The Preferred Shingle for Home Insurance

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We are proud to introduce the Northgate Shingle by CertainTeed. It’s the shingle your insurance company wants you to have! So…. why is this shingle one of the best on the market? The biggest reason is the Northgate shingle has a Class 4 Impact/Hail rating. This is the highest rating possible! Most insurance companies offer a discount when you tell them you had these put on your roof.

Other reasons to make the Northgate your favorite shingle are:

  • Better gradual retention. This is critical to protect the asphalt against UV breakdown. Once your granules fall off, your shingle will fail.
  • Higher tear strength compared to standard shingles. This means the shingles can stand up against very strong winds
  • Has stronger nail pull through resistance- AKA if your installer has the pressure too high on the nail gun, the nail head could go all the way through your shingle.
  • This shingle has been modified to resist cracking and shrinking in both hot and cold temperatures. Your roofers can install in zero degree weather without having shingle shrinkage issues.
  • The Northgate shingle still qualifies for the 50 year non-prorated Unconditional Roof warranty Carlson Exteriors offers for free.

 

Click here to see CertainTeed’s brochure on Northgates.

Dryvit- Friend or Foe?

What is Dryvit? Dryvit is most frequently referred to as stucco looking material by homeowners but is actually a composite material that was designed to be insulated and water resistant, while maintaining a “beautiful” exterior appearance. The use of this material in the U.S. started in the 1960’s but boomed in the 70’s. The promise of a water resistant decorative insulation made it a popular exterior choice. Why wouldn’t it?

Like most specialized products, Dryvit only works if installed properly. Dryvit is similar to brick’s installation where there needs to be a gap between your sheeting (underlayment) and the Dryvit to allow the moisture to dry without being up against the wood. Knowledgeable installers could not keep up with the high demand of Dryvit in the 70’s , so unqualified installers stepped in. The majority of those jobs were installed wrong, the Dryvit soaks up the water and retains it against the wooden underlayment, allowing it to rot and get moldy. There is no way to tell the condition of the underlayment without removing the Dryvit- many homeowners are living with severe rot and damage without being aware of it.

We were recently hired on to replace a homeowner’s dryvit exterior with a vinyl product because the homeowner was tired of the “dated look” the dryvit gave their home. When we tore off the Dryvit we found out it was not installed properly and a majority of the underlayment had to be replaced. In the photos, you can see all the black mold on the wood and in some cases the wood no longer exists from years of rotting away.

Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood Dryvit Rotted Wood

Should I Be My Own General Contractor? Part 2

Roofing contracotrs

So you’ve decided you want to be your own General Contractor…Congratulations! It was a tough decision to make and the path won’t always be the easiest to take. As the previous blog stated, you don’t have to be construction savvy to feel capable of being a General Contractor (GC) but it is good to have someone you can turn to for advice or tips along the way. If this is your first time being GC, be weary of not exhausting your support person- ideally you’d like to stay friends with them after your home has been built. In the meantime, this blog will attempt to give you a good foundation in beginning your adventure as GC.

First off, if you are married or are with someone,, make sure you both are 100% on board for building your own home as your own General Contractor; this has been known to put quite a strain on relationships.

Be comfortable with and be prepared to assume the risks of being your own General Contractor. For homeowners being their own GC, make sure the contractors are insured and have Workers Compensation insurance. Homeowner’s General Liability insurance will not cover any injuries/accidents to workers on your jobsite- General Liability only protects your physical property. If you have uninsured contractors working for you and they get seriously injured, lawyers will find the homeowner as financially responsible for medical bills, income loss, and whatever else they can think of. If you are being your own GC, it’s safer to eliminate any uninsured contractors from your list- as a bonus; insured contractors usually have a higher quality in their craftsmanship.

Banks are usually more leery of giving construction loans to homeowners building their own home vs homeowners going through established builders or General Contractors. You become a risk to them; banks want to protect their investments. In case something happens and the bank needs to take over their rights on your building project they want to know what’s there is of good quality. The banks know that GC’s will not only allow shoddy work but are also familiar with each stage in the building process; no steps skipped over by being inexperienced. Just be prepared to have loan delays or the loan process in its entirety to not go smoothly or quickly.

Next: Finding, getting, and picking estimates/subcontractors.

Storm Damage

Siding damage from a high wind storm
Siding damage from a high wind storm

While a good storm can be good for a deep sleep, it’s usually pretty hard on the exterior of our home. The strong winds can dislodge shingles and siding while hail can pock-mark or pierce it. We all have had a contractor knock on our door letting us know they could fix it for free through our insurance. This is often true, however, don’t feel like this contractor is your only choice. When picking a contractor to do your storm repairs (or any work for that  matter) you might want to consider the following:

  • Does the contractor have a local, physical location? A traveling contractor, one who follows the storms, could pose future communication issues. If you would have a problem with their work later down the road it might be hard to get a hold of them or have them return within a timely manner.  Local contractors gives you the benefit of being able to walk through their door and address any issues face to face.  You also have the word of mouth advantage with a local contractor; use your neighborly resources and find out if this contractor is of good quality and character- your community will know.
  • How long has this company been established? This goes without saying, but a company that has been around for a while usually has good business models in practice. You should ask if there has been any company name changes within the years they have been in business; many companies when faced with a lawsuit change their name afterwards to shed any negative images or legalities that could haunt their business. This doesn’t mean all companies change their name for this reason alone; some companies change their name to better fit their expanding company.
  • Does this company ask you, the homeowner, to get any building permits or do they do it? If a company asks you to pull any permits this should set off red flags. A city will not issue any permits to a company who is not licensed but will issue a permit to any homeowner.
  • Is this contractor licensed, bonded, and insured? This gives you, the homeowner, a little peace of mind through knowing they know what they are doing and if anything does go wrong they have the money to rectify it.
  • Do your research! Both local and traveling contractors have a website or at the very least have reviews on the web. Look up that contractor and see what previous customers have to say about their quality and craftsmanship. See if the good out weighs the bad.

While you cannot control when a storm hits, you can control who does the repairs. If someone is offering to do it free through your insurance that means any contractor can do it for free!

 

Hail damage shows up as pock-marks.
Hail damage shows up as pock-marks.
Shingle damage from high wind
Shingle damage from high wind