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5 Exterior Home Projects That Reduce Energy Bills

Do you feel like you are throwing money out the window every time you pay your energy bill? You are not alone! Many people are overpaying for energy bills each month, without considering why that might be. Time and time again people will complain about the cost of their energy bills, without fixing the larger issue at hand. We specialize in home exterior projects, and will share with you 5 projects that will significantly decrease your energy bills.

Poorly Insulated Roof

A word that instantly comes to mind when talking about energy efficiency is insulation. Insulation acts as a barrier between the outside elements and the inside of your home. This makes the first culprit of increased energy bills a poorly insulated roof. Lack of insulation drastically affects the temperature regulation in your home. We are proud to work with Owens Corning because of the variety of products they carry including thermal insulation used for attics.

Siding

The second culprit of higher energy costs is poorly insulated siding. Even more so than the roof, a lack of insulation in your siding will radically increase your heating system’s workload and energy consumption. While a poorly insulated roof will leave your upstairs or attic feeling like the North Pole, poorly insulated siding affects the whole house. If you are planning on replacing your siding, a material we recommend is insulated vinyl. It comes with a foam backing, increasing the barrier between your siding and the walls of your home.

Windows & Doors

Finally, like poorly insulated roofing and siding, older windows and doors can majorly affect the temperature in your home. Older windows and doors typically have air leaks and become an entrance for cold air drafts in your home. If you find this is the case for your home, this is something that should be put on the top of your project list. If your windows were manufactured with aluminum or steel frames or are the single-pane, it is most likely time for an upgrade.

If any of these home projects are on your list for 2021, give us a call! We have completed thousands of installations in the DMV area, and now NJ, and would be honored to help you with your next home project.

What Happens At Your Roof Inspection?

When it comes to routine home maintenance, it’s easy to forget to check your roof. It’s high up and as long as you don’t have any leaks, it’s convenient to assume everything is okay. Your roof is one of the most important elements to the structural integrity of your home, and although you might not have any leaks or materials flying off, doesn’t mean it’s in tip top shape! Inspections are necessary and lucky for you, we make it easy.

When Should You Schedule a Roof Inspection?

We recommend scheduling an inspection after a severe weather event. Home owners that experience damage due to a storm recognize that an inspection is the necessary next step. However, after a storm is not the only time you should consider getting your roof inspected. Most manufacturers agree that a roof’s lifespan is 15-20 years, we suggest if you are in that range to schedule an inspection to check if there are any areas of concern. Lastly, routine inspections are not harmful! Nothing bad will come from getting your roof checked out every other year, and preventative inspections might save you a big project in the long run!

 

What to Expect During Your Roof Inspection

Our project consultants are trained to do a professional overview of your roof. A roof inspector will be looking for leaks, unusual wear and tear, damage caused by windblown debris, organic growth issues, and problems that may have occurred during shingle installation or subsequent repairs.

 

After the Inspection

Our project consultants will discuss any areas of concern and talk you through the process of working with us. They are there to help you with any questions you have, and to discuss your options from there. Our inspection is completely free, with no obligation to further business with us. However, after working with us up to that point, you will want to continue. We are a family-owned business that is committed to delivering family-like customer service. Let us help you with your next inspection!

Spring is Near. Is Your Roof Ready?

The sweet smell of spring means warm weather is on the horizon and it’s time to plan accordingly. Along with planning summer fun, spring is a common time for homeowners to hit the reset button and get their property in tip-top shape. Standard projects include cleaning, landscaping, decorating and organizing storage spaces. We at MLM believe roof maintenance is an equally important and essential component of one’s springtime housekeeping regiment. Winter can be a roof’s greatest test, making spring the ideal time to run through a checklist of maintenance tips. These four considerations will help your home and family transition at the beginning of every spring.

1. Clean and secure your gutters.

Chances are you spent little time monitoring the exterior of your home during the winter. At the minimum, leaves and twigs may have accumulated in your gutters and created a clog. Even worse, strong winds and winter precipitation may have stripped the gutters from your home. Unfastened gutters are not only a safety hazard; they are less effective in their role of draining water away from the foundation of your home.

Clearing your gutters early in the spring will prepare them for the heavy seasons of rainfall ahead. Confident DIY-ers can complete this task with a ladder (and partner), garden hose and some elbow grease. However, if there is major clogging or loosening between your gutters and house, we recommend bringing in a trusted, local contractor who will get the job done safely.

