Category Archives: Home Improvement

Want An Energy Efficient Roof? Proper Installation And Materials Are Key

As more and more people are looking to save on utility bills and reduce their home’s carbon footprint, energy efficient roofs have become increasingly popular in the last decade. And when it comes to energy efficiency of your home, your roofing structure can make a significant impact.

For one, some types of roofs are more energy efficient than others. Additionally, the way a roof is installed will influence whether the heat gains during summer and losses during winter are mitigated efficiently.

If you’re looking for a new roof and you want to optimize your home’s energy efficiency, it’s crucial that you evaluate different types of roofing materials and also shop around for a quality contractor skilled in those materials. This will ensure your new roof will be a great investment for decades to come!
Want An Energy Efficient Roof? Proper Installation And Materials Are Key
Photo: Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation by LGC Roofing

Choose Energy-Efficient Roofing Materials

Not all roofing materials are made equal when it comes to enhancing energy efficiency. Ideally, you want to choose a roof system/type that creates a strong barrier between your home’s interior and the outdoors. This prevents energy losses and helps inhibits the effects of exterior environmental factors.

Conventional roofing materials, like shingles and wood, reflect only a small portion of the sun. Most of the sun’s heat is transferred to the sheathing below the roofing material, into the attic and then the rest of the house, requiring air conditioning to work harder. On the other hand, efficient roofing materials reflect 20-80 percent of the sun’s rays back, depending upon regional climate, the direction your home faces and the specific material you choose. Less heat is transferred inside, leading to lesser demand put on your house’s cooling system, which ultimately saves you money on your energy bill.

Experts recommend metal and slate as best materials for superior energy efficiency.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are considered among the most energy efficient types of roofs. They reflect a greater share of the sun’s rays and, depending on any coating applied to the metal, homes may see a savings of 20 to 30 percent on air conditioning costs.

Bottom line: steel, aluminum and other metals reflect a great deal of sunlight, plus are fire- and insect-proof and flame retardant, as well as other “green” benefits. Minimal maintenance and superb durability are additional perks you can’t ignore!

Tile Roofing

Clay and concrete tile roofs withstand the weather particularly well, offer natural thermal resistance and create a natural ventilation that provides a thermal barrier for heat transfer to the roof deck (since they’re installed individually with airspace around the tiles). Additionally, tiles can be painted with a reflective coating further increasing their energy efficiency.

Bottom line: tiles are natural, recyclable, energy efficient and environmentally-friendly, and last 50 years or more!

Reflective Coating

If you’re still drawn to the relative affordability of roof shingles, one thing you should do is apply a special reflective coating.

Without a reflective coasting, asphalt shingles absorb upwards of 75 percent of the heat that strikes them – and most of that heat will end up penetrating your home. By contract, shingles treated with a coating reflect about 80% of the heat they’re exposed to, boosting home energy efficiency in all seasons.

Bottom line: coating your roof will reduce heat energy costs and increase UV and waterproofing protection for the roof. Additionally, roof coating gives strength and longevity to roofing materials while maintaining the aesthetic appearance of any structure. Cool roofs are sustainable and environmentally friendly too!

Other Materials

  • Improve roof insulation – poorly insulated attics do not provide a home with the protection required to combat temperature extremes and keep energy costs down.
  • Build a radiant barrier in your attic – barriers inhibit heat transfer, helping you dramatically reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Keep your home well maintained – updating caulking and weather-stripping, replacing heater filters or sealing ducts can go a long way.

Proper Installation Is Key

Professional roof installation is the best way to ensure your roof performs at peak energy efficiency. Shop around for a local quality roofing contractor with experience and expertise in the type of roofing material you decide to go with.

When choosing a roofer, be sure to select an experienced, licensed, and insured company that’s local to your area:

  • Pick few top contractors and collect multiple estimates you can compare.
  • Ask about both indemnity (liability) and worker’s insurance, noting the coverage end dates.
  • Check the length and types of warranties they provide. Both materials and workmanship warranties can vary greatly, and some roofers offer comprehensive systems warranties as well. A minimum warranty of one year is standard for the roofer’s labor, but many roofers offer longer warranties.
  • Lastly, and this one is important here, make sure that your roofing contractor has a proven experience in installing your particular roofing material – some roofing manufacturers require certification and training in the installation of their products.

