What Questions to Ask When Hiring A Painting Contractor

Painting the interior or exterior of your home is one of the most cost-effective home improvements that you can undertake. The first question you have to ask is, do you have the knowledge and skills to do the task yourself and have it look professional?

The last thing you want to do is invest weeks or months of work and not be happy with the result and possibly do more damage to the integrity of your home. If you have walked into a rental property and seen the numerous poor paint jobs done by owners or handymen, you know what I mean.

So if you decide to hire a painting contractor what is the best way to go about it?

SEEK OUT REFERRALS

The best way is to seek out referrals. Talk to relatives, friends or neighbors and find out if they have had a recent experience with a painting contractor. Find out if they were trustworthy, neat, clean and on time. I feel personal experience is the best referral.

If you can’t find personal referrals, the next option is to search the Yellow Pages, internet or check with the paint stores in your area. The paint stores deal with contractors on a daily basis and might be able to recommend a reputable one. An advantage of hiring a contractor that has a good long-term relationship with a paint store is that if there is a problem with a product or color, the store will back the contractor for labor and material not just a few gallons of paint. I would steer clear of the big box stores as they typically recommend contractors who pay them 20+% of the total bill to be a recommended contractor.

ARE THEY LICENSED?

Always hire a State licensed contractor, not a handyman. If a handyman does damage to your house, you have no recourse. One clue is that a handyman will only have five numbers on their license and a painting contractor will have six numbers. The lower the number on the license the longer they have been in business. A State licensed contractor has to carry a $12,500 bond to protect their clients.

If you hire a State licensed contractor, you also want to check to be sure that their license is active. You can check with the contractors license board online. All you have to do is enter the license number and it will show the status and the name of the workers compensation carrier. I looked at a job recently and was underbid by a contractor that does not have workers comp. He claims to do the work himself, but his website shows he has employees. If his employee injures himself on the job, you, the homeowner, will be responsible for his medical bills and rehabilitation. Most homeowners don’t know this.

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

Be wary of claims of “years of experience”. Check on years of experience as a contractor, as opposed to as a painter, or “in the industry”. When you are at the state license board website under the license number, it tells you when the business was started. To me, painting at ten years old doesn’t count as years of experience. It is pretty easy to start a painting business, but a lot more difficult to stay in business.

PRICE

Don’t hire on price alone. If an estimate is extremely low, there is usually a reason for it. There are many ways to cut price; cut corners on the prep work, number of coats of paint, and quality of paint used; forgo liability insurance, don’t pay workers compensation (illegal if you have employees), use undocumented workers.

Sometimes what seems like the cheapest bid ends up costing more in both money and time – not to mention aggravation. The problem with a bad paint job is that it lasts the life your house unless you strip the paint or replace the surface that has been poorly painted.

Here are some things to ponder. Does the contractor pay their employees a living wage? Do they pay overtime? Do they pay or help with health care? Do they give their employees any paid vacation time? While these factors may not affect the quality of the paint job on your house, they do affect the quality of life of the people who did the work, people who also live in your community and will depend on public services if they can not make ends meet from their wages.

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THEM?

Any contractor worth hiring should be willing to consult with the owner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with colors. I have found spending a little time figuring out what my clients are looking for works out for both of us in the long run. There is nothing more difficult than looking through a color deck and picturing what it will look like on the wall. Your contractor should be willing to do a paint out for you on a 8×11 card that you can move around the room from shade to sun. You will be amazed how it changes as the daylight changes.

Find someone you are comfortable with. The contractor and his employees will be working around and inside your house. Many of my clients feel comfortable enough with my employees to leave us in their house while they go to work. Some even plan to have us come in while they are on vacation.

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Renting A Lakefront Cabin Vs Owning

I would say if you are on the hunt for a summer home, then you’ve “arrived” as they say. A summer home is peaceful. All the distractions of work and house chores are left where they are. I don’t believe that anyone would wait, though, to have something of their own to escape on summer getaways. Lakefront cabin rentals are always available, sometimes even the less expensive route too. For college students and families alike, they can pull together and pay for cabin rentals together that would be cheaper than owning.

