Aging loved ones struggling to live at home? Try stay-at-home remodeling.

Senior couples can live easier at home with stay-at-home remodeling

It’s hard for seniors to abandon home sweet home. And it’s just as hard on their kids struggling to find an answer for what to do next. But countless people are surprised—and relieved—to discover how flexible a home can truly be in the hands of an experienced contractor. Contractors not only can modify a space to accommodate your aging parents’ needs, they can also make a home more livable, exciting, even fashionable.

Home remodels can fit the exact needs of seniors.

Of course, seniors and retirees still want to live their fullest lives. That’s the beauty of stay-at-home remodeling. It can solve very real problems with highly customized solutions to ensure that a home always feels like home. Yes, remodels often entail luxurious add-ons like walk-in closets or increasing the charm of a home’s exterior, but the purpose of stay-at-home remodeling is slightly adjusted to be more functional. Capabilities include:

  • Kitchens. Adjusted cabinetry levels, rollout cabinets and drawers, lowered sinks, tables and countertops, layered lighting for better seeing, handicap-accessible islands, painting and coloring to suit.
  • Bathrooms. Walk-in bathtubs, slip-resistant surfaces, reachable water controls, added accessibility.
  • Everything else. Fully-customized projects can include handicap lifts in any section of the house, added space, full additions, fully-accessible rooms, easier-to-use appliances, easier-to-use handles, safer flooring and more.

Remodeling: The sky’s the limit.

From senior citizens, to young families and everyone in between, Total Construction has served the Midwest since 1987 with stunning professional remodels. Whether exterior solutions, siding & windows, kitchens, interior updates, bathrooms or other modifications, we can address it with veteran expertise.

If you have more questions about stay-at-home remodeling for your loved ones, call to speak with a friendly representative.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Times are changing: Important information about your roof in 2014.

2014 marks new changes in the roofing industry.

As winter recedes and gives way to the storm and hail season, it’s also important to be aware of some other changes that could affect your roof. From insurance changes, to emergent roofing scams, to valuable information on securing a better roof for your home, the following tips will help you protect your finances while protecting the longevity of your home.

It’s time to double-check your home’s insurance policy.

If you live where hail happens most often—the Midwest being a prime example—a shorter lifespan on a roof is more likely. Insurance companies are aware of this and while most offer good comprehensive service, some are looking to cut their losses by limiting your roof coverage. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, hail-related claims increased 84% between 2010 and 2012.

Look for these changes in your renewal policy:

  • Refusal to cover roofs over a certain age (like 10 years)
  • Adding a separate hail deductible that’s subtracted from what you’re paid on a hail claim
  • Excluding cosmetic damage like dents in metal roofs, siding, or copper trim
  • Roof inspections that note the condition and age of your roof before issuing a policy
  • Not covering roofs made from obsolete shingles (thus making it difficult to buy replacement shingles)
  • Doing partial roof repairs instead of replacing your whole roof (possibly leaving you with a patch that’s a different color than your original roof)

Also, as another note of caution, be weary of insurers paying actual cash value rather than replacement value for roof damage. This means insurance will discount your roof claim based on how old your roof is—leaving you with a lower claims payment and a higher-dollar roof replacement bill. A great way to find out if this applies to you? Read the declaration page of your policy—or simply call your insurance agent.

Get wise to reduce vulnerability to hail—and scammers.

If you live in areas prone to hail, your roof will likely need to be replaced every seven to 10 years compared with every 20 years in less stormy areas. That’s why it’s good to educate yourself with a few tips when you choose materials to upgrade, repair, or replace your home’s exterior components. For example, look for roofing materials rated by UL 2218 or FM 4473 as class 3 or 4. It’s like a code that says they’re proven to withstand hailstorms. Choose materials rated for the wind speed in your area. You can even ask your insurance agent if you qualify for a homeowners insurance discount for using storm-resistant building materials. But above all, use an experienced contractor (ideally one who has an insurance claims division to make the process smoother) who can properly install a roof to withstand high winds.

