Roof and Interior Restoration in Newport News

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree”Trees, Joyce Kilmer, 1913

Ah, trees. They give us flowers in the spring, green leaves in the summer, and beautiful shades of red and gold in the fall. In the winter, their bare branches catch the snow and glisten in the sun. They provide a home for the song birds, and shelter our homes from the summer heat. And, sometimes, they  are the cause of our nightmares.

 

During a severe storm with high winds, that some reported as micro-burst tornadoes, our clients in Newport News dealt with the nightmare. The beautiful tree in the front yard came crashing through their home. The tree crushed the roof and rafters, and rain poured into their bedrooms and living room. Luckily, no one was injured, but the clients were facing the near-total destruction of their home and months of repairs.

Our good friends at Inside Drying in Yorktown were first on the scene. They tarped the roof to prevent further damage, and began the process of drying out the home and packing up the clients’ possessions. The drywall was removed from the walls and ceilings in living room and three bedrooms. The floors were removed next. With most of the house reduced to the studs, we were able to assess the situation and develop a plan for the repairs.

 

Working closely with the homeowners and their insurance adjuster was critical at this point. As in any disaster situation, the adjuster will create the initial scope of work for the repairs. This gives us a baseline of what is covered and what the insurance company believes it will cost. Our job is to review this scope, and supplement it with our calculations for the actual cost of materials and labor, and the requirements for the building codes in our area. This usually takes some negotiating, and the adjuster may request a follow up meeting on-site, to review the items that have been added to their scope. Once our estimate was approved, we got to work.

 

The roof was first. The remaining shingles were removed, along with the damaged rafters. New rafters were added where needed, and new roof decking was installed. The homeowner chose CertainTeed Landmark shingles in Resawn Shake. These shingles carry a lifetime limited warranty and a wind rating of 110 mph.

Outside, we also replaced the damaged soffit, fascia and gutters.

 

With the roof restored, it was time to address the interior damage. Since the space was almost completely gutted, we had a clean slate to work with. Electrical and HVAC repairs were made first. New drywall was installed on the ceilings and walls, and painted in the clients’ selected colors. For the floors, the homeowners chose a luxury vinyl plank, which was installed in all the rooms and the hallway. New ceiling fans with light kits completed the repairs.

 

The homeowner left the following comment on our business Facebook page:

“Jim Hicks knows his stuff! If it wasn’t for him helping us through our home repair and dealing with the insurance  company when a tree fell through our house, I don’t know what we would have done!! Jim and his crew did a great job and we love the work they did!!”

 

Start to finish, including several meetings with the insurance adjuster, this project took our team six months. The homeowners’ goal was to be back in their house in time to hand out Halloween candy to the neighborhood kids. Happily, we were able to make this request a reality.

Home Appraisals vs. Home Inspections

When you buy a used car, do you take it for a test drive around town? Do you ask about maintenance and any recall notices? Of course you do! You may even take it to your mechanic for a once-over, to make sure the vehicle is in good shape and safe to drive.

So, who do you call when you’re buying a “used house”?

Think about it like this: you are getting a home that has been lived in, and possibly modified, by one or more families over the years. Most buyers ask about basic things, like the age of the roof and the appliances, but what about the things you can’t see? Electrical wiring, and plumbing are hidden in the walls. You can usually see the HVAC system, but what about the ductwork? Are there any additions or remodels, and were they done by a licensed contractor, or a by handy spouse or neighbor? All of these may have hidden issues that could lead to expensive repairs.

“But I have an appraisal. Isn’t that good enough?”

The appraiser works for the bank to determine the value of the house and property on which it sits. They look at the “features” of the house – things like the size and number of rooms, and cosmetic updates in the kitchen and bathrooms. Is there a detached or attached garage? Are there outdoor living spaces like decks or pools? They take this information and compare it to the other houses in the neighborhood, to generate a fair market price. They may note obvious things that would detract from the value, but they don’t look for those hidden conditions that may exist. Their report often reads like the real estate listing – “4 bedrooms, 2 baths, updated kitchen and bathrooms with granite countertops, 2-car garage” – and will include measurements or square footage, and photos of each room.

A licensed home inspector works for you, the buyer. They have been trained and certified on the systems of the house, and they know how to look for potential problems. While the appraiser may view the roof from the street, an inspector is going to check the roof thoroughly, from above and below. (Many inspectors even use drones to take pictures or video of the roof.) They will start with the outside, checking things like the condition of the foundation, windows, siding, exterior lighting and outlets, etc. Inside, they inspect the conditions of each room, looking for any damage to the walls or floors. Do the windows function properly? Are the outlets and lights in good working order? Does the heat or air conditioning function well? They check the plumbing in the kitchen and bathrooms, flushing toilets and running water at each tap. They may use an infrared camera or other device to check for water damage in the walls. In the attic, they may inspect ductwork or look for signs of water damage to the underside of the roof decking. In the crawlspace, they’ll check plumbing, ductwork, floor joists and systems.

This type of thorough inspection generates a detailed report, usually broken out by room or area, of what’s okay, what is recommended for further review by a licensed contractor, and what needs to be repaired immediately. While some of the recommended items may not be a deal-breaker, it is very important to know about issues that could hit you hard in the wallet once you own the home.

While placing a section of gutter under a leaking drain is certainly inventive, it’s not a solution to the problem.

Checking moisture levels in the attic.

Water damaged wood in the crawlspace.

Water damaged insulation in the crawlspace.

If you have any concerns about the property you’re considering, hire a certified home inspector. The peace of mind is invaluable. Ask us for a referral!

Photos courtesy of Chris Polantz, Redtail Building Services
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