Guide to Replacing Your Front Door

The front door, while often overlooked, plays a large role in your home’s curb appeal.  In addition, it can play a role in the perceived value of your home. If you are like most homeowners, your front door was inherited with your home. Oftentimes, this means that your front door may not reflect the architecture of the home or your personal style. Luckily, replacing your entry door is a relatively affordable way to update the exterior of your home.

craftsman style home with mahogany front door

What Are the Benefits?

There are several benefits in replacing the front door/entry door. These benefits can include:

  1. Increased energy efficiency. Replacing your front door can mean better energy efficiency. With technological advancements, new doors typically have better insulation properties, which allows them to hold heat in the winter and keep it out in the summer. It is important to be on the lookout for doors with Energy Star stickers!
  2. Improved curb appeal. Having a front door that complements your home can greatly improve your home’s aesthetic. When choosing a door, a few factors should be considered, including: your home’s architectural style, the color of your existing siding and shutters, and your personal taste.
  3. Better security. One of the most common ways intruders break in is through the front door. A new lock system means better home security. Also, newer doors are usually constructed in sections glued together, and are fused with updated lasers and adhesives; thus, a stronger door is designed to help keep you and your family safe.

Replacing the Front Door

So let’s say that you’re sold on changing out your front door and you’re now wondering, “what’s next?” Well, in some cases replacing a door simply means replacing the old door with the new. This is called a slab or blank. On the other hand, there are times when the old door framing has to be ripped out. This includes the door jambs and threshold.

Most doors sold today are pre-hung doors. Pre-hung doors hang on hinges within the new frame and often include some type of weatherstripping. They are the perfect option for cases where the old frame was bad/rotted or if you want to install a larger door and enlarge the opening.

traditional home with red double doors front door

Materials

There are several options for a front door as far as materials. These materials include:

Wood

Wood is the most common door material. Not only are wood doors beautiful, they are also versatile and are available in nearly any stain or paint color. In addition, they can be custom made to fit any size opening or be trimmed to fit a specific doorway. Wood doors are the material of choice for custom designs!

Unfortunately, wood doors has a tendency to warp after being exposed to the elements. Thanks to new technologies, newer wood door models have veneer skins over a wood core. This not only helps to prevent warping, it also helps to lower the cost. However, they should still be examined annually for signs of warping.

Fiberglass and Composite

Fiberglass and composite doors are both durable and maintenance-free. They are a great option since they can mimic the look and feel of a wood door, while being relatively affordable. In addition, fiberglass and composite doors are durable and can stand up to dings without getting dents. Since they are so durable, they are a great choice for harsh and humid climates. While fiberglass and composite doors are durable, energy-efficient, and versatile, they are pricier than other front door options.

Steel

Steel doors are often the most affordable option and are manufactured as part of a pre-hung system. They provide more insulation that wood doors, but typically less than fiberglass. Steel doors are prone to dents; however, most minor dents can be repaired with an auto-body repair kit. Also, if exposed to direct sunlight, steel doors can become hot to the touch. Steel doors are also prone to rust so they might not be the best choice for harsher climates. In addition, they cannot be painted so customizations are limited.

craftsman style custom home with front door with transom and side lights

Choosing Your New Door

Replacing the front door/entry door can lead to smoother operation, less maintenance, increased security, better energy efficiency, and improved curb appeal. In the end, the door you choose should reflect your personal style, as well as your home’s architecture. In addition, the color, style, and hardware chosen should make your home’s curb appeal more appealing. If you have any questions, we invite you to contact us.

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Guide to Adding a Sunroom Addition

Are you considering adding on a sunroom to your home? A sunroom is a great option for those hoping to enjoy the surrounding outdoor scenery while being sheltered from wind, bugs, rain, and cold weather. In addition, being exposed to natural sunlight can help prevent the “winter blues.”

