Frequently Asked Questions

Leak Detection

How Can I Tell the Difference Between a Roof Leak and a Pipe Leak?

Businesses and homes in the Branford, Connecticut area get through the winter and look forward to the summer, like everywhere else. But because the winters are bitterly colder than in many other parts of the country, businesses and homes here are prone to unknown water leaks, from above and below the ground. And this is the reason more and more businesses and homeowners are investing in water leak detection systems.

What is a water leak detection system?

A water leak detection system is installed in a business or home where the water enters the structure. It then monitors water as it flows through the water lines. It is set to detect when an unusual amount is flowing, like a busted line, and shuts the water off to the entire house.

What types of Leak Detection Systems are available?

Water leak detection systems work with one of two systems:

  • Mechanical Turbine
  • Ultrasonic Wavelengths

There are other water leak detection systems that cut the water off when excessive moisture is detected. As the moisture is sensed as it reaches the floorboards, it triggers a mechanical valve that blocks the water flow. This type of water leak detection system is ideal for point-of-use or under-sink applications.

How do these water leak detection system work?

These water leak detection systems become alerted to the abnormal flow of water by counting the gallons of water through a sensor or sonically by recording the time delay. These moisture-sensing water leak detection systems are better for whole-house systems to detect potential leaks.

What are the benefits of using a Leak Detection System?

A few years back, when there was a possible water leak, the plumber would have to estimate where the leak was and start digging. It may be a short trench or it may have ended up with the entire property dug up. Today, there are various types of water leak detection technologies that can pinpoint water leaks without all that digging and destruction. So, that would be the first benefit of a water leak detection system for the whole home: No more digging up the landscaping. Other benefits include:

  • Precision in finding the water leak. Detection is immediate and endless digging is eliminated
  • Sophisticated equipment that doesn’t damage the flooring inside your home
  • Saves money by being non-destructive, non-invasive, precise, and quick, minimizing the time the plumber is on the job and not having to repair or replace flooring or landscaping
  • Insurance premiums are lowered by many insurance companies because they realize what a water leak detection system will save them in the long run
  • Keeps the home healthy and safe because the smallest water leak detection keeps mildew and mold at bay

Are Leak Detection Systems expensive?

As we mentioned, there are different types of water leak detection systems. And while they are costly to purchase and have installed, you need to consider the amount of money they’ll save you from having extensive damage from a water leak.

How is a Leak Detection System installed?

Water leak detection systems are either active or passive with the passive type alerting of a water leak with a distinct alarm tone and some have a flashing light. The passive water leak detection systems are either battery-operated or stand-alone and they are the least expensive to purchase and are easy to install.

A moisture sensor type of water leak detection system is placed on the floor to detect any moisture. The downside to a passive water leak detection system is that if nobody hears the audible alarm, it isn’t much help.

Active leak detection systems will sound an alarm and stop the water flow with a shut-off valve feature. Most water leak detection devices use moisture sensors that detect a water leak while others use a flow sensor and a timer, with the timer shutting the water off if it isn’t manually turned off.

An active water leak detection system can be used at individual appliances or installed where the water enters the house and used for a whole house leak detection system. Some homeowners will opt to have both active and passive water leak detections system installed.

What is the accuracy of a Leak Detection System?

It doesn’t need to be stated that the more accurate a water leak detection system is, the least chance of water damage happening in your home. When a water leak detection is installed correctly, it can be up to 90% accurate.

It is the high rate of accuracy that plumbers and insurance companies recommend having them installed by a professional. When installed by a professional, the work is guaranteed and the device warranty is more likely to be honored by the manufacturer.

In Closing

Water leak detection systems are just something you can install and forget about. They should be inspected for accuracy. How often should Leak Detection Systems be tested for accuracy? An annual water leak detection test would be recommended but follow the instructions of the system or the professional that installs your system.

Amity Home Maintenance Solutions provides thorough assistance with leak detection in Branford, CT. Trace the source of leaks with us at 203-390-7399 today!

Chimney Flashing

Does the Chimney Flashing Need to be Replaced?

The Importance of Chimney Flashing

When you have a roofing inspection done by a professional and they suggest you need chimney flashing repair, your first question may be, “What is chimney flashing?” You know what the shingles and gutters are, but the chimney flashing isn’t as visible. If you’re not familiar with the structure of your roof, that isn’t a silly thing to ask.

What is Chimney Flashing?

Chimney flashing is metal strips that are installed along the bottom of the chimney where it meets the roof. It creates a watertight seal around the base that prevents water from entering the attic and into your home. If chimney flashing repair is recommended, it shouldn’t be delayed or forgotten because it leaves your home subjective to extensive water damage.

How is Chimney Flashing Installed?

There are five basic steps for chimney flashing repair or replacement:

  1. Remove the old flashing and scrape off any roofing cement with a chisel and hammer
  2. Cut the base chimney flashing using tin snips to fit along the chimney’s front
  3. Bend one side of the chimney flashing around the chimney edge
  4. Attach the base chimney flashing after fitting it against the chimney front, making sure it is flush with the roof and overlaps the roofing shingles
  5. Nail into place with four galvanized roofing nails through the flashing that is lying flat to the roof

What are the Different Types of Chimney Flashing?

There are three types of chimney flashing repairing or replacing:

  1. Step flashing: This is an L-shaped piece of thin metal that is installed under the roofing shingles that are around the base of the chimney
  2. Counter flashing: This is also an L-shaped piece of thin metal that covers the step flashing by embedding it into a groove cut in the brickwork of the chimney
  3. Base flashing: This chimney flashing is installed where the vertical surface of the chimney meets the roofing surface for additional water penetration protection

What Materials Are Used for Chimney Flashing?

Every chimney has a foundation, some are independent of the house. Properly installed chimney flashing should be able to anticipate foundation movement without interrupting the water penetrating. The different types of materials used for chimney flashing repairs or original installation include:

  • Aluminum
  • Galvalume
  • Galvanized steel
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Lead-coated copper

How Often Should Chimney Flashing be Inspected and/or Replaced?

