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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Roofers have Ridge Wrong

Imagine yourself staked out over a large rock unable to move. This is what happens to ridge shingles. The material is bent, slightly increasing the surface area, allowing more exposure to the sun. The ridge also is exposed to right angle vectors of wind on it's three leading edges and Bernoulli on the ones not being hammered. There's also voids under the ridge covering laminate shingles. The voids on GAF Sequoia and Grand Canyon and Certainteed Presidential are quite substantial.
That's why Dallas roofing companies put 20 year thee tabs on heavy duty roofs, even class IV roofs, as the contractor did on 1502 Silverlake, McKinney. This is a crime. Even if hail doesn't damage the roof, the ridge, which weathers faster anyway, is an inferior product. Due to the exposure of the ridge it should be a superior product, not just equal.
On wood shingle roofs it is better to put a heavy shake ridge because the wood shingle ridge, a two piece shingle held together with two little staples and some small nails, will come off very soon. Roofing companies go so far as to install non fire treated ridge on fire treated shingles,a way to save a few bucks. I have seen pictures of woods roofs with the shingles intact but the ridge burned off. Treated wood roofs will not burn. We'll cover that later.
There's a wood roof on Union Bower, Irving, TX, that Lon Smith did a few years ago and the wood shingle ridge is falling all over the place. Looks horrendous. We did three class IV fire treated wood roofs in Las Colinas with heavy shake ridge. One, on Northgate for Mr. Buck Buckner, a great man who passed away recently, has shake ridge and another for Fred and Estelle Odell, a lovely couple we done work for for decades, on North Durango Ct. That roof is over five years old and not one piece is loose. Ha! Take that Lawn Smith.
Roofing manufacturers offer a plethora of ridge options. GAF alone has Timbertex, "Z" Ridge, Seal-a-Ridge, and Ridgeglass. Ridgeglass used to be a stand alone company represented by the very nice Steve Wilcox, now an independent rep for lots of roof stuff.
Ridgeglass made ridge for everybody's roofing in every color. It is beefed up with a piece of APP modified for impact resistance and an "in your face" appeal.
To get a System Plus warranty the designer ridge is an enhancement option but a necessity for a Golden Pledge.
Besides function there is the other side of the coin: beauty. The ancient Greeks laboriously debated the useful versus the beautiful. In roofing the option is different: crappy versus beautiful and useful. A good ridge is like making one of your weakest parts your strongest. Plus a distinctive ridge will set off a roof with an strong outline. Think of it as a good haircut. It makes you look better even though your face is still the same.
Add to the crummy 20 year ridge on the class IV 50 year roofing product a pneumatic fastener and you have a guaranteed wind damage situation in a few short years.
A "Z" Ridge on a three tab roof looks awesome but rarely will a bottom feeder find the crème de la crème. It's all about setting yourself up for failure or passing the buck to the next unsuspecting owner of the abode.
If your roofing contractor is not offering you ridge options then he is assuming you don't really care about your home. The same goes for valleys, felt, metal edge, ventilation, and the shingle itself.
These guys would put a three tab on a slate roof if nobody new better. Why not? One did it in McKinney. In fact they do it everyday.
Some of our customers elect to put their money into other parts of the roof because the neighbors did so. But if we agree to install a 30 year Timberline, don't tell you about the caveat on ridge, send out a 25 year Royal Sovereign and you complain about the inferiority of the ridge, then I have a conundrum. Customer Relation Handbook, page 1, paragraph 1: The customer is always right (if you don't tell him first).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jon Wright Roofing and Solar Energy

Photons, photons, everywhere and not a solar panel in sight. How about "it's raining light and summer has finally started."
Why aren't we, as Americans, doing something about this. There's enough energy falling on the earth everyday to power us for a couple of years and enough landing on your roof to save you a bunch, a technical term for something that will change your life.
Not only will you spend less on your light bill, you'll save the planet too.
We are roofers and have been roofers here in Dallas Fort Worth for 31 years. We have lifted millions of pounds up and down roofs from Graham to Texarkana and from San Antonio to Oklahoma. In Carrollton alone I could bet we have removed and replace one billion nails on various roofs. In Plano we have installed several trainloads of radiant barrier decking. In Arlington Texas we have fastened 50,000 stone coated steel panels. In Southlake we've loaded tens of thousands of bundles of shingles. In Grand Prairie we have fastened thousands of panels of vinyl siding to walls. In Irving we have removed enough asphalt roofing to fill a small landfill. The shear tonage of concrete roofs we have torn off could make a locomotive strain.
