Mid Week Check-in 5/18/2022

Roof Replacement with Landmark Pro Max Def pewter grey shingles

Bryants-crew-is-almost-finished-with-this-new-construction-siding-job
Bryants-crew-is-almost-finished-with-this-new-construction-siding-job

Bryant’s crew is getting close to wrapping up this new construction siding job. We should have finished photos this time next week.

Nathan's crew is in the homestretch in finishing this LP SMartside siding replacement
Nathan’s crew is in the homestretch in finishing this LP SMartside siding replacement

Nathan’s crew has been removing cedar siding off this local hotel and installing LP Smartside in a custom color. They should be finished in around 1 week.

Joe’s crew has started a new siding replacement. All the old siding has been removed and the house wrap has been installed to keep the home dry from any leaks.

Mitchell has been hanging openers, weatherstripping, and new garage doors
Mitchell has been hanging openers, weatherstripping, and new garage doors

Mitchell has been installing garage door openers (that connect to a mobile app) on new construction homes. Many times when he is installing garage doors the drywall has not been installed yet. He has to leave the openers off and return what that is completed.

Johnney has fixed up a lot of small storm damaged siding repairs
Johnney has fixed up a lot of small storm damaged siding repairs

Johnney has been doing a lot of little siding repairs such as install missing fascia that was blown off, loose or cracked siding panels, and replacing garage door metal casings.

Brad’s crew has been working on repairing and replacing gutters, installing new construction gutters, and sealing up aggressive gutter leaks.

Dave installed a metal roof on a home. He’s has tackled lots of roofs leaks. This home in particular had a roof leak from flashing being installed incorrectly. Dave removed the old shingles, installed correct flashing, ice and water shield, new shingles, and a new pice of cedar trim. The same home was having leaking at the bottom of the valley. Dave removed shingles there, installed ice and water barrier, and new shingles to match.

Josh replaced some missing shingles and fixed a roof that had a whole from a tree falling through it
Josh replaced some missing shingles and fixed a roof that had a whole from a tree falling through it

Josh was sent to fix a roof that was damaged from a tree falling through the roof. It took a while for the tree limb to be removed, which caused the wood to rot. He replaced the rotted wood, added ice and water barrier, synthetic felt, and new shingles.

Ricky has replaced 9 windows
Ricky has replaced 9 windows

Ricky replaced 9 windows on 2 seperate home. Some of the windows replaced are surrounded by brick, vinyl siding, and other aluminum siding.

Mid Week Check-in 5/11/2022

Metal Roof leak repair in Bloomington IL

brads-crew-replaced-some-rotted-fascia-replaced-fascia-metal-and-installed-new-seamless-gutters
brads-crew-replaced-some-rotted-fascia-replaced-fascia-metal-and-installed-new-seamless-gutters

In-between new construction gutter installs, Brad’s crew replaced rotted fascia boards, installed new fascia metal, and ran new seamless gutters and downspouts.

Johnney has been doing multiple wind damaged soffit, fascia, and siding repairs. We recently had some high winds from a tornado watch and many homes have small repairs from the wind damage.

bryants-crew-siding-progess-on-a-deep-grantie-grey-siding-with-white-trim-and-black-roof
bryants-crew-siding-progess-on-a-deep-grantie-grey-siding-with-white-trim-and-black-roof

Bryant’s crew has been working on this new custom build with deep granite grey siding, white trim, moire black roof. They have about 1 week left on this home!

Nathan and his crew have continued to work on replacing tear siding on a local hotel with LP Smartside.

Charles is siding a new build with silver grey siding and white trim. He’s making some great headway..

Joe and his crew are working on replacing 8 windows on this home. Many of the old windows had small leaks that wound up rotting the wood around the window opening. Joe replaces the rotted wood, tyveks and seals each window properly.

Mitchell has replaced 5 doors in 3 days! WOW! In-between door install has has slipped in a few siding repairs.

josh-has-repalced-some-blown-off-shingles-and-insatlled-a-chimnay-cap
josh-has-repalced-some-blown-off-shingles-and-insatlled-a-chimnay-cap

Josh has been helping other crews with larger projects for most of the week. He has performed some pipe boot installs, missing shingle repairs, and installed a chimney cap.

