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Friday, July 11, 2014

Dress Up Your Home with a New Roof!

The roof is one of the largest and most visible cosmetic components of your home. If you’re considering a new look for your home’s exterior, it’s important to consider the look of your roof as well. With many different styles, colors, and materials to choose from, you can completely customize the look of your roof to boost you home’s overall value and appeal in Alexandria, Fairfax, or Bethesda.

Style
The style of your roof affects the overall look of your home. Do you want a traditional shingled roof that fades into the background and allows other aspects of your home to come to the forefront? Are you aiming for an Old World look with large tiles that will give your home stately appeal? Is your dream roof one that hearkens back to the wood-style roofs of country homes? Because roofing materials are so customizable, you can tailor the look of your roof to match the overall style of your home with very little trouble. Keep in mind that certain types of roofing materials will cost more to purchase and maintain. Additionally, tile roofs can be very heavy; your home may need additional structural support if it was not originally designed to hold this type of roof.

Materials
Roofing materials offer various cosmetic and functional features that can influence your ultimate choice. Asphalt shingles are extremely common, making them easy to repair and maintain. Wood shingles are popular because of their luxurious look; however, keep in mind that wood will change color naturally over time, so talk to your roofing contractor about how you can expect the look of your roof to change over time. This information can help you select the best type of wood that will age well and increase the appeal of your home as the years go by. If you want the look of wood without the maintenance or aging properties, asphalt and cement shingles can be made to look like wood, offering the cosmetic features you want with less maintenance and more predictability. Tile roofing is extremely long-lasting, making it a desirable choice if you don’t want to update your roof for many years to come. Metal roofing is quickly gaining in popularity because of its durability. Studies show that re-roofing with metal can even increase the value of home by up to six percent if you plan to sell it in the future.

Color
Regardless of the materials you choose, the color of your roof will also have a large impact on its final appearance. There are many factors to consider when selecting the color of your roof. Dark roofing absorbs more heat from the sun, while lighter colors are better at reflecting incident light to keep your home cooler. However, dark colors can be appealing if you want to give your home a more classical look. Ultimately, the color of your roof should be one that complements the colors of your exterior, including the color of your siding, brick, and trim.


A new roof can completely transform the look of your home. If you’d like to learn more about roof installation or repairs in Alexandria, Bethesda, Fairfax, or Columbia, visit our website to check out our full range of roofing services or to request a next-day estimate.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Exploring the Parts of Your Roof

The roof over your head keeps your home warm, safe, and dry—but do you know how it works? A residential roof is actually comprised of a system of different components all working together to seal out water, weather, and pests. Learning more about the parts of your roof and understanding how they work together as a whole will not only give you a new appreciation for this essential component of your home, but help you identify potential issues in need of repair and where they may originate as well.

Roof Truss
Just like there are bones in your body, your roof has a skeletal structure that gives it support and strength from beneath. The roof truss is a framework of rafters, typically made from wood or metal, which defines the shape and slope of your roof. The lowest part of the truss is a horizontal beam called the bottom chord, while a top chord is one of many beams that directly run underneath your roof to support the next level: the decking.

Roof Decking
The roof decking or sheathing directly covers the top chords of your roof. This component is a flat sheet of material that creates the surface over which the rest of your roof is laid. Thus, the decking supports the structure of your roof and creates its inherent shape. Common sheathing materials include wood and oriented strand board. Radiant barrier sheathing is an energy-efficient roofing material that consists of an aluminum bottom designed to reflect incident heat from the sun away from your roof to keep your home cooler.

Roof Underlayment
Pitched roofs—like those on most residential homes—also have a layer of material called underlayment. The underlayment sits directly atop the sheathing of your roof to form a moisture-resistant barrier that protects both the sheathing beneath and the shingles above. Underlayment is typically made from builder’s felt or a felt paper soaked in asphalt, but newer products include synthetic materials that offer even better protection against the elements. Self-adhering underlayment products can be used together with felt paper to seal up areas around nails and other fastenings on your roof. This can offer an additional layer of protection and insulation, particularly to prevent ice dams.

Roof Shingles
The top layer of your roof is comprised of the shingles you see when you view the roof from outside your home. While asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials in the U.S., this “shingle” layer may also be comprised of wood shake, slate tiles, or metal. The outermost layer of your roof is often put in place with aesthetics in mind, but different roofing materials also offer certain benefits and drawbacks. Your roof’s overall lifetime and maintenance needs will ultimately be determined largely by the type of material you use as its outermost layer.