What makes anyone doubt that we are not the ones to load solar panels on your roof, secure them to the roof, and route the harvested electricity into your home and out into the grid without causing a leak or breaking something.
With the use of a solar calculator and a pile of your old bills we can scientifically figure how much harvesting you need to do.
Whether you buy solar equipment now or later you are going to pay for it. If you do it later a lot of those photons will escape to never never land. If you do it now you can save about $16,000.00 worth of tax incentives and Oncor rebates that may disappear. You'll also increase your home about $20,000.00 in value if you save $1000.00 in electricity annually.
Remember that good panels don't have plus or minus ratings. The minus means that they might lose oomph and the solar panel chain is only as strong as its weakest panel. Good panels have guarantees that stipulate how much degradation will occur to the panel over the next 30 years. We have a German panel that is guaranteed to hold up to 80% of its juice for that long.
We also have solar shingles, photovoltaic laminate, or PVL, that can be adhered to standing seam roofs.
We are the one. We can roof your home and install a solar system of your own so that you can be a Master of the Universe. From your high perch you can stop the oceans from rising, the planet from heating up, cure children respiratory diseases, and save a little money to boot. But the priceless part is going to a cocktail party and telling everyone that you are the greenest one in the room. Realtors will love you too.
When the lights go out you'll be Mr. Cool. If they go out permanently you better be able to defend yourself from Mad Max's enemies.
Why wait? Solar savings is a great place to bank.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Solar Energy Launch

The highways are brown just like my neighbors yard. If they don't start watering soon it could hurt my foundation. Adding water to your foundation to keep it stay stable sounds good but it doesn't really help. The overall expansion of wet dirt, also know as mud, or the dust bowl conditions of this month make the earth move laterally too. You can try to shrink gaps next to a driveway with swaths of H2O but if your neighbors yard has contracted backwards six feet, the five feet of land you pay taxes on that is between your driveway and his artistic rendition of the Outback cannot expand that much. You need holy water.
Now what to do with all that hot drying sun that has parched the barrio. Collect it. Make some shade. Save some money.
If you put our solar contraptions on your roof and tie into the grid, your house will probably gain $20,000.00 in value immediately. Yes, our photon baskets really liven up the place. You'll be saying to everyone that goes by "I'm better than you and you know it." We can even give you a sign that says "I'm Green and you're not!" Our rentable Tuxedos are emblazoned with flashing neon lights that announce your entrance to any room.
Solar is here and you're thinking about it. I know you are because you're reading this and you know it's the right thing to do. Just by putting solar panels on your roof you can keep your grandchildren from getting COPD. You can even send them to college with all the money you will save on electricity over the next thirty years. That other $20,000.00 will come in handy at the poker table when you finally make it to "Happy Farms Senior Retirement Home and Casino." The place already has solar.
Besides the large tax credits and Oncor kickbacks make solar a real no-brainer even though only the smart will buy into the club. Yes, become a card carrying environmentalist without ever having to hug a tree or tree hugger. Yuk. Stay outta my zone buddy and don't touch me. By the power invested in me I'm green. Want to see my wallet? I bought a $26,000.00 system ($16,000.00 was covered by credits and I save money daily and my house is worth so much more I want to sell it). And you light your home with burnt coal you lignite slimer with a nuker face.
We've got German engineered PV systems that are guaranteed 100% for ten years, 90% for twelve, and 80% for thirty. If just one panel goes down in strength on a lesser Chinese built panel the overall output of the others in the rack are diminished too. If you get a lesser panel with a plus or minus of 10 watts, then the whole system will probably go down 10 watts.
Now just about any electrician can hook you up to the grid and it doesn't hurt near as much as it sounds like. But how many people can heave these large units onto your roof without damaging your roof or the units as well and mount them so the inside of your home doesn't flood when the drought breaks and the monsoons begin again? How many can put them on so the storm-bringer doesn't send them to Kansas?
Hopefully you'll send me your electricity bills, let me come over and check your geo-global position, angle, azimuth, altitude, and arboretum situation, and let us provide you with a professional proposal for renewable energy.
