LP SmartSide & Home Builders

Home Builders Installing LP SmartSide Siding On The Rise

 

Home Builder Houston Texas Today many professional home builders are choosing to install LP SmartSide siding during the construction of new homes. Many homeowners and contractors may ask why they are choosing LP SmartSide over other products? One thing for certain is that the builders are trying to achieve a high level of energy efficiency and stability in the homes they build for homeowners. 

By installing LP SmartSide Trim & Siding, many home builders are able to maintain the strict standards of several energy efficiency programs while building quality custom homes which are strong and will withstand the elements better. A key factor in the construction of these homes is the use of LP SmartSide Trim and Siding.  The product looks nice and is easier to install than other products, for instance, the product can be cut just like wood and does not require special cutting equipment such as those needed for fiber cement products. Additionally, the LP product relies on sustainable, fast-growing trees to engineer a quality product. 

Home Builders Across The Country Switching To LP SmartSide Siding

Regent Homes 

Regent Homes, currently the sixth largest builder in Nashville, has started using LP SmartSide. This builder has used a number of different building materials over the years, but after experiencing various problems with the fiber cement siding, Regent Homes switched to SmartSide siding. Davis McGowen, the president of the company decided it was time to try something different. They reported having problems with the durability of fiber cement as well as trouble  getting the manufacturer to stand behind their warranty.  They started using LP SmartSide over a year ago and now will not use anything else in the construct their new homes.

Regent homes is committed to traditional neighborhood developments and its timeless architectural designs. This builder targets its communities toward specific consumer groups from various income levels. The president if this company relies on siding as an integral part of the exterior designs.

Regent is very impressed with LP’s industry-leading 5/50 Year Limited Warranty, which includes a 5-year replacement labor and material feature. One of the benefits which sold McGown on LP SmartSide was the fact that his crews could use regular tools and did not need to purchase specialty tools to install the product. Also, the crews did not have to be so concerned with damaging the product during installation due to its durability. McGowen says that LP SmartSide can take daily jobsite wear and tear and not show it.

The LP SmartSide siding comes in longer lengths which makes for fewer seams. Regent was so impressed with the product, they are now using several LP Products on their new home construction. In addition to using the siding product, they have also started using LP SmartSide Trim & Siding, LP TechShield Radiant Barrier Sheathing, LP TopNotch  Sub-Flooring and LP  SolidStart  LSL and LVL. All of these product are part of Regent Homes energy smart program.

Hardaway Construction 

Hardaway Construction, a leading builder in the southern United States, recently constructed a 6,500 square foot school in Tennessee and they did this in less than a week using LP SmartSide products. Project managers, Byron Olsen and Darrell Etheridge met early on and determined a need for a high degree of efficiency on the project, both agreeing to use LP products. Hardaway Construction likes LP SmartSide Siding & Trim, LP SolidStart LSL and LP TechShield Radiant Barrier products, all of these they selected and did they ever get the job done!

LP SolidStart LSL has several advantages over regular lumber such as it being stronger, straighter and having a more consistent moisture content which helps prevent warping and twisting. Since the product is engineered wood, it saved the company tons of time on the job site as there is no need to cut and work around imperfections and knots as you would with natural wood. This alone resulted in substantial reduction of time as well as wasted product.

Olsen and Etheridge both expressed they liked the fact that you could cut it and screw into it just as you would with normal lumber and also like the fact the product’s resistance to termites and fungal decay, this is due to LP’s proprietary SmartGuard manufacturing process. Once again, because the product comes in longer pieces, fewer pieces need to be handled by work crews making for less of the possibility of pieces getting destroyed.

Roth Homes

Roth Homes was looking for a way to achieve affordable homes without sacrificing quality. So the company decided to choose LP products because of its beauty, affordability and proven quality. The products they use are: LP  SolidStart  LSL, LP SolidStart LVL, LP SolidStart I-Joists and LP SolidStart Rim Board. Roth Homes Installed LP SmartSide Siding & Trim on their newly built homes with great results. Using these products has made a big difference for Roth homes.

They report that they are able to have less call-backs and are receiving better customer satisfaction ratings. According to Josh Edwards, president of Roth Homes, all of the framing products work well together and are more cost efficient than any other products they have used in the past. He also expressed that they do not have any complaints of floors settling since they started using the SolidStart I-Joists. Edwards also said that the wide flanges which help with the stability.

They don’t just use the LP products on the inside they use it on the outside as well. Roth homes uses LP SmartSide to help deliver a beautiful home to their customers. Edwards says it is easier to install and paint and the paint stays on.

Cornerstone Construction 

Cornerstone Construction, based out of Spokane Washington, was looking for a way to offer new homes with a high level of efficiency which would also be less expensive to maintain. Since LP SmartSide is made with sustainable, fast-growing trees and is engineered to be more durable and environmentally friendly, it was the obvious choice for Cornerstone to switch to.

Jeremy Brennan, of Cornerstone Construction said, aside from the product looking nice, it is much easier to install than any other product he has used in the past. He also shared that he likes the fact that LP SmartSide comes with a 5/50 Year Transferable Limited Warranty and the five-year, 100 percent labor and replacement feature. Cornerstone’s customers enjoy that the LP product has less frequent upkeep, that it meets multiple standards of energy efficiency and it is certainly a plus that the LP products maintain high levels of sustainability.

Executive Homes

Executive Homes Builders has also decided to switch to LP Smart siding. After years of using fiber cement siding, the owner Pete Gray, was not happy with its performance. He said the installation process could be difficult, especially after normal jobsite wear and tear on the product. He was also looking for a product which was backed by strong technical support, had great performance and had a comprehensive warranty.

