Composite Decking for Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor decks are a great way to add an entertainment area to your home. What many people do not know is that there are many available decking materials for you to choose from. The available materials include wood, plastic, aluminum, and composite. Composite decking is a great option because it is low maintenance, has an attractive appearance, and it is durable.

 

composite decking
Photo: Pinterest

Low Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits that comes with composite decking is that it does away with the burden of constant upkeep. Wood decks need to be re-stained, power washed, and sanded regularly to maintain their appearance. Composite decking doesn’t require re-staining or sanding.

Additionally, wood decks also require the addition of pesticides and metals during the pressure treating process. While this helps to prevent pests, it is bad 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.

 

Durability

Composite decking is comprised of waste wood, plastic, and other recycled materials. Since it combines wood with plastic, it lasts longer in the elements than wood decks. Wood decks are known to rot, mold, and splinter. On the other hand, composite decks don’t experience these problems. The only thing that you need to look for in composite decking is the occasional surface mold and discoloration. This can be easily taken care of with a household cleaner and a brush.

 

 

Appearance

Many homeowners choose to go with composite decking because of their consistent coloring. Since they are manufactured, each board will look identical to the next. On the other hand, wood decks are known to fade to a dusty gray after a few years if they are not properly maintained.

 

composite decking
Photo: Pinterest

Since composite decking is manufactured, it is constantly improving with advancements in technology and the manufacturing process. Although composite decks are a great option, they are a little more pricey than wood decks. However, a composite deck doesn’t require much maintenance – which means more time can be spent enjoying your outdoor living space with your family.

Benefits of a Vinyl Siding Replacement

As you may know, vinyl siding is one of the most popular siding options available. When vinyl siding first became available, it was meant to replace the then-popular aluminum siding. Early vinyl siding quickly earned a bad name for many homeowners since it had a tendency to crack and sag. However, that is simply not the case nowadays. If you choose to have a vinyl siding replacement for your home, you will see some of the biggest benefits associated with vinyl siding.

vinyl siding colors vinyl siding replacement
Custom Home by Balducci Builders, Inc.

Variety

Vinyl siding is no longer the cheap, plastic product of the past. Thanks to improving technologies, vinyl siding is now manufactured in a wide variety of styles, colors, and textures. Vinyl can even be manufactured to mimic the look of cedar shakes, ceramic tile, and more. In the past, vinyl was often only available in white or light-hued colors. With the progression of anti-fade technologies, vinyl siding is now available in endless colors – ranging from your darkest grays to your brightest whites!

Affordable

Perhaps the biggest reason why vinyl siding is so popular is because it is by far the most affordable house siding option available. In addition, the average lifespan on vinyl siding is about 50 years, which means that you will be getting your money’s worth. According to the Remodeling Cost vs. Value report for 2017 (costvsvalue.com), a vinyl siding replacement will recoup an average of 76.4% of your investment. This proves that a vinyl siding replacement is a great investment for your home.

Durable

If you decide to have a vinyl siding replacement for your home, you will be lucky enough to witness the durability of vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is made to withstand the elements – from wind, to rain, to hail. It even has the ability to withstand high winds of more than 200 mph. Additionally, vinyl is resistant to moisture, meaning it is not likely to rust or corrode over time.

vinyl siding replacement

Simple Maintenance

A great thing about a vinyl siding replacement is that vinyl is virtually maintenance free. Vinyl siding will never need repainting, which is required for other types of siding. The only maintenance that is required for vinyl siding is an annual cleaning with mild soap and water, which means that the rest of the year leaves time to relax.

Easy to Install

Having a vinyl siding replacement done on your home is a relatively cheap and simple process. This is mainly because vinyl is a lightweight material. Vinyl siding can be installed over existing materials, making it a great retrofit option. As a bonus, since vinyl siding is simple to install it helps to cut down on labor costs.

