Design Q+A: Fireplaces

Structure, trends, and manufacturing the heart of a home.

From traditional and wood-burning to modern and gas-powered, fireplaces are undoubtedly the snuggest spot in the house. We’ve reached a point in design innovation where most ideas of what a homeowner might want can actually happen. Of course, you need the right architects, designers, and masons to grant the vision, but in most cases, these groups are in your corner, and want to make all your fireside dreams come true. The Local caught up with four Island companies that do this type of work, and do it really well. We checked in on designs, trends, styles, and recent projects.

Jill Neubauer from Jill Neubauer Architects Inc. works all over the Cape and Islands. Her office is located in Falmouth, but she’s had her fair share of Vineyard projects. Peter Breese, owner of Breese Architects Inc., is a neighbor of The Local. His office is at 7 Beach St. in Vineyard Haven. Patricia Giumarra is owner of Vineyard Hearth, Patio, and Spa, also a Vineyard Haven business. It’s located at 455 State Rd., and specializes in fireplaces, stoves, patio furniture, and grills. South Mountain Co. is an architecture, engineering, and construction business in West Tisbury. Its office is at 15 Red Arrow Rd.

What’s one of the first things to consider when designing a fireplace?

Jill Neubauer from Jill Neubauer Architects Inc.: Its presence in the room. It needs to present the core vision for the house. Traditionally, they were the central anchor to a home.

Peter Breese, owner of Breese Architects Inc.: A real key to our design is the masonry work on the surround of the fireplace

What sort of styles are you seeing?

Patricia Giumarra, owner of Vineyard Hearth, Patio, and Spa: We sell a lot of linear fireplaces. More contemporary, very clean. People are getting away from traditional styles and wanting more clean and modern looks.

John Abrams, CEO and co-owner of South Mountain Co.: More and more, we find people are amenable to fireplaces being outside the conditioned space of the home. It’s pretty great to have a fireplace on a screened porch, like a campfire.


Any trends among recent projects?

Jill Neubauer: Yes, units are popular — linear and metal. There are also some wood stoves from Scandinavia that are modern and nice. Modern is in.

Peter Breese: I wouldn’t say gas is trending up, but it is very convenient, and more people are doing it.

Patricia Giumarra: Adding a fireplace door has become code for new construction. You can change the whole look of a fireplace by adding a glass door with modern finishes and design. It looks nice, and it’s functional — it keeps the heat in the house. People are upgrading their doors to get something more current.


What do you prefer, gas- or wood-burning?

Peter Breese: We feel like a country home is greatly enhanced by a true wood-burning fireplace. I think what happens with the gas-burning fireplaces is you see more contemporary and innovative things being done. With wood-burning, there’s that tradition of masonry fireplace building that is more of a continuous refinement of the craft. We sort of promote and emphasize the quality and beauty of burning real wood and doing a traditional fireplace.

Would you explain the roles of the designer and architect?

Patricia Giumarra: With new construction, the architect drives the design and placement of the fireplace. For gas fireplaces, the designer will get more involved and choose the shape, but she’s limited to the architect’s dimensions. As designers, we offer different choices to the homeowners to fulfill looks and dimensions. We try to stay up on trends and products available.

Is there a standard for size or depth?

Jill Neubauer: There are many ratios in fireplaces that are a bit complicated. Rumford fireplaces are shallow and throw great heat, but with the new code for fireplace doors, they are more difficult to work with.

Peter Breese: There are code requirement for certain minimum dimensions, but no, not really. You can do a fireplace opening that’s enormous. You can do different proportions. It doesn’t have to be that conventional-looking 36 inches wide by 28 inches high. We like to do fireboxes that are taller than they are wide — it tends to project more heat in the room. We also do oversize fireplaces for the presence of them in the room.

What are some common materials?

Jill Neubauer:
The more modern fireplaces have slabs of stone or concrete as the surround. Rusty metal is also popular. Same with sheets of blackened steel.

Peter Breese: In the firebox we’re working with more standard lumberyard firebrick.