When a chimney is properly constructed and installed in a home, it will typically last for 30 years, depending on the climate and environment. Extreme weather can shorten the lifespan of a roof and the chimney. In addition to needing roof repairs or replacement, you may need chimney flashing repairs or replacement in between.

Along with the roof, your chimney and gutter system should be inspected every 3 to 5 years. Additional inspection should be done after any extreme weather event that included hailstones, hard rains, and high winds.

What Are the Signs of a Damaged or Faulty Chimney Flashing?

The basic indicators that you may need chimney flashing repair or replacement include the following:

  • Gapping or missing caulking around the flashing
  • Rust or water stains inside your home on the ceilings or the walls around the chimney
  • Water dripping sounds around the chimney
  • Water puddles around the chimney
  • Discolored bricks on your chimney
  • Discover critters nesting in the attic

If you’re experiencing any of these things, have your roof and chimney flashing inspected by a professional roofing contractor. These are indications that your home needs chimney flashing repairs or replacement sooner than later.

Are there Any Special Considerations for Chimney Flashing Materials in Certain Climates?

The most commonly used chimney flashing material is aluminum. However, if a different type of roofing material other than asphalt shingles is used. It is best to use the advice of the roofing contractor if a different material for the flashing is best. The biggest concern about metal chimney flashing is corrosion.

How quickly corrosion happens is controlled by the area of passive metal. For instance, a galvanized steel nail is an active metal and will corrode faster when surrounded by a passive metal like copper flashing.

Galvanized nails or screws should never be used with copper chimney flashing repairs or replacement. The corrosion is slow but will spread over all of the flashing and roofing, weakening its strength in protecting your home.

Hitting the Nail On the Head

A homeowner can do their own chimney flashing repairs if they can climb on the roof and have a spotter on the ground to help. It is not recommended to do this repair on your own without help.

Roofing contractors are accustomed to heights and have the proper PPE (personal protection equipment) and tools needed to complete the job safely and thoroughly. If you file a roof damage claim with your insurance company, make sure the chimney flashing repairs or replacements are included along with the gutters, fascia, and soffit.

Decks

What makes a deck special?

When many people think about Connecticut, they think of cold and snow. But Branford Connecticut has warmer weather too, and when we do, we like to sit outside and enjoy it. That is why deck installation is so important! So, for any homeowner that is considering adding one, there are many questions, and we have some answers for you.

What are decks good for?

After the Quarantine of 2021, many homeowners realized how small their homes were when everyone was home. For months! The installation of decking has become a popular trend across the country. It expands the living area of your home, and can be utilized year-round if desired, even in Connecticut! The 6 primary benefits of having decking installed are:

Increase Your Home Value

If you’re considering selling your home, there are many things you’re being told that will increase the value, including decking. So, will adding a deck increase my home value? Absolutely! There are many things you can do, but only a few will increase the value any substantial amount, like an improvement for outdoor living areas. How much does a deck improve home value? Real estate experts say that you can get between 75% and 100% ROI when you add decking to your home.

Have a Party On The Decking

With the cost of gas these days, more of us are staying home. For the outdoor-loving person, decking is an excellent way to make room for outdoor parties. Invite the family, friends, and even neighbors over to party on your decking with a BBQ grill going and cold drinks. Outdoor decking isn’t as claustrophobic as inside a home, and if anything gets spilled, it isn’t a panic situation!

Outdoor Enjoyment

If you’re not the partying kind of person, decking can be a place of enjoyment by simply sitting quietly and relaxing. Enjoy the sunshine and read a book during the day or have some soft lighting and enjoy the stars at night.

Get a New and Updated Look

Homeowners will ask themselves, “Should I have a backyard deck installed?”, and to that, we say if your home is looking boring, dull, and drab in the backyard, then yes! Having decking installed is one of the best ways to liven things up out there! The home improvement market is full of assorted decking materials today, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your home and planned use.

So, what types of decks are there? Choose an all-natural material, an exotic hardwood, or a rustic pine, the choices are unlimited! A popular choice of decking material today is Trex Composite, the ideal material for homeowners that don’t want to worry about decking maintenance like wood rot, necessary annual need to repaint, re-stain, and re-seal, and the best part of this material: Termites can’t eat it!

How large are backyard decks?

The first step in the Deck Installation Process is determining the size you desire. It’s your backyard, if there aren’t specific building codes, you can have your decking as large or small as you want! The average decking size is three to four hundred square feet, with it being wider than long in most cases. But again, it is your home, you can design a multi-level decking style where the grill is on the lower end, furthermost from the house, with seating and tables closer.

Can you renovate a deck?

It isn’t always necessary to tear down and start over, it depends on how shabby and worn the existing decking is. If the main structural parts are in good condition, you can replace any bad flooring, rails, and redo or replace the stairs. This is a much less expensive way to get your backyard decking back in shape without going broke.

When should you replace a deck?

Outdoor decking can last for decades, depending on the weather, your use, and your maintenance practices. You’ll know your decking is beyond renovation by these signs:

  • Obvious wood damage can occur from the elements, insects, and regular use. That damage can be in the form of broken boards, cracked wood, and holes from wood boring insects. If the wood has a ‘give’ when you step on it, or shifts as you walk on the decking, it is time to replace it.
  • Wood rot is never good. Like the wood used to build your home, if there is the slightest indication of wood rot in your decking, it can compromise the stability. Replace the wood if you can, but if there is a significant amount, you need to replace the decking.
  • Rusted fittings and fixtures that hold your decking together underneath may be replaceable. But if your decking is wobbling, those fittings and any fixtures used to hold it together are rusted, replacing the decking may be the better choice.

Decking It All Out

When determining if a renovation is possible or replacement is the best option, check all the railing. If it is loose, you may be able to tighten them up with new hardware. If the wood splits while tightening, replace the decking instead.

