Has the Weather Taken Its Toll on Your Roof?

Winters in New Hampshire provide plenty of picturesque landscapes, but they can also be brutal, especially on your roof. If heavy snowfall and ice accumulation has taken its toll on your home, now is the time to address any problems before further damage occurs. Though roofing repairs may seem like a fairly simple task for homeowners, they can lead to unnecessary accidents and injury. A professional roofing contractor is your best bet for replacing a damaged roof or flashing caused by harsh weather conditions. By hiring a professional, you can ensure the job is done properly and avoid any water damage to your home’s interior.

Spring Is the Time to Check for Roof Damage

When warm weather arrives, it’s a good time to inspect your roof and the interior of your home. Snow and ice can lead to missing shingles, broken shingles or buckling caused by a constant freeze and thaw cycle. In addition to checking the shingles, you’ll also want to inspect the gutters and eaves. A backup of ice can lead to ice dams, which can damage shingles, gutters, eaves and eventually the insulation of your home.

After an exterior inspection, you’ll need to check the ceilings and walls of your home for possible damage. Look for any signs of paint discoloration or water stains. Pay special attention to the perimeter of the ceiling, where water damage caused by ice dams is likely to occur.

Next, you’ll want to check the attic area. Water leaks and cracks in an attic can lead to mold problems. If not resolved promptly, the mold can spread to other areas of your home and become a potential health hazard.

For homeowners unable to perform an inspection, a qualified roofing contractor can provide a detailed and reliable check for any signs of water damage.

Protect Your Home by Replacing a Damaged Roof

If your roof has suffered extensive damage, a new roof is essential. Though replacing your roof is an investment, avoiding or delaying roofing repairs can lead to additional home damage and unnecessary expenses. By contacting an experienced roofing contractor today, you can be assured the job is done right and prevent any unwanted injuries from attempting repairs on your own.

Dealing with Snow Melt In Your Garage

Weathering frigid northern New England winters without a solid garage is unthinkable to savvy homeowners. While having a well-built garage to shield your cars is great, it’s just the beginning. Keeping the snow that you track in from doing serious property damage over time is a tall order. Mercifully, curtailing snow melt in your garage and its associated ill effects is very achievable if you do the following.

Build a Barrier with Garage Mats

Keeping snow off the concrete is huge if you don’t want eventual cracks in the foundation. A couple of synthetic floor mats in front of entry doors is a good way to prevent puddles. If you want to go all out, car-sized mats that will absorb snow melt overnight can temporarily replace garage drains in the floor.

Add Some Auxiliary Heat Sources

Mats alone won’t sop up the snow that’s inevitably brought in when you park at night. Setting up a few mid-height overhead lamps or space heaters at floor level will turn snow to more easily absorbed sludge when you need to break out a mop. Light slicks will be evaporated more easily regardless of your specific garage construction.

Suck Out Moisture from the Air

Eventually, taking a more active and constant approach to snow melt problems in the garage will be required as the winter goes on. A sturdy dehumidifier can solve problems that floor mats can’t. The key is to ensure that your garage is totally sealed. Use a simple IR heat leak detector to find insulation gaps and plug them.

Tack On a Little Ad-Hoc Drainage

Those of us with sloping garage floors and drains are the lucky ones. Unfortunately, most of us won’t get one without a serious garage regrading that can be costly and time-consuming. You can simulate a draining floor with rubber or composite wedges tucked against the house side of the garage that direct water away from vulnerable foundation surfaces.

Use a Sump Pump to Suck Up Water

If you have the option to influence garage construction from the get-go, you can lay things out so standing water doesn’t occur. However, water usually builds up in older garages and needs to be removed ASAP to avoid standing water problems. A sump pump hooked up to flexible plastic hoses can quickly remedy sudden water accumulations.

When Simple Solutions Don’t Work

While the snow melt remedies mentioned here usually work for the average homeowner, they’re rarely permanent or one-size-fits-all panaceas. Sometimes, installing garage drains and performing garage regrading is simply required. If that’s the case, calling in the professionals is ultimately the best and most cost-effective solution to the ongoing problem of snow melt in the garage.

Planning Your New Hampshire Patio Just In Time For Spring

Enjoying the glorious summers that New Hampshire has to offer is a lot easier if you have a full-featured patio. Making a patio stand out is harder than most homeowners realize. Whether you’re building a new one or renovating an existing layout, there are many patio planning factors to consider. You’ll need to do the following to create a truly unique patio that you can be proud of.

