construction · designers Corner · home improvements · Remodeling · renovation

Thinking About Siding For Your Home?

With so many choices in siding materials it can be a real challenge deciding on what is right for your home.

A lot is to be considered in relation to permanence, performance, maintenance, durability and the like. The question may boil down to, how long we will own our property and the level of investment in proportion to the community environment, need, look, and saleability of our home once a choice is made.

A solid choice is brick and stone. Time honored and at the top of the long lasting qualities desired, can be a bit cost prohibitive, therefore many times is used for a feature face application. It is very durable and resistant to the elements including insects, temperature differences and the like.

Many alternative products have been developed to allow for the appeal of these natural products at a fraction of the cost and application time, along with eliminating the need for very specialized skill for installation.

Faux stone and brick products as well as bark looks, are now available, and are now more in tune with real than previous, obviously fake looking manufactured products. One may have to get close to know the difference now. Much easier to apply with the attachment systems designed to be attached directly to the wall with screws.

Vinyl siding products are getting better, and also have a better wood looking appeal and is very cost efficient and relatively easy to apply. Some are backed with a rigid foam product adding stability and insulation properties. Many of the lesser quality or older versions were subject to UV damage and would become faded and chalky before breaking down further over time. Now these products have much better resistance to the elements, making them a better option for budget conscious concerns.

Fibre- Cement siding is a mixture of sand and Portland cement and are molded into siding boards. Due to its high resistance to the elements and fire proof qualities, it is quickly becoming the product of choice. Although pricey, many feel the cost up front will be the savings down the road and the long lasting appeal due to damage resistance and little maintenance are worth the extra cash layout. The look of wood without the warping splitting checking or the potential for dis-figuration  that may come with wood or vinyl alternatives.

Cedar siding include lineal boards, shakes and shingles can provide a unique feature. Somewhat time consuming to install and the risk of splitting and cracking, may make this a bit less of a choice now with synthetic products that are better manufactured for look and longevity. Veneered cedar siding is now a choice one can make and should be more stable due to the plywood backing supporting the surface cedar veneer. Better for installation as well as checking and splitting will not be an issue. Longevity of this product is optimistic and the stains beautifully.

Engineered wood products are composite. This means a mixture of wood fibres, resins and wax, with anti-fungal and anti-pest properties are used in the manufacture of these products.They are designed to look near perfect to wood and are painted or have molded surfaces. Molded surfaces are the latest, as the painted surface products had limitations with paint adhesion and moisture resistance. Newer products are moisture resistant and are manufactured without the use of wood fibre. The molded surfaces help in the realism of the  finish making the products look very wood authentic. Installation is user friendly.

All of the above products come in a wide range of color and many have a good variety of design such as stone and brick.

Being that we have all these choices, some of which are described here, we know our decision is going to be one that produces one of the greatest design features we will apply to a home or structure.

Although this is true, consideration must also be given to the primary reason an outer building skin is needed as it constitutes the first line of defense against all the potential elemental issues that will come against a structure through the years and reduce, if not eliminate outside issues to become indoor issues.

We no longer have the simple luxury of a choice between wood siding or stone. Now we have a vast variety to chose from. With the new products, remember warranties are only an indication of the expectations a manufacture has for a said product and will only be as good as the company will back.

Installation needs to be done according to the manufacture specifications in order to fully apply for warranty, if ever needed.

Do thorough research in your demographic as to which products are actually standing up to the given environment you will be building or renovating in. Do not be quick to saddle yourself with a new or improved product and become the satellite test pilot for the manufacturer. It may be best to use a second best choice, rather than a first if you wish to be sure of the possible outcome.

Also, under no circumstance, hire without knowing the contractor is good for the application. A lot of contractors appear in downturn economies and in times of need when as the term is applied, acts of God occur. These contractors for the most part who suddenly appear will also suddenly disappear not long after and likely sooner than badly applied products will tell the story.

Low price or how quickly a contractor can come to the task are benchmarks to pay attention to. Good contractors in demand may be far behind, however, will be worth the wait. Do not give in to emotion and hire badly. Have your home wrapped with house wrap and wait. Maintain the house wrapping so needless breaching does not occur. A well researched contractors cost may be more and timeline challenged, however the completed and future cost of not doing things over is far cheaper than, cheap the first time or more, and then replacements or fixes, requiring a reputable, experienced, and cost correct contractor.

