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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.

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

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!

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!

All About Roof Wind Damage

In the DMV and NJ region, we know the ins and outs of summer storms. A strong storm is always accompanied by high winds, which pose a threat to your home’s exterior. Whether it is wind that’s strong enough to have damaged the integrity of your shingles, or wind that has knocked down branches and debris, we talk about the clear signs of wind damage to look for after a summer storm.
Breaking Down Wind Speeds
The National Weather Service provides a chart that estimates wind speeds through visual damage. If you check your weather app, you could know the mph of the wind and associate it with the potential damage it can cause:
19 to 24 mph: Large branches and small trees in leaf begin to sway.
25 to 31 mph: Large branches in continuous motion. Whistling sounds heard in overhead or nearby power and telephone lines. Umbrellas used with difficulty.
32 to 38 mph: Whole trees in motion. Inconvenience felt when walking against the wind.
39 to 46 mph: Wind breaks twigs and small branches. Wind generally impedes walking.
47 to 54 mph: Structural damage occurs, such as chimney covers, roofing tiles blown off, and television antennas damaged. Ground is littered with many small twigs and broken branches.
55 to 63 mph: Considerable structural damage occurs, especially on roofs. Small trees may be blown over and uprooted.
64 to 75 mph: Widespread damage occurs. Larger trees blown over and uprooted.
Clear Signs of Wind Damage
 
Shingle Damage
Shingle damage is easily seen during a routine roof inspection or even sometimes it is noticeable from the ground. If you are missing any shingles, you have clear roof damage. Wind often causes damage to the edges of your roof or worsens areas of your roof where shingles may have already been loose. Once shingles start blowing off, it causes a chain reaction and can lead to major repairs or a replacement.
Granule Loss
Connected with shingle damage is granule loss. The material on your shingles will wear over time and you may notice very minor granule loss, which is completely normal. If you start to notice bare spots or cracks that you haven’t noticed before, these are signs that the seal on your shingle has broke and it will start to flap. The flapping is a huge warning sign because all it takes is an unexpected storm with winds just strong enough to have it tear off. The good news is that this type of damage isn’t always major. Sometimes it’s localized, and you’re only facing a minor repair.
Debris
Another thing to consider is debris. As stated above, around 30-40 mph cause small branches to break off. If there are lot of branches and other forms of debris laying around your property or on your roof after a storm, we would recommend either performing a roof inspection (if it is safe to do so) or hiring a roofing professional, such as one of MLM’s project consultants, to come out and take a look.
Water Leaks
If the wind compromises the integrity of your shingles during a storm, you will find the effects of the storm on your ceiling and walls. If you notice discoloration (yellow/brown color) or the smell of mold, chances are there is moisture that has leaked through. While you may think it is just a minor leak and that it is harmless, when another storm rolls through it could worsen the issue tenfold. The best thing to do in this case is call a roofing professional to inspect the issue and give you options on what to do next.

 

It’s never fun finding damage after a storm, but let MLM help! Our trained professionals can help guide you from start to finish of the roof replacement process. Starting with a free inspection and consultation, we communicate all your options and help navigate this intimidating process. Give us a call at 844-MLM-ROOF or fill out the form on our website to schedule your inspection!

The Roof is Complex: Time to DIY or Call a Pro?

The roof is arguably the most important aspect of a house as it acts as the home’s shield from Mother Nature, keeps energy bills in check and when in good shape, increases its overall value. As Americans are increasingly spending more time at home, people are finding themselves joining the DIY craze. In fact, Americans spent nearly $420 billion on home improvement projects in 2020. However, while a new coat of paint or a mounting your brand-new TV may feel like an easy task, there is one project that should not be underestimated – your roof. While certain aspects of the roof can be done by an experienced homeowner, there are certainly a few that even the handiest residents will have to call in the professionals for MLM Home Improvement has compiled some of the most common roofing projects along with a guide on which will require a professional’s touch.

Cleaning the Gutters: Gutters are an integral safety system that prevent the buildup of water on our roof and direct it away from the house, preventing dangerous flooding. However, debris can often get stuck in the narrow corridors of a gutter, blocking or bottlenecking water and forcing it to go in different directions. It is important to work with a professional to regularly clear objects from the gutter, especially during Fall, as build up can become a bigger problem.

Conducting a Visual Assessment: During a storm, heavy wind or rain can cause shingle damage and potentially lead to leaks. Therefore, once the weather has cleared, take a stroll around the outside of your home to see if any shingles have fallen to the ground as the first step in an easy assessment of your roof’s condition. Secondly, look at the actual roof itself to see if you can spy any glaring holes and missing or broken shingles.

Any visual damage spotted from the ground is something you should most certainly call in a professional to take a closer look at. Yet, due to the dangerous nature, it is best to leave it up to a trusted and certified local contractor to conduct the inspection. In addition to being safer, the contractor is trained to look for signs that a homeowner might not easily spot.

Additionally, annual roof inspections are not only a good maintenance habit but can help to prevent added costs in the long run.

 

Replacing or Repairing Shingles: Replacing or repairing a missing or faulty shingle can seem like a quick fix. However, roofing professionals are not only trained in how to conduct repairs safely but are experts at repairing problem areas while also identifying any hidden dangers.

For example, a leak caused by damaged shingles or a faulty repair can lead to problems beyond your roof. After all, moisture in your home can cause water damage, but even more importantly, as moisture builds up in your attic, it can cause mold.

Trusted, local contractors, such as those backed by a national manufacturer like Owens Corning, can locate the source of the leak and repair it preventing future damage and growth of harmful mold.

A good defense for your roof is every day, preventative measures such as proper gutter maintenance and regular visual scans to ensure everything is as it should be. However, when it comes to an in-depth analysis, it is best to leave it to a certified contractor like those within the Owens Corning Network, such as MLM, who can get the job done right. Schedule your FREE inspection with us today! 844-MLM-ROOF