15 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Roofer

Fox 4 Problem Solvers did a story on a Kansas City area senior resident who gave a roofing contractor over $4000 to replace his roof. Soon afterward, the company shut its doors, and all the resident had to show for it was the leaky roof. Local roofing company Premier Roofing saw the story and decided to help out by doing the resident’s roof free of charge.

In an effort to identify the most reputable and qualified roofing contractors, some people like to use a list of questions to ask each company they interview. Here are the 15 questions you should ask before any work is done on your home. Here is that list…

How long have you been in business?

Have you always operated under the same license & company name?

Where is your office located and how long have you been at that location?

How many trucks, crews and installers do you have?

How many staff do you have dedicated to job site supervision? Do they have any responsibilities other than job site supervision?

Do you have a staff person dedicated to Quality Control?

Do you have a Customer Service Department? Who do I call if I have a problem?

Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?

Do you have a written list of references?

How many jobs have you done since your company began, and in the last 3-years?

Will you complete a thorough inspection and analysis of my home improvement needs and provide recommendations regarding issues like products to be used, any potential areas of concerns, and a proposed schedule of completion?

Do you have a Lien Waiver Letter?

Do you have General Liability, Workers Compensation, and Post-Construction Insurance of at least $1,000,000? Will your insurance company issue me a certificate of insurance?

Do you have a written list of standards that govern the performance and behavior of the crew on each job?

Do you have a list of standards the crew will follow to clean up my yard both during and at the end of the project?

Additionally, always be wary if they ask for lump sum payments up front, companies that solicit door-to-door, and roofing companies that are chasing storms or that have not been in business for very long.

If you have answered most of the questions above to your satisfaction, then there is a good chance that you will be happy with the outcome of your roofing job, and you won’t be left with thousands out-of-pocket and a roof that continues to leak.

Bicycling – Does the Kansas Prairie Spirit Rail To Trail Hold Up to Its Name

Trail Description.

Stretching southward from the north-end of Ottawa to downtown Humboldt, KS (which includes a recent county-controlled eight-mile addition), this now 60-mile hard-packed limestone trail is fun and easy to ride. It offers attention-getting scenic views, both close-in and far-out. Its corridor is packed with hedge rows of trees, wild plants and flowers, tall grass, and numerous sumac and cedar evergreens. In 2008, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) opened its last section. In August 2010, it became an official state park with its own ranger.

Several sections of the Prairie Spirit Trail (PST) are heavily treed with partial and full canopies, while others open up to prairie and farm views, i.e., cattle grazing next to fields of hay, corn, sorghum, milo, soybeans, sunflowers, and tall grasses (big bluestem, Indian, switch, and buffalo). It is spotted with creeks, streams, bridges, ponds, marshes, small lakes, and rest benches. Its surface is well-crowned with a few steep embankments to be mindful of while riding it.

In places where its corridor borders wooded or undeveloped grazing land, much wildlife can be seen early or late in the day, e.g., bobcat, turkey, coyote, opossum, woodchuck, racoon, and white-tail deer in addition to the plentiful rabbits, squirrels, green snakes, racers, turtles, and tiny lizards. Blue jays, doves, flickers, woodpeckers, hawks, herons, quail, ducks, geese, birds, and butterflies can also be seen. In the summer and fall, berries, persimmons, hedge apples, and walnuts are plentiful.

Towns and basic rules.

In the larger towns of Ottawa, Garnett, and Iola, where most lodging and cafes are found, the trail is paved, and lit at night. Many local bicyclists and walkers use these town sections during the day and night, free. Yet the rest of the trail is open only during daylight hours. The newer eight-mile section from Iola to Humbold, called the Southwind Trail (SWT), is free to all users.

Camping, horses, and motorized vehicles except for wheelchairs and patrol vehicles are not allowed on the corridor itself. But camping or lodging can be found in the three larger towns. Firearms, fireworks, hunting, and alcohol are not allowed in the corridor. At the road crossings, the timber gates are posted with the road names and trail information.

Trailheads.

Its eight real trailheads, 10 counting the depot museum in Ottawa and the town-square of Humboldt, have roof-covered picnic tables on concrete slabs, some of them in small public parks. Seven have outside water fountains. Eight have $3.50/day pay stations for riding the PST beyond the three paved city limits (Ottawa, Garnett, Iola). Six have well-constructed restrooms which are open from mid-April to mid-October.

