5 Keys to Hiring a Quality Roofing Contractor

Your roof needs repair or replacement, but you’ve heard all the horror stories of contractors who don’t show up, use sub-par materials, or who just never complete the work. Roof work is among the most expensive and important contracting work you can have done on your home, and you need someone you can trust to get the work done right – the first time.

These 5 keys to hiring a quality roofing contractor will get you on you way to finding an experienced, efficient roofing contractor who will finish your project on time and within your budget: 

Make Sure They’re Insured, Licensed, & Certified

This first requirement is an absolute must for anyone you have working on your home. Your roofer, his employees, and any sub-contractors he may hire, will be up on the roof of your home for hours a day. You need to know that your roofing contractor has the proper insurance – worker’s compensation, liability, etc. – to cover any incidents that may happen so your homeowners’ insurance isn’t dinged. Additionally, check for any state or local licensing that may be required in your state. Licensed roofers are cleared by regulatory bodies, so you know they adhere to all the proper industry standards for materials, installation, and safety.

Hire a Local Contractor

Fly-by-night roofing contractors are all over the place, especially after a big storm. These “contractors” travel around, looking for people with damaged roofs they can rope into expensive work that may or may not be covered by insurance. Make sure the contractor you hire is actually a local business, and not just one that operates locally to help avoid this pitfall.

Ask for References

Any contractor worth his salt is going to not only be able to provide the contact information of happy customers, but will happily hand over this information. References from former clients are a great way to get a true sense of the quality of work, the reliability of the contractor, and just the overall way your intended contractor does business. If you’re considering a contractor who doesn’t have or refuses to provide references, be wary. He could either be very newly in business – and maybe not that seasoned – or could have an unsavory service record.

Find a Good Communicator 

Part of the job of being a contractor is being able to capably deal with both the clients and the employees. You want to find someone who is going to be able to thoroughly explain to you all the details of your project, and who will keep you updated on its progress. It may be cause for concern if a contractor doesn’t return phone calls, emails, or texts for days at a time, or who has a difficult time providing details of your project when directly asked.

Get a Work Plan

A work plan is a written plan of all the work that’s to be completed on your home – materials lists, timelines for the beginning and end of the project, a list of the phases of your project. This helps you track what materials you’re paying for, when you can expect to have your roof fixed or replaced, and know exactly what the contractor is doing to your home. If a contractor refuses to provide this or says he doesn’t operate off some form of written work plan, be concerned.

Experienced Roofing Contractor in Maryland

For more than 20 years, the skilled team at Select Home Exteriors has provided superior roofing materials and service to clients throughout Frederick County, Maryland, and beyond. If you’re looking for a roofing contractor who will get your roof in tip-top shape while providing excellent customer service, contact us today for a free estimate.

3 Tips for Designing Your Own Deck or Patio

3 Tips for Designing Your Own Deck or Patio
Designing your own deck or patio can be a daunting task, but with the help of industry experts and a few tips, you can custom-design your outdoor transitional space in no time! Here are three tips for getting started:

Gather Ideas

We find that many of our clients gather their ideas from online websites such as Pinterest, TV specials on HGTV, or magazines and other publications. Take some time to figure out what architectural styles you like and don’t like, and what features pop out to you.

This phase is simply meant to gather ideas to focus on a direction for your plan. Jot ideas down as you come across them, cut (or print) out pictures, and make a pros and cons list to identify what’s important to you. You may want to consider creating an inspiration board on a piece of paper board or digitally on a site such as Pinterest. These ideas will help you make faster decisions down the road.

>> Custom Deck Designs in Maryland

Define the Purpose

Believe it or not, this is one of the most crucial steps you need to complete before ever picking up a pencil to design your deck or patio. Take some time to answer: what will your deck or patio be used for? And be specific!

Do you plan to host BBQs for family and friends? You may want to design an outdoor grilling area and seating area large enough to accommodate them. Do you want a backyard oasis and additional privacy to enjoy the weather without neighbors’ prying eyes? You may want to consider a privacy wall, trellis, or other feature of some sort at the edge of your new deck or the property line. How about an intimate setting where you can enjoy family meals or conversational seating around fire pit?

It all comes down to how you want to use this deck or patio and what environment you want to create for yourself and your guests. Once you have the purpose in place, you can then begin the planning process!

