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March 2020

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Preparing your home’s exterior for storm season in Texas

By Doors, Storm, Windows

Current events taking place in the world today, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, have been making quite an impact in our neck of the woods. It doesn’t help that this major event in history is happening right at the beginning of our, already intense, storm season.

Every state and region has its own storm season, and in North Texas, spring is the main event of stormy weather. From early March until late August, high winds, heavy rains, hail, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes are not uncommon. The brunt of it hits from mid-March until the end of June.

Spring cleaning may take care of your home’s interior and its landscaping, but you also need to think about your home’s exterior. Here are 5 key actions you can take to bolster your home for the upcoming Texas storms.

1. Invest In A Window Upgrade

Older windows often tend to develop drafts, which is bad enough, but in the rainy season, leaks can develop through those same openings. That’s an even bigger problem. Foundation settling can cause window frames to warp, become too tight or too loose, or cause fissure lines above and/or below the window.

All of these reasons, plus the benefit of better weather protection, boosted energy efficiency, and enhanced curb appeal argue for spring as an excellent time to invest in a window upgrade in the North Texas Panhandle.

2. Get Better Doors & Storm Doors

Water and wind – think drafts and leaks, can also affect your exterior doors during the Texas storm season. It may be time for a new front door, back door, garage door, or storm door.

Adding a door sweep, more insulation around doors, or repainting or restaining doors with exposed wood may sometime be enough. But a newer, stronger door with a higher energy efficiency rating would help even more!

3. Take Care Of Any Siding Repairs

If you notice any siding pieces that have come loose, slipped down, buckled, warped in the Texas sun over the years, or cracked up in a past hail storm, it’s a good time to take care of necessary repairs. Well-installed siding will help prevent water from getting behind your home’s exterior and finding its way through into the interior.

Upgrading to a higher grade of vinyl siding or to steel siding will do even more to make sure your building successfully weathers this year’s string of storms.

4. Clean Out Gutters & Downspouts

When gutters and downspouts are clogged with sticks, leaves, and other debris, it can make water back up during a storm. This may lead to wood rot of your fascia boards or the edge of your roof deck. It could also cause an interior leak and encourage mold and mildew growth. And it may allow water to eat away at your home’s foundation when it doesn’t drain down the gutters properly.

If gutters are sagging, they need to be nailed back up straight. If they are leaking, that must be addressed with waterproof gutter caulk. In extreme cases, you may wish to simply replace your guttering system.

Taking steps now to protect your home’s exterior during the storm season will pay big dividends by preventing damage and expenses down the road. For a free estimate on energey efficient, storm-safe siding and windows, contact Double J Siding & Windows in Amarillo, Texas, today!

 

home repairs

Are home repairs tax deductible?

By Home No Comments

If your home has suffered some kind of damage from weather events, an accident, or general wear and tear, as a tax-paying homeowner, you may well be wondering if home repairs are tax-deductible.

Like other tax-related questions, the answer is somewhat complex and includes both good news and bad news – here is what you need to know concerning home repairs and tax deductions.

You Can Deduct “Casualty Losses”

The large majority of home repairs are not tax-deductible. That said, there are some important exceptions and caveats to that statement. First, there is the casualty loss deduction for damage caused by natural disasters or sudden, unexpected weather events.

The IRS will only allow you to deduct that portion of the repair cost that is not covered under your homeowners insurance. If you don’t have home insurance, you can deduct it all. However, there are limitations too. You can’t deduct more than 10% of your adjusted gross income (minus an additional $100), and you can’t deduct more than the original cost of the damaged property plus any amount you put into improving it earlier.

In certain situations, you can get thousands of dollars in tax deductions from a single repair or multiple combined repairs under these rules. So be sure to look into this option and talk to an informed contractor or tax expert about getting your maximum home repair deduction.

You Can Deduct Home Improvements

If you add value to your home instead of just bring it back to its pre-damage state, that counts as a home improvement instead of a home repair. Thus, let’s say your windows or doors were damaged but you don’t qualify for a casualty losses deduction. If you install new windows or doors that upgrade your home’s energy efficiency – better ones than the originals, you could deduct all or a part of the cost as a home improvement.

The Home Office Deduction

Another way to deduct home repairs is if you have an office you use for business purposes in your home. If you take the home office deduction, then you can deduct expenses related to repairing that home office.

You can deduct all of the costs of repairs made directly to your home office and a percentage of HVAC and some other house-wide costs that also affect your home office space. The percentage of floor space your office takes up in your home is the percentage you can deduct in the latter cases.

The Rental Property Deduction

If you rent out a room or a portion of your property, then you can deduct repair costs related to the rental property. If the repair is simply to the rented-out portion of your property, then it is 100% tax-deductible.

If it is to a building-wide system (like roofing, heating, or AC) that impacts the rental property, then you deduct on a percentage of floor space basis just like for the home office deduction.

Long-term Ways Repairs Can Reduce Taxes

Finally, if you ever go to sell your home, you can subtract the total expense of all repairs and upgrades made to it from the capital gains to lower capital gains taxes.

For example, if you paid $100,000 for your home, put in $25,000 in repairs/upgrades, and sold your home later for $150,000 – your tax basis would be lowered from $50,000 to $25,000 because what you put into your home lowered your profit margin.

There are several ways that a home repair can reduce how much you pay in taxes. To learn more, contact Double J Siding & Windows in Amarillo, Texas, to talk to experienced contractors who are also familiar with these kinds of tax issues.