Category Archives: Do It Yourself

How to Get Insurance to Pay for Your Roof Replacement

Many homeowners who have been through the nightmare of having to deal with the roof damage and trying to get their claim approved by the insurance company will agree: sometimes, it can be very difficult to get a claim paid.

So, how do you get your insurance company to pay for a roof replacement? The answer involves a combination of information, preparation, documentation and hiring a professional roofer to work on your behalf.

Understand Your Insurance Coverage

Knowledge is power. Don’t let your insurance company tell you what’s covered and what isn’t.

Most of us don’t read the fine print of the policy until something goes wrong. Now is the time to do that. If you don’t have a copy of the policy, a common problem, request one from your agent. A paper copy or electronic file should be made available promptly.

In most states, there are two types of coverage: Repair coverage and replacement coverage.

Replacement policies are more common, though they do cost more. Replacement coverage provides for returning the roof to a brand new condition when an event that is covered by the insurance policy takes place.

Repair coverage usually takes into consideration depreciation of the roof. This means you will get a percentage of the replacement cost based on the roof’s material and age. It could be as low as 15% for a roof near the end of its service life.

Read your policy carefully. If the language is confusing, ask questions.

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Rain Chains Cost, Materials, DIY Options & Styles

Rain chains demonstrate a beautiful blend of decorative form and useful function. Instead of water traveling from your roof through a closed downspout, rain chains allow you to enjoy rainwater’s pleasing sound and aesthetics, like a babbling brook cascading downward.

Rain Chains DIY Installation

via Hallmark Channel

In Japan, where rain chains had their origin, they are a common element of traditional building design. Gutters are viewed as too utilitarian to use when the function can be handled by something that also enhances the beauty of the structure. — That view is spreading, and the popularity of rain chains is growing in North America and around the world.

This buying guide provides a comprehensive overview of rain chain styles, materials, options, installation methods, costs, and DIY options.

The Basics

If you’re unfamiliar with rain chains, or kusari doi in Japanese, lets discuss their anatomy.

  • An adapter or bracket is attached to the gutter in place of a downspout
  • The rain chain hangs from it
  • The chain is anchored by a basin, stake or weight

These three essential components might be sold separately, but many top manufacturers produce kits with everything included.

Cost

There is a wide range of rain chain prices, but they can be loosely grouped into these four categories that have some overlap:

  • $15-$50 | Cheap rain chains, fine chains, small design elements spaced widely, most often painted or coated steel or aluminum.
  • $45-$90 | Good-quality rain chains, larger and more design elements, most often copper, but some are brass, aluminum or stainless steel.
  • $80-$215 | High-quality rain chains, large, complex design elements, most often copper or stainless steel, a bottom bowl might be included.
  • $200-$700 | Best-quality rain chains, quite ornate, copper and stainless steel designs, often with a basin and stake included. The very finest rain chains are imported from Japan and cost in the upper end of this range.

How Much Do Accessories Cost?

The accessory options are weights, basins and stakes:

  • Rain chain stakes: $10-$16
  • Rain chain weights: $25-$50
  • Rain chain basins: $35-$150 depending on the size, material and whether they’ve been handcrafted

Most Popular Styles

  • Chain links are interspersed with artistically designed cups or other features such as birds, leaves or flowers at intervals of a few inches to as much as a foot apart.
  • Most rain chain cups have holes in the bottom to allow water to pass through. Other chains are produced with shallow cups, and the rainwater fills the cup and spills over into the cup below.
  • Single links or another type of connector are used to hold each cup to the one above it, so that the rain chain is really a series of cups with little or no chainwork.
  • The rain chain is a series of decoratively fashioned links or loops, often of varying size and artfully interwoven, with no cups at all.

Because of the artistic nature of rain chain design, these three basic styles are produced in nearly limitless variations and combinations.

via Eichler Network

Traditionally, rain chains were crafted from metal, and most still are.

Most Popular Materials:

  • Copper: This is the traditional material choice of rain chain artisans. The copper must be polished regularly if you wish it to maintain its gleam. Most copper rain chains are allowed to develop an appealing patina finish that changes as the copper ages.
  • Steel: This is another traditional metal. Make sure any steel rain chain you consider is coated or painted to prevent rust, though corrosion is probably inevitable.
  • Stainless steel: This corrosion-resistant metal is often used by itself or in a rain chain design with copper.
  • Aluminum: More affordable than stainless, aluminum is durable and will develop a light patina too.
  • Brass: This material is a staple of plumbing fixtures because it resists corrosion. It’s an attractive choice for rain chains too.

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Gutter Guard Installation Cost 2019 – Are Leaf Guards Worth It?

Gutter guards (aka leaf covers for gutters) are an attractive idea to homeowners whose homes are surrounded by large trees. Plenty of marketing dollars go into promoting gutter guards, but are they really worth the money?

In this guide, we cover the cost to install gutter leaf guards, their pros and cons, and alternative approaches — to help you decide whether or not gutter guards make sense for your home.

Right off the bat: Gutter guards will not completely eliminate the need for gutter cleaning. That said, to have new gutter guards professionally installed, it will cost you between $7.50 and $12.00 per sq. ft.

You should know a couple realities from the start, though: Gutter covers WILL reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning, but they WON’T completely eliminate it.

Depending on how many trees are in your landscape or backyard surrounding your property, expect to clean your gutters about one-third to one-half as often as you did before.

It’s impossible to keep fine tree debris out of the gutters. The debris will build up over time. Seeds might sprout, and you’ll have significant clog issues if you don’t clean the gutters.

Did you know? When your gutters eventually need to be cleaned, the job will be more difficult and time-consuming because you’ll have to clean the gutter guards and the gutters.

Depending on the type of guards you install, removing them before cleaning the gutters might be a necessary extra step in the process.

Three Gutter Guard Installation Options

You’ve got three options for gutter guard installation:

DIY installation: You buy the product at your local Wall Mart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot and install it yourself ($-$$)

Pro installation of the product you buy or select: You hire a handyman service or gutter guard company to install the product of your choice ($$-$$$)

Pro installation of a proprietary product: You hire a company to install its own brand of gutter guards ($$$-$$$$)

How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?

The features of the gutter cover types are listed below. First, here’s what you can expect to pay based on the three options for gutter guard installation we just listed. All costs are in linear feet:

Material Costs:

  • Plastic screen gutter guard: $.20-$.40 (20-40 cents)
  • Aluminum perforated gutter covers: $.50-$1.25
  • Steel screen gutter guard: $1.50-$3.00
  • Foam gutter guard: $2.00-$3.25
  • Micro-mesh steel gutter guard: $2.25-$4.00
  • Brush gutter guard: $3.15-$4.25
  • Solid-surface gutter guard (helmets): $3.50-$6.25

Professional installation cost when you purchase the materials: $1.85-$3.75

Full-service professional installation — materials supplied and installed by a gutter guard company: $7.50-$12.00

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