilitator, Operations Supervisor, and Mission Planner.

When asked why he chose HomeTeam and the home inspection industry, Roland said, “My skills seem to transfer well since I have engaged in minor home renovations, dabbled in home design, inspected my unit facilities for safety violations, inspected my station and other parts of the aircraft prior to every flight, and practiced attention to detail as a navigator instructor.”

“Roland’s extensive background serving in the military, along with his outgoing personality, personal interests and great attention to detail will lead him to success in the home inspection industry,” stated Adam Long, President of HomeTeam Inspection Service.

Roland is married to his wife Sarah.  In his free time, you can find him playing ultimate Frisbee, traveling, attending car shows, doing amateur woodworking and working on home renovations.

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For more than 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-man operations and utilizes the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

HomeTeam Inspection Service Debuts New Location in Bell County, TX

Milford, OH – For over 25 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has been providing fast, trusted and accurate home inspection services throughout the United States and is proud to debut its newest location in Bell County, TX.

New owner Marc Poulain has spent most of his professional career in the restaurant industry, totaling 32 years. He has a background in progressive leadership with multi-unit establishments, start-up and expansion ventures, and franchise environments in the service industry. He has experience across multiple operational disciplines and has achieved a reputation for building successful relationships across a variety of channels (franchises, staff, management, vendors, and customers).

The home inspection industry stood out to Marc for multiple reasons. One of them is his extensive experience in the service industry. He believes that his talents and skills would easily translate into the home inspection industry. He wanted to be in an industry that provided a good work/life balance as well as being rewarding where he can provide a beneficial service that leaves a positive impact on his customers.

When asked what the key influencing factors in choosing HomeTeam were, Marc stated, “The ability to work as a HomeTeam inspector for the past year and see the level of professionalism deployed in the field. The branding combined with the level of professionalism demonstrated by everyone at the home office was a huge plus. The longevity of the brand, combined with the incredible reviews/ratings was another big influencer. Having the support and power of the brand behind me when launching a new franchise gives me great peace of mind and the ability to focus on growing my business.”

“Marc’s previous service industry experience and more than one year inspecting with a neighboring HomeTeam franchise will prove to a win-win for HomeTeam and the Bell County community,” states Buddy Stark, Director of Operation of HomeTeam Inspection Service.

Marc is married to his wife Toni, and they have five kids; three girls and two boys and one grandbaby. In his free time, he can be found spending time with family, doing outdoor activities and water sports. Some water sports they love include fishing, skiing and spending time on the beach. One fun fact about Marc is the hometown he grew up in no longer exists!

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For over 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional, operations and utilize the leading technology in the industry to perform. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

HomeTeam Inspection Service Debuts New Location in Southeast Charlotte, NC

Milford, OH – For over 25 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has been providing fast, trusted and accurate home inspection services throughout the United States and is proud to debut its newest location in Southeast Charlotte, NC.

New owner Chad is originally from Texas but has called the Carolinas home for almost 20 years. He has a BBA from Baylor University and has spent a majority of his career in sales and customer service. Chad was interested in HomeTeam because of the technology, systems, and support offered to franchise owners from the corporate office.

Chad stated “I chose the home inspection industry after receiving a less than satisfactory home inspection myself. This field allows the opportunity to balance home and work lives.”

“Chad’s extensive background in sales and customer service combined with his desire to provide the very best inspections will make him a valuable asset to the Southeast Charlotte community,” states Buddy Stark, Director of Operation of HomeTeam Inspection Service.

Chad and his wife Amy own the business jointly and have two children.  In his free time, you can find him spending time with his family, cheering on the Panthers and Baylor Bears, or running a marathon (he has ran in 10 marathons). He is very involved in their church and leads the k-5th grade worship service. One fascinating fact about Chad is after college he moved to Nashville and started his own record label and publishing company.

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For more than 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-man operations and utilizes the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

HomeTeam Inspection Service Introduces New Location in South Metro, MN

Milford, OH – For over 25 years, HomeTeam Inspection Service has been providing fast, trusted and accurate home inspection services throughout the United States and is proud to introduce its newest location in the southern metropolis area of Minneapolis.

Owners Jacque Lee and Christelle Hunt are sisters who came from a family of entrepreneurs that inspired them to open a woman owned and operated business. They both have 15-20 years experience working for the 19th largest contract printer in the nation where Christelle was the CFO and Jacque was the CEO. They helped build the company from a small single-line production shop to a national brand provider of contract decoration services. They helped reach sustainable market share for that printing company and now plan to do the same for their own business.

When asked about the key influencing factors in choosing HomeTeam, Jacque and Christelle stated “HomeTeam offers something that not a lot of other franchisors seem to offer, and that is the potential of legacy. Ideally, Christelle and I will not work forever, and we want to have passive income when we are done working. As we saw at the annual summit, HomeTeam is a system that works and allows for the flexibility of family owned businesses passed down generationally.”

“Jacque and Christelle have strengths that complement each other in a way that will make their business set up very dynamic; and the fact that they have worked together previously only proves how strong they can be on a business front. We believe they will make a great addition to the South Metro area,” says Adam Long, President of HomeTeam.

Christelle enjoys spending time with her daughter and painting with acrylics. Jacque spends her time making jewelry and enjoys the fine arts. In their free time, they help several local, non-profit organizations with donations, time and service.

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For more than 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-man operations and utilizes the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com.

Keller Williams Selects HomeTeam Inspection Service for 2019 Approved Vendor Program

Milford, OH – HomeTeam Inspection Service, the only national home inspection company to use a team of inspectors onsite, has been accepted into the 2019 Keller Williams Approved Vendor Program.

“HomeTeam is delighted to be an Approved Vendor with Keller Williams, the largest real estate franchise in the world. As the industry leader in home inspections, HomeTeam works with thousands of Keller Williams agents and their clients each year.  Our team concept and technology-driven methods ensure a smooth home inspection process for all parties involved,” says Adam Long, President of HomeTeam Inspection Service.

HomeTeam’s model is unique in the home inspection industry. They utilize a team of inspection professionals onsite for a faster, more accurate home inspection in about half the time of a traditional inspection.

HomeTeam’s trademarked ‘One Call Does It All®’ approach to scheduling enables them to serve associates and their clients by offering any inspection service needed – pest, radon or environmental inspections, at the same time as the home inspection.

Furthermore, HomeTeam is the technology leader in the home inspection industry, offering associates and their clients online scheduling, electronic reports and a personal inspection dashboard to review reports and create a repair request list directly from the report summary.

“HomeTeam franchise partners are building strong personal relationships with Keller Williams associates nationwide. There is an extensive vetting process by the Keller Williams Vendor relations team, and they only choose the best of the best. HomeTeam franchisees give back thorough 501(c)(3) organizations such as KW Cares and participate in Red Day, states Buddy Stark, Director of Operations, ‘HomeTeam is honored to be a Keller Williams Approved Vendor.”

ABOUT HOMETEAM
For over 25 years, HomeTeam has taken great pride in being Fast, Trusted and Accurate. HomeTeam Inspection Service brings a TEAM of inspectors on site, so inspections are faster and more efficient than traditional one-person inspections and they utilize the leading technology in the industry to perform inspections. For information on franchise opportunities with HomeTeam Inspection Service, call 800.598.5297 or visit hometeamfranchise.com. Keller Williams Approved Vendor Program members are business entities independent from Keller Williams Realty, Inc.  Neither Keller Williams Realty, Inc. nor its affiliated companies warrant HomeTeam Inspection Service, their products, or their services.