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General Home Maintenance

July 28, 2017

Clean the Dryer Exhaust
A clogged vent is a potential fire hazard and a drain on your dryer’s efficiency. If you find your dryer taking double the time just to dry a load you may have a blockage.  Make sure the exhaust is coming out while the dryer is running. If you don’t notice much exhaust, you may have a blockage, which is best determined and repaired by a professional. Vacuuming the vent will also help the dryer’s performance.  Sometimes you can just remove the vents and clean out the vent opening by yourself.
 

Clean and Repair the Deck
A thorough washing may be all it needs, but if your deck has loose boards, cracks or decay, it needs more work. If that’s the case, pressure wash it first. According to the expert, always test for decay, especially in areas that seem to stay damp. If the wood is soft and spongy, or doesn’t splinter when poked with a screwdriver, your deck may not be safe to use. Also, look for small holes, which can be a sign of insects. If the deck coating has worn away, apply a waterproofing coating after cleaning.  Many areas of decay or rotted wood will be exposed during the power washing faze in the beginning.  

Clean Out Gutters and Window Wells
Leaves, petals and seeds can accumulate in your gutters and window wells in the summer. Clear the debris to keep rain water draining properly and away from your home’s foundation. Also, make sure an animal hasn’t turned your window well into its home.  We come to homes all the time that have grass/weeds growing in the rain gutters.

Inspect Your Roof
Mason Roofing suggests any easy way to inspect your roof without risking your safety: Call us for a free inspection. Some obvious signs are interior leaks or missing shingles.  If you have any of these indications it is time to call a professional to have the roof properly inspected.  Leaks lead to rotten wood and mold if ignored.  Missing shingles leave an opening on your roof for a domino affect.  If there are a couple shingles missing it allows others to be vulnerable to high winds.  Always remember your roof protects your biggest investment.

Caulk the Cracks
Check for gaps around windows and doors and reapply caulk to prevent leaks. Also, add weather stripping to doors. You’ll help your air-conditioning system run more efficiently and will save money. Although it is impossible to insect or varmint proof your home proper caulking reduces this exponetionaly.

Repair the Driveway
An unsightly hole or crack in your driveway detracts from your home’s curb appeal and can become a growing problem. For concrete driveways, you can patch or fill cracks or chips with a cement-repair product. Deeper cracks or sunken concrete are bigger issues best left to a professional. Asphalt is harder to work with, so call a professional. To extend its longevity, an asphalt driveway should be resealed every two to five years.  Concrete is pouras and can lead to problems down the road.

Exterior painting

 

The exterior painting of your home is very important.  Keeping the house updated with paint acts to help in curb appeal, longevity of the wood/siding, and cleanliness.  There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make a house pop and look very clean.  We recommend having your exterior painted every 8-10 years depending on the quality of the paint.  Always power wash before you paint.  Painting over dirt will lead peeling and having to repaint sooner.  Again in this process the power washing is key.  It exposes rotten wood so that you can make repairs prior to painting.  You should always check your chimney if it has wood siding.  A chimney is one of the most neglected parts of a house because it is out of sight out of mind.  Many roof leaks are a result of neglected chimneys.   

 

Leaky faucets and pipes

 

It is always smart to walk around to exterior faucets and make sure they are not leaking.  Leaky faucets can cost money and waste our most precious commodity. 

 

Lawn maintenance

 

Keeping your lawn in a good shape is also imperative to keeping good curb appeal.  A poorly maintained lawn is also a sign of poorly maintained home.  It makes people think you have neglected other things.   There is nothing like driving up to your home and seeing a well cut lawn and a cleaned out flowerbed.  Plant annual and perennials so you always have many colors popping out.  

 

Bottom line is take pride in your largest investment.  A home is a direct representation of you and your family.  If the house is falling apart and in disarray it may appear that your and your family are in disarray.  Clean and well-kept homes also make for a better outlook on life, which adds to your life expectancy.

 

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Which Shingle and Color is Right for You?

 

July 20, 2017

Customers ask us at Mason Roofing all the time about choosing a shingle color for their new roof.  Although we do not want to try to upsell you or talk you in to a certain style or color we do feel like our experience can assist in this decision.

Choosing a color  from a small booklet sample is similar to picking a paint color from the small square sample you pick up at any paint store.  Even a larger sample does not take into account light and the impact of colors in the surrounding environment. We at Mason Roofing will always provide you with a listing of locations with colors of interest, so you can drive by and see the colors in “real time.” In fact, we suggest you drive by on a cloudy day and a sunny day, as color can vary dramatically with different lighting.   A roof can literally look like two different colors depending on weather conditions.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled 

We advise customers to drive around and take a look at several different homes and then to take into account the lighting and surrounding colors of roofs in their own residential area. Our goal is for customers to feel confident they will enjoy their new roof for years to come.  A new roof is a very large investment and adds lots of cosmetic appeal to your home.