Over 1/5th of German homes have solar panels and we do not. They are thumbing their collective Prussian noses at us and saying you have to send soldiers to Iraq because you don't have solar. Makes you wish another dictator would take over so we could show'em again that even though they make better cars and cameras their bombs can't hold a candle to ours.
For the ole Red White, and Blue you too need to gather American photos and help reduce global warming. Let the meters run backward and we'll keep on the Imperial System. And you'll keep your money and have the right to do the superiority dance to a lively little polka number while your Jon Wright Roofing and Solar Redi shirt flashes to rhythm of the beat.
Kids, don't forget to leave the lights on.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Low Slope Roofs

If the roof is below a 2/12 pitch you can't put composition on it. If it is below a 3/12, you shouldn't.
The International Residential Code, or IRC, which used to be the Uniform Building Code, states that the lowest slope for comp is 2/12 but there are caveats. Two ply of 15 lb. felt must be used.
God forbid you use nail guns on a low slope. The nail has a compression seal when driven flush but air nailing always cuts the shingle.
I recommend using three tabs on low slopes and you can't see them anyway so what's the difference. GAF says you can use Timberline on low slopes but that's crazy. The second strip makes a hump like a second starter does on a reroof. Gravity cannot be defied.
GAF also doesn't want to reduce the exposure of the roofing but I strongly disagree. Even though blow off may be more likely because the self seal is higher up the lap, it has never happened to any of our roofs. But we hand nail anyway.
If you reduce a 12" tall shingle from a 5" exposure, which leaves 2" headlap (5" for the first course, 5" for he next, leaving 2" that tucks under the second shingle) to 4", you get three ply of roofing. (Four inches on the first course, four inches on the second, and four inches remaining instead if two.)
Besides, due to slower moving water and more ice build up, the low slope roofs should have extra waterproofing on all penetrations, valleys, and overhangs. That means using expensive StormGuard or other ice and water barriers.
Shut up and quit complaining. Your saving a fortune by not putting on a flat roof system that looks okay on a low slope. The cost of a built up roof with a color coordinated chat (gravel, marble, or lava rock) or an ugly modified bitumen, EPDM, or TPO is easily two to three times a low slope three tab with all the amenities.
I'd never shingle my home if it were below a three pitch. In fact, I'd raise the pitch.
Water needs encouragement to run and the less the pitch, the slower it becomes. At a 3/12 it is more of a walk and at a 2/12 it is no more than the three legged mosey at the retirement center field day event.
There are three way, and only three ways, to waterproof something.
One: Turn water with gravity. That's what shingles do.
Two: Seal water with adhesives. This may be caulking here and there or a monolithic flat roof system.
Three: Compression seals like corks. That what window glazing does. On glass it is a putty that compresses. Glass, being a frozen solid, cannot be caulked. The natural state of glass is liquid so the frozen glass still has a thermoplasmic migration. The caulking will be released by the movement of the molecules. It is slow but it is still there. That is why old mirrows distort. The glass is migrating. I must reference Monty Banner. He died in a sad way but he loved big words. Million dollar words. Despite his lack of higher education he strived to be of the chattering classes.
Exposed nails on the last piece of ridge or through the flashing on a galvanized stack pass through the metal and several layers of asphalt shingle. The sun never sees those shingles thus ultraviolet degradation (Monty didn't teach me that) does not destroy the compression seal. The darn home inspectors today like to show off and make us caulk those nails but it does more harm than good. Not only would they never leak but now the nail might be unrepairable if the stack needs to be replace. When NP1 caulking is used, the caulk is stronger than the metal. It will require forces stronger than the metal to separate the nail from the flashing.
These inspectors are espousing procedures that sound good but have no basis in reality. They must have learned roofing form Nietzsche.
Low slope roofs must lay completely flat if they are covered with composition. Any bulges will cause a loss in the down hill tangent. Wallah: leak city.
If the 15 lb. felt can't be laid right before the shingles are installed, then Shinglemate should be used. It has no wrinkle properties. Thirty pound felt is right out. It might wrinkle after you put on the roof. Plus 30 lb. is for amateurs who don't know how to roof. They count on it to keep the water out until their warranty has expired or they have left the premises.
Plus when water runs under comp roofing and on top of felt, a slim mold develops. It is a creepy white slim that is peculiar to asphaltic products.
Low slope roofs also need to installed very meticulously. The felt must go over the down hill side metal edge. The metal edge needs to be slightly larger so capillary action or water tension, take your choice here, does not encourage the water to run uphill underneath the starter course and on top of the metal edge.