2. Trim tree limbs and branches that touch your roof.

Trees that touch your roof can shorten its lifespan and increase the risk of a sudden puncture. As branches sway in the wind, they can graze your shingles and scrape off protective granules. Therefore, it is important to trim branches before they grow larger and apply more pressure to your roof. As a bonus, trimming branches will expose your roof to more sunlight and reduce moisture levels. This will prevent the growth of moss, which is too heavy for your roof to host safely.

3. Inspect the ceiling of your attic for signs of deterioration. By noticing warning signs early, you’ll be able to address any issue before your roof falls victim to serious, costly damage. The easiest way to do so is by inspecting your attic ceiling for signs of moisture. Cracks, discoloration or sagging are signs that water has infiltrated your shingles and begun decaying the structure of your home. Especially common if your roof experienced snowfall over the winter, these situations are much easier – and cheaper – to address before water seeps into your attic.

If you notice a leak, set up a professional consultation as you may need a more involved repair or a full roof replacement.

 

4. Schedule a roof inspection with a trusted, local contractor. A healthy attic ceiling does not necessarily mean your roof made it through the winter unscathed. Each spring, schedule a roof inspection with a contractor, backed by a national manufacturer like Owens Corning, who can detect damage unbeknown to the untrained eye. Annual roof inspections play a critical role in the upkeep of your home, not dissimilar to cleaning your chimney or replacing your air filters. Addressing minor roof damage early will keep your home safe and save you from costly repairs down the road.

Tips For Every Homeowner Interested In A Roof Replacement

If you’re in need of a roof replacement but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place! From deciding on a roofing company to choosing the right products- we are here to guide you.
1. Choose an Owen’s Corning (or similar) Certified Contractor
Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractors are the top tier of a premier network of roofing professionals dedicated to service, reliability and professional craftsmanship. For such a big project and investment, you want to make sure the company you choose is the best of the best. MLM Home Improvement is a Platinum Preferred Owens Corning Contractor and one of the few in the DMV. A roof replacement is a big deal, and you need to hire a company that’s exceptionally qualified!
2. Make sure your company is local & reputable
It’s important to choose a company that is local to your area and that has an exceptional track record. Whether you get recommendations from neighbors or friends, or check reviews on Google or Yelp, this research will give you real people’s experiences with this company. This information is what you need in order to make the best choice for your home.
3. Top Quality Products Pay Off in the End
A saying that has been around is “you always get what you pay for”. There are just some things that you don’t choose the best deal on and the roof of your home is one of those things! When you invest in top quality products, it will not only save you on repair costs but it will prolong your roof’s life. These factors or important whether you are living in your home forever or planning to sell it!
4. Types of Roof Materials
If you’ve never gotten a roof replacement or it has been 20 years since you have, there is a lot that has changed. When you have a consultation with one of our experts, take the time to hear out all your options. The more traditional shingles are asphalt, slate and shakes but there are other materials that are skyrocketing in popularity such as metal roofs and architectural shingles. These materials made with newer technology might be more costly, but could also last longer and provide better appeal.
5. Stay Flexible but Firm
Last but not least, staying flexible but firm. There are a lot of moving parts that go in to a roof replacement that could affect a timeline. While the actual installation is typically done within the same day, the ordering of materials and weather may affect when that installation is able to be completed. At the same time, you must stay firm to ensure you get exactly what you want and it is what you signed for in your contract.
Need a roof replacement?
We hope these tips eased your mind a little if you are currently caught up in the process of replacing your roof. If you are looking for a company that will make the process simple with no stress, MLM is for you! Call us today for a free inspection and to get the ball rolling on your home project. 1-844-MLM-ROOF

Celebrate Earth Day with Home Energy Savings

Considerations for DMV & NJ homeowners to save on energy bills with smart investments and easy fixes

Over the past decade – from changing their everyday behaviors to adopting energy efficient appliances – society, and homeowners in particular, have taken a greater interest in reducing their energy use. In fact, as concerns over the environment and climate change continue to take center-stage in national conversations, we have begun to see an acceleration from homeowners in implementing ways to minimize their carbon footprint and energy use.

Luckily for homeowners, being environmentally conscious also comes with the added benefit of saving on their utilities. In honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), we at MLM Home Improvement have compiled a list of considerations for DMV and NJ homeowners to not only cut their home energy use, but their utilities bill as well.

Upgrade your home’s insulation. When thinking of home maintenance, insulation usually is not the first task that homeowners think of. However, insulation plays a key role in lowering your utility bills by retaining heat during the winter and keeping heat out of your home during the summer. Additionally, it can also extend the life of your roof, which as the most important part of your home, is always a plus.