The one at Garnett is a refurbished Santa Fe Depot museum with both indoor/outdoor picnic tables, plus an information center. It is open all year, but it is often locked at night. This trailhead is a popular SAG or lunch stop for organized charity and distance rides. The average distance between all of the trailheads or town services is about 7.5-miles.

Trailhead details (from north to south).

Ottawa. Old Depot Museum with inside restroom when open and outside water fountain; located at the north end of the business district, one block north of 1st-Street. Ottawa’s second trailhead is 2.25-miles further south w/water fountain, pay station, and picnic area just south of 17th Street near the fairgrounds. No restroom. Eating places located on the business Main Street one-block east of trail.
Princeton. Full trailhead w/restroom, outside water fountain, and picnic area. Gasoline station w/convenience store and bar-grill on Hwy-59 three-blocks east of trail.
Richmond. Full trailhead.
Garnett. Full trailhead at restored depot. Eating places on the south-side of the town-square adjacent to the trail and 4-blocks further west on Route-59.
Welda. Full trailhead, partly hidden by tree row on west side.
Colony. Full trailhead. Midtown country cafe and convenience store one-block east of trail.
Carlyle. Limited trailhead w/restroom and picnic table; no water fountain.
Iola. Public park on the westside of State Street w/water fountain near the pay station; no restroom. Two cafes across the street east from the park; other outlets nearby. In 2012, this part of the trail was extended 1-1/2-miles further south to Riverside Park, which is close to the cafes on Madison Avenue (aka Route 54).
Humboldt. The entire combined trail now ends here at Hawaii Road at the north end of Humboldt (this section opened in June 2013, and is free to the public). No full trailhead yet, only signage and parking. Services located at or near the town-square one-mile further southwest.

Because the distances between several well-spaced towns and their trailheads are fairly short, the combined Prairie Spirit and Southwind trails are ideal for day hikes, nature walks, or bike rides of any length up to 120-miles round trip. Frequent full-trail users can get annual passes from retailers where the fishing/hunting licenses are sold, $12.50 each, or online at the KS Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The residents of eastern Kansas and western Missouri are lucky to have a safe well-kept trail where the nature and prairie views are seasonally pleasant and refreshing. This trail corridor has the largest variety of seasonal natural wildflowers in the region. Yes, it does hold up to its name. For more information on rail-to-trail and Kansas trails, see these websites.

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Know the Warning Signs of a Leaking Roof

We often take the roof of our home for granted because most of the time it does its job very well. However, roofs can be damaged or wear out just like any other part of your house’s structure. This wear and tear can lead, eventually, to leaks, water damage, and even mold and mildew growth. None of these are good for your building or your family, which is why it’s so important to know what the symptoms of a leaking roof are. By catching roof-related issues early on, you can get them addressed quickly by a roof contractor, thus minimizing the damage to your home. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to your roof. When you know what to look for regarding roof leaks, you can better ensure the health and longevity of your property.

Some signs of a leaking roof are very apparent. If, for example, water drips through your ceiling at a certain place every time it rains, you clearly have a roof leak. Instead of just putting out pots and pans to catch the water, you need to contact a roofing contractor right away to get that leak taken care of. Once one point of the roof is compromised like that, the damage will eventually spread to the surrounding areas. What was once a small leak will become bigger and bigger, causing more and more damage to your home. In addition to actually seeing water come in through your ceiling, other visible signs of roof damage include curling, buckled, or missing shingles. The shingles are the outer layer of the roof, similar to an outer later of skin. If that exterior layer is compromised, and water is allowed to get in between or under the shingles, it will eventually lead to structural damage that will affect your whole roof. If your shingles look “off” in some way, get a professional out to assess the situation and to check for further damage that may not be immediately visible.

Seeing water coming in to your home and noticing visible damage to your shingles are two easy-to-spot symptoms of roof issues. However, there are other signs that are not as clear but are no less important. If you have an attic or storage space at the top of your house, you should examine it periodically to make sure that everything is as it should be. If you notice spots or sections of the wood that are darker than normal, that’s a sign that water is getting in somewhere. Roofers can examine the structure both inside and out to determine where the problem is and work with you to remedy it. In addition to that type of visible interior damage, you also need to keep tabs on any mold growth in your home. Mold can be very difficult to detect, as it’s often not visible. If you do find it growing somewhere, though (especially on ceilings or the upper levels of your home), or if anyone in your family starts experiencing unusual allergic responses or breathing difficulties, you should get a professional to check for roof leaks. The excess moisture from a leak is what allows mold colonies to flourish, so getting rid of the leak is an essential part of getting rid of the mold.