With little gravity to push and a lot of slow moving water, the possibility that the water migh suck upwards between the starter and metal is great.
Have you ever taken two pieces of glass and held them vertical in a pot of water. As you try to pull them apart the water starts to climb upward between the glass. If you hold a string level and pour water on either end, the water will travel sideways toward the non-pour side.
Water, like electricity and people, takes the path of least resistance. And we all know the Borg said "resistance is futile." I love that stuff. A lot. Really.
Think of yourself as a water molecule traveling in a large herd of molecules. As you travel the trail of least resistance you find yourself being pushed around and squeezed out. If up is easier then so be it. How about sideways? You'll go where ever the least pressure is.
Low slope roofs have little of the stuff that make comp roofs work:gravity. Therefore "i" before "c" except after "c."
That's a weird rule.
This is not grammar folks. We're discussing physics and fluid dynamics. The test is tomorrow so pay attention.
You can break the "i" before "c" rule with the word "weird" but as long as this world exists and gravity is in play, we will need to determine your roofing system needs based on several needs, slope being one of them. The menu is more limited and Mother Nature will not give you a pass. It is what it is.
When gravity is gone, my warranties are void and it is judgment day but until that day passes, you must select the right type of system for your roof.
On a low slope roof a 50 year or lifetime roof becomes a no functional roof. Too thick. You need flat.
A roof is basically a skin. It follows the contours of the substrate. That's decking for the ones of you without the imagination to keep up. Thin roofing works better on a smooth surface with a low slope because it lays flat. If you pay for a better shingle, one that is thick and lumpy, it will interfere with the pull of gravity by causing bulges in the surface of the roof.
In my world slope is everything. In your world it is too but you just don't know it. That roof over your head is protecting everything you own and the health of your family. Don't blow it by wasting money on a better shingle on a low slope. If you want to spend, then buy a flat roof system.
Another concern on low slope roofs is the type of ceiling you have. Most really flat roofs have true cathedral ceilings. No ventilation occurs here. Reflective roofing, insulation for flat systems, and radiant barrier energy efficient decking systems play a much greater roll here.
If you have a Tectum deck, a system that uses the deck as the ceiling, the deck, and the insulation, there are real needs to concern yourself with. It is not considered a nailable deck but morons nail roofing right to it anyway.
If a flat roof system is not used a deck needs to be installed.
Near Plymouth Park in southwest Irving there are a lot of homes with Tectum. The centers on the beams are either three foot seven inches or random.
These homes need to be lathed and a radiant barrier deck needs to be installed vertically as the decking thinks the lathe is the rafter. Decking, neither OSB or plywood, is strong against the grain and it will sag roller coaster style like a patio deck of plywood installed parallel to the rafters.
I know this is hard to follow but I'll be glad to come out and use hand displays to make my point. Two years of Italian and six months of schooling in Roma, Italia, make me pretty good at gesticulating.
I'm looking at a roof in north Dallas near Richardson, off Hillcrest and Spring Valley, that has a vegetable bord deck. It is like Tectum. Non-nailable.
These decks have pretty good "R" value and if you put lathe and radiant barrier decking, the air space will pay for the cost in a short time. Have you heard of energy savings? If you haven't then you will soon be poor.
With the cost of utilities about to soar, excuse me here, through the roof, the money you don't spend here and now will be devoured relentlessly for many years to come. Plus you're killing bunnies. Get up and go green for yourself, your family, your posterity, your pocketbook, and forget about keeping the HVAC guy in work. The economy can be stimulated right here through me with all my green stuff.
If you let me I'll make your home comfortable and energy efficient. Why spending money here is the cheap way to go, long term.
Sorry about the rant. I believe this stuff.
A dollar spent on efficiency is a dollar invested in future efficiency.
Flat roofs are notorious for being wasteful of energy. They were quick to build and your are paying for that if you have one. Let me turn you into the envy of the barrio.
We can turn your home around and make it quieter, more comfortable, more energy efficient, and more waterproof.
We can make it even more beautiful with a low slope standing seam roof with photovoltaic additions to the system.
Imagine a post modern Frank Lloyd Wright low slope with lots of single pane windows. Put a radiant barrier deck with a giant solar collect roof on it and tell Oncor, TXU, Reliant, and all the others to leave you alone.
