Should You Get Gutter Guards?

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but not when it’s packed with chores. Unfortunately, your gutters seem to have it in for you. They won’t stop clogging, and you’re feeling fed up with being unable to enjoy a festive fall.

Could installing a gutter guard system on your home work? Will you finally get the chance to revel in the autumn colors instead of dreading the chores that come with them? Here’s how guards might help.

Gutter Basics: What Problems Need to Be Solved?

Gutters give rainwater a secure, safe path away from roof edges. In the process, they stop splashing liquid from eroding the earth around your home. Since the downspout usually directs water away from the house, the system also works to keep your foundations from getting flooded.

Backup Trouble

Gutters only function if they’re kept clean. When they fill up with debris, plant materials, or scum, they do a worse job of letting water through. Letting such situations get out of hand could lead to a range of problems:

  • If your gutter is full of water on a cold night, it could freeze. From there, an ice dam may form and tear through your roof layers as it grows.
  • When rainwater backs up enough, it starts spilling over. In addition to wearing away the ground below, it might leak into the edge of your roofing.
  • Gutters are only designed to support so much weight. If an overloaded trough takes too much stress, it might sag or even detach and tear off parts of the building.

Are Gutter Guards the Answer?

There are many unique gutter guards on the market. Most share a common purpose: They stop your gutters from filling up with debris so that you don’t have to spend as much time cleaning them. They come in a few common forms:

  • Screen-style guards are usually made of metal. Although they’re relatively affordable and straightforward, they can get clogged.
  • Reverse-curve products are rounded pieces of metal or vinyl that partially cover the gutter. They leave a narrow gap for precipitation to pass through. Unfortunately, they can let water miss the channel entirely if the rain comes down too hard.
  • Slit-cover guards are like reverse-curve guards with a few other gaps. Their efficacy may depend on where you live and how much precipitation you receive.
  • Sponge-style gutter guards use porous sponge materials to block the passage of debris while letting water flow freely. They still need to be cleaned because seeds can take root and sprout in the sponges.
  • Micro-mesh guards use filtering mesh materials suspended in frame structures to avoid two problems: clogging and insufficient water flow rates. Installing these guards may take more work than the other options do.

Why do homeowners continue to rely on these products? Gutter covers and guards work if you choose the right options for your circumstances. For instance, homes in drier climates might be okay with low-flow guards. If your roof has a steep pitch, on the other hand, then it might experience more substantial flows.

Maintenance and Upkeep

One of the biggest myths about gutter clog-prevention products is that they do all the work for you. No matter what kinds of gutter guards you install on your home, you’ll still have to do some occasional cleaning.

Key Steps

Climb up a stable ladder to remove any debris that you see on, in or around your gutters. This is also the time to inspect the gutters for signs of damage, such as

  • Bent or sagging trenches,
  • Loose brackets, bolts and other fasteners,
  • Irregular gaps between the channels and the roof overhangs they’re secured to,
  • Discoloration or wear near the seams of the gutters and mounting brackets,
  • Obstructions that have worked their way into the downspouts, and
  • Missing or damaged shingles felt or other roofing materials around the channels.

Keeping your gutters in working order is easier when you stick to a seasonal maintenance schedule. Although installing gutter guards is a great way to shorten your to-do list, you still must be a responsible homeowner.

Top Home Improvement Trends of 2020

Tips on Saving Money on Bathroom Remodel Supplies

The home improvement industry is constantly changing; influencers and experts in the field are constantly striving to improve designs, bringing their clients the next and greatest innovations. This in turn means that homeowners who are considering an update to their homes need to stay aware of what the coming trends are.

A trend is considered to be any popular movement within the industry that is predicted to remain relevant for at least 10 to 15 years. So, following the freshest trends means that your new home improvement will have the longest staying power.

Some trends for each year are simply a continuation of the most popular trends from the previous year, while others are completely new, emerging for the first time and exciting the industry. The following 5 trends are considered to be the most popular for 2020 and beyond.