The company had been using SmartSide trim for years because for some time the fiber cement siding company had not offered it, so it only made sense to switch to SmartSide siding. After using it a few months, Gray said, SmartSide siding installations are durable and could be installed with common carpenter tools. After instillation he said it painted much easier and had fewer seams than any other product he had worked with in the past. His workers reported that it was light, strong and easy to handle on the jobsite.

TV Experts and LP SmartSide Siding

Not only are big companies making the switch, but some TV experts are switching to LP SmartSide as well. Jeff Wilson, Regular Guy, star of several programs on DIY Network and HGTV, recently decided to renovate his home in southeastern Ohio. He relied mainly on engineered wood products because they are more environmentally responsible. Wilson used LP TechShield Radiant Barrier Sheathing and other products like underlay and roofing. Oriented Strand Board was used on the walls, along with LP SmartSide Siding and Trim, LP SolidStart I-Joists and LP TopNotch 350 for sub-flooring. Once again Jeff Wilson says the LP SmartSide is easier to work with because of the longer length and far less seams. The SmartSide product can be cut with regular tools using basic construction techniques.  Wilson also stated that by using Gecko Gages he could easily handle a 16 foot piece by himself.

Why Are Home Builders Using LP SmartSide Siding?

Below are a few of the many reasons:

  • Ease of Installation
  • Much Less Breakage
  • Longer Warranty
  • Many LP Products Available  

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are several big companies who are making the switch not only to LP SmartSiding but other LP products. I have highlighted a few of the companies above but there are several more if you would like to read more such as KB Homes, DR Horton, Green Eco Builders and David Weekley Homes. Our research has found that LP products get high ratings for their ease of installation, durability and low maintenance. Not mention the outstanding warranty that comes with their products and the sustainability factor. It seems like more and more new home builders and contractors have and will continue to be switching to LP SmartSide siding products in the near future, just like Texas Home Exteriors and many others have. 

Posted in Texas Home Exteriors | 3 Comments

Siding Combinations

Home Siding Combinations 

Vertical board & batten Siding Houston TXAs you make the decision to remodel on your exterior and replace your home siding, you may be considering doing away with the boring same-old-same-old color combinations or getting away from the same look as everyone else on your block has. Now you have a variety of options compared to a few years back when the boring matchy-matchy look was the only way to go but not anymore.

Today many homeowners are opting for a new fresher look using a combination of color and materials or siding profiles giving for a huge variety of options along with a more modern look. We no longer have the limited selection we used to of steel, aluminum, stone, brick or vinyl siding with the same look for the entire home, now we get to choose from a variety of profiles for a fresh new look for our homes. Most often people add some accents by mixing and matching of materials around the entryway to the home. This is a great place to incorporate some personality to the home as not only is it right up front at the entrance but typically smaller amounts of materials are needed in this area allowing for homeowners to invest in higher end products such as real or synthetic stone or brick for accents. Be mindful of your choices as you want to make sure you are creating a home with curb appeal.

Fall In Love With You Home Siding

When people see your new look, you may find many people falling in love with the outside of your home maybe to the point they may never even want to go in to see the inside! Below you will find a few tips to help you achieve a new and exciting look on your home. One way is by using multiple exterior colors which can be incorporated by using a contrasting trim color to the color of siding you have chosen along with a third color for accent. Make sure to use the same combination of siding and colors on your home entryway which is the focal point of any home. If you are considering siding your home with all stone and brick, keep in mind that this can quickly become quite costly so an alternative would be to use a combination of say vinyl and cement board siding or engineered wood siding enhancing it with some faux stone work or a different siding profile like horizontal on some parts and vertical, shingle or scallop siding profile on others. This will cost much less but allows you to still achieve a great and different look. 

Old VS. New 

The old way to achieve this look would be to choose coordinating stone and siding by selecting stones which are similar in color. Instead, try selecting a siding that is a few shades lighter or darker than your selected stone which will provide for a nice contrast. Many homeowners are no longer going for the plain white house with the black shutters but having fun with mixing and matching combinations.

Many Siding Combination Choices and Styles

Perfection Straight Edge Cedar-Shingles & Lap SidingThese days, paint color choices are endless and there are a variety of siding profile options available to homeowners. Many manufactures of pre-colored siding are even letting customers pick their own custom colors. If you are not sure what color to choose, you might try looking around your neighborhood or browsing around the internet to see what siding colors and combinations of siding profiles other homeowners have selected.

Of course you don’t have to choose the exact same color that was on your home previously, but it is best if you don’t go too extreme and keep in mind that some HOAs and POAs require approval for new siding or colors so check into this as well. Also keep in mind that if you ever decide to sell the home, you want to consider what might be appealing to the potential new buyers. When selecting the profiles and colors to use on your new siding look, be sure to take into consideration your home’s architecture design as some types of homes will look okay with bold choices while others may not. It is always a good idea to choose your main siding color first then work with different accent colors to see which looks best. You really cannot go wrong with color combinations such as: beiges and browns, reds and browns and some shades of green and orange.

The Biggest Influence On Your Homes Exterior 

The biggest consideration for the appearance of the exterior of your homes outside is going to be the siding you choose. There are several styles and solutions to explore and consider. You are no longer  limited to just one style or type of siding but a variety of styles, options and profiles. You can choose from a variety of types of siding like vinyl, wood, mixed material, metal, fiber cement and others. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different types of siding allowing you to get the most out of your remodel and options. For example, if you have a home that has mainly a brick exterior, you might add vinyl siding or composite metal siding to accent walls. This will give an illusion of extra dimensional space and make your home stand out by giving off shadows and lighting. This could be added on the ground floor or carried over to the second story of your home. For instance, the first story could be brick or stone siding and the second story could be stucco, wood, vinyl or any combination of the three! The best thing about being able to mix and match is that you will not be limited to just one or two choices but even several. You can also try mixing and matching siding styles with different types of window treatments considering how they might complement one another.