 

 

Sunrooms are defined as glassed-in living spaces with access from the main home. They are an affordable way to add additional living space without the cost of hefty construction. As with any construction project, there are many factors to be taken into consideration when planning a sunroom. These include:

Main Function

First, it is important to assess how you primarily plan on using your sunroom addition. There are endless options which include, but are not limited to:

  • Dining Room
  • Family Room
  • Greenhouse
  • Home Office
  • Exercise Room
  • Playroom

 

Three Season vs. All Season Room

Do you want your sunroom to be a three season or an all season room? Three season rooms are typically enjoyed Spring – Fall, with the space seldom used during the Winter due to lack of insulation.

While sunrooms serve as additional living space, they may get too hot/cold in the heart of summer or winter. Typically, an all season room has some form of heating and cooling. This could be a space heater, electric fireplace, or another option. For the hot summer days in Virginia we recommend installing a mini-split system. To learn more about mini-split systems, please read this blog post.

 

Location and Size

When planning for a sunroom addition, it is important to consider where you want your new structure to be. Do you picture you new sunroom off of the back, or on either side of the house? Once the location has been decided, it is important to determine the amount of sunlight room will experience. In the event that your sunroom will experience direct sunlight you may want to consider window treatments or shades. In addition, don’t forget about any items in your landscaping that might affect your sunroom – is there a tree in the way that needs to be removed?

 

Overall, the size that you choose for your sunroom will be largely determined by the space that your yard allots and how you intend to use your sunroom.

 

Window Configuration

Sunrooms are typically comprised of single or double pane windows. Double pane windows are much more energy efficient and can help to save money on heating and cooling. There are many different types of double pane windows that can be installed in a sunroom addition. Some window types to choose from include:

  • Fixed Windows
  • Slider Windows
  • Casement Windows
  • Double-Hung Windows

Choosing the right windows for your home will depend on what functionality you would like from your windows and the style of the existing windows on your home.

 

Flooring

There are many types of flooring to choose from. These include:

  • Hardwood
  • Tile
  • Carpet
  • Laminate
  • Concrete
  • Linoleum

Each type of flooring has its own drawbacks and advantages, so it is important to pick the flooring that best fits your needs. For example, tile is a durable option that can retain heat; however, dark tiles can get hot after being exposed to the sun all day.

 

Sunrooms can be a great addition to nearly any home; after all, can even increase your home value when it comes time to sell. A sunroom is the perfect place to bring family together, from enjoying morning cups of coffee to observing the sunset at the end of the day. Your sunroom addition is sure to become the most popular room in your home. Wondering how to get started on the process? Contact Balducci Exteriors to set up a free in-home consultation.

Why You Should Consider a Composite Deck

Maintaining a wood deck is a job in it of itself. Wood decking requires annual scrubbing, bleaching, and staining-not to mention having to replace the occasional board that has become rotted, warped, or splintered. Composite decking has become a popular alternative due to its minimal maintenance requirements. Considering a composite deck for your home? This is what you need to know:

composite deck contractor
Photo: Trex

When it first became available in the 1990’s, composite decking came with a higher price tag and an extremely limited color range (which was comprised primarily of grays). As technologies advanced, manufacturers were able to create a durable product that closely resembled the look of real wood. They were able to replicate the look of cherry, walnut, and beyond.

Most composite decks are made from sawdust, plastic bags, and used plastic milk jugs. Not only is this good for the environment, it also allows the decking to last longer in the elements than wood decks. Wood decks commonly rot, mold, and splinter. Luckily, composite decks aren’t prone to these issues. A composite deck may experience the occasional surface mold or discoloration, this can be easily taken care of with a household cleaner and brush.

One of the main reasons why many homeowners end up choosing composite for their decking material of choice is due to its minimal upkeep. Not only do wood decks have a tendency to splinter or rot, they also require the addition of pesticides and metals during the pressure treating process. While this aids in pest prevention, it is harmful for the environment and can be dangerous to children and animals as it deteriorates over time. Composite doesn’t require these harmful additives since it is naturally resistant to insects, mold, and decay.

