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Winter is nearly over, and you will soon get a good look at your roof for what may well be the first time in months. You might discover some causes for concern as you look over what the winter weather has done to one of your home’s primary defenses against water damage, insects, rodents, and other intrusions that can cause expensive damage. If you’ve noticed signs of leaks inside your home, you obviously need to call for professional help, but some of the signs that your roof isn’t performing at its best may be less obvious. Learning what to look for and getting routine annual roof inspections help you keep your roof and home in the best shape possible for years to come.
If you notice any of these signs of a problem with your roof, schedule an inspection with a reputable and experienced roofer as soon as possible to get an accurate assessment of the issue and an professional opinion of whether it will be cost effective to make repairs.
You can lengthen the useful life of your roof with routine annual inspections and maintenance, and by staying watchful year-round. Take care of small roof problems before they have a chance to become big, expensive ones, and your roof and home will take care of you and your family for years, without breaking your budget.
Whether your roof in in need of repairs or roof replacement, ProTek Construction can help. Contact us for a free inspection.
If it’s time to plan for installing new siding on your home, take the time to do some research on the newer vinyl siding products available on the market today. You will probably be surprised at the beautiful styles and finishes available from siding products that cost significantly less (typically between half and two-thirds of the cost of wood siding) to purchase and install, and you’ll enjoy lower costs over the lifetime of your vinyl siding, as well.
Give your home a beautiful makeover that will last for decades and provide a comfortable indoor environment, while delivering substantial savings today and over the life of your home. Choose premium products for best selection and warranties. Contact ProTek Construction to learn more about our Vinyl Siding Services.
Wood has long been the popular – and only – choice for decks. Although wood decks may last for years, they are susceptible to decay and insect infestation, and require significant annual maintenance. Composite is a fairly new material but it has already been proven superior in its construction, durability and virtually maintenance-free aspects. If you’re considering building a new deck or replacing a failing one, take a look at composite and see why more than half of all homeowners are choosing composite decking over wood.
Composite decking is made from wood flour and polyethylene, or plastic. The wood comes from recycled doors and window frames and from wood chips and scraps from lumber yards and sawmills. The plastic can be virgin or come from recycled plastic bags and bottles.
After the materials are mixed together, they are colored to resemble various types of real wood, then formed into shapes of boards, steps, and railing either through molding or extrusion methods.
Compared to wood, which requires annual sealing and periodic sanding, composite decking is virtually maintenance-free. Manufacturers recommend an annual washing only and a protective sealant for darker colors every couple years. If you notice mildew spots, they can be easily scrubbed away with a cleaning solution, but rest assured that mildew will not turn into rot that threatens the integrity of the material as is the case with wood.
Homeowners who are planning to stay put choose composite decking because it will likely outlast most other structural features of their home as part of a larger home renovation and remodeling. A professionally installed, high-quality composite deck will last 25-30 years or longer, and resists all the common problems that wood has such as insect infestation, warping, mold, rot, and splintering.
Composite decking is considered eco-friendly because of its minimal impact on the environment compared to wood, where full-grown trees must be cut down to make long deck boards. Different manufacturers use different levels of recycled materials; some have made the commitment to using 100% local recycled materials. In either case, the result is still a significant amount of waste that is saved from landfills and instead used to create an environmentally sound, durable, lasting product that families can feel good about enjoying.
Manmade decking material is more expensive than woods such as pine, redwood and cedar, but it still significantly less expensive than exotic ipe which can last as long as 75 years. The initial outlay is often a sticker-shock moment for homeowners. For those who want to upgrade their home to sell, composite decking adds value to the property as well as providing the buyer with great long term benefits listed above.
When savvy homeowners look at the hard numbers and factor in the annual maintenance on wood given its significantly shorter lifespan, composite is the clear winner for those who are planning to stay in their home for longer than 10 years.
Composite decks require skilled installation, and contractors have to be certified by the various manufacturers in order to properly install composite decking and maximize the warranty. If you’re interested in a low-maintenance, long-lasting composite deck, contact ProTek Construction to request a free consultation.
Whether you live in an area that has dangerous spring storms and tornadoes, tropical hurricanes, or winter blizzards and ice, any home is susceptible to storm damage. While a hole in the roof from a falling tree may seem like obvious storm damage, a small roof leak and a humid attic could cause mold growth that could be just as detrimental in terms of storm restoration costs and a home cleaning would be quite neccesary.