Iran would be jealous. They wouldn't need their peaceful nuclear bomb program if they had photovoltaic roofs that Israeli bombs wouldn't dare blow too smithereens.
I've always wanted to type that word. Mr. Spellcheck even left me alone even though he has poked me no less than fifty times to day for words that have married parents.
Ground control to Major Tom: We have met the future and it is Jon Wright Roofing.
I promise my next essay will be more down to earth, just where Major Tom will never go.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Hard to be a Professional Roofing Contractor.

My readers know we sell systems and not roofs. Those systems need parts and they're getting harder to find.
Today I wanted Energy Cap from GAF. I wanted an energy efficient roof. None of my suppliers had it. I needed it today because a tree decided to fall a couple of days ago and crash a home. Rains coming. We rebuilt the structure but the roofing I want is all over GAF's website and not in it'd distributor's warehouses. The waiting line is weeks to get into GAF so I had to improvise.
I made my own. By taking the SBS modified they make and bumping the system with the TopCoat EnergyStar coating I was able to achieve my desired effect.
Everyday we need so specific intake vent, or a particular ridge, maybe a peculiar fastener, or a weird underlayment. I feel like Odysseus, wandering around the Mediterranean running into Sirens and Lotus Eaters and who knows what beasties.
I want what I ordered and not some product that some warehouse guy summarily decided to substitute because the other roofers don't care.
For the product du jour I called supply housed in Dallas, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, and Carrollton. I called my GAF rep Jo Anderson, a lovely lady who really does her job. Ended up on the roof improv.
I really feel sorry for the good roofers in Oklahoma City who want to hold onto the old ways and do a great job. Their watching their state capital being raped by gypsy roofers who frankly my dear don't give a damn. Their roofers are excited because of all the work. Other contractors are bribing their help with higher pay and lax standards. "Why we'll reuse the old felt." I've never been able to interpret those words. Did they pull it up, repair it, and put it back down? No chance in Odysseus's Hades.
The Master Elites in Oklahoma City that are perfectionists will want their ShingleMate felt and "Z" Ridge but it will be in short supply.
The meat and potato roofers, the ones who just color a roof with shingles and don't consider waterproofing part of their long term plan, are slapping down cheap Atlas and Pabco products and don't care anything about warranties. My suppliers say Pabco is not engineered for these hot climes, Hades I say, and that the installers say the granules run off. Atlas doesn't, and never understood in my 31 years as a roofing contractor, what the definition of a warranty is, unless they are fine print experts.
Back to Oklahoma. They are going to get burned by these carpetbaggers and scalawags. Really bad. These people will not be able to sell their homes because of all the scuffing.
When it hailed in west Fort Worth three years ago a vendor I share with Lon Smith told me a story. He was talking with one of their inspectors who complaining his job was meaningless. The guy said he told the roofers to quit scuffing shingles and they said they'd quit and go somewhere else to work if he didn't get out of their way. When he went to Lon Smith's office he was told the roofers were right and to leave them alone.
I've seen it. It is an abomination and a crime. This is what I was told and this is what I've seen. Imagine how the out of towners feel.
After promising to do the job for insurance proceeds they must find a way to cut costs. Due to supply and demand the roofing material distributors and subcontractors are holding their own on pricing. Only in roofing does the price go down when their is more work. So they skimp and skim, ans then skip out.
No felt, metal edge, use old stacks, no new step flashing, which by the way, is the policy of USAA Insurance. They won't pay for it and the suppliers won't give it to me. The roofers want to be paid to install it. USAA wants you to reuse it. No way. It has random holes in it in a critical area of the roof. The carpetbaggers are okay without billing for it. They'll bill for anything that's on the claim but won't spend any time negotiating the price up in order to get the insured all he's entitled too. Just slap it on.
Later the big boys, the ones who do a lot of roofs for nothing, make their money by ripping off their salesmen and roofers, and then go to the wholesaler and offer to pay only half their bill or go bankrupt. My friend at Southern Shingles, who I warned that a storm trooping DeSoto/Duncanville roofer I shall not name, would do this, did it. $800,000.00.
So here I sit doing a few roofs a week with all kinds of neat accessories but having to call and call and then double check our deliveries for the famous last minute auto-induced substitution, the one that can take away a nonprorated 100% material and labor guarantee and possibly a twenty year workmanship and leak guarantee from the manufacturer.
