Contractors Cannot Offer to Pay Your Deductible

In 2010, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law prohibiting residential building contractors and remodelers from offering to pay all or part of a homeowner’s insurance deductible or offer anything of value to convince a homeowner to enter into a contract (Minn. Stat. § 325E.66). The law has since changed, and the Construction Codes and Licensing Division (CCLD) has begun to enforce action against contractors for violations.

This law states a contractor cannot offer to pay part or all of a homeowner’s deductible and restricts a contractor from offering or providing anything of value in exchange for providing their services. For example, contractors are prohibited from offering rebates, credits, free meals, material upgrades free-of-charge, or anything of value to entice a homeowner to sign a contract funded by insurance funds. It is also essential to note that any advertisement or marketing materials offering benefits in a retail transaction must include a clear disclaimer that the offer does not apply to insurance-funded projects.

Another recent change to the law requires contractors to provide a written summary of these constraints to a potential customer when the contractor provides their initial estimate; insurance companies and adjusters are also required to provide this same information to the homeowner. The written summaries help clarify it is illegal for contractors to offer incentives prohibited by law.

If you have any questions about this law, you can contact CCLD Enforcement Services at 651-284-5069 or dli.contractor@state.mn.us.

Spring Cleaning the Roof – 9 Point Checklist

Now that spring is here, it is time to get outside, start your exterior spring cleaning, and evaluate what the cold weather months may have done to your home. Cleaning your roof is an essential part of exterior maintenance and should be done each year. The elements, especially of the fall and winter months, can take a toll on your roof, exterior walls, and gutters. But, you can help keep your home in tip-top shape by following this checklist while cleaning your roof.

  • Remove Debris
    • Start by removing any leaves, dirt, and other debris off your roof. There are two easy ways to get rid of roof debris. One is to rake the debris off by hand, and the other is to use a leaf blower. It is essential to be careful not to damage your shingles when brushing away the debris or walking on the roof.
  • Clean Your Gutters
    • Since a properly functioning gutter system protects your home and its foundation from water damage, this chore is a necessary part of spring cleaning – remember to keep an eye out for these six common spring gutter problems. Performing routine maintenance also helps prolong the life of your gutter system and avoid costly repairs.

      To cut down or eliminate your gutter cleaning time, we strongly suggest investing in installing gutter guards.
  • Check the Edges and Eaves
    • How do the edges of the roof look? Are there uneven shingle edges? Is the paint chipping off the eaves? This is the perfect time to perform any minor repairs to keep the edges and eaves looking sharp and safe from further damage.
  • Inspect Your Roof
    • Be sure to keep a close eye on the shingles, as they are the first part of the roof that protects your home from leaks and other damage. The snow and ice can be harsh on the shingles, so look for missing, curling, blistering, buckled, stained shingles as these can be beginning signs of damage – or be covering up more significant issues not immediately visible.
  • Look for Mold
    • While performing your self roof inspection, you should also be looking for signs of mold or mildew. Discolored streaks on your roof can help indicate signs of growth. Typically, if caught early enough, this can be an easy fix. However, as mold and mildew progress, they will work their way into your foundation and cause more significant problems.

      It’s important not to take any chances because if mold spreads to the interior of your home, it can be dangerous for you and your family. If you are unsure if what you’re seeing is signs of growth, call a professional to come out for a complete roof inspection.
  • Inspect Your Attic
    • A critical but often overlooked point on your roof spring cleaning checklist is inspecting your attic – taking a look at the roof from the inside. This will help you determine whether you have leaks, cracks, holes, or any other underlying damage. Look for stains on the walls and ceiling and light coming through the roof or walls.
  • Flashing and Chimney
    • You should also be inspecting your flashing and chimney during this time. The flashing can easily pull away from the chimney or roof and create small holes for water to seep into and bugs to create a new home. The good news is, these are generally minor, easy fixes. 
  • Trim Nearby Tree Branches
    • Take a look around and pinpoint any branches that are reaching closer and closer to the roof. Trimming these branches away will make cleaning your gutters and roof easier and help avoid potential damage during rain or wind storms.
  • Schedule A Professional Inspection
    • If you are unsure of what you are looking for, have found damage (or think you may have), or need repairs or a roof replacement, it is best to call on the professionals to ensure nothing has been missed. Reach out to our team to schedule a complimentary roof inspection and estimate.

6 Common Spring Gutter Problems

When it comes to spring cleaning your house and yard, it is important to remember to add ‘clean gutters’ to your list.

Since a properly functioning gutter system protects your home and its foundation from water damage, his chore is a necessary part of preparing for the coming seasons. Performing routine maintenance also helps prolong the life of your gutter system and avoid costly repairs. It is recommended that you thoroughly clean the system twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall, before winter and snow.

