May 23 Hail Storm in Charlotte

It’s that time again….  Be ware of storm chasers!

On May 23rd certain areas in Charlotte experienced golf ball size and bigger hail.  This size hail can cause serious damage to your roof, windows, siding, gutters, and other material on your home.

Over the next couple of months you may notice roofing companies going door to door to try and offer you a free roof inspection.  They may then offer to work with your insurance company and tell you that you need to replace your roof.  Given the size of the hail, this may very well be the case.

Not all roofing companies are created equal.  Storm chasers are roofers that come from out of town, often purchase a local phone number, hire local subcontractors, and leave as soon as the insurance claims slow down.  They are unreliable, often uninsured, and will not be around if you have a problem with your roof in the future.  Another tactic is to try and lock you into a contract on the first inspection.  There is no reason to do this other than to hold you hostage when you do your research and figure out they are from out of town.

One technique to find the out of town roofers is to examine their licenses plates.  If you see an out of town license plate on your contractors truck, do not continue business with that individual.  Always ask for insurance certificates before a company gets on your roof.  Check with the Better Business Bureau and other references before agreeing to work with any roofing contractor.

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Hail in Charlotte

July 1, 2012 there was hail reported in Charlotte as big as 2″ in diameter!  Hail of this size can do considerable damage to roofing and siding.  Last April Charlotte experienced a hailstorm that produced baseball size hail in some locations.  Insurance companies have spent millions of dollars on roofing and siding insurance claims in the Charlotte area alone.  With hail falling from the sky at speeds in excess of 100 mph, depending on the age of your roof or siding, pea size hail could even do damage.  Storm damage is one of those situations where it’s best to play it safe and call a local company to inspect your home. Issues that might not even be visible from the ground could end up costing you thousands in the long run if left un-addressed. If you think you may have experienced storm damage to your home, give us a call.  We’d be more than happy to give you a free, no-obligation inspection, and walk you through your options.  Feel free to reach out to us with any questions at (704)544-0455.

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Spring Home Maintenance Tips

Inspect your home seasonally to prevent costly storm damage:

I came across an interesting and relevant article today on the CBS News site.  Ilyce Glink wrote about a handful of things you can do, or hire a professional to do, this spring to prevent damage to your home that could be avoidable during the spring storms.  Jim Gustin, senior property specialist with Travelers’ risk control department says “Every dollar you spend on little repairs or fortifications can save four dollars in storm damage.”

The article advises to inspect, from the exterior of your home, your roofing, windows, doors, and gutters for possible points of water infiltration.  Some of the things you should look for on the roof are hail damage, wind damage(missing shingles or lifted shingles), nail pops, or exposed wood along your ridges.

Roofing Shingle Deterioration

Shingle Deterioration

Exposed wood

Exposed wood on ridge

Wind Damage

Wind Damage to roof

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From the interior, you should look at the ceiling for any discoloration or signs of existing leaks.  Also, check around your windows and doors for peeling paint or dried out caulk. Painting the trim around your windows and doors, could get messy if doing it yourself, but is essential to prolonging the life of the wood around those areas.

The article also mentions making sure your appliances are working properly, inspecting for potential flying debris, and checking smoke detectors and electrical systems.  It even mentions looking over your grill to make sure it’s far enough away from the house and in working order.

Some of this you can do yourself but if you don’t feel comfortable getting on your roof, for example, which I would imagine most people wouldn’t, then call a professional like us.  Stay tuned for other great home maintenance tips from TruGuard!

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House painting in Charlotte

Should I paint the exterior of my house myself?

Painting the exterior of your house could be recommended every five to ten years, depending on what paint products you’ve used previously.  Painting all wood surfaces is imperative as this prevents wood rot which could lead to more costly damage in the long run.  Now is the time when most people slap on a fresh coat of paint to prevent damage over the hot and moist seasons, when exposed wood is most susceptible to water infiltration.

At first thought, it may seem like something you could possible take on yourself , say, over a long weekend.  Before you do so, check out this article from backyardsandgardens.com where the editors talk about six major reasons why it might be beneficial for you to outsource this spring maintenance project.

In addition to the cost, quality, and convenience-type factors mentioned in the article, there may be unforeseen complications that arise.  If you are going to take on this project yourself, do a thorough inspection of the wood around your siding, doors, windows, soffit, and fascia to ensure there is no rotten wood.  If there is, be sure to replace all rotten wood before painting.

A great alternative to wood nowadays is a rot-free material such as PVC to prevent any future damage.  As the article mentions, estimates should be free and it won’t ever hurt to get an expert opinion, even if you decide to paint the exterior of your home yourself.  Feel free to check out some of the paint manufacturers we use to get a good idea of a high quality product.


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Tips For Choosing a Roofing Contractor in Charlotte

Whether hail damage, a leak, or age be the reason your roof needs help, here’s what you should know before calling a contractor.

With all the buzz about the April hail storm, and many contractors out of work due to the economic slow-down, roofing in Charlotte has become the go-to trade for many struggling handymen and contractors.  Because of this, this industry has become very competitive and contractors in Charlotte will do and say almost anything to win the job.  Many of them will tell you they’re the “#1 local roofer”, “best in Charlotte”, “insurance claim experts”, and whatever else they think will win them the job.  These are statements that can’t possibly be proven or validated, so how could they be true???

With the high ease of entry into this business segment, consumers need to be aware of some things.  The list below has been comprised from my experience in roofing sales and as a project manager.

