Author: Polar Bear Exteriors

Quick Ways to Winterize Your Entry and Patio Doors

Winter is drawing near, which means you must take on various maintenance tasks to make sure your home is prepared for the frigid weather. You may have tapped a roofer or a siding pro to inspect your home’s exterior components this fall, but have you recently checked your entry or patio doors for drafts? If you haven’t done so, then continue reading to learn quick ways to winterize them.

Tips for Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Roofing projects are some of the most important and most expensive home improvement project you’re going to undertake as a homeowner. Whether you’re installing a new roof, replacing an old one, or getting some repairs; you’ll want to hire a trustworthy roofing professional for the job.

Choosing the right roofing contractor, however, is not as simple as it seems. It can be a challenge, especially to those who are hiring for the first time. To help make the task easier, we have compiled a few tips to assist you.

1. Check for license and insurance

Roofing is a complicated and dangerous job, which is why it’s not recommended for homeowners to do it by themselves. Working several feet above the ground, on an uneven surface, is a huge safety risk – one wrong step can send you straight to the emergency room.

Reputable roofing contractors have the knowledge, skills, tools, and proper equipment required to perform the job safely and successfully. More importantly, they carry necessary roofing contractors insurance to cover them and their crew in the event of an accident or injury during the project. Working with licensed and insured contractors will save you from headaches in case something unfortunate happens on site.

2. Look for roofing contractors with experience

Experience means a lot in the roofing industry. There are lessons, knowledge, and skills that can only be honed by repetition and time. Experienced contractors may charge higher than their newer competitors, but they also have a long list of satisfied customers to vouch for their services.

Roofing projects cost a lot of money, so you need people who can do it right the first time. Roofers who have had years of experience are more likely to deliver a quality job.

3. Use past works as a reference

Experience is important, but reputation is everything. That said, when interviewing a potential roofing contractor, don’t simply take their word for it – ask for references. Reputable roofers won’t have any issues with this. It could be contact numbers of previous clients that you can personally speak with or photos and locations of their completed jobs.

But as most contractors already have a well-curated portfolio of references prepared, you need to do some research on your own as well. Third-party review sites provide more candid insights and real feedback on what it’s like working with a specific roofing company.

4. Ask what happens if you’re not satisfied with the results

It’s crucial to ask contractors how they deal with unsatisfied clients because there’s always a chance that the results won’t be to your liking.

How do they handle error complains?

Do you have to pay more to get things re-done?

Go with a roofing company who is prepared to vouch for the quality of the work that they do. If you end up unsatisfied for some reason, they should guarantee to get things done to your standards.

The Bottom Line

Despite the amount of research that they have done, many homeowners still make the mistake of getting swayed by the lowest bid. Yes, budget is an essential factor, but the price is not the only thing that matters here. Cheapest does not equate to best.

The right roofing contractor will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. In the end, you should choose a roofer who offers you the best value for your money.

James Hardie® Siding: Why It’s Called The “Superior Siding”

When it comes to siding material, you’ll have no shortage of options and most homeowners tend to gravitate toward the option that is both affordable and durable. While you’ll find numerous products on the market that fit these requirements, such as aluminum, vinyl and stucco, there’s likely one material that your siding contractor recommended for you to consider: James Hardie® siding.

In this post, Polar Bear Exterior Solutions discusses the reasons why James Hardie siding is known as the “superior siding.”

The 5 Best Value Exterior Home Improvements

Is it worth it? That should be the big, burning question behind exterior home improvements. Most real estate agents will advise you against installing a swimming pool. It’s a terrible investment — especially in western Washington where you’ll use it just part of the year. It’s expensive, and high maintenance and doesn’t raise the value as much as the cost. But there are plenty of valuable ways to spruce up the outside of your home and add curb appeal. Here are the five best value exterior home improvements.

1. Garage Door

This improvement is No. 1 on the “best value” home improvement list. In western Washington, you’ll get back 123.8% of the average cost of a new garage door. That’s like free money. But the value isn’t only about the appearance. Garage doors can improve your home’s energy efficiency and security, and lower the maintenance on the exterior of your home.

2. New Siding

Replacing old vinyl siding is completely worth the money. In fact, it’s ranked as one of the best values for home improvements by Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost versus value survey for the Seattle region. Just replacing the siding gives homeowners in western Washington an 85 percent return on investment. Replace it with a trendy manufactured stone veneer, and your ROI goes up to a whopping 110 percent.

3. Front Door

Your front door is part of your home’s first impression. Replacing or updating a dull front door is another exterior home improvement with a lot of bang for the buck. According to the 2019 cost versus value survey, a new mid-grade front door replacement has a 78 percent return on investment in the Seattle area. But if you decide to go all out and turn your front door into a grand front entrance, the ROI goes up to 85 percent. Not bad for a weekend’s worth of work.

4. Green Up the Lawn

The state of your yard reflects on the state of your home, at least in the eyes of someone who sees it from the street. lists landscaping as the top item to add value  and attract buyers to your home. Regular mowing, watering and fertilizing are key to turning your patch of grass into a lovely lawn. And if you’re looking to thicken up the grass  and make your yard the envy of the neighborhood, try overseeding in the fall to fill in any thin or brown patches. A bag of grass seeds and a seed spreader can add value and  make you wonder why you didn’t do it before.

5. All Hands on Deck

Adding a deck can be a pricey home improvement project whether you DIY or you hire a pro, but the numbers don’t lie. A new deck adds value to your home to the tune of 87% in western Washington. That’s because outdoor living is trending right now, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where decks built of cedar or redwood have a certain regional charm. Think of it as an outdoor living room, where you’ll enjoy mealsand relax. It extends the living area of your home, and when the time comes to sell, it’s an upgrade that’s attractive to potential buyers.

When it comes to value, not all home improvements are created equal. Some exterior enhancements, such as improving the lawn and pruning the shrubs, won’t cost a lot, and  will still elevate the look of your home. Other projects can be a lot more expensive, but if you pick the right projects, the value and the return on investment are worth the money  and time.

Roselyn Jenkins is a real estate agent who spends much of her time fixing up and flipping old houses. Her specialty is creating eye-catching landscapes.

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