 Choose Quality

Mason Roofing works with many shingle manufacturers, primarily Tamko, GAF Lifetime Shingles, Owens corning and certainteed.   However we install all brands no mater what you choose. 

All lines are Architectural Shingles (sometimes referred to as dimensional or laminate shingles), a term used to identify a premium grade of asphalt shingle roofing over regular shingle roofing. Architectural Shingles are thicker and have a more distinctive, textural quality than do regular shingles.

3-Tab Shingles

Regular, older roof shingles are referred to as “3-Tab” in the roofing industry. These types of shingles are applied in flat rows, with three tabs, which leave quarter inch grooves between each panel. 3-Tab shingles flat and basic.  They come in solid colors and are the least expensive shingles you can purchase.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural Shingles consist of a fiberglass base coated with asphalt. They have a distinctive texture is created by overlaps and lamination. This makes the finished weight significantly greater than the weight of a 3-Tab Shingle. Additionally, architectural shingles provide customers with a wider color variety that is more subtle and variegated than you will find on older shingles.

Architectural Shingles have a 50% longer life span than 3-Tab shingles, due to their greater wind resistance and heavier granules of asphalt. Because of this more owners choose these for the color variations and life expectancy.  Most realtors will recommend upgrading to an Architectural Shingle if you are replacing your roof or preparing your home for resale.  They will not add value to the house but will add the wanted curb appeal needed to stand out.

Class 4 impact resistant shingles

These shingles are commonly known as “hail resistant”.   The manufactures will never refer to them as this for legal reasons (mainly because nothing is hail resistant). 

Class 4 shingles have a rubberized backing making them impact resistant.  The tops of the shingles are still granular based so you can still get the look you desire.  Something to always consider when choosing an impact resistant shingle is availability.  Many brands are discontinuing their class 4 lines because NOTHING is hail resistant and they were getting many lawsuits.

Class 4 shingles come in a 3 tabs or Architectural style.  The 3 tabs offer less color choices and lesser warranty.  The architectural style gives the dimensional look as well as the higher wind rating and longer life expectancy.  If you are going to upgrade we recommend going with the architectural style.

The additional cost to upgrade to a class 4 shingle is typically $40-$50 per square more.  On the average roof that ranges from $1,500-$2,500.  Most insurance companies offer a discount off of their premiums if you install a class 4 shingle.   Those discounts range from 5%-25%.  It is always best to call and ask prior to the install. 

We have stopped recommending upgrades to class 4 shingles due to manufacturers dicountinuing production.  We foresee the problems in the future not being able to get shingles when needed.  Lets say you add a room to your home and want to match the shingles and color.  If discontinued you will have a roof that is mismatched in color.  

 Mason Roofing is happy to help you pick your best choice of shingle and color for your new roof.  We only offer advice, suggestions and experience.  The final choice is yours to make. Call us today for a free and comprehensive assessment of your roofing needs. 

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Picking the right insurance company, policy and agent.

July 13, 2017

I am asked often “what is the best insurance company?”  There are many factors that should go in to choosing an insurance company.  Surveys have been done and they show that when a claim is over $20,000 there is a very high percentage of dissagremenet on the damage and how much needs to be paid out.  In the region known as “tornado alley” deductibles are typically 1% of the value of the home being insured.  Example $250,000 house has a $2,500 deductible. 

The best test of an insurer is how well it handles claims. Some major insurers provided significantly better satisfaction when it comes to handling claims than others. The single best predictor of how satisfied customers were was based on the company's damage estimates. Lower-rated insurers tended to have a greater percentage of customers who disagreed with their damage estimates and felt their final settlement was too small.

With that in mind, here are some things to think about:

  1. Cheapest premiums.  Many people go with the company that offers the lowest premiums.  Although this is good for the pocket book it can sometimes cost you more in the long run.  Cheaper premiums sometimes means lesser coverage and higher deductibles.   It is always best to check out the coverage before just picking the cheapest insurance company.

 

  1. Big name company.  Some of the larger insurance companies will seem like the best option because of name recognition.  Be careful and still check out all the policy before you sign up.  Remember they have more overhead for advertising.

 

  1. A company you have never heard of.  In some cases you will get a company you’ve never heard of and they will have great “deals”  Make sure you check all them out with the BBB so that you know they are a legitimate company.