Awareness Messages · construction · designers Corner · Educational · hardwood · Hardwood Flooring · Hardwood maintenance · Hardwood refinishing · home improvements · Human Interest Articles · Remodeling · renovation · Restoration

Moisture Testing of Concrete Slabs, Who is Ultimately Responsible.

pexels-justus-menke-5214202~2July 19, 2014

This article was inspired by the question, Should Moisture testing of concrete slabs be the job of installers or General Contractors? By, B.T Burton on the Flooring Installers Group

Ultimately in our shift the blame world for responsibility, it is thought well of, to find reasons why everyone down the chain of hire or up the chain of supply, is to take responsibility for problems in building product applications. Manufacturers and uninformed end users, who do not want to bear the burden of responsibility for the making and purchasing of market driven products, end up basking in this bantering and as long as someone else pays, be it the right party or not, have enjoyed believing this is a best outcome deal.

The real responsibility needs to be laid with the money. He/she/they or whatever organization sets in motion a build or project of any kind is ultimately the responsible party for all good or bad involved. If liability for negligence is to be of issue, our countries have courts and expert witnesses to help resolve the real responsibility for everyone involved. Do not a lot of these issues end up being litigated or mediated by the money person/persons or organization anyway?

Negligence starts with the one initiating the project, uninformed or not, (especially the uninformed or taker informed, advantage seeker) expecting to reap only the good and expecting someone else to absorb the results of their lack of knowledge, oversight or oversight with “ill intent”, to keep aware of the changes or needs of the project without “user ill intent”, for a reasonably successful outcome.

Informed clients, with “good will intent” are usually on top of things, meaning, they do their best to make informed responsible involved decisions and have better results, eliminating issues that result in industry waste of time blame games.

On another note, all good trades need to be in the know and be honest, so as to avoid being the negligent party and if duly accredited in their trade, may very well be used as an expert witness.

If the general contractor, designer, agent, who should be in the know and honest, or anyone else says all is good and the trade believes differently, then they need to move on. No money is made accepting a risk, that in our industry at present due to debate, the real party is not responsible, namely, the money person/persons or organization.

Therefore, if a trade takes the job on, knowing the risks, written or not, they should be aware that the end result may be sheer, “Wow we fluked that one and got away with it” or “Holy crap, we’re screwed,” should they be taken to task by the responsible party, who will be using expert witnesses to prove their point.

The responsible, money person/persons or organization will realize they need a good case, as if it isn’t, the responsibility for the litigation costs could very well be theirs too.

Ron Preston

Awareness Messages · construction · designers Corner · Educational · hardwood · Hardwood Flooring · Hardwood maintenance · Hardwood refinishing · home improvements · Human Interest Articles · Remodeling · renovation · Restoration

What To Do Next, Are Your Hardwood Floors in Dire Need of Attention

What to do next, Hardwood Re-Coat or Refinish.

Hardwood maintenance keeps your flooring in premium condition, however, the time comes when further attention needs to be considered, due to marks, scuffs, thinning of the finish in high traffic areas, moisture damage, pet claw marks, indents from high heels, furniture moving and a host of other over time use issues.

Are we soon enough, for a re-coating and if so what needs to be considered before deciding this will be the solution for your desired results?

Considerations to be addressed are, type of wood flooring, how old the floor is, has it had a refinishing or re-coat before and how long ago and by whom if possible and what maintenance products or procedures the floor has been subjected to, including aspirations from cosmetic products and the like.

Once all the variables have been determined as to the supplied information, test procedures and understandings agreed to have been settled then and only then will the floor be a candidate for a re-coat application.

This re-coat application will require more than one process and all needed procedures will have a bearing on the cost. Either way, a re-coat will come in at a fraction of the cost, reflecting less than half the value of a total refinishing.

If the re-coating cost is over half the cost of refinishing, it is recommended that a full refinish application be considered, as the savings will not translate over a long enough time, before another re-coat needs to be done.

Most times, however, most clients who request a hardwood refinishing professional, have waited too long to have a money saving re-coat application.

It is not uncommon to let the needs of flooring of any kind slip past the threshold of maintenance verses virtual replacement or replacement. ( virtual replacement means a refinish may cost as much as a new floor, however the tear-out/disposal cost is the savings)

The refinishing processes required, are similar in all cases, however the cost is different from one floor to another, as variances in use issues, type of finish and type of wood needing to be considered.

All of these considerations, again will have a bearing on the cost to produce the end desired result.

Research your professionals well, before deciding on who will actually do the project in any application.

Some things to really understand are, the contractors years of experience with the services they offer, testimonials from clients you can actually call, word of mouth, the type of wood, coloration (vital, as dark stained wood requires a full understanding of wood, sealers, stains, pigments, and finishes) and most important, the lowest price does reflect the lowest quality.

