Examining the Advantages of Fiber Cement For Your Northern Virginia Siding

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_siding_fiber_cementCreating a positive first impression is one of the aspects to consider when choosing a material for your Northern Virginia siding. Wood is warm and full of character, while vinyl provides a virtually maintenance free finish. There is another product that actually captures the benefits of both – fiber cement siding is an impressive option that will create the look you want while delivering the durability and quality you need.

The Facts About Fiber Cement Siding

This material is made from a mixture of sand and cement with cellulose fibers included. All of these items are combined using a process called autoclaving (steam curing done at high temperatures), which serves to provide the strength and consistency required for an exterior siding product.

Layering this mixture to the desired thickness produces fiber cement siding in a wide variety of shapes, profiles and even colors. With the cellulose fibers included there is very little cracking and wood grain textures are added afterward with a high-pressure mold or by imprinting.

With all of the options available in fiber cement you are sure to find a siding style that suits your tastes. From horizontal panels resembling beaded siding, Dutch style or the more traditional shiplap to vertical Northern Virginia siding and preformed shingles in regular and irregular shapes, fiber cement manufacturers have a broad selection. Another very popular and distinctive style is the stucco-look, constructed completely of fiber cement panels. Both the main sections and the battens are fiber cement, as well as any soffit, creating an architectural design that is stunning, low maintenance and full of character.

A Few of the Benefits

The vast selection available in this material is certainly an advantage, but the product itself also offers benefits that homeowners and contractors can appreciate. Fiber cement siding:

  • Is manufactured to rigorous standards providing nearly unmatched dimensional stability.
  • Will not fade, warp or buckle as vinyl is prone to do.
  • Comes with a Class A (or Class 1) fire rating.
  • Is highly durable, withstanding weather, bumps and heavier impacts for a long-lasting, beautiful finish.
  • Has quality pre-finished paint options that will last from 25 to 50 years without a recoat required.
  • Approved for installation on historic homes and buildings covered by preservation guidelines.

Choose the Manufacturer Wisely

In the same way you would with other exterior siding options, it is important to choose the fiber cement manufacturer wisely. Certain brands have been in the industry for years and offer solid warranties, reasonable prices and consistent quality. Others that are newly entering this hot marketplace may not be the best choice, despite introductory prices and an even broader selection of colors and profiles. Although technology often helps in the building industry, until a manufacturer is proven and established you are best to steer clear.

Fiber cement is an excellent option for your Northern Virginia siding project. With a variety of profiles and appearances available, as well as durability and strength that meets and exceeds that of wood siding, this material is gaining in popularity. Look for it on homes in your neighborhood and consider fiber cement siding for your own new build or renovation.

How to Shop for Washington DC Real Estate the Easy Way

Filed Under: Washington DC Real Estate    by: Steve Kayhill

washington_dc_real_estateThe real estate market of today moves quickly. And without the right support your dream property could be snatched up before you even get a chance to bid. From first time homebuyers to seasoned homeowners, everyone wants to know how to shop for Washington DC real estate the easy way. This simple, albeit fast-paced, method delivers effective results for both buyers and sellers.

Get a Washington DC Realtor On Your Side

Start with having the best players on your team. You may think that the vast selection of commission-free, for-sale-by-owner organizations make it easy to shop for real estate without a realtor. But that assumption often results in missed opportunities and disappointment. Having an experienced real estate agent is even more important in today’s rapidly changing market.

What factors will influence your choice of agent? Always opt for someone with experience in the local region. This gives them insight into the particular dynamics of each neighborhood, including the school systems, shopping, traffic and community associations. This knowledge will help guide you to the very best location for your new home.

You also need someone who understands your situation. They should speak your native language and be familiar with your unique needs. Perhaps they have worked with some of your friends or family members and come with an enthusiastic recommendation. If you are moving into the DC area from across the country ask for recommendations from local connections such as your new employer or nearby friends.

Start Looking Right Away and Continue Looking

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when shopping for Washington DC real estate is not persevering. The earlier you begin shopping, the more properties you will have a chance to view. And don’t stop browsing, viewing and shopping, even when you think that you have found the perfect home. Deals can fall through quickly and by putting the shopping process on hold you are bound to miss out on numerous opportunities.

Keep your realtor on speed dial and stay in constant contact about new listings, viewings and any changes to your current situation. Some families find that their needs and wants evolve as the shopping process continues. Perhaps what they felt was essential loses the critical label. Or something they thought was flexible becomes written in stone. All of these needs should be communicated to the real estate agent promptly, giving them the information needed to match you with ideal properties.

Be Ready to Act Quickly

Having your financing and other details of the transaction taken care of ahead of time is vital to a fast sale. Be sure to arrange any mortgage information and approvals beforehand, obtaining preapproval if possible and securing the terms desired.

If you have another property to sell, it is a good idea to have that on the market while you are shopping. This means you run the risk of selling your current home without having another to move into, but the other side of the equation is equally risky. By waiting until you have purchased a house to sell your current property, you may end up with two mortgages or lose the new home based on the conditions of the sale. Talk to your agent to decide on the best course of action, but in any case you will need to be ready to act fast when the right property comes along.

With a team of support that includes an experienced real estate agent and prearranged financing, you will be ready to shop for Washington DC real estate the easy way. The market is moving and the perfect property is out there.

