Home Remodeling: Preparing Your Home for Sale

There is a major difference in marketing a fixer upper verse a move in ready home.  Each has its own unique market with fixer-uppers fetching less for sellers and most often taking longer to sell than similar turn-key properties.  If home improvement projects aren’t your thing but you are looking to sell your home quickly it may be beneficial to hire a contractor to help tackle some of those simple projects, you have been avoiding.  The money spent now on exterior home improvements and small renovations will come back ten-fold with the sale price of your home and quick turnaround.


Below is a list of minor home remodeling project ideas that will help to increase the sale price of your home and decrease the time it takes to sell it.

Fresh Paint

Adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to your homes walls appeals to almost all home buyers.  Even adding in a fresh layer of paint on exterior trim and decking can add appeal and help sway buyers who are on the fence between two similar properties.

Curb Appeal

Everyone knows that first impressions are everything.  No matter how hard we try not to judge a book by its cover, we just can’t stop.  This is true of your home as well.  Take time to ensure that your homes first impression will be a good one.  Freshen up the landscape, add welcoming elements to the porch such as lighting and seating, and perhaps even a new front door.

Updated Lighting

The installation of more natural lighting can never hurt your homes chances of being sold quickly and at asking price.  Home remodeling experts recommend modern, energy-efficient options over track lighting and older outdated styles.

Replace Old Plumbing Fixtures

There are just some stubborn stains that won’t come out of tubs and sinks.  This can be a real turn off to buyers.  Refinishing the tubs surface is just one way to add that sparkle back to your bathroom.  New, unsoiled plumbing fixtures is another, both really bring a new, cleaner appeal to your bathroom.  The same is true of fixtures in the kitchen and laundry areas.

New Flooring

Although a bit costlier than some of the above-mentioned projects new flooring can really change the look and feel of a home.  Replace broken tiles, replace worn out carpet with new, and polish those hardwood floors.

There are many major home remodeling projects that should wait to be taken on by the new buyer as they require more personal touches and may not even be important to them.  Small, neutral updates don’t radically alter the appeal of a home therefore enhancing it without structurally changing it.

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 www.kearnsbrothers.com.

Green options in home siding

Green options in home siding
Stucco, reclaimed wood and brick can be more eco-friendly than vinyl siding and other materials.

If new siding is on the list of must-do home projects this year, there are many factors to consider. Though it’s a transformative renovation, replacement siding is a significant and potentially expensive undertaking. Therefore, careful consideration must be given to the materials used and their maintenance, longevity, insulation factor, and cost. Many homeowners also want siding that is eco-friendly.

Sustainability is an important consideration for many homeowners. Data from the National Association of Home Builders’ “Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief” indicates that at least one-third of single-family and multifamily home builders who were surveyed said that green building is a significant portion of their overall activity (more than 60 percent of their portfolio). By 2022, this number should increase to nearly one-half in both the single-family and multifamily sectors. Green building has become an important and established part of the residental construction sector.

Where siding is sourced, the materials that go into its fabrication and how well that siding insulates a home are key aspects of its ‘green factor.’ The following are some of the more sustainable options in home siding.

A house sided with clapboard, or a log cabin-inspired look, is iconic. These types of siding are typically made from insect-repellant pine, cedar, cypress, or redwood. While lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is environmentally friendly, homeowners may want to seek out reclaimed lumber. This wood has history and causes very little environmental impact. Plus, timber salvaged from old buildings or fallen trees may be superior to new wood because it likely came from slow-growing, old trees with dense grain.

Avoid any negative environmental impact by choosing locally produced or reclaimed bricks Ñ or those made from post-consumer content. The longevity of bricks can often offset the energy expenditure in their manufacture. Plus, many bricks are made from natural clay, which can be an excellent insulator.

HouseLogic says traditional stucco is made from sand and Portland cement mixed with water to make a usable plaster. It’s tough and durable – often lasting the life of the house. Eco-friendly variants include stucco made with an earth-and-lime mixture, offsetting the CO2 emissions associated with cement production. Stucco can reduce air infiltration that causes drafts in a home.