Balducci Exteriors recently completed this composite deck off of this two-story home addition. The deck extends 8′ off of the addition, which provides the perfect amount of space to include some seating and a small table. The composite decking that the homeowners selected is Trex Tropics composite decking in the color “Tiki-Torch,” which beautifully accents the brick on the back of the home.

Are you tired of the constant upkeep of your current wood deck? Not sure if composite decking is worth the investment? Feel free to contact Balducci Exteriors with any questions you may have about composite decking; we are happy to help you out!

How Much Does a Window Replacement Cost?

What Determines Window Replacement Cost?

Is your home due for a window replacement? Most of the time, it is ok to scrape by with a window repair; however, if you windows get to a point where they do not close, slide open, or lock correctly, it could be time for a window replacement.

window replacement cost

Replacement windows have many benefits, including:

  1. Ease of use. Over time, your home’s windows are susceptible to swelling. Swelling occurs as moisture sits along the side of your windows, which makes them difficult to open and close. New replacement windows will be easy to operate and will be moisture free. In addition, you will experience little to no drafts since your new professionally installed windows will have a tight seal.
  2. Increased home value. According to the Remodeling 2017 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), the national average shows that window replacements can earn up to a 73.9% return on investment. Not only do replacement windows have a high ROI, they can also make your house easier to sell when the time comes.
  3. Help save money. Replacement windows means increased energy efficiency, which can lead to savings on your heating a cooling bills. Every replacement window installed by Balducci Exteriors is guaranteed to meet Energy Efficient standards. According to ENERGY STAR, you can save $126-$465 a year when replacing single-pane windows, or $27-$111 a year when replacing double-pane windows. Eventually, your windows can pay for themselves.

So how much does a window replacement cost? It is difficult to estimate the cost of your window replacement job without first seeing your home. Before a price can be determined, it is important to assess the number of windows on your home, the condition of your windows, the size of your windows, along with several other factors. Here are some factors that will affect your window replacement cost:

what determines a window replacement cost

Style

Replacement windows come in an endless array of styles to complement your home’s architecture and your personal design style. The style of window that you choose can dictate your window replacement cost. Some window styles include casement, awning, double hung, single hung, sliding, bay or bow, and custom. Bay and bow windows are typically more expensive since they require more square footage of glass and have a much more complicated structure.

Material

When choosing windows for a window replacement, another factor that will determine the cost is the material that you choose. Window replacements are available in wood, vinyl, and fiberglass. Each material comes with its own advantages:

  • Wood: Wood can be cut and customized to any shape. If they are well taken care of, wood windows can last a lifetime. Additionally, they are not susceptible to rust (which is a huge concern in areas with high humidity). While wood windows have a very classic charm to them, homeowners have the option of painting them any color on both the interior and exterior.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl windows are very affordable since they have a high demand and are mass produced. While vinyl windows are affordable, they are still very durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. One downside of vinyl windows is that it is largely available in white, since there is a likelihood of fading, and it cannot be painted.
  • Fiberglass: While fiberglass windows currently do not make up a large part of the market, there has been an increase in popularity in recent years. Fiberglass replacement windows are extremely durable and require no maintenance. A huge benefit of fiberglass is that it is made of spun glass fibers that react to temperature changes in a similar fashion to glass panes, which makes the weatherstripping more airtight. The biggest drawback with fiberglass windows is that they are much pricier than wood or vinyl counterparts.

Optional Features

Replacement windows can also come with optional features, similar to the extra bells and whistles on a new car. These optional features include accessories such as window grilles, artistic glass, and special hardware. While these features may not be an absolute necessity, they can help to bring some aesthetically pleasing details into your home.