If you suspect your home has been damaged in a storm, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to prevent more damage, mitigate the repair costs, and return your home to a safe place for your family.
When it is safe to walk the inside and outside of your home, after the storm has passed, carefully assess your entire house for damage. Even if damage doesn’t look bad – like a piece of siding you could reattach yourself – still take pictures and document it. If you have never filed a claim with your homeowners’ insurance, know that they require extremely detailed documentation. Failure to provide detailed information leaves you at the mercy of the insurance adjuster and his assessment alone to determine your compensation.
Unfortunately, your insurance company is hoping to pay you as little as possible. Many homeowners have even had their claim shorted so significantly that they were unable to make the repairs that would make their homes habitable again.
Having a reputable contractor evaluate your home’s storm damage before filing a claim with your insurance company will give you a true estimate of what the repairs will cost. You can then use these figures to compare with the insurance adjuster’s valuation and negotiate if necessary to ensure you’re getting the maximum compensation needed to make repairs.
Choose a local contractor that has been in business for a while and who has honest online reviews. Don’t hesitate to ask for referrals, and if it would make you more comfortable, you can even request an estimator from the contractor be onsite when the insurance adjuster arrives. Many contractors are happy to oblige, especially if they’re going to be working directly with your insurance company to complete the repairs and receive payment. It’s in everyone’s best interest that you receive a fair settlement that will cover all repairs.
Once the contractor has assessed the damage, they will take temporary measures like putting a tarp over your roof, to protect your home until construction can begin.
Having detailed documentation and an estimate from a contractor before you file a claim will help keep your insurance company honest and help get you the most money possible. Depending on your contractor, they may have an established relationship with your insurance carrier and may offer to handle the claim for you. A lot of times this is easier for everyone and the process of repairs and payment can happen much more quickly.
Storm damage is never something you want to deal with as a homeowner, but by following these three steps, the storm restoration process should go smoother, getting you and your family quickly and safely back in your home.
If you’re considering roof replacement, it’s a common perception that you need to wait until summer to get the work done. In reality, a qualified, licensed roofing company can replace a roof year round, and you can usually get a much better deal in the offseason.
There is good reason people assume roof replacements are done in the summer and early fall – because they typically are! Late summer and early fall are the most popular roofing seasons. This is because the weather is a bit cooler, drier and more predictable. Roofers are able to work quickly and comfortably and complete more projects in a shorter amount of time.
However, there is a downside for homeowners who plan roof replacement in during the summer and fall months. First, because it’s high-season, you may have to wait longer to get on a roofers schedule – sometimes several weeks or even months. Second, roofing suppliers raise prices in spring in preparation for the summer season, and contractors might pass those costs along to homeowners.
Bottom line: you may be paying more and waiting longer in the summer to have a new roof.
Winter and early spring are considered the “offseason” for roofers. The cold, rain and snow slow the roofing process down, but by no means do they make it impossible. Shingle manufacturers provide specific instructions for contractors to install during cold weather months. Shingles do require thermal sealing in temperatures below 40 degrees, so the project could take several days or even weeks, but you won’t pay any more and you should be guaranteed to get the same quality installation and warranty as you would in the summer.
The biggest advantage for the homeowner is pricing is typically reduced in the winter. Not only are roofing supplies less expensive, but roofing companies prefer work year round and often run specials in the offseason. Best scenario when planning on a winter installation is to use shingles that have NOT been stored in freezing temperatures. If the shingles have been exposed too long to freezing temps, when the crew is nailing the shingles that are too cold, they will crack underneath on the back side which can cause a shingle to fail and leak.
The most important thing is scheduling the work on your time, with your contractor of choice, and during the time of year when you will get the best deal.
If your roof gets blown off in a summer tornado, you may have no choice but to go with the first contractor who can get you on the schedule, and pay whatever the price is. However, if you notice that your roof is beginning to fail, the smart thing to do is schedule a consultation with a roof contractor so that they can assess the health of your roof and give you a timeline for replacement. If it’s summer and you can safely wait for replacement until winter, you will be able to use the best contractor in town and still save money.
Especially after storms, it’s not unusual to see fly-by-night contractors pop up and offer quick and affordable roof replacement. Beware that not using a reputable roofer could lead to subpar work and warranties not being honored. Most contractors offer warranties based on the manufacturer’s product warranties. Make sure to check what type of labor warranty is provided by the contractor so if a problem does surface within 1-2 years of a cold weather installation, you do not have to pay again for shingle repair or replacement.
