5 Ways To Tune Up Your Home’s Exterior Before Winter

Fall has officially started and most people equate this season with football, pumpkin patches, bonfires, and overall just a time of relief from the sweltering summer heat. As much as we would all love to sit back and enjoy the cooler weather, we should also be preparing for the long winter to come. After all, nothing is worse than a leaking roof when temperatures are subzero. Check out 5 easy ways to tune up your home’s exterior before winter.

1. Seal cracks around doors and windows

Minor cracks can be taken care of very simply with a tube of caulk. This will ensure your home is sealed before the winter breezes get through. If you notice excessive cracks, though, you may want to get a contractor to your home to see if replacement doors and windows are needed.

2. Clean your gutters

Take time to clean out any leaves, debris, or other gunk stuck in your gutters. You may even consider a gutter guard to prevent clogging in the future. No matter how you choose to go about it, keeping your gutters clear before winter is vital to preventing ice dams.

3. Inspect your roof

If you notice any cracked, missing, or curling shingles, it may be time for roof repair or replacement. The only way to know for sure, though, is to spend time inspecting the current state of your roof. You can also hire a roofing contractor to conduct a professional inspection and recommend needed repairs.

4. Turn Off & Drain Outside Pipes

Prevent exterior pipes and hoses from exploding by draining them and turning off the water before they freeze. You will want to completely run the water out of the pipes to make sure there is no moisture in there that could freeze. Also, wrap up that hose and store it safely inside.

5. Trim Your Trees

While a leaning tree or broken limbs may not seem like a huge issue, they can become a real safety hazard when heavy snow or ice causes them to fall on your home. Take a weekend and trim your trees or hire someone to do the job to ensure your family is safe for the winter.

Many exterior home maintenance duties can be done with just a little time carved out, but some may also require professional services. If you aren’t ready to tune up your home yourself, call Brincks Exteriors. We take care of residential homes throughout Iowa and Wisconsin and would be happy to prepare your home for any severe weather.

Ice Dams And Winter Roof Damage

With temperatures well below freezing and the holiday season coming to an end, winter still has a ways to go. Homes across the Midwest have already been covered in snow, and there is surely more to come. Most don’t think twice about the effect snow can have on their roof, assuming that if no moisture or cold air gets in, everything must be fine – and it may be. But one thing to consider is how effectively the snow can safely melt off of your roof and what can happen if ice dams begin to form. Unfortunately, ice dams and winter roof damage are an unruly pair.

What are ice dams?

Ice dams occur when ice forms at the bottom of the roof near the gutter and prevents moisture from draining off the roof. Thus, when the temperature is warm enough to melt the snow on top of the roof, but not the ice block on the bottom of the roof, the melted snow has nowhere to drain. This causes an excessive build-up of water stuck on the roof, which will inevitably leak into your home.

How can I protect my roof from ice dams?

Ice dams don’t have to be a reality for your roof. There are certain measures you can take to protect your roof from ice dams.

  • Insulate your attic. By properly insulating your attic, the heat stays inside the house where it belongs. Sure it will cause your roof to be much colder, but if properly installed, your roof can withstand the colder temperatures much easier than it can excessive moisture.

  • Keep your gutters clear. An easy way for moisture to get stuck at the bottom of the roof is clogged gutters. If your gutters are full of debris, the moisture running off the roof isn’t able to escape, causing it to build up, freeze, and cause an ice dam. Hire a professional to inspect and clean your gutters before the backup begins.

Roofing and Gutter Contractors Near Me

Brincks Exteriors has a service area that extends throughout west-central Iowa, eastern Nebraska, and Wisconsin, as well. We are the roofing and gutter contractors that you can count on to keep your home and family safe. Contact us if you have questions about ice dams and winter roof damage or would like to schedule your roofing or gutter inspection.

Your Windows and Your Energy Costs

The segment below is from an article written by the Department of Energy.

Windows provide our homes with light, warmth, and ventilation, but they can also negatively impact a home’s energy efficiency. You can reduce energy costs by installing energy-efficient windows in your home. If your budget is tight, energy efficiency improvements to existing windows can also help.

Improving the Energy Efficiency of Existing Windows

You can improve the energy efficiency of existing windows by adding storm windows, caulking and weatherstripping, and using window treatments or coverings.