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

Slate Roofs: What You Should Know About Them

Origin of Slate Roofing

The first slate quarry in the United States opened in 1785 in Pennsylvania; however, it wasn’t until the middle of the nineteenth century that slate roofs saw more demand and popularity. This was largely due to an increasing population, advances in technology developed for quarrying, and the extension of the railroad. In addition, several slate quarries opened in Virginia, New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. Near the turn of the century, the United States slate roofing industry reached its all time high with over 200 slate quarries.

Slate saw a drop in demand around 1915 due to an an increase in competition from substitute materials, including asphalt shingles. These alternative materials then surpassed slate in popularity since they were  offered at a cheaper price. This is because they could be mass produced, more easily transported, and had a simpler installation than slate roofs. However, there has been a recent increase in popularity in slate roofs due to their obvious advantages over asphalt roofs.

slate roofs slate roofing companies roofing contractor
Photo: GAF TruSlate Onyx Black slate shingles

Slate vs. Asphalt Roofing

The biggest differences between asphalt and slate roofs is the price tag and the longevity. Asphalt shingles are one of the least expensive materials, while slate roofs tend to be one of the most expensive options. One of the biggest drawbacks of asphalt shingles is their short lifespan; asphalt shingles only last around 25 years. This is a small period of time compared to slate roof tiles, which last over twice as long. Some slate roofs can even last for over 2 centuries.

Benefits of Slate Roofing

Aside from their natural beauty, slate roofs are best known for their longevity and fire resistance. As we discussed, slate roofing tiles outlast asphalt roofs by a long shot. This is a major advantage, especially for those who plan to stay in their homes for some time. Additionally, slate roofs are available in a variety of colors including: gray, black, blue-gray, red, green, and purple.

slate roofs slate roofing roofing contractor
Slate Roofing Tiles

Since slate roofs are a huge investment for your home, it is worth it to perform regular maintenance and inspections on your roof. After all, regular maintenance is important to maintain the longevity of your slate roof. Maintenance includes cleaning out gutters and replacing broken tiles. Additionally, an overall inspection on your slate roof should be performed by an experienced professional approximately every 5 to 7 years.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns of slate roofs is the installation. Slate shingles are extremely fragile and prone to breaking or cracking, which is why it is important to hire a professional with experience in slate roofing. Slate is a beautiful option for any home and has a natural beauty unlike any other roofing option.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Planning Your Outdoor Living Space in 3 Steps

Outdoor living spaces are a great way to add value to your home and create an inviting space for family and friends to come together. By creating an outdoor living space, many homeowners are able to create a space that would otherwise get used infrequently, or not at all. Some of our outdoor living ideas include:

outdoor living ideas contractor
Photo: Custom Home by Balducci Builders, Inc.

Outdoor Living Ideas – #1 – Define Separate Outdoor Living Areas

One of the best ways to create an outdoor living space is to define it through a structural element. This can include anything from a pergola, trellis, or fence. By including a structural element, it will inform guests that they are entering a new space that is separate from the rest of the home. While you want your outdoor space to be separated from the rest of your home, you do want your outdoor space to flow from the rest of your house. The best way to create a harmonious flow from the indoor and outdoor living spaces is to continue the same style of your indoor decor with the outdoor spaces.

Outdoor Living Ideas – #2 Create an Easy Entry Point to the Outdoor Living Space

A great way to mingle the indoor with the outdoor space is by including a way to easily access the two spaces. A simple doorway may do the trick; however, we believe that the larger the entryway, the better. The easier it is to access the two two spaces, the more seamless the transition. We recommend installing large French doors or ultra-wide sliding doors. If this is not feasible, it might be a good idea to include a couple of windows around the doorway to let in extra light and a clearer view to the outdoor living space. As a bonus of having a clearer view to the outside, you’ll want to spend more time in your outdoor space.

outdoor living ideas contractor
Photo: Screened Porch by Balducci Exteriors

Outdoor Living Ideas – #3 Define the Purpose of Each Area in the Outdoor Living Space

Once your outdoor living space is clear and defined, it is time to decide what areas will serve what purpose. Some of the most popular outdoor living ideas include outdoor kitchens, dining rooms, and living areas.  You may choose to include all of these options, or any combination of the three (depending on the size of your outdoor living space and your personal preferences). Some other ideas include zen gardens, basketball courts, and bocce ball. The possibilities are endless!

outdoor living ideas contractor
Photo: Custom Outdoor Kitchen by Balducci Builders, Inc.