It is crucial to stick to these seasonal cleanings because when water cannot flow through the gutters properly, it becomes clogged and can add excessive weight to the system. This can cause significant damage to the gutters and the roof, which can create cracks, separation of joints, weeds growing in the gutter, and various other problems.

Six common gutter issues you may encounter when performing your spring gutter cleaning routine include:

  • Clogged Gutters
    • The most effective and efficient way to keep debris from building up and clogging your gutter system is to have gutter guards installed.

      Most debris that builds up and clogs gutters includes small leaves and twigs that can either be easily scooped out by hand or removed with a handheld leaf blower.  Then, flushing the gutters with a garden hose removes dirt and small particles. Eliminating debris and buildup also helps you better identify any holes or leaks in your gutter system.
  • Clogged Downspouts
    • In addition to clogged gutters, you may find clogged downspouts. Clogged downspouts are typically due to debris blocking the drain or ice from the winter not having wholly melted. To clear the downspouts, you can use your garden hose to flush out debris from the top down.
  • Sagging Gutters
    • When there is standing water or too much debris in your gutter system, the gutters may begin to sag. Sagging gutters can also be a result of loose or broken hangers. In some cases, the hangers can be tightened and the gutters cleared to help restore some functionality. In other cases, the hangers may not have been installed correctly, and a more detailed repair may be needed.
  • Leaks and Holes
    • If you notice a stream of water pouring down from the middle of your gutters, your gutters have likely developed a leak. An easy but not foolproof way to determine whether your gutter system has any leaks is to watch for water pouring down from any areas beneath the gutter. There are DIY kits available for repairs, but professional results are generally more reliable, effective, and longer-lasting.
  • Damage
    • Snow and ice from the winter months can also add additional weight to the fascia and cause the gutter system to separate and become cracked. Again, there are DIY kits available for repairs, but professional results are generally more reliable, effective, and longer-lasting.
  • Bent Gutters
    • Heavy wind, rain, or overhanging trees can cause damage to your overall gutter system. If a gutter section is severely crushed or bent one or more areas of the system will need to be replaced and reattached. To prevent this from happening in the future, cut back overhanging tree limbs to about three feet beyond the roofline – or have a tree trimmer take care of this for you.

In addition to the common issues mentioned above, other problems to look for when cleaning your system include holes, corrosion, sagging sections, and loose, bent, or missing fasteners.

If you notice bends, cracks, holes, or any other damage, call a gutter professional to come out for an inspection to replace the damaged areas.

Vinyl Siding Maintenance and Care

Vinyl siding doesn’t only look great on your house; it brings great value. It is a reliable and stunning type of exterior siding offering the lowest life cycle cost over a home’s life.

And, while vinyl siding is designed to reduce the need for upkeep, minimal maintenance does need to be done to ensure it continues to bring that value for years to come. This routine maintenance does more than save you time; it saves you money.

  • Perform Regular Inspections
    • Vinyl siding resists the rot and pests wood siding invites, but it can warp or crack. It can also trap moisture if it is improperly installed, loose, or damaged. If a piece of siding happens to come loose, you need to fix it soon. If it flaps in the wind, bends, or curves, it will likely need to be replaced.

      If you find any damage during your inspection, it is important to have a professional out as soon as possible to assess and repair to avoid further, and potentially more costly, damage. (If you are wondering how to know when your siding needs to be replaced entirely, read more here.)

      A critical time to perform an inspection is after a storm to determine whether the elements damaged, cracked, bent, broke, or removed any part of your siding. In some cases, these damages can be easily overlooked, and it can be helpful to have a storm inspection performed.
  • Wash Annually
    • Vinyl siding keeps it easy as a standard garden hose or power washer is typically all you need to rinse dirt and dust away. If you choose to use a power washer, be sure to set it to a lower pressure setting to avoid damaging the siding.

      It is important to follow the siding manufacturer’s recommendations while performing your annual siding wash. Some manufacturers advise against pressure washers, while others have recommendations regarding the amount of pressure and the cleaners that should be used.

      To wash an entire house, start at the bottom and work up to the top, then rinse back down from top to bottom to prevent streaking. Do not aim the water stream upward as the water can collect behind the siding; this can lead to mold and mildew growth.
  • Keep Damaging Items Away
    • A few common ways vinyl siding is damaged is from lawnmowers and other lawn and landscape care items used near the exterior house and repeated exposures to heat from barbecues. Do your best to keep things like these several yards away from your siding and always take precautions to keep heat sources such as barbeque grills and quickly flammable materials such as dry leaves, mulch, and trash from the house.

