42.6319N 70.7833W

Does Your Roof Have These 5 Problems? Contact WORKS.

July_roof repairEspecially on the North Shore of Boston, roofs are vulnerable to wind, rain, snow, ice, and damage from overhanging trees. Most roofs need repairs because of these 5 problems:

1. Improper or failed flashing. Some estimates state that 90% or more of roof leaks start with flashing problems. Flashing is the material used to seal and waterproof the roof. The areas around gutters, chimneys or skylights, and the places where two roof lines meet are prime areas where improper flashing can cause water damage.

2. Improper insulation. Where the attic is improperly insulated, hot air meets cold air and that leads to condensation and mold in the summer or to the formation of ice dams in the winter. If you have insulation in the attic, but it is compressed or water stained, it is no longer working properly; replace it. Houses built before 1990 may have vermiculite insulation in the attic. This pebble-like insulation contains asbestos and needs to be professionally removed.

3. Gutters and drains that aren’t working right. If your gutters and drains aren’t cleaned properly, they may accumulate enough wet debris to stop working. In the summer, that wet debris encourages the start of mold that can work its way under your roof. In the winter, pooled water in gutters creates icicles that are dangerous to people and pets and weigh enough to damage the gutter and edge of the roof. When a debris-filled gutter or drain gets too heavy, it will actually pull away from the roof, causing more damage.

4. Missing, broken, or buckling shingles. Most often, weather damage is the cause of missing or broken shingles, but shingles can also be damaged when a chimney or skylight is repaired. Buckling shingles are a sign of improper ventilation. Make sure that anyone who works on your roof—whether they are correcting a problem with gutters or installing a skylight or checking out a leak—knows how to avoid and recognize damage to shingles. For example, discolored shingles are a symptom of a roof leak and curling shingles may be due to improper ventilation or improperly installed fasteners.

5. Overhanging trees. On the North Shore of Boston, we have many beautiful wooded areas and many homes that are nestled within them. However, if they are nestling too close, then overhanging limbs can damage the roof’s surface by repeatedly scraping it. Wind, ice storms, and blizzards can hurl limbs onto the home’s roof and cause considerable damage. It’s best to trim trees so that limbs stay at least 6 feet away from the house.

When roofs begin leaking, homeowners on the North Shore of Boston call WORKS. We know how to fix improper flashing, improper insulation, problems with gutters and drains, and missing or broken shingles. Even more important, we know how to build and replace roofs to prevent those problems in the first place. Contact us today.

WORKS Brings Renovation Visions to Reality

June_Renovation_AttiaOne of the pleasures of WORKS is when we have a chance to bring into reality a homeowner’s renovation vision for his home. The homeowners of an 1880s Colonial in Beverly had worked with an architect to come up with several plans. They stressed their desire for a great kitchen and nice bathrooms, a possible mudroom and garage addition, and new electrical and plumbing—as much as could fit within their budget.

We started with a detailed site walk. We always want to see exactly where we’ll be working and how the site fits in with the homeowner’s renovation vision. We often have suggestions that can make a project more cost-effective and efficient, especially with a whole-house renovation like this one where the homeowners moved out for several months.

The WORKS team handled and coordinated everything, from tearing out the old fixtures to building a new porch; from reinforcing the basement to fixing cracks in the ceiling; from installing windows to insulating; from scheduling plumbing and electrical to painting the interior and exterior. Everything.

The advantages of having a general contractor like WORKS are:

  1. As a homeowner, you know your budget, preferences, and goals are understood by everyone on the team. There’s no chance of a mismatch between what the carpenter hears and the floor installer hears.
  2. We take the responsibility of scheduling the plumbing and electrical professionals and other specialists so that their work fits neatly into the schedules of the entire team—no one holds anyone up.
  3. The WORKS team has been together for years and we have long-term relationships with subcontractors; everyone understands the level of quality and responsibility we expect.
  4. As a homeowner, you have one person to interact with if you have questions or simply want an update on progress. You never need to chase down multiple people.
  5. Because we’ve been in the construction and renovation business for so long, we know what to look for before a simple problem escalates into a costly repair. And we know how to fix it.
  6. We communicate with you and with each other regularly and clearly. There is never any finger pointing. We’re a team.

In a future blog, we’ll show you how some of the renovations turned out in this Beverly home. In the meantime, if you have a renovation vision for your house, please contact WORKS by Jesse DeBenedictis. Turning your vision into reality is what we do.

Before You Replace Windows: 6 Facts

May_Windows Before_Buck projectWindows, especially on the weather side of a home, take a terrific beating from wind, rain, sun, and snow. If your windows are showing signs of rot around the frame, fogging between glass panes, and broken mechanisms that can’t be repaired, you should consider replacement windows. The photos show the before and after condition of windows that WORKS replaced on a Beverly home built in 1997. The rot around the frame is clear in the before photos.