And don’t forget to check with your tax professional about energy efficiency tax credits too; you may be able to deduct a portion of your roof’s cost because you chose to go green!


All Roofing Contractors is a Bear DE roofing company with nearly 20 years of experience in residential/commercial roofing, siding, and gutters installation/repair. Call (302) 722-8228 in Delaware or (610) 572-7334 in Pennsylvania to request a free estimate on your next project!

Kitchen Remodel: Homeowners Guide to Countertop Choices

Kitchen renovations are among the most popular home improvement projects. In most homes, the kitchen is one of the busiest rooms, making it an obvious area of focus when the time comes to upgrade. Remodeling the kitchen is also a great way to boost the resale value of your home, and when it’s done with care, you can even generate a positive return on your investment in the form of appreciation.

If you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, chances are you’re looking long and hard at your countertop options. A kitchen’s counters are one of its most visible elements, and you’ll need a good balance of beauty and practicality, while not breaking the bank. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular options to help you narrow down your list of possibilities.

Kitchen Remodel: Homeowners Guide to Countertop Choices by Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement

Performance Characteristics of Popular Countertop Materials

It’s important to look beyond the surface when evaluating the various materials on the market. A certain option might look great, but it may not be the best fit from a performance standpoint.

Here’s the low-down on 10 popular countertop materials:

  • Bamboo. This environmentally friendly option looks great, especially when it’s new. However, moisture can warp it, making it a poor choice for use near sinks. It’s also easily damaged and stained, so you’ll have to take extra precautions to protect it.
  • Butcher block. Like bamboo, butcher block isn’t a great idea near sinks, as water can damage it. However, it is an economical option for larger areas, especially if you like the look of natural wood. It also has outstanding stain resistance characteristics.
  • Concrete. Excellent at resisting moisture, concrete is also very stain-resistant. However, heat can damage it, and it can also crack and chip easily. Expensive, but worth the investment if you take care of it.
  • Granite. This is one of the most popular options for a reason: granite is extremely versatile, and holds up very well under practically all usage conditions. It’s also available in a broad range of colors and patterns, making it easy to match with any design scheme.
  • Laminate. Be sure a cutting board and this economical option will never let you down. Knives will damage it, but otherwise, it holds up well against heat, stains, and moisture.
  • Limestone. If your counter is serving a more decorative than functional purpose, limestone is worth considering. However, it’s not the most practical option for everyday use and heavy wear and tear, as it scratches easily. Limestone does excel at resisting heat, though.
  • Marble. Another premium option, marble is fantastic as long as you’re careful not to chip or crack it…and it tends to chip quite easily, so proceed with caution.
  • Quartz. Designed to look like stone, quartz is a high-performing option with very few drawbacks. It’s easy to care for and maintain, and resists abrasions, chipping, heat, and moisture with ease.
  • Recycled glass. Another eco-friendly option, recycled glass is prone to chipping, but otherwise, it performs well and is a great way to add a colorful, vibrant feel to any kitchen.
  • Soapstone. While it can chip, scratch, and stain easily, soapstone is highly resistant to heat and looks dazzling, especially when it’s new.

Still not sure? A home renovation expert or professional contractor can help you sift through options and decide which style will work best for you.

Whether you need to upgrade your kitchen, add a bath or paint your interiors, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in residential construction & home improvement.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote

Build the kitchen of your dreams!

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Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

With warm temperatures and long hours of daylight, summer is the ideal time to work on a home improvement project, especially those that are going to spruce up your home’s exterior.

If you get a prompt start, you’ll even be finished in time to enjoy the fruits of your labor before the cool weather makes its inevitable comeback.

Focusing on minor upgrades and energy efficiency that will add appeal and comfort to your home is the smartest thing you can do, especially if you’re considering selling in the near future.