Trail Bicycling: Camping and Lodging on the Kansas Prairie Spirit and Southwind Rail Trails

The state-town-managed 53-mile Prairie Spirit Rail Trail (PST) runs north-south from Ottawa to Iola in eastern Kansas. At the south end of the PST, the Allen-County-managed 6.5-mile Southwind Rail Trail (SWT) connects to the PST in Iola and runs southward to Humboldt, KS.

Most of the camping and lodging places found here are in the three larger towns of Ottawa, Garnett, and Iola. However, the smaller towns of Richmond and Humboldt also have good campsites. Here’s a summary of what is available in each of the nine towns on the trails.

Ottawa

Camping: free/dry/no-fire behind the Franklin County Visitor Information Center 1½-miles east of the PST on Hwy-68 from the north-end of the old business district. Must call ahead for reservation at (785) 242-1411. Grassy backyard with large shade tree and picnic table. No outside water or restroom. However, two all-night convenience stores are located ½-mile east and 1½-miles west of this site.

Motels: five; one near 17th and Main Streets midtown one block east of the PST. The others are further south near the PST and I-35. $50-90 overnight.

Princeton

No facilities, except for the trailhead w/running water.

Richmond

Camping: Free/dry at Richmond Lake one-mile east of town on Allen Road SE of town. Covered picnic table, grill, chemical toilet, lake. No running water.

Garnett

Camping: Two tent sites on two lakes.

1) Located at the north-end of Lake Garnett one-block east of the PST. This lake is on the NE side of town. Open area with grass and chemical toilets, some shade. Running water and stools 1/4-mile further south in the lake park. $9 overnight.

2) Located on Crystal Lake adjacent to the PST on the south side of town, which is near the town square. Water spigots a short distance west at the electrical hookups. Flush stools on the north side of the lake via a ride/walk-over floating bridge. $9/night.

Bed & Breakfast: One; four-blocks east of the trail on 4th Avenue in town. Six rooms, two baths, two half-baths. $70 overnight.

Motels: two; one 1/4-mile west of the trail on Park-Road and Hwy-59 at the north-end of town. The other one is further east of town on Hwy-169. $50-70 overnight.

Welda

No facilities, except for the trailhead w/running water.

Colony

No facilities, except for the trailhead w/running water.

Carlyle

No facilities, except for the trailhead with restroom and no running water.

Iola

Camping: at RV Camp & Storage Park three blocks west of the PST on the east-west Hwy-54. Grassy areas, water, laundry, and shower at office building. $10 overnight.

Motels: three; one near the PST trailhead at the north end of town on State Street. Another one is 1/2-mile further south on State Street near the PST and Hwy-54. The third one is further east on Hwy-169. $50-80 overnight.

Humboldt

Camping: Free/tent at Hunter Park about one-mile SW of the SWT parking-only trailhead if no electricity is used there. Otherwise, $5 overnight. Grass, shade trees, running water, public restrooms w/showers, pavilion, tables, playground. The town police need to know you’re there, located at NW corner of the town square.

Summary

While stealth camping along these trail corridors is not allowed in most cases, other options exist besides the sites mentioned above. For example, distance riders can inquire about using the small-town parks, where often they are allowed to dry camp free or for a nominal fee. Users can also inquire at nearby farms, B&B’s, and local residents about setting up a tent in the corners of their yards.

As these relatively new Kansas trails are used more often, certain town parks and pavilions could open up to minimized camping. Also, a hostel or two could crop up sometime. A roofed enclosure isn’t a bad thing to have during inclement weather, even if only a covered picnic table. For detailed information about these trails, see the following websites.

Top Ten Wedding Reception Sites in Kansas City

Remember two years ago when your best friend finally tied the knot and you were “cordially invited” to attend their wedding ceremony and reception? You were excited for the happy couple, and you quickly returned the RSVP card informing them that you would be attending their glorious event (and that you would be having the steak). You were excited that is, until you arrived at the reception; a dingy church basement perhaps, or a converted musty old “mansion”, or maybe you showed up and they were having their reception in an abandoned warehouse feebly decorated with paper streamers and cheap lighting. You felt so sorry for your friend that you stayed just as long as you felt was polite, and then you made a hasty exit. Well now it’s your turn to get married, and you don’t want to make the same mistake your friend did. You want the best wedding reception in history, and it all starts with the site that you choose. In this article we’ve taken your eternal happiness to heart, and present you with our top ten wedding reception sites in Kansas City.

