How to Make Color Selections

Subdivisions are a great place to get color selections.

Making color selections can be very difficult and stressful for first time home builders; but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few easy steps to get you started in knowing what you want, but just as important, what you don’t want.

Subdivisions are a great place to get color selections.
Subdivisions are a great place to get color selections.

Drive Around Local Subdivisions

Your local neighborhoods are great resources to find combinations that you like. We usually suggest newer neighborhoods because are more likely to be up to date on all product styles and color offerings. Take photos and record address of homes that strike your fancy. These are great to share with your contractor.

Look at Pinterest or Instagram

These two platforms are chalk full of photos. You will definitely find a wide array of styles, colors, and combinations. This is perfect to do when you have a few extra minutes or want to look late or night. The one downside to looking on Pinterest or Instagram is that not all products you see are guaranteed to be provided in your area or by your contractor.

Custom color LP SMartside in dark grey siding
Custom LP Smartside in dark grey

Browse Your Contractor’s Portfolio

Your contractor should have tons of photos readily available to you on their website. We love asking clients to start here because we know exactly what products/colors are installed on each home.

Ironstone grey siding with white trim, black roof, and faux wood garage doors in normal il
Ironstone grey siding with white trim, black roof, and faux wood garage doors in normal il

Meet With Your Contractor

Often times customers want to know what’s available in their budget or get a little reassurance from a professional. Meeting with your contractor lays a great foundation. They can even go through their online photos with you to help you visualize.

New Roof: Tear Off Or Layover Shingles?

When looking to purchase a new roof for their home, many homeowners debate laying new shingles over the existing shingles or just start fresh by tearing off the old shingles.  Usually homeowners think about laying over to save some money – but is it worth the saved bucks?

Most cases – no. Its worth tearing off your shingles for the following reasons:

Inspect Condition of Roof Decking 

Without tearing the shingles off and actually seeing the roof deck, one can only speculate the condition of the OSB. Obviously, if sections of your roof are rather soft to walk on the wood is bad and will need replaced. However, you can have smaller sections of wood rot and not know it until the shingles are torn off.

Roof Warranty

Many shingle manufacturers have rather poor warranties for roofs that have been laid over. Best case scenario you will get a 10 year limited life warranty – it will be pro-rated. If the shingle fails within the first year after your roof lay over, you will have to pay some money out of pocket. The best thing about a Carlson Exteriors roof replacement is the roof warranty. Any roof we replace will get a 50 year, non prorated warranty that is transferrable one time. It actually increases with inflation so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket! Woohoo!

Overall Roof Appearance

If your old shingles have warping or curled up edges, the new shingles that you lay over will take on the look of the old shingles. The new shingles may look wrinkly or bumpy. The new roof will look terrible from day one.

curled shingles

Shortened Roof Life

If a new roof is laid over, it will have a shorter roof life. The shorter lifespan is due to a couple reasons. First, not nailing directly into the roof decking can lower your roof’s resistance to high winds. The nails might not be driven as deeply or as securely into the plywood as they should be. On the other hand, some nails may be overdriven thanks to the old shingles “cushion” . When nails are overdriven, it can pierce directly through the new shingle and not provide any security at all. Some home insurances provide better rates if your shingles are nailed directly into the OSB. Secondly, the moisture trapped between the two layers of shingles will increase the speed of asphalt deterioration. The second layer of shingles will increase heat and moisture retention, especially if your roof is not ventilated properly.

Too Much Weight

If you already have two layers of shingles on your home, city code prohibits another layover. This is because of the unnecessary weight each layer of shingles add to your home. If you are outside of city limits and are not required to obey city codes, be mindful of how much weight and stress you add to your home’s structure

Carlson Exteriors always tears off the existing shingles for these reasons. The money that homeowners would “save” by not tearing off old shingles is not worth it. A layover roof can be deemed more expensive due to poorer roof warranty, possibility of more leaks, and the damage that could be done to home’s structure. In this case, the cons outweigh the pros.

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

Humidity Gone Rogue

Frozen attic condensation can cause a frost like appearance on the inside of your attic

Rogue : a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel.