And mildew or mold are two things you don’t want your decking to have, so try to replace any wood with mildew or mold. If it is too much, it is time for new decking! You want your outdoor living area to be clean, enjoyable, and safe. Make this the best summer ever with beautiful decking!

Skylights

Can Skylights Be Repaired?

Skylights are a wonderful addition to a room that doesn’t have very many windows, a common style for homes built before the 1980s. The downside that many worry about is having a skylight that leaks and getting a skylight repair.

Many homeowners aren’t sure which is better structurally and financially, a skylight repair or replacement. To make that decision, it is best to have a professional that knows skylight installation and skylight repairs to assess the situation and advise accordingly.

How do you fix a broken skylight?

A skylight repair or replacement will depend on the type of skylight and how severe the damage. If there is a hole in the middle of the skylight, repairing it is probably not possible, but having a professional inspection of the skylight and the roof is recommended.

If after an inspection the contractor deems that a skylight repair isn’t possible, they may recommend replacing the glass or acrylic dome.

Can you fix a leaking skylight?

A skylight penetrates the roof, making it susceptible to leaking. As rainwater flows down the roof slope, it collects on top of a skylight and builds and puddles up along the edges. After a few years of this, it can develop a leak along those edges between the flashing and the roof.

This is a skylight repair that most homeowners can do themselves and save the cost of calling a professional roof or skylight installer. Once you have identified where the leak is coming from, the following steps will walk you through a skylight repair that will fix the leak:

  1. One at a time, lift the roofing shingles along the skylight sides. Then brush away any debris or dirt.
  2. With roofing cement in a caulking gun, force the gun tip under the shingle so that it meets the metal flashing and roofing felt and squeeze the trigger so that the cement gets up under there. Then apply pressure to the roofing shingles to create a tight seal.
  3. Any apparent holes should be sealed with new flashing and roofing cement. Be careful not to seal the skylight weep holes in the frame. These are needed to carry water away.
  4. Check the seal around the skylight glass and frame. If there is any indication of leaks, use a caulking gun and clear silicone caulk to seal them.

Can a cracked skylight be repaired?

Yes, and how cracked skylight repairs are done will depend on the type of material, glass, or acrylic. Some skylight cracks can be welded together with a special material. For other skylight repairs, the crack can be filled with a clear acrylic caulking that is formulated just for skylights. Some skylight repairs are done with acrylic solvent cement or glue that are designed for skylight repairs.

If the acrylic part of the skylight repair is the existing frame, you’ll need to have a professional roofer or skylight installation company complete this type of skylight repair.

What can cause a skylight to crack?

There are several ways a skylight gets cracked or damaged, the two most common reasons are hailstones and tree branches. During a thunderstorm with high winds, flying debris can land on a skylight, and fluctuating temperatures that cause the roof and house to shift can crack a skylight. Because a skylight is exposed to the sun all day, every day, the glass, or acrylic becomes weak and cracks.

How do you cover a broken skylight?

If your skylight develops a small crack for any reason, we listed some earlier, you can stretch a plastic tarp over the top, use 2×4 boards and nails to hold in place until a professional roofing contractor or skylight installer/repair service arrives to make permanent skylight repair or replacement.

Who can repair a skylight?

Most roofing contractors know how to repair a leaking skylight or replacement if needed. There are companies that specialize in skylight repairs and replacement too. An internet search will find you several in or near your area.

If you need skylight repair on a metal roof, you need to specify this when you’re calling roofers or skylight installers that it is on a metal roof. A metal roof will need special footwear and skills for a skylight repair. If you choose a roofing contractor, make sure they know how to work with metal roofing, not all roofing contractors do or they have specific crews trained for metal roofing.

In Closing

If you’ve thought about adding a skylight to your home but fear the possibility of leaks, they are made better today than they were in the early 70s and 80s. You can be sure that with a quality contractor installing a skylight today of quality materials, you’ll be blessed with the natural light, giving your home a new dimension. And skylight repairs are few and far between, but nothing that can’t be done by a quality contractor that is experienced in skylight repairs.

Gutters

What is the Average Cost for Gutter Repair?

Gutter Repairs

As the fall season in Connecticut is coming to a quick end, with winter right behind it, now is a good time to check if your home needs gutter repair. Wait, can gutters be repaired? Yes, and when budgets are tight, as they usually are after the holidays, gutter repair is much cheaper than gutter replacement. And it can prove to be cheaper than ignoring the damage and issues too!

Gutters divert rainwater and melting ice & snow off the roof so that it goes away from the foundation and siding. Without gutters, or with damaged gutters, that water will get in infiltrate behind the siding, pool up around the foundation, and then you have a lot more costly repairs and replacements than gutter repairs would cost.

Who does gutter repair?

There are companies that specialize in gutter installation and gutter repairs. If you have an older, historic home, you’ll want to choose one that specializes in how to repair old gutters. Depending on the age of the home and the gutter, repairs may not be possible. To keep the historic standing of the house, it is worth hiring a company that works with older structures and gutters.

The average cost of gutter repair can be as little as $200 and go up as high as $600. It will depend on the type of material, the type and amount of damage, and the height of the house. When you look at the cost of gutter replacement ranging between $1,600 and $2,200, the gutter repair cost is the budget saver.

So maybe with those prices though, you want to try to do your own gutter repair. As a DIY homeowner, this may be the better option for you, so let’s answer a few questions in that arena.

How do you repair a hanging gutter?

First, inspect the fascia and make sure you don’ have wood rot behind the gutter. Then check the gutter run for any broken areas of the gutter itself. If it is sagging, it usually is because the clips or brackets have come loose or broken. Simply remove them using a drill and install new brackets, reattached the gutter run.

Can you repair a dented gutter?