Regional Trends 

Staggered Cedar Shakes & Lap SidingGenerally homeowners material choices have a tendency to go with regional trends. For instance, vinyl is big in the east and midwest part of the United States, while in the south part of the states a preference to brick with natural wood siding being the strongest in the northwest. These regional lines have become a little blurry over the years though since people have had more of a tendency to move across country and bring their values and preferences with them.

The economy can play a key role in choices as well with those who have less money spending less on their homes. For instance, vinyl which has a low cost and almost effortless maintenance is by far the most popular material for those wanting an inexpensive and low-maintenance option. Most people who are upgrading their vinyl siding like new options such as thicker panels, darker colors and other accessories and the look of shake has been becoming very popular with its durability, authenticity, and cedar-inspired vinyl products.

Dark Colors Are Back

Dark paint colors have been becoming more and more popular for siding choices. James Hardie and LP SmartSide Siding companies now offer Fascia boards designed to accept HardieSoffit panels. This eliminates the need to nail through the visible portion of either material, thus eliminating the need to touch up the factory finish after installation. Homeowners are using trim boards as a way to add dimension and contrasting colors to their homes while having fun with design.

With all of the materials and color combinations out there today, homeowners have an infinite number of choices when changing their home siding. With the freedom to experiment with color, style and texture allowing them to be creative and think outside just the four walls. You can ensure your home stands out by using rich color combinations or try using horizontal clapboard with half round shingles to impart texture and detail. Vertical siding will draw your eye skyward and can add dimension to the center of your home. You can pair board & batten with clapboard siding on a single wall, or polymer perfection shingles on walls with staggered rough-split shakes in gable areas.

Light colors will make your home appear larger and have a brighter curb appeal while darker roof colors harmonize with deep blues, greens and browns. If you choose a more neutral roof color it allows for a stronger siding color. Dark trim colors work best to frame your home. When selecting your main siding color, it is best to choose a shade or two lighter than your roof color. Also, it has become more and more common to use two or more exterior wall colors with varied trim colors. To be safe, try to stay in the same color family when mixing colors.

Mixing and matching stone and siding is easier than you think. First you will need to decide on a stone profile. If it is a large area you might choose cut cobblestone or field stone for larger areas you might use ledgestone or shadow ledgestone. Next look at the characteristics of the stone and be sure they fit well with the architecture of the home. Next you will need to choose a siding color. It is best if you choose a color which is present in your stone or one that complements the most dominant color in your stone selection. Typically it is best if the stone color is a shade or two darker than the siding color. But keep in mind that you don’t want them to be a perfect match as you will not be able to tell from the street where the siding ends and the stone begins. Next you will need to choose a secondary house color for trim and accents. You can try using one of the secondary colors in your stone for trim and accent color.

See some ideas in our photo gallery

Links for Siding Combinations 

Angies List – Mix Match Home Siding 

Pro Remodeler – Siding Trends 

Houzz – Stone Siding Combination 

New Home Source – Latest Home Siding Options  

Conclusion 

In conclusion, mixing and matching with siding in today’s world basically means that you coordinate the color, style, profiles of your siding selection with other exterior products such as your doors, windows, and roofing. You can choose trim pieces and siding accessories that will be colored to contrast with the siding. It has been becoming more and more common to see homeowners choosing the mixing of materials and styles on their home exteriors. You see lap siding on the exterior with polymer shakes or corbels on the gable ends, board-and-batten siding in the peaks or stone veneer as an accent. Today there is a vast array of materials available to homeowners. Take your pick such as:

  • vinyl siding
  • polypropylene siding
  • polymer shakes siding
  • shingle siding
  • fiber cement siding
  • aluminum siding
  • steel siding
  • panelized stone veneer siding
  • red cedar & hardwood siding
  • modified wood siding
  • plywood siding an
  • engineered wood siding products such as: oriented strand board (OSB) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL)

Any of these option can all be mixed and matched with other options , in almost any color combination you can imagine. We sure have come a long way from those first houses which were built with grass sod and animal hides haven’t we? We hope that you have enjoyed this post on Siding Combinations from us here at Texas Home Exteriors

Posted in Texas Home Exteriors | 2 Comments

Low Bid Estimate

Getting Estimates –

Is the Low Bid Ever a Good Deal?

when-is-a-bargain-not-a-bargain-the-hidden-costs-of-a-low-bidLow Bid Estimate or high? What one do you go with? As you decide to move forward with your remodeling project, you may wonder, where to start the process. In this post, we share a few guidelines to help you get started in making an educated decision on how to proceed.  

Lets use the following example, let’s say you are in the market to replace your siding, windows and/or roofing. So you start calling around to local contractors to arrange a meeting to get several estimates.

As you meet with contractors and receive your estimates, you may begin to notice some of the contractors bids on your project see to be quite low in comparison to others which could very well you wondering why this is and evaluating to determine if they are truly offering a good deal. So why might some of the estimates so much lower than others? We’ll explain more about why this might be and some things to watch for below including what is often referred to as a “low ball estimate”

“You Always Get What You Pay For”

Most, if not all of consumers in the U.S., have heard and/or used the phrase “you get what you pay for”, at least a few times in their lifetime… and this is certainly a good rule of thumb. Many of us have found this to be True through our own experiences, as we have not only through our business but personal experiences from the homeowner or consumer side, we can certainly confirm this a valid statement!

As simple as it sounds, history has proven this be true, even as we might not always listen and found ourselves losing money, time and saying to ourselves, “I knew it” or “I should have gone with my “gut’ feeling”  . . .  many of us have had this experience time and time again, and hopefully, at some point we figure it out, that we really do get what we pay for. I know I will never get a Mercedes -Benz automobile level quality for a thrifty price, it is simply not going to happen. The same is true what it comes to home improvement when the question arises, “is it a good idea to go with a low bid estimate?”