Summer is the typical time of year for vacations. That said plan ahead. In early Spring, consider where you want to camp, even if you want to camp. The nice thing about Southwest Michigan cabins is that they are cabins. Camping in tents isn’t exactly for everyone. Believe me, I’m one of those people. Yes, you can get air mattresses; but I have never had one last longer than two summers. Sleeping on the ground is not an option for my back. Anyway, renting a cabin is a more favorable option for families, so why not make a reservation well in advanced so your family has beds to sleep in?

Renting a cabin on a lake is ideal for both adults and children. The water activities are endless. Older kids to teenagers can enjoy water skiing or tubing; while the younger ones can have fun on the paddleboat and the parents relax by fishing. Granted, if you already own, you don’t have to worry about making a reservation, yes. But when you rent, you don’t have to worry about maintaining your cabin, like keeping it clean and paying bills for two homes during the winter when you’re probably hardly there.

Renting versus owning has a lot to do with weighing the pros and cons. To gain a better understanding, try renting first to see what the upkeep for a cabin is like. Usually summer homes are smaller for the reason that families don’t want too much additional responsibility. If you find renting enough, then find a real estate agent to show you properties of lakefront rental cabins. This will give potential owners an idea of prices. An additional option for owners that don’t want to own anymore is that they could begin renting out their own cabin. For example, let’s say there is a summer you just know you aren’t going to be making it up there, rent it out. Make some money off it.

For information on Beardsley Reservoir click here.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies Guide – 5 Call of Duty Black Ops Tips and Info!

In the latest Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Black Ops, there is a game mode that will really test your skills and video gaming prowess. This is the Zombie Survival Mode, wherein you have to gun down wave after wave of zombies through a series of barriers, and ultimately avoid becoming dinner for the walking dead. But this is survival mode; you can’t expect it be a walk in the park.

You can not survive this mode without a good Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide that you can follow. Fortunately, this article will feature some tips that you can use as a form of reference. Read through the article to learn more.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide – Survival Tip 1: Play with your friends
A great tip is to bring more people with you as you play, since going against these zombies alone is nothing but suicide. From this guide, you will learn that there is safety in numbers, so bring along two or three of your friends in the battle field.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide – Survival Tip 2: Manage resources wisely
One of the most practical tips that you can get from this guide is to manage your resources properly. Since you are starting with a pistol and just 500 points to spend, you need to buy your weapons accordingly. Pick either a rifle or a shotgun first, but don’t use it until the 3rd or fourth round.

One great side tip from this is to rely on your knife to attack on melee. This is great because zombies from the first round go down easy. Another great side tip is to shoot a few rounds into a zombie first, then use the knife to finish it.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide – Survival Tip 3: Make the most out of a breach
In this guide, you will learn that a breach isn’t a bad thing if you know how to control it. A breach happens when zombies broke through your barriers. It is great to have a controlled breach on the early rounds when zombies are still weak. Just stay on a strategic position, and get ready to pick power ups from the zombies who broke through.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide – Survival Tip 4: Try your luck with Random Boxes
The firearms that you could buy are quite limited. A great Call of Duty Black Ops info is to try your luck by getting a Random Box. These costs 950 points, but you can get great items like an alien Ray Gun or a unique Wonder Weapon.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide – Survival Tip 5: Talk with your Team!
This is not really a game that you can win by playing alone. You need to work with your team, inform them of breaches, and try to take turns spending points to open doors. This way, you will be able to survive for quite some time. The best tip from this Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies guide is to communicate with your team mates at all times.

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Smoke Damage Book and Document Clean-Up

Smoke damage can be caused by the smoke’s gases or the soot it leaves behind. Depending on the extent of the damage and the type, different cleaning and restoration techniques must be implemented to properly clean the mess. When smoke damages books, photos, or important paper documents, the process to restore them can be especially difficult because of the fragility of these items.

Smoke Types

Smoke damages can be categorized into three general types: wet, dry, and fuel oil soot.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke is a low-heat, smoldering type of smoke that leads to sticky residue. This smoke damage has the potential to warp books and documents.

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke is a created by high temperature, fast-burning fires. It is especially damaging to older, more fragile books.

Fuel Oil Soot

Fuel oil soot occurs when furnaces and other heat sources give off gritty puffs of soot. This kind of smoke acts as an abrasive on paper items like books and archive documents.