John J house wrapped a new construction home and stopped some metal roof leaks
John J house wrapped a new construction home and stopped some metal roof leaks

John J has been waterproofing new construction homes and sealing up metal roof leaks this week.

A Look Into Our Work Week

cedar garage door in raised panel with madison windows
finished a complete reside of a house and started replacing trim on a new house
finished a complete reside of a house and started replacing trim on a new house

Joe and his crew completed installing new siding on a home. They used Sandstone (tan siding) with Royal brown soffit and fascia. Since they completed that they started updating the look of a home by replacing the trim boards with new. Joe has been working very closely with the homeowner to achieve the look she has been dreaming about.

installed-gutters-on-new-homes-and-fixed-gutters-and-downspouts-in-existing-homes
installed-gutters-on-new-homes-and-fixed-gutters-and-downspouts-in-existing-homes

Jamel has stepped into the gutter lead role while Brad is helping Mitchell install garage doors. Jamel has been excelling at installing gutters on new construction homes, replacing existing gutters for homeowners, and making small gutter repairs.

Mitchell and Bard have installed 9 garage doors in 3 days. The variety of the doors this week has been really fun to see. They have installed garage doors with a cedar look but maintenance free, timeless raised panel garage doors, and lovely stamped carriage garage doors.

Johnney has been busy with a lot of window and door leaks this week so far. Many of the windows had tyvek installed incorrectly and were not properly sealed. He has to remove the windows, replace any and all rotted wood, add tyvek, install the window, tape it properly, and re-install siding. Johnney and Ricky have been working together a decent amount this week.

Many siding repairs and fixed leaks around sliding glass door
Many siding repairs and fixed leaks around sliding glass door

Ricky has fixed siding that has come loose from the higher winds and replaced siding that blew off completely. He has fixed leaks on sliding glass doors and windows. These leaks were all caused by the doors and windows not being properly installed originally. All windows and doors were re-used so homeowner didn’t not have to buy new windows or doors.

Dave performed a cedar roof repair this week. Jayden helped Dave replace a big valley on a roof that was leaking from ice dams. The shingles were removed, an ice ands water barrier was added, and then new shingles were added and worked into the older shingles.

On top of all the small shingle repairs, Jayden has removed a satellite tv dish from a roof and replaced the shingles with new. Jayden also installed 2 new chimney caps. Way to go!

One day this week, Josh replaced all the plastic vents on this home with new aluminum ones. Aluminum vents are more durable than plastic roof vents. The new vents matched the color better than the sun faded plastic ones. On top of this, Josh has performed many smaller roof repairs this week.

Nathan and his crew have been working hard to meet a deadline set on this new build home. It’s hard not to fall in love with the look of this home. Selections are: Driftwood Roof, Harbor grey shakes, Harbor grey siding in a 5″ reveal (wider than the standard width for siding), and white fascia and soffit.

Bryant has been helping Nathan and his crew meet their deadline. He has also managed to squeeze in some siding repairs and help other new homes complete their punch list items so the homeowner can close on their home.

John J has been busy making sure all new builds are water tight and leak free.

A Look Into Our Work Week

Mitchell and Bradley have been teaming up to knock out garage door installs
Mitchell and Bradley have been teaming up to knock out garage door installs

Mitchell usually works alone installing garage doors but this week he teamed up with Brad to install 2x the amount each day. In 3 days they installed 7 garage doors with chain drive openers on each one- WOW!

Nathan and his crew are almost done with residing this zero lot line home with dark blue siding and shakes.
Nathan and his crew are almost done with residing this zero lot line home with dark blue siding and shakes.

Nathan and his crew have almost finished replacing the siding on this home. The natural slate dark blue siding and shakes give this home a stunning makeover. The crew made it work within the confines of the zero lot line property lines.

Ricky and his crew built a porch awning and installed the rubber flat roof and new soffit and fascia on it.
Ricky and his crew built a porch awning and installed the rubber flat roof and new soffit and fascia on it.

Ricky and his crew built a porch awning from scratch. They tied the flat rubber roof into the asphalt roof properly so no leaks will occur where the roof lines meet. They installed new porch soffit and fascia metal to match the existing soffit.

