QUALITY VS. QUANTITY – WHAT DO I REALLY NEED? There is nothing like a quality paint job on an exterior to add visual appeal, protection, and value to the home.  Painting a home’s exterior takes time and consideration, particularly when it comes to choosing outdoor paint.  It is not just the color that needs careful […]

WHAT EXACTLY IS ROOF FLASHING?

Flashing is a continuous series of thin pieces of sheet metal or other waterproof material that is installed to keep water from getting into a building from a vulnerable angle or joint.

HOW ROOF-FLASHING WORKS AND WHAT IT DOES

  • It typically operates under the principle that, in order for water to get through a joint, it must fight against gravity and work its way up.
  • In the case of hard rain that is being driven by the wind, the driving force of the heavy rain would have to be diminished.
  • Roof flashing can be installed in one of two ways. It can either be concealed or exposed on the outside of a building’s roof.

EXPOSED ROOF FLASHING

Flashing that is exposed is usually made of sheet metal. This is how flashing got its name: the metal material catches the sunlight and reflects it, creating an eye-popping, flashing effect.

The sheet metals are generally made from the following metals;

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Lead or Lead-coated Copper
  • Painted Galvanized Steel Stainless steel
  • Terne metal
  • Zinc alloy

CONCEALED ROOF FLASHING

Concealed flashing is usually made of either sheet metal or a waterproofing membrane.

The waterproofing membranes are generally made from materials such as fabric made from bituminous coal or sheet material made from plastic.

Which type of membrane is used really depends on the climate and on the building’s structural requirements.

Aluminum and lead are not recommended for use as concealed flashing materials because they experience adverse chemical reactions when coming in contact with cement mortar.

Copper is one of the best metal materials to use for exterior flashing because it is durable and malleable. Using copper in any roofing project will ensure that no weak points exist in the roofing structure. As opposed to some other flashing materials, copper will not destruct if exposed for long periods to sunlight.

THE 2 MAIN TYPES OF ROOF-FLASHING

Flashing that is placed around objects that stick out from a building’s roof, like chimneys or pipes, to keep water
from pooling at joints or seams by forcing it to run off.

ctr00prepdnlr0001m

Roof penetration flashing is used around cables, pipes, and supports to waterproof these vulnerable areas by providing a protective barrier.

ROOF-FLASHING FOR THE HOMEOWNER

1. Brands and Services

There are many types and brands of flashing available on the market, but homeowners may have trouble deciding between all the different brands and styles.

2. DIY Flashing

Flashing is a difficult project that is essential to execute with great precision, so it is a good idea for homeowners to seek professional help rather than try to do it themselves.

3. Technicalities

The flashing has to be carefully constructed and strategically placed so that water is definitely deflected away from the roof’s trouble spots and not into the underlying structure of the roof (and the home).

4. Improper Execution

Flashing installation done by nonprofessionals can lead to all sorts of trouble for the homeowner and the home, including mold, water seepage, leaks and structural damage.

The trustworthy professionals at United Home Experts are specially trained in all aspects of roofing, so they know all the best types of flashing and are able to install it correctly, ensuring a quality roof maintenance or construction job for any home. Homeowners can contact them for a free estimate and expert advice before undertaking any roof project. For more information about roofs, visit our main roofing page!

 

United Home Experts receives Norandex Award of Excellence

United Home Experts receives 2015 Award of Excellence

For the third year in a row, United Home Experts has been given the honor of Norandex Building Materials’ Award of Excellence.

 

This is a great honor as Norandex has been one of America’s leading exterior building suppliers for over 65 years.

 

“We are committed to providing our customers with excellent products and service and this award is confirmation that we are fulfilling that commitment,” said United Home Experts President, John Dudley.

 

Since 1998 United Home Experts has been offering New England homeowners long term, low maintenance solutions for their Roofing, Siding and Window needs.

United Home Experts received approval to install Composite Siding in a historically significant and traditional section of Cambridge, MA., a city known for tough building laws, and historical regulations. Because of low-maintenance properties and authentic look, Composite siding products are an increasingly popular solution even in aesthetically conservative sections of New England.

Cambridge, MA one of the oldest cities in America, is best known for the Harvard University and M.I.T. campuses. United Home Experts has completed several fiber-cement siding projects in Cambridge, of which the most recent at 185 Hancock St. The board members responsible for deciding what product and company to use for the siding replacement project were impressed that United HomeExperts, using Composite Siding, offered a low-maintenance solution without trading loss of aesthetic and traditional appeal. John Dudley, President of United Home Experts says, “Composite Siding has found it’s place in New England, especially for homeowners who want to increase the beauty of their home but are tired of the amount of maintenance required for traditional wood siding. We have found that these same homeowners are very careful not to compromise the integrity or historic value of their homes by using products like vinyl siding.”