3 Ingredients of an Estimate Price

  • Overhead

Each construction company has overhead which needs to be considered when preparing their price point for products and services. Some of the overhead may include expenses such as their office and/or warehouse space, vehicles, tools, electric, internet, phones not to mention the cost of marketing the business and cost of paying the workers. All of this combined makes up a company’s overhead. I think it a pretty good guess that for the most part, we all pay about the same as our competitors, the distributions are what we have found to vary.

Their is one exception to this, big box stores for home improvement have a bit of a different situation, these are stores such as Home Depot and Lowes. They actually have less overhead because the store is already in place and at some point they opted to add these products and services which don’t necessarily affect their overhead costs much, they simply add a department or kiosk to take orders. The big box home improvement stores also pay less for materials as they are able to purchase in larger quantities and store it. As homeowners consider this, it is interesting to find that an estimate from Home Depot for services or Lowe’s for services ends up actually being the highest priced bids.

Homeowners may often make the choice to go with one of these option without thinking due to trust as they are very familiar with the name and might think they are taking the easier route rather than getting several estimates at which time they can compare and see what other companies might have to offer including lower price for quality products and installations. 

  • Labor

Installation crews get paid for the labor they provide to work on your home to install the product and paint if you are having siding work done. In the Houston Texas metro area, this cost is about the same from company to company for the most part. Although you might receive some lower bids, often times with the lower bids, there is a good chance the crews are the ones taking the hit and getting paid less. Something to consider, not only are these are the guys that are doing the hard work day in and day out often in hour hot humid Houston Texas weather.

Keep in mind that better paid crews are likely to do a higher quality installation as they are not in as much of a hurry to complete the project, more projects completed, more money. If the crew is getting paid better, they can slow down and do a better job because they are receiving appropriate pay for their hard work. Sadly, this is more often than not, one of the first ways the low bid companies cut their cost to save themselves money and bid the projects so low. As mentioned, one of the problems with this, is it can affect workmanship whether they are working too quickly or crews end up consisting of underskilled workers who will work for the lower pay.

  • Materials

Another area where a low bidding company can also cut back and save is in materials. I have witnessed this done in a number of ways. First of all, be aware that it is not uncommon for some contractors to actually use stolen or recycled building materials on their installations. This could be one of the reasons for contractor’s bid to be so much lower than all the other bids. By low-bidding, these companies make their money by quantity rather than quality so their goal is to get more home improvement jobs with a low price, versus offering quality workmanship and installation to homeowners, so this is how they make more profit.  They bid low, get a lot of jobs and kick them out as quickly as possible paying their crews as low as possible leading to using less experienced crews who are often underskilled.

Asking for More Money

inspirational quotes by warren buffettOne of the most common experiences homeowners report with a low ball estimate from home improvement contractors is the contractor asks for more money after the job has started. As the project progresses they find reasons to increase the price so in the end, they end up not being the low bid. This doesn’t mean there are not legitimate things that were not included int the bid but it very well could have been deliberate, they got you! No matter what excuse they might find, this is very likely the case and they just did not bid the job high enough to begin with. Keep in mind this could be because they are inexperienced or very well could have been deliberate. This tactic is called a cost overrun. What homeowners experience is the company ends up asking you for more money to complete the job whether it be due to finding things they did not expect or revealing that they ran into more than they expected or your job is tougher than expected. In actuality, they should have bid higher in the first place and find various ways to increase the bill. 

So, we should all take heed from this quote, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get” This is almost always the case with home improvement when receiving low bid estimates for siding, windows or roofing is often not the best value for your money.

What Happens if the Homeowner Refuses to Pay More Money?

When a contractor asks for more money for work which was already bid, in most cases one or more of the four things noted below could happen:

  1. The contractor may stop your job
  2. A lesser grade of material may be used on your home
  3. The crew may receive less pay which can often lead to a lower grade of workmanship (the crew will want to get the job done quickly to make more money by getting onto their next job as soon as possible, quantity vs quality).
  4. The contractor tells you something was replaced or completed but it really was not and was just covered up.

These types of things have been experienced by homeowners who chose to go with the low bid estimate contractor, what a tough lesson to learn. Now they know next time to think twice before choosing based on lowest price alone! At Texas Home Exteriors, we have heard about and been shown these types of experiences as homeowners are sharing and reporting these types of experiences and information with us. One big recommendation we have for you is to always try to get at least three estimates. Certainly, you are anxious to get your new project under way and really don’t have the time to get three contractors to your home to look at your project, but really is necessary so you can get comparisons which could very well help assu save you a lot of grief in the end.

Get Several Estimates

low bid cost bannerSome things to watch out for in your potential contractors as you are getting estimates are that they are professional, courteous, responsive and punctual. Make sure there is a great line of communication between the two of you. By getting at least three estimates,  you can get a pretty good idea idea of the price range and a feel for the contractor (you may very well see a huge difference from one to the next). Make sure that you and your contractor know the exact work to be done and it is specified on a written contract.

Don’t be afraid to ask when the job will start, about how long it will take to finish and be sure he puts it on the contract (estimated start date and project duration).  It is very important to get the estimate in writing making sure all of the work to be done is listed along with the price he will be charging to complete that listed work. Consider your project and what you it might consist of, what you would like done and included in the project. It is a very good idea to do some homework before contacting a contractor so you have a general idea what you are wanting, ideas of materials and maybe even some questions you may want to ask during the appointment. 

Be sure to ask each of the contractors if the estimate or bid includes the price for such things as permits which may be necessary, if the price of labor and material are both included in the price, this way you will be less likely to have surprises at the end of your project. If you will be paying by credit card, you might ask if they charge a fee for this which may not be revealed until the end. Also, if you are considering a financing option through your contractor, make sure they outline the exact cost of your down payment, your monthly payment, the interest rate and number of months or years the contract is for as well as if there will be a penalty for paying off the financing early.