They send Airvent low profiles rather than MasterFlow, Coil nails rather than hand nails, the wrong base sheet or somebody else's modified.
Since the other roofers, for the most part, don't care, why should I? Why should they?
"Jon Wright, he's a pick som bi..."
Yes he is.
Tulsa and Oklahoma are obliterated like Dresden but without the fire. Now the vultures come to further ruin these people's life. Actually they are exacerbate the pain. The damage down the road will be sung about by the bards for generations. Poems, plays, tragedies. At least literature and other cultural forces will be broadened.
In 1992 and 1995 we had to call and call for materials. Most homeowners accepted substitutions. The starving band of zombie roofers kept up the pressure on the hail victims until the owners of damaged roofs longed for the day when a new roof would be the garlic on the door to bring peace at dinnertime. Really, no kidding. Dinnertime is doorbell time. It doesn't matter. Even with a new roof the herds of roofing specialists will graze their way into your life, even after roofing.
My recommendation is to not fix the doorbell when they wear it out. I'm thinking of going to Oklahoma City to sell no soliciting signs. How about "We Shoot Canvassers" or "Roofers not Welcome?"
Everybody take a deep breath and make a careful decision. It's your home we're talking about here. At least the motels and diners are doing well.
If anyone from Oklahoma happens to read this, use a GAF Master Elite or go to Angies' List. A lot of storm'n roofers keep a one line listing in case of a storm, pay off a defunct roofers bill to get the number, or just lie. Imagine that.
Ask for their divers license, local references, or just stick to the plan outlined above. It's hard enough without all storm stuff going one. Now it's chaos.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Windows in Dallas

Buy windows made locally. If they are made outside this area the low e might be put on the wrong surface or they might not use the low e best suited for our area.
Fine windows can be made elsewhere but you better know what you're doing when you order them. If you call me for windows I'll show you good windows. No cheap Atrium or lower end Pella or, God forbid, H&R.
Builders put the same junk in five million dollar homes as they do fifty thousand dollar ones. Really. They don't care. Imagine an arch top cheapie. Gonna fail. Gonna spend $200 getting it fixed and then you have a cheap window that has been repaired. You just won't lose as much money in utilities or HVAC repairs as you would have with a fogged up window and a nagging spouse.
Shoulda bought a V-8!
Bad windows are bad. Good windows close like a new car door and will for a long time. Cheap fog up. You can save some money on your bathroom window buy going cheap clear glass and letting it fog up. Just open and close it a few times and wallah: smoked. Yes you were.
We've put in Don Young, really nice folks that care, and Simonton, a large outfit, in Carrollton, Hackberry Creek, Las Colinas, Irving, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Dallas, and Colleyville. That was for ye old SEO.
We use to sell a lot of aluminum thermal broken windows but vinyl has taken over. Cheap aluminum windows sweat but cheap vinyl windows sag out of shape. Don't even bother to change out your windows if you're not going to get thermal broke aluminum or vinyl with metal on all horizontal parts or vinyl without a sloped sill. Pocket vinyl windows where the sash sits in a pocket and little drains let the rain out can destroy your house and they're pretty gross after a while. Algae and mud fill up the pocket and if the weld breaks it will rot out your framing below the window.
Double hung windows lose about half an R but it's worth it for cleaning and for efficiency in the spring and fall. Plus in the winter, when it's nice late in the day, or in the morning in summer, when you're home, you can use the safety latches and crack the top of the window.
Leaving your home sealed up for three months or longer can mane you sick and make the house stink. Window is from wind hole. In Spanish ventana is from viento or wind.
Let the wind blow. You'll feel better.
Believe it or not the crossbars called lites or colonial lites can either make the window gain or lose efficiency. Be careful to look at all that and take into consideration the tax breaks available.
During installation the cavity around the window needs to be inspected and probably filled with batting. other times a foam dowel can be used. Be sure to use great caulk on the inside and out.
If you're going cheap don't beat around the bush. Just get storm windows. If you buy cheap you'll have to fix broken seals and then you might have just bought the better window.
You can't put in a good lifetime guaranteed window that meets building codes for $300.00. A 3'x4' good window costs that much. Then there's labor, insurance, disposal, and maybe some profit.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vinyl versus Hardie

Just like in roofing people want something on their siding but don't want to pay for the real thing.
