Do you feel like we are all living in a huge snow globe?!

snow blog 3

There is quite a bit of snow already this season and it’s not quite Thanksgiving yet. Homeowners call us with questions about snow and ice on their house roof and I’d like to take the time to answer some of the common worries now before we are trapped in this snow globe for the next 4-5 months. 

  • Will my roof collapse if there is too much snow up there? 

Not normally, but we do recommend snow removal when it gets above about a foot or more of snow. For a few reasons, first the weight can be stressful on the structure of the home and secondly due to the increase risk of ice dams forming under the snow and cause interior and exterior damage to your home. 
 
Snow blog 2
  • How do I remove the snow safely myself? Should I do it myself?

You may use a plastic roof rake to get as far as you can reach, but be VERY careful not to scrape the shingles. Also, it’s important to then move that snow you took off the roof and get it all away from the house foundation area so to not cause basement moisture issues come springtime. 
 
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  • Should I hire a snow removal company?

It’s best to have insured pros to go up on your roof and shovel off the entire thing so they can reach it all. They wear safety harnesses and are used to walking around on roofs in any weather condition. It’ll be done quickly and you can sit inside and stay warm with some hot chocolate! 
 
Snow blog 6       snow blog 7
  • What about those pesky ice dams that formed under the snow?

Well, that is quite a big topic to discuss how they form, prevention, etc. Check out this past blog posting for more info on prevention.
 
ice dam
 
But, if you already have them formed and need safe removal please hire a pro with a safe ice steaming machine.  We have 7 machines and can help remove ice dams safely with steam (not just a pressure washer). It’s much safer and quicker than pounding on your roof/shingles with a hammer/mallet to break the ice. That has damaged many roofs that then the homeowners call us to replace the shingles and a repair can end up being pretty costly. 
 
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So with all of this info I hope you can relax and just enjoy this snowy winter in this wonderful snow globe we live in! 

 

To sing, “Rain, rain, go away,” or call Rock and Tait?

Hi there! We were recently at a home in Chippewa Falls that was having quite the time with water. It seemed that whatever these homeowners did, water was still making its presence known. Here’s what they did to try to control it:

House bhouse b1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, it didn’t work. Soon, the foundation was leaking and they knew they needed a professional’s opinion on how to solve this problem for good. Enter Rock and Tait Exteriors. The best way to handle these kinds of leaks is to remove the landscaping down to the problem areas and seal them. So, after removing the concrete and dirt, we fixed the cracks and put all the dirt back. Then we laid new cement.

dusting 1dusting 2dusting 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the pictures above you can see one of our crew members dusting some powder over the cement. It’s actually a releasing agent. It’s what gives the nice accent color to low spots and makes it easy to remove stampers after pressing them into the cement. Which is exactly what we did. These Chippewa residents wanted a brick patio look, so we decided on an appropriate stamp and began the next portion of the project.

stamping 1stamping 2

 

 

 

 

 

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The finished concrete work will help carry water away from the home, but it’s not having to do all the work by itself. We installed 6″ gutters for better water control, too. Plus, we added a Perma Flow gutter guard to make sure there is as little obstruction as possible from debris, animal nests, and the like. Look closely at the picture below of our job well-done and see if you can spot another difference:

House f

 

Do you see the gutter going straight into the ground? We eliminated the need for the black tubing by making the downspout connect to underground piping. This will be a huge step in preventing water (and ice) on the concrete.

It’s been a month today since we finished this project and the homeowners say there haven’t been any more leaks! Plus, they aren’t feeling the stress of winter’s cold inside their home because we installed a lot of much needed insulation. As we all know, insulation is pretty good at preventing air leakage while increasing comfort.

What can you learn from this adventure we had in Chippewa Falls? Hopefully you’ve learned that you should call Rock and Tait Exteriors instead of serenading the leaks in your home with the familiar song, “Rain, rain, go away! Come again…never!” We have options that you may not have thought of!

Do you know what it costs to remove ice dams from your home? Or do you want to prevent them instead?

Ice removal can be very costly and damaging if not prevented with proper insulation. Last winter this homeowner called us and had our crews do snow and ice removal for him as the ice dams had gotten so bad. I want to give you an idea on how costly this type of service runs on average since most homeowners don’t know what that costs, as I didn’t know what to expect either. It’s charged at $130 Per Man Hour for the steaming of the ice dams and $95 Per Man Hour for getting up on the roof to shovel off snow. We have a standard trip charge of $75 and also for safety precautions and laws we install D-Rings to the roof to use safety harnesses at $30 each (normally 2-3 needed). As you can see this can really add up quickly- this home was $2,472.50 for the snow and ice removal last February. Here is a quick video about doing ice removal with steam safely.