Get the Groundwork Sorted Out

Naturally, the most important part of a patio is the actual foundation that everything else will rest on. There a number of materials that you could utilize including granite flagstones, ceramic tile and concrete pavers to name just a few. Consult with a few local contractors to get ideas about the best materials and layouts to use for your property.

Install Fencing and Shading

A slab of concrete or a patchwork of cobblestones isn’t particularly impressive in and of itself. Adding fencing for privacy or a low stone wall to create boundaries is an easy way to spruce things up. Pergolas and accent walls provide shade as well as a support system for creeping vines. Sun sails and awnings are equally easy to install.

Assemble a Furniture Collection

Considering its primary function as a relaxation space, any worthwhile patio should feature comfortable furniture. Cover the basics by getting a few Adirondack chairs and chaise lounges to start. If you want to get fancy, a bench swing anchored to the slab is a great investment. A few hammock chairs are an excellent way to flesh out your seating options.

Personalize the Creature Comforts

Once the basic structure of the patio is finalized, it’s time to work on the amenities. For nearly every homeowner, some sort of cooking area is a must. A barbecue pit or a grill set into a stone counter is a classic patio feature. Fountains, waterfalls and reflecting pools will make any outdoor lounging area more tranquil in short order.

Finish Up with Lighting & Plants

Ambient patio lighting comes in all colors and intensities thanks to the versatility of outdoor LEDs. Bulbs recessed within the patio floor paired with overhead fixtures and lanterns provide tons of flexible illumination options. Plant an array of shrubs around the patio borders and train ivy or wisteria to climb accent walls and arbors to green up the surroundings.

Great Plans Make for Great Patios

For New Hampshire residents, careful patio planning in the months leading up to spring will make the actual implementation a lot easier. Hiring an experienced patio construction outfit to assist you in the planning and execution phases is never a bad idea. If you cover these five areas when designing your patio, the results will justify the effort.

 

Getting Rid Of That Smelly Basement Once And For All

So, you have a smelly basement…

Basements are great additions to a home. However, things may get nasty if this section is neglected. You may be taking a lot of time and effort ensuring that your house is clean and that everything is in order, but there is this musty smell that you can’t get over with. Have you checked the basement? Given that most of our home’s basements are almost entirely underground, they usually accumulate moisture. The dampened environment combined with the lack of adequate sunlight supports the growth of mildew. This is the leading contributor of the smelly odor penetrating to your living rooms. If you are thinking of getting rid of basement odor completely, there are various solutions you may consider.

Getting rid of basement mold in a dirt or concrete floor

Most old buildings have nothing more for their basement floors than just a dirt floor. This means that water vapor permeates and settles on the ground, thus promoting mildew growth and in effect, the unattractive basement odor. To completely get rid of the musty smell from such a basement, you need to install a protective layer that shields the moisture from getting to the floor surface. For this case, you may consider hiring professional mold removers and basement cleaners such as the diamond hill builders.

The case of a concrete floor may be a little more complicated; it may involve hiring expertise from the onset if the root cause of the smelly basement is to be identified. The smell may be emanating from an internally leaking plumbing line, simple cracks on the floor that allow moisture trapped underground to vaporize through. It can also be due to poor laying of the house foundation that results in accumulation of drainage water on grounds around the house before penetrating through the walls and thus resulting mildew growth. Depending on the cause of the problem, a Diamond Hill Builder’s expert will always have a permanent solution to your problem.

Other methods of mold removal

Having a moldy basement is a recipe for a smelly basement that is felt in the house’s upper rooms. If not attended to and removed in time, the mold eats through your wood flooring or any other material layering on the floor like carpets. This only serves to aggravate the musty smell and not even the fan or a dehumidifier will have a significant effect on it. The only solution in this case would be to hire a professional contractor to remove the mold and identify its origin. You may also consider basement remodeling that would include insertion of ventilation that would let in fresh air to the basement and, if possible, streaks of light.

Before settling on any form of mold removal or basement remodeling, ensure that you first consult a professional contractor. They will not only advise, but also offer technical assistance on the best method of eradicating the mold for good. They will get to the cause of the mildew growth and resolve it. Any notable contractor will also advise that proper ventilation is the only assured restructuring that would prevent mold from forming in your basement by allowing cool fresh air in and pushing the warm air upon which mildew development thrives from the basement.

5 Good Reasons To Consider a Basement Remodel

Over the years basements have acquired a well-deserved reputation as dank, moldy and chilly spaces in your home that leak your energy dollars into the outside air and exist primarily to store items that won’t fit elsewhere. Today, homeowners are discovering the benefits of remodeling basements to increase living space and at the same time control moisture and lower energy costs. There are five very good reasons to consider a basement remodel this year.

Remove Moisture

Most homeowners first consider the benefits of extra living space when deciding to remodel a basement. Removing moisture can be even more important than adding an extra bedroom or creating a home entertainment system, however.

Moisture typically enters a basement through a leak or through humidity that finds its way into the large open space. Leaks can occur when water enters your home due to a crack in the foundation or through a window or door that isn’t sealed properly. It’s also possible that the leak could be inside your home. A water pipe from a shower, sink or washing machine might have developed a leak, allowing moisture to collect behind the walls of the basement.

Moisture from a leak collects behind the basement walls and is drawn into the living space through osmosis, while high indoor humidity simply adds moisture to the air. Many basements also have little or no ventilation, adding to the moisture content of the air. No matter where the moisture comes from, high humidity provides an excellent breeding ground for mold, which contributes to the damp smell and impacts any family members who have breathing problems.

Ridding a basement of excess moisture can seem more difficult than it really is. Diamond Hill Builders, a basement remodeling contractor located on the seacoast of New Hampshire, is experienced in removing moisture from a damp basement. We’ll work to create the ventilation necessary to control the moisture, using techniques and equipment designed to take it out of the air as effectively and efficiently as possible. Remove Moisture, and you’ll find your basement can become a much more livable space.

Improve Energy Efficiency

When a basement feels cold, you’re much less likely to spend time in it, even if it’s an inviting space otherwise. When a basement remodeling company such as Diamond Hill Builders works to improve your basement’s energy efficiency, the basement doesn’t just become a comfortable place to relax and enjoy time with the family. You’ll also save money on your energy costs.

A basement that isn’t built using energy efficient techniques allows moisture in, making it feel cold as well as damp. If you want to spend substantial time there, you’ll need to turn the heat so high that you can almost see your money flying out of the room. An energy efficient basement has walls, floors and ceiling areas that have been well insulated, offering comfort at a lower cost. Materials that help Improve Energy Efficiency can also play a role in helping to keep moisture out of the area.

Expand Living Space

Your family may be growing at such a rate that you’ve run out of bedroom space for everyone, or your teen may have decided he badly needs his own private room. You might have elderly parents who require some help with their daily or weekly needs, but aren’t yet ready to move into an assisted living facility. At these times, a basement bedroom or suite can fill t these times, a basement bedroom or suite can fill your family’s needs perfectly. You can even remodel the basement to include a kitchen if necessary.

Extra space can be a big benefit when your large family or network of friends wants to visit for a few days or a couple of weeks. Rather than having to tell them that you simply don’t have room and they’ll need to find a hotel room, you can offer your basement bedroom and bathroom as a hospitable, no-cost option.

Create Entertainment Centers

Perhaps you may have always wanted a home entertainment center, but haven’t had the room. A remodeled basement can be the perfect place to create your entertainment dream. A large-screen television, surround sound and plush, tiered seats give you, your family and friends the perfect setting to watch the latest video release or the big game while controlling the sound. Even a simple wide-screen television and comfortable chairs can meet your family’s needs.

You may appreciate having your own home gym, especially when it’s cold and snowy outside. You might also want a dedicated craft room or a playroom for your children. A basement office might meet your work needs. A remodeled basement offers the necessary space.

Use Space Creatively

Your remodeled basement doesn’t have the limitations on it that the main levels of your house have. You’re generally working with one large room, so you can feel free to design it in any way you like. An open seating plan for entertainment can flow into a play area for your children, allowing you enjoy watching television while they play close by, something that you might not be able to accomplish upstairs unless you knock out a wall or two. You also have the freedom to decorate in a way that might not be possible on your main floor. The possibilities can be limitless.

Increase Your Home’s Value

Remodeling a basement is one of the most cost-effective ways to make changes to your home and increase its resale value at the same time. A basement remodel typically returns about 70 percent of the cost, according to remodeling experts. Basement remodeling is much quicker and more efficient than adding on a room to your house and more cost-effective than remodeling a kitchen or even a bathroom.

If you need to Expand Living Space or simply want to make a change in your home to reflect your lifestyle, consider a Basement Remodel. It’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

 

Understanding Basement Remodeling Costs

Many people who wish to improve their living space, provide more storage or just save on energy costs turn to a basement remodel. This changes an often-neglected area of a home or business into an area that can be enjoyed by everyone.

We, at Diamond Hill Builders, are able to provide high construction services to both residents and businesses. When contacted, we will arrange for a company representative to come to your home or business, inspect the area and provide an estimate of the cost. We always recognize any budget restraints you may have and plan accordingly. The following article should help homeowners owners understand basement remodeling costs.

