Behind the Scenes with Enviro Dri

This blog is part of a series. Search our site for “behind the scenes” to read other articles in the series.

Carlson Exteriors gets excited about Tremco’s product, Enviro Dri for many reasons. These range from monetary savings all the way to long term homeowner protection. Before we dive into the behind the scenes of Enviro Dri, many of you might be unfamiliar with it. I’d suggest clicking here and reading this page to get a quick understanding.

EnviroDri on Apartments in Bloomington Il

The first benefit thats always on everyone’s mind is savings. How can something new save you money? While installation costs might be exactly the same as standard house wrap, using Enviro Dri during a new construction build can allow you to save money in other parts of your build. You can have thinner walls but have the same insulation rating because Enviro Dri is more energy efficient. The lumber savings alone is enough for many builders to switch to Enviro Dri from house wrap.

tyvek ripped and blowing in the wind

House wrap can tear easily if left exposed to high winds. Enviro Dri is a liquid that applied to your sheathing; no part of Enviro Dri can be ripped or destroyed by high winds or any harsh elements. During the build of your new home, you can rest assured that your home is protected if it takes a little longer than expected to get your siding installed. If you aren’t building your home, knowing that you you have Enviro Dri protecting it gives you a little extra piece of mind if any piece of siding would blow off. If you had a piece blow off or break, any exposed house wrap may also rip leaving the OSB exposed. Enviro Dri eliminates this from ever being a problem.

Enviro Dri is a more hardy of a moisture barrier. It can also be used under all products (brick, stone, stucco, etc). It will stand up to surface active contaminants that are frequently found in wood, stone, fiber cement siding. Over time these contaminants can break down house wrap’s barrier. There are no mechanical fasteners used in Enviro Dri’s application. Since it’s a liquid that’s applied, there are no nails or staples keeping it attached. Normally these areas could leave you exposed to a water infiltration. With house wrap your home will have many seams that could fail. These taped seams could fail from not being taped correctly to not withstanding the settling of your home over time. There are NO seams in Enviro Dri. As an added measure, everywhere the OSB sheets join up, our installers add a mesh strip to flex with the OSB (if needed).

 

Behind the Scenes with CertainTeed

CertainTeed shingles in Moire Black in Normal il

This blog is part of a series. Search our site for “behind the scenes” to read other articles in the series.

roof-replacement-bloomington-il-certainteed-landmark-pro-in-maxdef-pewter

CertainTeed is a nationwide known brand; and for good reason. They make great shingles and offer plenty of colors. But the reason Carlson Exteriors loves using CertainTeed is for the roofing warranty they provide to the homeowner.

This warranty is registered in homeowner’s names. The original is mailed to homeowners, a copy is mailed to Carlson Exteriors, and CertainTeed keeps a virtual copy. Unlike most warranties, CertainTeed’s has no loop holes and no fine print. To read more in detail about our Unconditional Roofs – Click here.

I was able to interview CertainTeed’s Territory Manager, Bob Eaton, to get his insider opinion.

I’ve worked for CertainTeed for 15 years now. I truly enjoy seeing my customers and I believe that will never change. I believe providing a true 50 years Peace of Mind Full replacement warranty for all homeowners is essential. I’m the point person for all claims and when a shingle does fail, I want to make sure the homeowners gets taken care of in all aspects. The only way to do that is to have the SureStart Plus Warranty on their home.

If you look at the chart below, the SureStart Plus warranty Bob is talking about, actually increases with inflation. The middle column is the usual warranty that most shingles come with. With the typical Limited Warranty, even in the first year the homeowner is still paying a decent chunk out of pocket. EVERY roof Carlson Exteriors installs, gets a SureStart Plus Warranty.

certainteeds-shingle-warranty

unconditional-roof-warranty-example-certificate
Example Warranty Certificate of what every replacement roof customer of Carlson Exteriors receives

Now back to Bob:

I can’t ever remember CertainTeed not doing the right thing for the consumer. CertainTeed has always supported me in the field and that is critical to my success and to homeowner’s happiness.

