Fiber Cement Siding: The Siding of Choice in Mass, Rhode Island, & New Hampshire

yellow house smallIn the past ten years fiber cement siding has made leaps and bounds in the residential remodeling and new construction markets in  New England. Market share for the siding is approaching 10% according to manufacturers and  the Portland Cement Association. This may not seem like a large share but given the fact that the  siding product was virtually unknown in New England just ten years ago, the progress is  significant.
Companies like Certainteed® and GAF® are providers of Fiber cement. Although some people are hesitant to use fiber cement siding because of a perceived short track record within the U.S. The product has actually been used in the U.S for close to 30 years and versions of the siding (some containing asbestos) actually date back almost 100 years.  But don’t worry, fiber cement no longer contains harmful materials.  It’s mostly made of portland cement and cellulose fibers.
Although no siding product is perfect, fiber cement seems to offer homeowners in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire the beauty of wood they desire without all of the maintenance.  The proof is that there are 1000’s of houses in New England that have fiber cement.  You’ll find the product on very high-end homes in communities like Newton, Weston, Wayland, Brighton, Hull,  Newport, East Providence, Nashua NH, and many more.

Contact us for more information or a no pressure estimate

Exterior Painting in Rhode Island: 3 Factors To Consider

 

 paintbrush-pallet_94495 exterior of your home in Rhode Island there are several factors you should consider.  Whether    you plan on attempting the paint job yourself or hiring a Rhode Island painting contractor the    three factors described below will be helpful.

  Factor #1:  Strict Rhode Island Lead Removal Laws:  Rhode Island is one of the strictest   states in the U.S. regarding the removal of lead paint.  The government assumes any home build      before 1978 contains lead paint. If a homeowner or painting contractor does not abide by the federal, state, and local regulations they can be subject to serious fines.  Contact your local health department before starting a project to get information on the approved methods of paint removal such as wet sanding, low-heat removal, and HEPA vaccuum power sanding.

Factor #2:  Environmental moisture issues:  Many of Rhode Island homes are within a few miles of the coast.  Moisture laden, salty air can cause wood to deteriorate prematurely and can cause paint to have difficulty adhering properly. Consider purchasing a moisture meter and check several areas of the wood substrate for high levels of moisture. This will help prevent you from a frustrating cycle of peeling due to moisture.

Factor #3: Persistent peeling problems:  Many homeowners and even dishonest or unprofessional house painters think they can solve ongoing moisture problems.  The truth is recurring problems with peeling, blistering, or flaking paint are rarely due to bad paint, lack of primer, or bad prep work (although those can be factors).  A vast majority of peeling problems are due to an interior or exterior moisture problem.  It can often be difficult to determine the source of the problem, but in many cases it’s best to replace some or all of the effected areas.

If you are a looking for a professional and honest house painter in Rhode Island contact United Home Experts to help you with your paint job.

Roofers in R.I. – A Caution to Homeowners

Curry1 The economy in Rhode Island is bad in general but there probably isn’t any group that  has been  more impacted than Roofers in RI.  This is due to a number of factors but  specifically these three:

 #1 Putting it off: Roofs generally only need to be replaced every 15-20  years. Therefore,  homeowners who have been directly effected by the economy, and  even those who have not (but  are still skidish) are choosing to put off roof  replacement until things seem more economically  stable.

 #2 Scaling back the project: Homeowners in R.I. are choosing to repair roof leaks and other roof issues rather than take on full roof replacement projects.  This means smaller jobs and less work for roofers and roofing contractors in Rhode Island.

#3 Material costs: Although many building material costs have settled and even receded in some cases, roofing materials have not.  In fact roofing materials cost are continually increasing.  This means roofers in RI have to increase their prices or reduce the quality of materials they use just to stay in business.

Now, here is the warning to homeowners:  Never, under any circumstances hire a roofer that seems desperate for your business, has no back-log of projects, or has a price that seems too good to be true.  When you have issues with your roof (and you will), this type of roofing contractor will be long gone.  It happens to homeowners over, and over, and over again.  You will always pay more in the long run for a poorly installed roof with low grade materials.  We commonly repair and replace roofs that are less than 10 years old because the homeowner hired an unprofessional roofer the last time around.  Do your homework ahead of time to avoid long-term regrets.

Find out how much does a new roof cost.

Fiber cement Siding vs. Cedar or Vinyl Siding

There is plenty of debate in the building and home improvement industries about the topic of Fiber Cement vs. Vinyl Siding and Cedar Siding which have been around for a lot longer. Thousands of homeowners have looked to United Home Experts to help them determine the answer to this question.  If the solution was so cut and dry, we wouldn’t still be installing all 3 clapboard style siding products.  The truth is, it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish and what your long term goals are.  Although we’ve constructed a detailed comparison on our main siding page – here are some quick rules of thumb to help you navigate this topic.  You may fall into one of these categories.

