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A Spring Home Exterior Checklist

By Laura Freeman

Spring is officially here! Most people think of Spring Cleaning, warmer days and fresh air—At Chattanooga Exteriors, we want you to add one more thing, A Spring Home Exterior Checklist. Spring is a great time to make sure your home’s exterior is in good shape after being exposed to a years worth of whatever Mother Nature dolled out.

So, go outside and give your house the once over from top to bottom to identify any problem areas that may require a minor fix up now, preventing a major problem down the road. This list will help you stay on track, so let’s start at the top, and work our way down.

1. YOUR ROOF

What to look for: Step back as far as you can from your house, like the end of your yard, or across the street (use binoculars, if you have them), scan for missing shingles, as well as curled or “cupped” shingles, these can slow water run-off, trapping moisture, which may accelerate wear and tear on your roof. Also look at roof penetrations , like chimneys, skylights and plumbing vents. Make sure the flashing still lays flat and is rust free. Especially on your home’s north and east sides, where there is less direct sun, watch for mold and moss.

What to do: Because roof maintenance is potentially too dangerous to do yourself, hire a professional to repair and replace shingles. You can also call a handyman or pressure wash company to fix flashing or clean off moss and mold.

2. YOUR WINDOWS

What to look for: Spring is the right time to give your windows a thorough cleaning. It is also the best time to investigate window frames for peeling paint and if they are wood windows, mold and rot. 

What to do: To test your wooden window frame for rot, press into it firmly with your fingernail. If the wood is soft enough to give, it may be time to visit the hardware store for a product that can fix it—or to call a professional window company to discuss replacement options.

3. THE SIDING

What to look for: The weather, environmental pollutants, road grime and animals can leave dirt and debris on siding, mold can also cling to some types of siding. Your siding is definitely one part of your house that can benefit from a good spring cleaning.

What to do: Refer to this guide from our friends at James Hardie Siding on how to clean siding for helpful pointers. And remember: It may be tempting to use a power-washer yourself, but it is very easy to go damage some types of siding. A garden hose, soft brush, and mild cleaner will usually do the trick. If you find that your siding is damaged or beyond cleaning, give us a call to discuss some affordable siding options that can actually improve the value of your home.

4. GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS

What to look for: Carefully examine your gutters and downspouts for large blockages of leaves, pine needles, or stray baseballs. To find hidden clogs, check them when it’s raining: If water pours over the top of a gutter, it’s blocked. Be sure water flows freely from downspouts too.

What to do: If you have a one-story home and feel comfortable on a ladder, you may decide to clean gutters and downspouts yourself (with caution, of course). Otherwise, it’s best to hire a professional.

5. DECKS & PATIO

What to look for: Because our decks and patios are often exposed to the elements year round, even the best-maintained decks may experience some deterioration. Survey your deck’s edges for rotting. Make sure you look underneath for hidden rotting and rusted fasteners or hangers.

What to do: A good cleaning and a reapplication of a sealer/stain is usually all that is required for routine maintenance. For minor repairs, visit your local hardware store to buy new fasteners and to find products that can help eradicate rot. For more serious repair or replacement, call a local professional contractor.

6. LANDSCAPING, TREES & SHRUBS

What to look for: Foliage that is too close to the house is not only a security risk, but creates a pathway for pests. You need some distance between your home’s exterior walls and the trees and shrubs. Also look at soil, mulch, and landscaping near your home’s foundation. It should slope down and away from the house, so that water can not pool and cause leaks.

What to do: Trim all branches and shrubs that are too close to your home, and adjust landscaping as needed to address pooling water.  Remember, professional grade landscaping not only improves your home’s curb appeal, it can even add resale value.

7. CHIMNEYS

What to look for: Inspect your brick chimneys for deterioration, loose mortar, and flaking or “spalling” bricks, all of which are signs that the chimney needs repair (again binoculars are very handy here). The chimney “cap,” often made of concrete or metal, should be secure and free of cracks that can cause leaks.

What to do: This is definitely best left to a pro. Contact a brick mason to repair a brick chimney. For general chimney repairs or cleaning, search the National Chimney Sweep Guild directory to find a local professional.

8. AND FINALLY … YOUR FOUNDATION 

What to look for: Not every crack means big trouble for your foundation, but a crack with deflection might. You can tell when a crack has deflection if it veers in opposite directions or feels bumpy to the touch, get it looked at by a professional sooner than later.

What to do: Get in touch with a concrete or foundation repair company to fix most foundation cracks. Severe cracking, however, may require a consultation with a structural engineer.

When in doubt about any item on this home maintenance checklist, consider giving Chattanooga Exteriors a call. We may recommend you have a certified home inspector take a look at your home. An inspector can provide an unbiased, professional assessment about exterior home maintenance then we can provide any service required from roof to foundation.