United Home Experts is known for its commitment to quality workmanship and low-maintenance, long-lasting solutions including Roofing, Siding, Windows, and Painting. For more information about this project, or fiber-cement siding in general, contact United Home Experts in Ashland, MA 888.724.6865.

Polystyrene insulated vinyl is the latest innovation in exterior siding products. In a time of soaring heating expenses, some of these products offer relief. Norandex Reynolds has set the benchmark for this technology with their Generations® thermal-core, insulated clapboard. They have chosen United Home Experts of Ashland, MA to be their exclusive dealer of Generations® in Eastern Massachusetts.

Generations thermal-core vinyl siding is perfect for home-owners seeking to decrease energy bills by increasing the insulation of their exterior walls. It can increase the wall R-value by 2-3 points. John Dudley, Owner of United Home Experts says, “With oil prices over $3 per gallon, and natural gas over $2.50 per GGE, homeowners are turning to United to help alleviate energy usage.”

Generations® siding also resists damage from flying debris 400% more than traditional non-insulated vinyl siding. Because the polystyrene contours to the shape of the clapboard, no space is left between the wall and siding. Dudley notes that, “The product’s impact resistance is appealing to homeowners with trees surrounding their home or children.”

United Home Experts specializes in siding, roofing, windows, and painting, and has been in business for 10 years. They develop experienced, skilled craftsmen and field managers who are focused on customer satisfaction, and use the latest technology and equipment on projects to increase efficiency while improving quality. For more information, contact us today.

marvincasementwindows-resized-600

Choosing a window today is nothing like what it was just ten years ago.  Today there are more window types than ever before, and choosing just the right window to complement a home and to match a homeowner’s pocketbook can be a Herculean task.

How many different choices does a homeowner have when it comes to picking just the perfect window?  There are fixed (also called picture); single and double hung; casement and bay; awning and sliders; skylights, and greenhouses.

The most basic window is a fixed, or picture window. This window does not open and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Its primary advantage is that it provides a relatively large, unobstructed view of the outdoors.   Its primary disadvantages are that it does not open to allow for airflow, and the outside of the window can only be cleaned from the outside of the house.

Of the windows which open, the simplest is possibly the single hung window. This is the vanilla ice cream of windows: plain and basic.  Two sheets of glass within a single frame, one sheet in the bottom half of the window and the second sheet in the top half of the frame, each sheet framed within the overall frame of the window. The two sheets of glass are offset just enough that the lower portion of the window can be pulled upward, allowing outside air to enter a room. The main advantages of this type of window include its relatively low cost and the fact that it does provide some ventilation. Its disadvantages are that most of its ventilation only takes place if there is wind outside and the crossbar obstructs the view.

Vinyl9500-Series_Room-Scene_Interior_4

The double hung window is similar to the single hung window described above, except that with the double hung window, not only can the lower pane of glass be raised upward, but the top pane of glass can be lowered downward to create a window that can be open at the top as well as at the bottom. It is also possible to partially open the top pane as well as the bottom pane at the same time. One of the primary advantages of this type of window is that when both the top and bottom of the window is open, cool air can come in through the open lower pane, while hot air escapes through the open upper window. The only real disadvantage is the rail in the center of the window which obstructs the view.

A casement window is a single sheet of glass in a frame which is hinged on either the right or the left side and can be opened outward with a hand crank. The advantage of a casement window is that they provide excellent ventilation, and a well-made casement window also seals tightly against outside noise. The disadvantage of a casement window is that, because it opens outward, it cannot be used next to a sidewalk or even a deck. Also, the hand crank can become tiresome.

MarvinUlitmatePushOutFrench_over

An awning window is similar to the casement window, except that it is hinged at the top and opens outward with a crank handle. An awning window is often placed near the top of a wall so the window can let hot air escape. Its main advantage is that, because of the way this window opens, it can be left open when it rains. Its primary disadvantage is that, because it is so small and only opens partially, it cannot be easily used to escape in case of an emergency.

A gliding window consists of two panes of glass with a vertical bar between them. The panes are offset just enough that one pane can be slid to either the right or the left. The main advantages of this type of window are that, because it does not open outward, it can be used next to sidewalks, patios, and decks. This type of window also has a large enough opening to use in case of an emergency. The primary disadvantage of this type of window is that you can only open one side at a time.

