When the Mammoth Oak Falls!

When a severe storm passed through the area, it dropped a huge oak tree on this property. When we arrived a few days later, the tree had been removed and the roof had been tarped, but the damage left behind was extreme.

Outside, an entire section of the roof had been crushed and several other areas had puncture holes. We found broken roof rafters and ceiling joists, damaged shingles and roof decking, and broken soffit and fascia.

Inside, there was water damage to the drywall, insulation, kitchen cabinets, and the flooring throughout the house.

After a lot of back and forth with the homeowner’s insurance adjuster, we able to start putting the home back together.

First up was the roof. We installed seven new rafters and a few new ceiling joists. All the damaged roof decking was replaced, and new GAF Timberline HD shingles in Weathered Wood were installed. New flashing, pipe collars, and drip edge restored the roof to pre-loss condition. Replacing and painting the damaged soffit and fascia completed the exterior work.

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Moving inside, the kitchen, living room, and hallway had the worst damage. Of great concern was whether we would be able to match the client’s custom hickory cabinetry. The cabinets had been installed in 2009, but we were lucky enough to find that the local builder was still in business. He custom fabricated a new sink base and peninsula that are a near-perfect match to the original ones.

The original countertops were laminate, and they would have to be replaced due to damage, so the client decided it was a good time to upgrade. They chose a level one granite in “Venetian Ice” which looks great with the hickory cabinets. It is similar in color to the original laminate, but it will be much more durable.

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To complete the interior repairs, we replaced the insulation in the ceilings of the kitchen, living room, and hallway, installed new drywall, and added fresh paint. New Shaw luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in “Touch Pine” was installed throughout the house.

The repairs look great, and the homeowners are enjoying their home sweet home once again.

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PRO TIP: An insurance restoration project typically takes longer than a homeowner-funded remodel and dealing with the adjusters can be challenging. We are experts in this type of work, and we speak the same language as the adjusters. If you or someone you know has experienced a loss that will be covered by insurance, and you live in the Hampton Roads, VA area, give us a call at 757-706-3110 or fill out our online contact form. We’re here to help!

Spring is in the Air!

Each spring, my grandmama would quote this old poem, attributed to Ogden Nash:
“The spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is. Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, come out yourself and see how ‘tiz!”

When you “come out yourself” after a long winter, you may notice that the exterior of your home needs a little TLC. Here are four ways you can spruce up the outside of your home this spring:

Clean it!

Siding, windows, porches, and decks will benefit from an annual cleaning to remove spider webs, dirt, and debris. Sparkling windows bring in the daylight, and enhance your view, while cleaning the siding and trim can make it look brand new again. Cleaning your deck and porch will help you identify any areas that might need repair.

While many homeowners may choose to do this work themselves, a licensed painter or pressure wash company can tackle the job for you and give you more time to relax and enjoy the outdoors again.

Paint it!

A fresh coat of paint on your front door will do wonders for your curb appeal. Today’s trends are for softer shades of blue and tan on the siding, with a pop of bold color like teal or yellow for the door. The do-it-yourselfer should lightly sand the door and surrounding trim, apply a coat of quality primer, and finish with two coats of your new color.

If you notice wood rot or damage to your door, call on a professional contractor to evaluate and possibly replace the door.

Plant it!

Seasonal plants and flowers are an inexpensive way to enhance your home’s exterior. If you don’t want the hassle of dealing with flower beds, consider adding hanging baskets and large flowerpots to your porch or entry. They’re easy to maintain and can be changed out each season.

Visit your local garden center for advice on plants that will thrive in your area.

Light it up!

Now that you have a clean exterior, a new front door, and lots of beautiful plants, it’s time to put them all in the spotlight. Solar lights are a great option if you don’t want to deal with wiring. They can be placed in your planter to light up the foliage, along your driveway or sidewalk, and in your flower beds.

For a more permanent lighting solution, contact a licensed electrician.

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.

When in doubt, Safety 1st when roofing in Virginia Beach!

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Excerpt: Is this OSHA approved?   It’s good to hear that the fellow hanging upside down by his ankles is still alive and well.  Sadly, I’ve seen more dangerous things done by roofing contractors here in the Virginia Beach area. This post authored by Jim Hicks. Jim Hicks Home Improvement serves Yorktown, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth Contractor, Home Improvement, Remodels, Additions, Kitchen, Bathrooms, Shingle Roofs, Slate Roofs, Siding, Windows https://www.jimhicks.com 757-706-3110 Disclaimer: All images, unless otherwise noted, were taken from the Internet. In the event that there is a problem or error with copyrighted material, the break…

How to find a roof leak: Use a Water Test

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Excerpt: It’s simple and works so effectively, you’d be amazed that more contractors don’t use this technique. Start at the lowest point that the water could be entering the roof system. Let the water run for 10+ minutes to rule out each component from the bottom up. The farther you move away from where the leak is showing on the interior, the more time you will have to give each component to test for leaking, due to the fact that if that component is leaking, the water now has to run farther before it shows on the interior. When testing brick,…

Beware of House Flippers in Virginia Beach

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Excerpt: “A fool and their money are soon parted.” -Thomas Tusser in Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie, 1573 There are many “great deals” in the housing market in today’s economy.   But how do you protect yourself against professional “house flippers” who may be unscrupulous?   These professionals buy a distressed property for a low price, apply some cosmetic fixes and then sell it for at a much higher price.  This is known as “Flipping a House”.  The unsuspecting new buyer may be buying a home with many problems that will be very costly to fix. As a home buyer, to protect your…

A New Use For Your Old Tackle Box

Excited about fishing this season?  We’ve heard the tuna are biting right off of Sandbridge in Virginia Beach!  Not sure what to do with some of your old fishing gear?  How about that old tackle box? We’ve even heard it said about someone with a lot of piercings that “their face looks like a bad tackle box.” We feel pretty confident in saying that this tackle box doesn’t meet electrical building code here in Virginia Beach.

Perhaps use a licensed electrician when "tackling" your electrical project?

Roof Details Matter: Blown Off Shingles & Ridgevent

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Excerpt: You can pick the highest quality shingle on the market, but if your installer cuts corners on the quality of the ridgecaps or the length of the nails he is using on the ridgevent, you are headed for failure if the roof ever gets tested in a high wind situation! Manufacturer warranties are VOID if the roof or ridgevent is not installed to their specifications and you are left with a costly repair. This is why we say “don’t pick the product, pick the contractor”.  The right contractor will use the right materials to ensure your investment is protected by a proper…

More Vents Are Not Necessarily Better

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Excerpt: The ever vigilant Brad Brinke of  Pro Craft Home Inspections and author of  Going Green means sometime just being a little smarter, sent us the following picture he just snapped on a Virginia Beach home of the classic example of cross venting. Bill Taylor, ventilation guru, who gave us Tips for the Balance System for Attic Ventilation,  and Venting On Your Neighbor commented: “That is comical. Actually, we just ended our “Ask the Expert” seminar in Richmond a couple hours ago. One of the slides in the presentation is an install similar to this with multiple types of vents. The room roared with laughter when they…

Hurricane Irene Storm Damage Is Still Here

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Excerpt: In August 2011, Hurricane Irene caused major damage to homes from Virginia Beach to Yorktown, Virginia.   The local contractors responded quickly, but now 5 months later we are still repairing some of the damage. Why?  Insurance companies can be argumentative and slow to pay at times…and when they do, mortgage companies often have to sign off on each check.  The process of restoration is tedious and it has little to do with the actual work being done.  The hard work is done before the first nail is driven. We tarped a lot of roofs immediately after the storm to protect the…