Affordable, Wellness Focused Homes

For the last decade, there has been a big push toward bespoke cabinetry, islands, and layouts. This custom approach was designed to set people’s homes apart from one another, but it often priced homes out of the affordable range for many.

For 2020, therefore, things are beginning to swing the other way. The focus now isn’t so much on creating a custom, bespoke home, but one that emphasises affordable functionality and wellness. This demand is being met by the manufacturers who are beginning to include things in their materials and their products such as soft close doors and drawers, soy-based glues rather than formaldehyde, and higher quality sources. 

Multi-Purpose Spaces

For years, the open floor plan has dominated home layouts, and it will continue to do so into 2020. The difference is how people are beginning to think about these spaces. Rather than designating specific areas for a single use, people are beginning to think of using the open space in a variety of ways, making open floor plans much more fluid. Spaces are now becoming a home office, a family room, an entertainment area, or a quiet place to relax as the needs of the user change. This has led to more multi-functional furniture that can be used in different ways as well, such as coffee tables with built in storage, and sectional couches that can be arranged as needed. 

Increased Bathroom Sizes

The average bathroom size just 20 years ago was around 40 square feet. Today it’s as large as 125 square feet, and that trend will continue into 2020. This is partly because there is a larger focus on the bathroom than ever before. It’s being seen as a refuge or a place to relax and unwind, as well as a place to get ready for the day. Homeowners are putting large, freestanding tubs into their bathrooms as a focal point, so bathrooms have to get bigger to accommodate this and other large fixtures. 

More Color

There are several trends for home remodeling that are poised to be very big in 2020 that are about color and how it’s being used. This includes colorful kitchen cabinets, specifically accent cabinets in a very bright, bold color that contrasts the rest of the room. It also includes a new trend in removable wallpaper being used throughout the home; now it’s possible to get some color and pattern without the need to commit.

We’re also going to see tile in the kitchen and bathroom outside of the ordinary areas. For example, backsplashes will start climbing the walls around the cabinets, while wall tile in the bathroom will extend to the ceiling outside of the shower as well. This will mean more and better protection for walls, as well as the chance to introduce more color into the design. 

Smart Appliances

People are beginning to expect more out of the appliances and fixtures they’re putting into their homes, and for 2020 manufacturers are beginning to respond. Look for refrigerators that can adjust to keep produce fresher longer, and washers and dryers you can program to turn on at any time of the day. With hubs that control your home, it’s easy to connect appliances up to them, making homes smarter than ever.

Follow the Trends for the Freshest and Longest Lasting Looks.

Home improvements are an investment into the future of your home. So, it makes sense to ensure that they last the longest amount of time. Taking a look at the top trends of the coming year can help you ensure that any changes you make to your home will stay fresh and relevant for the next 10 to 15 years. Check out these and other trends in 2020 to have the most up to date home design going forward. 

How to Get Started as a Contractor? Tips & Advice

How to Get Started as a Contractor? Tips & Advice.

Are you searching for a new career opportunity?
Do you want to create your own business?

Then becoming a general contractor might be the right path for you, especially if you have experience in the construction industry. This business can be quite lucrative but before checking your bank account you’ll have to prepare yourself for the job. Here’s how to get started. 

1. Get Licensed & Certified

The first step in becoming a successful contractor is getting licensed. You will have to dedicate time to prepare for the license exam and study hard. A construction project is no game – a lot of things can go wrong if you have no idea what you are doing. So it’s essential to know how to tackle different types of problems and manage to run a successful project.

Luckily, there are numerous e-learning websites which provide courses for becoming a general contractor. You will be able to gain expertise in the comfort of your own home. To name just one example but a professional can clean a carpet 85% faster than DIY.

2. Learn the Industry Regulations

You might be familiar with the construction site regulations but you also need to have immense knowledge about the industry regulations. To stay updated with the latest industry requirements make sure to regularly check the government websites where all new information is posted. 