Charles installed a lot of soffit on porch ceilings and all around the overhangs on a rather large new construction home.
Charles installed a lot of soffit on porch ceilings and all around the overhangs on a rather large new construction home.

Charles, our lone wolf, has been busy installing soffit on porch ceilings and overhangs on a big new construction home.

Dave installed a metal roof and rubber roof on top of many pipe boot installs and shingle blow offs
Dave installed a metal roof and rubber roof on top of many pipe boot installs and shingle blow offs

Dave installed a metal roof on a new construction home and finished installing a rubber roof replacement. Mixed in with those bigger jobs, Dave installed pipe boots, installed blown off shingles and other storm damaged roof repairs.

Joe and His crew are wrapping up a siding replacement job.Down to the beautiful details.
Joe and His crew are wrapping up a siding replacement job.Down to the beautiful details.

Joe and his crew are wrapping up a siding replacement; stay tune for more before and after photos of this complete reside.

Between helping other crews accomplish their weekly goals, Bryant has been doing siding repairs and storm damaged fascia repairs.
Between helping other crews accomplish their weekly goals, Bryant has been doing siding repairs and storm damaged fascia repairs.

Bryant has spent a lot of his time helping out other crews accomplish their goals and training a newer employee on siding. Between all of that, he still found time to slip in blown off fascia repairs and other smaller siding repairs.

John J has waterproofed many new homes.
John J has waterproofed many new homes.

John J has house wrapped 3 homes in 3 days.

Josh took care of many blown off shingles and added new venting into homes so snow would stop sucking into the attics.
Josh took care of many blown off shingles and added new venting into homes so snow would stop sucking into the attics.

Josh replaced many blown off shingles this week. He also reconfigured the venting on a few different rooflines; this consists of deleting and adding different forms of ventilation. The photos shown here- he has cut in a new ridge vent on this home.

Which Shingle Should You Put On Your House?

These are all Weathered Wood – you can see the color differences in each line

It’s time to replace the roof on your home, which shingle should you pick? Many contractors present you with a “Good, Better, Best” scenario but that is a generalized comparison of the shingles. The specific details are what will help you make your decision. Carlson Exteriors quotes CertainTeed Landmark, Landmark Pro, and Northgate shingles for roof replacement options. There are more options but these 3 really cover the basics for a homeowner wanting to replace the roof.

Mastic white siding, white trim, black windows, CertainTeed Pewter grey roof, Black garage doors with not windows
Mastic white siding, white trim, black windows, CertainTeed Pewter grey roof, Black garage doors with not windows

Landmark

Landmark is our standard shingle and is our most popular roof for replacements and new construction. It is a great quality shingles. The shingle weighs 220lb per 100 sq foot. It is available in 12 different colors. Compared to the Landmark Pro and Northgate, the Landmark is more unified in color. It use to be considered a 30 year shingles but is now called a limited lifetime shingles. We generally see this shingles lasting around 20 years plus or minus a few years. If you get a roof replaced by Carlson Exteriors we do register your roof for a 4-star roof warranty with Certainteed. This is a 50 year non prorated warranty that will increase with inflation. You can transfer this roof warranty once within the first 12 years to a new homeowner. Click here to read more about the roof warranty Carlson Exteriors offers. If you are unsure how long you will be living in your current home, this will likely be the shingle for you.

Roof Replacement with Landmark Pro Max Def pewter grey shingles
Roof Replacement with Landmark Pro Max Def pewter grey shingles

Landmark Pro

The Landmark Pro shingle is the most likely upgrade for roof replacements. This shingle weighs 240 lb per 100 sq foot. There are 14 colors available in this line; each color has lighter lights and darker darks to provide more variation and texture in the overall look. The Pro shingles has a 5 year longer warranty against algae growth. The granules are made with copper which helps fight against algae growth. If part of your roof gets little sun or is covered by mature trees the Landmark Pro might be the shingles for you. For a little more money, you get a heavier shingle, a shingle more resistant to algae growth, and a shingle with more color variations.

