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!

5 Signs That it’s Time to Replace your Windows

Windows are an important part of your home. They let in light, help control temperature, and are one of the first things potential buyers see. How do you know when it’s time to take the leap and replace your windows entirely?

Here are five signs it’s time to replace your windows:

They are warped, damaged, or broken

Sometimes, minor window issues can be repaired fairly painlessly. Weatherstripping can be replaced, hardware can be changed, and holes in screens can be patched. But if your windows’ sashes or frames show significant rotting or shifting, or your glass fogs up, it’s often cheaper, and better for your home, to replace the whole window.

It’s difficult to open and close them

If your windows squeak, groan, or stick when you try opening and closing them, it may be a sure sign it’s time for a replacement. Along these same lines, if your windows do not want to stay open when you want them to, or they don’t close all the way, there may be something structurally wrong that won’t be an easy fix. Save yourself the hassle, and possible safety hazard, of having a window that is not functioning properly.

You want to reduce your energy bills

Feeling drafts around your windows is not normal. Energy leakage around windows can increase your power bills by as much as 25 percent, costing you money. Getting replacement windows that are properly fitted to your home and correctly sealed can pay for themselves in energy savings over the years.

You have an old home

Many old homes still have the original windows, some of which are single-pane. Today, the industry standard is a minimum of double-paned, and sometimes triple-paned. Single-pane windows are thinner, letting in more UV light that can bleach your window treatments, carpets, and furniture. They also are more drafty and sometimes can be unsafe. Replacing old windows can help save you lots of money, not only in energy savings, but also in fading furniture and decor.

You’ve been through a severe storm

Windows take a beating no matter the climate, but if you live in the path of extreme heat, cold, or storms, your windows get extra abuse. Hurricanes, gale force winds, and tornadoes all can severely damage windows, even if the damage isn’t visible. After a big storm, it’s best to have an expert home inspector come check everything out to see if there’s any damage to any part of your home, not just the windows. Cracked glass, broken seals, and off-kilter frames are just a few things that can result from severe storms and could require window replacement.

At Select Home Exteriors, we take pride in giving you quality products and quality service to fit your budget. Contact us today to discuss your window replacement project!

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The Benefits of Building a Deck For Your House

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As a homeowner, you likely take a great deal of pride in your property. For many people, the opportunity to purchase and own a home is a dream come true. No longer living under the rules of a landlord, you are free to do as you wish while at home – and you may reap some pretty nice financial rewards as well. If you are a proud homeowner who would like to upgrade your property to make it even more enjoyable and functional, a deck is something you should strongly consider.

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Welcome To The New Select Home Exteriors Website!

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We are please to announce the redesign of our Select Home Exteriors website! The new design will allow our customers easier access to the services they are most interested in.

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