Smoke follows a general pattern for movement and destruction. It moves to the top floors of buildings. It is attracted to cool areas and easily moves through plumbing and ventilation systems.

How Damage Occurs

Smoke damages books and documents by staining exposed surfaces, mainly covers and paper edges. Damages to these items will depend on the quality, age, and condition of the documents affected. It will also depend on how well the items were stored prior to encountering the smoke. Most home and business owners keep books on shelves. Therefore the damage occurs mostly on the outer bindings and the top edges. Properly stacked books and documents will actually protect each other from intense smoke and soot damage. Keeping book shelves and desks away from the ventilation ducts or pipe work will also reduce the likelihood of smoke damage.

Restoration and Cleaning

Regardless of how much damage your books or documents have received, it is important to take extreme care when handling them. Books may not seem to have experienced much damage, but smoke, especially dry smoke, can ruin book bindings and make pages very brittle. Never handle damaged books by their pages – otherwise, increased “fingerprint” damage can occur.

You can clean most mildly damaged books by wiping the covers and paper edges with a dry sponge. This removes residue and prevents soot and ash from continuing to stain your books over time. However, you must be sure that you clean these items in a low humidity environment otherwise the moisture in the air can collect on the paper and cause further damage.

If your books, photos, or documents have experienced moderate to heavy smoke damage, you should seek out a professional book and document restoration specialist. Restoration companies have a number of state-of-the-art cleaning techniques they can employ to recover your damaged books. Many companies have sanding techniques to remove stubborn soot stains on page edges and employ a deodorizing technique to remove smoky odors. Other professionals will use ozone gas chambers to remove stains and safely deodorize documents.

Smoke is a lesser known damager of home and business materials. It can, however, be the most damaging because it is harder to assess the extent of the damage until it is often times too late. By properly employing strategic storage techniques and proper material handling practices you can greatly reduce the potential for smoke damage in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Party Rentals For Easter Holiday

Obstacle Courses

If you are planning to have party rentals for Easter, then you definitely need to have obstacle courses in your event. The obstacle courses will add tons of fun to your event as kids and adults will get to enjoy themselves and play. The course is a two person racing obstacle course that ends with a slide. It is great for building healthy competition among kids so that kids can learn that rivalry does not always have to be bitter.

Moonwalks

Kids love moonwalks and they are a must have for those who will need party rentals For Easter. They come in different shapes and sizes and this makes the selection process very exciting. You can even take your young kids so that they can help you choose the moonwalk that they like best. Since the moonwalks vary greatly in color and design, your kids, whether girls or boys, will not be disappointed. They will get something that they will really connect with and like. Some of the popular moonwalks include: Sport Bounce, Pink And Blue, Multi Colored and Deluxe Sport Bounce.

Snow Cones and Cotton Candy

It is that time of year again where kids get to eat as much candy and ice cream as they can. The weather at this time is perfect for that sort of thing, and kids and adults alike will surely enjoy eating candy. You can share the cotton candy with your better half or kids and that creates a picture of togetherness. It may even be the reason why the two of you will bond over the holidays. If kids are not able to have their snow cones and cotton candy, there is a high chance that they will be really disappointed. You can also receive extra supplies of snow cone or cotton candy in case you run out of them.

Water Slides

If you have a swimming pool or a backyard where you have access to water then you should surely think about having water slides as party rentals for Easter. They will be the center of attention and some kids may even have to be literally dragged away from them so that they can join in the other festivities. They are a good way of feeling alive and feeling the blood in your veins. The water slides can be used by more than one person at once meaning that more people will be using it at any one time. You are certain that there will be screams of joy and laughter from the people on the water slides.

Tables, Chairs and Generators

If you are planning an Easter party in your backyard there are items that you may need to make the day a success. You can rent tables and chairs that are comfortable and very portable. This will make arranging chairs very easy and smooth. You may lack a source of power for the party rentals that you have chosen, but you should not be worried since you can also rent generators. If you have a generator you can hold the party anywhere without having to worry about the source of power.

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Assisited Living or Skilled Nursing – Is It Only One or the Other? Do Doctors Know the Difference?