Outdoor living spaces can be the perfect entertainment area for family and friends; however, planning an outdoor living space can be overwhelming. We hope that these outdoor living ideas will help you plan your home’s outdoor space. Of course, after your outdoor living space has been planned out, it is time to choose the finishing touches of the space. This includes items such as lighting, seating, appliances, and materials. If you have any further questions regarding outdoor living spaces, don’t hesitate to contact Balducci Exteriors.

Floor to Ceiling Windows

Some views deserve to be un-interrupted, which is why floor to ceiling windows are a great option. In addition to adding in lots of extra sunlight, these oversized windows help to bring the outdoors in. Whether you are looking to brighten up a space or enjoy a picturesque view, floor to ceiling windows can be one of your favorite features in your home.

floor to ceiling windows window replacement
Floor to Ceiling Windows from Pella. Photo: Pinterest

Prior to installation, it is a good idea to consider the angle in which the sunlight reaches that area of your home, the time of day, and the time of day you plan on spending time in this space. For example, some may not like the sun beaming into their home early in the morning, while others may prefer it.

To avoid too much harsh sunlight, an option would be to consider investing in window coverings for those days when the extra light isn’t as necessary. For floor to ceiling windows, curtains and blinds are the two most common window treatments. Blinds offer a minimalistic look. They work well to minimize harsh sunlight, while also allowing for a clear view when not in use. On the other hand, curtains can add a feeling of luxury. In addition, they can block out more sunlight than blinds since the material is typically much more opaque (depending on the material you purchase).

As you may know, custom made windows can get costly. Even though the view may be slightly interrupted, a great way to save some money would be to arrange several factory sized windows together to create a gallery of windows. This is also a great opportunity to create an eye-catching display that will wow your guests.

floor to ceiling windows window replacement window repair
Floor to Ceiling Windows from Anderson Windows and Doors. Photo: Pinterest

While floor to ceiling windows can be installed in almost any room, they can be used seamlessly between indoor and outdoor living spaces. We recommend including French doors, or sliding doors, for easy access between the two spaces. Combining indoor and outdoor spaces with floor to ceiling windows is perfect for those who love to entertain. Essentially, you are no longer confined to one entertaining space and your guests can mingle seamlessly between spaces.

Unfortunately, it is hard to pinpoint an exact cost of floor to ceiling windows since every space will require a different dimension. The cost of floor to ceiling windows in your home will depend on several factors including size, quality, your geographic location, and installation costs. Even though floor to ceiling windows are often pricey, they can dramatically update the look in any home and can be incorporated with any design style.

The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Windows vs Wood

Window replacements are a great investment for your home. New windows can help you save money, add value to your home, and provide ease of use. Vinyl and wood are two of the most popular window materials on the market today. Like many finishes to your home, vinyl and wood have their own advantages and disadvantages.

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

Cost of vinyl windows vs wood

The cost of vinyl windows is unbeatable. It is the least expensive window material on the market and it is widely available. Part of the reason why vinyl windows are so cheap is due to their mass-production and high demand. On the other hand, this often means that custom vinyl windows can cost a bit more.

Wood windows typically cost significantly more than vinyl, not including the additional maintenance costs. Unlike vinyl, wood can be cut and customized to any shape.

vinyl windows vs wood
Vinyl Windows by Pella Windows & Doors

Durability of vinyl windows vs wood

Vinyl windows may be the least expensive material; however, vinyl windows are durable, despise their low price tag, and are not susceptible to rust or corrosion.

If they are well taken care of, wood windows can last a lifetime. Additionally, wood windows are not prone to rust-which can be a huge concern in areas with high-humidity.

