Ceiling Water Stains…..



Ask any experienced realtor how they feel about water stains that are found on ceilings in homes that they are trying to sell, and you will almost feel the realtor’s blood pressure rise and see the look of someone who is experiencing electric shockwaves running through their heart.

Whether someone is buying a home, visiting a friend, or perhaps just inspecting around their own home, coming across a water-stained ceiling often leads to speculation of greater issues than may actually exist.

  • The water stain may be from an ice dam from the previous winter.
  • The water stain might be from a leaky roof that has long since been fixed.

The water stain might also be coming from an unknown area that has yet to be determined and only is affected during rainstorms of certain volumes coming from certain angles!

Whatever the root cause of the water stain is, it is most often preferable to neutralize the water stain and repaint the ceiling that the water stain is found on as quickly as possible.

There are a number of different remedies on the market for getting rid of water stains.

The one that I have personally found to be most effective is to first seal the water stain (assuming the source of the water stain has been corrected and the ceiling area around it is dry & mold-free).

The sealant that is our “go-to” sealant is an alcohol-based, white pigmented shellac. If this is applied to an inactive water stain, you will NEVER have a challenge of it leaking through your ceiling finish. With other sealants, the long terms effect of them working or not can be a “roll-of-the-dice”.

After the water stain is sealed, the ceiling can be painted with 1-2 coats (depending upon what is deemed necessary) of a finish that one may find suitable for the ceiling that is being painted.

The coming months are a great time to address water stain issues because as the weather warms, windows can often be comfortably left open and the home/building aired out as the process is being done.

When one sees a water stain, the mind can certainly wonder as to what types of “problems” the home/building they are in has that are causing these stains.

The best way to avoid what can be an uncomfortable conversation down the road, is to neutralize the causes of water stains and correct the water stain itself as soon as one is possibly able to do so.

If you have any questions on the water stain phenomena, feel free to reach out to us!!

Those PESKY Leaks!!!

A request that I have often heard over the past almost 25 years that I have been in the construction industry, is from a bewildered home or business owner that has a leaky “something” that is driving them absolutely insane!

Usually the case is that water is leaking in their home or business from somewhere, but they do not have a clue as to from where.

Some leaks are simple and are very quick to source; such as the time I found holes in someone’s roof because they had a satellite dish removed but never filled the holes in the roof after removing the screws that held the dish in place.

Some leaks are much more complicated and take a VERY long time to find; such as the time I had to track a leak over a period of several months before eventually figuring out it was leaking in from where a window jamb/sill seal that had been compromised in a minuscule fashion (but big enough to allow water in if thoroughly saturated!).

One of the biggest challenges with finding leaks is that many times one can only test if they have been neutralized when certain conditions are present.

Some leaks only happen, literally, once every couple of years when rain is hitting the area the leak is stemming from with just enough volume of water at just the right angle.

Other leaks are related to snow or ice damming and can only be found when there is just the right amount of snow or ice built up somewhere and it begins to melt into the home.

Interior leaks can be just as challenging as there is a plethora of possibilities where they can stem from – a leaky shower pan, a seal in a sink that has freed up, a leaky caulk-line in a bathtub or shower, etc.

Whether it is an exterior or interior source of leakage, the two things that one most recognize they need in order to properly find where the leak is coming from and then correct it are patience and trial & error.

Patience is needed because it can sometimes take so long with the number of variables involved to find the leak.

Trial & error is needed because this is really the only way to 100% find the leaks and be able to correct them from there.

Leaks can certainly drive one batty!; but if it is recognized that patience and trial & error are more than likely going to be needed in order to make sure the correct leaking spot is found, it will surely be A LOT easier on one’s psyche!!

Guarding Against Unwanted “Visitors”

One steamy Saturday last summer, I had just fallen asleep when I was awakened to screams in my house like one had never heard before! I woke up extremely startled and as I raced for the door to find out what the heck was going on, I heard my better half screeching, “A bat! A bat!!!”

Sure enough, as I swung open the bedroom door, I saw what seemed to be the biggest bat on the planet with its wings fully stretched out across my entire hallway!

After a bit of strategic game planning, I was able to get the bat out of the house safely for both our family and the bat; but how did the bat get in the house in the first place???

This is a question many people may often wonder. Not solely regarding bats, but smaller animals in general – particularly this time of year when it gets significantly cooler outside and our smaller “friends” aim to find a way to nestle in for winter.

We see situations all the time where these “visitors” find their way into our clients’ homes – mice, bats, snakes, squirrels, etc., etc. – certainly not the most ideal to run across as one is going about their everyday business.

How do we prevent critters such as these from getting inside in the first place?

Many of them do not need a hole bigger than the size of a dime to work their way in.

It is VERY important (as I obviously found out…) to periodically inspect your home’s exterior for possible points of entry and to properly neutralize them.