Do many people want to integrate Vineyard materials, like beach stone or shells?

Jill Neubauer: I hope as few as possible. Some old historic fireplaces are charming when made all out of beach stones, but using little bits of nature as decoration is rarely successful.

Peter Breese: We’ve come across that, but if we’re going to bring in a mason who’s got a specialty of their own, we step back and let them do their thing. But yes, integrating Vineyard materials can be very interesting and have a unique result.

Patricia Giumarra: It depends. If it’s masonry work, and there’s so many really creative masons out here, sometimes you see little stones and shells within the fireplace opening. It’s great to see that creativity — it’s really a piece of art. We also see that in some of our mantel designs. We work with a company that sells really sleek-looking mantels with metal supports. Sometimes they integrate sea-glass-looking supports.

What do you see more of, fireplace overhauls, simple updates, or starting from scratch?

Jill Neubauer: Renovations, safety upgrades, and facelifts are common when renovating homes on the Cape and Islands.

Patricia Giumarra: We used to only do new construction or renovations, but now there’s so many new things available to change the look of an existing structure. New construction is most of our business. People are looking for the convenience of gas, which can fit into any type of construction. You can build them into walls. They’re not limited to be flush on the floor.

How has fireplace design changed or evolved over the years?

Jill Neubauer: Fireplaces were the central masonry core to a home. They heated the building in many ways, but being at the center was important. Being made of stones also allowed for a critical mass to heat up. Rarely are fireplaces through and through stone or masonry, as they all were. Now it’s a kit firebox, and then clad in the chosen material. Architects miss the authenticity of true materials. I am most excited when we use real materials for real fire — that is lovely. But the good news is that fireplaces can now fit in smaller spaces and are light, and can go in many designs.

Patricia Giumarra: I’ve been in this business 21 years. Where it was once just building a square box, now there’s a lot more options. With the popularity of shows and HGTV, people are more excited to change things in their home and make it their own. You can go online and spend hours looking at fireplace design. People will come in with photos and say, I want this. It’s a different thing. People are much more educated about designs in particular, which means I have to keep up with it that much more. Which I enjoy too.

Peter Breese: Gas fireplaces have changed with all these available innovations. With wood-burning, there are different refinements, but it’s much more subtle. Today you can be much more involved with the craft of making and designing a fireplace.

Do you have a fireplace at home?

Jill Neubauer: Funny you should ask. I had a large CMU (concrete masonry unit) modern fireplace since 1999, when we built the house. But I just recently tore it out. I needed a shift, a lightening in my home. I’m now looking at a modern wood stove to lighten the space and offer more efficient heat.

Patricia Giumarra: I have a gas fireplace, but it’s more traditional. I still like that. I’m going to put one in on the other side of the house. It’ll be more linear, more modern. I’m trending as well.

Original Source:

Original Date: Oct 31 2018

Original Author: Brittany Bowker




2019 Kitchen and Bathroom Trends That Will Stand the Test of Time

It is not likely that you will renovate the kitchen and bathrooms in your home more than once.   Remodeling these spaces takes quite an effort from both the homeowner and contractor.  It’s true that the heavy lifting all comes down to who you hire however behind the scenes you are the one that is executing the rhythm of the entire project.  It is crucial that you, as the homeowner, knows what elements are crucial to have in your new kitchen and bathroom spaces.  This will not only make it enjoyable for you to use as you live there but also more desirable to buyers when it’s time to sell.

There are a number of elements in home improvement that are used to create kitchen and bathroom spaces that are not only luxurious but also functional.  Below are some of the trends we expect to see really take hold in 2019.

No More White… Color! Color! Color!