Choosing the Best Materials for Your Northern Virginia Deck

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_deck_materialsThere are many different factors to take into consideration when choosing materials for an outdoor project. Your Northern Virginia deck will be exposed to the wind, rain and sleet. It will also get a certain amount of sun, depending on whether your home faces north, south, east or west. Your budget, tastes and lifestyle will also come into play when making this important decision. What are your options and how can you make the best possible choice in deck materials?

Pressure Treated Wood

One of the most popular options available for exterior wood projects, pressure treated wood has a variety of benefits. It is virtually maintenance free, thanks to a chemical treatment embedded deeply in the lumber that offers lifetime protection against rot and pests. But the green tinge of this wood will eventually turn grey. For a burst of color or to match your outdoor décor, pressure treated wood can be stained with specially formulated products available at leading building supply stores.

Pressure treated wood decks are the most affordable option and can be designed to suit nearly any landscape. In fact, whichever material is chosen for the deck board, railing and accessories, the frame of your Northern Virginia deck will be constructed out of pressure treat simply because of the durability and strength this product offers.

Cedar Wood

Cedar is another option for those who love the feel and charm of a wood deck. Tannins in this lumber make it naturally rot resistant for decades, although it will require annual maintenance to retain the warm beauty.

Cedar decks need to be washed and stained at least every other year (depending on the exposure and traffic). If you do not enjoy outdoor tasks or tedious jobs, this is not likely to be the deck material for you. Hiring a painting company to refinish your backyard deck will cost a few hundred dollars, but many find that the time and effort saved is well worth the money.

Composite Decking

There are a variety of composite decking products on the market today. Most of them are made from a mixture of vinyl or plastics and wood by-products (fibers, sawdust, etc.). This composition allows them to echo the texture of wood while providing the durability and maintenance free features of plastic. There are a few different colors available, mostly in the brown and grey tones.

Composite deck boards are available in both extruded (with a hollow interior) and solid forms. They may or may not have a groove down each side for use with hidden fastener systems. It’s worth noting that specialty screws are required when fastening composite products. These fasteners are designed to avoid the mushroom effect that mars the surface and appearance of this type of board. They are also color coded for a nicer finish.

Vinyl Decking

Another maintenance free choice that is likely the most expensive option, vinyl decking will provide a lifetime of dependability. Available in white, tan and grey, vinyl deck boards are hollow and most often attached with a clip system. A textured finish on the top prevents slipping and thicker vinyl has greatly reduced any squeaking. Vinyl is cool to the touch no matter the weather and looks especially attractive on front porches.

You also have the option of choosing aluminum or tempered glass for the railing on your Northern Virginia deck. All of these materials provide a comfortable, attractive structure that will compliment your home and lifestyle for years. Work with your deck contractor to choose the materials that best suit your family.

How Virginia Replacement Windows Add Safety and Security to Your Home

Filed Under: Windows    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_replacement_windows_safetyHome is a place where you can rest peacefully, spend time with your loved ones and rejuvenate from the everyday stresses of life. Safety and security are two important factors to a comfortable home. Many home improvement projects are designed to add or improve these factors and Virginia replacement windows can make a significant impact in many different ways.

Avoiding Injuries From Breakage

Sliding patio doors and window inserts in your entrance and garage doors should be fitted with safety glass. If you have an older window installed in these crucial points of your home consider upgrading to newer models that utilize tempered glass or laminated glass to provide more protection.

Not only are these products more difficult to break in order to gain entry, they also present less of a danger to your family when a breakage happens accidentally. Tempered glass shatters into many small pieces instead of leaving large, extremely sharp edges and the risk of serious cuts and lacerations. Laminated glass is similar to a vehicle windshield and will remain in the frame, stuck fast together even when broken. Either of these two options makes for a wise choice when replacing windows on or in the entrance ways to your home.

Avoiding Falls From the Windows

Every year many serious and fatal injuries occur when children and pets fall through windows. This is a major risk when certain types of windows are installed in second and third storey rooms – casements, single and double hung windows can all present a danger when opened and accessible to kids.

There are certain guidelines set out by the National Safety Council that pertain to residential windows. Parents and guardians should never rely on screens to keep their young ones and pets inside the house – screens are meant to keep pests and bugs out of your home only. It’s a good idea to keep furniture and other climbable objects away from the windows, reducing the accessibility for curious little ones. Always keep the locks engaged on your windows when they are closed, as an extra safety measure for those attempting to break in and as an added barrier for children who may attempt to open them from the inside.

With weaker frames, single pane glass and fewer locking mechanisms, your existing windows may be presenting a serious danger if you have young children and pets in the house. Virginia replacement windows will not only improve the appearance and energy efficiency of your home, they will also increase the safety and security through a better design and stronger construction.

Increasing Strength to Resist Outside Forces

With intense storms raging throughout the country, the possibility of your older windows shattering from outside forces is increasing. Besides burglaries, weaker windows are also at risk of breakage from high winds, hail and heavy storms. But newer products such as impact resistant glass can substantially improve the security level of your home.

In certain cases building code requires that replacement windows in Virginia be designed with impact resistant glass. Although these windows may still break due to exterior forces, the glass will not shatter and cause harm to those sheltering inside your home. These products often use technology similar to laminated glass to provide this added protection for your family.

Worth the investment for a variety of reasons, Virginia replacement windows also improve the safety and security of your home making it a more peaceful place to live.