• Home improvement spending set to hit $340 billion: Tips to protect the ‘roof over your head’

    By Staff Reports -

    Americans are expected to spend nearly $340 billion in 2018 to upgrade or to patch up their homes, a 7.5 percent increase from last year, according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

    Many Americans choose to hold onto homes and renovate rather than sell into a housing market that’s cooled amid rising property prices, higher mortgage rates and a lack of available inventory. For homeowners, investing in small amounts of preventative maintenance can go a long way to avoiding much bigger costs in the long run.

    One of the most damaging elements to your home can come from unpreparedness for inclement weather – from extreme heat to hurricanes – summer brings with it a mixture of heat, humidity, rain, hail and high winds can wreak havoc on your home. Keep these three tips in mind to maintain your home and avoid unexpected costs this summer:

    • Over your head: One of the biggest home investments that is often overlooked is the importance of roof maintenance. It can be the single largest ticket items for many homeowners so it’s important to have preventive maintenance to ensure bad seasonal weather doesn’t cause extensive damage. If your roof isn’t strong and sound, you can invite in mold, animals and structural damage.

    Understanding the importance of checking their roofs and knowing the basics of roof maintenance and damage can help ensure homeowners are better prepared for upcoming weather. It can make a huge financial impact for you and your family.

    What’s even more surprising is that a new, national survey by Owens Corning Roofing found that although 40 percent of Nashville homeowners are worried that their roof might be damaged by bad seasonal weather, only 5 percent said they always check or have their roofs checked before the start of a season that typically brings bad weather.

    Watch for water: Spring and summer foliage may have filled your gutters to the brim. To avoid rain getting inside your home or damaging your home’s foundation, it is crucial to have a well running gutter system in place. Keep your gutters clean to avoid clogging and water overflow. There are different products out there to keep your gutters free of debris. Think of your gutters as the middleman from your roof to the ground, keeping rain water from running down your home’s walls. You should  direct your downspouts away from the foundation of your home and try to guide the water to a garden or vegetation. Clean gutters and the proper use of downspouts will keep your home’s foundation intact and avoid expensive structural damage.

    Keep it cool: The sun can cause a home to dry out and prematurely age causing damage and safety issues. Install an attic fan or ridge vents to help release the hot air in your home. With extreme heat, homes must be prepared to stand against the temperatures. Remember the color of your home matters too. Air conditioners will work harder in darker colored homes than in lighter ones because dark colors absorb more heat. So, if you’re looking for a summer home improvement project consider repainting the exterior of your home to keep cooling costs down.

    Keep this in mind when looking for warning signs when extreme heat hits and be sure you’ve had your air conditioning system tuned up at the start of summer. If you have window air conditioning units, make sure you clean the filters for maximum efficiency. Consider a backup generator in case you lose power as the extreme heat could reach dangerous temperatures in your home only causing more damage and unnecessary costs.

    With simple, proactive measures you can make the most of the summer and avoid unexpected costs and potential damage to your home.

    Dustin Thweatt is general manager of Tim Leeper Roofing.

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