More often than not, as I have heard and seen in this industry of flooring over the last 35 years is, the contractor gave us a great price but… and in the end we were not happy and had to do… and the contractor did not reply to our calls…which cost us more in time, frustration and capital in the end, as we hired another to get it done right.

Sometimes, clients have even gone around more than once with several contractors, still believing that another contractor who could do it for less would be the answer.

The end is, Research well who you will have in your home and understand what is to be the expected outcome of the final product along with what is to be done if what is desired turns out to be less achievable. This less achievable understanding should also be a part of the final agreement.

It is not unprofessional to bring awareness to the potential for a needed change to the process, as during the process of re-coating or refinishing, the actual state of the wood, finishes, residuals and the like will become manifest.

It is highly unprofessional for someone to sell an undisclosed project awareness plan and then proceed after to begin to explain that issues to refinishing are common considerations that need address.

Most low price contractors will pontificate their ability and results with little or no understanding for the client up front, as to the limitations, all in these services will come across, sooner or later and mostly when unexpected, due to a lack of knowledge.

In the end, you the consumer or client are responsible for the decision you make and the end result will be yours.

Awareness Messages · Educational · home improvements · Human Interest Articles

Money Saving Tips For Vacuum Care

I invite my readers to print this page and keep it with their vacuum storage.
Thanks for your support. Please “follow” for updates

Brooks Vacuum and Flooring Products (consumer education)

“Tips To Keep Your Vacuum in Good Operating Condition”

Keep your vacuum at peak operating performance by following these helpful tips.

Change your vacuum bag when it’s 2/3 full or once a month, whichever comes first. An overfull bag reduces your vacuum’s ability to clean.
Always use HEPA media bags, or High Filtration Rated Bags, to maximize your vacuum’s filtration effectiveness.
 Change your vacuum filter(s) every 3-6-12 months as per frequency or extended use time . If someone in your home suffers from allergies, change filters regularly to help them breathe a little easier. Do not wash and reuse filters unless rated as washable and be careful handling to avoid damage.
 Unless your vacuum has a Lifetime Belt, check your belt periodically for excessive wear and replace it as needed. Refer to your vacuum owner’s manual, or take your vacuum to your nearest authorized service dealer…

View original post 222 more words

Awareness Messages · Educational · hardwood · Hardwood Flooring · Hardwood maintenance · Hardwood refinishing · Restoration

Are Your Hardwood Floors in Dire Need of Attention

Are Your Hardwood Floors in Dire Need of Attention?

One question we get asked a lot, is, ” Can anything be done about my hardwood floors?”

Hardwood floors are in need of  surface maintenance throughout their lifetime, the same as vinyl, carpet, ceramic, and a host of other floor-coverings.

Most of the time, as a result of designed wear-ability, soiling camouflaged textures and coloration of these products, surface maintenance is left way too long allowing for costly cleaning and resurfacing.

Before this excessive wear is irreversible, it is advised to follow manufacture recommended cleaning and maintenance requirements. Most of these are not followed, due to the fact that most products give a long enough life to get past the warranty usefulness, thus product issues become the users expense.

A full refinish of hardwood is a costly process. Anyone claiming it can be done for less, is a “buyer beware” red flag. There are many applications of maintenance, through to full refinishing, that need to be fully understood, to make a qualified decision on which application, will be best for your household needs.

We recommend, at the time of purchase that, you, the homeowner and end user of a product ask about the warranty, manufacture recommended procedure for keeping your new floors in a like new condition, so as to never have to go through the full refinishing process on most floors until it is really time, for reasons not related to wear alone.

It is common practice for retailers of product, to sidestep these concerns in the sales process as it requires more due diligence and responsibility on their part in disclosure of proper care. It is wrong for a retailer to just, sell you, the trusting client, a product ,just because you are interested in it. It is the responsibility of the retailer to ask you, the client, what your wants are, in relation to the product looks and use expectation. You, the client, may see a product you think looks good for the application. Looks good and is good are two different things, and is to be considered with you by the retailer or vendor of the product, especially if the vendor is also the specifier.

Designers are also responsible to provide solid information about the product specified as to its true nature in relation to the end users needs.

When it comes to inspection all parties from manufacture to end user, including any maintenance services used, are all liable to responsibility in a claim for loss, in relation to premature failure of product serviceability.

This being said, as mentioned above, most end users, will foot the bill for belated maintenance due to, for the most part, ignorance.

Now! What can be done?

Are Your Hardwood Floors in Dire Need of Attention?

Watch for my next Blog. Don’t forget to follow us. You will receive the next Blog in you inbox automatically.

Thanks for reading and following,


%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this: