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EPA Lead Certified RRP Renovator  #NAT-4019-1              MD. MHIC #89107               PA. PHIC #063622

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We are here to offer insights into the world of remodeling, from design, building, and satisfying our customers.

By highlandren16162980, Dec 16 2014 06:41PM

My skylights are leaking!!

So here is another great example of what NOT to do when deciding to put skylights in your roof. Here we have a very cut up roof system that all drains onto a flat roof. If you were going to install skylights into any roof the flat roof is probably the worst, especially when three other roof planes drain onto it. Really?? I find myself asking that question so many times when it comes to looking at work my competition passes off as acceptable. As you may have guessed this customer has issues with the skylights leaking. First, flat roofs are the DEVIL!!! No, just kidding, if you have a flat roof it is OK but this is a fine example of a flat roof with poorly installed skylights. What you can’t see in the picture below is the flat roof has a negative pitch to it. Yes, that is correct, a negative pitch. Every time it rains the water collects at the back of the roof and does not drain off correctly as it was intended. You can see the puddle of water standing on the roof (it hasn’t rained on this roof for over a week). This is bad when water stands on roofs BUT it can be OK if the roof is designed to withstand standing water. Skylights and flat roofs usually don’t mix. Think of it this way, it’s a window in your roof. A window in your roof. Not a good thing in principle but it can be done so long as it is done correctly and with care. Notice the last skylight and the roofing membrane wrinkled up around it? Bad install and probably a sign that the plywood under it has taken on water and caused the membrane to separate from the decking. The only way to make this fix right is to install a new flat roof over this existing roof to provide at least a ¼” drop over every foot. Once that is done, then and only then could you consider installation of skylights. As always make sure you have a competent roofer or general contractor onsite for repairs such as this. Your local “Chuck in a Truck” has no idea how to make this fix correctly and he will probably recommend a 5 gallon bucket of roofing tar. Sounds like a good fix right? Nope, that tar might last a year if you are lucky, but most likely the leaking will come back again. The longer you wait to fix it right, the worse it will be for repairs.

By highlandren16162980, Dec 16 2014 06:26PM

The problem with "Box Store" installations. . . .

So as you all know there are companies out there that sell home improvement products for your home and projects. Some of their catch lines include "You can do it" and "Never stop improving". I am sure we have all at some point in our lives driven by and on occasion stopped into these stores to purchase items for home improvements. I myself can often be found in one of these stores buying a little of this and that and of course you can also find my employees and clientele there as well. As great as these stores are for convenience and selection (even though contractor supply houses are better) they have started offering crazy deals for installations of just about anything you can imagine. From shingles to windows and doors, carpet, insulation, flooring, etc. they seem to offer it all. Here's the problem though, those box stores literally subcontract all of those installations out. Now you may ask, "Why is that a problem, other contractors do the same?", and while this is true what you the consumer do not know is what these box stores actually pay subcontractors for installations. Believe it when I tell you that their end goal is to protect profits and of course get the largest margin possible for each job. This ultimately translates into pay rates for subcontractors of next to nothing. Now you may ask, "How do you know what they pay installers?". I know because a few years back they approached our company to become a certified installer. At first we thought, hey this might be a good idea, it could be a steady stream of work. Then we saw the price list for what they pay for typical projects. Patio doors like in the picture below pay $75. All I can say is, WOW! Minimum wage and lower for what it should typically take for installations. Their jobs are paid by the job and not the hour, so for installers it is in their best interest to install the product in your home as quickly as possible so as to maximize the pennies they make on each job. Here is a stunning example of an Anderson door installation we recently had to repair. According to our client the door doesn’t function correctly and at times is prone to leakage. They filed a complaint with the box store and with Anderson and each blames the other. Based on the picture you can see caulk work that is laughable at best. When it was installed it was clear silicone, which is an acceptable product, the bad thing is it looks like it was applied with a paint brush. You could never tell that when it was installed BUT give it a year and the silicone gets dirty and ugly from dirt and use. Besides that the overall attention to detail just doesn’t exist and this is what you can expect when dealing with box stores. Surprisingly enough though a lot of contractors do the exact same thing and you should always be wary of a price that is too good to be true. At Highland our pricing for a job like this is always going to be more than a box store but you will get superior installation by a company that truly cares about your home. Oh and we also know how to apply caulk correctly!

By guest, Dec 16 2014 04:03PM

We are excited re launch our website, complete with new ideas for design, budgets and custom work! Follow us as we explore the many sides of remodeling from the job that never seems to end to the ones that go off without a hitch.

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