White kitchens are a thing of the past.  Not only are white kitchens difficult to keep clean, they are visually quite boring.  Fans of bright, bold, vivid colors will be thrilled to bring it to their kitchen and bathroom spaces.  Stark white, boring beige, and neutrals are being replace with brave, daring colors.  Some considerations to help bring this trend to life include:

  • Colored appliances, especially large stoves
  • Painted cabinets
  • Matte black over gray
  • Pops of colors found in shower doors and enclosures

Technology Throughout

The addition of technology is a trend that continues to grow throughout the world of home improvement.  If you don’t take technology into consideration when envisioning your new kitchen or bathroom space, then your renovation will fall short.  Adding technology into kitchens and bathroom spaces can be simple including:

  • Appliances enabled with Wi-Fi – Think ordering your groceries from your refrigerator! Think soap dispenser that can reorder soap when they run out! Think switching music choices in the shower!
  • Integrating Alexa
  • Programmable lighting
  • Smart appliances and gadgets

Unusual and Unique

There aren’t a lot of ways to really explain this concept in kitchen and bathroom remodeling other than to remind homeowners to texture and elements that make people want to know more.  Materials you would not expect used in unique ways including:

  • Industrial metal shelving
  • Big sinks with intricate metallic detailing
  • The use of large, geometric shapes
  • Shapely faucets

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at

Siding for every budget

Brick, stone and wood are all versatile siding options. They come in many colors and styles, so that you can get exactly the look you’re going for. (Dreamstime)

There are many reasons to update your siding: It’s aged out; you want better energy efficiency; or it doesn’t fit your taste. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of options available to you, and there’s more than one material to fit each budget level. Plus, fall is the perfect time of year to complete an exterior project like this. Here’s a look at the pros, cons and costs of each material by budget.

Budget-friendly options 

  • Vinyl: Vinyl siding is known for its many benefits: It’s tough, requires little to no maintenance and doesn’t need to be painted. However, while manufacturers are creating vinyl siding that imitates materials like wood, it still doesn’t look quite as realistic.
  • Engineered wood: Engineered wood is made of wood fiber and resin, giving you the look of wood at a lower price point. The material is durable and comes in many different styles. It does require occasional repainting, however, and it is so new that its long-term durability hasn’t been thoroughly tested.
  • Metal: A final affordable option is metal siding. It’s resistant to fire, insects and rot, and it is relatively low maintenance. Metal siding is a popular option for sheds and other outbuildings. But it is also susceptible to scratching and denting.

Mid-range options

  • Wood: Wood siding is one of the most popular and proven options to consider. It’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to work with. However, it has its downsides. It requires more maintenance than many other materials and it’s vulnerable to rot and insects. It can also easily move out of the mid-range price category into premium if you choose a high-end wood species or product.
  • Stucco: Stucco siding is popular in the southwest and coastal environments because of its weather- and moisture-resistant properties. Stucco offers durability and good looks with low maintenance and a moderate price. However, installing stucco is labor-intensive and requires the skill of an experienced pro.
  • Fiber cement: Fiber cement siding is made from a mixture of cellulose, sand and cement, which makes it incredibly durable, resistant to rot and termites, and fire-resistant. One disadvantage is its tricky installation process. You’ll need an experienced pro for the best results. Another is it needs to be installed on a clean wall, so you’ll likely have to remove your old siding.

Premium options

  • Brick: Brick siding is durable, nearly maintenance-free, resistant to rot and insects, and fire-resistant. Plus, you can get it in a number of different colors, sizes and textures. This material will protect your home for years to come — and look good doing it.

  • Synthetic stucco: Synthetic stucco is a multi-layered insulating coating, also known as exterior insulation and finish systems. It is more crack-resistant and energy efficient than standard stucco. However, it’s less durable and can be susceptible to water damage, making it a less-than-ideal choice for wet environments.
  • Synthetic stone: Synthetic stone siding is manufactured to look like real stone, giving you the look of genuine stone without the steep cost. It’s also fire-resistant, bug-resistant and low-maintenance. It weighs substantially less than actual stone, so it’s easier to install.

As you research siding that falls within your budget, check the materials against your expectations for energy efficiency, aesthetics and longevity. Get in touch with a local siding professional for further advice and be sure to hire a reputable pro for a top-quality installation.