Fiber-cement is similar to stucco in that it is made from sand, Portland cement, clay, and wood pulp fibers. It can be fire-resistant and insect-proof and will not rot. It’s a stable material that can recover almost 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors¨.

This nonrenewable resource can be beautiful on a home and durable, but mining it can impact the environment. If homeowners can use reclaimed or displaced stone, those are more sustainable options. Manufactured stone, which is cement and other materials molded to look like stone, is also aesthetically appealing and more eco-friendly.

Replacing siding is a significant undertaking. Homeowners can consider sustainability when selecting replacement siding materials.

Original Source:  https://www.news-journal.com/green-options-in-home-siding/article_623cc1a2-b6bb-11e8-944f-2fa57d92898d.html

Original Date: Sept 15 2018

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Should I Hire A Professional Contractor for Renovations?

If you are like most homeowners, there will come a time when you must consider renovations around your home.  It could be the kitchen is outdated or the plumbing in the bathroom is no longer working properly; whatever the reason you will start to consider whether you should tackle the renovations by yourself or if you should hire a professional to get the job done.   Most homeowners will opt to hire a professional contractor because it saves time and money in the long run.  The question than becomes who will you hire and how will you know that they are reputable?

Choosing a contractor starts with a search of the local area to find licensed, insured, and reputable professionals who offer services in your area.  After meeting with contractors, you will be able to narrow down the selection based on the following:

  • Familiarity with Home Improvements That are Similar to Yours

Although no two home improvement projects are quite the same there are usually some common elements amongst them.  It is important to hire a professional home improvement contractor that is familiar with the type of renovation you are seeking.  If you are looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom than it is important to find a contractor that has experience in kitchens and baths.  If you are looking to do exterior home improvements then it is crucial you seek a contractor with experience in siding, window installation, chimney repair, roofing, and more.

  • Vendor Connections

To complete any project your contractor must have access to the materials and supplies that are needed. Better yet is when the contractor that you hire has access to materials and supplies through vendors that offer significant discounts thus allowing your budget to stretch further.

  • Experience in Various Home Improvement Skills

Not only is it crucial that the contractor you choose has expertise in the area in which you are seeking to have renovated but also that they have a wide range of expertise that have been developed overtime with on-site experience.  The contractor that you hire should have experience with the pitfalls that can occur in your project.  This way if they should incur any with yours they will know how to handle them effectively.  From hanging windows, mounting doors, framing walls, or installing a new subfloor your contractor should have experience to keep your project running smoother.

  • An Understanding of the Importance of Safety in Renovations

Safety should be of the utmost concern when it comes to your home and family.   When a contractor performs their job with safety as their top priority it means your job will be done correctly and without injury or property damage.  The contractor should pull the proper permits for the job, understand OSHA regulations, and be compliant with local codes.  Not only will they be schooled in safety surrounding home improvements so should their employees.

There is never a reason not to hire a contractor when it comes to all your home improvement needs.  Not only can they save you time and money, it will help to ensure that your project is done correctly from the start.

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 www.kearnsbrothers.com.

We really do try to keep up with the Joneses

You’ll get the best return on your investment by pursuing projects that most increase resale value, including painting, building a deck, upgrading the kitchen and/or bathroom, updating the floor, enhancing landscaping/curb appeal, and replacing windows and siding.

The competitive urge doesn’t just compel athletes and rival companies to try harder. New research suggests that, when it comes to home improvement, homeowners are driven by the need to compete with the folks next door.

Results of a recent survey of consumers, conducted by Wakefield Research for Home Depot, reveal that:

» More than 50 percent of Americans feel the urge to upgrade their homes’ appearance after seeing neighbors do so first.

» Seven in 10 millennials fess up to feeling this pressure, and nearly half of Gen Y responds to this pressure by finishing a home improvement project in order to outdo adjacent residents.