Sometimes, gutter repairs for a dented gutter just aren’t possible. It is best to replace the piece of gutter run or you may need all new gutters. For an aluminum gutter, using a rubber mallet, dented gutter repair is easy. Simply gently hammer the dent from the inside until it pops into place. Don’t expect perfection and keep hammering, you could make the dent worse.

Another method is to use a drill and make a 1/8-inch hole into the dented area. Then place a washer on the inside and screw the exterior side of the dent. Using pliers, gently pull until the dent is smoothed out. Then fill the hole with an aluminum filler or a waterproof caulk.

How do you repair a gutter drainpipe?

The downspout is the pipe that connects to the gutter run at the roofline and channels water off and away. They are made from either aluminum or PVC, but downspout gutter repair is done in the same method using these steps:

  1. Crushed aluminum downspouts should be completely replaced. Since they come in sections, just the damaged section is all you need to replace. Once you have removed the damaged piece by drilling through the rivet hole and disassemble. Aluminum downspouts at the rivet hole, using a drill bit the same size as the rivet. Position the new piece and screw in the new with sheet metal screws.
  2. If the PVC downspout is shattered, replacing it is the better option. Simply pull the pieces apart and insert the new pieces, all by hand. Push them together so they have a tight fit. If they were glued together, you can use a hacksaw and cut them apart. Dryfit the new piece and then sand the ends to remove any hacksaw burs. Prime the ends with a PVC primer and push them together for a tight fit.
  3. For cracks on aluminum or PVC downspouts, using caulk for exterior use that can be painted, fill the crack with 1/4 inch thick. For a long crack, apply a small bead the length of the crack and smooth it with your finger. Once it has dried, you can paint to patch the gutter run.

How do you repair a hole in a metal gutter?

Gutter repair for patching holes in aluminum or steel is the same process. You’ll need to clean the gutter and allow the area that needs patching to thoroughly dry. Then apply a layer of roofing cement around the edges of the hole. Next, apply a piece of metal flashing that has been cut to the appropriate size. With the gutter repair patch is place, apply roofing cement over the entire patch and over the edges of the patch.

Can you repair seamless gutters?

Fortunately, unless the gutter repair is needed for a large section, the repair is easy. If there is a large hole, use waterproof caulk to roofing cement to hold a piece of metal flashing down over the hole – the process described above. For small holes, the roofing cement or waterproof caulk alone will be sufficient.

Who Pays For It?

Yes, this is a common question, especially if you’re having the repair done by a professional. So, do homeowners cover the gutter repair? Only if the damage is done by an unexpected incident like a weather event. If a tree limb falls on your roof, you should have the insurance adjust and evaluate the situation because the roof could have unseen damage. Otherwise, gutter repair is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Exterior House Painting

Which is the best color for exterior house painting?

Beautifying Your Home

Why paint your house? Painting a room or painting the house are topics that nobody minds talking about. But doing it, well – that’s how free time and weekends are suffocated. Unless you put another spin on things and create a new attitude or hire professional painting services.

Colors affect our mood and when we take that spin, painting the house isn’t such a chore. Even if you’re going to hire painting services to do the job, you have to get yourself in a mood to make decisions like the color. Not only will a new color change your moods, but there are key benefits to painting your home:

Protection

Over time, your home takes a lot of wear and tear. Pictures get hung and then moved or replaced. The exterior and interior walls get dirty and dusty and begin to look old and tired. A fresh coat of paint will bring your home to life again, whether you do it yourself or hire professional painting services.

Using professional painting services, they will take steps that you may not, like cleaning the walls before they begin painting. Then the new coat of paint goes on, protecting the walls from moisture, mold, or mildew. The freshly cleaned and painted walls will get rid of the allergens, dirt, and dust.

Value

In addition to having the exterior walls freshened up, you’ll create eye-catching curb appeal and increase the value of your home. This is a great upsell if you’re planning to place your home on the market.

Painting is an affordable upgrade that any home over 10 years old can benefit from, whether you do it yourself or hire painting services. It brightens it, gives it a clean, fresh look. Choosing the color choices is important, and professional painting services can guide you in the right direction.

Personalization

If you just moved into your home the exterior and interior colors aren’t yours. You can make the work, but they aren’t your colors. Painting the walls will bring in your décor style and your personality. New paint will make this house feel like your home, not the previous owners.

How important is painting when selling a house?

We’ve all heard the old saying, “First impressions are important.” And that couldn’t be more true than when you’re trying to sell your home. Experts say that most people will form an opinion within 15 seconds, and that first impression sticks around – forever.

So, is painting your home important before placing it on the market? Yes! Every prospective buyer that drives up to your home will gain an impression of whether they even want to go inside. Then as they walk through the front door, they are forming their first impressions.

So, yes, painting the exterior and interior of your home before you place it on the market is important! Now that you understand why painting your home’s exterior and interior is so important before going to market, the next question is, “What color to paint the entire house?”, and that is where professional painting services can help. Yes, any color of new pain will give it a fresh look that pops, but the “right” color will give it a bigger pop in your wallet.

Does painting a brick house reduce its value?

Be you do it yourself or have professional painting services do the job, think carefully about painting the exterior or interior brick of your home. Brick is a building material that is chosen for its durability and built-in color. However, what one person loved when the house was built may not be your choice.

While it was never intended for most brick surfaces to be painted, that doesn’t mean you can’t. Another old saying – “Can’t, never could,” comes to mind, but you also need to remember that for the long-haul, once it is painted, it will need repainting every three to five years.

Some factors that need to be considered before you make this decision, and any professional and experienced painting services will consider these things too:

Quality of the brick: is it chipping and deteriorating? Is there mold on the surface? If so, why? Any brick that is in poor condition isn’t a good candidate for painting.


Moisture and wetness: If it has been raining or damp, hold off on painting. Brick has pores and when those pores have any moisture, painting over that will hold that moisture in. Then the bricks weaken and the moisture spreads to the mortar joints and gaps, weakening the structure of the brick.