When any part of your roof needs repairs, an experienced roofing contractor in Alexandria will ensure the job is done quickly and properly. Click on over to our website to learn more about roofing maintenance, repairs, and replacement for your Bethesda, Alexandria, or Fairfax home or business. Don’t forget to take a look at some of the newest roofing technology available, including green roofing solutions.

Signs Your Sewer Is In Need of Repair

Your home’s sewer line is an integral but often-ignored part of your plumbing. All the drains in your home connect to a single output line, which in turn funnels your home’s wastewater into the municipal sewer system. However, your home’s sewer line is typically much smaller than the main line under the street, making it more prone to clogs. Tree roots can also cause sewer line problems if they penetrate the drain line and cause cracks and leaks. Learning to recognize the signs that your sewer is in need of repair will help you prevent damage to your home caused by sewage backups or leaks. Contact your Santa Rosa plumber immediately if you suspect your sewer line is clogged or damaged.

Sewage Backups
One of the most common and easily-identifiable signs of a sewer line problem is sewage backup into your home. A sewage backup may be large or small; major overflows can cause significant damage and even pose a health risk to your family if not addressed properly. However, even small backups are indicative of trouble. If you have one or more drains backing up in your home when you flush the toilet or use your washing machine or dishwasher, it’s time to call your plumber to inspect your home’s drains and sewer line. It’s important to note that even if drains don’t actually back up, you may hear a gurgling noise or see bubbles forming in your toilet after you flush it. These are also indications of a sewer line clog that must be addressed by a plumber.

Foul Odors
Damaged sewer lines can sometimes allow sewage gases to seep into your home. If you smell a foul odor that appears to be coming from one of your drains, it’s likely a sign of a sewer line problem. You may also notice a foul odor outside if raw sewage is leaking into the ground around your home. These odors are generally not harmful, but they can affect your home’s comfort and appeal. Contact your plumber as soon as possible to find the source of the odor and correct the issue.

Spongy Ground
When a sewer line beneath your yard becomes damaged, it can lean and allow wastewater to escape into your yard. The most common causes of damaged sewer lines are tree roots and changes in the ground beneath your home over time that warp or crack your drains. This kind of damage often causes a spongy or wet spot to form in your lawn. You may also see areas of dense plant overgrowth that are associated with excessive water leaking into your yard. If you notice these signs, it’s important to contact a plumber and show him where you suspect the damage is occurring. He can use a video system to follow your sewer line and find the exact area that is damaged to make repairs.


Sewer line issues will only grow in severity with time, causing more damage to your home or yard. If you need sewer repairs or other plumbing assistance in Santa Rosa, visit our website to reach a Mr. Rooter plumber 24/7. Take a look through the articles on our blog for more timely plumbing tips and tricks to protect your home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Understanding and Maintaining Your Restaurant's Grease Trap

A grease trap, sometimes called a grease interceptor, is an integral part of any restaurant’s plumbing drainage system. Unlike residential homes, restaurants manage large amounts of cooking greases, fats, and oils on a daily basis. While these substances are liquids at high temperatures, they cool and solidify quickly. Thus, fats, oils, and greases that enter your restaurant drain or the municipal sewer system beyond can cause severe clogs, drain backups, and significant water damage.

Grease Trap Basics
Your grease trap prevents fats, oils, and greases from causing problems by providing a place where these substances can cool and separate from the rest of your wastewater. As they cool, greases, oils, and fats form a “scum” layer at the top of your grease trap, which is typically a large tank buried beneath the ground outside your establishment. Most grease traps are designed to hold wastewater for approximately 30 minutes, which allows greases and other food wastes to separate from the water. The cleaned wastewater then flows out of the trap and into your sewer drain, while the fats, oils, greases, and any other solid wastes remain behind. Anaerobic bacteria inside the grease trap slowly digest the fats, oils, and other food solids to eliminate them.