But it’s not just hail that can damage your roof; it’s also fraud. Be skeptical of any roofers who show up after a hailstorm offering to check your roof for damage. Once they’re up there, they may further damage your roof, or worsen what the storm did, then offer to make repairs. The best way to protect yourself? Only allow reliable, experienced, licensed contractors to examine your roof—who are even more credible if they’ve won local awards. Don’t respond to offers claiming you can get a “free” roof (the scammers are assuming your insurance will pay for it), and make sure anyone you hire to repair your roof uses proper storm-resistant materials.

Have more questions or just need some simple answers? Call the roofing experts serving the Midwest since 1987.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

6 useful tips to prevent pipes from freezing

Where there's frozen water, frozen or burst pipes can follow.

It’s no mystery in the winter: the main culprit of bursting pipes is frozen water. Namely, how frozen water blocks the normal flow of liquid through the pipes, causing backup and pressure to build. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not expanding ice that actually makes a pipe finally burst: it’s the remaining liquid water finding nowhere else to go but out. Using this knowledge, there’s a few simple tips you can follow now to prevent any watery disasters in the future.

1. Ensure your pipes are insulated. Sure, homes in the north are often equipped with well-insulated pipes. But regardless of latitude, homes throughout the Midwest, especially farther south, should ensure their pipes are properly insulated—especially in vulnerable areas such as attics, crawlspaces and outside walls. If this year’s frigid cold has taught us anything, it’s this: where the cold is less commonplace, so is preparation. So don’t be a victim: avoid costly emergencies by adopting a mindset of better safe than sorry. For advice on insulation, you can always contact a construction contractor.

2. Seal those seams. To keep cold wind away from your pipes, seal cracks and holes in your walls with caulking. Simply walk along the walls of your house and feel for drafts. And for fainter drafts, light an incense stick. When the smoke is offset, there’s a draft.

3. Some doors are best left open. Did you know? Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm inside air from reaching pipes under sinks or in adjacent outside walls. It’s a good idea to keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let warm air circulate around the pipes and prevent freezing.

4. Unfasten your hose. If a hose is hooked up to your backyard or the side of your house, remove it and shut off the valve that leads to your outdoor hose. By shutting off your valve and ensuring all water has dripped out, it removes the risk of a freeze.

5. Don’t hesitate to use your taps. As long as water is running and pressure doesn’t build up, there’s a far lower risk of freeze and pipes bursting. Also, it’s okay to let faucets lightly drip where you believe there could be risk of cold pipes. The slight relief in pressure prevents potential buildup within your pipes.

6. Leaving for a trip? Don’t over-lower the heat. While understandably it saves money to lower your thermostat when you’re away from home, it’s important to not be overzealous and allow your home to cool excessively in your absence. A home kept reasonably warm will ensure pipes share the same cozy condition.

Aside from the obvious pipe burst, a telltale symptom of winter creeping into your infrastructure is lowered water pressure—or worse, no water activity whatsoever when you twist your faucet on. While this requires immediate professional assistance, you can also call a professional ahead of time for additional precautionary tips on how to prevent this worst case scenario.

For the best repair and restoration in the instance of water damage and other incidents, contact a certified construction contractor serving homes and businesses since 1987.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Fire prevention tips for holiday homes

This season’s fluctuating highs and lows have caused an unusual rate of house fires in the metro and—amidst strands of decorative lights and power cords—now marks a good time to highlight some important safety tips. Here’s a quick list of precautions that will help you enjoy a safer holiday.

Treat outdoor lighting with respect.

Exterior lights often require more electricity and burn hotter than indoor lights. While many people are quick to use any extension cords they might have in storage, it’s crucial to use outdoor-approved extension cords and nothing else. LED lights also burn much cooler and more efficiently than the old-school incandescent bulbs, making them a smarter buy that lowers several risks. These are quick, easy fixes that should be heeded much like wearing a seatbelt.

Be aware of indoor hazards.

In the cold months, coziness is understandably a priority at home. Amidst the relaxation, remember to be mindful of where your heat sources are. Is your space heater at a distance of at least three feet from its surroundings? Is everything in your home—especially if you have a Christmas tree—safely distanced from the fireplace? Is all the lint removed from around your dryer? Is all of the tinsel, toys, wrapping and seasonal décor kept away from flame or heat? Did you switch off your electric blanket after using it? Also, despite its admitted use by homeowners, any fire department will tell you to never heat your home using an oven.

