Posts Tagged ‘Siding’

Top 5 Home Improvements You Can Do This Summer

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Well, sure, summer is all about relaxing vacations and fun days spent at the beach. However, summer is also a great time to get some work done around the house as well. And, since you can improve the interior of your home regardless of the season or weather outside, summer is the best time to deal with the exterior renovations.

At this point, you might be thinking: “Gosh! I only have just a few days off the office and you want me to work!”, but I would like to tell you that exterior home improvements do not necessarily have to be large and boring projects. In fact, in the following guide, I made sure to include some fun home renovations, which you can benefit from for the rest of the summer.

1. Get a swimming pool

Let’s face it, there is nothing like the scorching heat of the summer to remind us about the advantages of owning a swimming pool. Granted, the increase of property value won’t determine you to engage in such a project unless you are planning to sell the house. On the other hand, nothing motivates you more than the thought of taking a dip in this warm weather.

But, won’t this cost you a fortune and take weeks to build? No, it won’t, if you decide to purchase an above ground swimming pool. And, did I mention that the latest design, styles and quality of the above ground make them a good-taste, fine decision for any backyard, regardless of how small they are? The bottom line is that you cannot ask for a more rewarding summer home improvement project than this.

2. Barbeque grills

No summer is complete without at least one barbeque session! Irrespective of what you put on the grill – corn, burgers, steaks, tofu, sausages or whatever else you have in mind – it will taste better. Besides, it only takes an open flame to feel that it’s summer time. Now, I’m not saying that the barbeque grills you find at the local stores are not good, but a permanent grill surely adds to the flavor and taste. In addition, a permanent one considerably simplifies your grilling sessions (especially if you intend to have barbeques on a constant basis) and it is also cheaper in the long run, resource wise.

3. Patios and decks

If you decide to build a permanent barbeque grill or get a swimming pool, then it is very likely that you want to hold outdoor parties as well. And, since you want to enjoy that time with close friends or neighbors rather than worry about people stepping on your lawn, a suggestion is to consider a new patio or deck. Even though it sound complicated and may appear to imply a lot of effort and money, in reality this project is not only fairly simple, but it does not take expert building skills, effort or that much time. If you already have a swimming pool or a permanent barbeque, wouldn’t it be a shame not to complement it with a beautiful patio or deck?

4. Siding and paint

I know I told you the summer home improvement ideas in this top will not imply large projects. On the other hand, summer is the best time of the year to freshen up the exterior with a new coat of paint or fashionable vinyl siding. The limited amount of rain during summer and the warm weather outside both ensure the perfect settings for the fresh paint to dry properly and evenly.

5. Shingles, roofing and gutters

I will not deny the fact that this is the sweatiest of the home improvement projects. Nonetheless, summer is also the best time to tend to the most abused part of your home: the roof. Heavy snow in winter as well as the whipping winds and rain of early spring and autumn all wreak havoc on your gutters and roof. Since summer is synonymous with fine weather, it is the ideal time to check for damage and perform the necessary repairs until they escalate and start causing all sorts of problems to your home.

Hello, my name is Chad and I love writing about the home improvement topic in general and my favorite store has to be Superior Stone and Cabinet!

Staining Brick Siding

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

brick-siding21Staining brick during masonry projects is a common practice among professional contractors. They usually only do this to individual bricks to make them match the others in a batch. This is sometimes required because it is difficult to get absolute consistency from one batch of manufactured bricks to the next. Staining brick already in place as part of a wall is more difficult and time consuming than painting, but the results are more elegant. The stains used are proprietary in nature and are brick specific. Consult a brick supplier when considering stain as part of masonry repair.

DIY Repair or Professional Help

A local brick supplier can recommend a base brick that comes close to one used for your home. If the brick used in your siding is still manufactured, they might be able to order you a very close match. They can also suggest a good stain product and a professional who knows how to apply it properly. Having a professional do the job for you and ensure that it looks right might be especially important for highly visible areas of the exterior facade of your home. You can perform the job yourself if there are only a few bricks that need to be stained to match the rest of the wall. If there is a large area that needs to be stained, this is more difficult. The masking required to protect the mortar can be very time consuming.

Painting Siding – Spray vs. Brush

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Time to start paintingWood and composite siding must generally be repainted or given a touch up every few years. Applying more than one layer of paint is usually a good idea. The first coat is more of an insulating layer, while the second is for resisting wear and tear. Some home improvement experts recommend that the primer, sealer and first layer of paint be brushed on. The finish coat can be sprayed.

Using a Brush

A brush allows the primer and paint to be thoroughly worked into the surface of the siding. This is a necessity for long-term durability. The problem with brush application is that the appearance of the paint can look uneven unless extreme care is taken. This greatly increases the amount of time necessary to do the job properly.

It is important not to overload the paint brush. Instead, it should be loaded lightly with paint at the tip of the brush hairs. The handle of the paintbrush should be held gently as if it were a pencil or pen. Most of the handle should be sticking up through the space in between the thumb and forefinger. Holding and working the paint brush like a writing instrument allows far greater control and creates less spillage.

Using a Spray Gun

Spray painting with an air compressor and nozzle is much faster than painting by hand.If this application mode is used for all coats, care must be taken to cover the siding’s surface completely. When done properly, the surface tends to dry evenly. A spray paint finish coat can make the entire paint job look much more professional.

Spraying should be done in a back and forth motion that overlaps portions already covered. Even motion must be maintained and should not be too slow. Too much paint applied in any one location will cause dripping. Because droplets are sprayed into the air, tiny paint particles can easily be breathed in. It’s best to wear a protective mask and protective clothing when spray painting. Overspray is likely with this method, so any areas that need to remain paint-free should be draped or masked.

Painting Brick Siding

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

painted-brick-sidingPainting a brick house is not a project that should be done on a whim. It is a large undertaking that commits you to continued exterior maintenance throughout the lifespan of the house. Once you coat brick siding, you cannot go back and remove the paint unless you replace the affected masonry or use expensive sandblasters. Regardless, you are committed to a totally new look.

Prepare The Surface

Preparing the exterior brick surface is an extensive task. It includes the following: cleaning, repairing (includes sealing & caulking around windows), and priming. Removal of stains can be done with a spray washer at about 1,500 to 2,000 psi. Be careful not to damage any of the mortar or you will have more repair work to do. A stiff brush can sometimes help to remove debris and stains. The brick surface must be ultra clean for the primer to adhere properly.


After a thorough cleaning, use primer on any stained or repaired areas first. These spots may require a second coat after you’ve have primed the rest of the home’s exterior. Fast drying 100% acrylic primers are recommended.


Actually painting brick can be difficult. All the bumps, grooves and pits that are part of the natural surface of brick can impede the application of a consistent coat. While a paintbrush can be used, it requires more effort on brick than it would when painting a smooth surface. For this reason, painting with a compressor and a spray nozzle is recommended.

Bamboo Siding – Real and Fake Options

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

bambooThe versatility of fast-growing bamboo plants is just amazing. As a truly renewable resource, this woody substance is considered eco-friendly. Building materials made from high quality bamboo are strong and weather resistant. Entire homes have been built in some parts of the world using nothing but bamboo. Given these facts, it’s not surprising to hear that there is such a thing as bamboo siding. In modern construction, it is rare to see a whole home veneered with bamboo siding. More often, it is used for decorative purposes to accent parts of the home with a tropical feel.

Real Bamboo

Bamboo can be carefully processed to simulate hardwood flooring and real wood siding. The material must be specially treated with several chemicals and sealed with polyurethane before it can be used as a reliable siding material. It’s often sold in prefabricated interlocking panels for easy installation. Not all authentic bamboo products are created equal. Bamboo harvested too early in its life cycle is generally substandard and easily damaged. In contrast, bamboo harvested from mature stock tends to be extremely durable. If you can dent the material with your thumbnail, it is poor quality and shouldn’t be used for interior or exterior home improvement projects.

Faux Bamboo

Some of the bamboo siding on the market is not really bamboo at all. Also, not all imitation bamboo is the same. The cheap stuff can be less expensive than real bamboo, but is not nearly as durable. On the other hand, high quality faux bamboo is made entirely from a polyurethane veneer and is artfully sculpted to look like the real thing. The accurate color and textural details make this product difficult to distinguish from actual bamboo even on close inspection. It has to be custom made which adds to the price, but it is actually tougher than bamboo. It can better withstand heat, moisture, cold, and sunlight without ever cracking or fading. Polyurethane is also lightweight. Faux bamboo siding also comes in interlocking panels for quick and easy installation for a DIY project.