MarvinGliderWindow_220x3501

A skylight also called a ceiling window, is installed in a ceiling.  Some skylights do not open, and others open just slightly to allow for ventilation. The primary advantage of a skylight is the amount of light that can be let into otherwise somewhat dark spaces. The primary disadvantage is that the homeowner must climb onto the roof to clean the exterior of the window.

A bay window, also known as a bow window, can create a very dramatic effect. This window extends out from the wall of the house, giving a room the feeling of additional space and providing a great deal of exterior light.  Generally, a bay window’s central pane of glass is stationary, but the panes on the extended sides of the window may open.

4

The primary advantages of a bay window include the dramatic look it gives to the home’s appearance and the extra light it allows in. The primary disadvantages of a bay window are the cost and the difficulty of cleaning all of the various panes of glass.

A greenhouse window is sometimes added in a kitchen. This is in effect a small bay window, designed to hold a few small potted plants, often herbs.  The primary advantage of this type of window is that it allows a homeowner to grow fresh herbs virtually all year round. The primary disadvantage is that, when the home is sold, this type of window only adds to the value of a home if the new owner wants a mini greenhouse built into the kitchen.

GreenhouseWindow

The homeowner must keep in mind that each type of window comes in a variety of frames: wood, vinyl, aluminum or steel. Each window also comes with a variety of coatings available on the glass and most come single or double-paned, many with an inert gas (such as argon) between the panes for added insulation.

The choice of windows may seem overwhelming, but homeowners can get great advice from the window specialists at United Home Experts. These design experts have years of experience here in the northeast and can quickly help a homeowner determine the exact window that complements any portion of a home and the exact window that also fits into the homeowner’s pocketbook.

The point is, a homeowner need not feel as if he or she is all alone out there in the window jungle – help is always available. For more information on windows, read our main window page!

marvincasementwindows-resized-600

Wood windows that were built 100 or more years ago (the double-framed variety) were built to last; however, those that were built 30 or 40 years ago were not. These windows are subject to wood rot and window shrinkage. The energy efficiency of the glass is often under question in windows of this age. For this reason, once these more recently constructed wood windows start showing these signs of aging (wood rot, cracking, mold, etc.) it is time to think about replacing them.

Wood rots when it stays wet for a lengthy period of time. Usually, for wood rot to occur the moisture content of the wood has to stay at more than 20 percent. This moisture level provides the best breeding ground for the fungi that cause wood rot. Other types of mold can also grow to extremely problematic levels in wetter areas, and this can contribute to wood window decay.

Cracks are self-explanatory, and they are not difficult to detect. Wood cracks when it gets old or wet, or when it isPeelingPaint exposed to extreme temperature changes and/or severe, harsh weather. Small cracks in the wood usually aren’t problematic, although if left untreated they could become much more of a problem.

Some cases of mold, wood rot, and cracking can be repaired, rather than replaced. This saves the homeowner time and money. But this quick fix may not be able to protect the window and the surrounding structure of the home from experiencing further damage. In this case, it is important to have a better idea of the extent of the wood damage.

How does one know when a wood window needs to be replaced? Basically, a wood window needs to be replaced if the wood rot, mold, and cracks penetrate the surface and cause significant structural damage to the home. Also, there are many homes in the region that still have windows that are over 50 years old and the technology is simply outdated and no longer effective because they can’t maintain the home’s temperature. It will be difficult for most homeowners to fully assess the condition of their wood windows by themselves, as there may be many hidden problem areas they might not see or know to look for. It is recommended that anyone concerned with the condition of the windows consult with the professional at United Home Experts.

These experts will be able to help assess whether the window simply needs to be repaired or whether a total Vinyl9500-Series_Room-Scene_Interior_4window replacement is in order. They will also be able to help homeowners decide on which type of replacement window is best for the needs of their homes. There are three main types of replacement windows: full-frame units, insert replacements and sash kits. Sash replacement kits are very popular these days because they provide an old window frame with all new, fully movable parts. But the other replacement window types also have their advantages.

It is incredibly difficult for the do-it-yourself homeowner to decide on and to complete a wood window replacement project of this magnitude, and it is not recommended that it be attempted without professional help, due to the complicated installation process and the possibility that warranties will be voided if installation errors occur. The professionals at United Home Experts are more than willing to provide a free consultation to help homeowners understand and take care of all their window replacement needs. For more information about window replacement, click here for our main window page!

PaintBrushOutisde

There is nothing like a quality paint job on an exterior to add visual appeal, protection and value to the home.  Painting a home’s exterior takes time and consideration, particularly when it comes to choosing outdoor paint.  It is not just the color that needs careful consideration.  The quality of the outdoor paint will make a substantial difference in its durability and its ability to keep the color fresh and new-looking after several years of exposure to the elements.  Homeowners in harsh and extreme weather conditions such as in the New England states must pay particular attention to the quality of the exterior paint.