» Parents tend to be more home improvement-competitive than those without children.

» Outdoor upgrades and indoor projects were undertaken by 89 percent and 62 percent, respectively, among those seeking to outshine a neighbor.

Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design for Home Depot in Atlanta, says she didn’t expect some of these findings— particularly the high percentage of respondents who admitted to feeling the need to outclass their neighbors’ home improvements.

“I was also surprised that this is truer of families with kids,” she says. “But it makes sense when you think about it. A home is usually the most expensive thing we own, and we really have a lot of pride in our homes. We want it to be a reflection of our personality, and we want to show it off.”

Javier Nunez-Jusino, a Florida real estate agent, agrees.

“Human beings are competitive by nature, and we don’t like to stay behind. While I’ve learned that most people do not like to buy the nicest house in the neighborhood for many reasons, we do see homeowners upgrading their properties in order to keep up with the overall look of the community and the value of their property,” says Nunez-Jusino.

Shame and culpability can be influencing factors, too.

“Especially on the exterior, owners can feel guilt for having a home they think is not as nice as their neighbors,” says Derek Christian, owner of Blue Ash, Ohio-based Handyman Connection. “You can feel like you’re letting your neighbors down by not keeping up. Consider that a bad-looking house in the neighborhood can hurt those around them trying to sell.”

Many believe these motivational emotions are healthy and constructive.

“I think the urge to keep pace with your neighbors is a very good thing,” Christian says. “Homes go through life cycles and need to be renewed or the home and neighborhood can degrade.”

Plus, when it’s time for you to list it, “you want your house to appraise and sell for the highest price. If you’re not maintaining your home and staying up on shifts in styles and trends, this will hurt the value of your home,” adds Fishburne.

Régine Labossière, author of The256Project.com home renovation blog, recommends using this motivation productively and channeling this improvement impulse to produce desired results.

“Have a plan for what you want out of your home and what changes you need to make in the short and long term. Then, work on a strategy to achieve those goals, which should include researching renovation costs, creating a project timeline and exploring alternative options to achieve your objectives,” says Labossière. “The most useful projects are ones that improve the function or safety of your home, will make you happy, and serve your long-term goals.”

Nunez-Jusino says you’ll get the best return on your investment by pursuing projects that most increase resale value, including painting, building a deck, upgrading the kitchen and/or bathroom, updating the floor, enhancing landscaping/curb appeal, and replacing windows and siding.

“Also, don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors for advice about their home improvement projects and experiences. Chances are your homes were built around the same time period, so there’s a good chance they can share helpful tips and recommend professionals to hire,” says Christian

Original Source: https://www.omaha.com/inspiredliving/we-really-do-try-to-keep-up-with-the-joneses/article_1c4d794c-9620-5f32-8737-4f66f746d913.html/

Original Date: Aug 22 2018

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Window Options That Work with your Home

Windows are indeed one of the most obvious features of a house. Homeowner must ensure that windows are installed properly and that the style compliments the architectural design of the home.  As a homeowner it is important to work with your contractor to ensure the exterior of your home goes with the windows that are chosen.  Little things like the shape, size, and style of the new windows should be considered.  It is important that the windows that are chosen are useful and stylish for both the interior and exterior of your home.

There are several window replacement options that you should consider regardless of whether you are building a new house or remodeling your present one. Although, the options you might be faced with might at first seem a little bit overwhelming, choosing the most suitable new windows will make your home a lot more enjoyable and beautiful.

Below are some options of window installations that could work with your home:

Single/Double Hung Windows

Single hung windows consist of two sashes, the top being stationary while the lower one moves upward to allow for little breeze into the house. These types of window installations were common in earlier years but have started gaining attention again in recent times. They are more energy efficient but are limited in some ways.

Double hung windows are like the single hung windows however, both sashes of the double hung windows can be opened. The sashes move vertically along the window frame, just opening a crack or more. This window installation is however not very energy efficient as they are known to allow air escape more than other windows.