Size of the Project and Product

Do you only need a couple of replacement windows? Or do you need a whole house window replacement? What are the size of the windows that you chose? As you may have guessed, larger windows will cost more. Additionally, if you choose to install an oversized window where a smaller window was once located, the cost will have to be increased since the installation is much more complicated.

window replacement cost factors

As you can see, there are many factors that contribute to a window replacement cost. These factors include: style, material, optional features, and the size of the project and product. However, there are some other additional factors that will determine the window replacement cost, including your geographic location. While the cost of window replacement may be overwhelming, replacement windows can increase your home value and help you save money on your energy bills. If you have any questions about types replacement windows or costs associated with a window replacement, feel free to contact us.

© 2017 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling
2017 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.

How to Choose a Shingle Color

Choosing a Shingle Color

Did you know that your roof can account for up to 40% of your home’s exterior? This is why choosing the right shingle color can be challenging. After all, the color cannot be changed. You can expect to see the color you choose for the next 20-25 years, or when you are due for a roof replacement, so it is important to thoroughly do your research and choose a color that you enjoy.

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Since your roof accounts for a significant portion of your home’s exterior, you should consider other exterior elements of your home. Some factors that will determine which shingle color you should choose include the color of your shutters, the color of your brick or siding, and the color of your front door.

vinyl windows vs wood shingle color
Custom Home by Balducci Builders, Inc.

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Creating a Color Scheme

When choosing your shingle color, it is important to consider your home’s architectural style. Homes with a higher pitch or greater slope will have more of the roof showing from the street. This includes Colonial, Cape Cod, Cottage, and other styles. If your home has any special features, such as dormers or gables, you will want to choose a color that will draw the eye up to these points of interest.

It is also important to create the right amount of contrast between your shingle color and brick or siding. Without enough contrast, your home can appear bland and boring. Creating contrast can be achieved through combining light and dark colors, as well as combining complementary colors. The same also goes for patterns. If your home is busy, with multi-color brick, stone, or siding, then it is best to choose a simple shingle color. On the other hand, homes with vinyl siding in one color may benefit from having shingles with some variation.

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Consider Location

Another factor that will help you decide what shingle color you should choose is your geographic location. What is the weather like where you live? For those in a warmer climate, there is a possibility that lighter colored roofing shingles can possibly help keep the home’s interior cooler. According to a three year study, “on sunny days, the top ply of plywood roof sheathing under black shingles was 10˚F to 15°F (5˚C to 8˚C) warmer than that of identical white shingled roof chambers.” However, the black-shingled chambers were exposed to temperatures above 120˚F for longer periods of time than the white-shingled chambers. While the study does show that it is possible that black shingles might make your home warmer, it is likely your home’s insulation quality and ventilation that determines your home’s energy efficiency. Choosing to go with lighter or darker colored shingles in the hopes of making your home cooler or warmer is up to your discretion.

Also, consider the colors around where you live. For example, the skies in the North are much more cool-toned than in the South. It is common to see home’s with gray and blue color schemes in the North, and red and brown colors in the South. This information can help to determine what color family you should choose.

Along with your geographic location, take a look at your specific neighborhood or area where you live. When choosing a shingle color, take a look at your neighbors. You don’t want your roof to stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, choose a shingle color that harmonizes well with the neighboring homes and landscape.

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Choosing the shingle color for your roof can be overwhelming; however, considering some factors such as your home’s architectural style, siding or brick color, shutter color, and geographic location can make the selection process a little easier.

Signs That You Need Replacement Windows

Windows can make up such a huge part of our home’s exterior. They provide us with warmth, sunlight, and appealing curb appeal. Unless you have been a homeowner for many years, you probably haven’t had a replacement window installed.

While there is no specific answer on how long your windows should last; however, well-maintained windows should last at least 20-25 years. Believe it or not, most window problems can be repaired before a total replacement is required. This includes adding storm windows to help improve energy efficiency, and repairing the caulking and weatherstripping.