Northgate

Northgate is a great option if you are looking at upgraded shingles. This shingle weighs 320 lb per 100 sq foot – that is 100 lbs more than the Landmark. The Northgate comes in 11 colors. The colors have a higher contrast (like the Landmark Pro) but it is a more defined shadow mark. This gives a better allusion to a shaker style roof. The Northgate is also SBS Modified shingle; this makes it more flexible to withstand hail, expansion, and contraction. We generally see this roof lasting closer to 30 years since the shingle is overall more durable shingle. Since the Northgate shingles is a Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle, you should check with your home insurance to see what discounts you might qualify for. The Northgate shingle is really ideal for the homeowner who knows they will live in their home a long time and can get the return on a higher quality shingle.

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How Covid Changed The Construction Industry (and still is)

Custom grey board and batten vertical fiber cement siding with grey shakes, white trim, metal accent porch roof, and Driftwood shingles

Ever since covid-19 made it’s roaring appearance; industries worldwide have found themselves in whirlwind of changes, problems, and shortages. Let’s narrow the focus to just construction so you can get an idea on what you might be facing if you decide to remodel or build a new home. The shutdown ripple effect, material shortages, man-power shortages, price increases, and wage increases are all at constant play in the current market. Let’s start at the beginning:

The Shutdown:

When everything was shutdown in March 2020, many manufactures laid off employees and shut down plants completely. Depending on the state the manufacturer was in; they were required to completely shut down. Others shut down because they thought new builds and remodels would come to a big halt. They were guessing that many homeowners would not want to take on any construction projects during an unpredictable financial period. instead, homeowners found themselves working from home and wanting to improve their new “offices”. Manufacturers quickly realized their mistake in predicting the future; however it was harder to backpedal than expected. Depending on the state and it’s covid mandate, some roofing, siding, and aluminum companies decided it would be better in the long run to move some manufacturing plants out of the state and into a state with looser covid restrictions. That means they would have to retrofit an existing building, move staff, and train new staff to get a plant running again. They were still likely working with some covid restrictions and not able to produce at full capacity. This produced some serious backlog on orders.

Mastic white siding, white trim, black windows, CertainTeed Pewter grey roof, Black garage doors with not windows
Mastic white siding, white trim, black windows, CertainTeed Pewter grey roof, Black garage doors with not windows

Material Shortages:

After hurdling all that the shutdown threw at them; manufacturing plants now found themselves facing a raw material shortage. All materials from shingles to vinyl siding to aluminum gutters to the steel in garage doors are facing a higher production cost and reduced manufacturing (partially due to reduced labor forces). If plants can’t get the materials they need to produce; products get backordered and prices get raised.

Enviro Dri water barrier
Enviro Dri water barrier

Price Increases:

Record price increases have occurred within the year. Before covid, prices would only increase once or twice a year to keep up with inflation. There would be at least a 30 day notice provided. Now it’s not surprise if there is just a 4 hour notice. This has never happened before. Prices are never stable. The manufacturers are dealing with such a volatile market in materials and strains on labor they have to keep the price changing frequently to stay profitable.

What does this mean for you?

Let’s reduce all of this to what it means for the homeowner of 2022. If you know you want to replace the siding on your home – jump on it. Unless you are ok with paying more in a couple months, don’t wait! Get your roofing selections to your contractor to lock in your price even if you aren’t ready to do the work for months. If you are building a new home, the sooner you place your selections the sooner you will have your prices locked in. We have found many homeowner building new homes, take their time in making selections. Normally we don’t like to rush homeowners into decisions but after a month the price will likely increase 5-15%. Once the order has been placed, it may take months to get in. Most contractors don’t mind you checking in for updates. It’s always nice to stay in communication during these unprecedented times.

Before: Cedar siding looked run down. After: English Wedgewood vinyl siding brightens up this home
Before: Cedar siding looked run down. After: English Wedgewood vinyl siding brightens up this home

Need Design Ideas?

If you are building new or remodeling your current house, it can be a daunting task to pick out the selections. The small samples can make it hard to envision the final product. While not exact, we have a few different programs we can offer as a service to you. If you are happy with our current stock of prints or houses we can use that to generate a rendering of your home. If you wish to see your exact home we can upload that.