My suggestion is to start with areas of the most easiest access:

– Holes that may be lower on the foundation

– Holes that could be near the top of the chimney/in the roof area

– Rotted wood that could easily be burrowed through and allow an animal inside

– Trees that overhang the home and allow a natural bridge for squirrels (who can then chew their way in through an attic vent, soffit, etc.)

In addition to the list above, any hole that looks like a smaller animal could possibly make their way in should properly be plugged.

If even a small inspection such as what has been suggested above is not done, you may find yourself surrounded by screams in the middle of the night like I did and I have to tell you, there are MANY more things I would rather be doing on a Saturday night than chasing a bat around the house!!

Drip! Drip! Drip!! How do I Know if I Need a New Roof??

How do I Know if I Need a New Roof??

Perhaps the most unsettling sound one can hear as a homeowner!

You are lying in bed, well into the night, when the peaceful patter of rain against your window or on the ground outside in the late winter, is interrupted by a dripping sound that you just cannot ignore.

You pop up and discover a drip. Possibly stemming from a piece of top window trim. Possibly coming from a light fixture in the living room. Possibly leeching out a seam in the drywall of the bathroom ceiling. Etc., etc., etc…

Wherever the dripping is occurring, it is certainly not something fun to endure.

After the rain stops and things are cleaned up, the next obvious step is figuring out where the dripping leak is starting from.

Assuming that things are narrowed down to the roof being the point of origin, is it time to replace the roof entirely or could it possibly be an issue that can be patched and the roof replacement being kicked down the road a little bit?

In answering this question, certain things should be investigated before ultimately answering it.

Are all penetrations properly flashed? This includes chimneys, your sewer ventilation piping, and other venting that may be coming through your roof.

Are any existing dormers properly flashed?

Inadequately installed and worn flashing are most often at the heart of the issue for the majority of these apparent leaky roof situations.

Are there any really visible areas that need to be patched? If so, this could be the issue and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Even when roofs look really worn, it may actually be a flashing issue or an area that needs minor patching, rather than an entire roof system needing to be replaced, in order to stop the dripping.

If all the flashing in the entire roof area is tight and there are no blatant areas that seem like they need patching, it may be time to look into installing a new roof.

If it appears that the roof indeed needs to be replaced, we ALWAYS recommend stripping the roof back to its sheathing, making sure the sheathing is solid, and installing a roof system in-line with modern building code and the manufacturer’s guidelines on the roof product that will ultimately be put into place.

“Drip…Drip…Drip…” during a rainstorm in the middle of the night is often not a pleasant sound.

Knowing the difference between a roof repair and replacement, however, will potentially save you thousands of dollars should this disturbing situation ever arise and present itself.

When is the best time to hire a Home Improvement Contractor?

How many weeks until Spring??


11 Weeks 39 Days!!

But who’s counting???

As we begin to delve into our plans for 2018, there may be home improvement items needing to be addressed on your agenda.

You may be aiming to take them on yourself, hire a contractor for some help with them, or perhaps a combination of both.

If hiring a home improvement contractor is something you are looking to do, whether it is for painting, electric work, installing cabinetry, etc., I really do believe that this time of year is the very BEST time to hire someone to assist with these needs.

The biggest reason for this is, regardless of the trade, once the weather appears to turn more consistently “nice”, it may be next to impossible to find someone that is most capable in executing your project in the time period that is most ideal for you.

As ‘Spring’ hits, there is an annual “RUSH” in the industry, where the phone of everybody who is looked at as a viable option for whatever it is they do, begins to ring nonstop.

At that point, it may be challenging to get the most adept people to even have a conversation about whatever project it is that you would like to talk about, never mind actually scheduling the work.

The dirty little secret in the home improvement industry is that the very best contractors pretty much have a good portion of their year already booked up by the time the weather starts to improve.

If one was to stop and think about it, there is a reason that the most sought-after contractors (those with the best reputations, guarantees, and so on…) are hard to nail down and those that are not held in such high regard are not.

Your very best chance of catching lightning in a bottle – an awesome contractor with the time to chat about your project – is going to be during the time of year when traditionally the phones just aren’t as busy.

Home improvement projects are really exciting endeavors!

When tackling home improvement projects on your own, scheduling can certainly be very challenging.

When tackling home improvement projects with the assistance of a hired contractor, planning can be even more intense.

If aiming to hire a home improvement professional in 2018 in accomplishing a project, give yourself the best shot at hiring the best professional and hire them now! Otherwise, the specific project that you were hoping to hire someone for and to have done well before Memorial Day may be getting done well after Labor Day

How to Best Navigate the Home Insurance Claims Process…


Working with Insurance Companies when Your Property Has Been Damaged!


No one ever expects to have to file an insurance claim for damage caused to their property.


I believe the vast majority of Home and Business Owners alike simply consider insurance a ‘necessary evil’, paying the bill as it comes in but never really giving it much thought beyond that.

Until a tree falls on your home, a hot water tank gives out, an ice dam backs up, pipes burst, or a wide variety of the other potential culprits of property damage occur, many individuals simply do not have a clue as to the quality of their coverage or what it actually consists of.

