Expert Tips

  • Uncover Your Ideal Exterior Palette

    Re-siding your home isn’t something you do often. So when it comes time to refresh your home’s siding and trim, you’ll want to be sure you’ve narrowed down a color palette you’ll love for years.

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  • ALERT - Minnesota Statute Chapter 325E.66

    Our friend Charlie Durenberger, Director of Licensing and Enforcement at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry shared the following letter contractors will be receiving, who are indirectly or directly offering to pay homeowners' deductibles.

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  • What’s With These Guys Knocking on Our Door

    Hail falls and/or severe winds whip through a section of town and ten minutes later the streets are lined with pickup trucks and contractors start going door-to-door to offer a free inspection to check for damage. Sound/look familiar? Here are some things of which you should be aware if you are...

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  • Homes with American Character

    These homes just seem to conjure up the feeling of summertime, the smell of a fired-up grill or the taste of iced-cold lemonade—all seeming to say, America.

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  • The Trouble With 'Trim'

    To a lot of people everything on the exterior of a home that is not a shingle or a panel of siding is ‘trim’. ​I won’t even say that that is not accurate, but it can and does create some confusion when we go out to investigate the problem in that it might turn out to be any number of things. That’s why I thought I would write this entry to more accurately identify the various products on a home that are frequently described as ‘trim’.

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  • The Difference in Shingles

    Whether your home has suffered an insured loss that has resulted in your roof needing to be replaced or if it has just reached the end of its useful life and you’ve decided it’s time to make the investment in tearing it off and redoing it, one of the decisions you will need to make is whether it is worth it to spend the extra money to buy a better version of the shingles currently on your roof.

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  • How Do You Know When It Is Time to Replace Your Roof?

    With the strong winds and wide-spread shingle blow-offs we’ve had this spring a lot of local homeowners are facing the same question; can my roof get by with some repairs or is it time to start thinking about replacing it? Here are some of the factors you need to be taking into consideration if you are one of the many people pondering this important decision.

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  • Frequently Asked (unanswerable) Questions About a New Roof

    The actual answer to all of these questions is going to be, ‘it depends’, but I will attempt to explain the factors involved that will affect the issue in question. My hope is that it will arm you with enough knowledge to help you in receiving a fair price and proper service expectations when receiving estimates for your new roof.

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  • Now Hiring a Call Center Manager

    American Building Contractors receives leads from our website, call-ins, and lead generation companies like HomeAdvisor The Call Center Manager is responsible for interviewing, hiring, training and managing an expanding team of appointment schedulers while overseeing daily operations including preparing and analyzing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

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  • Can You Install an Asphalt Shingle Roof During the Winter?

    Can the people who do get put in these situations still get a quality roof installation? The short answer is ‘yes’, but to understand that let’s look at the two main reasons why most roofing companies and roofing customers don’t consider winter the best time to install an asphalt shingle roof.

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  • Tips for Removing Outdoor Holiday Lights

    Minnesota is due for a weather warm-up this weekend. If you are considering taking down your holiday lights, be sure to protect your home from costly damages. Here are some quick reminders to keep top of mind when working in the cold.

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  • Winter Condensation in Your Home

    It is a perfectly natural reaction; you see some water dripping out of your bathroom fan or notice some mildew in the corner of a closet and assume that you must have a leak coming in from the outside of your home somewhere. Sometimes that may be the case but other times, especially if you are noticing these things in the middle of winter, that moisture you are seeing may actually be water that came from inside your home.

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  • Preventing Ice Dams

    If you’ve never seen an ice dam, it actually looks a lot like you would expect. It is an accumulation of ice on along the eave line of a sloped roof. The ice can build and build over the winter months until it is a solid wall that can be feet thick and can span the entire eave line of a roof. The reason ice dams are so detrimental is because, as temperatures rise they can trap the melting snow on the roof behind them creating a little pond of standing water. A sloped asphalt roof is designed to shed water moving in only one direction, down and off of the roof.

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  • My Home Needs New Siding, but What Product is Right for Me?

    Almost nothing else can change the appearance of your home as dramatically as new siding. But when you look into making this investment it can be easy to become overwhelmed with colors, styles and other choices available in this competitive market. The most basic of these is, what siding material do I want installed on my home?