And that’s it! With your spring home maintenance checklist complete, you can enjoy all that spring has to offer. Open your windows, let in some fresh air, spend more time outside … Enjoy.

If you would like to speak with us at Chattanooga Exteriors, call us at 423-389-4168 or fill out this short form.

On the Deck: Siding

By Laura Freeman

At Chattanooga Exteriors we complete a lot of replacement siding jobs each year. You may have considered new aluminum or vinyl siding for your home, but may not even be aware of another, better option – fiber cement siding.

Fiber cement siding manufactured by James Hardie is an amazing product. A process that combines sand, cement and wood fiber into a flexible, strong composite, results in a board that surpasses the strength, beauty and durability of aluminum or vinyl.

The following reasons are why we at Chattanooga Exteriors offer James Hardie fiber cement siding.

 

1: Return on Investment

Re-siding with fiber cement yields the highest return on your investment when compared to other mid-size remodeling projects. The return on re-siding your house with fiber cement is 25 percent higher than if you were to add a bathroom for instance. The value of re-siding with James Hardie fiber cement siding lies in the superior quality of their product.

 

2: The Recognized Leader

James Hardie products grace the sides of more than 5.5 million homes across America. They’ve won over the press, the remodeling industry, and most importantly, their customers, with the beauty and durability of their products.

 

3: Beauty & Durability 

Only James Hardie siding and trim are engineered to withstand the specific climate in which they are used and perform year after year, even when exposed to extreme weather. Not only will our siding stand up to mother nature, there’s also no need to worry about it being eaten by insects or animals. And when finished with ColorPlusTechnology, James Hardie products reduce the need for frequent touch-ups and re-painting because the color is baked-on and UV-ray resistant. Feel confident knowing that you chose the product designed specifically for beauty and durability.

 

4: Sustainability

As a product leader in the building and construction industry, James Hardie recognizes its obligations to promote green living. Green living means building with products that stand the test of time. James Hardie products are engineered for climate, so they have a longer life cycle than cheaper, less-durable products. ColorPlus Technology reduces the need to re-paint frequently, resulting in fewer materials ending up in landfills. James Hardie also reduces their environmental footprint by making their products with locally sourced, sustainable raw materials, such as cement, sand, wood fiber, and water. Hardie also has manufacturing facilities across the country, which allows them to reduce transport-related pollution.

 

5: Lower Insurance

Since fiber cement siding (unlike vinyl) is non-combustible and hail-damage resistant, it can sometimes help reduce home insurance premiums. Ask your insurance agent today. If you’d like to find out more about Hardie’s durability, low maintenance, and design, be sure to check out this awesome video – Click Here To Watch!

 

If you would like to see the siding work that Chattanooga Exteriors has done on some of your local neighbors homes, click these links below. Ready to get started? Call us at (423) 389-4283

 

On the Deck: Composite decking

By Laura Freeman

Welcome to the Chattanooga Exteriors blog. Today we are going to be talking about decking. Specifically composite decking. The reasons more homeowners are choosing composite decking today are many. Primarily, composite decking simply outlasts wood by a factor approaching 200%. That wooden deck of yours will last 10-15 years, and that is only if you spend considerable time and energy maintaining it over those years.
Annual pressure washing, staining and sealing is required to keep a wooden deck looking good over time. And if appearance is important to you, it may be more often than that. Splintering is also a problem with wood, as many a barefoot child can attest.
A composite deck on the other hand will easily last 25 years and require a simple hosing down occasionally to maintain its good looks. And forget staining and painting, the color in a composite board goes all the way through. Composites don’t splinter or warp either.
Speaking of color, At Chattanooga Exteriors, we feature Trex High Performance Composite Decking with over 18 beautiful colors from which to choose and it is engineered to resist fading, scratches and stains, so it is highly recommended for pet owners. Trex is the first company to combine the durability of recycled plastic with the natural beauty of reclaimed wood in a high-performance decking product.

Trex decking not only comes in many colors, but has the actual look of reclaimed wood, grain and all. Some earlier composites were no more than plastic planks.Trex is also heavier than real wood, providing a solid feel underfoot that shrugs off wind, hail, snow and rain with ease.

Trex is the nation’s #1 composite decking brand and at Chattanooga Exteriors, we are proud to have earned a Gold Level Installer distinction. We can design your deck to be a signature blend of style and strength that comes together as one weather-shrugging, long-lasting, easy-to-care-for outdoor oasis that beautifully pairs both form and function.

A Trex Composite deck can actually add value to your home too, so if you live anywhere in the Chattanooga, TN metro, are ready to ditch the maintenance, and make your home more beautiful and more valuable, give us a call at 423-389-4283. One of our experienced deck designers will help you design the perfect long-lasting, easy-to-care-for outdoor oasis that beautifully pairs both form and function.

