5 Tips for Caring for Your Windows So They Last

Window Care and Cleaning

Your home’s windows are among the most important – but most neglected – assets.

They keep rain, snow, and inclimate weather out, while helping you maintain a comfortable temperature inside. On sunny days, you can throw open the curtains and look outside, basking in the scenery.

To ensure that your windows stay in great condition year after year, follow these 5 tips for window care so they last:

Clean Regularly – and Gently

Keep that glass sparkling and avoid conditions that could cause damage by cleaning your windows regularly. Most people do this task twice a year – in spring and fall.

If you have wooden windows, gently wipe them down with a soft damp cloth. This helps remove any dirt and dust that may collect without introducing harsh cleaners. 

Be careful to not use too much water, as that can seep into your window casements and sashes and encourage rot.

Wash vinyl and aluminum-framed windows with a gentle detergent, such as dish soap, and a soft scrubbing brush. 

When cleaning windows, make sure to clean not only the casement but also the area around the window. This removes any built-up dirt that can collect in the mechanism and cause sticking.

Keep your glass sparkling with window cleaner or a homemade mix of vinegar and water. Avoid using cloths or paper towels to clean the glass, as you can leave behind tiny fibers that dull the shine. Instead, use a piece of crumpled-up newspaper to wipe away the window cleaner.

Inspect Often

As you clean your windows twice a year, carefully inspect them for signs of damage or disrepair.

Check the condition of the window frame and sash and, for wooden windows, use a small metal probe to look for soft spots, which mean you’ve got rotting.

If you have double- or triple-paned windows, look carefully for signs of moisture between the panes. This means your seals have broken, reducing the insulation capacity of the window. Replace any broken seals.

Look for signs of peeling or warped paint, especially on windows that get the most daily sun exposure. 

If your windows have weather stripping, check its condition and replace any that has worn out.

Feel around the windows for air gaps and fill with latex caulk.

Check the Sealing

The sealing around your windows helps keep outdoor air out, making your home more energy-efficient. Keeping it in good repair is important to maintaining lower energy bills and a more comfortable inside temperature.

If you notice broken or cracked seals, moisture inside your window panes, or feel air coming in around your window, your sealing needs attention.

Call a window contractor or handyman to replace your window seals, or attempt the project yourself. For air gaps around the window, fill them in with spray sealant or caulk.

Repaint Regularly

Sun and temperature differences can greatly damage the paint on your wooden and metal frames over time.

To keep your window frames looking great and protected from damage, repaint them every three to four years with a paint that’s recommended by your window’s manufacturers. 

Before you begin painting, clean the windows thoroughly and make sure they’re dried. Be careful to not paint over any moving parts, as this can lead to your windows being unable to open.

Repair Damage

If you notice something on your window that’s broken or missing, get it fixed quickly. The longer you leave your window damaged, the more energy you’ll lose and the more expensive the repair may end up being.

Many small repairs, such as signs of rot or missing sealant, can be done on your own. For more extensive problems such as broken glass, you may need to call a professional.

Experienced Window Contractor in Central Maryland

Your home is your biggest investment, and keeping your windows in good condition is part of protecting that investment. Whether you need some window repairs or are looking to replace your existing windows, the team at Select Home Exteriors gets the job done quickly, professionally, and affordably. We work side-by-side with you to select the exact products for your unique job, keeping you updated on the status of your project from start to finish. Call today for a consultation!

4 Tips to Help Your Roof Last for Decades

Long Lasting Home Roof

A roof is such an integral part of any home, and yet it is often overlooked in home maintenance routines.

Your roof acts as your home’s defense against heat, cold, rain, snow and wind. Regular exposure to these elements slowly but surely contributes to its deterioration. But with a little bit of maintenance, and some help from a professional, you can slow down the damage and your roof could last as long as 30 years!

Below are the 4 most important things you can do to maximize the lifespan of your roof:

Perform Regular Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance, about twice a year, will go a long way in keeping your roof looking and working its best. 

At the beginning of fall and spring, sweep off any debris such as leaves, sticks, and any rogue frisbees.

Use a power washer to remove any mold. Roof mold retains moisture which can cause shingles to deteriorate and even rot completely.

Don’t forget to clean out your gutters so that water can drain off your roof, preventing rotting shingles and flashing.

Invest in Preventative Care

Investing in preventative care now will prolong the need to replace the entire roof. 

Start with having any overhanging tree limbs trimmed and removed. A severe storm could send a nearby branch right through your roof!

Next, make sure your attic is adequately insulated to prevent moisture buildup. If it still seems too humid, you may want to invest in a ventilation fan. Any moisture could produce rot and, therefore, leaking.

Inspect Often

The best way to catch problems before they start is to look at your roof! Inspect your roof as often as you think to. Keep an eye out for:

  • Debris buildup
  • Missing shingles
  • Detached gutters
  • Mold
  • Leak in ceiling
  • Sagging

Inspecting your roof does not require you to get on top of it. Simply remind yourself to glance at the roof whenever you are coming or going from your home. Eventually, it will become habit.

