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Why replace your old windows?

If you’re looking for a smart way to improve the value of your home when you try to sell it, as well as make it much more comfortable and inviting while you live there, one idea you should certainly give strong consideration to is replacing your old windows.

In addition to being functionally obsolete and cosmetically unattractive, those old windows are actually making your home colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. Here in Northern Ohio, we know just how extreme the temperatures can often get. What’s more, drafty old windows can add to your gas and electric bills like you wouldn’t believe. They often account for roughly 30 to 40 percent of heat loss in the winter, and even more heat gain during the summer months. Installing Energy Star-certified new windows can often cut those energy bills by nearly 50 percent, in many cases. Replacing your windows also makes your home a much more comfortable place in which to spend time.

Just in case you’re wondering how energy efficiency is measured, here goes: The four key elements of energy efficient windows are: U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Visible Transmittance, and Air-Infiltration Rate. U-Factor is a measurement of how well a product prevents heat from escaping. The lower its number, the more the window will help reduce energy bills. Windows which have a U-Factor lower than 0.30 are considered excellent. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient is the measurement for how well a product blocks heat generated by sunlight. The smaller the number, the more it will help lower air conditioning bills. Windows with a SHGF under 0.30 are considered to be excellent. Visible Transmittance is a metric for how much light comes through a product. The closer to 1, the greater the amount of light transmitted. Air-Infiltration Rate  concerns how much air seeps through window cracks and is measured in cubic feet of air penetrating one square foot of window surface per minute.

Old windows can also become a maintenance nightmare as time goes on, with seemingly constant painting, puttying, and caulking. Often, they’re difficult (if not downright impossible) to open and close because of the umpteen coats of paint that have been applied to the frames over the years, warping, and/or the hardware is broken or missing.

Your existing windows can also make your home look old, dated, even dilapidated, especially if any of the panes are cracked, clouded, chipped, or paint-streaked. They can even become a safety and security concern.

Adding new Energy Star-certified windows to your home not only make it more attractive and comfortable, they also make it more inviting to potential buyers, and are a simple, excellent way to goose up the “curb appeal.” A 2009 research survey conducted by Home Improvement magazine showed that new windows typically return between 85 and 90 percent of their original investment at the closing table. This is among the highest rates of return for remodeling projects.

In addition, some Energy Star-rated replacement windows also qualify for federal rebate programs for saving energy, and may even qualify for low-interest loans and other incentives offered by your local utility.

Because of different exposure to sunlight and other weather factors, windows on one side of your home can actually age at a much faster rate than on the other three.

Whether you replace one window, the windows on one side of your house, or every window on your property, Master Renovations will do the job right, and will be more than happy to provide a free estimate.

 

 

 

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

Choosing the professional who is going to install, repair, or replace the roof of your home or business isn’t something that most people give a great deal of thought to, yet it’s probably one of the most important decisions that you’ll make all year long.

Think about it. Your roof is the first line of defense standing between you and the elements. Not to mention the first line of protection for the largest single investment you’ll probably ever make. Should you trust it to someone you picked at random out of the Yellow Pages, or an itinerant handyman who was cruising the neighborhood in his pickup truck?

We didn’t think so.

As with any major purchase, you need to do your homework. Talk to  neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family. Ask who did the roofs on their homes (if applicable, of course) and find out if they are satisfied with the quality of workmanship that they did, and how well their roof is holding up. (The average useful service life of a roof is fifteen years, just so you know.)  Better yet, get at least two different recommendations from two different sources.

In fact, most experts tend to agree that you should only let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages as an absolute last resort. Once you locate a prospect, find out how long they’ve been in business. Five years should be the absolute minimum. Shoddy workmen don’t usually last that long in business.  Don’t be shy about asking them for references. Do a drive-by of some recent jobs they’ve handled. Pay particular attention to the quality of workmanship and how well the seams all line up. Look for neat, tar-free flashing in the roof valleys and on the eaves. Also, shingles should be neatly, professionally trimmed to make them line up with the roof edge. Ragged edges are one sure sign of sloppy workmanship. It might not even be a bad idea to ring the doorbell and ask the homeowner how satisfied they are (or aren’t) with the job that the roofer did.

Here are questions that you should ask the homeowners and references:

  • Would you have any reservations about hiring this roofer again, or recommending them to friends and family?
  • Have there been any leaks since the job was done? If this has been the case, did the contractor respond promptly, courteously, and professionally?
  • Were there any additional charges involved?
  • Did the contractor bring the job in on budget? If not, how much were the overages? Was s/he able to document/justify the additional costs?
  •  Did the contractor damage or destroy any shrubbery, flowers, or other landscaping? Did they leave any nails on the driveway or in the lawn?

Quality professionals like Master Renovations use powerful rolling magnets to successfully any stray nails, thereby preventing flat tires and tetanus shots.

(We’ve also helped more than one homeowner find a long-lost piece of jewelry in the process!)

  • Was there a foreman on-site to answer any questions or concerns that you may
  • Have had during both the tear-off and shingle installation phases of the job?
  • Were both the foreman and the roofers neat, clean, and professionally dressed?