ProTek Construction offers quality and value that ensures your roof replacement is up to the highest standards. Contact us today for a free estimate.
When you’re roof is in good repair, it goes largely unnoticed. But when it’s the eyesore of the neighborhood due to unsightly black streaks, it seems like you can’t go outside without looking up.
What are those black streaks? Are they damaging to your roof? And most importantly, can they be removed?
Gross, but true. A strain of airborne algae called gloeocapsa magma, or GM, establishes colonies on roofs with newer asphalt shingles. Why newer? Because today’s asphalt shingles contain limestone, and the algae’s favorite food source is calcium carbonate – one of the major minerals that make up limestone. Asphalt shingles made 30 years ago did not contain limestone and roof streaks were nonexistent on roofs then.
So the algae feed on the limestone granules in shingles, grow to form large colonies, and develop a dark UV coating that protects them from the sun. When it rains, the water runoff spreads the colonies further down the roof.
Hence the black streaking.
Experts don’t seem to agree on whether the black algae are actually harmful to the structure of your roof. While common sense dictates that if the algae are feeding on granules in the shingles, you should expect a faster breakdown and loss of granules, there is no evidence of this actually happening. Even the Asphalt Roof Manufactures Association (ARMA) has stated that “There is no scientific evidence that algae is damaging to asphalt shingles.”
Harmful or not, the fact remains that roof streaks are aesthetically unattractive and afflicted homeowners often want to know how to get rid of it.
While it is possible to clean your own roof using a mixture of bleach, water and trisodium phosphate (TSP), it is a dangerous job and generally one best left to the pros. Using a pump sprayer, they will apply the cleaning solution to the stains, let it soak in, then remove with a low pressure washer. This will temporarily lighten the algae but not actually kill it or prevent future staining.
Scrubbing or using a high-pressure power washer on an asphalt shingle roof is NEVER recommended as it could cause serious damage.
Shaded homes in humid areas will almost always be affected by black algae. While annual professional roof cleanings can help keep the colonies in check and maintain your home’s curb appeal, the algae will always come back.
The only lasting solution is to make your roof inhospitable to the algae by making it toxic. After roofing companies began noticing that the streaks were generally missing below metal attic vents and chimneys with metal flashing around them, studies found that copper and zinc were actually toxic to the algae. When it rains, trace amounts of these minerals run down the roof below the metal, creating an algae-free zone.
By having a qualified roofer add strips of copper or zinc coated galvanized metal along the roof’s ridges, you can prevent future growth and streaking. If you’re in the market for a new roof, today’s shingle manufacturers have begun adding copper granules to asphalt shingles to make them naturally resistant to algae.
If you’re embarrassed by ugly roof streaks on your Naperville home, call ProTek Construction for a free onsite evaluation and estimate. We can perform regular cleaning to lighten the algae, or take preventative measures to make your roof algae-resistant.
Contact us at 331-444-7380 throughout the Chicagoland area to schedule a free roof evaluation. Mention code CLEANROOF10 when scheduling to receive a 5% discount on an approved roofing project.
Composite is more expensive than standard pine and cedar wood decks. How much more expensive? There are many variables that affect the final installed price, so it’s difficult to provide figures without evaluating a homeowner’s individual needs.
However, before a homeowner is ready for an actual estimate, we are able to tell them WHY there is a difference in price. If you’re currently researching installing a new deck, the initial outlay is only a part of the big picture. Here’s what else you need to know.
Let’s look at a hypothetical deck build scenario here in Naperville. A homeowner wants to build a standard deck and wants to choose between pressure treated pine and composite. For the sake of having numbers to compare, we’ll say the pine deck costs $6,000 installed and the composite deck $10,000.
While a difference of $4,000 upfront may in fact be cost-prohibitive for some homeowners, the difference often becomes nominal when considering the positive impact of long term value-add, enhanced durability and very low maintenance required.
Not only is composite eco-friendly since it doesn’t require cutting trees down, it’s also far more durable than wood. Composite is not subject to the same issues wood deck owners may run into, such as splintering, rotting, warping, fading and insect infestation. A manmade material, composite decks generally last 25-30 years or longer.
A pressure-treated wood deck requires annual maintenance to protect it against the elements. Also the organic nature of wood means it will eventually fail and require replacement. Expect a wood deck to last around 10-15 years.