You should also take a closer look all around after any strong storm. Check your ceilings as well to make sure there are no new leaks.

Hire a Professional

These days, a search for “how to fix (fill in the blank)” will bring up hundreds of do-it-yourself instructional videos. 

A DIY project may seem like a more cost-effective solution but, in the case of your roof, it could prove more expensive. 

Let a professional manage your repairs. They have been well-trained in how to locate and deal with any problems. 

For the same reason, you should let a licensed roofer inspect your roof annually. Even if you are in the habit of inspecting regularly, a professional will be able to catch potential issues much earlier, ensuring your roof lasts as long as possible.

Your Source for Quality Roofing Repair in Frederick County, MD

At Select Home Exteriors, we’ve seen many different kinds of roof damage due to poor installation, weather, poor maintenance, and normal wear and tear. Our licensed professionals perform a variety of repairs including leak repair, shingle replacement, seasonal damage, and soffit and fascia repairs. Call us today to take care of your roofing needs!

Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

Painting Vinyl Siding

Maybe you moved into a new house with vinyl siding in great shape, but the color just isn’t you. Or, you really want a new look for your home’s exterior, but replacing the siding’s not in your budget this year.

You may be wondering: Can I paint my vinyl siding?

The Answer

In short, yes, you can paint your vinyl siding!

While vinyl siding is meant to be easy-care and isn’t intended to need to be painted like wooden siding, you can paint vinyl siding that’s in good condition. If you want to change up the look of your home, give things a fresh feel, or just want to fix the fading on that one side of the house that’s always in full sun, painting your siding is a great option when full replacement isn’t necessary.

If done correctly, properly painted vinyl siding can last up to 10 years without needing touch-ups. That’s a pretty good return on your investment!

The Method

Painting your vinyl siding is similar to nearly every other outdoor painting project. Just follow a few steps, get ready for a big job, and you’ll have a fresh look at a fraction of the cost of new siding. 

Step 1: Check the Weather

If you’re painting your siding in less-than-optimal conditions, prepare for less-than-optimal results. It may mean waiting a few days until the weather’s ideal, but that patience will pay off big time when you get the strong, long-lasting finish you want.

Only paint in mild temperatures, low relative humidity, and under an overcast sky. Also, be sure to find a day when the wind is low. If you paint on hot, sunny days or days with high winds, things may look all right for a while, but you’re more likely to see bubbling and cracking down the line, meaning your hard work is ruined.

Step 2: Get the Right Paint

You can’t just use any paint that’s on sale and hope for the best. When selecting the paint for your vinyl siding project, be sure to find:

  • A paint that contains acrylic and urethane resins. These two ingredients accommodate the expansion and contraction of vinyl and help the paint adhere to the surface.
  • A color that is the same shade or lighter than your current siding’s color. Darker colors will retain heat, making your vinyl siding more prone to premature warping.

Step 3: Prepare the Siding

Before you ever lift a paintbrush or roller, you need to thoroughly clean your vinyl siding so the paint can adhere properly. 

In a bucket, mix:

  • ⅓ c laundry detergent
  • ⅔ c powdered household cleaner
  • 1 qt liquid bleach
  • 1 gal water

Use a cloth or soft-bristled brush to clean all the siding you plan to paint, then rinse thoroughly. Let the siding dry completely before you begin painting.

Step 4: Apply Primer (If Needed) & 2 Coats of Paint

If your vinyl siding has completely lost its previous color, is porous, or has become pitted, you will want to apply a latex urethane primer formulated for outdoor use. If your siding is still in good condition, primer isn’t necessary.

Use a roller or paint sprayer to apply the painting evenly to your siding. Be careful not to apply too much paint in one area. Save the brushwork for corners and edges.

Let the first coat of paint dry completely, or mostly, before applying the second. Allow the second coat to dry for up to 24 hours before considering the project done. If you still see areas where the old siding color is bleeding through, you need to give the whole house a third coat of paint.

Step 5: Sit Back & Enjoy Your Hard Work!

While painting siding is a labor-intensive, time-consuming project, especially if you’ve got a larger house, it is something well worth undertaking. You get a spiffy new exterior color that can last for years, all for far less money than you’d spend replacing your siding!

Premium Vinyl Siding Installation in Central Maryland

Siding is one of the things that can make or break the appearance of your home. New, quality siding adds curb appeal, improves energy efficiency, and can even increase the resale value. 

If your siding is old, cracked, warped, or just needs to be replaced, call the skilled team at Select Home Exteriors. We work with only the best national siding brands, and our technicians get the job done quickly and correctly so you can get back to your life. Schedule a consultation today!