I’m here with Margie Veis, the Executive Director of Summerhill Villa, an assisted living facility in Santa Clarita, California.

KH: How can families keep their parents in assisted living and out of skilled nursing?

MV: Sometimes you have to be in a skilled nursing. If somebody requires medical care, they need to be in a skilled nursing.

Is it the same environment? No. Can they be yucky? Yes.

Sometimes you need that and not that it has to be permanent, but there might be a time when your parent gets sick and they need a week or two or three in a skilled nursing before they come back to an assisted living or back to home.

I went through that with my parent. My mom had pneumonia. She was sick. She needed IVs. She needed a lot of care. There was no way she could go home even with a care giver. She had to stay in a skilled nursing but you present it: “This is not long term but this is where you need to be for now. When you’re well you’ll come back. You’ll go back home,” whether it’s assisted living or whether it’s their own home.

KH: Do people have the misconception that it’s all or nothing?

MV: Yes. I think that’s a huge misconception not only with lay people but with physicians. If you have someone that’s elderly and needs custodial care, the doctor might say: “They can’t live at home. They need to go to a nursing facility.” Maybe they don’t. You only need to be in a nursing facility if you require medical care. Are you on IVs? Do you need constant nursing attention? Do you need injections? Can you not feed yourself?

If it’s custodial care you need – meaning you’re not safe or you need someone to help you take a shower or you’re incontinent or you’re in a wheelchair – that doesn’t always mean you need to go to a skilled nursing. We really do try to educate physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and family members to determine the true need.

When a family comes to me and says: “The doctor said my mom can’t live alone. She needs to go into a nursing home”, I ask why. A lot of times the answer is “She has a history of falls and she’s not taking her medicine well.” What’s the medical need? There is none. She needs to be in assisted living on the med program with someone checking in on her. That’s not a medical need so that is a big misconception.

KH: It sounds like some of the problems start with doctors.

MV: At times it can if they’re not educated. Or you don’t know.

KH: It never occurred to me that the physicians would be part of the problem. You would think that they would know what they’re doing.

MV: Right. They do, but many of them have never stepped foot in an assisted living. They don’t know or they think it’s the same. Skilled nursing is not assisted living and assisted living isn’t skilled nursing. If you’re out looking for an assisted living and someone tells you that they can do things that are medical and skilled, they’re not telling you the truth. Or, they’re doing that and they’re breaking regulations.

KH: Does that happen a lot?

MV: Probably.

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How to Fix an Inflatable Water Slide: The Four Most Common Problems

Inflatable water slides have become extremely popular and if you are lucky enough to own one you know why. You have come to the right place if you are looking for info on how to fix an inflatable water slide. Banzai Falls happens to be one of the most recognized brands available and one of the best selling. Unfortunately they also seem to be one of the most problematic slides too.

There are some repairs that are easy to fix and some that are beyond all hope. I am going to cover the four most common problems and how you can take care of them yourself and save what is probably one of your kids favorite toys.

1. Mold: Well summer is here again and that that first hot day your kids are begging for the water slide and you unpack it from storage and find it is all moldy. Mold is unsightly and could be a possible health hazard but sometimes if it is not too extensive you can get rid of it. Start by getting a leaner that is safe for polyester canvas I would recommend Aurora Boat Clean Plus. You may want to consider washing your inflatable once a year to help keep is clean.

2. Tear or Puncture in the Fabric: No matter how careful you are with your inflatable water slide a tear or puncture can happen. You may not notice it until you inflate the slide and notice that is is under inflated or not inflating at all. If this happens you should start to hunt for tear in the fabric.

If your slide will not inflate at all the damage may be extensive enough that you can easily find it. If your slide is only slightly less inflated it probably means that the tear is small and may be difficult to find. A trick to make this easier is to inflate the slide and squirt it with a spray bottle filled with a mixture of dish soap and water. If you have a leak the escaping air should cause the mixture to bubble and you can identify the source of your problem. Once you find the leak you may want to check the rest of the slide to make sure there is not more than one.

To repair a rip or tear in the fabric you start by sewing up the hole this is to prevent it from getting bigger. Once you have sewn it up you will need some adhesive and a piece of material for a patch. You can purchase a canvas repair kit from almost anywhere that sells camping equipment they should have them for repairing tents.