Homeowner #1: You prefer the most authentic, natural, and traditional product, and are willing to pay for the initial installation and more frequent maintenance.

We would recommend sticking with CVG Western Red Cedar Clapboard.

Homeowner #2: You prefer the lowest maintenance product, and are willing to sacrifice a little bit of aesthetic appeal and color choices in order to avoid much upkeep in the future.

Vinyl Clapboard is probably right for you.

Homeowner #3: You really want the look and character of wood, prefer not to be limited by a narrow color selection, and want a product that is highly impact resistant, and impervious to insects, woodpeckers, and other intruders.

Fiber cement is probably the way to go.

Hopefully this quick overview sends you well on your way to choosing a siding product or your new or existing home.

Coastal Siding Contractors in Rhode Island Use Different Shingles

There is several shingle or shingle style products that Rhode Island siding companies can use near the coast.  Some have been used for decades, and some are newer and more modern siding products.
Cedar shingles:

Traditionally coastal homes in Rhode Island have white cedar shingles that are left to weather naturally.  Other times they are preserved with a solid stain, transparent stain or a bleaching oil.  Red cedar shingles, a denser wood, is sometimes uses as well.  Although this can be an attractive and traditional look, cedar is very expensive compared to other siding options.  It can also deteriorate rather quickly due to sun, salty air, and moisture.  Cedar shingles have been installed by siding companies in Rhode Island for decades.

Vinyl Shingles:

Although homeowners with traditional homes are not generally happy with the look of vinyl, newer products such as vinyl (or polymer) shingles offer a more pleasing appearance.  These products are an excellent option near the coast because they are durable and resistant to the coastal elements and are lower maintenance than cedar shingles and other wood products.

Fiber Cement Shingles:

Fiber cement shingles such as Certainteed Shingles, are a good balance of traditional appearance and low maintenance.  Although they take longer to install, an experienced siding contractor can finish the project in about the same time as a cedar shingle installation.  Fiber cement shingles are resistant to high winds, moisture, termites, ants, woodpeckers, and changes in temperature.  There are not many Siding Contractors in Rhode Island that are installing these yet but we at United Home Experts have completed several projects in coastal areas like Jamestown RI, Newport RI, Narragansett RI, Wakefield RI, Barrington RI, and many other local Rhode Island towns.

Contact us today for a no pressure estimate on your project

Painting Contractors: New Obstacles They Face

Painting contractors face more challenges now then ever.  If you open the yellow pages from 5 or 10 years ago it’s inevitable that a majority of the painting contractors listed are out of business, have relocated, or changed their name.  These are some of the obstacles facing traditional painting contractors:

New Products:

Siding: More and more homeowners are choosing to install siding on their home to get away from the 5-7 year paint cycle.  Vinyl siding and fiber cement siding are the 2 most commonly used products today.

“Lifetime Paints”:  Whether or not these products are too good to be true, which most experts suggest they are, is a discussion for another article.  However they are still tapping into the share of customers that used to use traditional painting contractors.  These “lifetime coating” companies rely heavily on the fact that the average homeowner sells and moves in less than 10 years.

Stricter Laws:

VOC Laws:  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are the additives that produce off-gases released from paint products.  They can be harmful to our heath and the environment.  Paint manufacturers are consistently changing the formulation of their products to abide by the more stringent state and federal regulations.

Lead Paint Removal:

Over 30 years after paint companies stopped using lead as an ingredient in paint, painting contractors still have to be careful.  The state and town governments have very strict laws about how painters can and cannot remove lead paint.  Knowing these laws and abiding by them is difficult for painting contractors.

These are just a couple of the obstacles facing the traditional painting contractor today.  The important thing is that they be ready to adapt to a constantly changing industry.

We’re a local Massachusetts house painter

Roof Replacement in MA: What’s Available for Traditional Homes?

HydrenStowafter1 Asphalt shingles are predominantly used for Massachusetts residential roofing.

However,  Massachusetts has a higher concentration of slate shingles and cedar shingles  than most regions of  the U.S..  The reason is that there are far more traditional homes and  a higher concentration of older  homes than in other parts of the country.  As we learned  in 5th grade History Class, Massachusetts  was one of the earliest settlements in the  states.  Some houses actually date back 150-200 years or  more in some cases.  This can  not be said of areas West of the Appalachian Mountains.

What roofing products are available that mimic traditional slate and cedar shingles?