Seems funny to apply the word “rogue” to humidity. But during midwest winters it fits. Here’s why:

Every winter is bound to have a couple days to a couple weeks of below zero weather. When temperatures start to rise, homeowners start to notice brown spots on their ceiling that resemble roof leaks. This could be a sign of a roof leak; it could also be a sign that the home’s humidity was too high during the cold temperatures- causing attic condensation to freeze.

Furnace humidifiers are often forgotten to be adjusted during winters and create too much humidity. This moisture freezes when it hits your attic
Furnace humidifiers are often forgotten to be adjusted during winters and create too much humidity. This moisture freezes when it hits your attic

Many homes have humidifiers on their furnaces. Almost all new homes have this or homes with real wood floors. It’s a great thing to have, but homeowners need to be mindful of appropriate humidity levels. If the humidity is set higher than it should be during negative temperatures, the moisture rises up to the attic and before it can escape, it hits the bottom of the snow covered roof and freezes. Sometimes icicles even form off the nails! Once the weather warms up and one of the first things to thaw is attic condensation. Depending on high the humidity has been set on your house, this can be a decent amount of moisture coming down – thus causing brown spots on ceilings. It looks identical to spots from roof leaks.

What is the appropriate level of humidity for your home?

If the outside weather is…

  • 20 to 40 degrees, humidity should be less than 40%
  • 10 to 20 degrees, humidity should be less than 35%
  • 0 to 10 degrees, humidity should be less than 30%
  • -10 to 0 degrees, humidity should be less than 25%
  • -20 to -10 degrees, humidity should be less than 20%
  • below -20 degrees, humidity should be less than 15%

This will prevent attic condensation, mold, or any other issues caused by overly humid and warm air.

What about you?

These guidelines are the optimal levels to make your home comfortable, but what about the people living in it? Dryer air is not always the best for us to live in but there are ways to keep both you happy and your home comfortable. Instead of using whole house humidifiers use individual ones when you are using the room. Use programmable timers to turn on and off humidifiers. Buy indoor humidity sensors – these range from $5-$50. Click here to see the “indoor hygrometers” on Amazon.com

 

It’s so easy to forget to monitor or change your humidity. Many people don’t even realize this is what’s going on until it’s too late – brown spots appear! If this happens to you, don’t  panic but it’s still good practice to have a trusted roofer inspect to confirm no roof leaks.

 

Comparing Hard Board Siding: Part 4- Royal Celect Siding

This is it – The final portion to our four part series on comparing hard board siding. Quick re-cap, we did a quick overview on what hard board siding is and it’s general pros and cons. After that we zoned in on the specific brands LP Smartside and James Hardie Fiber Cement. Now we are going to look at Royal Celect Siding; what it is, it’s history, and the benefits and negatives!

Hastings Home after the Chestnut brown siding was installed. Our crew also replaced 7 windows.
Hastings Home after the Chestnut brown siding was installed. Our crew also replaced 7 windows.
The Hasting's Bloomington, IL home before Carlson Exteriors resided
The Hasting’s Bloomington, IL home before Carlson Exteriors resided

History

While Celect Siding is a new product to the industry, Royal Building Products has been one of the leading siding manufacturers for many years. Royal started off as a plastic company in the 70’s. They specialized in PVC products and window frames while maintaining a rather large PVC recycling facility. Very early on they developed a cellular PVC process that was the foundation to many off shoot companies Royal started. One of the products Royal has been popular for is their cellular PVC trim mouldings. These trim pieces have been nationally used for 30 plus years and still going strong. Celect is essentially the trim mould make-up but in a siding format. Celect siding has the addition of color options and a patented interlocking mechanism.

Celect before and after

Make-up

Royal Celect Siding is made up of recyclable, cellular PVC material that is unaffected by moisture and the elements. It’s covered with a Kynar Aquatic coating which is stain and water resitant.

Pros

Royal Celect siding has so many Pros. It’s completely maintenance free, looks like real cedar, extremely durable and gives your home stunning curb appeal.

It’s made up of a cellular PVC material you don’t have to worry about recaulking, repainting, or any other annoying maintenance task. The cellular PVC has hardly any expansion during climate changes – this allows the seams to be incredibly tight and hard to see. The images below show that the siding seams are almost invisible from all angles.