Original Source:

Original Date: Oct 17 2018

Written By: Ap Mcclatchy

Improving Curb Appeal Can Add 3% – 5% to Your Home Value

I live in a neighborhood that was developed in the 60’s and 70’s in Central Florida. Housing prices are currently running $160,000 – $200,000 on houses that have between 1300 and 1500 square feet of living space. However, one of our neighbors has a $375,000 price tag on his house and most of us give it a weird look when we pass by. It’s just not much to look at on the outside and the owner can do himself a big favor by improving curb appeal.


In reality, he’s done a fantastic job with the interior of his home. However, your first impression comes as soon as you pull up. Even if he gets potential buyers in the door, there’s the issue that the visual appeal of the exterior doesn’t match the quality of the interior.

If you’re selling your home, adding curb appeal can increase your home value 3% – 5% according to Consumer Reports. If you’re a developer, you can boost the value of an entire neighborhood with proper curb appeal planning on the front end.

We’ve come up with some ways you can go about improving curb appeal on your home or development to add more value.

Improving Curb Appeal

House Exterior

We’re in the process of building a new home and the model we chose comes in three elevations. The difference between the two basic is really just some roof design – something you can’t change once the house is built, obviously. The third (which is what we went with), adds HardieBoard siding to the front wall and gable along with stonework on the column bases and garage corners. The total upgrade fee: $1500. A look at the models side by side easily shows how much the planking and stone adds to the curb appeal.

If you’re a homebuilder, consider at least offering this kind of feature as an upgrade, if not a standard feature.

Here are a few other ideas:

  • New roof/shingles: This is an expensive option, but if it’s time for a replacement, it will show up in an appraisal. Better to do the work before the sale and match an attractive shingle color to the house color.
  • Fresh paint: Whether you do it yourself or hire it out, you can completely change the look of the house (for better or worse) with new paint.
  • Shutters: Shutters can be functional or not, but they add texture and possibly another color to your home’s exterior.


Toro 30 in lawnmower mowing

When people see a lawn that’s well-maintained and with well-thought-out landscaping, they assume you take care of the rest of your house as well.

In the neighborhood we’re moving into, the landscaping is attractive but minimal and the HOA stays on top of lawn maintenance. It creates the look of a community that cares about the first impression you get, but they could take it further.

The minimal landscaping that comes with the home probably only needs $1000 – $1500 worth of work to match the model homes at the sales office. As a developer, the community-wide difference makes the whole neighborhood look like it’s that much more classy. It’s a cost you can easily pass on to the buyer and boosts the value of everyone’s home.

Even if you’re not under the watchful eye of an HOA, keep up with your lawn care. Mowing it once a week until the mowing season is over will keep it looking its best. If you want to take it to the next level, check into a robotic mower. These mow every day and you can set them on a schedule. Your yard will look freshly cut every day without any effort on your part.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Trim the hedges every month to help keep their shape
  • Trim trees so the lowest limbs are above your head. This gives them the classic look of a full top with plenty of room to enjoy the shade beneath it.
  • If you’re not already doing it, edge your hardscape. Your home will stand out as having a more crisp look than ones that don’t.
  • Weed! Nobody really likes to weed that I know, but it makes your yard look so much better. Don’t be afraid to use a spray – just be sure to be accurate with your shots so you don’t kill the plants you like.
  • Fertilize your plants and grass to keep them looking full and bright. Use a weed and feed fertilizer on the lawn to help your grass take over.
  • If you can afford it, hire a full-service lawn care team

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Original Date:

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Is Your Home Under-Insulated?

Does your home have enough insulation?  More often than not, Michigan homeowners find their homes do not have the optimal amount of insulation.  9 out of 10 homeowners will have to add additional insulation to their homes if they want to be considered to be “well insulated”.  This occurs because the minimum amount of installation required by code for a home to be inhabitable is less than what is considered to be proper.

Why though would a builder add more insulation if they are not required to?  The more insulation the less profit.  However, as a homeowner we know that not having enough insulation produces higher energy bills.  In order to increase comfort and decrease energy bills it is crucial that professional insulation experts evaluate your home and add insulation in areas that it is needed.