Carlson Exteriors is a great partner. I truly enjoy working with everyone. You’re extremely organized from top to bottom. From my stand point, you do it right the first time.

Click here to get a roof replacement quote

Click here to visit CertainTeed’s website

How To Find A Contractor You Can’t Live Without

 

 

Do you absolutely love working with your contractor? Or do you dread the thought of another run around where you spend too much effort trying to just get one phone call returned? Do you feel like you always get over charged on a service that wasn’t that professional?

If it’s time to break up the relationship and find a new contractor – here are some great tips on finding a trustworthy contractor:

Local Location 

 

 

This might be obvious, but you want a contractor with a permanent location in the area that you live. Double check Google to see if they have an address listed, then drive by it to make sure it’s an actual office with office hours, and not the owner’s house. It never hurts to know that you can walk in and have a face – face conversation. After you’ve confirmed that they are a local contractor, research their reputation. Ask neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Google them, Google the owner’s name. Stalk the company! Find out everything you can about them and make sure you like what you find.

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Proper License 

The State of Illinois requires contractors to have a roofing license. A contractor can only pull a roofing permit if the city has the valid license and updated insurance. You might be saying “Duh – tell me something I don’t know!” Well did you think about looking at the roofing license to make sure it’s your contractor’s license and not their friend’s? Sometimes contractors share a license and an unlicensed roofer will essentially “subcontract” under a licensed roofer. Your estimate and contract might be from Contractor A, your check will even be made out to Contractor A, but if you look at the City’s permit records your roofing permit will be registered to Contractor B. That’s because Contractor A, your contractor is not licensed. Another sign that they aren’t licensed is if your roofer asks you, the homeowner, to pull your own roofing permit! Never put up with that! Homeowners are allowed to pull their own permits without a license; but if a contractor is doing the work they should be responsible for the permit and the permit fees. Besides, it’s rude if they want you to pull their permit – even if they are licensed!

 

Insurance

Everyone always verifies that their contractor is insured; but there is an extra step a contractor can do to prove their love for you. Add you as an additional insured! Contractors don’t like doing this because it does cost a little extra to have you listed, but any trustworthy contractor knows you are worth it.

Letters

If your contractor doesn’t already provide these up front, you should ask for a letter from their bank and a letter from their supplier. The bank letter lets you know that the company isn’t broke and does not run finances through the owner’s personal bank account. The letter from the supplier lets you know that your contractor pays the material bills. Last thing you want is a lien placed on your home because the contractor didn’t pay for his materials.

 

Professionalism

All contractors should give you a written estimate filled with all the details of the work to be performed. It should be extremely detailed and include a total price. On top of the professional estimate, the contractor should no pressure you in any way. Pressure can on many forms. Scare tactics, calling more than they should, telling you the price expires in a week, and any other gimmick. Once this final contract is signed by both you and the contractor that should be the final price. As a homeowner you should expect your contractor to honor this contract. It’s their promise to you.

Example professional estimate
Example of a detailed roofing estimate and contract

 

Warranties

Most contractors have a labor warranty to accompany their work. Typically this is 1 year. Some contractors might extend that warranty for longer, but be weary of anything less than 1 year. You should ask for material warranties of the products being placed on your home. Manufacturers can vary warranties based on contractors and what they are certified to guarantee. Carlson Exteriors offers a 50 year non prorated warranty. This warranty will be registered to homeowner’s name and can be transferred one time! If you sell your house after we’ve replaced the roof your warranty goes with it. Look for any extra love and assurance that a contractor can provide you in the material warranty department. Click here to learn more about our Unconditional Roofs.

 

 

Carlson Warranty

 

If you want more tips and techniques to finding out if your next contractor will be the contractor you can’t live without – Download our Guide to Contractor Standards

contractor-standard-guide-front-outside-cover

Intro to “Behind the Scenes” Blog Series

Deep granite shakes and Board and Batten siding with Natural Slate siding, white trim and black roof in Savoy IL

The brands a contractor uses should not be an arbitrary decision. Any product that’s new to the construction industry is not offered immediately by Carlson Exteriors Inc. We wait and watch for a few things:

  • Does the product do what it claims to do- without fail!
  • Are there warranty issues? If there are, how does the manufacturer handle it?
  • Does the manufacturer provide adequate training for contractors?
  • Is the product a safe bet for homeowners?