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  • Woe is My Flat Roof

    The sloped, asphalt shingle roof is my kind of roof. Use quality materials, make a professional installation and you can pretty much walk away from that roof for the next twenty years. Low slope roofs (sometimes erroneously called ‘flat roofs’, as even these roofs must have a tiny amount of pitch to function correctly) do not allow this kind of leisure.

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  • How Do You Know If It’s Time for a New Asphalt Roof

    Unless you have residents calling you up every time it rains, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about replacing your old, sloped, asphalt shingle roofs. On the surface this makes perfect sense. You don’t change a light bulb just because it’s been in the lamp for a long time; you wait until it burns out. Unfortunately, the two situations are not analogous. A burned out bulb may be inconvenient, but it is not causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to your building until you can swap it out. Also, when you do decide to replace your roof you can’t just run down to Walgreens and buy one with the change you find in your couch cushions. When your roof gets close to the end of its useful life you need to be ready with a budget and a plan.

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  • Gutters, Scuppers and Roof Drains (Oh My!)

    A well designed and functioning roof drainage system is essential to the long term integrity of your properties and their surroundings. Poorly maintained and malfunctioning roof drainage systems can cause water to be concentrated or directed to areas that you don't want, like a lower level unit or basement. Serious property damage can result from misdirected roof runoff. Your correctly installed and properly functioning roof drainage system protects your property in two critical ways.

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  • What’s Better Than a Public Adjustor?

    If you have never been involved in a dispute with your insurance company, consider yourself lucky. Once an insurance company digs in their heels, it is tough to get them to budge. When you think about it, it’s really not that surprising. There is the potential of a pretty severe conflict of interest on almost every insurance claim. When you have what you believe to be a covered loss, you report it, then a representative (most likely an employee) of the company that is ultimately going to write the check and take the financial hit gets to come out and determine how much they owe you. Unless you are well versed in coverage, construction and line item pricing, it is hard for you to make a cogent argument on your own behalf.

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  • There Is Nothing Wrong With Your Roof!

    After a long stretch of mild winters, we have now faced two winters in a row where conditions were rife for the formation of ice dams. If you are interested in causes and fixes, please read my article from last year, “What’s to be Done About Ice Dams”. The advice there is still sound. To summarize, get your attic cooled down by re-insulating, sealing heat by-passes and making sure your attic ventilation system is working. If these steps are impossible or don’t help, your only real solutions are to install some sort of heat coil system or remove snow from the roof as it falls.

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  • What's to be done About Ice Dams?

    As the piles of snow retreat and the mercury in the thermometer continues to rise, it appears we may finally be escaping from what will be the worst winter for the formation of ice dams in over a decade.

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  • Should That Guy Be Doing That?

    When you review your criteria for hiring a contractor, where are “Safety Program’ and ‘Safety Record’ on your list? Is it something you even ask about or consider? While you would like to think safety would be the primary concern of every contractor, way too many companies seem to put expediency, cost-savings and any number of other things in front of it. This is completely the wrong attitude for a company doing any kind of construction work, where dangerous conditions abound. Of course one should value the health and well being of every employee and sub-contractor, but from a bottom-line, business standpoint, very little is more detrimental to the success of a construction project than having a worker hurt on the jobsite.

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  • Breathe Roof, Breathe!

    ​Did you know that, just like you, an asphalt shingle roof needs to breathe? Cool, dry air must be drawn in along the eaves (usually through the soffit) and warm moist air must be exhausted as close to the ridgeline as possible, creating a flow that should completely turn-over the air in the attic space. Having adequate balance of intake and exhaust venting is the most important thing a Homeowner, Property Manager or Owner can do to get the optimum life from asphalt shingles. An abundance of either vent (intake or exhaust) does not make up for a lack of the other.

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  • When It Comes to Shingles, Make Sure You Get the Upgraded Warranty

    We’ve all gotten the hard sell for the upgraded warranty. It does seem a sorry state of affairs that we now have to pay extra to get a company to stand behind their product. Most consumer advocates will adamantly insist that any “extended warranty” is a rip-off, and in most cases I would agree. The one exception to the rule is when you are buying new asphalt shingles for your apartment or townhouse building.

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