In fact, many go through the motions, seduced by the promise of the “lowest priced insurance one will find…”, etc. as they know they “have to” have it, but don’t really know much about it.

When an incident of damage does occur, that is when people REALLY find out (if they did not know already) what their coverage consists of.

Over the years we have been very fortunate (or unfortunate, depending upon how you look at things!) to have had a good amount of experience working with insurance companies.

In my opinion, there are certainly some companies that are very good, some that are “ok”, some that are not really that great, and everywhere in between.

To me, what really makes a “good” insurance company is the way in which they take care of their insureds, when a claim is filed.

When we are called to help a Client put things back together after something has happened, we know that the process is going to go one of two ways.

The first (and most ideal) path the claim could take is that the adjuster that is assigned the claim is of reasonable mindset and is very fair throughout the entire ordeal.

The other path, is the exact opposite. The adjuster that is assigned the claim makes it their entire mission to try to ensure that the insurance company is able to settle the claim for as least amount of money out of their pockets as possible.

There is no middle ground or gray area from what I have experienced and each path has a 50/50 shot of happening.

If you are lucky enough to be connected with a ‘good’ adjuster, count your blessings.

If you get dealt the hand of the adjuster trying to nickel and dime and help as little as possible, all is not lost.

There are people out there known as independent adjusters who can be hired to help out with what can seem like a VERY daunting situation. They serve as advocates for the insured, will make sure your claim is maximized to its correct coverage, and typically take a modest fee of 10% of what the claim is settled for.

Even if you are in what you feel to be a “fair” situation, it still may not be a bad idea to get a reputable independent adjuster involved to make sure all t’s are crossed and all i’s are dotted.

Going through a situation where a claim has to be filed can be intimidating enough, having the feeling of your insurance company working against you can leave one feeling frustratingly hopeless.

If you would like to talk more in depth about this topic, feel free to reach out to us.

Although we sincerely hope you never have to navigate through a property insurance claim, we do also hope that you have at least a brief understanding of how to approach things if ever need be the case.


“If you are lucky enough to be connected

with a ‘good’ adjuster, count your blessings.”


Interesting Residential Painting Facts!!

Residential painting seems to be something that has really been with us for hundreds of years. There have been samples of residential painting found in caves dating back to when humanity can be traced to originate! Here are a few interesting facts that we’ve borrowed from a friend in the mid-west about residential painting (with a few bonuses snuck in, which are not about residential painting, but we couldn’t resist! ☺ )

  • The first major union of painters was called the Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers. Founded in London in 1502, it standardized residential painting practices and guarded trade secrets!
  • The first residential painting was cave art; the oldest known example of this is in the El Castillo cave, in Cantabria, Spain.
  • About 10% of all paint purchased in the USA is eventually thrown out (according to the Environmental Protection Agency), and the majority of this figure goes to residential painting. That is over 60,000,000 gallons! Let’s be creative about how we can reduce that!
  • Probably the oldest form of residential paint was made with milk, mixed with lime and colored earth. Even the famous Egyptian Pharaoh’s tomb, that of King Tut, was painted with milk paint!
  • Over 43,000 Americans make their living from some stage of paint production. Be kind to your neighbor; paint your house!
  • The best artist’s brushes come from the Siberian and Mongolian sable, a member of the mink family. The premium brushes can only be made after an especially long, cold winter, and some artists will put their names on long wait lists to get these. And you thought you had it bad waiting through the checkout line at Home Depot!
  • Residential painters used to be expected to grind all of their color ingredients with a mortar and pestle; I hope they weren’t charging that by the hour!
  • Split ends are good! Even synthetic bristle brushes can be made to have split ends, just like human hair can get. This is beneficial because of the way it picks up and retains the paint. So when you’re washing out your brushes, don’t use conditioner!
  • The first paint brushes were often made with sticks, split palm leaves, whalebone or wood shavings. Let us know if you find a step-by-step set of instructions for making them!

Whether you live in a cave, a castle, a yurt, or a yacht, you may likely have questions about residential painting or be in need of residential painting services at some point soon. LOPCO Contracting would love to help you out with any of your residential painting questions regardless of whether or not you are located in the RI or Southern New England areas, so please reach out to us!

Whether your questions may be about restoring residential painting cave art such as that in the El Castillo cave or simply what the best way is to get rid of paint from long ago residential painting projects – call us at 401-270-2664 or e-mail us at:

If you happen to have a residential painting project that you would like to talk to us about perhaps helping you out with Click hereand we can start guiding you through our estimating and consultation process. Just please don’t request that we use paint still made from milk 😉

LOPCO Contracting is the place where home and property owners go to find long-lasting, beautiful craftsmanship; guaranteed with a warranty and associated service plan truly unique within the ENTIRE home & property improvement industry. Founded by Home Improvement Guru Tom Lopatosky, LOPCO Contracting has helped protect, beautify, and improve homes and properties for over 20 years!