Slate:  Many of the newest asphalt shingles are designed to look like slate shingles such as Certainteed:

Carriage House,              Grand Manor,             or Centenial Slate.

Roof Replacement in MA     Roof Replacement in MA    Roof Replacement in MA

If you desire a slate-like shingle that’s even more authentic in appearance consider:

Certainteed Symphany,            or Lamarite by Tamko.

Roof Replacement in MA              38410 10

Cedar Shingles:  When it comes to the look of cedar shingles, there aren’t really any roofing products so real looking they’ll fool you.  But there are some asphalt shingles that are attractive and rustic looking enough to do the job.  Consider Certainteed:

Landmark TL      or Presidential TL

Landmark TL       Presidential TL

We can help you navigate the abundance of roofing products and choose what’s right for your home.  Roofing Estimate

Find out how much does a new roof cost.

Vinyl Shingles and Shakes: What Do They Offer a Traditional Home?

For decades there was no good alternative for homeowners who wanted a low maintenance siding for the exterior of their home with the traditional look of shingles or shakes.  Many style houses such as Cape, Split-level and even some Ranches were build with cedar shingles or larger cedar shakes.  Homeowners often determine that it would not be fitting to the style of the home to install a clapboard or lap style siding.

In recent years, the manufacturers have been able to develop alternatives that solve this problem.  Companies such asCertainteed with their Cedar Impressions line, and Nailite with their Rough Sawn Cedar and Cape Cod shingles line have bridged the gap between the traditional cedar look and the desirability of a low maintenance vinyl product.

Although it’s impossible to fully replicate authentic cedar, these products have become a reasonably attractive match.  The way manufacturers such as Certainteed and Nailite have achieved a traditional look is by using real cedar shakes and shingles to make a mold.  The vinyl or polypropylene is then pressed into the mold to create an accurate replica of the original.

Finally homeowners with cedar shingles or shakes have a nice option with both the traditional appearance they desire without the maintenance of wood siding.  Read here for more information about the products in this category we install.

Simonton Windows in Massachusetts

United Home Experts is a local installer of Simonton Windows serving Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Southern New Hampshire.  Request a Free Window Quote Here

Simonton Windows:

  • Is one of the largest vinyl window company in the United States
  • Have the AAMA Gold Label Certification
  • Have been awarded JD Power and Associates highest mark in customer satisfaction over Pella and Andersen
  • Have won the “Best in Class” Award

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But then why isn’t Simonton a household name in New England? The reason is simple.  Simonton spends money and energy on the development of windows and relies on    knowledgeable home improvement contractors to promote and sell their windows and  doors. Simonton also privately labels windows for larger companies.

Simonton windows are not available on the shelves of any big box stores or local lumber  yards in New England.  They are only sold through larger distributers to home  improvement companies and contractors that deal in larger quantities on an annual basis.

At United Home Experts we’ve done extensive research into what windows and doors are available for homeowners in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, and we offer several different brands including Simonton.  Our customers are consistently impressed with the quality materials Simonton delivers and their devotion to standing behind their windows and doors with excellent warranties.

Exterior Painting in Massachusetts: Which is the Best Season?

Whether you are taking on the task yourself or hiring a local painter for the job, there are certain factors to consider when painting the exterior of a Massachusetts home. One of those factors is considering the best time of year to do the project.

The two main variables in determining the best time to paint are moisture and temperature.

Spring

In New England, the climate is generally very moist in the spring with intermittent days of rain.  However, that does not mean there is no opportunity to paint between the months of March and June.  Assuming the surface has been dry for a couple days, latex paint will adhere just fine.  To be extra cautious, purchase a moisture meter that can detect moisture levels of the wood in question. Some homes in Massachusetts have a chronic moisture problem that will not be remedied by applying even the best quality paint.  In this case consider replacing the problem areas before painting.

Summer

The issue in summer becomes heat and humidity.  An average Massachusetts day with 80-85 degree temperatures and moderate humidity is perfect weather for painting with latex products.  However, when the temperature begins to exceed 90-95 degrees, latex products may dry more quickly then desirable.  In this situation the speed and experience of the person applying the coating is an important factor.

Fall

The fall in New England can be similar in temperature and precipitation as the Spring, and therefore the same precautions should be taken.  Consider using a moisture meter.

Winter

Although traditionally it is not recommended to paint under temperatures of 50 degrees, major paint manufacturers such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have developed products such as Resilience and Aura that can be applied in temperatures as low as 35 degrees.  However it is imperative that the paint have sufficient time to bond to the surface before the temperature drops below the recommended level.  When in question, read the product label carefully.

We’re a Massachusetts Painter