Tailor the Design to Your Budget and Backyard

After gathering some ideas and defining the purpose, you then need to get detailed about how the design can meet your budget and fit with your backyard, not the other way around. Let’s face it – not every picture-perfect deck or patio will look as great in your backyard as it does in the media.

If you have a small yard or budget, it’s not realistic to expect a grandiose deck or patio. You also have to consider the architecture of your home to pair a custom deck that is not completely out in left field in terms of design. For example, a log cabin deck will not pair well with a modern, contemporary home.

You also have to evaluate your available space and plan for the traffic areas of the deck or patio accordingly. It may be best in this case to have your outdoor furniture already picked out to know how much space is available and how much deck or patio you need to build.

Other considerations may include:

  • Shape and size of your deck and patio
  • Materials that fit best with your taste and budget (wood, composite, PCV, etc.)
  • Furnishings you already have or plan to get
  • The view you want from the deck or patio and from inside the house
  • Additions, such as pergolas, screened-in decks, privacy walls, fireplaces, fire pits, railing planters, built-in benches, etc.

Work with Maryland’s Premier Deck and Patio Builders

If you’re overwhelmed with the available market options and the logistics of how to design your own deck or patio, contact the professionals at Select Home Exteriors. We will work step-by-step with you to custom design your dream deck!

3 Signs Your Asphalt Shingle Roof Needs Replacing

Signs Your Asphalt Shingle Roof Needs Replacing

A healthy roof is necessary to protect you, your family, and your assets. Routine care and maintenance can prevent a whole host of emergencies, but even the best-cared-for roof ages and needs replacement eventually. Here are 3 signs it may be time to replace your asphalt shingle roof:

It’s Reaching the End of Its Life Span

When was your roof built or last repaired? Experts agree that an asphalt shingle roof’s lifetime is between 20 and 25 years. Anything beyond that is susceptible to major damage and is due for a replacement. If your roof is more commonly exposed to harsher weather conditions such as hurricanes, tropical storms, blizzards, or ice, that may significantly reduce the lifespan of your roof.

If you’re unsure of the age of your roof, hire a roof inspector or professional roofing contractor. A good inspector will come fully licensed and certified to help identify the age of your roof using technically refined skills from years of experience. Bringing in an expert often is the best way to know when it’s time to replace your roof.

>> Does My Roof Need Replaced?

You See Worn, Broken, or Missing Shingles

Evaluating the health of your shingles is important to understanding how effective your roof is. Shingles are specifically designed to withstand and endure the inclement weather conditions your home faces. They help protect your roof by carrying run-off rainwater and snowmelt away from your roof to keep your underlayer, decking, and rafters dry.

Over time, these shingles wear down. They can show signs of buckling when the roof sheathing moves beneath the shingles due to moisture exposure in the attic. If your attic does not have proper ventilation, moisture can build up in the heat, causing shingles to warp and curl as well. You’ll want to take a hard look at your shingles to check for signs of buckling, curling, or warping in addition to falling apart or even missing shingles.

Be sure to also check your roof valleys for damaged or missing shingles. This area endures the most wear and tear since it collects rainwater and snowfall throughout the year and carries it down to your gutters. If your shingles show signs of these poor conditions, your roof is at risk of major water damage.

You Find Mold or Mildew in the Attic

For a closer look, take a walk upstairs to your attic to inspect the insulation and plywood surfaces for signs of water damage. You may find light or dark colored mold or mildew lurking behind your insulation and on the surfaces of your roof framing and sheathing. Further inspect your trusses for wood rot with a moisture meter that measures elevated moisture content in water stains. Your attic is the perfect place to check for signs of water stains, leaks, or other damage, since it will be the first place on the interior of your home to be impacted by a poor roof.

This is also the time to look for proper insulation and ventilation set-ups. If your attic does not have proper ventilation, warm air rises in your home and gets trapped in the attic. The warm air then condenses, providing yet another opportunity for water to damage your roofing structures. If you see natural light showing through or sagging roof decking inside the attic, it may be time to replace your asphalt shingle roof.

>> Check Your Roofing Health Here

Roof Repair & Replacement Services in Maryland

Is it time to replace your old roof? With over 20 years of experience, Select Home Exteriors provides professional roof repair and replacement throughout Maryland. Contact us today for your free estimate.