Adding storm windows can reduce air leakage and improve comfort. Caulking and weatherstripping can reduce air leakage around windows. Use caulk for stationary cracks, gaps, or joints less than one-quarter-inch wide, and weatherstripping for building components that move, such as doors and operable windows. Window treatments or coverings can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Most window treatments, however, aren’t effective at reducing air leakage or infiltration.

To read the full article from the Department of Energy please click here.

Preparing Your Home For Winter

We are well on our way through the autumn season and daylight savings is right around the corner. We all know what that means…winter is almost here and temperatures will continue to fall. This will lead to snow and possibly even the dreaded, ice. Here are some things you can do, while the weather is still decent, to protect your investment.

Consider hiring your local HVAC company to come and inspect your furnace BEFORE the weather is bitterly cold. They will make sure everything is in sound working order and no immediate repairs are needed. Another plus, typically if issues are caught early, you can save money on repair costs.

With us being the roofing gurus that we are, a big tip from us is – PREVENT ICE DAMS! If you noticed your home had a lot of icicles last winter or worse – ice dams, which can cause meltwater to back up and flow into your house, you’re going to want to take preventative action this year. Contact us and we can identify and fix any air leaks and inadequate insulation in your attic which is the leading cause of ice dams.

While we’re talking roofing – it’s also good to scan your roof for damaged or missing shingles that may leak during winter storms or from melting snow. IF not comfortable getting up on your roof you can use a pair of binoculars to give your roof a good look, just take your time. Also, make sure leaves aren’t collecting on your roof in a single area – they hold moisture.

Take a look at your windows and doors. Any gaps between the siding and window or door frames are going to need to be caulked. Typically if the gap is larger than the width of a nickel. Be sure to use a caulk suited best for outdoor use.

Earlier we mentioned checking your roof and making sure leaves weren’t collecting in a single area – you’re going to want to do the same for your gutters. Be sure your gutters are free of leaves and debris – this will also prevent ice dams and leaks. Make sure your downspouts are diverting water at least 3-4 feet away from the foundation of your home.

Be sure you disconnect any hoses from outdoor faucets and remove any access water. Undrained water in pipes can cause the pipes to freeze and burst. If you utilize lawn irrigation be sure that system is drained as well. This is also a good time to test your sump pump – you should do this every few months by pouring a few gallons of water into the pit to see if the pump engages.

If you’re an avid fireplace user – be sure to make sure the chimney and vents are clean and in good condition. This will help prevent fires and carbon monoxide from backing into your home.

If you’re concerned about any of the above – feel free to give us a call. We’d be happy to help if we can, and if we can’t, we’re always happy to recommend another professional.

5 Common Midwest Roofing Problems

While the Midwest is known for its distinct seasons, all with different temperatures and precipitation patterns, it is no wonder that there can be a wide array of roofing problems throughout the region. By understanding how each issue can arise and what to look for before the damage occurs will allow you to either take preventative measures or get your roof inspected. Below are five of the most common Midwest roofing problems to watch out for throughout the year:

  1. Evening Storm DamageLeaks: Thunderstorms and fierce winters can make leaks inevitable, especially if you have an older roof. If you are experiencing dripping water or moisture coming through your ceiling, chances are you may have a roof leak. Alternatively, if you inspect your roof during the summer when the shakes or shingles are dry, but still see a wet stain, you may have a roof leak.
  2. Hail Damage: All it takes is one hailstorm to damage the roof of your home. If you inspect your roof and see that there are random dents that all look similar, you may have hail damage, which should be repaired immediately.
  3. Wind: Wind can be a factor both in the winter with harrowing blizzards and in the spring with severe storms and tornadoes. The most common sign of wind damage is missing or loose shingles. While you may think they are fine since they are still attached, loose shingles should be repaired or replaced immediately to avoid further damage.
  4. Heat: Even it the Midwest, summer temperatures can climb upwards of 100 degrees, which can take a toll on roofing, especially shingles. You may notice signs such as warping and curling, but you may also not be able to tell that your roof is heat damaged until it is too late. The best preventative measure is regular inspection and maintenance.
  5. Structural Damage: Generally caused by natural forces, such as falling trees, structural damage refers to roof damage that completely compromises the integrity of your roof. A structurally damaged roof can cause many more problems within the home, so if you have something fall on your roof, it is best to schedule your inspection right away.