 

  1. Highest deductible to get lowest premiums.   It is very attractive to get a real high deductible in order to get lowest premiums.  Be careful doing this.  Very rarely does a tragedy happen when money is not an issue.  If you do not have the amount of your deductible assessable in a savings account you may want a larger premium for a lower deductible.

 

  1. Lower deductible for higher premiums.  This seems strange but there are lots of people that would like to go back to the good ole days of $250-$500 deductibles.   Many insurance companies do not even offer these lower deductibles anymore.  Only a few are grandfathered in at the lower rate.  If you are lucky enough to get a very low deductible just keep in mind you will pay very high premiums.  Weigh the costs.  If you are paying an extra $1000 a year in premiums to get a lower deductible factor how many years it would take for you to come out on top.

 

  1. History of claims.  Another factor is to talk to others about previous claims.  See who gives owners grief during the claim process or ones that are smooth and easy.  If you find yourself filing a claim the last thing you want is a company that will fight you at every chance they can.  If a legit claim you want a company that will do the right thing and pay what is owed.

 

I am a big fan of the larger insurance companies.  Generally they have a bigger catastrophie team and can handle large storms/huricannes etc better than the smaller companies.  Most of the larger companies have teams of people just designed to handle claims from tragic events.  This is important as you will need to get work to rebuild or fix as soon as you can after the event.  

I hope this helps you in your decision process.  Honestly the best thing to do is do your homework.  Vet all of the companies and see who really wants you as a customer.  This will help you find the best fit.

Agents are in some cases necessary evils in the insurance business.  Many companies have you get the coverage through their independent agents.  Agents are only there to find the best fit for you and get you signed up under a certain company.  They do NOT factor in when filing a claim.  Your best friend could be an insurance agent but when it comes to filing a claim he/she has no baring on whether the claim is paid or not.  Don’t have insurance with a friend just because they sell it.  Make sure the company is good.  Your buddy will not be able to write you a check if your house burns down or is totaled by a tornado.  Agents are middle men/women only.  They serve a purpose but they do not open up the check book in cases of disaster.  

I hope this helps in some way.  Visit often for other tid bits of information.

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Do I need to get bids if I’m filing an insurance claim?

 

June 28, 2017

 

There are many times that we come across someone who is asking to get a bid when they are filing an insurance claim. The conversation might go something like this:

 

Customer:     Hi, I’d like to get a bid to have my roof done.

Mason:          Ok no problem, are you paying cash for the roof or are you filing a claim?

Customer:     Oh I’ve already filed a claim and have my check.

 

So here’s the problem with this conversation: First, the insurance company has already agreed to pay a certain amount to cover your roof. By going out and getting bids, you are either trying to save the insurance company money, or you are trying to make money on an insurance claim, which is against the law. So which is it? In most cases, I’m glad to say that it's just a mis-understanding of the process.

 

When you receive the scope of work paperwork from your insurance company, this is meant to be shared with your contractor. Mason Roofing handles all aspects of the claim. We act as your General Contractor for the entire claim. Because of the way the process works today, you will eventually have to show the contractor the paperwork anyway. Let me explain the process:

 

  1. Hail damage occurs
  2. You call insurance company to file claim
  3. Adjuster comes out and takes a look and assesses damage
  4. You receive scope of work and first check from insurance company
  5. Work is done by contractor according to scope of work
  6. Completion Invoice is sent in by contractor to release final check for depreciation from insurance company

 

The key numbers here are number 5 and 6. In most cases, it’s not just the roof that has damage. You may have the roof, windows, window screens, gutters and downspouts, fence, chimney cap, etc. that needs to be fixed on your claim. All of this work has to be done because it is listed on the claim. 

 

Number 6 is the most important on the claim. The Completion Invoice is sent to the insurance company letting them know that all the work is done. This is sent to the insurance company by the contractor. The only way that the contractor can send the completion invoice in is by seeing the scope of work.

 

We have found that in a lot of cases the insurance agent is the one who told the customer to go out and get bids. This is usually because they don’t understand the process as it works today. They are thinking that the process is the same as it used to be. Years ago, the adjuster would come out and take a look at everything and write a check on the spot for the entire claim. You would then go out and get bids from roofers to do the work. But, as I’ve shown above, the process has changed. 

 

With everything above being said, we are not saying that we won’t give you a bid. If you want to handle the claim yourself that’s fine. We will give you a bid on the roof if that’s what you want. We have some folks that are just adamant about not showing us the paperwork and just getting a bid. Once they get into the process, they find that they have to submit the completion invoice to the insurance company. This is where another problem occurs. The customer will call us and ask us to send in the completion invoice. So the customer won’t show us the  paperwork initially, asks us to give them a low bid against 2 others, and then once the work is done wants to turn the paperwork over to us to get them the rest of their money from the insurance company. Now we see just how much the claim is actually for and what the customer is getting from the insurance company. It’s at this point that we have to say we can’t turn the paperwork in becuase they would be making money on the claim.