Primer is a must: Painting services are going to charge you for applying primer, so it may be tempting to have them skip that part. Don’t. Brick has a natural chemical property that could have an effect on the durability of the paint regardless of what brand or type of paint is used. Whether you do the painting yourself or use the expertise of a painting service, make sure an alkaline-resistant primer is applied first.

Does painting a house black make it hotter?

Painting the exterior or a house all black isn’t common, but it has been a trend the past few years. Why? A black exterior gives a house a dramatic appearance with depth. It creates a powerful and strong visual statement.

However, it also absorbs heat. If you’re in a southern area, you may want to steer clear of an all-black exterior and just use it for complimenting and highlighting the architectural design of your home. If you’re planning on selling the house, definitely stay away from an all-black exterior! Your dramatic taste may not be what potential buyers want.

Is painting your house white a bad idea?

Realtors and expert painting services will tell you that you can never go wrong with white. For exterior or interior painting, white will always be the “safe” color. A national survey a few years back found that forty percent of those surveyed would choose white for their home’s exterior.

Which is the best color for interior house painting?

Are you painting your home’s interior for yourself or are you updating your home to place it on the market? Or maybe you’re not sure, you just know you need painting services. If you’re not sure or you’ll be selling your home soon, the best paint colors that experts recommend are earthy, neutral colors and tones.

Some choices in those categories are warm beige, a light gray, or an off-white with a light yellowish tint. In the kitchen, go with a light blue or gray color on the walls. Find ‘pop’ with accent pieces.

In Closing

As with anything to do with your home, money is always a factor. So, if you’re planning to use a painting services company, how much should house painting cost? You can expect quotes to come in from a few hundred to several thousand. The size of your home is the main factor that cost will be based upon. Other factors are the surface they are painting, the prep work required, and the type of paint.

So, how to save money painting a house? Doing it yourself will be a money saver but a time consumption. If you want to try this yourself, the following tips will save you some money:

  • Reuse supplies as much as possible like brushes, roller, pans, etc.
  • Calculate the space you’re painting and don’t overbuy
  • Use quality paint, skimping here will cost you in the end
  • Quality paint includes paint that has primer built in
  • Use the same color in more than one room
  • Complete the recommended preparation before painting

By keeping this all in mind, you can beautify your house while also adding some value!

Chimney Repair

When do I need chimney repair, and is it necessary?

When many of us hear “Connecticut”, the Fall colors come to mind along with visions of a snow-covered land with trees in the Winter. Holiday-loving people picture beautiful Christmases with roaring fireplaces or old Saint Nick coming down with a bag of surprises. To be ready for those picturesque scenes though, homeowners need to get any chimney repairs necessary completed soon.

The chimney on your home isn’t just for decorative purposes around the holidays and it’s not just an entry for Ol’ Saint Nick. It also offers a level of fire hazard protection, which is why regular maintenance and inspections are necessary. Without these steps, you are putting your home at risk of fire, and that includes not getting any chimney repairs completed when they are needed.

Some chimney repairs you can do yourself, but by hiring a professional chimney sweep or technician, you get their professional training, and experience, along with assurance they have all the proper tools to do the job. A professional chimney sweep will also give you advice on the best way to prevent any danger while operating your fireplace, making sure you know the proper methods and procedures.

How much does it cost to repair a brick chimney?

The average cost of a chimney repair can start around $175 and go as much as $1,000, all depending on how many bricks are needed and the severity of the damage. With ten bricks or less needed for a chimney repair, the cost is typically less than $500. Anything with more than ten bricks can reach up to the $1,000 to $1,500.

If that sounds expensive, the cost to rebuild a chimney because chimney repairs weren’t done when needed is more expensive. A complete chimney rebuild can cost on average between $1,000 and $3,000. The bigger the chimney, the more it can cost, with a tall chimney costing up to $5,000.

For a partial stack rebuild, the cost of removing what is already there can cost up to $1,600. The factor that makes a total chimney rebuild so costly is the need for scaffolding. If the rebuild can be done from a ladder and the roof top, it won’t be as costly.

Regardless of the costs, it is important as a homeowner to remember your responsibility to have chimney repairs done as soon as you notice them. Those small cracks getting patched will save you more money in the future than what you’re spending at the present time. That’s not to mention the importance of keeping your family and home safe.

A small crack noticed in the summer will become a large crack by next spring. The larger cracks that are ignored in the outer brick will only get deeper, allowing ice, rain, snow, and water to penetrate the chimney and fireplace. From there, it works its way into the ceiling, flooring, and walls, causing more expensive damage. So if you’re thinking of other chimney repair options, like chimney repair vs rebuilding or simply ignoring the cracks, you need to be prepared to pay out even more money on more severe issues, including risking your family and home to fire.

How do you repair a chimney?

And can you repair a chimney yourself? If you don’t know who to call for chimney repairs, or there isn’t anyone available in your area, yes, you can do your own chimney repairs with some construction know-how. We offer the following steps, some of them which you may not need, for the DIY chimney repair process.

Repoint the Mortar

The mortar is what holds the bricks together and when you add new mortar, it is smooth and solid. The seasonal changes batter that smoothness, and over time, it crumbles. Mortar is softer than the brick it holds, which is one reason why it deteriorates faster and why it needs to be repointed or tuckpointed. Repointing or tuckpointing is the process of scraping out the old crumbly mortar and replacing it with new mortar.

This is done by using a joint raker. You want to remove the loose and weak mortar but leave any good mortar that is still present. You can use a hammer to tap out the more difficult, yet crumbly mortar, then cover over it all with a wire brush to sweep it clean.

Next, using your garden hose, spray down the brick and wait 30 minutes before taking the next step. You want to make sure the roof is dry and safe. Now, with a mortar mixture like peanut butter, use a pointing trowel and push the mortar into the joints, pressing it so that it matches the existing mortar. With the tuckpointing tool, smooth it down at the joints, leaving it slightly concaved and recessed from the brick surface.

