Category Archives: Do It Yourself

Vinyl Siding Cost vs. Fiber Cement & LP SmartSide 2017-2018

You have just spotted the first telltale signs of peeling paint from your house’s wood siding. It won’t be long now until the dreaded house painting becomes a must-do. Unless, 2017-2018 is the year you finally re-skin the house in vinyl siding.

Vinyl siding – actually polyvinyl chloride plastic resin that is heated and extruded into sheets – has only been around for about 50 years and was developed as a cheaper alternative to metal siding back in the 1950s. Its reputation for “cheap” was honestly earned as plasticized siding was susceptible to cracking and sagging. Colors were limited and those colors faded. Even well-cared for vinyl siding looked like… well… vinyl siding.

But in recent years, the two most important components of vinyl siding – the quality of materials and the expertise of installation — have made giant leaps forward.

Today about one-third of new American homes are built with maintenance-free (almost) vinyl installed as cladding.

Vinyl has been rated in various surveys to last anywhere from 60 to 100 years so this will likely be the last investment you make in your house’s siding.

What to Expect in Terms of Costs

So how much will it cost to cast those paint brushes aside and put new vinyl siding on your house?

vinyl siding on a cape style home Vinyl Siding on a Cape Cod style home installed by Siding & Windows Group

The short answer is anywhere from $3.50 to $7.50 per square foot installed, or around $350 to $750 per square (100 square feet) installed, on average. This can translate to a total cost of $7,000 to $15,000 for an average two-story house.

In a remodeling contractor survey done by Hanley Wood, the mid-range vinyl siding installation cost for a typical home (1,250 sq. ft. of siding installed) in the US was between $11,093 and $14,518 according to the Hanley Wood Remodeling Costs report for 2017. The survey reports an average cost-to-value return of about 76% for a new vinyl siding job.

That being said, your total cost for a new vinyl siding job will depend on a couple of factors; primarily the grade of materials (low-end, mid-range, or high-end), the quality of installation, and of course your home’s geographic location, accessibility, level of difficulty, etc. Let’s explore this further:

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Top 10 Causes of Roof Leaks – How to Find and Fix Common Roof Leaks

They are the two most dreaded words in a homeowner’s vocabulary: a leaky roof. Water is the most insidious foe, eager to penetrate your home covering’s most vulnerable defenses. And once inside, the damage and destruction may be taking place far from the point of the initial attack, making the initial source of a roof leak difficult to identify.

handywoman on the roof The best homeowner defense is vigilance and fast action. Maybe a new roof is in the near future and it seems like a folly to bother with a leak. But even a small, out-of-the-way drip in a house that seems like nothing more than an inconvenience is a major repair bill waiting to happen!

Did you know? Roof leaks can ruin insulation, become a breeding ground for black mold, damage interior ceilings and walls, and rot the wooden framing.

So let’s look at the ten of the most common culprits in causing your roof to leak and what you can – and should – do about them (other than recruiting a bucket brigade):

1. Villain: Age

an-old-asphalt-roof Source: Accent Roofing

Roofing materials, especially asphalt shingles, get old and tired. Expansion and contraction with the change in temperatures cause aging roof protection to turn brittle and eventually crack. Years of harsh rays from direct sunlight can melt the tar that holds composition shingles together. Father Time has not lost a battle yet and when roofing materials run up against their life expectancy, it will be time to budget for a new roof at the first sign of a leak.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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2. Villain: Brick Chimneys

leaking-chimney Source: Roof.net

Have you ever seen house ruins from 200 years ago? The chimney is often the only thing standing. While brick chimneys may seem indestructible, the mortar that binds the bricks together is nothing more than a hard-working mixture of water, sand and cement. Exposed to the weather elements, it can erode and crumble over time. Check the mud cap on top of the chimney for deterioration and inspect the mortared joints where the chimney enters the roof. If patches are required, it is a cheap and quick fix.