Follow the directions that come with the kit just make sure you use a patch big enough to cover the entire rip. If the patch materials are not big enough you can use more than one piece just make sure you overlap the seams by about 1 inch.

3. Splitting Seams: Unfortunately if your slide is coming apart at the seams you have the hardest type of repair to make. Most of the time this type of damage may be too extensive to fix but since these slides are expensive you probably want to give it a shot. You are going to follow the same steps as repairing a hole.

Start by sewing the seam up, be sure to go a little beyond where the split stops. After that is done you are going to cover with the patch material. Then cross your fingers and turn the blower on if the slide holds air then give yourself a pat on the back.

4. A Defective or Broken Blower: If the blower unit is bad unless you have experience with electrical motor repairs then you should really replace it. You can purchase replacement blowers on eBay for anywhere from $50 – $200 depending on the type and condition. You will need to match the blower size and strength to the one you have for it to function correctly.

Banzai Falls is not the only maker of inflatable water slides there are other brands like Blast Zone and Bounceland which in my opinion offer a higher quality product. Banzai seems to have a lot of trouble with durability which leads so many people looking for directions on how to them. I hope you are able to repair your slide but if not check out some of the other brands.

An Easy Way To Find A Legal Expert

You might have come across many companies selling their products and services to customers through representatives rather than through any retail stores or online mode. This form of conducting sales is referred as direct selling method. In this method the representatives are directly approaching the customers with the aim of popularizing the products and services of the company they represent. The whole company is functioning by this means with the help of thousands of representatives around the globe. This can also be considered as a sort of multi level marketing especially if you talking about a multinational firm.

Have you ever come across any representatives pitching for any products that are related to pre paid legal advises? You might be surprised on hearing this service offered by the companies but it is true that there are companies which exist by selling the prepaid kits for its customers through their representatives. These independent representatives will get commissions and compensation incentives based on the amount of sales done by them just as in the case of any MLM company. They can also introduce any number of representatives and thereby earn commission from their joining. Apart from this they will also be able to get a small incentive based on the performance exhibited by their representatives under them. They also have the right to sell any number of products and services to the customers. In this context products or services indicate the allotment of an experienced attorney to the customers based on their issue.

They will have to pay less when compared to approaching a lawyer directly for settling all their related issues. Also they will be able to avail the service of the best attorney with minimum ten years of experience in the same field you are having an issue. In case if you are coming across another issue like identity theft then you are upgrade the plan by paying small amount and can avail the service form the best forensic departments in the country through these multi national companies. In order to attract more people into this, some MLM companies are entering into partnership with similar companies who are operating in different fields but are required by people to meet their daily needs. Those companies will allow customers only if they are an existing customer of the main company. The representatives can introduce people to the partner company and can get double benefit form both the companies thereby making life a lot easier.

For information on Attorney Lona Webb click here.

Advantages Of Using Air Freight Shipping

Sooner or later, any company, even though it is not in the business of sales or commerce, is bound to make at least one shipment abroad. That is why many companies get the help of professional transport logistics companies, that have the ability to efficiently facilitate shipments across the entire world. Of course, before choosing one type of shipment or another, you have to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as the best way to adapt them to your company’s needs.

In this particular article, we are going to talk about air freight, its advantages, disadvantages and specific features.

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It is common knowledge that using air freight in order to deliver packages is more expensive than delivering them by surface or sea/ocean. However, those who have used this kind of transport are well aware of the fact that it offers a series of advantages that compensate for the extra money you have to invest. Essentially, the advantages offered by air transportation are a combination between speed, timeliness, reliability, warehousing, insurance premium, and packing (items that are transported by air require less packing, meaning smaller costs for the client).

Probably the most important advantage that air freight offers is its speed and its frequency. When the client has an urgent package to send, an airplane will be his or her first choice most of the time. More than that, air freight is probably the most reliable means of transportation there is. Boats that travel on sea or ocean are more likely to delay one or more days because of the weather conditions or other factors. Airplanes can be delayed one or two days, but airline companies usually offer efficient alternative routes that can guarantee that your package won’t be delayed more than 24 hours.