See More here about our Hover Design Service with your own home.

2018 Qualified Remodeler HIP 200 National List

Mastic Silver Grey siding, Mastic Cedar Discovery handsplit shakes in silver grey, white trim and Morie black roof

HIP200-2018

Carlson Exteriors was included on a national list of 200 Home Improvement Pros for 2018. This list tracks construction companies that continually grow despite the slowing economy. Last year 41% of our business was new roofs for Bloomington and surrounding cities. 37% was replacement siding for Bloomington and surrounding cities.

Click here to read more. 

 

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Roofer

nick-coyle-carlson-exteriors-project-managerProject Manager Nick Coyle has been in the roofing industry practically his whole life. He currently manages the roofing crews, meets with homeowners to provide estimates on roof replacements, roof repairs, and stop tricky roof leaks. I sat down with Nick to find out the most popular questions from homeowners but more importantly the questions homeowners should be asking before hiring a roofer.

 

Mastic Russet red vertical siding, white trim, natural clay shake siding, certainteed moire black shingles in canton il

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you licensed and insured?

Nick said this is almost every homeowner’s first question. Most roofers say yes but many homeowners fail to ask for proof. A quality roofer should proudly display this documentation and make it easy for a homeowner to verify. Nick leaves a copy of Carlson Exteriors Inc Roofing License and current insurance with the homeowners that he meets with.

Carlson Exteriors' License, Bond, and insurance

Do I have storm damage?

The best any roofer can do is to give his professional opinion. Nick takes photos when he is inspects roofs to bring down and explain what he sees to homeowners. Nick can provide his opinion whether the roof looks storm, wind, or hail damaged but ultimately the decision lies with your insurance company. When homeowners contact insurance about potential storm damage, they start a claim which has the potential to raise your rates. Nick advises homeowners to familiarize themselves with their current plan, know their deductible, and to see if it’s worth potentially having higher rates. Example- If it’s a small repair that barely exceeds a homeowner’s deductible; it might not be worth making a claim.

What’s the difference between synthetic felt and regular felt?

Synthetic felt has grown with popularity amongst roofing companies. It’s easier/safer for crews to walk on and it has a higher resistance to ripping in the wind. Regular 15lb or 30lb felt rips very easy in the hands, while synthetic felt is practically impossible to rip. Some shingle manufacturers require synthetic felt to qualify for warranties. Carlson Exteriors only uses synthetic felt. Click here to read more about synthetic felt.

Winterguard and Diamond deck photo

What’s the difference between the Landmark shingles and the Landmark Pro Shingle?

This question usually comes after Nick presents the estimate to homeowners. Landmark is the standard shingle and Landmark Pro is a slight upgrade. Both are manufactured by CertainTeed and both qualify for the Unconditional Roof Warranty. Aesthetically, Landmark Pros have a wider selection of color choices and the shingles are Max Def. Max Def means the lights are lighter and the darks are darker giving each shingle a higher contrast. Landmark Pros have a 15 year algae warranty to protect your roof from getting streaky. Nick advices homeowners with many mature trees to select the Landmark Pros because of the 15 year algae warranty. Landmark Pros can have a higher wind rating than the Landmarks; this is dependent upon your contractor. Landmarks and Landmark Pros both can meet the max wind rating of 130 mph if shingle starter is also applied up the roof rakes. Carlson Exteriors uses starter up the rakes to ensure max protection for every homeowner.

Ridge vent vs Box vents – Is one better than the other?

As long as the roof is adequately vented ridge vents and box vents are equal. Currently the trend is to go with ridge vents because it provides a cleaner look on the roof. Nick advises homeowners who are thinking about putting the house on the market to select ridge vent because of the current housing trend. When replacing the roof, there is no price difference between using box vents or ridge vents. Every roof Carlson Exteriors replaces, Nick does an inspection to make sure it has enough ventilation. If a home does not have much ridge line, Nick advises box vents.

Questions Homeowners Should Be Asking Roofers

Can you be more detailed about the products you are using, how you use them, and why you use them? 