1. The Madrid Theatre

A newly renovated performing arts theater, The Madrid Theatre has more magic than one event space can handle. Often overlooked, this reception site is conveniently located right in the heart of Kansas City with access and parking directly off of Main Street at the 38th block. Your guests will enter your reception from a minimal 20 pace walk from the parking area into an extravagant and elegant piece of living Kansas City history, restored beautifully just for you and your guests. The first thing that your guests will see when they walk through the door is a gorgeous double staircase that takes them up to the balcony level where there is a bar and standing round tables that overlook the theater stage and dining area below. After the cocktail hour is over, your guests will make their way down to the dining area of the theater where there is another bar in the back of the room and a magnificent stage, ready to highlight the entertainment that you have chosen for your big night. When the dinner is complete, the stage is literally set for dancing the night away!

2. The Overland Park Convention Center

If you have a large group, The OPCC is the best venue in the city for the perfect wedding reception. Most impressive is the giant foyer that is located just outside the main ballroom which features large modern art statues and huge windows that overlook the nice green grass courtyard. Many couples opt to hold their cocktail hour in the foyer and also use the foyer to position the buffet stations for dinner. The Overland Park Convention Center is conveniently located directly next door to the Overland Park Sheraton Hotel with a connecting walkway.

3. Club 1000

Located directly in downtown Kansas City at 11th and Broadway, Club 1000 is unique in that it has several different floors to accommodate different phases of your wedding ceremony and reception. That’s right, you can have your ceremony AND reception in the same building at Club 1000. Ceremonies are held on the top level (6th floor) of the building called “Penthouse 1000” and the cool thing about this is that the roof is open after the ceremony for an incredible downtown Kansas City skyline photo shoot. After the ceremony is over, your guests take the elevator or stairs down to the 2nd level known as “Club 1000” where drinking and dancing kick off. If you have a late night group, there is also yet another level of the building known as “Studio 1000” (3rd floor) where there is a complete house wired karaoke system.

4. The Overland Park Sheraton

Just a stone’s throw away from Interstate 435 and Metcalf Avenue, The Overland Park Sheraton is a great wedding reception site. The Sheraton features a selection of 6 ballrooms that can be used individually or joined together to accommodate any size group. There is a great foyer where cocktail hour can be enjoyed and the staff at the OP Sheraton is second to none. Another great feature is the hotel itself, which is lavish and has it’s own late night bar within.

5. The Hilton President

Since Kansas City recently opened it’s popular Power and Light District, The Hilton President is your best choice for a wedding reception site located near the popular new downtown area. Within walking distance of the P&L District, this great site offers the convenience of a hotel, restaurant and bar with a great ballroom.

6. The Boulevard Brewery

For smaller groups, the Boulevard Brewery is a brand new facility that has a very modern look and feel. The main party room has a large center bar stocked with (what else) all of your favorite Boulevard Beer products and has a small stage for a DJ or small band. The Brewery has a nice balcony that offers a great view of the downtown Kansas City skyline.

7. The Oakwood Country Club

Don’t let the “country club” in the title fool you, this beautiful wedding reception site is available to the public for rental. Located on a lovely golf course, the Oakwood has floor to ceiling windows situated in around a 70’s style round ballroom. There is also another section of the ballroom for your favorite band and lots of dancing.

8. Hallbrook Country Club

Although a little more difficult to rent without a membership, Hallbrook Country Club is still one of the most stellar wedding reception sites in Kansas City. Outdoor access is the key attraction as Hallbrook has doors leading from every part of the grand ballroom to spectacular outdoor patios overlooking one of the most exclusive golf courses in the city.

9. The Cadillac Room / Fleetwood Room by Cadillac Catering

If freedom and style are what you are after, this great reception site located in the heart of downtown Kansas City is a nice break from the norm. Two adjoining rooms offer your guests a simple yet elegant place to dine and dance, while offering a great view of downtown KC.

