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Questions to ask when purchasing Vinyl Siding

Questions to ask when purchasing Vinyl Siding

Purchasing vinyl siding for your home can be a big step, and its not something that you want to take shortcuts on. Often when we are not familiar with a line of products, we really don’t know the proper questions to ask when we are researching it. Lets look at some questions that should be asked when purchasing Vinyl Siding.

Style of LapSiding

There are two common styles of lap in vinyl siding, Dutchlap and Straightlap and both of them have there pros and cons. If you are using the siding on a older home, or you know that the wall substrate has some imperfections, you might want to choose a Dutchlap siding. Dutchlap siding tends to hide wall imperfections better because of the profile. Straightlap Vinyl siding is very popular in some areas because of its clean profile, and is gaining in popularity every year.

Thickness of the Siding

There are several thickness of siding that are common, among them are .040 .044 .046. Which thickness is best for you really depends on your budget and your long term goal.  A thicker panel will cost some more, however the panel will be stiffer, and will be able to stand up better to the elements. Many of the darker colors are not available in the thinner panels.

Recycled materialvinyl-recycling-

Another question to ask is if the siding is made using recycled material. All siding goes through a extrusion process, however many company’s will use recycled vinyl for the middle and back layer of the siding. This process is more economical for the siding manufacturer, but some shortcuts are not worth taking. Using recycled material can cause color changes on cut laps, and also lower the siding resistance to fading.

Warranty’s

Warranty’s are something that tends to make everyone’s eye’s gloss over, and often we only skim through and don’t really pay attention. There are however distinct differences in siding warranty’s, and you can tell how much a siding manufacturer believes in their product. Some things to look for are– Amount of fade that is excepted? When does it begin to pro-rate? Is labor included? Is the warranty transferable? Does the warranty lose value after it is transferred?Print

Here at First Choice Exteriors, we stock Vinyl Siding by Royal Building Products, because we believe that Royal products exceed in all these category’s and more. Give us a call today for more information.

 

Kobyco-Replacement-Windows-Belvidere-IL-495x400

Are Replacement Windows worth the Investment?

Are Replacement Windows worth the Investment?

When it comes to replacing the windows in their home, folks often think of it as merely another expense to add to their budget. A lot of homeowners tell us, “Oh, we’d love to put your windows in our house, but we just don’t think we can afford them.” Often, many of them don’t consider the fact that the old windows they currently have could be significantly draining their finances already. Even if the windows seem to function properly, here are a few ways that they could actually be costing you money.

1. Ultraviolet lightWindow-Film-UV-Rays-Protect

Plain, untreated, clear glass lets in UV rays. These rays are responsible for perpetual damage to the inside of your home. Items that you know would be affected by sunlight outside are still being damaged indoors, but at a slower rate. This can mean discolored carpet, faded artwork, disappearing photographs and faded upholstered furniture and wood floors. Homeowners commonly report that blinds become brittle, and curtains or other window treatments become discolored and start deteriorating. Having to replace your furniture, rugs or drapes that were damaged over time could be quite costly.

2. Heat transfer

Old windows can’t keep the heat out in the summer or in during winter because the frames don’t have insulating properties. Common outdated frame materials, such as aluminum, conduct heat directly from the outside to the inside of your home. If you feel a different temperature when you are near your windows, they are doing very little to insulate your home. This causes your furnace or air conditioner to run unnecessarily, driving up your monthly energy bill.

3. Leaking

Old windows often have many tiny cracks, even when they seem to close and function properly. The weather causes windows to expand and contract, so the glass doesn’t fit properly. Panes of glass can become loose, or the glass itself can break. The caulking around the windows crumbles over time and the weather stripping fails. Not only can this make your home drafty, it can also let in dust and other allergens, as well as cause water damage. These are some negative effects you will experience when that happens:

prarie-style-sliding-door-and-windowsYou’ll find yourself spending more by adjusting your thermostat to compensate for the drafts. The leaks will let in spiders and other insects and put a bigger exterminating bill on your budget. The biggest costs that come from the water damage will have long-standing effects on your home, possibly leading to mold issues, and the need to replace entire sections of plaster or drywall. You might be feeling unwell from the dust, mold and other allergens coming into your home, which affects your quality of life.