6 Benefits of Adding Shutters To Your Home

Benefits of ShuttersShutters can be a great asset to your home’s exterior. Learn how home shutters can benefit you.

Shutters originally were designed with functionality in mind, protecting the home’s interior and exterior from the elements. Over the years, they’ve become more a matter of aesthetics, providing an extra element of interest to a home’s exterior. However, they still serve a functional purpose for your home. Here are 6 benefits of having home shutters:

Light Control

If you’re anything like us, those morning sun rays can be an unwelcome guest, especially if your bedroom windows face east. Shutters can help you sleep better and longer, giving you more control over how much light is let into your home. In fact, shutters are known to keep more sunlight out than any other window treatment option on the market at a fraction of the cost. Shutters give you full control and flexibility when it comes to adjusting your home’s natural light. This means they also protect you and your family from harmful UV rays.

Ventilation

Have you ever been in an attic in the middle of the summer? If so, you might recall how incredibly hot the air gets. This can make that mid-summer reorganization project difficult to withstand. We’ve all been taught that hot air rises, so how is that hot air supposed to escape? Home shutters can help circulate that hot air by providing a quick escape while giving you control as the vent operator. This means a cooler attic and a less stuffy home for you.

Protection

It doesn’t take a hurricane to find a need for home shutters. Every home is exposed to inclement weather at some time or another. Shutters may be the only thing stopping a falling tree branch from puncturing your new $300 energy efficient windows. It’s no wonder many homeowners opt for home shutters as an extra layer of protection from the outdoor elements and flying debris. We promise you that shutters will be cheaper than your windows to replace should they get damaged in a storm.

>> Learn How To Make Your Windows Maintenance Free

Privacy

For the homeowner who values privacy, shutters may just be the solution you’re looking for. If those broken blinds and see-through curtains aren’t cutting it for you, home shutters can give you your desired level of privacy with a simple tilt of the horizontal slats. Closed shutters remove any chance of a nosey neighbor taking a peek inside your home by blocking their view altogether.

Curb Appeal

Shutters today are mainly used for their aesthetic value, which can’t be underestimated. They can increase the value of a home by adding depth in the home’s curb appeal and framing the windows. In turn, this increases your investment as a homeowner and boosts potential resale value.

>> Need Some Inspiration? Check Out the Curb Appeal of Exterior Shutters on Pinterest

Insulation

Home shutters add an additional layer of insulation for managing thermal temperature. Whether you are trying to keep your home cool during the summer or warm during the winter, shutters can help regulate the internal temperature by blocking cold drafts and unwanted heat waves from entering your home. This is especially useful if your windows and window casings are not already set up for energy efficiency. Shutters allow you to also insulate your home from noise intrusion should your neighbor decide to throw a party.

>> Learn How To Save Money On Your Energy Bills

Quality Exterior Worksmanship in Frederick County, MD

Shutters are a wonderful solution to help save you money while increasing the overall value of your home. Their versatility and functionality makes them a smart choice for any homeowner. If you’re considering home shutters, get in touch with an expert from Select Home Exteriors for your free consultation.

4 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Roof This Winter

Protect Your Roof This Winter

Winter weather can be tough on your roof. Snow, ice, and harsh winds all can wreck havoc on your shingles and flashing, causing major problems for you and your family. To protect from expensive repairs mid-winter, take these 4 steps to protect your roof before the cold weather hits:

Clean your gutters

Clogged gutters and downspouts can harbor moisture, causing frozen water to expand and damage gutters. Cracked, sagging gutters can cause damage not only from pulling away from the rest of your roof, but also when the ice begins to thaw in the spring. Water that cannot properly drain can puddle on your roof or drain directly onto your foundation, leading to long-term, expensive damage if it isn’t remedied quickly.

Get up on a ladder with your trusty trowel and bucket and clear all the leaves, sticks, and other debris that have collected in your gutters since spring. Lug a hose up there, too, and run some water through the gutters to check for leaks and to be sure your downspouts are funneling water properly. If you feel uncomfortable performing this task, a handyman or other outdoor home professional should be able to make quick work of the job.