 

So the bottom line here is this: the insurance company has agreed to pay a certain amount to have all your work done. Let your contractor do the work. Don’t go out and try to re-invent the wheel and do it all yourself. Getting bids is a waste of your time. All you are doing is trying to get the work done for less than the insurance company had agreed to pay you and that may cause some roofing companies to cut corners. Remember the old saying, you get what you pay for. That goes for roofing companies as well.

 

The insurance claims process can be a headache and very confusing. We understand the process backwards and forwards. Let us help you with your claim. We will sit down with you and explain everything so that you understand exactly what is going on. 

 

Give us a call today at 972-533-0640.

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What to Expect When Getting Your Roof Replaced


By Mason Roofing on Incline

Ok so I am ready to get my roof replaced now what should I expect?

 

June 21, 2017

 

First is of course choose your contractor. This is likely a referral or a company you are familiar with. We hope that you will consider Mason Roofing for your roof replacement. We have been in the roofing business for over 20 years and have replaced thousands of roofs.

 

If you choose Mason Roofing here is what you can expect; A salesman will contact you to see what is the best time for the replacement. The average roof takes 1-1 ½ days to complete. Time of year, weather, size and steepness of the roof are all factors. We also factor in if you have events coming up, back yard parties, sleep overs etc.

 

Once you have established a date now it is time to get the materials delivered. The materials generally come the day before or morning of when we start. The materials will be on pallets wrapped up with shrink wrap.

 

Next the crew will arrive to begin. Depending on the time of year they generally start anywhere from 7-9am. Factors to consider are day light savings time, temperature or possibilities of bad weather. The crew will generally be in 2-3 vehicles 1 of which is a dump truck. The dump truck will be parked in the driveway up against the house. We ask that you please move any vehicles you will use during the roof replacement out to the front of the house..This prevents damage to the vehicles and nails in tires. They will back the dump truck in the driveway right up to the edge of the roof. On rare occasions there will be a dump trailer vrs a dump truck. At this point the crew begins setting up their equipment and removing the old roof. Starting now we ask that if you enter or exit the house you take extreme caution of debris falling from the roof. This can be done by announcing loudly you are approaching or even a hand wave to any crew members that are working above you so they know you are there. Removing the roof is done with pitch forks, shovels, hands and pry bars. Once the old roof is off the crew prepares the decking to have the underlayment installed. They do this by removing or nailing in any nails that are left over from removal. Once the decking is prepared the starter course and drip edge are applied (drip edge if the old is bad). Now that the starter shingle is on they will install the synthetic underlayment(we use this instead of the felt paper. It is a better product). As they put on the synthetic underlayment they will roll out the valley metal for under the valleys. If there is the possibility of rain we do this process slopes at a time.

 

Now that the roof is dried in we are ready to begin the shingling process. The shingles are installed in a “step” formation. This keeps the shingles from looking to uniform. Plus they are designed to be stepped. Installing the shingles is done with nail guns. The recommended number of nails per shingle in this region (texas) is 4 per on standard pitch roofs. The factors requiring additional nails per shingle usually depend on the pitch of the roof. The steeper the roof the more nails per shingle are required. Once a roof exceeds 12/12 pitch not only does it take 6 nails per shingle it also requires each shingle to be caulked under it for additional support. The shingles are almost strait up vertical at these pitches putting a lot of down force on the shingles. All the extra just insures they will have the chance to get sealed properly.

Now that the shingles have all been installed the crew will work on vents, flashing and ridges. Many of these vents are flashed under the shingles so that they will not leak. Roof ventilation consists of Wind turbines, ridge vents, powered vents, solar powered vents, small passive vents and large dome passive vents. Determining the correct ventilation is based on many factors that will be discussed on another day. After these vents are installed or terminated now the crew will put on the ridge caps. These are the shingles that go over the slopes. These are installed in straight lines to give the roof that final clean look.

 

Upon completion of the roof the crew will do a final clean up. The clean up consists of cleaning out the rain gutters, cleaning the flower beds and running roller magnets around the perimeter and driveway to prevent nails in tires.

 

Now that the roof has been replaced and the yard all cleaned you are ready to enjoy this new roof for years to come.

 

Give us a call if you need a free inspection of your roof at 972-533-0640.

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When is the best time of the year to have my roof replaced?

Jun 14, 2017

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What to do after a hail storm and should I file a claim?

Jun 6, 2017

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Welcome to Mason Roofing!

May 2, 2016

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You have a limited amount of time to file a storm insurance claim!

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