3. Villain: Flashing

chimney-flashing Source: Runyon and Sons Roofing

Speaking of chimneys, compromised flashing is a common problem on a roof. Flashing are thin strips of metal installed at danger points for leaks around a roof. For a chimney, they are bent at a 90-degree angle to attach to both the roofing material and the brick chimney.

Flashing needs to be properly sealed to protect against water intrusion. It also needs to remain nailed in place and even if that is all squared away, the metal can rust or crack.

Expect the cost of replacing old flashing to run a few hundred dollars, depending on job size and desired material. Although it may be tempting to marshal the forces of caulking and roof cement in the battle against faulty flashing, this is only a temporary solution best reserved if you know the roof will soon be replaced.

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How to Winterize Your Home: Top 10 Home Weatherization Updates to Do Before Winter

Before frigid winter temperatures arrive in your neighborhood, take the time to prepare your home for the unexpected. Even if you live in a moderate climate zone, where low temperatures are rare, winterizing your home can improve its durability, energy efficiency, and help prevent common and costly winter emergencies such as burst pipes and flooding inside your home or basement.

Home Weatherization in a Nutshell:

Winterizing your house is all about sealing and eliminating unwanted air drafts, ensuring adequate insulation and ventilation to prevent energy losses and ice dams related issues, checking roof and gutters, insulating exposed pipes, sealing air-ducts, checking water heaters and furnaces, and boosting your home’s energy efficiency.

Below are the main items to address to make sure your home is properly-protected, cozy, and warm, even when the weather outside is frigid and frightful:

1. Roof Inspection and Maintenance

Common Roof and Home Exterior Inspection Areas. 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

An inspection of your roof (and gutters) should be an annual job. While this is a doable DIY job, knowing what to look for is vital:

  • Moss and Algae Growth
  • Loose, Missing or Damaged Shingles or Tiles
  • Major Cracks in Roof Shingles or Tiles
  • A Large Portion of Curled-up Shingles
  • Flat Roof Seams Coming Apart or Becoming Unglued
  • Damaged or Improper Chimney Flashing, Skylight, Roof Vent and Pipe Flashing
  • Dips and Swales in Roof Surface
  • Roof Ventilation Issues
  • Evidence of Roof Leaks – Water Stains Around Walls and Ceilings – Wet Insulation in the Attic

Roof Inspection Cost: A professional roofing contractor may charge between $150 to $250 for an inspection, depending on a number of factors. Most of the time, the cost of a roof inspection can be counted towards the price of a roof repair or getting a new roof.

Note: you should be getting a written report outlining roof performance issues for a stand-alone inspection.

Caveat on Roof Inspections: If you end-up having to ask a professional roofer to climb on your roof after the cold, icy weather has set in, expect the cost of the inspection to go up.

Post-Inspection Maintenance and Repairs:

A roof inspection will determine the need for a roof cleaning, especially if moss build up is normal in your region. If the inspection report shows that some maintenance or repairs are necessary, the costs will vary depending on the extent of repairs:

Minor Repairs: $150 to $400 for minor repairs, which is where a roof cleaning job fits in.

Moderate repairs can cost in the range of $1,000 and typically include fixing or replacing any loose or missing shingles and tiles, and sealing and re-flashing chimneys and skylights on the roof.

Major repairs are generally large sections of the roof needing extra attention and may cost as much as $3,000 or higher. Beyond this, and it’s time to consider re-roofing or replacement.

More info on roof repairs: https://www.roofingcalc.com/roof-repair-cost/

Complete re-roof or replacement may be required if a large portion of the roof has old or damaged shingles. A new roof provides opportunity to increase the lasting value of your home. A new roof can also be an insurance against roof leaks, water damage, and a costly roof failure in the middle of winter.

Cost Recouped: A typical roof replacement has an average cost-to-value return (cost recouped at the time of sale) of about 70%. A metal roof has an average cost-to-value return of about 90%.

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