Check your roof ventilation

Warm air inside your home from ovens, bathrooms, and the general use of your furnace meets with cold outside air at your roof line. If your roof doesn’t have proper ventilation for the inner warm air, a difference of temperatures will be created and can cause snow and ice to melt, then re-freeze, forming an ice dam. To avoid this problem, you must keep your roof line as cool as possible.

While you’re up on the roof, make sure you have vents capable of handling the heat from your oven, your clothes dryer, and all bathrooms. If you have vents already, make sure they’re clear and in proper working condition. If you discover you don’t have adequate ventilation, contact a home professional before winter really sets in.

Insulate your attic

Much like improper roof ventilation, inadequate attic insulation easily creates a temperature differential on your roof, which can create ice dams. Ice dams can cause serious damage to your shingles, roof joists, and drywall inside your home, as water backs up onto your roof and pools or leaks inside.

Get up in your attic and check that it’s properly insulated. If you don’t have any insulation, or inadequate insulation, get some installed as soon as possible. For existing insulation, check that there are no holes or missing sections, which can cause drafts. Inspect around windows and vents to make sure the seals around them are intact and sufficient.

Trim your trees

Branches or other vegetation that hang over the roof can be magnets for collected snow and ice during winter months. If the plant is weak, or you have particularly heavy snow or ice accumulation, this can lead to branches breaking off and falling on your roof. This can cause pierced shingles, broken gutters, or other damage to your home and roof.

Before the winter weather hits, take a pair of shears or a chainsaw and trim off any branches that hang over your roof or gutters. If you don’t feel comfortable getting up that high, or you don’t know how to properly trim your trees, contact a tree maintenance or outdoor home professional for help.

Expert Exterior Upgrades in Central Maryland

At Select Home Exteriors, we offer more than 15 years of experience with roofing repairs and replacement. Contact us today for your free estimate!

Home Siding – Identifying 5 Major Types

popular siding materials
When purchasing a new home, buyers want to know what type of siding is installed. While most realtors will have that information readily available, the type of siding on a home is sometimes unknown. We’ve collected the 5 most common types of exterior siding and ways to identify them to make your next home purchase a little easier.

Vinyl

The most common type of residential siding in America today, this durable, lightweight material comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. Vinyl siding snaps onto a track that is nailed into the exterior of the home. It is a fairly easy material to identify, as it feels like plastic and gives relatively easily when pushed. Vinyl siding requires little upkeep, usually just occasional washing. Repairing vinyl siding can be a challenge, as fading can make it difficult to find a suitable color match.

Stucco and Synthetic Stucco

True stucco siding is a mixture of cement and sand, water, and lime which is installed directly onto the outer walls of a home. It feels rough and solid, and can be tinted or painted. Stucco also sounds solid if it is knocked on. Synthetic stucco has the same look, from afar, of real stucco, but sounds hollow when knocked on. Naturally fire-resistant and sound-dampening, true stucco is incredibly durable, lasting 50 years or more.

Wood

Wood siding comes in multiple grains and constructions, from full planks to individual tiles. When stained, wood siding is very easy to pick out because the knots and other imperfections in the individual pieces are visible. Though there is synthetic wood siding on the market, synthetic wood cannot emulate the feel of real wood. Wood requires the most upkeep of siding materials, as it must be painted or sealed and protected against moisture to avoid rotting.

Aluminum

Aluminum was once one of the most popular siding materials on the market, and still is a major choice for commercial and industrial buildings. It can be painted and does come in a range of colors, sometimes looking very similar to vinyl siding. However, aluminum dents more easily and will have a metallic sound when knocked on. Despite easy denting, aluminum siding can last up to 50 years if cared for properly, and some aluminum siding even can be recycled.

Fiber-Cement

Manufactured to replace the once-popular asbestos siding, fiber-cement siding has increased in popularity in recent years. It comes in a variety of shapes, patterns, and colors, and is used for everything from siding to soffit material. It can have a similar look and feel to vinyl siding, but because it is created using a mixture of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers, it has a more solid feel and is more durable. Fiber-cement siding is very heavy due to its construction, but it is among the most versatile materials, performing well in areas with high humidity, above-average rainfall, or large temperature fluctuations.

Knowing what type of siding your home has is a crucial part of any home-buying decision. Armed with the information in this article, you can easily determine the differences between most popular siding materials. Contact the professionals at Select Home Exteriors for help learning about the maintenance, repair, and care of your new home’s siding.