Sliding Windows

This is a very common window replacement for old homes as well as for new homes. It makes use of a panel same as the hung windows however, the sliding windows move sideways to open. It opens easily and is usually safe from bugs. A large sliding window can serve as an added emergency exit in the event of a disaster as the screen can be easily and quickly removed.

Casement Windows

When installing new windows, the casement windows are usually perfect on both sides of a bay window so far adequate space is available for them to comfortably open. These windows unfortunately can’t be installed near a deck simply because of their design.

This window installation works via a crank, which when turned, the window opens on a hinge from the right or left. Casement windows open outwards; this allows you to choose how far you want to crank it. When closed, they seal tight and are energy efficient.

Fixed Windows

As the name implies, this type of window installation can’t be opened, it only functions as a passage of light and to offer an amazing view. A lot of large windows are fixed simply because practically, they are too large to open. If perhaps there’s a room in your home which you might most likely never open its window, but only need it to get more sunlight then you should consider a fixed window installation. Fixed windows are much more secure than the other window styles. Make sure the seal works fine and air can’t get out through it. This will help reduce cooling and heating bill during the summer and winter respectively.

In conclusion, when searching for window replacements or perhaps you’re simply just installing new windows; you should consider every option so that you can choose those that best fit your home. Incorporating different types of window installations into your home is a great idea as it depends on the room, the position and many other factors. It is just important to get the best value and energy efficient ones.

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 www.kearnsbrothers.com.


10 Things Your Contractor Really Wants You to Know

Many homeowners don’t realize that their contractor wants things to go smoothly just as much as the homeowners do. Here’s what your contractor wishes you knew before, during and after your project.

It’s OK to ask questions

helmet Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

The key to any successful contractor-client relationship is communication. It’s the contractor’s job to provide you with information, and it’s your job as the customer to speak up when you have questions or concerns. Remember that contractors deal with these issues day in and day out, and it’s easy for them to take certain knowledge and conditions for granted. Speak up when you need clarification! A good contractor will appreciate the questions. There’s a reason that communication and open dialogue consistently tops the lists of tips to a successful remodel.

Doing part of the work yourself probably won’t save money


A common question that contractors get from homeowners (especially those who have some DIY skills) is whether or not the homeowner can save money by doing part of the work themselves. Of course circumstances vary from project to project, but in general, the answer is “no.” Most construction work builds upon the trade who was there before. In other words, a painter will struggle if the drywall finishers did a poor job, and the drywall finishers will struggle if the drywall installers did shoddy work. It goes on down the line all the way to the demo team who removed the existing finished items. It’s certainly possible that you have the skills to do the job right, but chances are good that your contractor has been burned by inexperienced homeowners in the past. If you have photos of your previous DIY projects, sharing those is a good way to reassure your contractor that you have some expertise. These are the 12 home improvement projects you should never, ever DIY.

Changes: The sooner, the better

planOleg Mikhaylov/Shutterstock

Any project of significant complexity will encounter changes and modifications during the course of the project. This isn’t unusual, and most contractors expect it to one degree or another. What your contractor would like you to know is that you’ll both be much better off if you can tell your contractor about changes (even potential changes) as far in advance as possible. If you have any feeling that you may change the scope or design of a project, speak up immediately so that your contractor can make accommodations. As just one example, changing the design of a tile floor is much easier to do before the tile is ordered, rather than after it’s installed. Once again, you can see how important communication is to successfully working with contractors, whether inside your home or on your exterior home improvement project.

Changes have ripple effects


When you talk to your contractor about scope or design changes, it’s important to understand that every change has the potential to affect all the additional work yet to come. Using the tile example, even if you notify your contractor of the change before the tile is installed, the original tile order may still need to be canceled, and the new tile ordered, which could push the completion date of the project out a couple of weeks. This often isn’t a make-or-break detail, but it’s important to understand how one trade affects another. On large jobs, project managers use Gantt charts and spreadsheets to anticipate how every delay or adjustment will affect the deadline. Luckily, most home projects are more straightforward, and Gantt charts are only one way to make sure you can survive a DIY remodel.

Weather and permits are out of their hands

buildCheryl Casey/Shutterstock

You may have the best contractor in the world, but there are still a few things that are out of their control. The weather, for example, can affect both the ability to work and the availability of material. Sometimes the most frustrating days are the ones when torrential rain is predicted, only to have the clouds clear out as soon as work is canceled and a full afternoon is lost. The other major nonnegotiable is the governmental side of the job, namely, permit application times and inspection schedules. Depending on your local ordinances and layers of bureaucracy, the inspection and permit process can be either a breeze or a nightmare. Either way, all your contractor can do is follow the rules and be patient. And of course, it goes without saying that your contractor should always pull a permit when needed.

Walls hold secrets

wall Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

Most remodeling contracts will contain some kind of clause about unforeseen circumstances. That’s because it’s impossible to say what the remodeler will find when they start opening up your walls. Strike up a conversation with a group of contractors and you’ll hear all kinds of stories about opening up walls to discover everything from stacks of cash to tremendous termite infestations. Again, this is an area where communication is key. A contractor is responsible for letting you know about any potential complications, and you are responsible for understanding the realities of going into a job blind. Find out the 11 secrets all contractors want first-time homebuyers should know.

Be open about your budget


Many homeowners play coy when it comes to sharing their budget. This is a common instinct that stems from the fear of being overcharged. But when it comes to reputable contractors, you’re better off being honest about your budget to ensure you get the level of finish and customization you desire.

If you are genuinely uncomfortable discussing funds, be very clear about the level of finish that you’d like to see. Make it clear whether you expect linoleum or tile floors, laminate or granite countertops. Depending on the finishes and amenities, a contractor can remodel a bathroom for $5,000 or $40,000. Help them understand your goal, and they can help you achieve your dream remodel… whether that’s a major project or an affordable makeover.

Secure valuables and clean up after pets


Even the most conscientious contractor will cause some disturbance in your life. There’s simply no way to hammer gently or saw quietly. All that vibration and motion can cause valuables to tumble off walls or shake off tables. If you have any items that are particularly valuable or fragile, it’s a good idea to tuck them away before the project starts. As for pet waste in the yard, clean it up before work starts. Your contractor doesn’t want it on their boots, and you don’t want it tracked into your home! Otherwise, you might find yourself brushing up on your carpet cleaning skills.

Something will go wrong


The measure of a successful project isn’t whether or not it was trouble free. Instead, judge your project by how your contractor dealt with the inevitable headaches that cropped up along the way. As long as you keep your lines of communication open, and both parties are clear about obstacles and objectives, the problems that arise can be overcome and (eventually) laughed about. Don’t let concerns or questions fester, and don’t be quick to hit the panic button. Simply keep talking and asking questions, and you and your contractor should be able to work through almost anything. Learn about the home improvement projects that practically pay for themselves.

If you provide materials, they become your responsibility

client Comaniciu Dan/Shutterstock

Some homeowners attempt to save money on a project by providing materials themselves. Some contractors are more open to this than others, but most pros take the attitude that whoever supplies the materials is responsible for making sure that those materials are the right ones for the job. For example, if your kitchen counter has pre-drilled holes for a 4-inch faucet spread and you provide an 8-inch spread faucet, whose responsibility is it to take that back to the store and get a replacement? Even if you volunteer to replace it yourself, whose responsibility is it to pay the plumber to sit around and wait while the new one is on its way? You can certainly supply materials, and it can even be a good way to save money, but make sure that the contractor gives a thumbs-up, confirming that those materials are the right ones for the job. Next, find out the 13 secrets behind finding a contractor you can trust.