Signs Your House Is Under-Insulated

Different Temperatures Throughout the House

If your home is one even temperature throughout you more than likely have enough insulation in your home.  If different temperatures are felt however, you most likely do not have enough insulation.  An example of this can be felt in a kitchen that is always freezing cold with bedrooms that are steaming.  If this is the case in your home, it is best to have a professional insulation contractor out to evaluate the situation.

Increased Energy Bills

Compare your energy bills over the last couple of years.  If you start to see a gradual increase in energy usage there is a chance that the blown-in insulation within your walls and attic have settled and have become less effective.  When this occurs, there is a chance that your home is not as well insulated as you had hoped for.   Homeowners may not notice a shift in the temperatures throughout their home however an increase in energy bills overtime sure is noticeable.  If heat is escaping through your homes roof and walls, it is time to either replace or add in additional insulation.

Cold Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

Your home should feel warm and dry to the touch.  Check your ceiling, interior walls, and floor, do they feel damp and cold or warm and dry?  If it is cold and wet, then you most likely do not have enough insulation throughout your home.  Exterior walls however, should feel cold as the insulation is keeping your home comfortable by keeping warm air inside.

Chilly Drafts

Homeowners have come to expect that during the winter months they have a few drafts here and there this however, doesn’t have to be the case.  Cold air coming from window frames and doorways can easily be avoided with the addition of extra insulation and the addition of spray foam insulation where needed.  Getting rid of small drafts can help prevent drafts and save on energy bills.

Insulation Contractors at Kearns Brothers incorporated are experts in blown-in cellulose.  We only recommend additional insulation in homes that need it to aid in the comfort level, energy efficiency, and to decrease energy bills.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at


Tips for people when winterizing their home

Now is the time for people to prepare their home for winter. A few simple suggestions will help them save energy while decreasing their utility bills.

• Stop energy loss with doors: Insulation strips work great around doors and can be applied easily, just like sticky tape, to help prevent unnecessary cold air from entering the home. It also makes sense to use a draft guard on the bottom of the door’s interior.

Well-insulated windows: Cracks around window frames are a popular escape point for warm air. People can check for weak points around the windows by running the palm of their hand around the edge of the frame. Patch the weak points with some type of sealant by squirting it on and smoothing it over.

• Consider double-pane windows: If homeowners haven’t already, it might be worth investing in double-pane windows. This could save them hundreds of dollar on their utility bill.

• Use window coverings: Closing blinds or curtains after dark traps in the warm air and prevents drafts, especially if they have thermal backing for added warmth retention. Shrink-wrapping windows also will help retain warmth.

• Fill floor gaps: Most homes have gaps between the skirting board and the floor, and if homeowners have floorboards, there are likely to be a few gaps between them, too. Silicone sealer works great to fill the gaps, and putting a rug down isn’t a bad idea either.

• Insulate the attic: One of the most efficient energy-savings options is to make sure the attic or loft is well-insulated. There are a variety of insulation options available for the home or garage.

• Cover cold walls: If homeowners have a concrete wall in their home with no or bad insulation, it’s a good idea to add insulation and cover with plasterboards or sheetrock. Other tips for homeowners include the following:running ceiling fans in reverse;shutting off outside water sources;flushing out irrigation systems;giving the heating system a tune-up; andinsulating pipes and sealing ducts.

Original Source:

Original Date: Oct 22 2018

Home Renovation Preparation

DIY home improvements always have the chance to go terribly wrong because most of us are not professional contractors and therefore really have no idea what they are doing.  In this installment we are going to prepare the average homeowner for what they can expect during the home renovation process.  Whether you hire a professional contractor or attempt renovations around your home there are a few things you will need to do to prepare.

Preparing for Your Homes Renovations


It is crucial to have a realistic budget when it comes to any home improvement project.  Take time to research the average cost of the budget you are interested in.  Once you know about how much you will need you can start to allocate funds accordingly.

Larger home renovation projects require you to have a substantial amount of money on hand.  If your remodel is not something you wish to cover with cash out of pocket, you can look into a home equity loan or line of credit.  The benefit of borrowing against your home’s equity is that often the interest that you are paying on the loan can be deducted off of your taxes each year, up to $750,000 dollars.  Other options for funding a renovation include a reverse mortgage and contractor financing.