 

The surface coating is not lacking on the durability and maintenance free aspect. The Kynar Aquatic coating doesn’t fade, doesn’t chip easily, and will not need repainting. The proof is in the 25 year warranty against fading.

Celect Siding is extremely durable against hail, golf balls, baseballs, bikes, etc. So if you live near a golf course or have kids this might be a big advantage to you. It’s wind resistance to winds up to 210mph. This siding is not going anywhere. You won’t have to worry about termites or any kind of mold growth. If the siding start to look dirty a simple wash with a garden hose will perk it up.

Visually, the panels create a striking appearance. The panels come in four inch and seven inch reveals; so whether you desire the standard four inch reveal look or crave the trending wider reveal, Celect will have a panel for you. Royal also offers the Celect line in  a shake profile and board and batten.

The panels are made by a patented joint interlocking system. The interlocking of panels on all four sides prevents and buckling, warping, blown off panels, and shifting in panels. Celect siding is the only siding line that offers this unique joining system.

The side profile shows off the interlocking lip on each panels.
The side profile shows off the interlocking lip on each panels.

 

Pricing is both a pro and a con. If you are in the market for a hard board, Celect siding materials are around the same price range as other hard board materials. The labor pricing can fluctuate quite a bit depending on your contractor and how many windows you have (more on this in the Cons section).

While Celect siding has not been around for a long time, the Royal brand comes with longevity, a great reputation, and a decent warranty on both the panel and the color coating. Click here to read the Celect warranty.

Cons

The biggest negative comes from an install perspective. Celect siding is not installed the typical way so it requires a contractor to learn a new process. This isn’t necessarily bad, but many contractors don’t like taking the time to learn how to hang siding all over again. Since it’s a new product, not all contractors know how to install the panels so it may be difficult finding a contractor willing to quote your siding project. Typically, siding is installed corners and trim pieces first. This creates a framework for siding panels to fit inside. With Celect, you have to install siding panels first then use the corners and trim as finishing pieces.

Siding panels are installed first. Corners, trim, and window casings are installed last.
Siding panels are installed first. Corners, trim, and window casings are installed last.

 

Royal Celect siding only offers 20 colors. This is enough to cover the basics; however, compared to LP and James Hardie you do not have endless choices or a custom color option. Along with being somewhat limited in colors, it is limited in panel options. Again, Royal Celect covers the basics with two siding widths, one shake style, and the board and batten option. Both LP and James Hardie have multiple siding widths, a few shake styles, and different finish options. I assume Royal has limited the product lines since it’s a new product testing the waters of client demand. Their options may grow as the popularity of Celect increases.

Even though pricing was listed as a pro it’s also a con. Contractors willing to install may not know what labor price is required with this product. You may wind up paying more than you should or you might luck out and get a bargain on labor if the contractor underestimates. The most tedious part of installing is the trim work around windows. If you have many windows or rather large windows, your pricing may be much higher than a home with less or smaller windows.

Windows make the con list because they take up a majority of installer time and require exquisite craftsmanship. Each edge of a window is one piece. The four trim pieces of a window are joined together, like a frame, before installing on the wall around the window. If your window is a 3′ x 4′ you will need a trim work frame that fits a 3′ x 4′ window; if your window is 20′ x 7′ you will need a trim work frame that fits a 20′ x 7′ window. The larger trim frames become harder to hold and lift up to the window; it requires more man power holding in place as it’s secured. Since each side is a single piece, any larger sizes that may be accidentally cut too short add up to significant waste by an unexperienced installer.

Window casings are made up of one piece on each side. The longer the window, the longer a trim piece is needed.
Window casings are made up of one piece on each side. The longer the window, the longer a trim piece is needed.

 

All hard boards are special order and are ordered specifically to the house. Usually special order siding materials cannot be returned, or if they can be returned come with a re-stocking fee. Contractors try not to order any waste with special order products. If materials are short ordered, it make take much longer to get any additional materials. Celect is no stranger to longer order times.

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Conclusion

Even thought Celect is newer product on the market, no homeowner should feel like they are taking a gamble by choosing this as your siding. If you don’t mind the options being limited to the basics, you will be thrilled with the durability, maintenance-free qualities to Celect siding.