 

 

 

This homeowner is fed up with trying to take care of the problem after the ice dams formed and wanted prevention instead. Here are a few pictures of his home’s project getting done by our  expert crews. There needed to be a lot in spray foaming done to help insulate this home. We had to remove the old roof decking to access these areas which worked out well for timing to do this project as they needed a new roof and we are doing that as well.  It really makes a difference when you can have one company take care of multiple aspects of construction for your home.

Radtke  before 2

Before this last summer

Radtke during 3 adjusted

Our experts opening up the home to insulate properly.

Radtke during 6 adjusted

The home opened to insulate properly.

 

 

Radtke  before 1

Before

Radtke during 5 adjusted

The side attic wall opened to spray foam this area.

 

Radtke during 1 adjusted

Removing the old batted insulation that was not effective so we can seal it with spray foam insulation.

This is going to make a world of difference with preventing ice dams for this past customer of ours! Get on our schedule today for your home by starting with a free estimate appointment with our very knowledgeable product specialists.

If you need our services for snow/ice removal or more importantly to start with preventing the ice dams with insulation get a free estimate appointment.

Just call 1-800-519-9894 or online and we’ll contact you!

 

 

 

How long did you last?

Can you believe how cold it got, just. like. that? Or are you one of those people who count down the days ’til the temperature falls below freezing? I am, decidedly, not one of those anxious winter-lovers. And so, I rebel against the weather. I wear my fall jacket into the cold for as long as I possibly can. You know, until I’m shaking so badly I can barely grasp the steering wheel. Well, that time finally came. I trudged down to the basement, reluctantly opened the tote that holds the winter gear, and slid my coat out like it was the Grinch. Then I dragged it back upstairs and with a pout, put it on and went outside. As I marched to the car, I thought, it’s not so bad out here after all! But then I started the car and the thermometer flashed 17 degrees at me. SEVENTEEN? I looked down at my coat and declared out loud to absolutely no one at all, “THAT’S SOME GOOD INSULATION!”

So what does all this have to do with construction? Everything. Your home needs you to take off its fall jacket and put some winter padding in it! Just slappin’ some insulation into your home is not enough. Your home may be freezing right now and working overtime to make you comfortable. Plus, keeping poor levels or inadequate insulation in your home is a big waste of energy. Just like me in my fall coat: didn’t matter how hard my body worked to keep me warm, it was no match for the weather pushing its way in. So the question is, do you want to keep throwing your money into the furnace to keep your home comfortable? Or, do you want to put it where it’s going to make a positive difference all year round?

All year round? Absolutely! By nature, insulation repels heat. So, in the summer, when you have the AC on while the hot son beats on your home like a persistent toddler with a drum, the insulation repels that heat. It keeps it out. The same is true in the winter, too. When you’re heating your home as Jack Frost creates ice paintings on your windows, the insulation repels the heat and keeps it inside. It’s just that easy.

However, not all insulation is created equal. For example, Fiberglass is inferior to Cellulose even if they’re both at R50. How does that make sense? It’s all in the application and the way that the insulation is built to work. Furthermore, studies show that fiberglass has a difficult time stopping all air from seeping through it, which is a problem because over 20% of your heat and air conditioning escapes that way.

Call our office and they’ll book a free consultation for you. You’ll be able to discuss all of your home’s projects and insulation needs, plus find out what kinds of insulation should be added to the different areas of your home. Besides, it’s always safest to have a licensed professional, who does this kind of stuff every day, advise you on how to move forward on a project.

I digress. Let’s just take a look below at a recent insulation project we did in Wausau, WI.

before 2

Before

during 8

During

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Covering it with a GAF Gold Pledge Deluxe roofing system!

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This home has a good “winter coat” on now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before going outside, remember  to layer on some good insulation; it’s cold out there! Or, like your mom used to warn, “put some decent clothes on before you freeze to death!” Today I will be your “mom” and encourage you to do the same for your home!

A tiny detail or a problem waiting to happen?

Does it ever seem like your life is perfect except for just one tiny detail? Do you try to look at the positives instead of focusing on that one problem that’s easier to ignore than to deal with? Well, I hope you don’t approach your home that way! A great home with one tiny problem can teach us a big lesson on how to take care of ourselves.