Original Source: https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/things-contractor-really-wants-you-to-know/

Original Author: Dan Stout

How Simple Chimney Maintenance Improves Its Lifespan

The chimney or fireplace is a beautiful and important part of the home. However, this part of the house can be potentially dangerous if it is not properly cleaned and maintained. Hiring a professional chimney repair contractor can keep your family safe and improve the lifespan of your fireplace. Chimney repair and maintenance contractors can visit your home regularly for routine maintenance and repairs.

Chimney Hazards

As easy as simple chimney maintenance can be, it can save you a lot of potential chimney hazards. One common problem of traditional chimneys is the accumulation of creosote. Creosote is a substance produced by burning coal and wood in fireplaces and is highly flammable. This substance is usually dark brown in appearance and can appear tar-like and sticky, dry and flaky, or shine and hard depending on the type of fuel you burn and the rate of condensation inside your chimney.

Dangerous chimney fire if you allow creosote to build up inside your chimney. These can be slow-burning fires that cause severe damages to the internal structures of your chimney. A popular sign of creosote buildup and slow-burning fires is low rumbling sound. This issue, if not immediately attended to, can escalate into explosive fires that your neighbors will see and hear.

In fact, modern chimneys that do not use either wood or coal for fuel have their own shortcomings too. They can become rust, corroded or wear away. These natural deteriorations can still have a dangerous effect on your house.

Likewise, old chimneys made of bricks and stones also require rebuilding or reinforcement. Remember that brinks can become weak over time and may crumble during earthquakes or erosion. All these effects can reduce the effectiveness of your chimney and ultimately shorten its lifespan.

Preventing Chimney Problems

A simple chimney maintenance and instant repair of structural problems as soon as they start developing are two key ways of preventing chimney fires and improving chimneys lifespan. Chimney cleaning is not as easy as you might think. You need some gadget and equipment to effectively clean a chimney. Therefore, you require the assistance of chimney repair contractor to keep every part of your chimney in a good shape.

Usually, the companies that offer chimney cleaning services also offer chimney repair services. Therefore, in case your chimney needs to be repaired, the contractor will also handle the process for you. Furthermore, chimney inspection comes in three levels.

  • Level 1 chimney cleaning is for standard annual inspections
  • Level 2 chimney cleaning is for more in-depth inspections of the chimney and the rooms closer to it.
  • Level 3 chimney cleaning is for thorough inspection when level 1 or 2 has revealed a possible problem with your chimney. A simple chimney cleaning can reveal the areas that need repair and the types of repair that are needed.

Finding Professional Cleaners

If you have a chimney, you need the services of a chimney repair contractor to inspect your chimney, perform simple cleaning, and make necessary repairs. This will prevent your home from any potential hazard and likewise improve the overall lifespan of the chimney. When was the last time you cleaned your chimney? Do you need a chimney cleaning contractor right now? Contact us today!

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.


Stone Veneer Siding Looks Great, But Bad Installations Cost Unlucky Homeowners Thousands

Leaking stone veneer

Ben Hendricks, of ABI Home Services, finds elevated moisture level in wall behind stone veneer siding that shows no outward signs of leaking.ABI Home Services

Stone veneer siding is increasingly popular because it has the attractive look of real stone at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, experts say it is very often installed improperly and those hard-to-find installation defects can cause tens of thousands of dollars of structural damage to a home. By the time a homeowner suspects a problem, it’s usually already way too late.

Cliff Kapson, an exterior siding consultant from Chicago with a nationwide network of stone veneer siding inspectors, said his network does about 250 stone veneer siding inspections every month and more than 90% of them are not installed in accordance with the industry standard from the National Concrete Masonry Association.

“The biggest problems I see are: missing kick-out flashings and missing backer rod and sealant joints around windows,” Kapson said. “The stone veneer system is a plaster wall assembly. We usually see the stone right up against the window or there’s mortar right up against the window.”

Most people are surprised to learn the exterior siding on a house is not water-tight. Water is expected to penetrate the siding and must be managed. If the siding isn’t designed or installed properly, the water will remain in the wall and cause expensive structural damage over time.