Another important advantage is the warehousing. As a client that chooses to use air cargo for his packages, you won’t be in need of local warehousing and costly stocks as much as before. Another thing that’s worthy to take into consideration is the fact that air freight pretty much eliminates financial constraints. Its speed allows the release of capital that would be otherwise trapped in transit on oceans, seas or land. To put it more simply, the package will be received by the buyer before the realization of the seller’s payment.

Yet another advantage of air freight is the fact that you pay less on insurance premium. Airports have a high level of security and air deliveries last less than train, car or boat deliveries, meaning that the insurance premium will cost less, thus saving you big amounts of money on every shipment.

And last but not least, air transports do not require as much packing as the ones on land or sea, meaning that, in the long run, you and your company will pay less.

What’s Over Your Head Is Important! Why Should I Care? Roofing

Why is Roofing important?

Keeping your roofs and guttering in good condition is very important. It is your property’s main defense against the elements, and a very important part of its overall value. Neglecting your roof will cause damp conditions that will quickly bring about decay and expensive structural damage, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry! We usually think of calling a roofing contractor when we notice a leak in the ceiling or some missing tiles, but they can also be hired to provide many other services.

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Keeping a tight “lid” on your building is important for blocking out water and moisture infiltration that can quickly lead to costly repairs if left unchecked.

Assess your roofing materials and determine if they can make it through another winter. Inspect flashing and other points of entry where water damage can occur and where warm air can escape. Your roof can also be a good indicator for how well your home is doing with energy loss. One quick and easy thing to do is to clean out your gutters to ensure that water can flow off and away from your home.

Keeping a tight “lid” on your building is important for blocking out water and moisture infiltration that can quickly lead to costly repairs if left unchecked.

Assess your roofing materials and determine if they can make it through another winter. Inspect flashing and other points of entry where water damage can occur and where warm air can escape. Your roof can also be a good indicator for how well your home is doing with energy loss. One quick and easy thing to do is to clean out your gutters to ensure that water can flow off and away from your home.

Types of Roofing

Pitched roofs are the most common types of roofs. The pitch of the roof is a measurement of how steep the roof is which determines how quickly the water will run off of the roof. Roof pitches are typically measured by an equation called the “rise over the run” and is figured in the number of feet that the roof rises in a 12 foot horizontal run. A “12/12 pitched roof” means that the roof rises 12 feet in a horizontal run of 12 feet and results in a 45 degree angle. A 12/12 pitch is regarded as quite steep because it is impossible to stand on without some kind of support. A 3/12 pitch roof is regarded as quite shallow, and is the minimum pitch at which most roofing products will successfully shed water. Most pitched roofs are between 4/12 and 8/12 in pitch. At 1/12 pitch or less, a roof is considered to be “flat”.

The most common type of roofing material for pitched roofs is composition shingles. However, there are many other types of roofing available including wood shingles and shakes, metal, slate, tile and other more exotic materials.

Flat roofs are roofs with zero pitch or with pitches so low that the water runs off too slowly for overlapped type of roofing materials to successfully shed water. Because the traditional types of roofing materials used on pitched roofs are not effective, different types of roofing materials have been developed to deal with this problem. For many years, that was limited to tar and gravel and flat seamed soldered metal. However, in the last twenty years or so, many new types of flat roof systems have been developed, including plastic, rubber and modified bitumen roof materials. The most common of these in use today on residential homes is modified bitumen. This material is made by combining asphalt (bitumen) with various chemicals whose purpose is to prolong the viable lifetime of the asphalt product. These chemicals fall into two basic categories, the first of which is elastifiers, whose purpose is to keep the asphalt flexible, and the second, UV blockers, whose purpose is to stop ultraviolet light from degrading the product. In combination, these chemicals greatly extend the lifetime of the asphalt. This material comes in large rolls which are then melted together to form one uniform sheet of material across the flat roof. Although tar and gravel is still used to some degree, it is fast disappearing from use because the modified bitumen is both cheaper and more effective.