It is also important to make sure that the contractor can provide you with verifiable proof of insurance and bonding before you consider to hire them to start your project.  You can also ask your friends and neighbors who they used and if they can recommend a trusted contractor to you. But still, don’t just take their word for it and don’t be afraid to ask the contractor for additional references of their past work so you can contact tham and personally ask about their experience. You can also try doing some of your own research on them as well. Good places to look are Angie’s list, Google, and the BBB to see if the company has a bad or long history of upset customers.

Highest Bid vs Lowest Bid

the lowest bid estimate Now you are at the point where you have done your homework and have your three bids in hand. Of course you are going to find that one is always going to be the lowest and another one is going to be the highest bid, so now what to consider? Keep in mind that being the lowest bidder does not necessarily mean that that company is always the wrong choice. Here are some specific things to consider as you review the bids and contractors.

1. Do they have a lower overhead?

2. Are they using cheaper materials?

3. Are they using a subcontractor or are they doing the work themselves?

4. If they are using a subcontractor, did they get a better rate from them than the others?

5. Did they leave some necessary items out of the bid?

Having a lower overhead is not a bad thing for a company. What is bad is if they give you a low bid and then end up having to go with lower quality products that cost less, cheaper materials in order to stay on budget and make some money otherwise they will be coming to you and asking you for more money to complete your project as we mentioned earlier. Make sure that all of the quotes came with the exact same materials and if they don’t make sure to ask questions as to what the difference is (different companies often use different brands or options so something else to consider). Be aware of taking underbidders offer and the headaches that come with dealing with the lowest bidder.

Sometimes they might give a low bid just in order to “get the job”. They may see a way to get more money out of you later or get your trust and make it up with higher pricing on a future project. Contractors such as these will bid the project way lower (under bid it) just to get your business then later come back saying that there is more damage than what they originally thought and change their bid amount or add additional after the work has been started, this happens all the time and homeowners have no choice but to pay them to ensure their project gets finished.

Another suggestion is to ask the low bidder, the one who rendered the low estimate, for a financial statement to make sure they have the financial backing to complete your job. You can always ask for a meeting with the owner or manager of the company instead of the sales person and ask them how they are able to provide a bid that is substantially lower than any of the other bids you received.

After considering all of these factors and if you decide to go with the lowest bidder you can always ask for a provision that he provide a performance bond for the project. This type of bond typically costs between 2% and 5% of the contract price. This will give you a little more peace of mind in two different ways.

If a company has the money to provide you with this then it typically means that they are experienced and financially solvent. The second way is that if for some reason the contractor defaults then the bonding company will step up and pay for the job to be completed by another contractor.

We should consider this quote from John Ruskin:

“It is unwise to pay way too much, but it is much worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money … that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the things it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot … it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Please feel free to post your questions, comments or experiences below, we always like to hear from you!

Posted in Texas Home Exteriors | Leave a comment

Lead Based Paint

What Is Lead Based Paint?

vintage dutch boy white lead paint can

IMPORTANT: This blog post only includes some of the information you may need to know about Lead Based Paint,  learn more by visiting the inks provided in this post which will take you right to the source, like the governing authorities like the EPA.

What exactly is lead based paint? The U. S.  government classifies a paint as lead based if it contains lead equal to or exceeding one milligram per square centimeter (1 mg sq cm) by weight containing more than 0.06% weight of dried product. There are two different methods used to determine if an existing structure has been painted with lead based paint, each of these methods provides different information. The first way method is a lead inspection, more detail about the procedures for lead inspections, can be found outlined in the HUD Guidelines, Chapter 7, 1997 Revision.

The other testing is a lead-based paint risk assessment. In this testing, you take a sample of the paint from several areas of the home by wiping or cutting out a small sample of paint, making certain to get through all layers of paint. This is the method used by construction companies and remodelers. Some homeowners may choose to do both tests just to be on the safe side.

The use of lead based paint in the US resulted in a court case against the Lead Industries Association and it was banned for use in residential housing in 1978 by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. In the July 1904 edition of its monthly publication, the Sherwin-Williams Paint revealed dangers of Lead Based Paint as well as those of a French expert in the field warned .

Which Homes Are At Risk of Lead Based Paint?

lead paint chartFor the most part, homes may have been painted with lead paint, if built before 1978. You can still find lead paint in millions of homes today as it was often painted over and could be in the layers beneath the newer paint. If you cannot see any chipping and no dust coming from the painted areas, then it is usually should not be a problem. The main problem with the paint is with painted surfaces which small children could potentially put their mouths on or chew on such as window sills, doors, stairs, porches and the like.

Lead dust may also be tracked into the home from outside. This can occur if the paint on the outside is deteriorating lead based paint dropping, creating chips and/or dust which then can contaminate the soil.  Any type of remodeling of these painted areas can create toxic lead dust when the surfaces are disturbed or demolished. 

Water Service Lines and Lead Danger

Another thing to keep in mind in regard to lead is that it may have been used in some water service lines and household plumbing materials. This is also dangerous as lead can enter the water as it flows through the pipes to the house. This problem is most common in plumbing that was installed in 1986. Note that lead paint has also been found in older playground equipment, artificial turf and playground surfaces made from shredded rubber.

Lead Poisoning a Concerns for Children and Adults

lead poisoning childA person may get lead poisoning if they absorbs too much lead into their system. The poisoning can occur by breathing in lead paint dust, fumes from old paint or swallowing a substance with lead in it such as paint, water or dust.

In children, this can cause problems with their growth, hearing as well as behavior and learning issues. The EPA Provides Lead Paint information you should consider, especially if you have children in your home or pregnant women. In adults, lead paint poisoning can cause damage the brain, nervous system, stomach and kidneys. It can also lead to high blood pressure. The symptoms are hard to detect until high levels have been consumed.

Listed below are the main symptoms of lead poisoning for children, adults and newborns, which may include some or a combination of the symptoms.

Lead poisoning symptoms in children may include:

  • Some learning delays or difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss

Lead poisoning symptoms in adults may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Joint pains
  • Muscle pain
  • Declines in mental functioning
  • Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women

Newborns exposed to lead before birth may present these signs:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Slowed growth

Who has the highest chance of getting lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning usually occurs over being exposed to lead over a long period of time. Infants and children are at the highest risk and even higher risk in the following situations:

  • Those who live in or visit homes or buildings built before 1978
  • Buildings built before 1950 when lead based paint was used more frequently
  • Immigrants, refugees or those adopted from other countries may have been exposed to higher lead levels there.

Children 6 years old or younger are at a greater risk because:

  • They often put their hands and small objects in their mouths
  • They have a tendency to swallow non-food items
  • Their bodies absorb lead at a higher rate
  • Their brains are still in developmental stages

Other people who are at high risk may include but are not limited to those who:

  • drink unfiltered water delivered through pipes which were soldered with lead
  • work with lead either in their job or as a hobby (for example pottery makers, and stained glass artists)
  • in foreign countries, eat food from cans made with lead solder (these cans aren’t made in the United States)
  • cook or store food in ceramic containers which have not been properly cured and may contain lead
  • eat or breathe traditional or folk remedies that contain lead, such as some herbs and vitamins from other countries
  • live in communities with a lot of industrial pollution

How To Test & Find Out if Paint is Lead Based?

lead paint test kit leadcheck There’s absolutely no way to know if your home has lead based applied paint unless it is tested, otherwise it is a complete guessing game which could be endangering your and your family’s health.

The best and only truest way to ensure your home is not contaminated with lead paint, is to to get a tester. If you decide to test your paint, make sure to use EPA approved Lead Test Kits such as the “3M LeadCheck“.  These are readily available through home improvement stores like the Home Depot LeadCheck test tool. This testing is of great importance for the safety of you and your family.

How do I remove the lead based paint from my home?

epa lead safe certified firm logoRemoving lead paint is a very hazardous job which requires a lot of planning and preparation as well as the use of the right tools. Lead paint removal can be very dangerous. Here is some DIY Lead Paint information for your reference, we also recommend hiring a certified EPA Lead Based Paint contractor who knows how to handle the situation and get more information on lead based paint guidelines.

The information below is partial information list so please be certain to view the EPA full list of requirements found at the website links within this post.

To help ensure your work methods will create the least amount of dust possible, follow these guidelines:

  1. Wet the surface then hand sand it
  2. Use a chemical stripper which does not contain methylene chloride
  3. Use heat guns not to exceed 700° F
  4. Use a HEPA vacuum which can be safely used where there is lead dust

     

Follow simple safety procedures as you work such as using:

  1. epa lead based paint interior safety containment chartthe proper tools
  2. protective clothing (such as safety glasses, disposable gloves, hats, shoe covers and protective clothes)
  3. 6 mil plastic drop cloths.
  4. duct tape
  5. two mops and buckets
  6. an all purpose cleaner or cleaner made just for lead clean-up
  7. spray bottles
  8. disposable rags or paper towels
  9. heavy duty plastic bags
  10. HEPA vacuum.

Make sure you implement proper cleanup procedures at the end of each day by:

  1. epa lead based paint interior safety interior containment coverage chart placing all dust and chips in double garbage bags, tying them up and properly disposing of them.
  2. Rolling or folding plastic drop cloths inward to help keep the dust from flying around and discarding them in double garbage bags.
  3. Using two buckets for cleaning, one with detergent and the other with clean rinsing water.
  4. Making sure to wash floors, walls, etc. with an all-purpose cleaner then rinsing well. Change rinse water often and either use disposable rags or paper towels.
  5. Disposing of all towels and other rags in plastic bags and do not reuse them.
  6. Never burning any of the clean up materials.

Properly decontaminate yourself and others after working with the dust by:

  1. epa lead based paint interior door safety containment chart texasChanging contaminated work clothes such as gloves and shoes before leaving the work site.
  2. Putting all contaminated work clothes in a plastic bag while you still have your dust mask on.
  3. Removing Dust Mask carefully and washing hands and face immediately after leaving work area.
  4. Not coming into physical contact with others until showered.
  5. Showering and washing your hair as soon as possible after work/cleanup is completed.
  6. Washing work clothes separate from other laundry (many choose to properly dispose of work clothes used in these conditions rather than taking them into their homes to wash them potentially bringing the dust into the home).

IMPORTANT: As a general rule with lead paint removal:

  1. epa lead based paint exterior safety containment chartDo NOT dry scrape.
  2. Do NOT sandblast.
  3. Do NOT use an open flame or torch to burn paint.
  4. NEVER power sand.
  5. Do NOT  use methylene chloride.
  6. Do NOT use heat guns which operate over 700°F.
  7. Do NOT use a non-approved non certified EPA Lead Paint removal contractor.
  8. Do NOT ask someone else to do the work (such as a friend who doesn’t know proper methods)
  9. Do NOT try to DIY without using the proper precautions.
  10. Read ALL of the safety precautions and links in this informative website page post.

What Are The Added Costs To A Siding or Window Job With Lead Based Paint?

lead based paint removal siding job houston texasThis is a question we commonly get from homeowners in the Houston Texas metro area who live in homes built before 1978. First, I would like to ask this question of homeowners, “what is your family, friends or neighbors good health worth”?  This may sound like a silly question but it is important for one to consider the facts and be informed about the importance of lead paint safety.

To answer this question, first of all, a lead test will help determine if you will need to follow the procedures. Please keep in mind the additional time and preparation the siding and/or window crews must do to ensure the work site is set-up properly for the removal. Also, their is proper training necessary for EPA certification to be prepared to deal with these types of situations. Additional time and supplies are involved and add to the cost and most homeowners can expect to pay between 20-50% more (depending on the job and the difficulty) to installations with lead based paint removal involved to ensure EPA compliance. As you can tell from the information provided, this is quite the task to prepare for the removal from getting the crews all suited up, the house draped and/or taped off. If the lead paint is inside, interior precautions are even more complex.

Properly Protecting Lead Paint Removal Crews

crew EPA Lead Based Paint suitsWe recommend siding and windows crews be required to follow the procedure below, we encourage our crews to abide by these guidelines even during our hot Houston Texas summer heat we highly suggest:

  • Disposable painter’s hats
  • Disposable coveralls
  • To cover tears with duct tape
  • To wear a disposable N-100, R-100 or P-100 respirator.
  • To dispose of ALL the above in a plastic bag
  • To wash face & hands at the end of each shift
  • To blow their noses thoroughly
  • To take a full body & hair shower when arriving home

How to protect you and your family

EPA Lead Paint Renovate Right Information

Click View/Download EPA Lead Paint Renovate Right Information

If you are in the process of purchasing or renting a home built before 1978, make sure you inspect it for chipped paint on surface areas that might rub together such as windows and doors. These surfaces particularly will create a dust that may be harmful to your family and if you have concerns, request a lead paint test to determine if there is lead in the paint on the exterior and/or interior of your home. You have a right to know about the home you will be living in, thanks to the EPA Lead Paint real estate disclosure

Federal law requires that before you buy a home built before 1978, the seller must furnish the buyer with the following information, according to HUD concerning Lead Based Paint, en espanol: Proteja a Su Familia Contra el Plomo en el Hogar). Below is additional helpful information to consider:

  • Review the EPA- Lead Paint information pamphlet about how to identify and control lead-based paint hazards
  • Specifically ask or research to find out if there is any known information about the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
  • Add an attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, which includes a “Lead Warning Statement” and confirms that the seller has complied with all notification requirements.
  • The seller must give the buyer a 10-day period in which they can conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.
  • For multi-unit buildings this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation.

If you are hiring a Lead Based Paint Renovator contractor, you should be provided with this EPA Right To Renovate Pamphlet for your information and review. Texas Home Exteriors is an EPA Certified firm. Thank you for reading our post, from the Team here at THE!

Please ask any questions and make comments below!

 

Posted in Texas Home Exteriors | 4 Comments

Don’t Mess With Texas

The History and Information About the – “Don’t Mess With Texas” Quote or Slogan

 

The Famed Slogan

Don't Mess With Texas Cigarette Litter

Don’t Mess With Texas is a slogan created to bring awareness to and reduce littering in Texas. The program with this slogan is credited with reducing litter up to 72% on our Texas roadways! The slogan was not intended to become a state icon but over the years it most certainly has as can be seen with it being quoted all over becoming an identity statement for people in Texas and has been very well received.

How It All Started

Don't Mess With Texas Littering Highway SignsThe history of the slogan, “Don’t Mess With Texas” – The slogan was adopted in 1985 by  Texas Department of Transportation . The TxDOT had requested bids for a catchy slogan for a litter control which was won by Ted McClure and and a group of colleagues.

The slogan initially started out as nothing more than a marketing campaign promote awareness for litter control. TxDOT voted to change the slogan from” Keep Texas Beautiful” as an attempt to appeal to the younger crowd and the “bubbas” who had been throwing beer cans and litter out on the side of the roadways. Although the older crowd was against this slogan, TxDOT made the decision to give it a try anyway.

Celebrities Join In

George Strait Don't Mess With TexasThe new slogan was launched as an advertisement during the Cotton Bowl that year which featured Stevie Ray Vaughan. The commercial proved to be a huge success and here forward, the slogan had no problems getting celebrities to volunteer for future ads. Great artist like Willie Nelson, George Strait and even Warren Moon jumped in to help out by filming ads for the campaign. Next, tons of bumper stickers, shirts and other memorabilia were produced. The slogan ended up even winning an award for the country’s favorite slogan even beating out national, “Got Milk?” and “Just Do It”!

This then prompted the TxDOT to launch the nation’s first Sponsor & Adopt A Highway campaign. This program would later allow companies to advertise on Texas highways (and across the nation) for funding roadside cleanup projects. The would allow companies, organizations, groups or families to place their logo and/or names on signs stretching a section of highway they agreed to keep clean of litter. Thanks to the help of this catchy slogan, Texas reported a drop in litter by 72% in its first six years!

Is It Worth The Hype & Money Spent?

Willie Nelson Don't Mess With TexasThe now famed, “Don’t Mess With Texas” awareness cost and program results. Since the program was introduced in early 1986, “Don’t Mess With Texas” has cost taxpayers $56.25 million, or an average of $1,875,000 a year, according to TxDOT records. Additionally, taxpayers spent $969.9 million, or an average of $32.33 million a year, to have TxDOT supervise the cleanup of our state’s highways, as indicated by TxDOT records. A study, conducted in 2009, shows littering in Texas has decreased but is believed to be due to a cultural change and mindset of the general population more than a cause and effect from this popular campaign. In 1987, a year after “Don’t Mess With Texas” debuted, TxDOT was recorded as spending $4 million more than the $21.9 million it had spent the year before just on litter cleanup.