Winterizing Your Home:

By Laura Freeman

A Few Simple Tips To Make A Chilly Winter More Tolerable

Here at Chattanooga Exteriors we take great pride in providing our customers with ways to improve their lives, without necessarily tapping their wallets. Case in point, here are a few good ideas to keep Old Man Winter at bay, without draining the bank account (especially around the holidays!).

At little to no cost, these tips can save you serious coin when the drops.

  1. Flip your Fan – Most people think ceiling fans are only for cooling. Not so … reversing your fan during the cooler months will force that warm air from the ceiling (remember your elementary school science … warm air rises) back down into your living space. Run it on the lowest speed setting and you will be surprised by the warm breeze. Believe it or not, you can reduce your heating expense by as much as 10% with this nifty trick.
  2. Change Your Filters – This one seems obvious, but many people simply forget. Dirty furnace or HVAC unit filters rob you of real money. Put a reminder in your calendar, on your phone or stick one to the fridge, but swap those filters every month. By the way, try to get a real HEPA (not “HEPA-like) filter, they trap up to 99% of all allergens, so your family will not only save money on energy, they’ll feel better too.
  3. Cool Your Jets – Water jets that is … turning down the temperature setting on your hot water heater to about 120 degree can save another 7-10% on your energy bill. A word of caution here. Having your hot water temp at 140 or higher can cause serious accidental burns, especially to small children or the elderly. But we should also note that if you have a smaller hot water heater and a large family, you may run out of hot water before every one is done showering at 120 degrees. 
  4. Mind The Gap – The Department of Energy says you can waste up to 30% of your energy due to gaps in your windows or doors. Seal drafty areas with a good old fashioned “draft snake” until Chattanooga Exteriors can get you some airtight fenestrations (that’s fancy talk for any hole in your house that a window or door should go in). But seriously, a short term fix is an old necktie or tube sock filled with kitty litter to weigh it down. Place up against the draft to block the cold. 
  5. Tap The Thermostat –Leaving the house or going to bed? Just tap that thermostat down a few degrees. If you are asleep, you won’t mind it a little cooler and why waste money heating an empty house when you are gone. Easy does it though, you don’t want to drop the temp more than about 5-6 degrees otherwise your furnace will work too hard to bring it back up and waste what you saved by lowering it. If you are going to be gone for an extended period, like a vacation to somewhere warm and beachy … lower your thermostat down to the fifties and back up your normal range when you return with your tan.
  6. Jump Ugly – Did you know that even an ugly Christmas sweater can make it feel 4 degrees warmer in your home? That’s right, this tip might be the simplest of all. Dress warmer. President Jimmy Carter had it right when he asked the country to turn down the thermostat and dress warmer to save energy. It holds true today, dressing warmer and staying active can reduce the cost of your energy bills, get you in better shape AND have you looking especially dashing in a sweater.

Give us a call at Chattanooga Exteriors for all your siding, windows, desks, doors and more. Stop by or schedule an appointment at our showroom where we offer James Hardie siding, Trex composite decking, railing, windows, and doors. 

We’re open Monday – Friday from 8-5

James Hardie Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Your Hardie Siding

By Laura Freeman

There’s nothing like the look and feel of clean. Whether it’s your kitchen tile floor, your car, or your home’s siding and trim. When something is so clean it sparkles, you feel accomplished, and it looks its best.

You can achieve that same sparkle on your home’s siding by cleaning it once or twice a year.

On the Deck: Windows & Doors

By Laura Freeman

Check out our latest “On the Deck” episode with Jamie Breneman! We were up on Lookout Mountain taking a look at one of our favorite window and door replacement projects. Our Renewal by Andersen windows are made from a patented material called Fibrex which is a beautiful, long-lasting composite material that requires little to no maintenance. Our gorgeous doors are custom tailored to your specifications and come in extra large sizes to allow extra light into your home. Check out our website to see some of our recent projects and stay tuned for more “On the Deck” episodes on WDEF TV Channel 12 during the “Let’s Chatt” show.

Deck Safety Composite Decking

Is Your Deck Safe For Summer Activities?

By Laura Freeman

Did you know… May is Deck Safety Month. As we wrap up this month and continue on into the Summer, we wanted to share some very important deck safety tips and information to help make sure your deck is in good shape and ready for company. Barbecues, fiestas, birthdays and graduation parties, the 4th of July, Labor Day… getting together with friends and family is what summer is all about. But before you begin planning and hosting gatherings that may spill out onto your deck, be sure to have your deck checked out by an expert to make sure it can handle the extra weight and movement of your visitors.

If you’d like us to come out to take a look at your deck, get in touch. We can give you safety suggestions and let you know if we think it may be time to replace your decking, framing, or flashing.

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