Why Am I Telling You This?

Carlson Exteriors Inc. spends a long time debating and researching a product before we ever think about adding it to our exterior services. Our siding carries purpose. Our shingles have a backbone. Our gutters will never let you down. We always insist that every product performs perfectly – zero exceptions.  It’s worth talking about – so we will! With our ‘Behind the Scenes’ blog series, we will go over products Carlson Exteriors has chosen to use and why. We will discuss our relationships with siding, roofing, gutters, and garage door companies, we’ll talk with manufacturers directly, and we’ll show you, the homeowner, how you fit into the grand equation.

 

 

If you are interested in reading these articles, search “Behind the Scenes” on our website. It will show you all the articles that have been released.

Love the Wood Look? Hate the Wood Maintenance?

DaVinci makes a polymer shake product that looks like real cedar shakes

You are not alone! Thankfully there are many home exterior products out there to satisfy your desires. Let’s celebrate those products by taking a closer look.

 

Garage Doors

If refinishing your garage door every couple of years has kept you from purchasing a wooden garage door, CHI Accents line has come to your rescue. While these overhead garage doors look like real wood (even close up) they are metal doors made to look like wood. No maintenance at all! They over many styles and five different wood colors.

Click here to build your faux wood garage door online

Click here to look at CHI Accent Product Guide

 

Wooden Shakes or Wooden Shaker Style Siding

Most people know that vinyl shakes come in a variety of colors but few seem to realize that vinyl can mimic natural wood if the homeowner so desires. Vinyl Manufacturers have started to variate colors on a single shake panel to really recreate cedar siding.

Cedar Siding

There are a few hard board sidings out there that do a fantastic job of looking like real wood siding. Some require more maintenance than others. These hard board sidings are LP Smartside, James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding, and Royal Celect Siding. Check out our earlier blog series on Comparing Hard Board Siding by click here to learn about them.

If hard board siding breaks the budget, consider a variegated vinyl siding panel. Mastic Quest siding has six colors that resemble cedar. The Gualazzi’s thought it was a good choice for them after deciding their current cedar siding was not working for them. Check out that amazing decision by clicking here.

Wood Shake Roof

There are a couple of companies out there that make a wood shake roofing product that’s made of a polymer blend. Two top these companies are DaVinci Roofscapes and Inspire Roofing Products. While these products will be close to the same price point as real wooden shakes, there is absolutely no maintenance with a polymer blend shake. These shakes may look slick but are easy to walk on (so you can hang Christmas lights!). They are considered “self-healing” shakes, which means if they get scuffed or scratched the sun will heat up the polymer and erase the scratch.

 

Want to talk more about one of these? Interested in a wood-look product not mentioned? Give Carlson Exteriors a shout.

Comparing Hard Board Siding: Part 1- LP SmartSide vs. James Hardie Fiber Cement vs. Royal Celect Siding

There are so many different (and honestly really good) options out there for hard board siding. Before we jump in too deep, lets quickly cover what exactly “hard board siding” means. Hard board siding is any type of siding that is a solid lap; for a comparison, when you look at the profile of vinyl siding it is a hollow shell. See image below:

Hardboard Profiles comparing mastic vinyl to lp smartside to james hardie fiber cement to royal celect siding
Comparing siding profiles and thicknesses

As you can see, vinyl is thin shell creating the allusion of a solid strip of siding while the 3 hard boards shown (LP, James Hardie, and Celect) are actual solid siding panels. LP Smartside is made up of wood fibers combined with waxes, industrial grade binders, Zinc-borate, and resin overlay. James Hardie has perfected the fiber cement industry with their line of fiber cement siding. Royal Celect is a cellular PVC siding very similar to Royal’s trim that they have been providing the construction industry for years.

Impact resistance, gives off a more truer wooden siding or shake appearance (aka greater curb appeal, wider range in color options, and wider range in siding reveal size are just a handful of advantages provided by Hardboard siding. Over the next couple of months, we will be focusing in on the pros and cons on each individual brand.