The scope of your project is another element to consider.  It is necessary to take into consideration your budget and what you want to see completed during your renovation.  Are you considering a complete overhaul of your 1980’s kitchen and hoping to create an open concept where it opens into the living area?  Or are you thinking that a fresh look could be achieved with some freshly painted cabinets with updated hardware?

Your budget needs to be comparative with the tasks that you want to accomplish.  It is important that you work with your contractor to make sure that between the materials and labor your budget is large enough to cover your renovation while having a reserve just in case some aspect of the project doesn’t go exactly as planned.


Sometimes the materials that you choose are simply out of necessity and exactly what you need to accomplish within a limited budget.  For years you may have dreamed of installing granite throughout your home but as the time approaches the realization of just how much more the cost of the renovation will be with granite vs engineered quartz hits.  You suddenly realize that engineered quartz is quite elegant and helps you get more out of your limited budget.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at


Kearns Brothers Receives GAF’s Prestigious 2018 President’s Club Award


Kearns Brothers, Inc., of Dearborn, Michigan, has received the most prestigious contractor award GAF offers: The GAF President’s Club Award. This highly coveted award recognizes Kearns Brothers as one of the “elite of the elite” residential roofing contractors in the United States.

GAF is North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, and only GAF Master Elite® Contractors can compete for its residential President’s Club Award. To qualify for this award, a residential roofing contractor must meet specific criteria in at least one out of three different pathways:

Performance pathway – where contractors focus on giving their property owners the best possible service, quality, and protection
Reliability pathway – where the contractor has a long history of offering their customers the best quality and protection
Service pathway – where contractors consistently offer their customers the best protection available in the marketplace.

Kearns Brothers has been a GAF Master Elite® Contractor since 1999. To become a Master Elite® Contractor—a status that less than 2% of roofing contractors nationwide are able to achieve—a candidate must demonstrate proper licensing, maintain insurance (in states that require it), have a proven reputation, and show commitment to ongoing professional training.

We value our certified contractors for raising the industry standard year after year by installing the best roofing products and systems. Our President’s Club award recognizes only those contractors who have distinguished themselves by the highest standards of excellence, customer satisfaction, and dependability, says Jim Slauson, GAF’s VP of Certified Program & Services.

The folks at Kearns Brothers are concerned with the safety and security of the customers and their homes. “That’s not a platitude for us; it’s genuine,” according to sales and marketing manager Gary Kearns. “It’s important to all of us, from the people in the office to the crews on the roofs. Sometimes, customers find this hard to believe, because it’s not the norm in our industry.”

A full-service home-improvement company, Kearns Brothers gives that same careful attention to each job it does. “Whether the job is siding, windows, masonry, a kitchen, a bath, or a roof, we know it’s a lead to our next job—either with that same client or as a referral,” explains Kearns. “That level of service is important to us, which is why we have our own in-house customer-service department, as well as five or six crews. This combination of factors allows us to respond quickly to customer needs and to do smaller jobs at great price points.”

Experience and longevity distinguish the company’s crews from those of its competitors. “We have the best, most experienced people installing the best roof—we use only the GAF Weather Stopper Roofing System,” says Kearns. “We have tremendous respect for our crews and the work they do. The reality is that a crew spends far more time at the customer’s home than the salesperson does. Their professionalism ‘transcends’ to a respect for the homeowners and their property. So we put a lot of energy into our crews because, in the end, this GAF award is theirs; they’re the ones who earned it for this company.”

As the past chairman of the Dearborn area Chamber of Commerce, Kearns understands the importance of community involvement. He adds, “In 2014, we raised more than $3,700 for a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. We also pledged, over the following five years, $5,000 to Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Detroit, in honor of an Army soldier from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. This is close to our hearts, because my brother Connor is actually part of that unit in Italy.”