      You can also help keep your siding in good shape by trimming shrubbery and trees away from the house so they don’t would the material.

If you want or need repairs or a full replacement, schedule your siding inspection to receive an estimate, free-of-charge, by reaching out to our team today.

How Snow and Ice Impact Your Roof

Winter is here, and with it comes snow and ice that can cause severe damage to your roof. One of the best ways to help prevent the following damages is to perform self-inspections before and after the winter season. This includes winterizing your roof and preparing your gutters. In addition to these necessary preventive measures, be sure to keep an eye out for the following things that can be destructive to your roof.

  • Ice Dams
    • When snow and ice melt, the water and ice can accumulate at the edge of the roof forming ice dams. These dams can cause major gutter damage and potentially tear the flashing off the roof. Water that backs up behind these ice dams is forced underneath shingles causes damage to your roof. It is essential to watch for this to avoid heavy thick ridges of ice from forming along the edges of your roof.
  • Freezing and Thawing
    • With the accumulation of snow and ice and the changing temperatures, small cracks can appear in your roof. And, water seeping into these cracks can be a recipe for a significant issue for your roof. It can cause leaks inside your home. If the water doesn’t leak, it is likely freezing in the crack instead, expanding and causing the crack to expand and increase in size.
  • Buildup
    • Heavy snow (even just a few inches of snow and ice) can cause stress to the roof and its flashings. Don’t let snow and ice buildup on your roof. The weight of the snow and ice can also cause leaks, crack your rafters, and eventually cause roof collapse (in worst-case scenarios – this is not common). But, do not that older homes that haven’t had a roof replacement or have damaged roofs are at a higher risk for structural damage.

      Having a  professional inspection performed after winter to fix any minor damage before it becomes a larger and more expensive issue is a great way to make sure you are properly caring for and maintaining your home’s roof.

Proper maintenance, as well as regular roof and gutter inspections, are the best ways to shield your roof against winter damage. If you notice any damage during the winter, it should be addressed immediately to avoid possible disastrous damage and high repair costs.

To ensure your roof is ready for the winter elements or to repair anything that may already be damaged, contact our team today.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Siding?

The average lifespan of siding is dependent on the type of material, the installation process, and its surrounding climate and its elements. But, you can keep your siding in its best shape over the years by performing annual inspections (simply walking around your home to look closely, from multiple angles, for anything that may need to be addressed with necessary repairs). As with most areas of your house, it is always better to find and address issues before becoming large or emergency problems.

So, how do you know when to replace your siding? Here are seven signs to help you determine when it’s time to schedule a siding inspection with a professional to discuss repairs or replacement.

  • Cracks, Gaps, Holes, or Buckled, Warped, or Sagging Siding
    • These, often unattractive, damages are a red flag indicating your siding is not doing its job in protecting your home as efficiently as it is supposed to. Catching these areas early on may allow you to get away with small repairs before a full replacement, but ignoring these problem areas allows the damage to spread and get worse.
  • Loose or Missing Siding
    • When pieces of your siding are falling off or missing, there is no longer protection for the underlying structure of your home. This is detrimental as excessive moisture (rain or snow), rodents, bugs, and other pests can get underneath the existing siding and lead to a broad range of issues that could lead to potentially expensive repairs.
  • Fading Color
    • Just because your siding color may be fading and no longer adding to your curb appeal like it once did doesn’t mean you need to replace it. However, it is an indicator that you might want to start exploring and educating yourself on what options are available for your home when the time comes.
  • Rot, Mold, or Mildew
    • If you notice moisture buildup (rot, mold, or mildew) in the interior of your home, inspect the condition of that area on the exterior of your home to address any issues – minor or significant – quickly.

      If your siding is rotting or crumbling, it is not performing its crucial role. Keep an eye out for soft or crumbling wood siding as that can be a sign of rot. Rot is an issue you will want to determine the root of the problem and address as soon as you notice instead of ignoring it and letting the issue spread and worsen.
  • Wildlife Damage
    • Woodpeckers, termites, rodents, and other pests that get into or damage your siding aren’t only annoying; they are destructive to the structure of your home. If these critters are a persistent problem, considering fiber cement siding or another material less appealing to these creatures may be your next step.

If you notice anything about your siding that needs attention, our team would be to come out for a complimentary inspection and to discuss your options with you. Text, email, or call to schedule your appointment today as we repair and install siding year-round.

6 Steps to Winterizing Your Roof

With winter almost basically here, all homeowners need to take precautions to help the longevity and condition of their roofs during the cold and snowy season.