Advantages of a basement remodel project include:

1. Provides a comfortable working or living space
2. Covers ugly ventilation and water pipes
3. Corrects any leaking water pipes
4. Waterproofs the area
5. Provides more light with larger windows
6. Improves moisture levels and energy efficiency

Should you desire to go ahead with the project, we will obtain any building permits required and deliver the required materials. Our highly trained and experienced technicians will then be able to complete the job quickly and efficiently.

The remodeling costs of such as project will depend on the work desired. However, whether it involves a simple insulation or changing a basement into a room designed for a specific purpose, there can be a considerable savings in energy bills and improvement in ventilation.

A basement project will include:

1. Building permits
2. Insulation
3. Building Materials
4. Plumbing and Electricity
5. Flooring
6. Labor

Remodeling costs are estimated as ranging from $16,000 to $26,000, depending on what you want to have done. Insulation in the basement ceiling and walls is accomplished by bolting treated 2 x 4’s to the area and then securing plasterboard in place. The area is made waterproof with various moisture barriers and paints.

If the basement is to be changed into a living area, there are numerous design ideas that will result in a room that will bring pleasure to the entire family. This may be a family room, hobby area, playroom or have a number of delightful purposes. The addition of a toilet in the basement can be accomplished behind a false wall, which will avoid one having to go upstairs should the need arise.

Based in Stratham, New Hampshire, at Diamond Hill Builders we are dedicated to applying our expertise to any job undertaken. Whether a residence, business, big or small project, we devote our entire attention to each detail. We are especially proud of our customer satisfaction record.

Our service is available for projects along the New Hampshire sea coast and the surrounding area. We are licensed, bonded and insured and are happy to provide the expertise required to make any changes to your property that you desire.

 

New Uses for Old, New England Garages

When you have a semi-detached garage, there’s not much you can do with it in the traditional sense. It’s not large enough for your newer model SUV. It’s not big enough for all the lawn equipment and outdoor sports accessories. Instead of wasting this space by using it haphazardly for storage, you can turn the semi-detached garage on your Cape Cod style home into more square footage for your home. With some remodeling, we can help you turn this space into something functional as well as fun.

Game Room

As your children get older, they’re inviting friends over to the house. Those friends are growing bigger too. It’s noisier when the house is full of teenagers than it was when they were five or six. If you can corral them into a game room, you’ll level off the noise in your home. They’ll be entertained with their friends, you’ll know exactly where they are and they won’t be under your feet. The game room could cater to video games on a large screen television or arcade style games for the whole family. A pool table or table tennis is a fun activity for everyone. After the kids go to bed, this could be your place to relax.

Media Room

If you’ve always wanted a media room and never had the space, consider it for the garage. With the proper wiring and seating, it’s the perfect way to add extra entertaining space to your home. You don’t have to purchase stadium or movie style seating either. You can purchase a few low couches, some bean bags or ottomans to make your own seating style that works for your family.

Home Office

Many people sacrifice a home office for an extra bedroom for the children or the ability to have a guest bedroom. Often, the home office is part of the living room or kitchen, which isn’t quiet or conducive to work. The garage will have to be wired for Internet, but it’s easy to add insulation, walls, rugs and furniture to the space. It’ll be like a home office retreat instead of an underutilized garage space.

Home Gym

The rooms on this list are most often fit into any space in the home that will accommodate them. Instead of having a home gym, people will often have a treadmill in their bedroom. This doesn’t make the room a romantic retreat. When you want to do yoga, you have to drag the mat from under the couch or out of the closet. With the right renovations, we can turn your garage into a zen-like space that’ll be like your own yoga studio.

Homework Stations

For those who might homeschool their children, or want a centralized space to oversee their studies, a room that functions as a homework hub is a great use of garages. It’ll need some modifications like wires for more than one computer and light fixtures over each station. The space will have to be heated and cooled with the changing seasons. We would be able to help you renovate the space to be a fully-functional homework hub with separate stations for each child.

Unique Spaces

Those spaces are ones that are currently hiding in unused corners of your home right now. These new uses for your garage are unique, and you might not have considered it for your unused garage space.

In-Law Apartment

Whether you have an in-law that needs an apartment or not, you can turn the garage into a small, studio apartment. While it might seem too small for that, there are ways to utilize the space in a way that creates a room that is bigger than most apartments in New York. We can create an overhead loft space for a bed, add a small bathroom and kitchenette area. With the right planning, the space is big enough for a small studio space. It could be great for the teenager attending college who needs space and privacy but isn’t ready to leave home yet.