Wisely place and water your tree.

A high-moisture, well-watered tree is good. An under-watered tree can become dry, turning those lights wrapped around it into potential igniters. And if your tree is artificial, check your electrical connections and keep it away from flames or heat sources. And whether your tree is natural or otherwise, always remember to switch off those lights before bed.

Test your smoke alarms.

Now is a good time to ensure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Some fire departments offer smoke alarms free or at a reduced price. You can inquire about this by calling your fire department’s non-emergency number. And on that note, always make sure your home has a fire extinguisher in case of emergency.

We’ve seen—and repaired—every type of home disaster at Total Construction. So in addition to wishing you the warmest holiday season, we also wish you the safest. For additional household inquiries, you can always call our team of experts for more information. Stay turned for further safety tips after the holidays.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

10 smart ways to winterize your home

With the winter freeze fast upon us, there are several opportunities to warm your home easily, effectively, and practically everywhere you look. Here are just a few simple steps to convert your home into a cozy, cost-saving, winter-warding fortress.

1. Seal those seams.
As we know, cold air will find its way into the home however it can—wasting 5% to 30% of your energy use. With the autumn’s falling temperatures, now’s the perfect time to locate those pesky drafts and stop them before the true freeze kicks in. So take a walk throughout your house and spot where the drafts are coming in. Some you’ll feel immediately; others you can detect by lighting an incense stick. You can seal basement seams and cracks with caulk, window seams with plastic insulation kits found at your local hardware store (they’re invisible to the naked eye once applied), and the bottoms of your doors with weather stripping—or even rolled-up towels. Wherever there’s a draft, there’s definitely an option available to dam it up.

2. Look for available tax credits.
You’d be surprised how many energy-efficient upgrades to your home will not only save you money on your bills, but reap in tax credit from the government. Among the many options that could get you cash back simply for having them installed or updated include: Storm doors, windows, water heaters, furnaces, programmable thermostats, insulation and more. When your home is equipped with the proper energy-efficient components by today’s standards, you’ll be rewarded for it in more ways than one.

3. Reverse your ceiling fans.
Most ceilings fans come with a handy switch that makes them spin clockwise instead, which recirculates the rising hot air back down into your living space. This simple trick can cut your heating costs as much as 10%.

4. Change your furnace filter.
It’s important to change your filter once a month to prevent unhealthy airborne particles from infesting the home. There are even modern permanent filters on the market today that can remove up to 99.97% of particles in the air.

5. Shut off or empty your A/C and outer water lines.
Drain any outdoor hoses, remove them, and stow them neatly for next season; shut off the water supply to your outer hose bibs (locate the twist valves on your water pipes near the outer walls of your home to do this); drain any air conditioner pipes and make sure water isn’t pooled in equipment that could potentially freeze.

6. Attic Insulation.
Sounds odd, but a well-insulated attic, especially when done by professional contractor, should actually maintain a cold temperature. Why? If poorly or improperly insulated, your attic will absorb unwanted heat from the home below, which can warm layers of snow on the roof in a stovetop effect. This can lead to untimely melts and ice dams forming near the gutters. Which brings us to the next step.

7. Clean your gutters.
With falling leaves now accumulating atop our homes, now’s the time to clean them out from the gutters. Whether it’s done personally or professionally, cleaning gutters will allow for the proper flow of meltwater away from your home, rather than collecting and causing ice dams, leaks, or potential damage to your roof.

8. Give your furnace a tune up.
To ensure your furnace runs efficiently and flawlessly all season long, call your heating company for a tune-up and maintenance check. The earlier you call the better as colder weather leads to busier schedules for technicians.

9. Dress appropriately.
A light sweater can make you 2 degrees warmer. A heavy sweater? Four degrees. And let’s not forget our blankets. The old-fashioned power of layering, obvious as it seems, will help us resist the temptation to adjust the thermostat or make any impulsive decisions that could be otherwise avoided.