  • Inspect and Repair
    • Yes, some roof damage can be seen from the ground level, but the best way to find and assess potential damage is by actually getting up on the roof to take a closer look. From this view, you are more likely and able to spot minor damage or weak spots – minor damage can lead to bigger problems after a significant snowfall. Keep an eye out for caulk that is wrinkled or missing and loose or missing flashings – these should be replaced to help keep your roof in its best working condition.
  • Clean roof and gutters (and downspouts)
    • Hopefully, you have prepared your gutters for fall by now (but who expected snow in October?!), but inspecting your gutters isn’t just a fall chore. It’s best to recheck them before winter hits. If there are any repairs left unaddressed, melting snow won’t drain properly and build up in gutters and/or downspouts, causing problems for your roof and home.
  • Trim Tree Limbs
    • Snow is heavier than it looks when lightly falling from the sky. Trim tree limbs hanging over your house that may break and fall under the weight of snow and ice. By doing this, you are helping to prevent damage and save yourself and roof from an emergency repair.
  • Check your attic
    • Does your attic have proper ventilation? If not, there is a chance the space will develop mold, mildew, and/or other problems that are harmful to not only the health of your family but the health of your house – including spreading to the roof!
  • Look for Interior Damage
    • Be sure to check the ceilings in your home for water stains or anything else that may indicate leaks in or other damage to your roof. Spotting these damages early on can help prevent added expenses, emergency repairs, or problems in your home, especially during the winter season.
  • Schedule A Professional Roof Inspection
    • After inspecting your roof and gutters and identifying any problem areas, it’s a good idea to reach out to a roofing and gutter expert to decide how to adequately address the issues and prepare your home for the winter. If you need a professional inspection and estimate for any roofing or gutter repairs or replacements, we’d be happy to come out, chat with you, take a look, and provide that estimate. Text, email, or call us today!

5 Steps for Preparing Your Gutters for Fall

We have seen the last of the summer days, and fall is just around the corner. With the beautiful Minnesota fall colors comes colder temperatures and falling leaves that create more work for you to do on your home and in your yard. One important task to prepare your home for the fall and winter elements is the cleaning and inspecting of your gutter system. It is essential to make sure your gutters are clean, unclogged, and damage-free before the rain, sleet, and snow make their seasonal debut.

  • Clean and Inspect Thoroughly
    • The best way to prevent clogged gutters is to clear out any debris that may have built up several times throughout the year. If you have many trees in your yard, you may need to clean out the system once a month, especially once the leaves start falling.
    • Inspect your gutters to assess any repairs that may need addressing. Keep an eye out for cracks, leaks, holes, missing hardware as these can worsen in cold weather and increase the chances of future leaks. It is best to enter the fall and winter months with a damage-free.
  • Don’t Forget About Downspouts
    • Forgetting to clean the spouts of your system is an easy but destructive mistake. By unclogging your downspouts and keeping them free of debris, you are saving yourself from the mess and hassle of backed-up gutters after a storm.
  • Install Gutter Guards
    • If you don’t enjoy cleaning out your gutters, you’re not alone, and gutter guards are going to be your new best friend. They keep your gutters free of nature’s debris that can build up in your gutters while allowing water to flow freely. At 22nd Century Roofing, the gutter guards we install are LeafBlasterPRO by Gutter Glove, a stainless steel micro mesh gutter guard.
  • Keep Rodents Away
    • As the temperature drops, rodents begin seeking warmer shelters for winter nesting spots – and gutters and downspouts make cozy places for them to nest. Gutter guards and rodent repellent spray can help keep these critters away.
  • Schedule a Complimentary Estimate
    • If you notice any damages or need a new gutter system or gutter guards installed, text, email, or call us to schedule your free estimate.
      Learn more about our gutter service and see completed projects here.

What a High-Quality Roofing & Siding Contractor Can Do for You

When it comes to choosing a contractor for your roofing or siding needs, there are many, many contractors to choose from in the Twin Cities. Of course, you want to be sure you are selecting a first-rate contractor that fits your needs and budget. But as this is most likely not your area of expertise, we are here to help you learn the characteristics of a high-quality contractor and what they can do for you and your home.

Not only are quality contractors always correctly licensed, but they also have an ethical responsibility to their craft. When contractors receive their license(s), we take an oath; an oath we at 22nd Century Roofing take seriously. Another reason for having these license(s) is essential is it is needed to obtain work permits; permits are required by each city to help ensure a contractor is following proper city guidelines and codes. This is important because, as a homeowner, you want to rest assured knowing the work being done on your home is being done correctly.