Are your windows in need of replacement? Before you replace windows, take these six facts into consideration:

  1. Old wood-framed windows with storm windows are quite energy-efficient, equal to modern dual-paned windows, they add style to your home, and are cheaper to repair than replace. Before you replace wood-framed windows, make sure they can’t be repaired.
  2. If you do replace windows, try to install a complete new unit, including insulation, rather than using a window insert, which will reduce the size of the window and probably leave insulation gaps. You want the finished replacement to look as if it always belonged to the building, a look that is difficult to achieve with inserts.
  3. May_Windows After_Buck projectOlder houses (built before 1978) may have windows painted with lead paint. You need a contractor who is certified to deal with hazardous paint removal.
  4. Take time to explore the different options available for replacement windows: wood, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. But take into consideration that modern wood windows may not have the same quality as older wood windows: wood is now farmed, rather than allowed to grow slowly, so it doesn’t have the same long life.
  5. If you want to quantify the energy efficiency of windows or qualify for a tax credit for replacing windows, check out the National Fenestration Rating Council website, which explains energy efficiency ratings and offers a certified products directory.
  6. Many options are available in window design, including low-E coating, argon gas between panes, UV blocking, tempered glass, folding glass doors, and large unobstructed panes. Consider what is most important to you and to enhancing the beauty and comfort of your home.

The WORKS team is expert at restoring old wooden windows, including replacing pulleys, sashes, aprons, and stops and building new storm windows. We also replace windows, often working closely with architects. Please contact WORKS for more information on restoring or replacing the windows in your home.

WORKS Builds an Addition for an 1880 Home

A s long as the weather is dry, we work outdoors even in winters. One of our winter projects was to build an addition on a three-story Colonial in Beverly, Massachusetts. The home was built nearly 140 years ago and despite its size was short on downstairs space and upstairs bathrooms. The addition took care of both.

April_New Addition_tear downSome of the Tasks Required in Building an Addition

Building an addition is more than a matter of building a framework, floors, and ceilings. In this case, we had to cut access panels for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) duct work. We had to install insulation and work closely with electricians and plumbers.

In framing the walls we had to leave room for pocket doors. We had to integrate the addition with the outside of the house, with the appropriate fascia and soffits. The roofing materials and outside paint had to match the rest of the house.

The new upstairs bathroom that became possible with the addition had to be properly vented, and the shower properly waterproofed to prevent damage to the floors below. Downstairs, we installed crown molding to fit with the other interiors of the home.

Reasons for Building an Addition

April_New Addition_in progressHomeowners have additions built to their homes for many reasons associated with the need for more space or more useful space. For example, you yourself might want to:

  • Avoid moving with its hassles.
  • Remain in a beloved home.
  • Accommodate a change in lifestyle—more entertaining, larger household, more hobbies, more income to fulfill a wish list.
  • Be kind to your budget, which may not extend to a larger home in your neighborhood but will cover an addition.
  • Take advantage of economies of scale in building a two-story addition like the one in Beverly: if you are already adding a room below, adding a room above is far less costly.

Whatever your reasons, WORKS by Jesse DeBenedictis has expert builders, cabinet makers, flooring installers, painters—and advice based on decades of construction experience—to ensure that your addition project is a success from concept, through teardown and buildup, to the day you move in with your possessions.

Please contact us to talk about and schedule your addition.

WORKS Brings Guest Bath into 21st Century

WORKS Brings Guest Bath into 21st Century WORKS Brings Guest Bath into 21st CenturyGuest bathrooms often pose problems. They may be small, awkwardly shaped, and neglected while the homeowners concentrate on maintaining and renovating the rooms they use most.

Small bathrooms—which is a category many guest bathrooms fit into—present challenges that may include:

  • Small work spaces
  • Slanted ceilings or walls that meet at odd angles
  • Minimum natural light
  • Mandated clearances for the shower and the toilet
  • A feeling of claustrophobia
  • No available space for expansion

The WORKS team was invited into a beautiful home in Manchester-by-the-Sea to renovate the guest bath, the third bathroom in the house. The room was original to this 1980s contemporary home.

Our work began at the very threshold, which we replaced. We milled, shimmed, shellacked, and installed the new threshold, along with the rest of the baseboard trim. The trim around the shower was particularly tricky because of the shower’s curve (see photo). We assembled and hung a new shower door. We installed a new countertop for the bathroom sink.

Then it was time to upgrade the plaster walls and the sloping ceiling with new paint. We fixed any imperfections first; in fact, we brought in a halogen light to make sure that we located and repaired all the small bumps and cracks that any wall is subject to over time. Then we primed and painted.

The right choices in bathroom fixtures, vanities, flooring, wall coverings, and doors help to resolve the special problems of small guest bathrooms. Today, homeowners can choose wall-mounted sinks, very small showers, glass panels instead of shower doors, handsome pocket doors into the bathroom instead of swinging doors, rounded fixtures, and a variety of floor and wall coverings that expand both the reality and the illusion of space.

Please contact WORKS and consult with our professional bathroom renovators for solutions that will bring a sense of luxury and space to your small or overlooked guest bathroom.