6 Important Fall Home Maintenance Tasks

With cooler weather just around the corner, it’s a good time to get a list of to-do items together. Here are a few items you can take care of this fall to help keep your home nice and cozy throughout the winter:

Inspect Your Siding and Roof

Fall is the perfect time to take a close look at the entire exterior of your home. Start by inspecting the siding for any scratches, dents, or more serious damage. Depending on the siding material, you may or may not be able to make the necessary repairs yourself. Your roof is a little trickier to inspect, but a little attention to detail could help avoid a major winter catastrophe. If you see shingles curling along the edges, or missing entirely, it’s time for some quick repairs. Another place to thoroughly check is along any vents or chimneys. If the flashing is pulling away from any corners, it’s time to replace it to stop future water damage in your home. If your area saw hail or heavy storms this spring or summer, consider having a roofing company or your insurance company inspect the roof for any possible hail damage. If hail damage is found, there’s a possibility you could have the roof replaced at a drastically reduced cost due to insurance coverage.

Store the Mower – Prepare the Blower!

One of the more important steps to take is to drain the fuel from your lawnmower or treat the remaining fuel with stabilizer, and get it stored for the winter. Any untreated fuel that remains in the gas tank of your mower will begin to evaporate throughout the winter, and could cause serious issues for the motor come spring. Once your mower is stowed away for winter, fire up your snowblower and make sure it’s still in good shape. Don’t just fire it up and move on, actually test the impeller and auger. This will save you lots of time, money, and headaches once the first snowfall hits.

Clean Your Gutters

Gutters are both your best friend and worst enemy. After the leaves start to fall, your gutters will quickly start to take a beating. It’s important to get up there and get everything cleaned out. Besides removing the debris, spray a hose all along the gutters to thoroughly clean everything out. Make sure to spray the hose straight down the downspout in order to clear the downspouts out as well. With your gutters cleared, you’ll be much better prepared for any impending snowfall, and have a better chance of preventing the development of ice dams, which can wreak havoc on your home’s interior if left unchecked.

Inspect Utilities and Infrastructure

There are some very important elements keeping things humming along on the inside of your home, and it’s a good idea to take a thorough look at all of them when the seasons change. The first major piece is the furnace. Change out any air filters, clean and maintain any dehumidifiers, and it never hurts to have a qualified furnace service technician take a look for any issues. Next, turn off the water to any external spigots, drain the lines, and protect the spigots themselves with foam covers through the winter. Last but not least, fall is a great time to clean the air conditioner by removing any debris inside the unit or in the fins, straighten any dented/bent fins, and then finish it off by covering the entire unit for the duration of the winter.

Apply Weather-proofing

Now that you have most of the bigger outside items taken care of, it’s good to look at any areas in your home where cold air could leak in. Cracks along windows and doors are prime spots for cold air to make its way in, and this can be solved with some weatherstripping and caulk. Replacing window and door weatherstripping is a great start, but sealing your windows with a fine bead of caulk will help reduce your energy costs and keep the interior of your home toasty.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Our final point is an important safety reminder: check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. An often overlooked but vital task, checking your detectors and replacing their batteries is essential in the fall. With your home being more enclosed during the cold months, carbon monoxide becomes more of a possible danger if you have a gas-operated stove, furnace, or dryer. For the sake of you and your family, it’s worth a small cost of some batteries to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible.

As you get your wardrobe ready for winter, take some time to make your home is prepared for the change in seasons, too. Many items on this list can be completed without professional help, but if the task is too big for you to do alone, contact the professionals at Select Home Exteriors. We’re happy to help!

Siding: Choosing the Right Type for Your Home

When it comes time to replace the siding of your home, it’s important to consider a multitude of factors. Budget, installation time, durability, aesthetic, energy efficiency, life expectancy, water resistance, color and texture options, and maintenance are a few of the most common points you will want to keep in mind. With all of that to sort through, let’s take a look at some of the siding options available to you.

Vinyl Siding

One of the most economical options on our list, vinyl siding currently dominates much of the market. Vinyl provides good durability, but can be scratched or dented – unlike the harder materials on this list – and can warp over time in harsh weather conditions. Vinyl siding is not waterproof, but it is water resistant, and proper installation is the key to keeping water from getting behind it and creating water damage and mold issues. Insulated vinyl siding. which is more expensive, can help cut energy costs. Color options in vinyl are vast, and chances are you can find the hue you’re looking for with a little shopping around. New vinyl is typically under warranty from the manufacturer for a few decades and is incredibly easy to clean with a power washer.