Caulk the Crown and Flue

The chimney flue and crown are major avenues for water entry, causing damage to the fireplace and your home. Over time, gaps form in these areas, continuing down the flue from the top. Using a wire brush, clean debris like loose mortar and moss, then caulk any gaps with a high-heat mortar.

Patch Large Crown Area Cracks

The chimney crown slopes to form the top section of the chimney and protect the masonry section by preventing water from pooling on top. Any cracks in the crown are problematic as much, or more than the vertical cracks because this is where ice and snow gather. Lingering moisture here is not good and immediate chimney repair cannot be stressed enough.

Any crack of 1/8” and up to 1” can be repaired with a pre-mixed cement or mortar patch by injecting the repair mix in the crack using a squeeze bottle. Force it in the crack using a putty knife and allow it to cure for up to 6 hours, and for no less than 4 hours.

Sealant Patch Hairline Cracks

Hairline cracks or spider cracks can be patched a little differently than the large cracks we’ve discussed. The mineral particles in the mortar or other patching methods are larger than the hairline crack and won’t be a good solution. Instead, use a high liquid masonry sealer that will penetrate into the hairline cracks. This type of material also seals up any porous spots in the crown and prevents any additional hairline cracks.

With the corner of your putty knife, scrape away the loose particles without enlarging the crack. Now apply the undiluted sealer with a brush. Typically one gallon is adequate, using two coats.

Cracked Bricks – Chimney Repair

For single chimney bricks with a couple of small cracks, use a caulk gun with high-heat mortar. Start by cleaning the crack of any old mortar using a putty knife or flat head screwdriver. Then sweep over it with a wire brush.

Now squeeze the high-heat mortar in the crack as deep as possible. If any extra mortar oozes out, wipe it off with a gloved finger then wipe the entire area with a rag. For hairline cracks, you can spread masonry sealer over them.

Replace Any Cracked Bricks

Bricks that are severely damaged need to be removed and replaced. Using a masonry chisel, be careful not to disturb the bricks around it, slowly chip away the mortar between the bricks. Then, using a drill and masonry bit, bore holes in the mortar to help you reach far back between the bricks.

With the brick loosened, pull it out and chisel away any residual mortar so the bricks are smooth. With a small trowel, “butter” the 4 sides of the new brick with mortar and push it into place, centered. Remove any extra mortar, and then smooth the joints using the tuckpointing tool.

Can chimney repair be done in winter?

It is not recommended. Fall and winter times are not the best weather conditions traditionally for chimney repairs because the mortar isn’t able to cure thoroughly. It is recommended to inspect your chimney in the early spring and early summer or have it professionally inspected, then schedule any chimney repairs before the weather gets too cool and wet.

In Closing

Oh, the most frequently asked question about any home repair is the same with chimney repairs. Will insurance cover chimney repair? This should be something stated within your policy and if you’re not clear, confirm with your agent. Chimney repair needed due to sudden and/or unexpected damage or loss is generally going to be covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Damage and chimney repairs that are needed due to old age, or basic wear and tear, are not going to be covered. These are deemed as homeowner responsibility. A concern you may want to clarify with your insurance agent is wind damage. Some policies will not cover direct wind damage to a chimney, and repairs will be your responsibility. However, chimney repairs needed because the winds knocked a tree into your chimney will be covered. Call to confirm now before you need to know.

Metal Roofing

Why metal roofing?

If you haven’t shopped for new roofing on your home in a while, you may be surprised that many homeowners in Connecticut are going with a metal roof. Yes, you read that correctly – residential metal roofing has grown in popularity across the country in recent years.

Homeowners and insurance companies alike have noticed that installing metal roofs for homes is a wise investment. For homeowners, the benefits of a long life, up to 40, 50 years or longer, and a unique curb appeal are attractive qualities in metal roofing. Other benefits a metal roof offers are:

  • Durability
  • Weather-resistance
  • Lower utility expenses
  • Wind resistance
  • Mildew and mold resistance
  • Insect resistance
  • Rot resistance
  • Fire resistance – the big benefit insurance companies like about a metal roof!

What types of metal roofing systems are used for residential purposes?

There is no wrong answer to this question. There are several types of metal roof systems, and the choice should be made based on the architectural look you desire and your budget. Here, we have narrowed the list to the three most popular choices:

Steel metal roofing

This is perhaps the most common choice for a metal roof on a residential structure. With choice of 2 gauges of 24” or 26” in a standing seam metal roof panel, with the 24” more than the 26” gauge because it is thicker. A painted finish is often selected to provide a longer lifespan.

Copper metal roofing

Another popular choice is a 16 ounce copper roof. The other weight choices are 20, 30, 60, and 90. Installed in a standing seam style, an expensive choice in metal roof materials, which is why many homeowners will choose copper only for accent purpose on bay windows and dormers, chimney caps, porches, or roof flashing. With his lifetime metal roof, there will never be a need to replace it.

Stainless steel metal roofing

Not a commonly used material for metal roof, but it is a strong material that is available in gauges like steel metal roof material. The galvanized metal doesn’t rust and it comes with a painted finish, giving it a long lifetime like a copper metal roof. The 24” gauge steel is more likely to stand up in a hailstorm than other metal roof materials, but it is expensive, even more so than copper.

What are the different metal roof panel styles?

A metal roof will bring your home a unique architectural look and many other advantages and benefits. Options in different metal roof panel styles to choose from are:

  • Aluminum Metal Roof – A lightweight material that is corrosion resistant, making it an ideal choice for a coastal environment.
  • Copper Metal Roof – A long-lasting metal that develops a protective layer with a unique patina in color.
  • Zinc Metal Roof – An expensive choice in metal roofs that offers a very long life. This is an expensive metal that also will create a patina as it ages.
  • Metal or Steel Metal Roof – This is the most common of all metal roof types and is available in several different finishes.

