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Fall Facelift

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As fall approaches, homeowners are looking beyond their outdoor spaces when it comes to improvements. Exterior projects such as siding, roofing, windows, doors and more can bring a boost in curb appeal, as well as extra protection for colder temperatures. Shopping around at this time of year could put you ahead of schedule, say experts.

Ben Weaver, general manager of Alderfer Glass Company, says repairs should never be delayed, but now is a great time to consider replacements. “On replacement, the best time is actually prior to fall as there is a lead time involved with ordering windows and doors, so late fall consultations will likely be installed going into the winter,” he says. “We actually don’t mind installing in the winter, and homeowners can find shorter lead times and good purchase options, but if looking for a fall replacement we actually encourage consumers to be shopping in the summer.” 

With the current boom in the real estate market, those who are thinking of selling will find a great return for these projects. “More and more, homeowners are realizing the difference exterior  home improvements can make on resale value. The term ‘curb appeal’ is not just a catch phrase, it’s what buyers see when they first look at your home from the curb of the house,” says Adam Parnes of Global Home Improvement.

Roofing Systems
The advancements in roofing systems make this one of the most important upgrades to a home.  

As Chris Fontana, co-owner of Magnolia Home Remodeling Group, says, “A roof is a solid umbrella over a house, offering protection primarily, but also aesthetics in the various colors and styles available.”

Where previous roofing systems  had a 25- to 30-year lifespan, the standard now is 50 years.

Mike Ianelli, owner of M&J Roofing, has been installing roofs for almost 20 years. He can tell the age of a roof just by looking at it, and comes across the same issues in older roofs. “The previous generation did not install a  water and ice shield or put ventilation on the roof. That causes humidity to build up leading to condensation and shingle damage,” he says.  

The leading roof manufacturer in North America is GAF. Ianelli says these products come with  a 50-year warranty and have a host of colors to choose from. He says the installation process is thorough. “Our process from start to finish includes roof deck protection with GAF Deck Armor, which is used under the shingles and provides protection from wind-driven rain and trapped moisture; leak barrier, starter strip shingles, Cobra attic ventilation and ridge cap shingles.” When researching companies to handle a roof, Ianelli says to ensure they are not subcontracting  the work. “You can’t compare quotes apples to apples. If they are cheaper, they are probably forfeiting something,” Ianelli adds.

Windows and Doors
If energy efficiency is a concern, Weaver says windows and doors should be at the top of your list. “A lot of energy can be lost through poorly sealing doors, or deteriorating old windows. If I had to rank between the two, probably windows are the most important as the typical home has many more window openings than door openings,” he says.  

Among the most common issues in aging windows is fogged glass. “This is a common problem as windows do have a service life, and a lot of windows installed in the last 20 years have some lower quality insulated glass installed in them. It is something that is very difficult to ‘see’ or evaluate when purchasing a home, particularly if the windows seem ‘new,’” says Weaver.

“Failing windows can be for a number of reasons depending  on age, but even some newer vinyl windows have lock and balance issues, trouble raising and lowering,  or warped frames and poor installation(s). If a homeowner is noticing a draft or actual cold/warm air to the touch, and can feel moving air, this is something that  should definitely be evaluated fairly promptly,” he continues.

Parnes says windows are a great project for homeowners looking to add beauty and efficiency  to their home. “Infinity from Marvin has a 100-percent fiberglass frame which is eight times stronger than vinyl. This allows for thinner, more narrow frames, adding more natural light and style to your home,” he says.

A new entry door can also make a dramatic difference in your home’s appearance. Michael Esh, field manager for E&E Contracting, says ProVia doors are a product with a lot going for it.

 “We have a division devoted entirely to windows and doors and ProVia entry doors are one of the best in the nation with several things that set them apart from competitors,” Esh says. Each door can be customized in terms of size, shape and style. Esh says the doors are constructed of fiberglass, with high-quality insulation materials and structure, with a real-wood look.  

 “These doors have a 10-year finish warranty and they are just more solid than a typical entry door,” he says. “They have incredible design and stain options, and decorative glass. Over the last 10 to  15 years of installing these, we’ve seen fewer issues and fewer repairs.”

Siding, Stucco & Stone Veneer
When it comes to the largest surface area of your home’s exterior, the most popular choice is vinyl siding. “Right now, there is a push for vinyl siding. It’s super versatile and  is an alternative to repainting,” says Fontana. 

His company works with a product called Prodigy from Alside. “It’s a one-piece insulated vinyl siding product,” he says. “Customers are looking for low- or no-maintenance  exterior solutions, and the insulation is an additional benefit with the siding to help lower energy costs.”

Esh says James Hardie fiber cement siding is well known to the general homeowner and used in a lot of higher-end communities, but another product, LP Smart Side, has been gaining traction.  “We’re excited about this product. It’s wood-based siding that is soaked with a mixture of waxes and resins to keep any termites or rotting at bay, and it resists woodpeckers,” he says. “It looks like wood but does not have the weaknesses of traditional wood siding.”

Stucco is another prevalent material on home exteriors in this area. Esh says stucco remediation is a main source of E&E’s work. “Not every stucco home has problems but if stucco was installed on top of wood framing and incorrectly flashed, this scenario  invites water,” he says. “Since stucco is a full done facade, there’s no air movement and no drainage, which causes slowly rotting issues that can be hidden from the naked eye for years.”

As this damage continues, it will make its way to the facade of the home. Esh says water and moisture come out in the form of the black stains on stucco, indicating there is rotted or damaged wood creating the stain coming out with water.

Stucco can be removed and reinstalled, but Esh says a majority of people are shying away from it and choosing to go with vinyl siding.  

For a truly appealing aesthetic, stone veneer can create a dramatic  effect. Esh says they install a lot of Brandywine natural stone veneer, which is real stone cut into thin slabs. “This doesn’t fade like manufactured stone will over time to some degree. Manufactured stone is a good choice but natural stone is an amazing product and popular recently,” he says.  “There are keys to know about installation, including correct  flashing and house underlayment for proper drainage to allow water to drain and air to flow through to dry it out.”

Stone veneer can be installed as an accent up the entire front of a home or just up to the second floor, or over a porch to highlight the gable. Esh says the combination of siding and stone veneer can make for a truly stunning design.

Alderfer Glass Co.
Multiple locations:
Lansdale, Limerick,
Quakertown and
Souderton, Pa.
(215) 723-1192

E&E Contracting LLC
Gap, Pa.|
(717) 442-4814

Global Home
Servicing Pa.,
N.J. and Del.
(866) 735-1121

Magnolia Home
Remodeling Group
Union, N.J.
(855) 624-6655 

M&J Roofing
Turnersville, N.J.
(856) 725-5759

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 20, Issue 12 (July/August 2020). 
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