When it comes to outdoor paint prices, it is a bad decision to purchase the cheapest paint available, even if the color is perfect.  The pricier paint is actually formulated differently than the cheap brands.  The higher price is due to the cost of the premium ingredients used in manufacturing the paint.

Any home improvement store, large or small, will offer a massive array of outdoor paint colors.  The brands they stock will differ, however.  Some will offer Behr or Olympic; others Valspar, Glidden or Dutch Boy.  Sherwin-Williams has its own chain of retail stores.  Following are the top three outdoor paint brands used and recommended by professional painting contractors.

I just want to make a clear indication that these remarks are only a matter of our own opinions and not off of facts from the manufacturers.

Sherwin-Williams Duration

This brand is the most highly recommended paint of professional home remodeling contractors.  Duration is their swpaintcantop-of-the-line.  Contractors prefer it, even though it is a bit pricey with prices ranging from $60 per gallon and lower, the quality of its one-coat coverage and excellent formulation is unmatchable.  The cost per gallon is definitely offset by the savings in labor and quantity of paint required for the job. I’ll have you agree with me on a couple details:

  • Does it make sense to save time and paint once? Yes.
  • Would you save money in the end because you don’t have to do multiple coatings? Yes, because multiple coatings means more paint, which equals more money.
  • Do you want your home to look nice? Well, duh!

The solution is to simply purchase a higher quality paint that will out-perform your expectations and give you that dreamy look you’ve been looking for.

Homeowners in New England with its extreme climate can turn to the professionals at United Home Experts who highly recommend and use Sherwin-Williams outdoor paint for all the reasons mentioned here.

Benjamin Moore Aura

Benjamin Moore’s answer to Sherwin-Williams Duration is its Aura line of paint. These two would be close picks duration homeof professional painting contractors if it were not for the price difference.

Valspar DuraMax

It is a far less expensive exterior paint at $33 to $35 per gallon. It claims to be self-priming and is said that it requires only one coat for good coverage. Some homeowners give Valspar DuraMax a high rating, though most professional home remodeling contractors shy away from the big box house brands. In my own experience of painting my own home and many relatives’ homes, many of these lower priced paints do not perform well enough to meet my expectations and require multiple coatings.

Do not be fooled by the price; expensive paints are worth their salt because they are genuinely higher quality, so if the price seems too low to be true, it is almost certain that the quality has suffered.

It must be noted that Sherwin-Williams Duration and Benjamin Moore’s Aura are the top-of-the-line paint formulations for both paint manufacturers, with Sherwin-Williams offering excellent quality at a more competitive price than Benjamin Moore.  The companies also offer a range of quality paints at many price levels.

Homeowners thinking about repainting the exterior of their homes should bear all these facts in mind.  It does appear that the more expensive paint can actually saves them money in the long run.  Whether handling a massive exterior paint job themselves or hiring a contractor to get the job done, it would be wise to seek the advice of professionals like those at United Home Experts. For our main painting page, click here!

metalblog02-resized-600

Oil-based paints have excellent qualities of adherence, which is essential for a durable outdoor paint product.  Their main disadvantage is brittleness that can lead to cracking.

Even with this drawback, oil-based outdoor paint is the desired formulation under two circumstances.  The first has to do with an exterior surface that is heavy with chalking.  The second issue crops up when the new oil-based paint is being applied over four or more layers of old oil-based paint.  In both instances, only the oil-based paint should be used.

Oil-based paints should never be applied directly to unpainted masonry or galvanized iron.  The paint fails rapidly on these surfaces.

Any messes incurred with oil-based paints demand that they be cleaned up with paint thinner and rags.  The brushes and rollers must also be soaked in thinner until completely free of paint in order to be reused.  Unlike water, paint thinner has a very strong odor and the thinner-soaked rags used for cleanup must be properly disposed of as paint thinner is highly flammable.

Repainting an exterior requires much research into the outdoor paint type and color as the project will make asherwinwilliamspaintbrushca significant dent in the budget.  The results must not only be visually appealing, but that visual appeal must last a long time so the process does not have to be repeated in a few years.  Choosing the right type of paint for the job may be the most important consideration of all in terms of durability.

The New England states are fortunate to have a rich mix of historical homes, traditional homes and homes featuring the most modern designs and amenities.  Homeowners there need professional advice before considering repainting their exterior.  Here at United Home Experts, our team can advise you on the nature of their existing surface and how to properly deal with it.

For more detailed information and free estimates, contact the United Home Experts. For our main painting page, click here!