When installing insulation, the most important consideration is the type of material. For easier materials like fiberglass or mineral wool, depending on your DIY skills, this can be accomplished without help from a professional.

While the level of insulation being installed is highly dependent on the area of your house. The attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawlspace are the five main areas usually considered for installation. One way to hit two home maintenance birds with one rock, work with a trusted contractor, backed by a national manufacturer like Owens Corning, that can inspect both your roof and insulation at the same time.

Consider the color of your roof. Between spring and summer are often the most popular months for homeowners to replace their roofs. If you’re planning to replace your roof, it is important to consider what color your shingles should be as the solar reflectance of the color impacts the surface temperature. Similar to how dark colored clothes absorbs sunlight making warmer, a darker colored roof causes more heat to be absorbed – leading to higher utility bills to cool your home in the summer months A light-colored roof, on the other hand, will reflect the sunlight and transfer less to the interior of your home. The shingle color can impact the roof surface temperature by a difference of up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit between black and white shingles.

However, whether the surface temperature of your shingle impacts the temperature inside of your home also highly depend on the amount of insulation there is between the attic and living areas. In the end, if your attic is properly insulated then we suggest picking the color you want for your exterior.

Install a passive ventilation system for your attic. To truly take advantage of energy savings for your home, it is important to utilize proper attic ventilation through insulation and air sealing. Without this, the overall health of your home could experience excessive moisture building which could lead to water damage or mold. Likewise, proper ventilation ensures that the attic does not experience excessive heat which can decrease the life expectancy of the roof.

As we approach Earth Day, we encourage DMV & NJ residents to minimize their home energy use where possible. Not only will this positively protect the environment, but you’ll see a marked difference in your monthly utility bills and even your property’s value will increase. When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, we’re all in this together and working towards being more conscientious environmental citizens starts with our home.

4 Questions To Ask a Contractor

Guiding DMV & NJ residents through pre-project conversations with their contractors 

 

With the weather warming many of us are probably considering sprucing up our homes through various improvement projects. Between the winter storms we have just weathered and the spring showers we are expecting, our homes, and especially our roof, could use some tender loving care.

However, before beginning any project it is important to ensure you have all of the relevant information. Understanding any home improvement project can be daunting, we at MLM Home Improvement, have compiled four questions to ask ahead of time.

Question #1: Ask about their business including location and credentials.

Perhaps the most important questions to ask before working with a contractor are the ones that will help you learn about them as a business. After all, it is critical to go into the project feeling confident that you are working with a trusted team.

To start, confirm their locality. By asking a contractor for their physical address, if part of the project later needs adjusting or needs additional attention,  they are close-by and can easily remedy the situation.

Second, check if they are backed by a national manufacturer. For example, at MLM, we are an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor. This means we have been stringently vetted and are the top tier of a premier network of roofing professionals dedicated to service, reliability and professional craftsmanship.

Question #2: How long will my project take?

There are several different factors that go into an estimate on how long a roofing project will take. Some of these, such as the size of the roof, the dimensions and other home related factors can be accurately judged with the latest advancements in technology, however even with the best weather forecasting, sometimes Mother Nature can rain on your parade.

The general rule of thumb is that the smaller the surface area of the roof, the less time it will take to do the work and vice versa. It is important to have a gauge on how long the project may take so that you and the contractor are aligned on timing.

Question #3: Does the materials you are using have a warranty?

Most homeowners have an “out of sight, out of mind” policy when it comes to their roof.However, unless you have a warranty on your shingles, the roof should be top of mind. Making sure there is a warranty on the products used in your roofing project is an essential answer to find out from potential contractors. Most manufacturing companies will have warranties on their shingles that must be met by specific installation requirements. For example, Owens Corning has multiple levels of their warranty coverages, with all of them extending the lifespan of the product. Their most basic warranty covers the homeowner for the first 10-15 years.

Question #4: Ask about your roof’s ventilation.

A roof is like a fine wine, you have to let it breathe in order to get the best out of it. A roof needs the proper amount of airflow to breathe and regulate the temperature in the attic, which is essential to save money on energy bills and keep your shingles in tip-top shape. Roofers are uniquely equipped to assess your current ventilation systems and recommend if you could use an upgrade.

While most information can be found through some Googling, it is more helpful to simply talk to a trusted, local contractor directly as they are the experts and can simplify a potentially technical topic. It is critical that both you and the contractor are on the same page before starting any project, so do not be afraid to ask questions and get into the nitty gritty details!