10. The most failsafe option of all: Call a certified professional.
A certified contractor can perform the most thorough energy audits for your home, provide the most thorough, timely advice and address every cold weather situation with veteran experience. There’s no substitute.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

A Miracle Happens in Omaha

Anyone who leaves town for a few days knows the simple joy of returning to home sweet home. But for one woman, it was much sweeter.

Sue V., an Omaha resident who single-handedly raised seven kids in her home, found an opportunity to finance a quick weekend trip to visit two of her sons living out of state. She’d leave Friday, return Sunday. Simple.

But not so simple, given what she knew.

Sue knew that, amidst her priorities of being a good and ever-present mother, she’d still be returning to the same deteriorating home, the same holes in her siding, and the same foundational issues. She knew that her home was falling fast into disrepair, despite recently emptying her retirement in efforts to maintain it. She knew that times were becoming tighter and money harder to come across.

But she didn’t know this: As soon as her plane left the runway at Eppley Airfield, her close friend Joyce from her church and Total Construction CEO, Kevin Jackson, marched a small cavalry onto her property to fix her house. It was a secret operation involving contract workers, construction equipment, good friends and volunteers of all ages, working dawn till dusk to restore a home to a condition as pristine as the heart of its owner.

Part of the project was fundraised among friends. But most of it was just old-fashioned volunteerism and hard work—much the case for Jackson, who donated time to the project despite it being the busiest, most demanding time of year for contractors.

The home’s foundation was repaired. Siding was restored and painted. Grounds were repaved. Qualified workers performed major professional operations while others ran caulk guns where needed. Fences were rebuilt among other things. Home was, for Sue, sweet again.

Sue arrived home late Sunday night when the darkness served like wrapping paper hiding the gift from plain sight—until her daughter reached in and turned on the porch light.

“At first I thought it was the wrong house.” Sue said. “I’ve never had a deck before.” Her friends had been waiting underneath the newly built deck in the meantime with flashlights.

“They surprised me and took me around the house. It was a miracle.”

Her astonishment continued well beyond that evening. “For well over a month every single day I walked around the house to witness it. I am so grateful.”

On a September evening shortly thereafter, Sue hosted a party to thank everyone who had helped. After all: that night, there was no home across the city that was better suited for such an occasion.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Total Construction achieves rare Master Elite Status among Roofing Contractors

In a feat that only 3% of North America’s roofing contractors have ever achieved, Total Construction has been named as a Master Elite Weather Stopper® Roofing Contractor for GAF—the largest roofing manufacturer in North America.

This status is awarded to contractors who demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to the highest standards in sales, services and installation to ensure that each customer receives the best and safest choice in roofing.

To become factory-certified as GAF Master Elite, a roofing contractor must also show that they are:

  • Properly Licensed by their state to perform roofing work
  • Adequately Insured for customer protection
  • Have a Proven Reputation for providing quality roofing services throughout the community
  • Committed to Ongoing Professional Training to ensure quality installation

While Total Construction is honored to receive such a high badge from such a successful and reputable company, we hope this is an indication of our constant goal to work seamlessly with all parties with whom we do business—from listening to the needs of each customer, to communicating with their insurance, to dealing with the finest vendors and product available on the market.

Onward!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

The Problem-Solving Power of Good Attic Insulation

Sure, most attics are just dark and unlivable spaces, so it’s easy to overlook their importance. But when given modern-day maintenance and insulation, these vacant areas of the home are actually packed with potential to keep your roof, siding and other components free of problems in the cold months—while saving you additional money.

Why a “Cold” Attic is a Good Attic in Wintertime.

Sounds odd right? But interestingly enough, a well-insulated attic or “cold” attic in the wintertime does its job by keeping warmth where it belongs: in your living spaces below. If poorly or improperly insulated, your attic will absorb unwanted heat, which can warm layers of snow on the roof in a stovetop effect. The result: Untimely melts and ice dams forming near the gutters—in other words, water that can creep underneath shingles and enter your home. Water loves to find a way in wherever it can, but an insulated attic is a great way to keep it out.