Grease Trap Maintenance
The type of maintenance you will need to perform on your grease trap depends upon the size of your grease trap’s tank. Restaurants with larger grease traps generally hire a professional plumbing service to pump out the tank on a regular basis, removing accumulated solids. If you have a smaller grease trap, your own staff may be able to remove solids using a vacuum or shovel. Regardless of the tank size, you should monitor your grease trap regularly to measure the levels of scum inside the tank. A tank that becomes too full can cause drain backups that can bring your kitchen to a standstill until a plumber can solve the issue. Additionally, overfull tanks may release gases or odors into your restaurant, reducing air quality and comfort inside. Keep accurate records of your grease trap maintenance history so you’ll know when it was last pumped or cleaned. If you schedule professional service, talk to your plumber about setting up visits at predetermined intervals so you cannot forget to have your grease trap pumped. Avoid “hot flushing” your drain lines, which entails flushing hot water through your drains to clear them. This practice can prevent grease and fats from cooling inside your grease trap, allowing them to escape and damage the sewer system beyond. Additionally, never pour caustic drain-cleaning chemicals down your drain in an attempt to clear out a clog; these chemicals can kill the bacteria in your grease trap, causing it to cease functioning properly. If you do need help clearing your restaurant drains, a professional plumber will know how to clear out clogs without affecting the efficacy of your grease trap.


Do you still have questions about maintaining your restaurant’s plumbing or grease trap in Santa Rosa? Visit our website to check out a full listing of our commercial and restaurant plumbing services, including drain cleaning, grease trap maintenance, and emergency plumbing repairs. You can also click through our blog to stay on top of the latest plumbing news and developments.

Potential Plumbing Hazards in Your Home

Clogged drains and backed-up toilets are common plumbing problems and you likely already know how to avoid them. But do you know where other potential plumbing hazards in your home might lie? Knowing all the areas where your home’s plumbing is vulnerable to problems can help you spot trouble before it becomes a major flood. Keep reading to learn more about the potential plumbing hazards that could be lurking in your Hammond home.

Your Washing Machine
Your washing machine draws water to wash clothes every time you do your laundry. In most homes, that water is drawn through one or two rubber hoses connecting the wall water outlet to your washing machine. These hoses can grow brittle with time, especially if they are kinked or looped tightly behind the appliance. A burst washing machine hose can flood your home quickly and without warning, causing extensive water damage. In fact, burst washing machine hoses are one of the most common reasons homeowners make claims on their insurance. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to prevent washing machine hoses from bursting. Replace your hoses every three to five years, even if they appear fine. Better yet, replace them with a braided metal hose, which is stronger and less likely to burst. If you do use rubber hoses, shut off the incoming water valve whenever you are not doing laundry. Finally, check your washing machine hoses every few months and replace them immediately if you see signs of cracks, damage, or leaks.

Your Outdoor Faucets
Outdoor faucets are subject to the ravages of the natural environment. Extreme heat and cold can damage these faucets, putting them at risk for leaks. A leaking outdoor faucet may go unnoticed for long periods of time, wasting many gallons of water in the process. Excess moisture around the base of your home could even lead to foundation damage if the problem persists over the long term. Inspect your outdoor faucets every few weeks to check for obvious drips or signs of moisture in the area. Keep in mind that the faucet may leak from the place where it exits your home as well as from the valve itself. If your faucet is leaking, the most likely culprit is the washer inside the faucet that keeps the connection watertight when it is closed. You can replace this washer yourself or contact your plumber for help if you aren’t sure how to make the repair. Additionally, outdoor faucets can be prone to freezing during the winter. Before cold weather hits, winterize your faucets by finding their corresponding indoor shutoff valves and making sure they are closed. Outside, open the faucet all the way and allow any remaining water to drain so it cannot freeze and expand once the temperature drops. Close the faucet once you are finished draining it. Using insulated covers or wrapping exposed faucets in towels during freezing weather can also prevent burst faucets or pipes due to cold temperatures.


These are just a few of the potential plumbing hazards that could affect your Indiana home. If you have questions or concerns about how to maintain your plumbing or can’t repair an issue on your own, visit our website to contact a Mr. Rooter plumber for help in Hammond, Valparaiso, Portage, Merrillville, Lowell, and beyond. You can also check out our blog for additional tips and information about your home’s plumbing needs. 

Maintaining and Troubleshooting Your Drains

A clogged drain can cause toilets, sinks, and tubs to back up or overflow, leading to water damage and inconveniencing your family. Thankfully, with the right knowledge, maintaining and troubleshooting your home’s drains isn’t difficult. Keep in mind that if you run into any drain issues that you can’t handle, calling a professional plumber is the best way to solve your plumbing woes.

