Roofing and Home Improvement Blog

roofing contractor

My House, New Roof

This Blog is about roofing and home improvement.  I am Joe Parkin, not the famous cyclist but just a normal guy that works in the construction industry. Because I’m the only one working on this blog you could also call it Joe Parkin’s Blog.

I have been involved in the home improvement industry for over 20 years and have installed pretty much every part of the exterior of a home.  Siding, Doors, Windows, Gutters, Leaf Protectors, decks, gazebos, etc, etc, etc.  But my real forte is roofing.

6 years in a rain cape

My Baby, a Contractor’s Best Friend

I began my career at age 18 as a roofer.  In the beginning I pretty much was a grunt hauling shingles up ladders.  But as the years went on I learned more and more.  Eventually I became a project manager running about 10 crews for a pretty large roofing company in Chicago.

The company I worked for did all types of exterior renovations so I learned all about each product type.  Next to roofing, my second favorite product is a leaf guard system know as the Gutter Shutter.  You can check out more about this at

I really do love home improvement.  I love taking something and making it better.  Remodeling a home is making something better on a grand scale.

I would like to impart my knowledge and experience on others, so I put together this blog.  It is a work in progress so please excuse some of the obvious issues that I am having with wordpress.

Thanks for stopping by, come back soon for lots of good information!

Comparing Wood Windows Versus Vinyl Windows

window replacement

Replacing a Window

If you are having new windows installed in your home, one of the first decisions that you have to make is whether to go with wood windows or vinyl windows. Many people find this a difficult decision to make, and there are pros and cons to each choice. Use the following information to make the right decision for you.

One of the big advantages of vinyl windows is price. A set of vinyl windows is going to cost you a lot less than a comparable set of wood windows. If you are operating on a tight budget, this can be a very important point.

If your schedule is tight, vinyl windows are generally able to be installed more quickly than wood windows. In most cases, the turnaround for a set of vinyl windows is significantly less than for wood windows.

Vinyl windows also do not need to be painted or sealed, which can be very convenient. They generally require less maintenance. While they may not be as attractive as wood windows, modern vinyl windows are hardly ugly.

However, wood windows have a number of advantages as well. They add extra insulation to your home. The wood of the window frame reduces the amount of heat loss, which can make a big difference on a cold winter night. Having wood windows can save you a lot on your heating and cooling bills, thereby offsetting some of the additional cost.

Wood windows are also generally more attractive and desirable, which can enhance the resale value of your home. If and when you put your home on the market, having wood windows can make it easier to find a buyer who is willing to meet your price.

Both wood and vinyl windows have their advantages, so keep this information in mind when you are making your decision.

Some of the best windows I’ve seen are these composite style windows.  Check out this video…

You can find these windows in the Chicago area at

Hardie Board Fiber Cement Siding Can Be Any Color

color plus color chart for james hardie

A Wide Variety of Colors

If you have not heard about Hardie Board fiber cement siding, then you’re going to want to give it a look. For years, people raved about vinyl siding as the most economical, durable and easy maintenance siding on the market. For sure, vinyl siding is a pretty good choice. Hardie Board siding, however, when compared side by side with vinyl, becomes the distinctive excellent choice.

James Hardie siding comes in many unique colors, and there are also different types of this siding available. If you can’t find the color you desire, then check this out. After installation, you can change the color of the siding to whatever you like because you can paint the siding! That is something that you can’t do when it comes to vinyl siding. This works great too for later years when you just feel like changing the color of your home in general.

You might want that forest green home for five years, then for the next five years you choose a burgundy color. Then, for the next 20 years you might have your home a dark walnut brown. You did catch on to the total of 30 years right? That is the warranty that comes with this type of siding, beating out its rival vinyl siding.

Imagine the curb appeal that such stylish and durable siding can bring to your home. You’re wanting to take care of your investment right? Put Hardie Board siding on your home, and the next time you have to think about doing that, you will be retired! Plus, as mentioned the siding is very easy to maintain, not requiring much action on your part.

With Color Plus technology and hand-picked color selections available, chances are you’re going to find a color of siding to your liking. Upon visiting the site, you can select your geographical area and check out the color palette as well as the trim color palette. With all of these perks and options, you should now be aware that this siding is by far the highest-quality siding out on the market.

With James Hardie colors like mountain sage, tuscan gold, navajo beige and more, you’re getting unique quality colored siding and not just basic essential colors. And, one of the best things about this siding is that it withstands the pressures of any type of climate, so it’s good for any location!

Benefits of Energy Efficient Replacement Windows

To mix things up, here are some videos that I found particular helpful about replacement windows and the benefits of installing energy efficient windows in your home.  I didn’t make these videos but I think they are well done and give lots of good information.