When you take into consideration that you may have to buy two wood decks over the lifespan of one composite deck, the cost puts composite in the lead.
Lastly, when you’re comparing wood and composite decks, you have to factor in ongoing maintenance time and costs. Composite decks need nothing more than annual washings to keep dirt and mildew off. Wood decks require annual washing, staining and sealing, plus sanding about every 3-5 years depending on level of exposure to the elements.
While power washing, sanding, staining and sealing your own deck is a feasible DIY job, it’s tedious and time-consuming, and many homeowners prefer to hire a professional to avoid the hassle. The cost to have a deck professionally washed, stained and sealed averages about $1.00 per square foot (SF). With a 400 SF deck, estimate cost range to be between $500 and $750 annually to maintain (includes material & labor costs). Approximate a minimum of $5,000+ over the course of the deck’s lifespan which is more than the cost of a composite deck which lasts longer than ten years!
If it’s time for a deck check, contact ProTek Construction for a FREE evaluation and estimate. With hundreds of happy customers in the Chicagoland area, we are committed to 100% customer satisfaction. We provide competitive pricing on deck materials and construction, offering products from the top manufacturers in the composite industry. Most importantly, we stand by our work with an industry leading,15 year warranty on our craftsmanship!
Contact us at 331-444-7380 to schedule a free deck evaluation, and mention code DECK200 to receive $200 off any approved decking project.
Other than severe winter weather, almost any time during the year is a good time to replace your roof. The key is not waiting so long that the roof is severely failing and causing interior damage to your home, and then having to wait several weeks to get on a roofer’s schedule or settle for subpar work.
Late summer and early fall are the most popular times for roofers. This is due to cooler, drier, more predictable weather. While roofers prefer to work in this weather, they can properly install a roof in any weather.
The downside of scheduling a roof replacement during the busy time is twofold: 1) you may have to wait weeks or even a couple months to get on the schedule, and 2) prices will be higher.
Due to higher demand, roofing suppliers intentionally raise prices in the late spring in preparation for the busy season. Rest assured, it’s not the roofing company price gouging you; it’s just the nature of the business.
The best time to schedule a roof replacement is when it’s not completely failing. If you see signs of disrepair that indicate you are going to need a new roof within the next year, you can get it done quicker and more affordably if you have it done in the winter or spring. While it can take a bit longer in these seasons due to moisture and temperatures, as shingles need thermal sealing in 40+ degree weather, roofers are proficient working in all seasons.
It’s very important that you have complete understanding of the product warranty and craftsmanship warranty provided by the roofing material supplier and the contractor performing the work. Neither party’s warranty should provide different guidelines or guarantees based on the temperature and season during a roof installation. A trustworthy, qualified roofing contractor will be able to share all the information you need to ensure you are comfortable with the timing of the installation, products used and labor skills and give the appropriate warranty paperwork based on the approved project scope.
If you suffer storm damage or wait until your roof is compromising your home and safety, you may be stuck with the first roofer who can do the job. Needless to say, you could end up with an inexperienced or unscrupulous contractor that does an inferior job or doesn’t stick around for the warranty.
The key to deciding when the best time to replace your roof is planning ahead. You want to have the luxury of getting estimates from multiple contractors and selecting the quality, price and timeline that works best for you.
If your roof in the Naperville or greater Chicagoland area is showing signs of disrepair, the first course of action is a professional evaluation from ProTek Construction to identify whether repair or replacement is necessary. If you need roof replacement, our estimator will give you a realistic timeline so that you can plan ahead to get the best deal on your new roof.
ProTek is the ONLY general contractor that provides a 15 year warranty on craftsmanship to give you peace of mind long after your new roof is installed. Contact ProTek at (331) 444-7380 for a free inspection and estimate on your roofing repair or replacement project. Mention blog code ROOF10 when scheduling to receive 10% off an approved roofing project.
When you begin researching deck materials, you’re going to find a lot of information comparing wood and composites. While you should always make an informed choice based on your particular situation and budget, we believe that composite material has some marked advantages over wood that are important to note.
First, it’s important to understand what exactly composite lumber is. Composite material is made from a mixture of wood flour – made from wood scraps from lumber and recycled wooden doors and window frames; and polyethylene (plastic) – often made from recycled plastic bottles and bags.