A project we did for a Hudson resident focuses around such a problem. His home was beautifully built and is well maintained, but there was a seemingly insignificant item that was overlooked which caused trouble later on. This minor detail was the absence of a gutter on the eaves that hung over another portion of the roof that has trouble getting rid of water. This area was weakened over time by heavy rain, melting snow, and almost constant shading from the sun which kept the area moist longer than it should have been. Finally, the conditions on the outside penetrated the strength on the inside, and a leak formed that threatened to ruin much more than just what meets the eye.

before 1

This Hudson homeowner knew it was time to take action. After his free consultation he decided we were the ones he could trust for his project. We took off some siding as well as the affected part of the roof. The rotted and damaged areas were disposed of and new trim boards were installed.

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Then a protective Ice and Water barrier was placed from the valley, over the roof, and up part of the wall to make sure that if the shingles happen to weaken again, no water will be getting inside.

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For added protection, we did what the builders should have done in the first place: added a gutter to catch the rain and take it away from the home. However, after we finished, the owner decided he didn’t like where the downspout was after all, so we went back up and rearranged it until he was satisfied. At Rock and Tait Exteriors, we are not content until you are content. When you have a project that needs completing, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. It’s your home, and we want you to be thrilled with it!

So, after changing it a bit, here’s the finished project:

finished 2

As long as the gutters are cleaned at least once a year, it is not likely that his home will have the same issue in this area for years to come. So how did this project teach a life lesson? Well, it’s best to address a problem right away so it doesn’t begin affecting other areas of your life. It takes hard work and attention to detail, but in the end it’ll be worth it. However, don’t forget, every life change still needs a little bit of maintenance now and then. Though we aren’t licensed to help you in the tough times of your life, we are licensed to make your home a better place to fix those tough problems in. Call us, you’ll be glad you did!

 

Do you want Cedar Shake Shingles for your home?

Do you want Cedar Shake Shingles? Here are some things to consider:

Cedar shingles look great, but can cost much more than traditional roofing – plus maintenance is required more often.

If you are a homeowner who is very interested in the aesthetic appearance of a cedar shake roof, we highly recommend Metro Stone Coated Steel Shakes.

Stone coated steel shakes give the appearance of cedar shakes but are much longer lasting and lower-maintenance.

For the home owner who is looking for an authentic cedar roof, Rock & Tait can install and maintain quality cedar shingles from Midwest Lumber.

Frequent Questions About Cedar Shingles


I really like the way they look, is there anything I can do to preserve the life of my Cedar roof?

There are of course many stains and sealants on the market that can protect your Cedar Shingles.  We do offer an option to use dipped/coated shingles that come pre-protected for weather resistance.   For an extra expense, your favorite stain color can be applied to your Cedar shingles prior to installation.

Rock and Tait can install sealants or stains of your choice to preserve the life of the roof.   Remember, that whatever your sealant or stain choice may be, expect in a few years having to re-coat the roof again.

Ultimately, the expense to carefully stain or seal an existing roof is not small, but compared to the costs of re-roofing a Cedar Shingled roof that you love, it’s definitely the best option.

How much longer does it take to install Cedar Shingles than a traditional roof? 

The average Cedar roof takes approximately 2 to 3 times the amount of time to properly install.  Materials are also approximately 2 to 3 times the cost of conventional roofing.  We recommend considering Metro Stone Coated Steel Shakes to any home-owner wanting the look of Cedar shingles.

Below are some examples of Real Cedar Shakes and the Metro Steel Shakes:

home-with-shake-roofCedar Shake Roof
Real Cedar shake roofingReal Cedar Shake Roofing

Metro brand Stone Shakes
Metro brand Steel Shake Roofing
Metro Stone Shakes
Metro brand Steel Shake Roofing
Metro Steel Shakes
 Metro brand Steel Shake Roofing    

To get started in your new roof process just give us a call to set up a free estimate appointment with one of our experts.

1-800-519-9894

Online you can fill out a simple form to set up your appointment too!

Is your home feeling a bit cramped?

Have you ever loved the home you were in, but it just needed a bit more space? Did the search for a new home begin after you just couldn’t stand it any longer? Or did you throw away everything that hadn’t been touched in a year or more? Well, these Hudson, WI residents decided to stay in their home and keep their stuff: we built them an addition, instead!

House B

House B1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in the pictures, this home had a rickety, old garage sitting next to it and a fairly worn deck. Our job was to remove all of that and excavate the area. Then we completed the concrete foundation and all the flatwork, including carefully cutting about 6′ of blacktop away from the front of the new garage and installing a 6′ apron tied into the garage and blacktop.