How Energy Efficient Windows Work

Insights into Energy Saving Replacement Windows

Homeowners Discussing the Difference that new windows have made in their home.

For more information check out the following sites:

The Benefits of Residential Metal Roofs

metal roofingMetal roofs are very popular around the world. It is one of the fastest growing segments in the home improvement industry. The metal roofing sector has increased its market share 400% over the past couple of decades. The benefits of metal roofs have encouraged more and more dwellers to shift towards metal roofs when remodeling their homes. While other roofing materials quickly diminish in value as they age, metal roofs have proven their durability and sturdiness without any doubt.
The major benefits of metal roofs include their durability for more than 50 plus years, elegant styles that match the architecture of the house and neighborhood, fire resistant properties, interlocking panels that can guarantee wind resistance, energy efficiency that helps to keep the homes cooler during the summer, and low weight of the shingles. These benefits will encourage more people to use metal shingles as a roofing material.
The deep textured folds in the metal shingles will prevent the sound of raindrops hitting the roof, causing a unbearable sound that is prevalent in other forms of roofing materials. Metal shingles will not create any objectionable sound during heavy rain due to this reason. Attic airspace and the ventilation technologies in the latest metal shingles will also play an important role in absorbing the extra sounds. This will create a peaceful situation inside the house even if it is raining cats and dogs outside.
The latest metal shingles will not lose their strength with time. The roofs are resistant to foot traffic even if they are 10-20 years old. The metal roofs can be used for more than 50 years without any problem if the necessary maintenance is done on time. They are the hardest roofing material available right now. The above mentioned benefits will encourage the market share of metal roofs to rise steadily in the near future.

How to Find the Best Asphalt Roof

Dimensional Shingles

Dimensional Shingles

Among the most sturdy and economical designs of roof covering for today’s residences is still asphalt roof shingles. They last, can be found in a plethora of colors, forms, dimensions and structures, and are reasonably budget-friendly for practically any kind of home owner. The most recent designs and product developments likewise aid them mirror much more costly products such as slate efficiently. Due to the fact that there is such a large selection in rate and top quality, nevertheless, it’s ideal for more information concerning this preferred product to ensure that you could decide on the most effective design for your home.

Search for An Excellent Guarantee

All roof shingles are made from asphalt, however not all them make use of the very same mix of products to create the completed outcome. To see to it you’re acquiring premium, ask neighborhood specialists which brand names they favor and exactly what the service warranty performs them. Typically, the much better the service warranty is, the much better the top quality of the products. You ought to look at some that are paid for at the very least fifteen years or additional.

The Right Design For Your Property

It’s simple to work with roof firms that provide vast assortment of designs, however harder to identify which design functions important on your home. Some designs will certainly mixture wonderfully with your home’s total design while others might appear mismatched or “off” in some way. For suitable outcomes, seek tiles that will certainly go well with the remainder of your house’s outdoor without subduing other architectural components. Colonial residences look really good with conventional tiles while a log cabin would certainly look much better with the natural look of timber shakes. A sophisticated Victorian design residence or older design house residence could ask for a design that provides the perception of slate floor tiles. If your house is Swedish modern-day, cedar most likely should not be your front runner. Try for consistency and a smooth impact that delivers every component of your residence’s outside with each other.

Roof covering Firms Proposal Dimensional Tiles

While you could get roof shingles that are generally a level area for an inexpensive, even more residents are selecting dimensional products each year. These have depth and measurement because of their building and are usually called architectural roof shingles. They are an improve from conventional 3 tab versions and will certainly overlap each various other for extra dramatization. A lot of professional roofer hold designs that include different shade schemes and structures that copy the allure of natural products such as slate or timber without the downsides of natural items. If your property has long, continuous stretches of roof covering, using dimensional tiles ares more crucial to include passion and separate a long, wearing out roof covering line. Professionals are a lot more most likely to recommend dimensional tiles when they are looked for to suggest products for remodelled, historical houses due to the fact that they show the focus on specific of earlier times.

Remember The Shade Color scheme

When roof firms provide a quote that features the products to be utilized, they will normally reveal you a number of designs and colours to select from. While it’s simple to explain, “Simply something that matches my property,” the outcomes are frequently frustrating. For additional passion and to separate way too many continuous stretches of colour, you need to ask roofer to reveal you greater than one colour combination to make sure that you could pick a shade that contrasts perfectly with your house’s outdoor without subduing it. A couple of inquiries could assist you determine exactly what will certainly function most ideal. Do you wish the roof covering to be a centerpiece or regress to make sure that the outdoor wall surfaces obtain many of the focus? High comparison colours will certainly offer your house a powerful, contemporary allure. Deciding on roof shingles that are simply a couple of tones off from the wall surface will certainly relax the total appeal without being as well level.