Moving forward, the company is committed to strengthening the legacy of Kearns Brothers and growing the business, including its newest showroom location in Plymouth, Michigan. “It serves our client base better,” says Kearns, “by making it easier for them do business with us; they don’t have to drive so far.”

With younger family members coming on board to join in this family-based enterprise, the future looks bright for Kearns Brothers, and the commitment to customers will remain a priority. “The continuity of the business is strong,” concludes Kearns. “When you combine our marketing strategy with all the services we provide—well, we view it as honor, when we can talk to people about making improvements in their homes. It’s an opportunity for us to create a customer for life.”

About Kearns Brothers:

A family-owned-and-operated company, Kearns Brothers has been providing exceptional customer service since 1986. Its award-winning professional crews install roofing, siding, windows, gutters, kitchens, and baths and provide masonry services throughout southeast Michigan.

Kearns Brothers, Inc.
2000 N. Telegraph Rd
Dearborn, MI 48128
Toll-free (888) 355-6700

About GAF:

Founded in 1886, GAF is the leading roofing and waterproofing manufacturer in North America. As a member of the Standard Industries family of companies, GAF is part of the largest roofing and waterproofing business in the world. The company’s products include a comprehensive portfolio of roofing and waterproofing solutions for residential and commercial properties as well as for civil engineering applications. The full GAF portfolio of solutions is supported by an extensive national network of factory-certified contractors. GAF continues to be the leader in quality and offers comprehensive warranty protection on its products and systems. The company’s success is driven by a commitment to empowering its people to deliver advanced quality and purposeful innovation. For more information about GAF, visit

8 Home Repairs You Can DIY—And 8 You Should Always Hire a Pro to Do

Saving money isn’t the only factor to consider when tackling a home improvement project. Know when it pays to call a professional.

When it comes to maintenance and repairs, professional labor can often be one of the more costly parts of a homeowner’s budget. While many people will opt to save some cash by doing much of the handiwork themselves, not everyone possesses the skills necessary to fix their own homes—even with the help of instructional online videos. Attempting a DIY project without careful preparation and a complete knowledge of the task at hand could actually result in expenses that far exceed the cost of a contractor. Even if you have the experience and know-how, it’s important to consider the time, materials, tools, and permits required for your home improvement project. So, how do you know which projects you can tackle yourself and which you should leave to the experts? We contacted a few professionals to find out.

Is It Time to Replace the Windows in Your Home?

Our homes can’t tell us when something is wrong or not working in the manner that we need it to.  It does however give us a number of signs when something isn’t running exactly as it should be.  This is especially true when it comes to our home’s windows.  The windows on our home can last upwards of 20+ years when high-quality windows are purchased are well-maintained.  It is important that homeowners pay attention to their homes and know what to look for when it comes to replacing the windows of their homes.

Are the windows damaged, warped, or broken?

Sometimes windows need to be repaired instead of replaced.  Minor problems like replacing broken hardware, adding new weather-stripping, or fresh caulking are some of the simpler repairs that can be done on windows. Replacing a window that has a broken sash, has become damaged, or warped may be the better option.  The window may still be in “working” order but really need to be replaced.  Windows that have a draft, fog up, stick, or won’t stay open are telling you they need to be replaced.

Are you ready to lower your energy bills?

Properly installed windows lower your monthly utility bills year-round.  Drafty windows can increase your energy bills upwards of twenty five percent.  Replacing the windows in the home with more energy-efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  It can also be a huge selling point down the road when you are considering putting your house up for sale.

Can your home’s curb appeal use an update?

The windows and doors of your homes are one of its most noticeable characteristics.  If they appear old and damaged the overall look and feel of your home will seem outdated.  Look at the color on the window frames and screens, are they faded, do the screens have holes in them? Curb appeal is everything when it comes to your home and your homes windows are a huge part of the overall look of your home.

The type of windows that you choose can also change the total appeal of your home.  Some homeowners choose to go from fixed sash windows to new ones that open.  Another option is to increase the size of the windows to increase the amount of natural light that comes into the home.  Daylight increases the productivity, adds coziness, and creates a warmth within your home.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at