Summer Roof Maintenence

This weekend is Memorial Day and unofficially marks the start of Summer 2021! Summer is a season full of outdoor activities, days at the beach and barbecues. But it is also the hottest season, and the temperatures will be rising. Depending on the person, you may love the hot temperatures but your roof does not! In our previous blog we mention how high temperatures can negatively affect your roof as time passes. So how do we prevent any damage? Follow these summer roof maintenance tips and you will have a healthy roof!
Remove debris
A very important place to start is removing any excess debris that is lingering on your roof or in your gutters. This includes twigs, branches, leaves and any other undesirable debris. While doing this, safety should be your number one priority- if you are not able to climb up to the roof, we recommending hiring someone to do this step. This also should be done by hand with gloves, or any other tool such as a leaf blower. Avoid using a power washer. A power washer, though seems like a logical idea, can cause unwanted damage due to the focused pressure.
Check for mold, moss & algae
The summer brings heat and also humidity from all the rain, which increases the chance of algae to build up on your home. If left untreated, algae can eventually eat away at your roof leading to roof decay. Moss left on roofs can cause shingles to curl and crack. Heavy moss can block water, create buildup under the shingles, and eventually damage the roof deck. If you see moss or algae on your roof, remove it ASAP to prevent these problems. Mold damage can happen fast, so it’s essential to check your roof often.
Trim trees
An important tip is to trim the trees that overhang on your roof. Summer is known for it’s unpredictable storms, and it wouldn’t take much for a branch or limb to break off of the tree causing damage to your roof. Trimming back your trees so they are about 8 ft. away from your roof will prevent damage and a possible roof replacement. Trees that are over your roof could also cause damage to the gutter, if leaves and twigs are falling off and weighing your gutter system down.
Check your attic

Attic insulation is critical in the summer because it’s what’s keeping all of the heat it’s absorbing out of your living space. It’s also important to check for any signs of moisture or mold while you’re up there, as this can point to water leakage.Here are some signs of roof mold damage you can see from your attic:

  1. If you discover watermarks along the ceiling or walls of your attic, your roof may have a hole.
  2. If your attic smells musty and you spot mildew across your ceiling, you have a roof leak.
  3. Discolored rafters mean the wood has absorbed the water from a leak above on your roof.

Schedule a roof inspection

At MLM, we provide free roof inspections. It costs you zero money out of pocket for us to come and inspect your roof for you. Inspecting these things yourself can turn into something more complicated, and unless you have roofing experience you might not be 100% sure what you need to look for. MLM employees are highly trained and will take all of that stress off your hands. Remember- preventative maintenance is better than serious repairs and replacements (and cheaper!). Call us at 844-MLM-ROOF to schedule your appointment.

Not Your Father’s Roof: The Evolution of Roofing

A Guide for DMV & NJ residents on advancements in roofing

Similar to construction, it is often misperceived that the roofing industry may not have been innovative over time. However, in recent years, and especially during this past one, roofing has seen many advancements from how contractors are leveraging new technology to the design aspects and installation of roofs.

In celebration of National Roofing Week, which takes place each June, we, MLM Home Improvement, are highlighting the strides made by our industry that has enhanced the safety and security of communities, as well as benefited DMV & NJ residents.

Technology That’s Here to Stay

Prior to the pandemic, the roofing industry had already been adopting and implementing new technology. However, as an essential industry, contractors have had to quickly adapt to the new landscape in order to keep both workers and customers safe.

For example, as social distancing guidelines became more stringent, we needed to rethink how we were interacting with both each other and our customers. To address this, there has been some unique use of innovation throughout the industry from the use of drones to evaluate a roof before we appear on-site to something as easy as video conferencing with customers to minimize in-person meetings.

In fact, thanks to this technology, it has never been easier for customers to communicate with trusted, local contractors. As people have been spending more time at home, the importance of maintaining and updating their roof has been even more critical. Yet, many may have been concerned to work in close proximity with a contractor.

Luckily, trusted contractors, like those backed by national manufacturers such as Owens Corning, have taken the necessary steps to conduct business safely and ease customer’s worries.

Designs That Add Beauty and Functionality 

As with other aspects of roofing, the design options of shingles have evolved through the years and customers have more choices than ever. For those of us living in storm-heavy areas, impact-resistant roofing shingles – sometimes referred to as “IR” roofing shingles – are designed to help minimize roof damage during a severe weather event. They can even potentially extend the life of the roof.