While the ever-changing Midwest weather can cause a lot of wear and tear on your roof, the best way to combat any sort of damage is to first have your roof installed by a reliable roofing contractor, and ideally one who can continue to service your roof and back up their workmanship with a warranty. Another way to prevent problems from worsening throughout the year is to keep up on routine maintenance. Have an experienced roofing contractor come to your home for an inspection, and get ahead of the problem.

At Brincks Exteriors, we service many communities throughout western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. We have built a reputation for being professional, reliable, and easy to work with, no matter the project. If you suspect any roof damage at your home, contact us today for your free estimate.

5 Reasons Why Metal Roofing Is Trending For Midwest Homes

Historically, the standard roofing material for midwestern homes has been asphalt shingles, which are affordable, easy to install and last up to 20 years. They provide a traditional aesthetic that fits the desires of homeowners, who until recently, haven’t thought twice about having other options for their home’s roof. However, metal roofing is growing in popularity throughout the Midwest, and for good reason.

  1. Longevity

While asphalt shakes and shingles last up to 20 years, metal roofing is designed to last at least twice as long, if not longer. This can mean moving into your home, installing a metal roof, and potentially never having to replace the roof again while you live there – check that off as one less thing you have to worry about.

  1. Durability

Part of the reason metal roofs can last upwards of 70 years is that the material is much more durable than asphalt or wood. When installed properly, they can withstand harsh wind gusts and tornados, along with hailstorms and heavy rains. Metal is corrosion and fire-resistant, so you won’t need to worry about damages from lightning strikes. Metal roofs are engineered to protect your home and family.

  1. Energy Efficiency

While materials such as asphalt naturally absorb heat, metal actually reflects UV rays, keeping your home cooler and more energy efficient. This means during the sweltering summers, your metal roof is reducing the amount of time you have to run your air conditioning, saving you money without having to do a thing.

  1. Environmentally Friendly

Metal roofs are composed of 65% recyclable material, so you can reduce your environmental footprint by installing one on your home. Additionally, metal roofs can be installed right on top of a pre-existing roof, reducing the waste of tossing the old roofing material in the landfill. And, should there be excess material after installation, it is completely recyclable.

  1. Low Maintenance

Along with the 50+ year lifespan and ultimate durability, metal roofs require little if no maintenance, which includes repainting. Certainly, you can expect touch-ups here and there, along with routine inspection, but the investment up front will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of metal roofing without excessive upkeep.

3 Reasons Why Spring Is Ideal For Midwest Window Replacement

Replacing old, cracked, or worn windows provide countless benefits including increasing your home’s value, protecting your home’s interior, and keeping your family safe. While it may be obvious that replacing windows in the dead of winter isn’t a great idea, few homeowners know the payoffs of scheduling a replacement during one season over another. For Midwest climates, with freezing winter temperatures and hot, humid summers, spring is the ideal time to replace windows. Here’s why:

  1. Spring allows time to secure your home before the storms resume.

Harsh Midwest winters bring storms of their own kind and can produce excessive wear and tear to your home’s windows. It is best to get them inspected, however, before the thunderstorms and tornados begin again in late-Spring and early summer. Secure your home by getting your windows inspected and replaced, and keep all of the winds, hail, and rain where they belong – outside.

  1. Spring drafts are more refreshing than winter and summer.

Replacing windows means that for a short period of time, air will be freely flowing in and out of the house. This can be unpleasant if the temperatures are freezing or sweltering, but during the spring, these temporary drafts can help cool off your house and provide a refreshing breeze after a long, cold winter.

  1. Spring window maintenance makes for lower summer energy bills.

Window replacement is imperative to keeping energy bills low, as well-installed windows prohibit any air getting in or out of the house. For most families, energy bills skyrocket in the summer from excessive use of air conditioning units. One of the best ways to keep your house cool, though, is to make sure that your windows are in proper condition, and if they aren’t, get them replaced. Your wallet will thank you.

Windows from Brincks Exteriors

At Brincks Exteriors, we offer only the most reliable, long-lasting brands of windows on the market, with various options of sizes, shapes, and colors. We are confident that we can provide windows for homes of all kinds and are prepared to back up our expert installations with a 5-year warranty.

Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Home’s Siding

There are several tell-tale signs that can help you know when to replace the siding on your home. Replacing the siding on your home will not only make the home look ten times better, but it can also make your home function more efficiently. One of the parts of your home that protects it from the harsh conditions outside is the siding. Without quality siding, air and moisture might make their way into your home, causing damage and forcing the heating and cooling systems to work harder. Make your home more comfortable and more attractive by replacing the siding. Brincks Exteriors are your number one choice for siding professionals in Iowa.

Any of the following signs may indicate that the siding on your Iowa home needs to be replaced. If you discover any of these siding issues in your home, call Brincks today:

  • Fading Siding: If your siding is faded or discolored, it is a sign that it is old and should probably be replaced. Aside from giving the home poor appearance, fading is probably an indication that the siding is no longer effective and needs to be replaced since the color usually lasts only as long as the siding is rated.
  • Loose and Cracked Siding: Siding that is loose on the home or that has started to crack might let moisture or pests into the home. Whether this is the result of age or of storm damage, this siding should be replaced.
  • Rotted or Warped Siding: If the siding on your home is visibly warped, check to see if it has rotted underneath. If it has, you need to replace the siding as soon as possible to prevent more serious damage from occurring.
  • Mold or Mildew Growth: Rotted siding could result in mold growth. Holes and cracks in the siding can also cause moisture to enter the home and lead to mold problems in the interior of your house.
  • Bubbles in Siding: If you see bubbles just under the surface of your siding, which may mean that water has been trapped and that the siding needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Frequent Painting Required: Are you constantly re-painting your home, it is a sign that the siding needs to be replaced. Siding should keep its color and shape for around ten years – if you need to repaint every five years, you need to replace the siding on your Iowa home.
  • Dry Rot on Siding: If you do not find rotting on the underneath layer, but you do see signs of dry rot in your siding, leaving only the top layer of the siding intact, you need to look into replacing your home’s siding.
  • Holes in Siding: Holes in the siding may be the result of insects eating away the siding, or they may be the result of storm or hail damage. Either way, the siding should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Peeling Paint or Wallpaper: Peeling paint and wallpaper inside the home can result from high humidity and moisture coming in from damaged siding. Have the siding replaced to fix this issue.
  • High Energy Bills: If your heating or cooling bills are higher than normal, it may be the result of the siding letting air into your home.

Siding Replacement Options from Brincks for Your Iowa Home

cementsidingHere at Brincks Exteriors, we provide several different siding options to give you the siding that is just right for your home. If you want easy to maintain, consider our vinyl siding. Seamless siding from Brincks is long-lasting and looks great. For a traditional feel, consider wood shake siding. If you want a “green” option, our cement fiber siding is just what you need.

Contact Brincks right away for more information on siding replacement and installation for your Iowa home.

Replacement Window Q&A

How to Know When to Replace Your Windows

It is not always clear to know when it’s time to replace your home’s windows. It’s usually good to start checking your windows if your home or windows are older than 15 years. Some of the things to check on are:

  • If your windows are hard to open or close
  • If you find moisture on the windows’ interior
  • The window frame is cracking or rotting
  • There are cracks in the window pane
  • Sitting next to the window during the winter and it feels much colder than the rest of home
  • If you touch the window glass during the summer and it is hot to the touch

If you feel that you may be in need of window replacement, the professionals at Brincks Exteriors can come and take a look and see if you truly are in need of window replacement.

Solutions and Tips to Determine If It Is Time for Window Replacement

Single-pane glass – Many older homes were built with single-pane glass. These types of windows are not energy efficient. These single-pane windows feel cold or icy to the touch in the winder and often freeze open or shut. They also develop frost on the inside of the window. This increases the chances of breakage.

Noisy home – If you live on a busy street or in an urban neighborhood, noise can be a concern in your home. Replacing your windows with a dual-pane or laminated glass can reduce the noise in your home.

Fading furniture, carpet or drapes – Sunlight that enters through the windows and patio doors can lead to facing of furniture, carpet and window treatment. By upgrading your windows to a more energy efficient window, it will reduce the fading.

Use of storm windows – If you are still installing and removing storm windows, it may be time to replace the windows with a high energy window which will eliminate the hassle of installing and removing storm windows.

Windows leak water – If your windows are leaking, allowing water to come into your home both in front of and behind the walls, this can cause mold and milder. Older windows often leak air, resulting in higher energy bills. Windows should not be letting the weather conditions outside appear on the inside of your home.

