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Home Repair

Exterior Home Improvements

Replacement Windows
How do I know if I need new windows?
Like any part of your home your windows and doors have a life-span. Experts agree that if your windows and doors aren’t performing properly, you need to have them examined for replacement. When replacing your windows choose energy star windows. These windows are the most efficient and will provide you with home energy savings.
This is what makes a window energy efficient:
o Improved frame materials which will help reduce heat transfer and help to insulate
o Multiple panes of glass
o Low e-gas
o Gas fills – argon, krypton, or other gases between the panes
o Warm edge spaces
Here is a few things you can look for to help determine if you need new windows:
o Condensation within the glass, this indicates seal failure
o If you have single pane windows you should replace them with double or triple pane windows to reduce energy costs
o On a very hot day or a very cold day check for warm or cold spots that are near the windows/doors
o If your furniture or drapes are discolored you may want to consider an upgrade to a low E coating window designed to help filter the sun and harmful rays from the sun
o Do your windows open and close easily?
o Are your windows warped or pitted? Rotting frames?
Here’s a test you can try yourself to determine if you need windows:
o Place someone outside your window.
o Have someone stand inside with a flashlight and go around the window’s perimeter with the flashlight
o If the person outside sees some light coming through this indicates the seal is probably broken and you will experience energy loss.
Vinyl Siding
Why Buy new vinyl siding?
What is on the exterior of your house creates the first and often lasting impression of your home. Plus, the siding material protects your home’s structure from the elements, mainly rain and wind driven moisture. Siding should be selected based on cost, aesthetics, durability, maintenance requirements, and environmental impact. With new vinyl siding, you will never paint or stain again. The siding will not warp, rot, or crack and it is maintenance free. Vinyl siding does not dent or require painting. Vinyl siding is manufactured in many colors and in a wide variety of styles. It can be made to look like clapboard, logs, cedar shakes or shingles. It can also be shaped in scallops or board and batten, just for starters. Vinyl siding is suitable for all climates. It will withstand hurricane wind speeds and is not damaged by heat, cold or moisture. The only thing it will not withstand is exposure to direct heat, such as a grill placed to close to the siding.
The precursor to vinyl siding was aluminum siding. This was first marketed about 50 years ago as a long-lasting, maintenance-free alternative to traditional sidings such as clapboard or wood shingles. Since aluminum is rot-proof, waterproof, fireproof, corrosion-resistant, impervious to termites and able to withstand years of exposure to the elements, the siding itself will last virtually indefinitely. But, the aluminum is a painted metal and may require painting over time. Aluminum siding is also susceptible to denting and scratching. If you plan on doing home remodeling, new vinyl siding is a great way to start. It will add beauty to your home, protect your homes structure, and it will add a great deal of value to your home.

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Home Repair

Don’t Paint Stucco!

People often call me with the same problem. They tell me they have mold on their walls, behind their bed, for example. I ask a few probing questions, eventually coming to the same conclusion. At some point in time, their stucco has been painted.
It is very common in our region to find painted stucco. This does not make it right. Stucco is a porous product. It is made of sand and cement and is meant to stay porous. When you paint your stucco it can no longer breathe.
The black paper behind the stucco is designed to keep water out of your house. As the water migrates through the stucco it hits this paper. Water then runs down the paper and back out through the stucco towards the bottom of the wall. If the stucco has been painted, any water that enters the wall will be trapped in the bottom and begin to mold, eventually rotting the paper and stucco. Remember that water always travels in the easiest direction. In most cases that is inside your house.
In the mid ’70s, the Federal Housing Authority invented a screed (metal trim) to go along the bottom of the house. This screed allows any water in the wall to escape. Most Clairemont houses don’t have this screed. The stucco goes right down into the dirt. The moisture in the dirt wicks up into the wall. If your stucco has been painted, it stops the stucco from drying out. It then decomposes. I call it stucco cancer.
Look around your own home to see if you are experiencing any of the same problems. Many Clairemont homes need to be re-stuccoed. The correct method is to sandblast and re-stucco. This removes all the paint from the stucco. Then it can breathe again. This is also important when we re-stucco. It makes the stucco even more porous and helps get much better adhesion. The new color coat attaches to the old effectively.
The top layer of stucco is called “the color coat”. It is approximately 1/8″ thick. This surface should last for up to 30 years. (As long as you don’t paint it!). If you find that your stucco has not been painted, you can water blast then re-color coat. The new color coat will last a long time if the preparation is done properly. A common technique is to put an acrylic bonder (glue) on the wall first and in the mix.
Fresh stucco is an elegant look on a home. We prefer a Spanish lace texture as this hides some of the imperfections on the surface of an old house. The smoother the finish the harder it is to conceal the problems. There are many colors to choose from. It is a good idea to re-paint any wood or metal trim before re-stuccoing. We suggest sandblast, paint, then re-stucco.
One thing to think about before you re-stucco is replacing your windows. Wait, that’s another story.