Which metal roofing is best?

With so many types of metal roofing available, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which is the right choice. The best metal roofing materials for residential purposes are:

  • Aluminum Metal Roof: The pros of aluminum metal roof is that it is a highly recyclable, lightweight material that doesn’t corrode or rust, it is a medium price point, and is readily available. The cons start with the natural color of gray/silver, and the thinner material dents easily and flexes with the temperature.
  • Copper Metal Roof: A copper metal roof is aesthetically pleasing, durable, and energy efficient. This lightweight material can be soldered and is recyclable. The cons include the run-off staining, the cost, and the contracting/expanding with the temperature. The patina it gets over time can be a pro or a con, depending on your personal taste.
  • Stainless Steel Metal Roof: A popular choice in metal roofing with its durability and weather resistance, it doesn’t corrode and has a lifespan up to 60 years or longer. With a low thermal expansion property, it doesn’t contract and expand with the temperature changes and comes in a large choice of finishes. The cons of this metal roof choice is the cost, and standing water can be a problem if draining isn’t sufficient.
  • Zinc Metal Roof: A popular choice because it has stood the test of time for centuries. It is an abundant, all natural material that is eco friendly and is an energy saving material for cooling and heating. With a natural protective layer, it mends itself against corrosion, panel marking, and scratches. Easy to form while installing and easy to maintain afterward. The cons of zinc metal roof material is oil canning that happens and the corrosion on the underside with inadequate ventilation, along with the initial cost of installation.

Each of these is a great solution for residential metal roofing, each creating a unique architectural aspect that makes a home stand out over other homes. There is no one solution for every home, each of these have advantages and disadvantages that should be considered along with the budget allotted for roofing.

A Final Question – Can metal roofing go over shingles?

In most cases, yes, depending on the condition of the existing roof and the type of metal roof panels being installed. Each job is different and a judgment call from the roofing contractor. It is important to get several roofing quotes and compare the factors like installing over an existing roof or whether tear-off is required. If you’re interested in a metal roof in Branford, CT, reach out to Amity Home Maintenance Solutions at 203-390-7399.

Siding Repair & Replacement

How do you repair damaged siding?

Damaged siding is more than just unsightly. Even small problems such as cracks and tears can lead to much bigger issues such as mold growth and pests. This leads to the important question of what can be done to repair damaged siding. Fortunately, you have plenty of options available to ensure your siding stays in top-notch condition. Call Amity Home Maintenance Solutions at 203-390-7399 if you need siding repair in Branford, CT today, or learn more about the options available to you here.

Can you repair pieces of siding?

Plenty of things can cause damage to your siding, from bad weather to falling branches. Major accidents can cause extensive siding damage, while smaller incidents can damage individual pieces of siding. In either case, you may wonder whether your siding needs to be replaced completely or if siding repair is possible. Fortunately, it is possible to repair siding in many cases, which can be a more affordable option for many than siding replacement.

Can you replace siding yourself?

When looking to replace the siding around your home, you may have considered whether it’s possible to do it yourself. Many repairs are easy enough that even those who aren’t handy with DIY projects should be able to complete them. However, specialized skills such as color matching may be required if you are attempting to replace individual pieces of siding.

How to Repair a Hole in Siding

If you plan to attempt DIY siding repair, there are a few things that can help you with the job. With the right tools and materials, most people can repair small to medium-sized holes and cracks in vinyl siding. Ways to repair a hole in siding include:

  • Using caulk to fill in smaller holes and tears
  • Using foil and caulk to fill in medium-sized holes and tears
  • Replacing a damaged piece of siding with a matching piece

When should siding be repaired?

If there’s noticeable damage to your siding such as large cracks and tears, it is probably obvious it’s time for siding repair. However, when it comes to smaller areas of damage, you may wonder how urgent it is for you to repair your siding. Pay attention to just a few things and you can be a bit more certain your siding is in good condition for the long haul.

When to Replace Your Siding

One of the first things to pay attention to when deciding whether you need siding replacement is the siding’s age. Siding in the range of 10 to 15 years old is typically weakened and can become damaged far more easily if it isn’t damaged already. Meanwhile, there are a few types of siding damage that can cause bigger problems if left unfixed. These include significant gaps and siding that doesn’t lay flat as well as visible mold.

How do you fix a large hole in vinyl siding?

Larger holes in vinyl siding can be a lot more complicated to repair and may require materials such as replacement siding for the damaged area. Meanwhile, for areas of vinyl siding where there is extensive damage, it is typically best to call in specialists. Even handy homeowners aren’t always able to repair or replace their vinyl siding without a little help when more extensive work is required.

Who can repair siding?

Fortunately, there are specialists available who can take care of any problems you may be having with your siding. It’s always a good idea to seek out the help of a repair expert who specializes in siding. This way, you can be sure the job is done right the first time. Additionally, by working with a team that focuses on siding repair and replacement, you have access to a wider range of materials. These often include more environmentally friendly and cost-effective siding options.

Finding the Best House Siding Repair Near Me

With all this in mind, there are some things you will want to consider when searching for house siding repair. It’s smart to seek out house siding repair from experts who have plenty of experience so you can be certain they’re able to take care of the job, no matter the problem. Homeowners are also advised to look at pricing when choosing professionals for siding repair to find an affordable option, especially with bigger jobs that require more time and money.

Call Us Today for Siding Repair and Replacement

Your siding can have a big impact on everything from the safety of your home to how much money you’re spending on bills. This is why we recommend you seek out siding repair and replacement ASAP so you can be certain it’s in the best shape possible. You can contact Amity Home Maintenance Solutions today at 203-390-7399 for siding repair in Branford, CT from a company you can trust.

What to do when you have storm damage, and Do you know how to tell you have wind damage?