Don’t Be in a Hurry

It could be challenging to make the last option, so do not hesitate to inform roofer you’ll require a couple of days to consider it. Take tastes outdoors and review them close to your house in a selection of lights to ensure that you’ll acquire a concept of exactly what they will certainly resemble in the early morning, mid-day and night. Because today’s roof covering firms could put in an item that lasts for years, it is essential that you wind up with a roof covering that you’ll like many years from now.


Choosing the Best Roofing Contractor

roofer roofing a roof

Roofing a Roof

For those people who own homes as their biggest investment, they have no other choice other than protecting what they have. Any investment needs to be protected. Homeowner should start protecting their investment by having a good roof. Before you think of setting up a home, it is important to have a name of the best roofing contractor in mind so that your investment can last. After setting up a house, the roof part receives a lot of harsh temperatures, and after a certain period, you will need to do repairs. When your roof starts to go off, it is pertinent you find a qualified roofer who is reliable. This is the most challenging part for many individuals. It can be hard to get a person whom you can rely on, for the perfect amendments when if comes to roofing. The following step will help you get the right roofing contractor.

First, seek for referrals from acquaintances and friends who have had their roofs done recently. It is true that, they can direct you away from disasters and to the right roofing contractor. It is always better to confirm by visiting their house so as you can access the capability of the roofers by yourself. You should be free to question them on any issue concerning roofing, for instance, the cost, process and challenges they faced. This is a good start, and can direct you the best roofing contractor.

National roofing contractors will also help you get the right roofing contractor. If you have any organization in your country in charge of roofing, then you are advantaged. Since, you cannot fail to get the best roofers when you visit such institutions. Here, they will provide a worksheet for you to make a choice. Worksheet will direct you as it covers things like years trading under the said company, experience and lawsuits. These are best things that will guide you to make the right choice of a roofing contractor.

Insurance is also a pertinent issue to consider. It is important to confirm whether the people you are going to hire are insured. Do not compromise with a contractor who argues roofing insurance is not necessary. In addition, it is pertinent to seek for referrals from local renovators. Incorporating house flippers in your search for a perfect roofer is also a good step, since they usually buy a house, and later on sale it after making necessary improvement. They are also very reliable.

 Check out this video about how to choose a roofing contractor…

The Advantages of Metal Roofing

metal roof

Metal Roof

Roofing materials which are rated highly due to their capabilities to resist wind and fire are corrugated and copper metals. These kinds of roofing materials normally last longer when compared to asphalt roofing under extreme weather conditions. Bear in mind that numerous other advantages are provided by metal roofs. They reflect the sun and this enables you to make savings on your cooling during periods of summer. It is also an excellent form of roofing during winter since it can easily keep your home insulated. As a result, heat will be retained in your house and you are bound to notice a significant reduction in your power bills.

The temperatures in the attic will rarely climb to uncomfortable levels and the materials do not deteriorate easily. Furthermore, it will be quite difficult for lightning to set the house ablaze. This is because of the materials used to make the metal roof. The metal also absorbs energy from lightning and safeguards your house effectively from setting itself on fire.

Metal roofs are coated with aluminum and zinc which prevent them from rusting. For this reason, they remain durable for a very long time. As a matter of fact, they are so sturdy that they can simply be walked on when repairs are being done.

The other aspect that makes metal roofing beneficial to use is its weight. It actually weighs less when compared to other conventional roofing materials. They are so light that installation can be done over old asphalt shingles and this can immensely cut down on your costs as well as time you would have to spend tearing off old roofing.

In general, metal roofing is more costly than asphalt. However, it is cheaper than slate and tile roofing. The materials the metal roofs are made from are fully recyclable after they have been removed. These are some of the benefits that make this type of roofing the most preferred by most homeowners. Before your preferred metal roofing is installed, ensure you find a proficient contractor who can carry out installation and repair work on the roof.

Rubber Membrane Roofing

roll of rubber roofing

A Roll of Rubber Roofing

Now is a good time to improve your home, whether it is the furnishing, tiling, wall paper and more importantly, those areas that rarely get your attention. This could be the piping system, electrical wiring or your roofing. Your roof is one of the most fundamental aspects of your home, office, school or even hospital. Modern technology has designed membrane roofing, a system used for tanks as well as buildings that works well to block leaks. This is quickly replacing the old type roofs made of asphalt and gravel.