Mismatched, drab windows – Replacing old mismatched or drab windows can increase the value of your home and improve the look of your home.

Sticking windows – If your windows get stuck in the up or down position, this is a sign that you are in need of window replacement. It shouldn’t be a challenge to open or close your windows and prevent you from enjoying the outside weather from the inside of your home.

Difficult to clean – If you have windows that are difficult to clean, you may think about replacement windows. With new technology, windows are now much easier to clean.

Rotting windows – If your windows are falling apart or rotting, they should be replaced right away.

Windows don’t match the style of your home – If your windows don’t match the style of your home, replacement windows will add beauty and lasting quality to your home.

Tired of painting your windows – If you still have windows that are in need of painting on the exterior, you can replace them with aluminum-clad or vinyl-clad windows, eliminating to ever have to paint your windows again.

Brincks Exteriors can eliminate all of your window problems by installing high-quality Andersen Windows. These windows are the highest quality windows in the industry today. Andersen Windows is one of the largest window manufacturers in North America with a strong commitment to quality products.

Let Brincks Exteriors help you with all of your window replacement needs today. We take pride in the outstanding reputation that we have established and intend to keep it that way. With our experience and with the best windows in the industry, you can be assured you will be getting quality workmanship and quality windows. Contact us today!

How to Clean Your Gutters

Ensuring that your home has clean gutters will help to prevent several major problems down the road. If the gutters on your home become clogged, it may weigh them down, causing them to sag or break. The buildup of dirt and debris may also cause them to pull away from your home, affecting your drainage system. Clogged gutters may cause the water that drains through them to overflow. This water will then run down your home and pool around the foundation. Improper drainage that causes water to run down your walls will result in water stains or crumbling concrete in the foundation. In order to keep this from happening, it is important to have your gutters cleaned regularly, at least once a year. Brincks Exterior encourages you to properly maintain your gutters; the better care you take of your gutters, the better shape your foundation, siding, and entire home will be in.

Keeping your gutters cleaned out is a continual process. It is most effective to clean out your gutters once or twice a year (after spring and fall) and whenever you notice twigs, leaves, or other kinds of debris building up in them. If you notice any of the following problems in your home, it is a sure sign that it is time to clean your gutters:

  • Basement Cracks
  • Moldy Siding
  • Foundation Cracks
  • Pooling Water
  • Crumbling Foundation
  • Water Stains
  • Basement Leaks

These are all issues that can result from clogged gutters. Even though the cleaning process may require a lot of time and work, it is best to get it done so that your home does not suffer any further damage as a result of your clogged gutters.

Steps to Clean Out Gutters

There are a few basic steps to effectively cleaning out your gutters:

  1. The first step is to assess the severity of the situation and set aside time to get the job done.
  2. Next, get a ladder and gloves to manually scoop the leaves and other debris out of the gutters. Caution should be used when cleaning out gutters, as the edges of the gutter are often sharp and the openings narrow.
  3. A hose can also be used to wash out excess dirt and check for leaks in the gutters.
  4. Have a helper! Being on ladders and on roofing can be dangerous work, make sure you always have someone around to hold the ladder and help out.

The gutters are meant to help prevent foundation problems and moisture problems in your home. If they are not properly maintained, it will be much harder for them to do their job. Keeping your gutters well cleaned and in good shape can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. If the damage to your gutters is too extreme, contact the gutter repair and replacement professionals at Brincks Exterior.

We provide residents of Iowa and Nebraska with quality gutter services to make sure that their homes are well protected from rainwater and runoff from melting snow. Call us today for more information.

featured customer reviews

We hired Brincks Exteriors to install a new metal roof on our home. They got back to us very quickly to measure our roof and provide us with a quote. The crew was extremely friendly and the roof looks great. We’re very happy that we switched to metal! We highly recommend Brincks Exteriors!

Beverly - Des Moines

We had a very bad hail storm that damaged our roof, windows, siding, and many other parts of our property. We called Brincks Exteriors for an estimate on roof repair, window replacements, and to fix damaged siding. Jason was able to provide us with a quote to fix all our issues and gave us different options…

Tom - Carroll, Iowa

Our office needed a new roof after a hail storm damaged to the point where we began to have roof leaks. After having a great experience, we hired them to redo a flat roof on one of our other office locations.

Jeff - Green Bay, WI

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