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!

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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.

Planning an Outdoor Kitchen (And Why You Need One)

For many people, outdoor kitchens are a far fetched dream. They exude luxury entertainment and can be as well equipped as any indoor kitchen. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home has many benefits. In addition to providing an awesome entertainment space, an outdoor kitchen can increase your home value. Some other lesser known benefits of adding an outdoor kitchen include: cooking healthier recipes, saving money by eating out less, and keeping bad cooking smells out of your home.

outdoor kitchen

When planning an outdoor kitchen space, there are several things to keep in mind to create an efficient and inviting space. here are some tips to make the planning process a little less overwhelming:

Establish the Location

Often, the first step in planning your outdoor kitchen is to establish where you want the kitchen to be located. Typically, it is better to have your outdoor kitchen closer to your house if you plan on using some appliances in the main kitchen, or if you have a smaller yard size. This set up works well if you plan on using your outdoor kitchen for mainly grilling and will keep condiments and beverages inside. placing your outdoor kitchen close to the house makes preparing meals in the outdoor kitchen more convenient. However, if you want a more extravagant outdoor kitchen, placing it farther away from the home will serve the space better. This is also preferable if you have a larger yard size. Plus, this will help to keep fumes and smells outside of your home.

Choose Your Equipment

Choosing a grill for your outdoor kitchen can be overwhelming. After all, it is typically the focal point of any outdoor kitchen. Will you have natural gas or charcoal? How many guests do you plan on cooking for? Grills can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Practically speaking, you will want a grill that has at least 12,000 British thermal units per burner, ample cooking space, and a grill cover. Once you have the basics covered, feel free to add on any bells and whistles that you desire.

In addition to the grill, it is also important to determine any other appliances that you wish to include. This can include anything from a small refrigerator or prep sink, to a kegerator and pizza oven. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing appliances for your outdoor kitchen is their durability.

Planning the Layout and Materials

Just as any kitchen should have a good, working design and configuration between the appliances and prep areas, so should your outdoor kitchen. A good way to ensure the efficiency of an outdoor kitchen layout is by utilizing a working triangle. In a working triangle, it is important to leave enough space between each appliance to allow for ample prep and cooking space without feeling too claustrophobic. Going along with the working triangle, it is also important to allot for ample countertop space. It is recommended that you have at least 12 inches of work space on either side of the grill to set down plates and utensils as you’re cooking. In addition to a work space, you can configure your countertops to also serve as a serving and eating space.

The countertops and all other materials that you choose must be hardworking. After all, it will be exposed to whatever the weather brings – from bright sunlight to snowfall. Some durable and low maintenance materials include stainless steel and tile.

Plan for Lighting

Lighting is an essential part of any outdoor living space, especially for outdoor kitchens. Including lights in your outdoor kitchen area can allow you to enjoy your space long after dinner. The best way to effectively incorporate lighting into your outdoor kitchen is by including both task lighting and ambient lighting. This can be accomplished by installing a couple of lights over the grilling and food prep areas, as well as any dining areas. To set the mood, it is also a good idea to include some decorative lights, such as string lights, solar powered lights, candles, and even tiki torches.

outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are a great investment for those who love to invite family and friends over by adding additional entertaining space. Planning an outdoor kitchen can be overwhelming; however, it can be made a little more manageable if you plan its location, equipment, appliances, materials, and lighting ahead of time. Once your outdoor kitchen is complete, don’t forget to plan that long awaited barbecue with family and friends to enjoy your new space.

4 Driveway Materials That Aren’t Concrete or Asphalt

Today, there are a limitless number of driveway options available. However, it seems that concrete and asphalt driveways are the most common driveway materials in the majority of residential areas. This is because these materials are affordable and relatively easy to install. While concrete and asphalt are good options, there are many others on the market. Here are four driveway option ideas:

Brick Paver Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: The Spruce

Brick driveways give off a classical feel and are perfect for colonial, craftsman, and other architectural styles; however, they can be a beautiful addition to almost any home. Brick paver driveways are extremely durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions and frequent use. This driveway material is durable and should last at least 25 years.

Cobblestone Paver Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: Unilock

Cobblestone paver driveways are notorious for their “Old World” appeal and are usually composed of granite. Cobblestone driveways may be one of the most expensive driveway options; however, a well-built cobblestone driveway can easily last over a century. One major advantage of cobblestone is that wear and tear will only accentuate the cobblestone’s character.

Macadam Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: Pinterest

Macadam driveways, also referred to as “tar and chip” driveways consist of aggregate layers of stone and a binding agent. Unlike asphalt, macadam driveways are low maintenance since they don’t require a yearly sealing. In addition to being low maintenance, they are also affordable. Macadam is slightly cheaper than asphalt to install. Furthermore, macadam driveways can last around a decade and can provide good traction, even in the rain.

Concrete Paver Driveways

driveway driveways contractor
Photo: The Spruce

Concrete pavers is a very versatile driveway option since it is available in a variety of shapes, colors, styles, and patterns. Concrete paver driveways can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years. The biggest downfall of concrete is that it can stain easily; however, choosing pavers over large slabs is a huge advantage since you can easily replace individual pavers.