Hopefully these articles will help you decide if hardboard is right for you and narrow down your options if it is.

Stay tuned for the next blog, which will be all about LP Smartside! Here is a quick teaser-image of an LP Smartside job Carlson Exteriors installed in Savoy, IL.

LP Smartside siding in Pewter with White trim and Black roof and Metal Roof accent
LP Smartside siding in Pewter with White trim and Black roof and Metal Roof accent

 

Follow up: Click here to read the post about LP Smartside

The Preferred Shingle for Home Insurance

CertainTeed+NorthGate+-+Anchorage+Shingle+Roofing+Contractor

We are proud to introduce the Northgate Shingle by CertainTeed. It’s the shingle your insurance company wants you to have! So…. why is this shingle one of the best on the market? The biggest reason is the Northgate shingle has a Class 4 Impact/Hail rating. This is the highest rating possible! Most insurance companies offer a discount when you tell them you had these put on your roof.

Other reasons to make the Northgate your favorite shingle are:

  • Better gradual retention. This is critical to protect the asphalt against UV breakdown. Once your granules fall off, your shingle will fail.
  • Higher tear strength compared to standard shingles. This means the shingles can stand up against very strong winds
  • Has stronger nail pull through resistance- AKA if your installer has the pressure too high on the nail gun, the nail head could go all the way through your shingle.
  • This shingle has been modified to resist cracking and shrinking in both hot and cold temperatures. Your roofers can install in zero degree weather without having shingle shrinkage issues.
  • The Northgate shingle still qualifies for the 50 year non-prorated Unconditional Roof warranty Carlson Exteriors offers for free.

 

Click here to see CertainTeed’s brochure on Northgates.

Time to Improve: Benefits of Adding a Covered Porch

long covered porch

As the New Year rolls in, you are probably thinking of all the home improvement projects you want to tackle for 2017! If you have more projects than you have the motivation, time, or budget for which one should you start with? A covered porch or patio might be the perfect place to start.

If done correctly, you’ll be asking yourself how you ever lived without a covered porch. The extra living space can become a great entertaining spot or a nice, relaxing space while adding value to your home.

covered porch with decorative landscaping and patio furniture
You can spruce up a covered porch with landscaping.

Outdoor living areas are trending right now (for very good reasons!). Covered porches can be very elaborate and versatile by being a living area, dining space, and sometimes an extra kitchen!

covered porch with full kitchen and fire place
If you don’t want a full blown kitchen like this covered porch but want a cooking spot, consider building a brick oven, pizza oven, or fireplace.

Since the space is sheltered from some environmental elements you can even decorate the space. These furnishings will last longer by being sheltered from most weather conditions. You can feel better about investing more money into decorations, rugs, and furniture if it will endure longer.

You might find that adding a covered patio or porch will reduce your utility bills since it increases the amount of shade around your home. Depending on where you live, you might find that it’s a good idea to add ceiling fans or some outdoor heaters to help lengthen the span of usable weather.

Lastly, putting in a quality covered porch will increase the value of your home. If you happen to live in a more competitive housing market or put your house up at a competitive time of year, the extra outdoor living space might give you the edge.

 

EnviroDri vs. House Wrap

Enviro Dri water barrier

You may or may not have noticed a few new construction homes in your city that get this black coating instead of any house wrap paper products. The black coating is an exciting, newer product called EnviroDri; we believe EnviroDri is more efficient in function and cost savings than any other type of house wrap. This product streamlines the construction process and eliminates any worry a potential homeowner might have about any leaks or energy efficiency.

