HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT ROOFS, PAINTS, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND WORKING WITH A CONTRACTOR
Here are some common questions from homeowners about roofing, choosing a paint, working with a contractor, green choices and our brief answers to them. If you have any other questions or you would like to find out more about how this information applies to your specific project.
What kind of maintenance do I need to keep my roof safe and secure?
- Annual maintenance is necessary to maintain superior performance from your roof.
- Keep your gutters and down spouts free flowing by cleaning them in the spring, summer and fall.
- Keep leaves clear from valleys and metal flashing areas for greater effectiveness.
- Check for roof penetration, i.e. pipe flashings, A/C duct penetration and any other object penetration.
- After recent foot traffic, wind, or storms, check for damage to shingles, replacing them now versus later could mean hundreds of dollars.
What do I do if it rains and I have a leak?
- Call us! We’ll provide a plastic mill cover to protect the area until we can repair it. It’s a minimal investment for a lot of protection.
- When leaks occur on a consistent basis (in the same place) the wood structure starts to develop dry rot which weakens the structure’s strength.
What not to do!
- Don’t penetrate the roof field with nails, screws, electrical conduit, satellite dishes or any other roof-mounted accessories, without proper professional flashing.
- Don’t put shingles on a flat roof.
- Don’t hire a roofer who will not provide you a certificate of insurance
What types of roofs are there?
There are a variety of roof choices. We have various samples to choose from, it is important is to find a roof that suites your home and budget
How long does the average roof last?
It depends on the type of roof, materials used, and dependability of the previous installation company. Many companies do not abide by recommended suggestions on proper roof installation. Call or email us for the specific recommendations with warranties and other concerns.
How many layers can my roof have?
We do not suggest covering an existing roof; please check with your local building and safety organization or building & roofing contractor. Massachusetts State Building Code does not allow more than two layers to be installed on a roof.
How much will this cost?
The cost will depend on the size of the roof and the amount of materials needed to complete the job. Call us 978-535-7033 for a free no obligation estimate
How often should I have my roof inspected?
You should have us do maintenance on your home every year to maximize the life of any roof.
Spring: An ideal time to inspect your flat or low-slope roof to consider maintenance, repairs, and replacement programs to protect your investment.
Fall: Time to inspect your roof and consider maintenance, repairs, or replacement programs to get ahead of winter and the rainy season.
Monthly: Time to inspect and clean out your roof valleys, gutters and downspouts.
Records: Create a roofing file; record the specifications, drawings, inspections, repairs and relevant data. As a qualified roofing contractor, we can provide these services in a systematic and professional manner. If you require replacement of your roof, we can provide a comparative evaluation to help in your decision and a free, no-obligation estimate.
What is the difference if 25, 30 and lifetime shingles?
The difference between 20 year and 30 year is the style and composition of the shingle. A 20 year shingle is a flat, single sheet 36” wide sheet with three tabs. A 30 year shingle has two layers molded together to provide longer protection and give the roof an architectural look. Lifetime material has the same look as the 30 year but is thicker and stronger. In addition, the fewer replacements are made the less material has to be disposed of.
Exterior & Interior Painting
How To Choose The Right Color For A House
A new paint job will increase both the curb appeal and resale value of your property while bringing new life to your home. Now you only have one problem: What color to paint? A well-chosen palette can greatly enhance your home, highlighting architectural details and disguising design flaws. Color can make your small house look larger or rescale the proportions of your too-tall or unbalanced house. A complementary accent color will draw attention to your home's assets: big windows, columns or molding. An attractive porch color will make your house more welcoming. All of this can be accomplished with the right paint color. Here are a few guidelines to help you find that perfect hue.
No home is an island; you have to work within your environment. Pay attention to the other houses on your block. You want a color that blends or stands out in a subtle, unobtrusive way; not one that clashes with your next-door neighbor. A magenta Victorian with blue trim looks splendid on Nantucket but will be wildly out of place in a more conservative neighborhood.
Where you live should factor into your choice of color. If your house is going to bake in the bright sun all day long, remember that darker colors will fade faster and that blue and yellow are most likely to change with prolonged exposure to the sun. If your house is surrounded by large trees, the shade will make dark colors look even darker and your house might get lost. Touring your neighborhood with a camera is a great way to get ideas and find paint colors that appeal to you. If you find a house you really like, ask the homeowner for the name of their paint color. Look through magazines for colors and if you find one that appeals, cut it out and bring it to your paint store. Most stores can match any color you provide.
Stay True To Your House
What was the original color of your house? Buried under many layers of paint, you may discover the first color. If you have an historic, older home, you can refer to historic color charts. A New England Salt Box is traditionally painted in blue-gray tones, while a Victorian home can have a variety of colors. If your home is in a wooded area, you might want to choose earth tones.
Your house is not an entirely blank canvas. What color is your roof? Are there any other materials such as brick, slate or stone that will not be painted? Will doors and railings remain their existing colors? Consider the colors that won't change and take them into consideration when choosing a color. Building materials contain numerous hues and shades. For example, a charcoal gray shingle might contain numerous flecks of blue or green that could be nicely incorporated into your palette. Though your new paint color doesn't have to match existing colors, it should harmonize with your other colors and textures.
Preview Your Color
Many paint stores and computer programs offer computer imaging to give you an idea of how a particular color will look. You supply a photo of your home and these programs paint it in a different color. Although these colors are not exact, the printout can give a solid idea of where to start.
Once you have a basic palette, get paint samples and test your colors on the side of your house. Wait to see what happens during different times of the day as the sun moves across your house. Live with these samples for awhile so you can see how these colors grow on you.