The first attempts at imitation wood was aluminum siding. The Tin Men, as they were called, would say that the chalking or paint loss was the siding self cleaning itself. The manufacturers found that paint stuck to steel much better but the steel was harder to install and cost more. Gee, better is great but why more?
Then came vinyl. It was cheap. "Vinyl is final." "Vinyl took man to the moon." "Looks like real wood." Lies by omission.
But now, with advances in chemistry and experience in manufacturing, as they said in Monty Python"It got better."
On the other side of the tracks there were the hardboard manufactures. Masonite is the most famous of them. It all six sides were painted, all cut surfaces were painted, it was kept out of water or off the roof surface, and was painted regularly it would have lasted.
Nobody painted cut surfaces, roofers tarred shingles to it, and people just didn't like to paint. Can you say massive class action. Yet a need was created. People thought vinyl looked cheap unless they were from New Jersey where the Tin Men spoke gospel.
In Dallas and Fort Worth the vinyl and metal sidings went on in the Fifties but got pretty big in the sixties. Still some didn't want vinyl and aluminum went soaring in price. Masonite had come and gone and is still going.
This brings us to Hardie. Sometimes it is the only product that can give you a stucco look for a reasonable price but it must still be painted. Also cementious products leach lime and become more brittle with time. Like glass it is strong up to the point of breakage so I don't recommend it in high rug rat zones.
Besides it's a carcinogen and is out of business in Australia where it started. Lawsuits. They will come here eventually. The installers will get sick from breathing the dust and from topical absorption through the skin. At Habitat for Humanity they told me that is why they cut it with scissors.
Now Hardie looks good and the vinyl people felt the pinch. Thus came full back vinyl with insulation glued to the inside of the product. You can drive a truck on it. Won't dent.
The single seven looks good but the double and triple panels show the unnatural lap every few courses. That's why I prefer the single lap panel. It always loks the same.
We wnr and got our Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) training so the vinyl can be installed in a waterproof manner and not just be a coloring or covering. It is now a true integrated system with flashing details that keep the water from getting to the old wood.
The vinyl soffits can look bad and vented Hardie soffit is about as ugly a product as I've ever seen. Really gross.
The new vinyl soffits have hidden vents and the bead board style really looks sharp. Anyway if the sider removes the old soffits with screens and cuts more holes the air will pass because there is no hermetic seal on siding. Air passes at the rear "J" channel and where it meets the fascia.
The aluminum coil that is custom fit to areas like the fascia, frieze, door and window surrounds, and headers used to be coated with powder coat. That is paint stuck to the aluminum with electrical processes. Now reputable siders use PVC coated coil which matches the siding.
For vinyl underlayments their is Tyvek or Raindrop, which I feel is better. Some siders use thin fanfold insulation as a dry in also and call it insulation as a sells tool. That is misleading. It is insulation but does not insulate. It is for recovery purposes only so the wall will be smooth.
Best to use a synthetic dry sheet with insulation above it or just use an insulated panel over the dry sheet.
Hardie hung to studs is dangerous. It is easily broken and one should install decking first, then a dry in. Hardie panes,as opposed to the lap versions that look like 1x6's or larger, are a little dangerous due to their weight. Just imagine the screws or nails holding that heavy stuff for years and years with the lime leaching out and aged brittleness settling in.
Hey, we're not talking about me.
My home has vinyl siding with hidden vent soffit. I'm happy with it. It's been on for 15 years without a problem.
Dalas has become a Hardie market with some other cement siding products trying to make inroads but many North Dallas, Carrollton, Plano, and Las Colinas people will never have cement siding installed on their home because they had Hardie Roofing put on their roofs and it failed. Hardie went bankrupt. Left them out in the cold. First baby hail trashed it. If the homeowner was prudent he didn't go back with the flash of a synthetic. He went metal, slate, or composition. Period.
On your walls you may go wood, vinyl, or Hardie. There are some flashy alternatives for the gamblers out there but you how pretty those casinos are. Built on the backs of gamblers. Go with the proven and Hardie is not there yet. It is Masonite on steroids. It will go bad but is, as the Spanish say, " es cartón." Cardboard. Those from the lands of real concrete homes know that cement siding is disposable like those old cameras. If you want concrete buy some real stucco rather than try to get something for little or nothing. Better yet, brick it.
I'll just stick with my rigid fullback vinyl. I'll outlive the home.
Would you buy a Hudson boat?