Enviro Dri water barrier
Enviro Dri water barrier

Homes need to have some sort of water resistive barrier over the sheeting to prevent water from entering the house from the outside but breathable for moisture to escape from the inside of the home. Typically, house wrap was been used as this water-resistive barrier; it is taped onto the home in large paper sheets. Any place the house sheeting meets another piece of sheeting the seam should be taped then the wrapping should be layered to provide protection as the house settles with age. Since the wrapping is put up in large sections, it’s common practice to add staples through each section to prevent the wind catching the paper and ripping it before the siding can be installed over it. As you can imagine already there are a few possibilities where this form of house wrap can fail. Any place the paper has been mechanically fastened (stapled) on to the home is at risk for a leak since the barrier has been penetrated. This is a very low risk, but, still a possibility. Depending on how fast your home is built, there could be a good span of time where your house sits with only house wrap on it while it waits for the siding or brick install; strong winds or storms can pull this house wrapping off or tamper the seals if not installed properly. While it is in the manufacturer’s installation instructions to overlap over sheeting seams, the installer might not follow this in efforts to cut their own material costs. Let’s say everything was installed properly and you been living in your home for a few years without any leaks or problems but a storm comes and blows off some siding. Your house wrap in that section is now exposed and if the storms or strong winds continue, the house wrap could become shredded in the exposure.

EnviroDri is a water resistant membrane that is sprayed onto your home after it’s been sheeted. The membrane and the wooden underlayment function as one unit once the membrane is cured. All seams have a water resistive “mesh” applied over and then sprayed again by the EnviroDri membrane. The mesh flexes with the seams the house settles, effectively protecting it throughout the shifting. Since EnviroDri is sprayed on there won’t be any mechanical fasteners piercing the barrier, so absolutely no risk of leaks due to that. Since the membrane is adhered to the sheeting, if your siding blows off your house is still protected from any storms or high winds.

EnviroDri is more energy efficient than any other form of house wrap. It’s more efficient because it’s a tighter protection than any form of house wrap because there is no space between the sheeting and the barrier. This allows you to go from a a 2×6 wall with R-19 insulation to a 2×4 wall with a R-13 insulation and still see energy improvements. The attic insulation can also go from a R-50 to an R-30. All of this saves money on materials and energy in the long run.

Learn More Here

Why wouldn’t you want your house EnviroDri’d?

Should I Be My Own General Contractor? Part 1

Before and after

With the DIY spirit trending, many homeowners looking to build their own home ask themselves this question, “Can I be my own General Contractor?” The following blog is the first part of a blog series that answers this question, gives advice on the next steps once you’ve decided, and what to expect along the way.

Do you have what it takes? A General Contractor (GC) is well organized, pays attention to details, and can swing with the punches. These core traits make up what it takes to be a GC; a homeowner does not have to be well versed in the construction industry (although that helps) to feel capable of being your own GC. It no longer becomes a question of, “Can I?” but “Should I?”

What motivates homeowners to want to be their own general contractor? Most people are attracted to the cost savings, but other reasons are the satisfaction (and bragging rights) of building your own home and feeling like you are in control during each stage. Although most people want to be GC just for the cost savings, in the end, homeowners usually spend as much as if they hired one because of unforeseen issues. If you are one of the lucky few that actually saved money by being the general contractor, you have to factor in all the time you spent. If you want to be your own GC solely to save the 10-20% cost, it might not be a good idea. Remember time= money.

A lot of people don’t realize how extensive the whole process is; it’s a full time job finding multiple, quality subs to give estimates on everything from the plumbing to the gutters. General Contractors who have been doing this for many years already know who they like to subcontract work out to and can often receive a quicker turn around on estimates than homeowners can; this is because GCs already have a standing relationship with these subs.

General Contractors are also in charge of pulling all the permits and scheduling inspections. As a homeowner you might not be familiar with the “red tape hang-ups” or get pushed to the back of the line since others aren’t used to working with you. Don’t be offended, this is just part of being your own GC in the construction realm; people like to expedite who they already know can do the job successfully and punctually.

It’s a good rule of thumb to not be a first time General Contractor if you have not orchestrated a smaller scale remodel. Completely restructuring a kitchen (moving plumbing, redoing cabinets, new lighting, etc.) is a good sample of what it ‘s like being a GC. You will get a taste of applying for permits, getting and picking estimates, scheduling your subcontractors, and the inspection process. Once you have done this, and are still eager to be your own GC, do it! If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, hire a professional General Contractor.

Part 2: Advice on being your own General Contractor.