Accents & Trim
When choosing a paint color, you should have at least one other color for accents such as trims. Depending on the style of your house, you may want anywhere from two to six other complementary colors. Try not to make your house look too busy or distracting. This can be tricky, because too many colors will overwhelm your house and too few will make it seem two-dimensional. Accent colors are meant to accentuate the positive so use them on areas you want to emphasize like window ledges, shutters, columns or molding. Windows give character to a house and outlining them lends crispness to the color scheme. Be judicious. Do not accent unattractive elements such as gutters, downspouts, a protruding garage door, air conditioning units, unevenly placed windows, security bars, and such.
A light or white color is a good choice for window sills for reflection of the sun's heat and light. Lighter tones will highlight details that project from the wall surface while darker shades are best for accenting recesses. Dark bands of trim provide a pleasant contrast and draw attention to architectural details. On traditional Victorian homes, the darkest paint is often used for the window sashes.
If your house is really tall, you can scale the proportion by painting the upper portion a deeper tone than the bottom (reverse trim color). This is also effective on a small lot or when landscaping is immature. Conversely, a darker color on the lower portion grounds the house to the earth.
Remember that extreme contrasts for accent colors can actually detract from details. To be safe, consider staying within a single color family. Try using a darker or lighter shade of your primary color instead of a different hue all together. When in doubt, consult some of the paint color strips found in most local hardware stores and select two tints or shades from the same color strip. Either the lighter or the darker shade could be used for the body and the opposite for the trim. A contrasting accent color could punctuate the door.
Dark Vs. Light
When choosing colors, it's important to understand that paler colors advance in space while dark colors recede. Light colors will make your house seem larger while darker tones will tend to make your home seem smaller but more substantial. If your house is positioned far away from the curb, painting it a light color will bring it forward visually. Lighter colors on a porch will make a home feel more approachable and welcoming. If you chose vivid shades like red or deep blue, keep in mind that over time they will lighten substantially. Also, darker shades seem to suffer more maintenance problems, due to the fact that they draw both heat and moisture and because dark paint fades, it's difficult to touch up.
In addition to picking colors, you must chose from three different paint sheens. Flat paint is the dullest, followed by low-luster (often called eggshell or satin), semi-gloss, and gloss. The glossier the surface, the more likely it will show imperfections, brush strokes and touch up marks. On the other hand, glossy surfaces are easier to clean. Many homeowners opt to use flat paint for walls and semi-gloss or glossy paint for columns, railings and window sashes. Finally, whatever colors you choose, always remember to keep the entire house in balance. Adding a burst of accent color to just one part of your home will make it seem lopsided. Your goal should be to balance your colors over the entire structure. The same rule of balance applies to your landscaping, but then again, that's a whole different topic to consider.
Working With A Contractor
Q. Why do I need a licensed General Contractor?
A. By law, any project contracted over $25K requires a state-licensed General Contractor unless you act as the General Contractor yourself. More importantly is the fact that in order to obtain and keep a General Contractor’s license or an HIC license, a company must prove a certain level of expertise and financial stability. These credentials, along with workman’s compensation and liability insurance, solid references, and stability/length of time in business should all be key factors when hiring any design/build or other contractor.
Q. Do I really need plans?
A. We urge you not to proceed with any project over $ 20K without drawings and specifications that are clearly understandable. BetterBuilt Construction is a design/build company that can assist you with these plans and specifications. We also have close working relationships with local architects for large projects.
Q. Why does remodeling seem expensive compared to existing home prices?
A. There are several reasons why the cost to remodel, renovate, or add on may seem high compared to new home construction. First, a distinction must be made between existing, tract, and custom (built to your specifications) home prices. All remodel work is custom and the cost compared to custom home construction is quite close. The other factor that makes remodeling seem more costly is the cost of additional, quality labor. It takes more time because care must be taken in and around your home. The skill and integrity of the workers must be of a high level because creative decisions must be made and you and your property must be respected. Clean-up must be performed on a daily basis and areas of the home must be protected from construction. All of these factors add time which means cost. Most people, when factoring in the cost of moving, the value of their location, the increase in value of their home, and the increase in the quality of their lives, find remodeling a smart choice.
Q. What do you charge per square foot?
A. BetterBuilt Construction is a custom builder and there is no standard square foot price. With custom work every job is designed around the homeowner’s specifications.
Q. Can you give me a ballpark price for my project?
A. The wise alternative to asking for a “ballpark” price from any reputable company is to share your budget expectations. This allows you to find out if you need to scale back, re-design, or re-think your options. We have found that most people have done some homework and have a pretty good idea of what a project should cost. The key now is to put together clear plans and specifications based on your budget and your other requirements.
Q. How long will my project take?
A. Getting a realistic time estimate is critical to a good home improvement experience. A small project may take as few as 2-3 days, while a large addition or whole house renovation may take as long as 12 months. Two major variables are local weather conditions and the difficulty special order materials. Our proposals all include a realistic construction schedule that we take much pride in following.
Q. Do you give free estimates?
A. Always. Our initial in-home consultation and your first meeting with the Architect are no charge and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the feasibility of your project. After our initial consultation, we will offer our services as a design firm prior to submitting an estimate. A firm proposal needs to set specifications. Obviously, if you have professional plans and drawings already in hand we would offer a free competitive bid.
Contrary to the song, today it is easy being green. With all of the materials we provide from shingles to paint to floor-to-ceiling, we can inform you about the relative affect on the environment.
Just ask. We can describe relative:
- Recycled Status
- Etc. Just ask.