When people from other parts of the country think about Connecticut, they picture snow covered homes in the winter or colorful leaves in the fall. What they don’t realize is that this area has storms like anywhere else with heavy rains, high winds, and even hail. Yes, Connecticut has the type of weather that leaves behind roof storm damage.

It may not be as often as Oklahoma or Texas, but, when it is your home, the reality of storm damage and roof repairs is still overwhelming. Like homeowners anywhere else, sometimes it can be hard knowing how to tell you have roof storm damage if you don’t know what you’re looking for in the way of damage. So, let’s answer some questions about this subject and provide Connecticut homeowners information on the difference between wind damage vs hail damage and more.

Even before winds reach hurricane or tornado rated speeds, the wind can cause roof storm damage.

Damaged shingles are usually visible, like loose or missing shingles. Sometimes, they aren’t, so you shouldn’t assume that if you see any roof storm damage, you don’t have any. Here are 5 ways to know you have that roof storm damage are:

Granule Loss

The granules on an asphalt shingle roof will wear thin over time, but it isn’t the minor granule loss you need to be concerned. The real concern should be when there are horizontal lines going across the shingles. They may look like bare spots here and there or you may see what appears to be cracks. These are lines indicating the seal has broken and the granules rubbed off as the shingles started flapping in the wind.

Water Leaks

When asphalt shingles are compromised as described above, the rain will get under them. You’ll typically know this has happened by discoloring on the ceilings and walls. This may not seem like a huge problem but left alone it will go from small roof storm damage to big major damage. You’ll begin to smell mold even though you can’t see it. This indicates there is moisture between the walls, then a small drip will start in the ceiling. The sooner you have a professional inspect for roof storm damage on the roof, the better.

Debris

After a weather event, if you notices debris and tree branches in the yard, that indicates some strong winds were part of that. As you pick up that debris, if anything looks like it may be part of asphalt shingles, you need to have your roof inspected from roof storm damage. It may be from a neighbor’s home, or it may be from your roof.

Flapping Shingles

Everyone doesn’t walk outside and look up at the roof every day, but you should do that at least once a month. Do a walk-a-round and if you notice any shingles askew or flapping, you have possible roof storm damage. It could also mean your roof has reached its prime and needs to be replaced.

Divots

Yes, divots on your asphalt shingles are typically considered to be roof storm damage from hailstones, but high winds can cause divots when the seal breaks on the shingles. Regardless of if it is from hailstones or high winds, divots are not a good thing for asphalt shingles.

What do I do if my roof is blown off?

During a hurricane, tornados, or thunderstorms, the winds pick up to a high velocity and can create a suction that raises a roof. You may lose some shingles, or your entire roof can be lifted up and blown away. Or your roof could be lifted for a moment and set right back down, looking like nothing happened. Either way, you need to have your roof inspected for roof storm damage.

However, if your roof has been lifted off and is gone, or sitting partially on the house, your first plan of action should be to vacate the premises. Get your family to a safe place and worry about the house and the contents next.

Once everyone is safe, call a roofing contractor for emergency roof storm damage temporary repairs. This will typically be a matter of plastic tarps being stretched over the gapping hole(s) and secured with 2×4 board nailed to the tarp and what is there of the roof or the house itself.

Do not try to go inside the house to salvage anything! Yes, the missing roof is exposing your contents to the elements, but it has also weakened the structure’s integrity. Walls could cave in and any part of the roof that left could fall inside.

While the roofing contractor is there making temporary roof storm damage repairs, take pictures of the damage then call your insurance company. The roofing contractor will probably take pictures as well, ask for copies of those pictures and share these with the insurance adjuster.

Do you know how to tell you have storm damage?

An asphalt shingled roof can have severe damage after extreme weather events that requires roof storm damage repairs. Storm damage can appear as bruises and dark spot on the shingles. This is where the granules have been knocked off and there may be cracks, holes, and even missing shingles.

The aftermath of a tornado may not have destroyed your home, but you may see there are split seams and torn shingles. These are areas that will allow water under the shingles and onto the decking, resulting in a leaking roof and creating serious water damage. That water damage will mildew with mold forming along with wood rot. All of that will compromise the roof’s structural integrity, creating a possible danger of the roof collapsing.

What do you do after storm damage?

When your home has been impacted by severe weather, and all has passed and safe again, you need to do an inspection of your home.

Look for damage, with these things in mind:

  • Watch out for broken glass and exposed nails
  • Assume downed power lines are energized & dangerous
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home in the dark
  • If you smell gas, shut the main gas line off, open windows, leave, call authorities
  • Keep your mind focused and even temper as you choose a contractor for repairs. Check for current reference, certifications, licenses, and insurance. Ask questions, collect information don’t make rash decisions without researching and reviewing.
  • Know your insurance policy and how it works now before you need it

Can a leaking ceiling collapse?

Yes, and this is something you need to be aware of whether it is leaking after a major weather event or just starts leaking for no apparent reason. What you’re seeing now could be something that has built up for some time. Call a roofing contractor immediately and take steps to protect your home under the leak.

This includes removing anything you can and covering everything else with plastic. If possible, get in the attic and see if you can locate a leak, place a bucket or pail under it. In the living area where the drip is coming from, place a tarp on the floor, a bucket or pail on it under the drip and use a screwdriver to poke a hole in the ceiling. This will relieve pressure and hopefully keep the damage contained.

Does insurance cover water damage from roof leak?

It will be the final decision from the insurance adjuster. If they find the water damage and leak is caused by a storm or other uncontrollable issue, then your policy will cover the damage and any repairs or replacement. If the adjust finds the damage to be owner neglect, then your claim will be denied. This is why we recommend you review your insurance policy and know what is covered and how it works now, before you need it.

When your home has suffered any roof storm damage or other damage, the proof of the damage is on you. How do you prove storm damage to roof? it is important to get pictures and take notes, if possible, make a video. You have the right to hire an independent adjuster and dispute what your insurance company decides. Call 203-390-7399 today for your roof storm damage needs in Branford, CT.

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