Nick says many roofers only provide a price for roof replacement with minimal supporting information. Nick gives every homeowner a packet of information that includes:

  • Summary of roof replacement process/ what to expect
  • Roof selection guide
  • Warranty information
  • Letter from Carlson Exteriors Bank
  • Letter from Carlson Exteriors Supplier
  • Information sheet about synthetic felt
  • Information sheet about ridge vent
  • A copy of Carlson Exteriors Roofing license
  • A copy of Carlson Exteriors current insurance
  • Information sheet about protection from ice dams
  • A customer reference list with contact information (Upon request)

All of this falls into gauging a roofer’s professionalism. If a contractor just provides a homeowner with a slip of paper with the cost it’s essentially the same as someone expecting to sell a used vehicle on craigslist with no listed mileage, information on condition quality, and not allowing a test drive. Click here to read more about gauging contractor professionalism.

Upon comparing two estimates that are $500-1000 different, what am I getting or not getting?

So many homeowners think all roof quotes are created equal and the cheapest is best. Nothing could be furthest from the truth. The easiest way to find out why the cost difference is to call the more expensive roofer and see what they are providing  above and beyond the lower estimate. Usually it is because of a better warranty, higher quality products, not re-using certain products (drip edge, flashing, etc), better reputation, better customer service, or more stable company. More stable companies have an office and don’t work out of their house, they have office hours where customers can walk in. Stable companies pay their employees with checks and not cash.

Nick concluded our conversation by saying he wished homeowners did more research on roofers and the owners of the company. Information, good or bad, is so easily found online; it’s ashamed that many homeowners don’t utilize this resource. He recommended homeowners to read “How To Find a Contractor You Can’t Live Without” and “Why does a 30 year shingle not last for 30 years?” to better educate themselves on products and finding contractors.

If you are in need of a professional opinion of your roof, need a roof replacement, or have a roof leak and want Nick Coyle to inspect – Contact Carlson Exteriors.

 

Liberate Yourself From Bad Contractors

Unfortunately, the construction industry is abound with poor principle. How do you begin to find a contractor that’s trustworthy? I suggest thinking of contractors as employees you are interviewing to potentially work for you/your company. It may seem silly at first, but that mindset will give you the confidence you need to feel like you can ask the right questions. To find a contractor with good character, you start with their references. We recommend looking into 3 references.

1- Bank Letter

A Bank letter solidifies the company’s financial status. It gives insight to the company’s cash flow. It also lets you know the company isn’t running the finances through the

Notes to help understand what to look for in bank letters
Notes to help understand what to look for in bank letters

owner’s personal finances. The example bank letter has been marked with what to look for.

Make sure the letter is addresses to the company (not the owner). It reenforces that the company has it’s own account.

Look for some clues to how long the financial institution has known your potential contractor. The longer the better.

Having a company that has decent cash flow actually ensures the company has higher skilled employees. If a company needs your job to pay employees for last week’s work, good employees won’t stick around at a company that may or may not pay. If a company asks for half upfront, that money may be used to pay employees or to buy materials for your job because there isn’t enough money in the account to buy materials without your deposit. That’s not a good sign of a good company.

Weathered wood shingles, chestnut brown shakes, latte tan siding, tan gutters
Weathered wood shingles, chestnut brown shakes, latte tan siding, tan gutters

2- Supplier Letter

Getting a letter from your potential contractor’s supplier ensures they have a great business relationship. This letter lets you know the contractor pays their bills. The last thing you want is a lean placed on your home because your contractor did not pay their material bills. Yes that does happen!

Example of a Supplier letter
Example of a Supplier letter

 

Mastic Russet red vertical siding, white trim, natural clay shake siding, certainteed moire black shingles in canton il.JPG
Mastic Russet red vertical siding, white trim, natural clay shake siding, certainteed moire black shingles in canton il

3- Customer References

This is very different than testimonials or good reviews. Customer references is a list of customers with addresses and contact information (given with permission). You can call any or all of the previous customers and ask them what it was like working with the contractor. A few example questions to ask homeowners:

  1. Did they arrive on time to perform the work?
  2. How was the daily clean up?
  3. Did you run into any issues? How did the contractor handle those issues?
  4. Were the employees polite and professional? Any specific interactions?
  5. Did your neighbors like the crews while they worked on your house?