Pet Room

If you have pets, you could give them their own room. This could also be a room that you enjoy with them, but that caters to your favorite furry companions. With built-ins, you can add a wall with water and food bowls that keep themselves perpetually filled. If you have cats, they would love a winding, climbing structure built right onto the walls. This dream room could have cat trees and cat holes anywhere you’d like to place them. It could be full of cat and dog beds as well as places for other animals. The room could be anything you imagine for your beloved family pets.

Custom Workshop

If you love to work with your hands, you can create a functional space for making projects. It doesn’t have to be a handyman’s shop for fixing up the home. The space can be full of built-in custom cabinets that house all your tools for creating custom woodworking projects, crafting projects or helping with your sideline business. The custom workshop could be a place for your hobbies too. That hobby could be painting, woodworking, custom jewelry or crafting.

That old, New England garage is underutilized space that could be holding you back from your own media room or writing retreat. These are just a few ideas of what you can do with that space instead of it being wasted

Hiring A Professional To Install Your Insulation Matters

Are you considering installing new installation for your home or business crawl space and don’t know if you should hire a professional contractor or simply try the installation yourself?

If this is the case, there are a few ways to differentiate between the two options. Read on to learn why it is important to hire a professional that specializes in insulation.

Safe removal of old insulation prevents lawsuits

One of the key concerns when you have insulation installed, repaired or removed is to understand which type of material you are removing. One of the reasons for hiring professional insulation contractors is that they will know how to deal with issues like asbestos. If asbestos is not handled correctly, it can lead to health problems for tenants or family that may lead to death. Another key health issue that insulation often entails is microorganisms like black mold. If this situation is handled improperly by a handyman, the continuation of mold in the fresh insulation could lead to long-term health issues for the occupants of the building.

Saving utilities for long-term cost savings

Of course, one of the main reasons that insulation is needed for a home or business is because the property owner wants to save money on utility bills. In some cases, the differences can be astounding, but hiring professionals will ensure you get maximized savings because they will be able to provide you with the details on the correct type of insulation to use for your particular house. And using a professional you know that it will be sealed properly so it will provide long-term cost savings.

Maximizing rebates for your business

Homeowners and businesses alike may be eligible for rebates from the government. This includes federal tax credits for consumer energy efficiency. Professional contractors that specialize in insulation will know how to advise what types of insulation may be eligible for money back from the government.

Professional Assistance

To learn more, contact us to get a free quote. USI believes that excellence in every step of the process ensures timely completion and quality service, time after time.

How To Choose The Right Composite Decking

Choosing the composite decking that is right for you can be overwhelming at first but you can simplify your process by weighing a few key issues.  Budget is an obvious consideration but the amount of sunlight, community building codes and overall appearance are also important considerations. Some composite decking brands will meet your needs and others won’t.

Budget Factors: Quality composite decking costs two to three times more than pressure-treated wood but lasts two to three times longer. If you are on a tight budget installing wood railings rather than composite railing reduces deck costs while providing a more durable decking surface.

Sunlight and Weather Factors: The amount of sunlight your deck space receives is also an important consideration prior to selecting materials. Dark-colored and very dense composites can really heat up in the sun. Get composite samples in different colors and set them outside on your deck site. If they’re hot enough to fry an egg after a day in the hot sun, consider a lighter color or a different composite material.

Preparing Your Fireplace for Winter

While enjoying autumn in New England it’s important to take the time to prepare for winter. One of the important seasonal tasks for a homeowner is to ensure that their fireplace is ready to be used safely on those chilly days.

Contact Diamond Hill Builders in Stratham, New Hampshire to inspect your chimney. Creosote buildup in your chimney from previous winter use can cause dangerous and potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes as well as chimney fires. It is also possible for birds or other animals to have nested in your chimney over the summer.

Ask your chimney inspector to check for any cracks or loose mortar in or on your chimney. Make sure your damper opens and closes easily. It should be kept closed when the fireplace is not in use so as to avoid energy loss. The damper should be opened when you start a fire and only closed when the fire is completely out. Clean out your fireplace as well as your fireplace tools. The metal container you use for ashes should have a well fitting cover and be free of rust or corrosion. Check your fireplace screens and doors for any damage and have them replaced or repaired. This is important for everyone but especially so in homes with children or pets.

Here at Diamond Hill Builders we provide a complete range of chimney inspection services to assure your home is both warm and safe for you and your family. Please contact us to help you prepare your fireplace for enjoyment all winter long.