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

If you’re looking for ideas for summer home improvement projects, considering the relative costs of popular home upgrades is a great place to start. That way, you can undertake a project that fits in your budget range and get a jump start on planning future renovations.

Lower-Cost Summer Home Renovation Projects

Looking for a quick upgrade that’s easy on your budget? Consider these popular options:

  • Spruce up your yard: Landscaping is alwasy at the top of every summer home improvement list, and is one of the biggest home improvements that add value to a property. Boosting your curb appeal can be as cheap and easy as laying a new lawn, adding some shrubs and trees and applying a fresh coat of paint to your home’s exterior. Spending on landscaping and doing it wisely, you can greatly add to the value of your home.
  • Update your lighting: Good exterior lighting helps keep your home safe and secure, while improving your home’s curb appeal. Add new fixtures, install motion-detecting sensors and sleep easy.
  • Install a new front door: One of the cheapest, yet most effective exterior changes is as simple as a new front door. Swap your old one out for an energy-efficient, attractive upgrade for just a few hundred dollars.

Summer Projects for Mid-Range Budgets

If you’re looking to spend a little more money without breaking the bank, these mid-range projects are excellent:

  • Install a new HVAC system: This will require an investment of a few thousand dollars, but you’ll dramatically reduce your heating and cooling costs for years to come. And if your central air was installed a few decades ago, upgrading to a more efficient condenser will be a treat for both your family and your wallet!
  • Replace your windows: Swap out your old, drafty windows for dual-pane energy-efficient replacements that help keep cool air in during the summer and prevent warm air from escaping during the winter. Now is also a good time to think about installing curtains, shades, blinds, awnings and window films to help control summer heat gain through windows.
  • Add insulation: Attic insulation plays an extremely important role in the health of your roof and the overall energy efficiency of your home. Review your home’s insulation protection and address problem areas with products that have a suitable R-value for your climate.
  • Do a minor indoor remodeling: Kitchens and bathrooms are high-profile areas that see a lot of traffic. They both offer a high ROI, and you don’t have to break the bank for a high impact result. Invest in a kitchen face-lift: replace your cabinet faces, install new sinks and plumbing fixtures, add a backsplash, update the lighting and add an island. For bathrooms, replacing your dated vanity is always recommended. You’ll be glad you did when the time comes to sell your home.

High-End Exterior Upgrades If You Can Splurge

Making a significant investment in home improvement is a major decision, but it’s one that can pay off in big ways down the road in the form of a dramatically increased resale value.

With summer being a really good time to take a good look at how you experience outdoor living, ask yourself: What do you love about your back yard? How do you use your outdoor space? How can you improve your outdoor living?

Here are some high-budget projects that can further expand your living space to the outdoors:

  • Build a porch, deck or patio: Make better use of your outdoor space by adding a covered porch, raised deck or backyard patio (this post will help you choose your best option). Each offers great ROI,
  • Install a swimming pool: While certainly on the very expensive side of home improvements, this elaborate upgrade will help you make the most of the summer months for as long as you live in your home.
  • Add outbuildings: If you’re running out of space, building a detached garage or shed will solve your storage woes while adding a lot of value to your home.
  • Install a sunroom: When part of your deck is converted to a screened-in porch or sunroom you can enjoy the summer weather without the mosquitoes. A sunroom will extend the season and keep you sheltered from the elements, and it might just be your favorite part of the house no matter the time of the year!

Hire A Professional Home Improvement Contractor

Summer is the best time to take care of your exterior home improvement projects in order to maintain and enhance your home, but unless you’ve got extensive construction skills and experience, you’ll achieve the best results by working with a professional contractor, especially if you’re considering one of the higher-end projects this summer.

Choose a local professional with a proven track record of success in the same kind of work you’re planning, but compare quotes and do your research before committing to a single contractor.

Whether you’re thinking of installing a deck, replacing windows, or building a shed, investing in a skilled contractor can go a long way. Here at Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, we can help you turn your dreams into reality. We are a family owned and operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in interior and exterior renovation and construction, and we make it our mission to exceed our customers’ expectations and provide exceptional service!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

Improve your outside space

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