Do you think your home needs, or could benefit, from a full window replacement? Here are some signs that it is time to bite the bullet and contact a window replacement contractor:

double pane windows, replacement window

Increased Energy-Efficiency

The idea of increased energy-efficiency is a popular reason why many homeowners will opt for replacement windows. While windows provide our home with light, warmth, and ventilation; however, they can also negatively impact our home’s heating and cooling bills. Drafty windows can cause your energy bills to be about 10% to 25% higher. At times, the energy-efficiency of your window can be improved through repairs, such as adding storm windows, repairing caulking and weatherstripping, and adding window treatments. However, at times, it is more cost effective to replace your windows instead of performing repairs. This is especially true if you have very old or inefficient windows. As a bonus, if you are selling your home, having a replacement window can be a major selling point!

Warped, Damaged, or Broken Windows

It may be time to consider replacement windows if your windows are currently warped, damaged, or broken. Some minor issues, such as a problem with the hardware or weatherstripping, can be classified as a repair job. However, larger problems, including a broken, damaged, or warped window sash or frame will almost always need to be replaced.

Less-Than Inviting Curb Appeal

Is your home’s curb appeal less than inviting? Windows are one of the most prominent features of the home’s exterior. If your windows look worn and dingy, so will your home. While the quality of the replacement window is by far the most important factor to consider, design of the window and how it will work with your home should also be a driving factor in the decision making process. It is important to choose windows that work well with your home’s style! After all, it is one of the first things that guests will see on your home.

replacement window

When hiring a window replacement company to come in and do work on your home, it is imperative to choose a reputable company that will get the job done right and use quality materials. Replacement windows are not a place to cut corners on a home. Choosing the quickest or easiest solution could mean that your windows won’t last for the approximated 20-25 year threshold. Instead, another window replacement will be required much sooner, meaning that you won’t get your full money’s worth.

Why You Should Build a Deck Addition: All Decked Out

Your backyard is your very own sanctuary to relax, play with the kids, and entertain family and friends. Want to step it up a notch? Consider adding a deck addition to your home. After all, they are they perfect place for outdoor entertainment.

deck addition contractor

Deck additions are a great investment for your home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report for 2017 (www.costvsvalue.com), they can return up to 62.7% of the initial costs for a deck addition in the Richmond, Virginia area. Additionally, decks are a sought after feature for many homebuyers. Homebuyers often want to see a family friendly home that they can see themselves spending time in, this includes the outdoor space. Having a deck addition will make your home that much more desirable when it comes time to sell!

A deck can be the perfect way to add on some extra entertaining space without the cost of a full room addition. Home additions can take months to complete. Additionally, decks are usually much less invasive than home additions since the bulk of the work is kept outside of the home.

deck addition contractor

A deck can improve the beauty of your home. Decks can be built in virtually any design and style to suit your home. One of the main factors that determines what your deck will ultimately look like is the material that you choose. Some decking materials include: pressure treated wood, composite, aluminum, and plastic.

  1. Pressure treated wood decking is the most common material for deck additions. This is perhaps because it is the most affordable option on the market. While you will see a high return on investment with a wood deck, it will require annual maintenance.
  2. Plastic decking is by far the most weather resistant decking material available. However, some cheaper versions can get extremely slippery when wet.
  3. On the contrary, aluminum decking is extremely durable and slip-resistant. This material can stand up to harsh weather conditions and is much lighter than other materials. Unfortunately, it will also make the biggest dent in your budget.
  4. Composite decking is becoming a more and more popular option. This is because it has the beauty of wood without the upkeep. Some major downsides with composite is that it can be slippery, is susceptible to stains, and tends to be a little more costly than other options.

Ultimately, the material that you choose for your deck is dependent upon your budget and the time that you plan on devoting to upkeeps. If you have any further questions choosing a decking material that is right for you, feel free to contact us for a free consultation and we would be happy to help you.

deck addition contractor

Whatever the reason for wanting to add a deck to your home, make sure it is done properly. After all, a deck made of quality materials should provide you and your family years of enjoyment. For expert deck installation in the metro Richmond, Virginia area, feel free to contact Balducci Exteriors with any questions.

© 2017 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling
2017 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.