One other thing, you’ll also want to check and make sure that the contractor maintains a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance. You know, just in case.

And, of course, be sure to check their schedule. It’s a gnawing aggravation to hire a contractor for a job, only to discover that they’re booked solid and can’t get to your roof for six months or a year.

Does your roof have a bad case of the shingles?

shingle-damaged-by-Ohio-weather

Does your roof look like this or worse? Depending on the severity and coverage area, curling shingles and loss of asphalt indicate that you may need a new roof or repair.

The Roofing Pros at Master Renovations Can Do So Much More than Simply Cure a Bad Case of the Shingles.

Roofs around this part of the country aren’t only composed of asphalt shingles or cedar shakes. Metal roofs have remained quite popular among homeowners and owners of commercial buildings. And they’re just as vulnerable to storm and other weather-related damage as their wood and petroleum-based counterparts.

Just ask Kathy Kline, whose seven year-old metal roof on her farmhouse sustained severe damage in last year’s catastrophic hail storm. To make matters worse, it wasn’t just her home that took a direct hit. It was also all of her outbuildings, plus nearby rental properties that she owned.

That’s why she called Ben.

The roofing team at Master Renovations quickly swung into action for Kathy. Although her existing roof wasn’t still under warranty coverage, fortunately her homeowner’s policy fully paid all of the costs. With Ben’s expert guidance, she ended up choosing Premier Metals, a top-rated metal roof manufactured right here in Ohio as the replacement.

The workmanship on the job was impeccable. (Well, ok, Master Renovation had to come back to make one slight adjustment on Kathy’s gutter helmets. But that was it.) “If there’s ever any problem, Ben will take care of it right away,” she added.

While excellent homeowner’s insurance is always essential to have, never underestimate the importance of having an excellent warranty on your home’s roof. That’s why Master Renovations is proud to offer the SureStart or SureStart Plus warranty on every CertainTeed roof they install.

SureStart is a sure winner because it covers not only 100% of the cost of replacing defective roofing shingles for the first 20 years (50 years, in the case of SureStart Plus), it also covers 100% of the labor costs to replace them, if needed. SureStart/SureStart Plus coverage is non-prorated, and completely transferable to subsequent homeowners, which could make it a valuable asset in the event you ever decide to sell your home, even years down the road.

CertainTeed can offer this excellent coverage because their roofing products because of their outstanding materials, craftsmanship, and manufacturing processes. Master Renovations backs it up because we take great pride in our workmanship and stand firmly behind it. In short, problems rarely occur.

Or, as Kathy puts it, “Today, tomorrow…Ben’s there if you ever need him.”

Does vinyl siding help with energy bills?

The Coldest Months of the Year Bring Some of the Biggest Energy Bills of the Year. We Can Help.

Diagram of home heat loss percentages

How Heat Escapes

With January upon us, many Ohioans are trying to find ways to stay toasty warm without having to raid their kids’ college savings funds to pay the sky high gas or electric bills to do so. Of course, probably the best solution is to make your home more energy efficient.

Vinyl siding from Master Renovations Inc. in Orrville can do just that, and make your residence much more attractive in the process. All it takes is replacing the old, faded, weatherbeaten siding that’s presently encasing your home with insulated vinyl siding.

Is insulated vinyl siding from Master Renovations Inc. effective? Fact is, due to its ability to reduce thermal bridging (when materials with poor insulating qualities come into contact with each other and allow heat to pass right through), it has been added to the checklist of building products and methodologies that can meet the requirements of Energy Star Qualified Homes, Version 3.

Further, the rated R-value of insulated siding from Master Renovations Inc. can be used to calculate the energy performance of an entire wall. This is sometimes called the “U-factor” of a wall.

Turn Your Home Into a High Performance Home

Let’s talk about thermal bridging in a little more detail. In the majority of homes, insulation is typically placed between the studs inside the exterior walls. Studs, whether they’re wood or metal, have very poor insulating qualities, and allow heat (or cool, in the summer) to flow through from the interior to the outside almost unhindered. Well, these studs represent up to one-quarter of the wall surface. So that’s like having one entire exterior wall of your home completely uninsulated.

Insulated vinyl siding professionally installed by Master Renovations Inc. is like wrapping your entire home in a warm, comfy blanket. Insulated vinyl siding has an R-value that exceeds steel siding, uninsulated vinyl siding, stone, stucco, or even brick.

Insulated vinyl siding also provides sound dampening from street and highway traffic, lawnmowers, trains, airport noise, barking dogs, and other neighborhood distractions.

Listen to Our Customers

After an ice storm last year, Anne Marie Weatherwax of Glenmont, Ohio called upon Master Renovations Inc. to repair storm damage to her roof and siding, and to correct mistakes made by a previous contractor. “I’ve been very much satisfied with both the quality of Ben’s work and with the Nordic vinyl siding that he put on,” she said.

Mary Jo Hanners also enlisted Master to repair the roof and install vinyl siding on both her home and two-story garage following a hailstorm in 2012. “I was so satisfied with the workmanship and professionalism of Ben’s crew that I recommended Master to my son for his home,” she added.