What to know about roofing materials…

Since the dawn of history, man has been attempting to protect himself from the rain and the elements. The first materials used were those that were readily at hand, such as slabs of rock, wood, and thatches of grass. In many respects, roofing today is not a lot different, except that basic improvements that have been made in these same materials. One of the best roofs available for using a house is slate. Similar in all respects to the slate that has been used to roof houses throughout Europe for hundreds of years. Houses are still roofed with wood shingles and fired clay tiles. Another basic roofing material, asphalt tar, has been refined into the composition shingle that is the most prevalent roofing material in America today.

Every roofing material has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The proper material for your roof can best be judged by weighing those strengths and weaknesses against your particular needs and budget allowance. Composition shingles come in a variety of different styles, colors and warranties. The most common and least expensive shingle has a 20 year warranty and is known as the strip shingle or the 3-tab shingle. The second most common composition shingle is the 30 year dimensional shingle. This shingle is also referred to as the laminated shingle or the architectural shingle. It carries a 30 year warranty and is distinguishable from the 20 year shingle by its thicker, heavier look which was designed to imitate the appearance of wood shingles. The laminated shingle also comes in 40 and 50 year versions which are each slightly thicker than the 30 year shingle but are otherwise exactly the same in appearance.

Although the strip shingle and the laminated shingle account for 95% of all composition shingle roofs there are numerous alternatives including hail resistant shingles and specialty shingles.

3-tab composition shingles are by far the most commonly used shingle in America. They have a 20 year warranty and are the most inexpensive roofing material available. Their chief attributes are low price, ease of application and wide selection of available colors. Their disadvantages are relatively short life expectancy and their plain, unadorned appearance. This roof appearance consists of identical 5″ X 12″ rectangles repeating endlessly across the roof. This unfortunately tends to exaggerate and highlight any variation in the pattern caused by a high rafter or sag in the decking.

Laminated shingles start off with much the same construction as a 3-tab or strip shingle but then an extra layer of material cut into a saw-tooth pattern is glued on (or laminated) to the exposed portion of the shingle. This makes the shingle thicker and longer lasting. In addition, multiple variations in the saw-toothed give the shingle a varied thatched-like appearance so that the roof does not show any repeating pattern. This combination of extra thickness and random appearance is much more successful in hiding the defects in the roof deck and is one of these shingles main attributes. While these shingles are considerably different, as a class, from the 3-tab shingles there is little or no difference in appearance between the 30, 40 and 50 year versions.

Hail resistant shingles also come in both 3-tab and laminated styles. However the 3-tab style carries a 30 year warranty and the laminated style carries the 50 year warranty. These shingles do not appear any different to the naked eye from the regular 3-tab and laminated shingles. However they are manufactured using a special asphalt called modified bitumen, which contains 2 types of special chemical modifiers known as elastifiers and UV blockers.

Specialty Shingles – Although specialty shingles only account for 2-3% of the composition shingle market there is a large number of different types and styles to choose from. There are shingles embossed with a wood grain, shingles designed to look like slate, extremely heavy and thick shingles, shingles with multiple layers of laminate and even copper plated shingles. Because of the large number of available specialty shingles it is not practical to deal with all of them here.

Tile is the most common, prestigious roofing material used in Texas and the Southwest. Tile roofs can be divided into 2 basic subgroups; concrete tile and clay tile. Concrete is the most commonly used tile material in the U.S. today. It is extremely durable in comparison to composition shingles, And although not as durable as clay tile typically only costs half as much as a clay tile product.

Concrete tiles come in a variety of brands, styles and colors. Styles usually consist of several variations of 3 basic types. Those are large barrel, small barrel and flat, although some companies do make a fourth variation called a bar tile. The large barrel tile sometimes referred to as the Spanish or villa style, is meant to duplicate the Spanish barrel tile in appearance. The small barrel tile sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean style has 2 small barrels on each tile as opposed to the one large barrel on the Spanish style. The flat tiles typically come in 2 basic variations. The shake tile which has a very rough textured surface is meant to be reminiscent of wood shakes and the slate tile which had a smooth surface. All of these tiles come in a large variety of colors and mixture of colors. Most of these colors are produced by baking on a glaze. Some of the more natural colors are produced by dyeing the concrete. The dyed concrete tiles also known as color-through tiles are only available in a few colors. However these tiles are not as likely to change in appearance through weathering as glazed concrete tiles.