Experts say bad installations and the damage from a bad installation isn’t immediately evident.

“We’re looking at new homes and 2- to 3-year-old homes and we don’t get elevated moisture readings,” Kapson said. “But these same defects in 10- to 14-year-old homes experience major moisture and damage issues. Our experience is: It’s not a question of if the defects will result in damage, but when.”

Kapson likes the product and said it doesn’t leak when installed correctly. The leaks come from bad installations and they most often come around transitions at windows and penetrations, like around exterior light fixtures. His siding evaluations generally cost between $1,000 and $2,000 (depending on the size and location). He routinely discovers bad installations that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

Ben Hendricks owns ABI Home Inspection Services in Louisville, Kentucky. He said he’s never seen stone veneer siding installed properly and thinks it’s going to be the next big thing in real estate. He’s written several blog posts about his experience with this siding on his website.

“There is a ten-step process to install this stuff and when builders skip steps three to five, there’s no way to fix it without tearing it off and starting all over,” Hendricks said. “The first time I came across this problem, it cost the owner $80,000 to repair the siding and damage on a $600,000 house.”

Hendricks called the problem a “pandemic” and said the siding has been popular in Greater Louisville for about ten years. Now that the earlier installations are hitting the age where owners are discovering problems, he thinks the number of people reporting problems is about to mushroom.

Jason Thompson is the vice president of engineering at the National Concrete Masonry Association. He said his experience mirrors the above inspectors’ and added that defective installations cause more damage (and sooner) in wetter climates. 

“In areas with less rainfall, moisture stays hidden for years and by the time it has manifested on the interior ten years or so later, that’s when the wall comes apart in your hand,” Thompson said.

The bottom edge of stone veneer siding should ideally stop six inches above the ground to allow moisture that gets past the siding to drain out, according to Thompson. He said many homeowners will insist that builders install the siding right down to the soil, which impedes drainage and can allow moisture to wick up the wall, all but ensuring rot and mold in the walls.

“Most good contractors will refuse to do that,” Thompson said. “But some will do it if the owner signs something saying the owner accepts responsibility for it.”

Each of the experts interviewed for this story recommended that homeowners who think they might have a problem with the stone veneer siding on their house get an inspection from an experienced, qualified expert. It can be expensive, but it might save them thousands of dollars in repair bills.

Anyone considering having stone veneer siding on their home, should ensure it is done in strict accordance with the recognized industry standards.

Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimmorrison/2018/08/13/stone-veneer-siding-looks-great-but-bad-installations-cost-unlucky-homeowners-thousands/#6d59cb8d5fb2

Original Date: Aug 13 2018

Original Author: Jim Morrison

Bloating, Swelling, & Warping: Causes of Damage to Vinyl Siding

Many homeowners choose to have vinyl siding installed on their homes.  It is known for lasting for a very long time and it is practically maintenance free.  However, there are certain situations that can cause vinyl siding to bloat, swell, and even warp, which will make it look horrendous from any vantage point.  Since all homeowners want their home to look beautiful inside and out, they are not going to want their vinyl siding to look bad at any time and therefore should take proper precautions to avoid these issues.

When a homeowner hires an exterior home improvement contractor, they will want to make sure that the contractor is a professional and has years of experience hanging vinyl siding.  Without this experience, exterior home improvement contractors might nail the vinyl siding too closely to the house.  That means that the vinyl siding will not be able to move as it needs to from thermal expansion and it will buckle and warp.

The elements can really wreak havoc on vinyl siding as well, and it is common for the siding to become buckled and warped after being exposed to many different elements for months or years.  Some of the elements that are the worst include severely windy conditions, intense sunlight, and even extreme rain.

Of course, homeowners also need to consider chemical exposure or heat from nearby buildings if they start to see their vinyl siding bloating, swelling, or warping, because those two things can create a lot of damage too.