Being aware of any changes will help you protect your business and possibly save you time and money. Consider building a health & safety culture to cut out risk and unnecessary accidents.

3. Always Keep a Sharp Eye on Finances 

Finances are an important aspect of the construction business because often there are overhead expenses. You need to track them carefully and adjust your plans accordingly to avoid bankruptcy. 

When preparing an offer for a client, make sure to take into consideration all potential costs such as labor and materials. You can also create a budget to track any incoming and outgoing money flow. Whenever you expect bigger expenses, you can exclude unnecessary ones or increase your rates.

4. Office Freshness & Hygiene

Your office can say a lot about your business. Ensure it’s presentable especially if you welcome clients in it. Develop your own office cleaning routine or hire a professional cleaning company to handle this task on a weekly basis. 

Personal hygiene of your employees is also important. Make sure to set certain standards about cleanliness and dress code. 

Other aspects concern the quality and freshness of the air. Consider the use of a fresh air purifier to filter the air from dust, dirt, allergens, and humidity.

5. Cutting edge software

Service companies can benefit a lot from professional business software solutions. Buying one could be the best investment you’ll ever make. There are numerous helpful functions that will help you keep track of your projects and clients. Such business software can also help new clients find you and book a service with you online. To get a good example, take the Vonigo software tour and see for yourself how it works.

Most software companies offer excellent customer support so even if you’re not tech-savvy, there will always be someone to assist you.

Other solutions include state of the art customer satisfaction tracking that allows truly data-based decisions and management. 

6. Green thinking

It’s a good idea to think about the environment when you develop your contractor business. There are plenty of things you could do around the office to reduce single-use plastic and your office waste as a whole. 

  • You can install recycling bins and add notes about what items can be put in each one.
  • Employees can bring their own cups, dishes, and cutlery for the office kitchen. 
  • You can install energy-saving light bulbs.
  • You can store your documents digitally instead of printing them out on paper.
  • Instead of purchasing bottled water for the office, you might invest in a filtering system for the tap water which will save you money in the long run.

7. Company Etiquette and Culture

Now that you are the boss, you will have to set an example and create an appropriate company etiquette. This means respecting the privacy and work of your employees, keep noise and distractions to a minimum, be tolerant, maintain your office and desk tidy.

You should make your employees feel at ease and as a part of a team. You can achieve that by creating a special onboarding process for new people arriving in the company, organizing team-building events, celebrating employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries with personalized gifts. 

8. Assess your internal organization

Once you set up your contractor business you should assess it regularly to identify potential threats and opportunities. The following questions will help you with this process:

  • Do you operate within your budget?
  • Do you have repeat sales?
  • Do your current clients refer you as a reputable business?
  • Do you have any customer reviews or ratings?
  • Do you keep track of the employee turnover rate?

You could easily answer these questions by listening to what your clients and employees are saying about your contractor business, checking your financial reports and documents. This assessment will help you detect the weak links in your company and fix them.

9. Be Prepared

At all times you should be prepared for different scenarios and outcomes. In the business world, even the tiniest thing has the potential to cause huge damage. That’s why you should always be alert.

Imagine that you have almost completed a home renovation but suddenly realize that you don’t have a $10 part to be fully ready with the job. This tiny part can now be the reason you lose hundreds of dollars. In the best scenario, you will have to go to the closest store to buy it but this will cost you valuable time.

10. Choose the Best Clients

At the start of your business, you will want to take every possible client to gain some profit. But you will have to learn to carefully select your customers and even turn some of them down. What the professionals at House Ace share, is that It’s better to land a big project with a client who will pay you upfront instead of a client with a small renovation job who will only cause you headaches. 

You should be interested in clients who will bring you a high return on investment. To select the best customers you could perform a little research beforehand. You can ask other contractors if they have worked with that particular client, you should also pay attention to the way the person communicates and treats you and your employees.