However, as roofs are made to, at minimum, last 10 years between updates, homeowners should consider balancing aesthetics with utility that will help set the feeling to the environment you would like to create. For 2021, colors that are calm and peaceful and can be found in nature have been popular. In fact, Owens Corning declared the 2021 Colors of the Year to be Aged Copper and Aegean Teal to bring a look of warmth and comfort to your home exterior.

Advancements in Insulation and Ventilation 

To increase the durability and benefits of the entire roofing system, innovations to insulation and ventilation have been critical. After all, the combination of attic insulation and a balanced ventilation system works to keep excessive household moisture and heat out, meaning the proper conditions and temperature are better maintained in the attic and on the roof deck throughout the year.

While the type of insulation depends on the specifics of your home, consider fiberglass batts or blown-in, loose fill insulation, which can help reduce greenhouse emissions.

As the roofing industry continues to evolve to meet the needs of homeowners, we are excited for DMV & NJ residents to continue experiencing these benefits for years to come.

Asphalt Shingles: 3-tab vs Architectural

Before diving in to the roof replacement process, it’s important for homeowners to have a basic understanding of what options will be available to them. One of the most popular roofing choices are asphalt singles because of their reliability, great price and variety. Within the category of asphalt shingles, there are more choices the homeowner is presented with- 3-tab shingles or Architectural shingles. We break down the difference between the two!
3-Tab Shingles are a single tab with a non dimensional shape. They are placed flat on the roof and provide a clean look. Roofers refer to a shingle as 3-Tab because it is made up of three individual tabs that are a 12” wide. They come in a variety of different colors. This type of shingle is what is usually associated with traditional asphalt roofing materials.
Pros to 3-Tab
  • Less expensive
  • More common in residential communities
  • Lighter and consist of less material
Cons to 3-Tab
  • Less thick than architectural shingles
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Flat appearance
Architectural Shingles are often called laminate shingles or dimensional shingles. The tabs on these roofing shingles are of varying widths and have slightly different shades of color to give a more dimensional appearance.
Pros to Architectural
  • Twice as thick as 3-tab
  • Longer lifespan
  • Better curb appeal
  • Increased property value
Cons to Architectural
  • More costly
  • Heavier material than 3-tab
Whether you choose 3-tab shingles or architectural shingles, there will be benefits and drawbacks to each. If you’re not sure which would be best for your home, our project consultants are highly trained to guide you in this process. Give MLM a call 844-MLM-ROOF and we would be proud to serve you!

What To Do When Your Roof Starts Leaking

Seeing your roof leak can cause an immediate panic: What do I do? Who can I call? Will it get worse? Is this an emergency? All of these questions might race through your mind. The number one thing to remember is address the issue immediately. Getting the leak fixed right away will likely prevent severe damage to your home. Let’s start at the beginning and discuss signs you have a leak!
Signs Your Roof Is Leaking
There are a few signs to look out for when you suspect a leak. The most obvious are water spots on walls or ceilings. These spots tend to be a brown color and are sign number one of a leak. You may also notice moisture on the ceiling. Moisture and water spots are a sign to act fact, as the water has gone through the attic and insulation already to get to the point of visibility.
Another sign of a leak is clear damage to the outside of your home. If a huge storm has passed through and there has been hail, falling branches, etc. and you think some have hit your roof- we suggest calling us out for an inspection of your property. You might have significant damage from the storm, but probably won’t notice a leak until the next rain fall.
Addressing The Problem
If you suspect even in the slightest you may have a leak, call the professionals. Things such as a tarp may be a temporary fix, but could cost you more in repairs down the road. Professionals are able to quickly locate the problem, the cause of it and give you a solution, plus MLM’s inspections are completely free of charge.
Preventing Future Issues
There are always preventative measures you can take to avoid dealing with a leaky roof. Firstly, we suggest repairing problems as they come up. For example, if a shingle has blown off during a recent storm, getting it patched up immediately is the way to go. And if during the storm you suspect there has been damage that you’re unable to see from the ground, inspections are much cheaper than a much more costly solution down the road.
Another prevention could be surrounding your chimney and fireplace. These fixtures are usually indestructible, but can definitely be the cause of a leaky roof. The brick is incredibly resilient, but the mortar can run into problems. The good news is that you can patch your chimney and waterproof the brick-and-mortar joints to keep water out. This job is relatively quick and inexpensive, but it can save you thousands of dollars in damage if you catch it early.
Let MLM Help
No matter your circumstance, having trained professionals, like MLM, perform a free inspection is step one. We will be able to give you all the information necessary to make the next decision. If you suspect you have a leak, give us a call at 1-844-MLM-ROOF and schedule an inspection!