Early fall is the best time.

With the Autumn chill soon upon us, now marks the best time to have a professional contractor look at your attic—not only to inspect the spread of your insulation, but also the type of insulation you have installed. Like any building material, attic insulation materials have evolved into much better and budget-savvier options that cut costs and keep temperatures pristinely balanced. And by doing it now, you’ll be staying one step ahead of latter part of Autumn, the time of year most prone to fluctuating cold temperatures, attic-bourne moisture and ice damming. (For the same reason, early spring also sees high occurrences.)

Stay tuned.

Attic insulation is just one of several professional pointers in our series of fall home maintenance tips yet to come—some widely known, some lesser known—and a great way to face the approaching cold months head on. As always, if you have any questions or issues regarding repair, roofing, remodeling or any seasonal adjustments to your home, call a licensed contractor. And keep an eye out for more tips in future blogs!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Roof Repair: Seek Integrity, not just Instant Quotes.

Get a Free Estimate from Total Construction ServicesWhile the storm season can seemingly produce hail out of nowhere, it also produces another sudden phenomenon: An outbreak of advertising leading you to websites offering fast free bids, instant quotes, instant roofer comparison lists and overall instant alleviation from your worries as a homeowner with roof damage.

And while these websites can sometimes yield a few good roofers with a click of your mouse, the fastest option is not always the best. Wise consumers know how to sort quality from quantity when they’re comparing which roofer is best for them—and can still fit an expert repair into a busy roofing schedule when it seems as though several contractors are backed up for months.

Be enticed by solid repair, not speedy repair.

While you’re understandably looking for an available roofer fast, it’s important to reiterate: Always look for the indicators of a great roofer first and foremost. Does the company have a good local reputation that’s backed by awards and testimonials? Do they offer a solid warranty? Do they have experience that proves their longevity in the industry? Do they work with an insurance company who can vouch for them? The roof is a literal investment over your head. It’s important to have it done right—and you’ll be much happier down the road.

You can still have both—quality repair and no waiting list.

After you’ve weeded down your options by asking the above questions, you can fine-tune your comparisons from there. And if the roofers you contact are too busy to serve you now, there’s a smart option not widely known to the public called a third party—a network of local, regional and national roofing contractors who serve much like an elite national guard wherever roofers are needed (especially right after heavy storms). And you can always ask your insurance—as well as the roofers you’re contacting—for companies that they can refer.

So if you’ve received recent hail damage to your roof, chin up. The roofing industry is evolving fast, better options are becoming available, and there’s no longer a need to settle for speedy subpar options. You can still get the best service for your roof—on time and on budget!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Or learn more about Third Party Management.

Who’s repairing your Roof? Look for Proof.

As this storm season unfolds, it seems that wind and hail aren’t the only culprits threatening the integrity of your roof. In a story so peculiar that WOWT investigated and aired it on their evening news, a few brave scammers are cold calling residents across the Metro and posing as Total Construction.

Of course, our job is to ensure that you receive the best roof repair and never get shortchanged by imitators providing subpar work. That’s why we’re sharing the following tips to ensure your roof receives repair from our expert craftsmen—and not counterfeits.

Ignore cold calls.

Total Construction has served the Metro for more than 25 years. We’ve built our name through customer referrals and word of mouth—never solicitation by phone. If someone cold calls you with the Total Construction name, the call is phony (no pun intended).

Get their number and try calling them back.

When you dial it, does it connect to a legitimate company? A human being with a first and last name?

Check for a tangible presence.

Ask where they’re located. Does the company have a legitimate local address? What about a company website? Does the website have real employee profiles that put a real face and name behind their service? Do their trucks and uniforms say Total Construction?

Check for awards, testimonials and credentials.

Total Construction has received the 2010 Better Business Bureau Integrity Award, an abundance of real testimonials from satisfied customers, and a license from the state. It’s illegal to do roofing work in Omaha without a license, and yet another good way to expose an inadequate roofer trying to solicit your business.

Remember, when you need expert roofing, restoration, or remodeling, Total Construction is ready to put our experience to work for you. Accept no substitute!

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com