Drain Maintenance
Sinks, showers, toilets, tubs, dishwashers, and washing machines all use drains to remove wastewater and prevent overflows. Maintaining these drains will prevent clogs, backups, and other plumbing problems. One easy way to maintain your drains is to use them properly. Never put solid food or other objects down a drain—including flushing trash down your toilet. If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, avoid putting hard or sticky foods into this appliance, as these can damage or clog it. Flush only toilet paper down your toilet; all other items, including tissues and paper towels, should go into the trashcan. Avoid pouring paint or other chemicals down your drains, as these may damage plumbing pipes and cause problems if they reach natural sources of water without proper treatment. You can also maintain your drains weekly using a simple combination of safe household ingredients: baking soda, table salt, and cream of tartar. Mix one cup of baking soda with one cup of table salt and a quarter cup of cream of tartar, then pour approximately one quarter of the mixture down each drain. Follow the mixture with a pot of boiling water, then flush the drain with cold water after 10 seconds.

Drain Troubleshooting
If a drain develops a clog, there are steps you can take to remove it. Avoid the use of store-bought chemical drain cleaners, as these can cause more harm to your plumbing than good. Instead, pour 1/2 cup baking soda down your drain, then follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar. Allow the solution to sit inside the drain for about three hours, then flush the drain with a pot of boiling water. Cover the drain loosely while the solution works for the best results. Clogged sinks, tubs, and toilets can also be plunged; a plunger creates mechanical suction to break up a clog so it can be flushed through your system. When plunging a drain, make sure the lip of the plunger is secure around the drain to create proper suction. If there is not enough water in the toilet, sink, or tub to cover the head of the plunger, you’ll need to pour in extra water to get the right results. If plunging is unsuccessful, you may be able to use a hand auger to snake the drain. However, snaking a drain does require some skill and experience. If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of using an auger, it’s best to call your plumber for professional assistance.


If you experience a clogged drain, it’s important to address the situation sooner rather than later. Ignoring a clog will only cause it to worse, requiring that more extreme measures be taken to eliminate it. If you need help with a stubborn drain or other plumbing issue, visit our website to contact a Houston plumber for help. You can find more plumbing tips and troubleshooting tricks on our blog.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Design Ideas for Your Apartment

Whether your apartment is large or small, the right design can have a big impact on its comfort and functionality. With many design options available, it’s always possible to find an apartment style and layout that appeal to your unique tastes and needs.

Make the Sofa Pull Double Duty
In an apartment with an open floor plan, creating individual spaces can make the space you do have feel larger. When each portion of the room has a specific use, you won’t feel as though all of your living activities are crammed into one single space. One of the best ways to divide an open floor plan without making the area feel closed-in is to use the sofa to divide the space. Float your sofa in the middle of the room to create a natural and low-lying divider. On one side of your sofa, place your coffee table, entertainment system, and any additional seating to form a comfortable living room for socialization. Place your dining table or desk on the other side to create a separate area for meals or work.

Use Bright, Vivid Colors
A brightly-colored apartment not only feels more spacious, it also helps you to feel more energetic and positive as well. Choose a few colors you prefer and work their brighter shades into your decorative color palette. Lighter-colored furnishings offer modern appeal that lend a sleek, clean look to your living space. Alternatively, you can spice up darker-colored furniture with bright pillows, throws, and rugs to bring light and life to your apartment. Pops of color add visual interest that makes your living space appear more appealing, diverse, and alive.

Focus on Lighting
Lighting is another important aspect of your living space. Ample lighting will create a positive atmosphere that allows you to enjoy company or focus on important tasks, while an apartment that suffers from a lack of sufficient light will feel small, dark, and uncomfortable. Lighting refers to both manmade lamps and the natural light provided by the sun. You can enjoy ample lighting during the day by allowing the sun to shine in through your apartment windows. Use furniture with a low profile in front of your windows to maximize the light and view through the glass to make your apartment feel open, spacious, and inviting. Additionally, lamps can be used as both a stylistic and functional element to add light and personality to your apartment. Choose lamps in a style that mesh with your existing décor to create a more coherent feel to every room. One common design mistake is skimping on ambient lighting, so make sure you use enough lamps to provide comfortable visibility at night. Adequate task lighting is also important, especially if you have a space for hobbies or work in your apartment. Accent lighting can be used to highlight aspects of your décor, calling attention to the decorative elements that tie a given room together.


BLVD63 offers furnished and unfurnished apartments for rent near SDSU in San Diego, CA. Inside our luxury apartments, you’ll find natural wood-style flooring, European-style cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and more to set the stage for a stylish and comfortable lifestyle. We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our roommate matching service and current move-in specials.