4. Upkeep

Especially for homeowners with wood windows, the wooden frames need to be stained or painted frequently or they are subject to wood rot. The cost to maintain wood windows is substantial, as they have to be meticulously masked off, sanded and primed, with several coats of paint to keep them in good condition. Additionally, some other window frame materials that were not designed to be painted may have been mistakenly painted, and then they start peel and blister. New windows are designed to be virtually maintenance free and never need painting.

At the end of the day, if you are experiencing any or all of these issues with your old windows, you are probably spending more on those windows than you’d care to. You may even find that the cost of new windows isn’t really much more than what your old windows are costing you. Give us a call at First Choice Exteriors to find out how affordable that replacement windows can be 330-674-7051

ponderosa-pine-exterior-winter

Save Energy this Winter by following these Tips

Save Energy this Winter by following these Tips

With the winter season in full swing here in Ohio, we here at First Choice Exteriors thought that it would be beneficial to post about some steps that can be taken to save on energy costs. This is by no means a complete list, however our goal is to provide some idea’s that will get all of us thinking about small steps that we all can take.

Five Actions to cut your heating costs

  1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Wear warm clothing like a sweater and set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening, health permitting. Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees or off at night or when leaving home for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs (heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating).
  2. Replace or clean furnace filters as recommended. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Now is also the time for a furnace “tune-up.” Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5 percent of heating costs.
  3. Reduce hot water temperature. Set your water heater to the “normal” setting or 120-degrees Fahrenheit, unless the owner’s manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting. Savings are 7-11 percent of water heating costs.
  4. Seal up the leaks. Caulk leaks around windows and doors. Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Check the bathroom, underneath the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, etc. If you find a gap at the point where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, seal it up. Caulk works best on small gaps. Your hardware store should have products to close the larger gaps.
  5. Consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® water heater or furnace.

Fast and Free Ideas for cost savingspicture-uhac9b8c328a9effef1c2115d031d188a3-psfb4b8415fc64a154836f06e975dae43-735-e-francis-st-aspen-co-816111

  1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Wear warm clothing like a sweater and set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening, health permitting. Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees or off at night or when leaving home for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs (heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating).
  2. Replace or clean furnace filters as recommended. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Now is also the time for a furnace “tune-up.” Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5 percent of heating costs.
  3. Reduce hot water temperature. Set your water heater to the “normal” setting or 120-degrees Fahrenheit, unless the owner’s manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting. Savings are 7-11 percent of water heating costs.
  4. Seal up the leaks. Caulk leaks around windows and doors. Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Check the bathroom, underneath the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, etc. If you find a gap at the point where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, seal it up. Caulk works best on small gaps. Your hardware store should have products to close the larger gaps.
  5. Consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® water heater or furnace.

Energy Saving Investments for the future

Choose ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics. When buying new appliances, choose ENERGY STAR-certified models. For example, a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator uses about 20 percent less energy than a standard new refrigerator, and 46 percent less than one made in 1980. A new Energy Star® clothes washer uses nearly 50 percent less energy than a standard washer.

Install a programmable thermostat. If you have a heat pump, select a model designed for heat pumps. Set-back thermostats can save up to 15 percent on energy costs.

Increase ceiling insulation. If your ceiling is uninsulated or scantily insulated, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38 to reduce heating costs by 5-25 percent.

Seal ducts. Leaking ductwork accounts for more than 25 top 30 percent of heating costs in an average California home. Consider hiring a contractor to test the tightness of your ducts and repair leaks and restrictions in your duct. Many utilities have programs to assist you. Check out the Flex Your Power Web site for rebate and consumer programs or contact or local utility.

High-efficiency windows. If you are planning to replace your windows, choosing ENERGY STAR windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent.

Be sure to contact us if you have any questions about energy savings or would like more information about any Home Exterior Products.  During the Winter season always remember to–Stay inside and Stay warm.