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Once these were completed, we started creating! I don’t know about you, but I think that watching something being formed out of wood and fasteners is super exciting. Take a peek at the framing process:

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Here are a few more pictures, but from the inside showing the new windows, the balcony, and the gorgeous entry door:

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Let’s not forget that we had to connect the new upper addition to the original home! Have you ever tried doing that? It sure feels good to see it completed and to see that it’s flawless!

Connecting Addition House F2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a snapshot, everything we did for this Hudson family is as follows: excavating, concrete laying, flatwork, framing, air sealing, ventilation system, installing windows and a balcony, building the staircase, flooring system, roof truss system, connecting the old with the new, and interior walls. Exterior work includes installing the roof, siding, house wrap, window flashings, soffit, fascia, gutters, and a porch. Of course there are so many details of what went into all of this that I couldn’t possibly write about them all and keep you interested at the same time! So, enjoy the last photo and remember that just because you need more space, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move!

House F

Even though we’ve already done a lot of work, we’re still going back for one more project: insulating! We will be doing a two-part air-seal and installing Cellulose to exceed R50 in the attic and rim joists. We will also spray foam the ceiling of the garage; the crawl space under the garage; and all the top plates, lights, wires, and attic penetrations.

Rock and Tait Exteriors is your one-stop destination for all your home improvement projects, where you pay us to give you peace of mind. And we will. Every time.

 

Don’t ignore it; it won’t go away.

We recently fixed a closet ceiling in an Altoona home that was water-damaged. Before making repairs we figured out where the leak was coming from so we could seal it off. Oftentimes a leak will start somewhere else in the home, but flow over to a different area where it presents itself. So even though this leak was under the chimney, we didn’t want to guess and get it wrong.

We learned that it was, in fact, the chimney cap at fault, so we caulked it with silicone to prevent more damage from occurring. Then we went inside and removed the affected section and the wet insulation. Here’s what greeted us:

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Proof of a leak

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More damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What the ceiling looked like

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After the boards were taken off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the area dried, we installed new insulation, a vapor barrier, and the drywall. We finished by texturing and painting it.

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Can’t tell anything was ever wrong!

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Almost done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important to act at the first sign of trouble, like these residents did, to avoid costly repairs. If we can’t schedule you right away for the amount of time we’ll need to work on your project, then, if possible, we’ll set up a temporary fix until we can. Rock & Tait Exteriors: the family name you can trust.

Don’t let your house scare you this Halloween!!

There are many different things you can do to improve your home such as: new carpeting, painting a room, new kitchen cabinets, a bathroom remodel, a new roof, a new deck or patio area, and insulation.

Wait, did I just say INSULATION?? You don’t SEE the insulation in your home, so it’s very easy to forget how important it is to your everyday life. 

Take a look at these pictures and tell me which one scares you more?!?! 

Giant Spider on a house!Giant Spider on a house!
Infrared photo of a home showing the heat loss

Infrared photo of a home showing the heat loss

The one that SHOULD scare you more is the 2nd one showing the heat loss with an infrared scanner. That’s air you’re paying to heat pouring out of your house. Proper insulation will make such a huge difference in your house by controlling those high energy bills and everyday comfort.

The best way to start making your home not scary anymore is to have a home energy audit. You’ll want to have a certified inspector perform a full evaluation of your home and give you a full written report of what can be done to fix the problem areas. To start just call us here at 1-800-519-9894 or check out our website to learn more and fill out a quick form to get in touch with our friendly office staff! 

Just put a hole in it!

Do you remember the daycare facility’s bathroom I showed you last week? Well, this is what the facility looked like from the outside:facility b

Some of the other areas we worked on were adding a new doorway, updating the existing entryway to meet state regulations, and laying concrete for an entry pad, parking pad, and sidewalk. The first thing that we did was remove some landscaping in order to install the beautiful new entrance. Then we got to work carving out enough wall to make room for the additional door. Here’s a picture story of what was done:

facility d1

The landing pad.

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Handsomely framed.

Work to be done on the inside.

Work to be done on the inside.

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New door #1!

Finished on the inside!

Finished on the inside!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished on the outside!

Finished on the outside!

 

Take a look at this finished product! The bench adds a great touch to this ancient home and the red really makes the facility stand out. Thanks to Hallie Welding for doing a great job on the stairs and deck!

This project goes to show that sometimes the best way to make something better is to just put a hole in it. Thank you Rock and Tait crews for being very precise and getting this building another step closer to meeting state regulations. Soon these colorful doors will welcome several bright eyed little kids to a new learning experience!