4 Exterior Home Renovation Projects That Pay Off When You Sell

4 Exterior Home Renovation Projects That Pay Off When You Sell

When deciding to renovate your home, thinking about what the project will do for your experience living there is likely foremost in your mind. As you decide which projects to tackle, you may wonder which are the most likely to be most profitable if you eventually decide to sell your home. Although you may not be thinking about selling now, it’s wise to consider the most impactful projects for your budget, especially if you’re limited on what you can spend.

Here are 4 exterior home renovation projects that are likely to net you the most profit when selling your home:

Adding a Deck

A well-constructed deck adds extra entertaining and living space, as well as curb appeal, to any home. Prospective buyers will be able to imagine having backyard barbecues, relaxing with a cup of coffee, or watching their children play when they see a deck in your backyard.

Opt for pressure-treated wood or hardwood whenever possible, as these materials add an extra air of sophistication to your deck that other materials don’t. Small or large doesn’t really matter much, but if you’ve got a smaller yard be sure not to create a deck that’s too oversized for the space.

Landscaping

There’s no better way to boost your home’s curb appeal than by making the yard as inviting as possible. Although landscaping can be done yourself, if you’re seriously thinking of selling or your yard is in rough shape, it may be worth the money to hire a professional team.

Making sure all your trees and shrubs are trimmed up, walkways are clear and in good condition, and that there’s aesthetically pleasing color surrounding your house can go a long way toward getting people to take a second lap around the block when you put up that For Sale sign.

Replace Siding

This is especially true if your siding is old, in poor repair, or a difficult-to-care-for material such as wood. New siding gives the entire exterior of your home a facelift, and potential buyers love seeing notes that the siding recently was replaced on your disclosure sheets or listings.

Be sure to choose a siding type and color that fits in with the rest of your neighbors, as the home on the block that doesn’t look similar enough can be a drawback for some buyers.

New Windows

This project will reap benefits for your family as well as any future selling opportunities. When you replace old windows that aren’t in the best shape, your energy bills decrease, saving you money. They add to your home’s curb appeal and are another project that potential buyers will be happy to see listed as a “recent update” on your listing.

Experienced Exterior Home Contractors in Central Maryland

At Select Home Exteriors, we know you want to get the most for your money when you decide to do a home renovation project. Our team works with you every step of the way, making sure each choice falls in line with your budget, your style, and your needs for your home. Schedule a consultation today!

replacing vinyl siding frederick md

5 Top Signs Your Siding Needs to Be Replaced

replacing vinyl siding frederick md

Your home’s siding is like its skin – It protects the delicate interior structure from the harsh outdoor conditions. Because your siding takes a beating from the elements, it can show signs of wear and tear if it’s old or if it hasn’t been properly maintained. Eventually, all siding needs to be replaced to keep the rest of your home protected.

Here are the top 5 signs your home’s siding needs to be replaced:

You Have High Heating & Cooling Bills

If you’ve noticed the slow creeping up of your heating and cooling bills, and rising energy prices aren’t the culprit, your siding could be to blame. Over time, siding can shift or develop spaces that cause air from the outdoors to leak in and outside air to sneak indoors. As a result, your heating and cooling systems need to work harder, meaning your bills go up. Replacing your siding with something newer can decrease your bills within the first season after installation.

>>Vinyl: The #1 choice for residential siding>>

You See Cracking or Warping

Your siding can be damaged by falling branches, animals, or heavy winds. If you notice cracked or warped pieces of siding, that means you’re not getting the best protection from your siding. Cracks and warped boards can take on water, leak air, and allow animals and pests to infiltrate your home’s interior, causing all sorts of problems. Getting your siding repaired or replaced promptly is the best way to prevent further issues.

>>Identify the 5 major types of home siding>>

Your Interior Paint or Wallpaper Is Peeling

Though it isn’t an obvious connection for many homeowners, peeling wallpaper or paint inside a home means there’s something going on behind the walls. Often, that’s siding in ill repair allowing moisture to build up behind the siding. This moisture can lead to all sorts of interior problems – mold and mildew, sagging walls, or damaged drywall – and can spell expensive repairs if the source of the moisture isn’t corrected.

You Find Fungus, Mold, or Mildew

Fungus, mold, or mildew – either inside your home or on your home’s siding – means a moisture issue that needs correcting. These growths not only cause damage to your home, but they can cause health problems for you and your family. If your siding is the cause of your mold problem, it likely means a replacement is necessary to correct a moisture problem

>>Choosing the right siding for your home>>

You See Holes

Like cracking and warping, holes can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, small holes can be repaired and the rest of your siding is none the worse for wear. But if you find multiple holes, or holes that appear to have been there for a while, you could be dealing with moisture leakage or pest infiltration. The best way to take care of these problems is to strip off all the siding and replace it.

Experienced Residential Siding Contractor in Frederick, MD

At Select Home Exteriors, we take pride in making our clients’ homes as beautiful from the outside as possible. We offer a wide variety of vinyl, insulated, and fiber cement siding to match your home’s style. Contact our experienced contractors today for a free consultation.

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.

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!