Metal Siding

One of the less conventional choices, metal siding comes in a variety of material options, but the most common are steel and aluminum. Metal comes with a few advantages, including that it cannot harbor mold, won’t rot, and resists insects. On the other hand, metal siding is heavy and more expensive to install, does have the possibility of rusting over time, and requires sealing in order to keep the rust away.

Wood Siding

The old standby, wood siding comes with quite a few advantages. It is energy-efficient right out of the box and provides a near limitless amount of color options because it is either stained or painted. However, the stain and paint is where the high amount of maintenance comes into play, as staining is recommended every 2 to 3 years, and painting every 4 to 5 years. If damaged, single tiles of wood siding can be replaced individually rather than whole sections. When choosing wood siding, you do run the risk of rot and insect infestations, so careful routine inspections for problems is necessary.

Fiber Cement Siding

A lesser-known but often-seen alternative to vinyl siding, fiber cement is a composite of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers. This combination of materials allows the final product to be resistant to fire, weather changes, salt air in coastal regions, and insects. Although rather heavy and costly to install, fiber cement offers a good life expectancy and only needs to be repainted when chipped or scratched, or about every 12 years or so.

Brick

The classic-turned-contemporary darling, brick has made a big comeback recently, and with good reason. Brick siding can easily last over 100 years if washed occasionally, and is highly fire resistant. You don’t need to worry about termites or other insects and it never needs to be repainted or sealed. Another point to consider is that because of these positive attributes, insurance companies sometimes factor the brick siding into lowering a home insurance premium. However, brick siding is expensive, sometimes around $10-$15 per square foot and your color options are limited to reds and browns. Finally, repairs to mortar joints can be a little more than the average homeowner wants to deal with, and repair bills can quickly add up.

Stucco

Made from a mixture of lime, sand, and cement, stucco is installed by putting a wire mesh over wood lath and then saturating the wood lath and wire mesh with the stucco material. Stucco is fairly durable and can last 50 to 100 years with a bit of upkeep. Damage can be repaired easily without having to remove entire parts of the siding, but damage will be one of the your biggest concerns over time. Stucco is susceptible to cracking as the contraction and expansion of the siding takes place through the seasons.

Stone

Finally, stone is the very expensive and long-lasting king of siding. There are two options available: real stone and faux stone. Installation of either type is time-consuming and costly, and faux stone encounters the same weather-related issues as stucco. As far as positives go, stone requires no maintenance and can be cleaned easily with a power washer. Stone siding is resistant to moisture, insects, fire, and even extreme temperatures. Ultimately, stone is the most expensive option, but you get what you pay for back in durability and ease of upkeep.

As you can see, there are quite a few ways of looking at solving your siding issue. Maybe you’re looking to spend a little more to lower your future maintenance costs or want to go with a more budget-friendly option that can be adapted or replaced at a later point in time. Whatever your needs, there is a siding option out there that will meet them.

At Select Home Exteriors, our trained professionals can help guide you through the siding selection process. Contact us today for a no-pressure visit from one of our experienced consultants!

9 things to ask before signing with a window replacement contractor

Replacing your windows is a big project, and one that’s best left up to the professionals. Before you sign on the dotted line, here are 10 questions you need to ask your window installation contractor:

Are you licensed and insured?

This is a critical question to ask any contractor you are looking to hire to do work on your home. Many states require contractors to have licenses, and making sure you utilize a licensed contractor gives you some protections should a problem arise. The same goes for insurance, which includes liability, workers’ compensation, and property damage insurance. These questions are to protect you as a homeowner, as well as your contractor.

Can I get an itemized estimate?

Itemized estimates allow you to see exactly what expenses are projected for your project – Parts, labor, even whether cleanup is included. A reputable contractor will have no problem with giving you this breakdown of expenses, which can come in handy if there are any disputes down the line.

Do you offer painting and/or interior finishing as part of your installation package?

Not all contractors offer finishing services. Some offer both interior finishing, such as trimming out a window, and painting, which is helpful for the homeowner. Make sure to ask what services, if any, are included, and see that they’re added to the itemized estimate if they aren’t already on there.