A top-of-the-line contractor will be able to provide unquestionable expertise and typically employs a team of experts. Having a team of experts works to a homeowner’s benefit as this crew works together on each project. Meaning, the contractor is continually using the same labor and knows they can consistently guarantee high-quality work. They know what to expect from the crew as they know their team well and can provide continued training to keep learning and improving as the industry grows and changes.

Ideal contractors bring strong brand relationships to the table. Why does this mean, and why would you, as a homeowner, care about this? It means they are always networking within the industry and creating and maintaining meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with other professionals from companies we value working with. For example, at 22nd Century Roofing, our preferred manufacturers are Mastic, James Hardie, and Owens Corning; and our preferred suppliers are Beacon, ABC Supply Co., and Edco. We work closely with them to maintain the solid relationships that allow us to provide and work with the best products and services at the best cost for our company and the homeowner.

Another thing a high-quality contractor can provide is research and resources. And s/he should show up to meetings prepared with that research. Contractors have access to resources (some of which are public records), and they need to know which resources to use when. For example, by searching public records, anyone can find out when a roof was last replaced (no guessing here) and if permits were pulled when this work was done. If permits were not obtained, it is necessary then to determine whether or not the work was done correctly. (You want work permits to be pulled as, again, in addition to knowing the work on your home is being completed accurately, this can save you when it comes to insurance claims.)

Good contractors take pride in their credibility, continuing their education, and continuously learning what’s new in the market to improve what is already known. They shouldn’t be stuck in their ways. Instead, they should be dedicated to and excited about learning, growing, improving, and always trying to better themselves and their team. That is how we face each day at 22nd Century Roofing – excited to connect, learn, grow, and improve for ourselves and our customers.

If you are looking for a high-quality contractor to provide you with a free consultation, text, email, or call us to set up your appointment.

What to Look for and Look Out for During a Storm Inspection

During the past few months, we have had some damaging storms here in the Twin Cities. If your home has been affected by the destructive elements, you already know some of the questions that go through a homeowner’s mind when initially assessing the aftermath of the weather:

  • How do you know if the damage done to your home is enough to justify filing an insurance claim?
  • When should you call a local roofing or siding contractor to come out for a storm inspection?
  • And, how do you know if this contractor is the right contractor for you – not a storm chasing “door knocker”? (Someone who shows up on your doorstep after a storm to put the pressure on to make a quick, not always informed decision about your potential repairs or replacements.)

Here at 22nd Century Roofing, we genuinely want to help you in these overwhelming moments. We prefer to assess the damage at a time convenient for you, help educate you about your options, and give you the time needed to do your research – about our company, get a second opinion – whatever it is you need to make the best and most informed decision for you, your home, and your family.

Remember, when filing an insurance claim in the state of Minnesota, you have the right to choose who you work with, so why wouldn’t you choose the best?

So, what should you look for when choosing a roofing or siding contractor?

Do your research and ask questions.

  • Check the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s website to ensure the contractor/company is licensed and figure out what license(s) they hold. Then, determine whether or not these license(s) fit your project and needs.
  • Are they registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State as a business?
  • Read through reviews left by previous customers on digital platforms such as Google and Facebook.
  • Does the contractor have references? Can you talk to previous customers they have worked with?
  • Look through project photos on platforms such as Facebook, Houzz, Instagram, and Google.
  • Do they have the resources to handle insurance claims? Ask.
    • This includes an insurance handler on their team – someone who is experienced in handling claims and making sure they are properly paid for.
    • They should use Xactimate – a software that determines fair market prices for contractors.
    • Do they enforce a deductible? The answer should always be yes.
      • MN statute 325E.66 prohibits residential building contractors from advertising or promising to pay or rebate, directly or indirectly, all or part of any insurance deductible, or from offering to compensate a customer for providing any service.

What should you look out for?

  • First and foremost, you can easily find red flags by doing the research and asking the questions above.
    • They aren’t licensed or registered as a business.
    • They don’t have any or have negative reviews.
    • They don’t have any pictures of projects or the images they do have don’t look like they did a good job.
    • They don’t have any references.
    • They don’t have someone to handle insurance claims specifically.
  • Other Red Flags:
    • You feel pressured into making an uninformed decision.
    • They have offered to waive your deductible. (You are required to pay your deductible.)
    • They drive unmarked vehicles and/or have no company representation.
    • They are unorganized, unprofessional, or don’t seem to have an organized process for setting up appointments and/or communicating with you and their team.
      • Often, being unorganized and not having a process for these simple tasks allows for essential details to be missed or not passed along correctly to the necessary team members and installers.

If you live in the Twin Cities and a recent storm has damaged your home, we’d be happy to come out to provide a complimentary storm inspection. Text, email, or call us to set up an appointment.