Colors and finishes of vinyl windows vs wood

Vinyl windows are often available in white. This is largely due to the likelihood of darker colors fading. Often, manufacturers consider darker vinyl colors as “premium” colors and end up charging more. In addition, many paints have a hard time sticking to vinyl; thus, the color you choose for your vinyl windows is often the one you are stuck with until they are replaced.

Wood windows have that classic charm that vinyl windows often try to imitate. While many homeowners that decide to incorporate the natural wood look into the interior of their home, wood windows can be painted any color on both the interior and exterior of your home.

vinyl windows vs wood
Wood Windows by Pella Windows and Doors

Maintenance of vinyl windows vs wood

Vinyl windows require very little maintenance, which is one of their biggest selling points. They never need to be sanded or painted, and they can be cleaned easily with soap and water.

Wood windows will need repainting every few years or so. When wood windows go untreated, they can rot and swell from moisture. This causes the window to be difficult to open and close.

Insulating factor of vinyl windows vs wood

Vinyl windows are good insulators; however, since vinyl windows are often hollow, they have a more difficult time keep hot and cold air out of the home than wood windows.

Quality, wood windows are the best insulators of the materials available today. In the long run, wood windows can actually help you save a ton of money on your heating and cooling bills.

There are several factors to consider when choosing vinyl windows vs wood including: cost, durability, colors and finishes, maintenance, and energy-efficiency. While vinyl and wood are both quality window options, it is ultimately your preferences that determine whether you choose to install vinyl or wood windows.

5 Roofing Materials and What You Need to Know About Them

In addition to providing your family shelter, your roof can help to accentuate your home’s curb appeal and add value to your home. When choosing a new roof, it is important to do you research about different roofing materials. Here are 5 roofing materials and what you need to know about them:

roofing materials roofing companies richmond

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are by far the most popular option for roofs. They gained some popularity due to their affordability and versatility. Asphalt shingles typically last around 20 to 30 years and a fairly easy to install. They are a great roofing option and they are very common; however their over-popularity can also be its downfall.

roofing materials

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are typically made of red cedar, cypress, redwood, and pine trees. While they are extremely beautiful, they are expensive to install. Wood roofs are great insulators and can be repaired easily. One thing to keep in mind is that these types of shingles require regular maintenance. However, with good maintenance, wood shingles should last 30 to 50 years.

roofing materials

Slate Roofing Tile

Slate roofs are a natural stone product. They are well known for their beauty and are often associated with luxury homes due to their hefty price tag. One of the main benefits of slate roofs is that they are built to last. With proper installation, they can easily last over a century. Additionally, slate is one of the most fire-proof roofing material available. Perhaps the biggest drawback of slate roofs is that it is difficult to install, and even more difficult to find an experienced contractor. Slate tiles are extremely heavy and can break easily if they are dealt by someone who is not familiar with them.

roofing materials

Metal Roofing

Metal Roofs are typically made of steel, aluminum, or copper. They are lightweight, which allows them to sometimes be installed over old roofs. Instead of absorbing the sun’s heat, metal roofs reflect the heat due to its high solar reflexivity. The percentage of solar reflexivity overall depends on the color you choose; however, it is typically much higher compared to the 5% average of asphalt shingles. Perhaps the best thing about metal roofs is that they require little to no maintenance. While metal roofs tend to be more expensive initially, they can last for as long as 50 years.

roofing materials

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is one of the oldest forms of roofing, with origins in Ancient Greek and Roman times. Thus, it is often seen in the Mediterranean. In addition to having reflective properties likes its metal roof counterpart, ceramic tile roofs aren’t susceptible to rot or mold, can withstand high winds, and does not expand or contract with the temperature. Even though they are beautiful, ceramic tile is a very expensive material and it is extremely labor intensive to install. However, ceramic tile roofs are long-lasting and have a 60-80 year lifespan.

roofing materials

When choosing roofing materials, don’t feel as though you need to stick with asphalt shingles. While the typical asphalt shingles are a great option, you should also consider other materials such as slate, wood, metal, and ceramic.