How much time will my project take, from ordering my windows to completed installation?

Specialized windows can take quite a while to be delivered, so projects can stretch over a few months before they’re completed. Knowing exactly when your windows will be out of commission is a good idea, especially if you’re coming up on a seasonal change. Knowing a general timeline can also give you some peace of mind once your project is in process.

Is there a specific window type or brand you recommend?

Some contractors don’t like working with certain brands of windows, and others prefer to work only with a few types. Get these preferences up front, with detailed reasons as to why the contractor does or does not recommend a brand. This information, from people who spend every day dealing with and installing windows, can be helpful information when selecting the windows for your home.

What type of warranty do you offer on your installation?

Regardless of how well-installed your windows are, problems can arise weeks or months later. Get the details, in writing, of your contractor’s warranty policy in case you need it. Also be sure to retain the contractor’s contact information in a safe place.

How will I handle service issues after installation is complete?

This question follows along with Question 7. If you notice drafting on one window once winter sets in, you need to know whether your contractor considers that an issue that’s covered under warranty or if you need to find someone else to remedy your problem.

Is disposal of my current windows included with my estimate?

This is a good answer to know up front, as you don’t want to reach the end of your installation project only to have old windows littering your property. If your contractor doesn’t include removal, ask if he will consider adding the service for an additional fee. If he still doesn’t offer the service, ask who he would recommend for hauling away the old windows.

Does my project require a permit? Will you obtain that permit?

The answer to this question will vary depending on where you live. Some municipalities require a permit, others don’t. If your contractor is local, he should know right away whether you will need a permit, and should obtain it himself. It’s best to verify your contractor’s answer with your local code enforcement office to avoid fines or delays.

Armed with the answers to these 10 questions, you can pick the window installation contractor that will do the best job on your house. With years of experience installing windows, the experts at Select Home Exteriors can answer all your window-installation and selection questions. Contact us today for a no-pressure visit from one of our trained consultants!

Vinyl Siding: the #1 Choice for Home Exteriors

Vinyl siding is relatively new on the home-exterior market, first gaining traction in the late 1950s. Early vinyl siding did not earn a good reputation as manufacturers still needed to work out the kinks in their new product. As technology has developed, vinyl siding has become more durable, versatile, and beautiful than ever before. Here are five reasons to choose vinyl siding:

Virtually maintenance-free

Wooden siding is high-maintenance. There’s no way around it. It must regularly be stripped and repainted, and homeowners must be diligent about warding off termites. With vinyl siding, the maintenance is much lower. While it isn’t completely maintenance-free, cleaning once or twice per year is about all that will be necessary to keep your siding looking great. Washing with a soft brush and a 30/70 mixture of vinegar and water can help get rid of dirt and keep mold, mildew, and oxidation at bay.

Overall cost is lower

Vinyl siding doesn’t just cost less to maintain, it’s also less expensive from the outset. Wooden siding panels can cost twice what vinyl panels do. Factoring in the routine materials and labor cost of stripping, repainting, and protecting wooden siding, vinyl siding is multiple times less expensive in the end.

Ease of repairs

Vinyl siding is snapped onto slats that are nailed into your house. If you have damage to one panel of siding, a repair is as easy for a professional as unsnapping the damaged panel and snapping on a new one. In order to avoid the new panel from looking completely out-of-place due to surrounding panels being more faded, it is recommended to remove an intact panel from an inconspicuous area of your exterior to replace the damaged panel, then putting up the new panel in its place.

More durable

Vinyl siding was made to withstand harsh weather. Wind, snow, rain, even hail are all kept in mind when manufacturing vinyl siding. Wooden siding can fall victim to termites and other bugs or rotting. Though vinyl siding isn’t indestructible, it can take more of a beating than wooden siding in some climates.

Wide range of options

Modern manufacturing means that vinyl siding comes in a wide range of colors and finishes. With so much to choose from, you can find a vinyl option to fit the style of your home. You can even find vinyl siding that looks remarkably like wooden siding!

Vinyl siding is about as maintenance free as it comes, good looking, and affordable. There are many benefits to choosing vinyl siding when renovating your home’s exterior. Let the experts at Select Home Exteriors find a vinyl siding option that’s right for you!