  1. Regardless of how you may have been contacted by a company, make sure your initial meeting is going to be with a reputable local roofing contractor.
    1. Check out their website, BBB, and any reviews on the company you can find.  It’s worth doing the leg work on this one.
  2. Make sure they are fully licensed and insured in your state.
    1. This is a very common way for unscrupulous contractors to cut costs.
      1. Not only should your contractor have insurance but, if they’re using subcontracted labor, so should the crew who is actually performing the work.
  3. Make sure the person that does the roof inspection is the same person that will walk you through the entire process, from insurance claim to the completion of your roof.
    1. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to find the right person to talk to when you have an issue.
  4. Make sure premium products are being used and that the contractor is preferred by the manufacturer.
    1. The only products we’ll recommend, for which we are a preferred contractor, are GAF, Owens Corning, and CertainTeed.
      1. Using an inferior product is another way contractors cut costs.
  5. Make sure you compare warranties of your prospective roofers.
    1. Both the product and workmanship warranties are very important.
      1. Standard product warranty is 30 years on an architectural shingle but some preferred contractors have the ability to purchase 50 year warranties.
      2. Industry standard on workmanship is 5 years but some may offer up to 10 years.
  6. See if the contractor offers a third party inspection.
    1. This is something we include but not many, if any, other contractors offer.  This is an amazing benefit and could save you thousands in the long run.
  7. Is the contractor using a starter shingle course, a protective underlayment (in addition to felt paper), and most importantly, proper ventilation.
    1. Skimping on these items can lower the cost of your roof but would be a very costly mistake in the long run.
  8. Don’t be greedy!
    1. If your insurance company is paying for a new roof, don’t be greedy and try to pocket an extra $100 (which is illegal BTW) because in the roofing game, you often get what you pay for.
      1. My advice here is to fit as many upgraded products/warranties you can negotiate into what the insurance company has allotted.

Following the aforementioned eight steps will help ensure that you start off the process with a good contractor, and when comparing bids, you’re comparing apples to apples.  The one year anniversary of the April storm is coming up, so get ready for another wave of roofing sales pitches :) .

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April 9th Hailstorm

With the hailstorm that passed through Charlotte on April 9th, 2011, there will be severe roof damage across the area.  This damage can often go unnoticed from the ground, but over time, will create a serious problem for the homeowner.  Hail hits a roof, causing damage to the shingle surface and creating a place for water to penetrate into the home.  If your home was hit by hail, call a qualified roofing contractor immediately to assess your damage.  If you have hail damage, you are eligible for a full roof replacement through your homeowners insurance.  The insurance companies have an investment in your home and your roof is the first line of defense.

Also, with a hailstorm comes what the industry refers to as “storm chasers”.  Storm chasers are roofers that come from out of town, often purchase a local phone number, hire local subcontractors, and leave as soon as the insurance claims slow down.  They are unreliable, often uninsured, and will not be around if you have a problem with your roof in the future.  They also try to impersonate local contractors in order to gain a homeowners trust.  One technique to find the out of town roofers is to examine their licenses plates.  If you see an out of town license plate on your contractors truck, do not continue business with that individual.  Always ask for insurance certificates, Better Business Bureau reports, and references before agreeing to work with any roofing contractor.

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“How to choose paint colors with a color wheel” – This Old House

Picking out paint colors can be a confusing experience, leaving you racked with indecision as you peruse swatches from paint companies intent on re-creating all of the 7 million colors distinguishable to the human eye. Trying to figure out which of those colors will mix harmoniously on your living room wall is enough to make you turn straight to the ecru- and eggshell-white family and never leave.

One way to go, however, is to use a complementary color scheme. Proving the rule that opposites attract, these pairings can always be found at opposite ends from each other on a paint color wheel. When put together, they bring out the best in each other, making both colors look cleaner and brighter than if either were mixed with, say, a neutral gray or a different shade of the same hue.

An essential tool for paint pros everywhere, the color wheel is constructed to help you see the relationships between different hues. The bases are three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. These are then combined to make the three secondary colors: orange, green, and purple. Finally, the remaining six colors on the wheel are known as tertiary colors and are mixes of the secondary colors, including such hues as red-orange and blue-green.

Familiarizing yourself with the color wheel can help you understand how to best mix and match a cool color with a warm one, for a naturally balanced room.

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Spring Is Here!!!

With the beautiful weather and warm temperatures, people are getting outside and tackling exterior home maintenance projects.   One of the easiest and cost effective ways to keep your house in good condition is to make sure the exterior is properly painted and sealed.  Most people don’t realize that paint is much more than just an aesthetic covering.  It is a sealer that will keep windows and wood trim from absorbing moisture and rotting over time.  A simple paint job now can help avoid a very costly repair in the future.

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Roof Claims & the Saleability of Your Home

A claim will only affect the saleability of a home if the clue report shows extensive claims on the property in question. This is a very rare circumstance and can be checked by your insurance agent. Most homeowners rarely, if ever, file a claim. If a customer has made several past claims, we recommend they check their clue-report status prior to moving ahead with a claim. A new roof on a home is in fact an excellent selling point and will increase the saleability of that home.

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Tips on Finding an Honest & Reliable Contractor

As with any contractor or service person, honesty and reliability are major concerns. There is always the chance of hiring the wrong person to do the job. Even an honest contractor can often be unreliable. There are some contractors out there who will ask for a deposit check and never show up at the job again. At TruGuard Construction Group, we recommend you fully check out your contractor. Ask for references, business license, insurance certificates, etc. Never give your contractor money before materials are brought on site. With the proper due diligence, a customer can significantly reduce his or her chance of hiring the wrong contractor.

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