Rubber membrane roofing is the most common type of membrane roofing and is done using synthetic rubber thermoplast. It has many advantages over the conventional roofing materials; it has an array of designs, can be installed in many ways, is highly durable and eliminates chances of leaking to below 1% if installation is done correctly. To ensure you get maximal benefit, purchase a rubber sheet that is large enough to case the whole roof space. In the past, this technique was used solely for commercial purposes but is now being applied in residential roofing. This roofing is done using big, even pieces of rubber welded into one large seamless membrane. It has a life span of up to 40 years and can survive all weather conditions in all climates around the world as well as intense UV rays. When temperatures are very low or very high, it is flexible to allow for contraction and expansion. It has both outdoor and indoor usage such as actual roofing, flooring, landscaping and even lining ponds.

rubber roof

Applying a Rubber Roof

Roof decks can especially work well with this roofing material, specifically EPDM rubber. It is easy to put up the rubber membrane roofing as long as you are equipped with basic tools and a do-it-yourself manual. The only technical bit of installation is removing your previous roofing material. This allows you to assess the state of your roof deck material before laying the rubber membrane roofing. Liquid adhesive is used to bond the rubber sheet to your roof. Manufacturer’s instruction on the finishing touches must be strictly followed.

The cost of this roofing technique may seem preposterous but the fact that it can last up to 40 years should calm your fears. Rubber roofing is a long term financial investment as you will save on repair and maintenance fees as well electrical fees from damage due to leaking. You can also put up the roofing by yourself without the help of a contractor who usually do not come cheap. Invest in rubber membrane roofing today!

Types of Roofing

Types of roofing

It’s important to choose the right type of roofing for your home.. Whether you want to build a new house or renovate your old one, there is a variety of roofs to choose from. Below are different types of roofing you can choose for your home

Asphalt shingle- This is most common on roofs that are sloped .This type of roofing is backed with either organic materials or fibreglass. It comes in a variety of colors, designs and grades

Modified bitumen- Also known as touchdown, this type combines rubber and asphalt with fiberglass base. It’s applied using heat or a seal adhesive. This type of roofing is heat resistant, long lasting and is mostly used on flat roofs. Its however not recommended in areas that have heavy snowfall

Tile- Tiles can either be made of concrete or clay. This type of roofing comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Though attractive, tile roofing can be quite expensive and heavy. It’s important to ensure the structure can support tiles because of their weight.

Metal roofing- Metal roofing materials can be either in shingles or panel form. This type o roofing can be used on low slope, flat or steep sloped roofs. Metal roofs are moderately lightweight, attractive, long lasting and resistant to bad weather conditions.

Wood shingle (shake shingle) – This type of roofing can be made from various different woods such as pine, cedar, redwood and many others. The difference between wood shingle and shake shingle is that shake shingle is made by hand while wood shingle is made by machine. Though this type of roofing is considerably attractive and popular in some areas, the materials are often limited for use as roofing by local building codes since they often lack fire resistance
The type of roofing you choose depends on your budget, type of house you want to build, preferences, local building codes among other factors. Before choosing a roofing type, it’s important to do your homework and find out the most ideal roofing for your house.

roofing types

Roofing Types

There are construction professionals who can help you choose the right roofing for your home. The type of material used for roofing or design is often used to describe types of roofing. Based on design some of the types of roofing include pyramid roof, saltbox, flat roof, hip roof, bonnet roof, arched roof among others. As mentioned above different factors determine the type of roof appropriate for your house.

Cedar Shake Roofs

cedar shake roof

Cedar Shake Roof

The cost of installing a new roof to your house or building is usually expensive, but in the course of time it will save you from unnecessary damage that may be caused by leaks. Ideally then, when you are installing your roof you should use roofing materials that wouldn’t require replacing for many years.

Cedar shakes roof is one that is usually good in lasting for long as it provides good weather protection. It also adds style and character to your house. In order then to ensure that the roof last long there is need for annual checks so as to ascertain there is no damage that has developed in the roof. More so it is also essential to maintain the cedar shake roof since by doing so the roof is protected. We will explore some of the things that can be done to ensure a proper maintenance of your cedar shake roof.

One is that, you need to remove any material on your roof, whether its branches, leaves, moss or debris that might have accumulated on the roof. The reason of doing this is to ensure that moisture does not get trapped and which could lead to the damage of the roof if the materials are not removed. You could furthermore, trim branches that are close to the roof as these will prevent materials from the trees accumulating in the roof.

Another thing that should be done in maintaining the roof is to examine the room at least once annually and do repairs to shakes that might have broken. The broken shakes will need to be removed and replaced with new ones. Ensure that the new shakes are placed in the same location as the old broken ones.

A wood cleaner containing a mold killer can also be sprayed on the shakes at least once annually. You can do this by using a pressure washer, alternatively you could use a ladder to climb up the roof. You should give the wood cleaner sufficient time to soak on the shakes, and you can check on the wood cleaner label the recommended period. After this period has elapsed then you will need to rinse the roof so as to remove the cleaner.

Coating the roof after three to four years, with a sealant is another step you can take in maintaining your roof. Depending on your preferences, you can apply a stain or clear sealer by use of rollers and brushes, for quick application you will find a paint sprayer to be useful in doing that.