10. The Carriage Club

For that country club feel without paying the country club dues, The Carriage Club, located just off the “nice part” of Ward Parkway is a great choice for your wedding reception. Featured is a beautiful large oak accented cocktail area, and an elevated dining area overlooking two bars and the dance floor.

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Cheap Hotels in Kansas City Info: Where to Stay & What to Do

Whether you have to go for business or personal reasons, you should be able to find cheap hotels in Kansas City. It’s located right on the western border of Missouri, right next to Kansas. There are so many fun things to do, like spending time at the park, visiting specialty museums, sightseeing, etc. Head to the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District to enjoy live music. At the Country Club Plaza you can go on a fun shopping spree. There are a number of festivals and parades held each year.

While prices for hotel rooms vary depending on the day of the week and time of year, Kansas City tends to have inexpensive hotels in general. The rate never goes up particularly high. There are literally over 30,000 rooms to choose from in this city and surrounding areas. Hotels are located in convenient locations, like downtown, near major attractions and the airport.

You can stay at one of the budget chain hotels if you wish. If you want to stay near Worlds of Fun, there is a Red Roof Inn and Ramada Kansas nearby. A Super 8, Wyndham Kansas, and Microtel Inn are located right by the airport. Overland Park is a popular area in KC, with hotels like Sheraton, Hyatt, Marriott, Hawthorn Suites, and Cloverleaf Suites nearby. There are some nice bed and breakfasts and inns in and around Excelsior Springs, which is located around 25 miles NE of central Kansas City. If you visit during a busy time and can’t find cheap hotels right in the city itself, just look in surrounding neighborhoods.

Visiting someone at the University of Central Missouri? There are over 40 hotels to choose from in Kansas City’s east side. It’s also the oldest section of the city, so you might want to check out historic landmarks.

Where to Get Deals for Cheap Hotels in Kansas City

The luxury four-star hotels are a lot more affordable in KC than in most other cities. You can’t easily get a good deal on a room or suite at the Hotel Indigo or the InterContinental at The Plaza.

A lot of the fun activities and entertainment are free, so you can get away with splurging on a hotel. Many of the cheap hotels in Kansas City are within walking distance of many free attractions, like Westport, outdoor art, free brewery tours, etc. If you’re staying downtown, just hop on the street car and get a free ride from one end to the other. Several of the hotels offer free airport shuttles as well. If you book in a neighborhood outside of the city, consider bundling your rental car reservation with the hotel booking and airfare to save additional money.

Why Asphalt Roofing Shingles Are Becoming Popular Choices

Home owners check out on the benefits of asphalt roofing shingles before installing them. As there is a wide array of choices for home roofing as well as for businesses, getting upfront and detailed knowledge about the pros and cons of all types of materials help a great deal. Even if you are using a different type of material, you can always change over to asphalt as they are loaded with some distinct advantages.

Easy to source

Primarily, the need for roof repair becomes tedious for the property owner. They try to install materials that require very little maintenance and can last their lifetimes. Your best bet would be to get hold of a professional contractor for installing asphalt roofing shingles. Finding out leaks later on can be a very cumbersome process and time taking as well. They are comparatively cheaper and easy to source.

With manufacturers and retailers all over the internet, it is easy to source the best roofing for your needs. Asphalt is cheaper and cost effective while the repairing job is much easier for larger sections. Lesser man hours and labor is required to get asphalt roofing fixed. If you are in Kansas City, your best bet would be to check out the retailers on the internet and also land based building material stores near you.

And climate is not at all a factor for these types of shingles as they are ideal for both tropical and arctic climates. They don’t melt or crack as they are made from fiberglass and are also known as petroleum products. While other roofing materials could fall apart in the face of strong winds, asphalt stays in shape and does not fly away, tear apart or decompose. Nowadays the products also come with algae resistant properties as well.

Fiberglass and organic shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are widely used not only on Kansas City, but coast to coast as well. There are basically the fiberglass and organic shingles that are most widely available in the market these days. Fiberglass reinforced mats are bonded with urea formaldehyde for extra reinforcement and coasted with fillers containing minerals for making them water resistant.

Paper saturation also makes the organic asphalt shingles water resistant. Ceramic granules are embedded with an adhesive top coat. To prevent growth of moss, copper and tin make up the ceramic granules and make them more durable. You don’t have to clean the moss regularly. They usually carry more asphalt and weigh much more than fiberglass. Laminated shingles use 2 different types of lairs providing buyers with more asphalt roofing shingles options.