The materials are mixed together and dyed to get various shades of wood tones such as redwood, cedar, tropical hardwoods and even modern gray palettes. The mixture is poured into molds that will create various sizes and shapes of boards, railings and steps. Another method of forming is through extrusion, where the material is pushed through a shape. However, this method creates waste that must be melted down and reused.
Because composite decking is mostly a plastic, non-organic material, it is not susceptible to the same issues as wood such as rot, mold, warping, splintering and insect infestation. Because of this, a high-quality composite deck that has been professionally installed can last 25-30 years or even longer.
For homeowners who plan to stay in their home indefinitely, composite means years of worry-free deck ownership and zero fear of splinters!
Unlike wood, which must be sealed every year and sanded around every 6 years, composite decking needs nothing more than a good washing every year. If you have a darker color composite, you should also consider using a sealer every couple years to minimize fading.
While you may still see mildew spots in damp areas, these can be easily washed away using a solution suggested by the manufacturer. Unlike wood, the mold or mildew is only on the surface of the composite and does not cause rot that compromises the integrity of the material.
Many composite manufacturers make products that are considered eco-friendly because of their minimal impact on the environment. Unlike wood decks whose planks must be harvested from full-grown trees, composite manufacturers use recycled plastics and scrap wood to make the ingredients for their products.
Some brands go so far as to only use recycled materials from local sources and have perfected virtually waste-free manufacturing processes. This diverts an incredible amount of potential waste from the local landfills and turns it into a quality product that will provide enjoyment to homeowners for years to come.
With the exception of exotic ipe hardwood which can last as long as 75 years, composite decks are more expensive than all other deck woods like pine, cedar and redwood. The reason? It lasts twice as long, if not longer, is virtually maintenance free, and requires a more sophisticated level of installation.
However, when homeowners crunch the numbers and take into account the ongoing maintenance and required labor of wood compared to its relatively short life span, composite comes up the winner every single time, making it worth the initial outlay.
If you’re considering installing a new deck or updating an aging one on your Chicagoland home, make your first call to ProTek. We offer a free onsite consultation, where we will evaluate your space, your style, your personal preferences and your budget to make a recommendation for a deck you will love.
Contact us at 331-444-7380 to schedule your free consultation. Mention code COMPOSITE10 to receive 10% off an approved decking project.
Illinois is known for its turbulent spring and winter storms, and Mother Nature is not selective when it comes to storm damage to your home. It might not always be as obvious as having half your roof violently ripped off; often, a slow, steady leak during the spring thaw can cause just as much damage.
If your home has sustained storm damage, quick and decisive action is needed to protect your home and family and prevent further damage.
Do these 3 things to recover from storm damage in Illinois.
Once the storm has passed and it’s safe to evaluate your home, carefully check the interior and exterior of your home for any damage. Take pictures and detailed notes documenting the damage, even if it seems minor. If you plan to file a claim with your homeowners’ insurance, you will be required to submit very detailed information in order to get maximum compensation.
An unfortunate reality is that your insurance company’s goal is to get away with paying you the least amount of money as possible. In many cases, homeowners have been so shorted on their claims that they were financially unable to complete needed repairs to make their homes safe again.
Because not all insurance companies are as open with their purse strings as homeowners would like for them to be, it’s often recommended you call a contractor to assess your storm damage before calling your insurance company. The contractor will give you the real cost to make the repairs, which you can compare with the insurance adjuster’s estimate. Many contractors will even agree to have their estimator at your home when the adjuster comes to make sure you are getting a fair and accurate settlement that will cover all repairs in full.
The contractor will then make any temporary repairs, such as tarping the roof, to keep the elements out until construction can begin.
Or better yet, let your contractor handle it for you. A good local contractor has the experience and resources needed to negotiate with your insurance company, and can often handle the claim, do the work, and get paid directly by your insurance company, with little involvement from you.
If you are forced to deal with your insurance company directly, be sure to have all your ducks in a row before you contact them. Document the damage personally and get a quote from a contractor well before an insurance adjuster ever steps foot on your property. The more knowledge you have, the better chance you have of maximizing your claim.
If you live in Naperville or the surrounding Chicagoland suburbs, ProTek Construction has your back when it comes to storm restoration. Our goal is complete satisfaction and a quality job done right the first time. We work directly with your insurance company at no cost to you, and provide fast, free estimates to get the storm restoration process underway as quickly as possible to get your family safely back in your home. Call us at (331) 444-7380 for a free estimate.