Exterior home improvement contractors all agree that homeowners should inspect their vinyl siding on a regular basis.  This will allow them to catch the buckling and warping much sooner, when there is a possibility of it being repaired easily.  Regular maintenance on your homes exterior will prevent siding issues from turning into siding catastrophes.

Unfortunately, if damaged vinyl siding isn’t repaired quickly, there will be no way for exterior home improvement contractors to fix it.  The reason for this is that the buckling and warping will continue to spread to larger areas and the only way to make the siding look nice again is completely replacing it.  At least, when the damage is limited to a smaller section, there is a chance that only that section would need to be replaced.

We always recommend that homeowners hold onto the vinyl siding that is leftover from the installation, so if a small section does buckle or warp, it is easy to replace those pieces.  However, those few pieces will not be of any help if an entire side of a house needs to be redone.

No matter what, homeowners will want to call their exterior home improvement contractor as soon as they see their vinyl siding bloating, swelling, or warping.  This phone call can save a homeowner thousands of dollars if they do it quickly enough.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Give your house exterior a facelift

Is your house looking tired and shabby from the outside? Would you like to spruce it up to sell … or just to make coming home more enjoyable? There are tons of improvements you can undertake to give your house exterior a facelift, at a whole range of price points. Some are best done by a pro, but there are plenty of DIY possibilities, as well. Take a look at this list of 10 suggestions.

Pull out the paintbrush. Painting is a time-honored, affordable way of making just about anything in and around your home look fresh and new. Paint the entire house exterior or simply touch up the trim and voila. You’ve got instant curb appeal.

Spruce up the front door. Installation of a new steel entry door gives an excellent return on investment when you sell, according to Remodeling Magazine’s well-known annual Cost vs Value report. If that’s not in the cards at the moment, sanding and restaining a wooden door — or replacing the hardware on any type of door — will make a substantial improvement on a dime.

Refresh garage doors. Speaking of doors, did you know the average attached garage makes up 30 percent of the house exterior viewed from the street? And its doors play a major role in your home’s appearance. Make sure garage doors are looking their best. If they’re more than 20-25 years old, consider hiring a contractor for replacement. Otherwise, embellish them easily by refinishing, adding windows, or changing the hardware.

Tend the landscape. Trim trees and shrubs neatly — it will help them grow healthier. Add window boxes or a few attractive potted plantings for a quick, inexpensive lift. And while you’re at it, remove any plants that might actually harm your home, such as English ivy, which, as it grows, is capable of tearing off gutters and roof shingles.

Light up your outdoors. Brighten up your house exterior with the right light fixtures. They will look great and help keep you and your guests safe, as well. Choose from styles such as lanterns, solar lights, or lighting conveniently embedded in your deck’s support posts.

Pay attention to your driveway. Nothing says “tired” like an old cracked, oil-stained stretch of drive right smack in front of your home. Resurface a concrete or asphalt driveway or give it a brand new luxe look by installing high-end materials like bricks or concrete pavers.

Show your front walk some love. When the sidewalk leading to your entrance is looking the worse for wear, try one of these quick fixes. Repair cracked concrete; edge the walk with a neat row of cobblestones, river rocks, or landscape timber on either side — or call a landscaper to give your walkway a brand new look.

Let your house numbers shine. You can accomplish this the low-tech way — by polishing up a vintage brass number plate — or go ultra high tech and install an LED-lit address display. The latter also helps first responders find your home fast in case of emergency.

Add a portico or a porch. Dress up your home’s frontage with a portico that will protect you from the elements while you hunt for your keys. Or go grand with the construction of a new porch, either out in front or wrapped all around the house.

Reclad your house exterior. Recladding is a larger scale home makeover which makes a dramatic difference. Install new siding, cedar shakes, stucco, brick, or stone to improve a faded appearance and stop leaks. And if you’re putting your home up for sale soon, recladding with manufactured stone veneer (it’s actually affordable concrete) offers an impressive 97 percent ROI.

Original Source: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/lifestyle/20180816/networx-give-your-house-exterior-facelift

Original Date: August 16 2018

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