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When the Homeowner wants to renovate his house, He or She must get educated on the subject. There are so many choices as far as materials used in a project that one has to really do their homework. As if material selection was not hard enough, Homeowner has to decide on the contractor who will control the project. There are so many issues connected to the construction project that I understand how Homeowner can get confused and overwhelmed. In this article I will attempt to clarify some important elements/stages/parts of the project. My company – MAINSTREET SIDING HOME IMPROVEMENTS LLC – does what’s called an exterior renovation of the house. That means that we do everything pretending to the outside appearance of your house. Words in capitals indicate the products that can be viewed on the internet through our web page: www.mainstreet-siding.com.
When I meet with the potential Customer on location, we walk around the house together discussing the project. We ask each other questions, Homeowner tells me what He/She wants and I measure all the components of the project. For New Siding Job first I usually recommend to remove the existing siding. It might be the old wood clapboard, wood shake or asbestos siding. By tearing off the old siding we straighten the wall surface and prepare it for the new siding installation. It is possible to install new siding over the old existing one, but then the new siding will reflect the shape of the old wall and might not look straight. It is simply the better job by removing the old siding. Of course the price is higher because we have to pay the mechanics for labor and we have to dispose of the debris.
Another advantage of removing the existing siding from the house is inspecting it for any damaged/rotted wood/plywoods either by water or by termites. When we find the bad wood we show it to the Customer and replace it. After rip we apply TYVEK paper over the naked deck of the house. Then we apply DOW Insulation that comes in boards (2x8)’ and in different thickness of 3/8”, ½”, ¾” and so on. We usually use ½” DOW insulation unless Homeowner requests otherwise.
Siding goes over the top of insulation. There are many brads of vinyl siding. Consumer Report lists 100 of them by rating. One can sell you the chipset and thinnest vinyl siding and the price of the job will be low. This might be a good idea may be for the rental property, but not for your own house. I don’t sell the thin and cheep siding. Simply because it looks bad on the house and I can not use the job as my referral. The say; “You get what you paid for” is usually right. When one uses thin siding walls look wavy, color fades in time, there is no insulation. We use top three manufacturers of the vinyl siding on the Consumer Report list. One of them is CERTAINTEED MONOGRAM – heavy gage vinyl siding with the extensive color selection. Certainteed is also making other accessories that are necessary in the complete siding job and the colors are uniform to match with siding.
The idea of the full siding job is the one that makes the entire exterior of the house maintenance free. That’s why I recommend covering all the exposed to elements wood frames (around the windows, doors, garage door) wood trim boards on the rakes and under your gutters (called fascia). To wrap all the wood frames with the vinyl coated aluminum coil – we custom bent the casings on the job site upon the specific measurements. Coil comes in as many colors as siding. See FASCIA on our web page. We add flanges (extra bent) to all window- and door-casings. That prevent water from entering behind the siding. Before installing soffit material we drill circular holes in your overhangs to provide ventilation to your roof (rafters and plywoods). Air should enter through soffits, travel along rafters and exit through the RIDGEVENT (element of the roofing job described in ROOFING section) installed on the top of your roof. For electric outlets, water outlets, for installing lamps over the top of your new siding we use mounting blocks by MID-AMERICA. They create the finished look and come in many colors to match the siding or trim. To decorate the house we use shutters around windows and headers/FYPONs above the windows and doors. To complete the siding job we install as last the seamless gutters and leaders. We bring the machine to the job site and we run those gutters directly on the spot upon specific measurements taken from your house. Every piece of gutter is seamless and is installed with hidden hangers (not with spikes that keep falling off like in the past).
One more thing. We really clean up the job site every day. Imagine garbage and debris, pieces of insulation, paper, siding – flying around your neighborhood It happens more often than you think. We use to bring the big metal dumpster and the dumpster company would “dump” it on the driveway. In many cases it was positioned too close to the house so we couldn’t open the door, metal box and the delivering it truck would damage (crack or scratch) the Customers driveway, and in several cases the telephone wires were ripped off of the house by the dumpster lift… It truly was a disaster. I never knew when are they delivering it, and how much damage they will make. I paid for two or three broken concrete driveway plates and dumpster company told me that they are not responsible - I decided to buy the DUMP-TRAILER ON Wheels! Now we can position it exactly where we want it and when we want it. And it’s pretty. You will see if you call us…
IN HOUSE PRESENTATION AND FREE ESTIMATE
We have separate portfolios for siding, roofing, windows with photos of jobs, details, before and after photos, etc. When I go to measure the house and initially talk to the Customer, I leave the DVD disk with several thousands of pictures that are organized in separate directories. Homeowner can browse through the photos and get better idea of color combination, understanding of the details, styles. On the DVD disk there also are lists of our jobs with addresses, testimonials – letters from Customers, licenses, certificates of insurances, etc. This DVD is our electronic portfolio. During in house presentation I answer all the Homeowner’s questions, I advise as far as material to be used and I talk about my company.
There is Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurances required to be in force secured by contractor. Not many people understand the significance of and meaning of Worker’s Compensation. The reality is that if contractor doesn’t have his men covered under WC, and if something happens to any of that uninsured worker – the homeowner assumes responsibility to pay reparations to the worker! Some contractors can save a lots of money not having proper insurances, licenses, permits, etc. But is it really worth it?? Definitely not if one wants to stay in business for a long time…
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