For the following decade, costs for the program flattened to roughly $2 million more, less than the 1986 base. But then in 1998, litter pickup costs began a steady climb, from $25 million reaching $47.9 million in 2012. Also note that during this time, the population of Texas had also increased from 20. 2 million people to 26.1 million. In conclusion, TxDOT was spending $1.32 per Texan to collect highway litter in 1986 and $1.24 per person a decade after that. After 25 years taxpayers are paying $1.84 a person for litter removal. In 2014 the state spent $500,000 more for the campaign. Litter pickup costs dropped to $46.6 million in 2013, $35.8 million in 2014 and was at $31.8 million last year. Overall the Texas statistics show that this has been money well-spent with the program being called, “the most successful taxpayer-sponsored advertising campaign in state history”! At this point, I’d like to add the phrase, case closed!

Celebrating 30 Years

Don't Mess with Texas Trash Off 2017Don’t Mess With Texas” Turns 30 years old in August 2016. This year marks 30 years since the Texas campaign slogan was launched and it continues to still e going strong. Currently, there are several events going on statewide to remind people, “Don’t Mess With Texas” including the next “Don’t Mess with Texas” Trash-Off, which will be held on April 8, 2017.

Participates will receive a free t-shirt and all Schools will receive a promotional item (to be guaranteed your free t-shirt, you must sign up by March 10, 2017.). This has been the single largest one-day roadway cleanup effort in the state noting that last year, 2015, more than 10 million pounds of waste and recyclables were collected in just one day in 1,500 different locations with more than 85,000 volunteers attending. ­ The state is also holding “Trash & Treasure Hunts” in 25 different districts where residents have the chance to win prizes.
Participants who find litter marked with a “Don’t mess with Texas” bumper sticker will receive a prize. Prizes have been donated by partners of the campaign, including YETI, AM Racing, The Bullock Texas State History Museum, McDonald’s, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Schlitterbahn, the San Antonio Mission and others. ­ Any boy scout who participates in any of the events will earn a special honorary” Don’t mess with Texas” 30th anniversary celebration patch! ­
There was a Slogan contest for all of the Texas middle school students. More than 600 schools entered the contest. The top ten slogans will be decaled onto the iconic red, white and blue trash cans, and each winning school will receive its can for display and use. ­ Students in kindergarten through fifth grade were invited to submit their best litter prevention inspired artwork to be considered for the 2017 Don’t mess with Texas Calendar. ­ The State will be awarding college tuition scholarships to three Texas high school seniors each year. In May 2016, they will present one $6,000 grand prize scholarship and two $2,000 scholarships.

What can we do to help?

shelly kapitan texas home exteriors don't mess with texasSo once all of the above events are over what can you do on a day to day basis to help keep our Texas state beautiful and clean? Well you can report a litterer on the Don’t Mess With Texas Report website and fill out the simple form.  TxDot will then compare the information to the Department of Motor Vehicles registration  database. Once an exact match has been located the state will send them a letter reminding  them not to litter and a Don’t mess with Texas litter bag.

You can even download the Don’t Mess With Texas Report a Litterer app for your iPhone or Android phone to make it easier to report.   If you are a business owner you can get involved in the fight against litter by sponsoring  roadside cleanup and partnering with Don’t mess with Texas Sponsor A Highway.  Not to be confused with ­Adopt a Highway volunteer program, Texas Sponsor A Highway is a  way for Your business to receive positive recognition for your contribution to the community and  you don’t even have to lift a finger.

Littering is Against the Law

Clean Up Crew Don't Mess With TexasDid you know littering is against the law and you can be fined up to $500 for littering for
trash less than or equal to five pounds or five gallons (you may have seen this information on the blue “Don’t mess with Texas” signs). If the offense is repeated, the offender could
face a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail! If you see someone littering, here is a form where you can Report a litterer and report a littterer phone app.

Penalties under the Texas Litter Abatement Act:

Report Illegal Dumping

888-335-DUMP Report Illegal Dumping

  • Class C Misdemeanor – 5 pounds or less or a volume of 5 gallons or less.
  • Class B Misdemeanor – More than 5 pounds but less than 500 pounds or a volume of more than 5 gallons but less than 100 cubic feet.
  • Class A Misdemeanor – 500 pounds or more but less than 1,000 pounds or has a volume of 100 cubic feet or more but less than 200 cubic feet or is disposed for a commercial purpose and weighs more than 5 pounds but less than 200 pounds or has a volume more than 5 gallons but less than 200 cubic feet.
  • State Jail Felony – 1,000 pounds or more, has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more, or is disposed of for a commercial purpose and weighs 200 pounds or more, has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more, or is contained in a closed barrel or drum.
  • Upgrading Charges and Felonies  – If a person has been previously convicted of violating this Act, that person’s punishment will be upgraded to the next highest category for any subsequent violation. For example, if a person has a prior conviction of a Class A misdemeanor, that person’s punishment will be bumped up to a state jail felony the next time he/she is convicted.

Common Illegal Dumping Violations

Throwing litter out of a car or boat
Disposing of old cars by rolling them into a river, ditch or lake, etc.
Hauling trash for profit then dumping it onto land which has not been designated as a legal landfill
Allowing anyone to dump waste onto your property, whether they pay you or not
Pouring used motor oil or restaurant grease into storm drains or down manhole covers

Construction Debris

Dump Trailer - Texas Home ExteriorsWith the removal a roof, siding or windows, there is inevitably going to be construction debris which will need to be disposed of correctly. Texas Home Exteriors will take the construction debris to a landfill to dispose of correctly. As a homeowner, you may be able to screen out which companies will dispose of old building materials correctly and those who may not. This will, more often than not, be reflected in bids with lower estimated prices. In a low estimate situation, the company could very well be disposing of the construction debris from the home elsewhere in order to save money rather than paying the landfill. This may be one of the reasons the estimate is less than other companies who are disposing of construction debris from your home correctly.

This is just some of the history and information which can be found on litter control and what you can do. Texas Home Exteriors would like to give a big Texas thank you to you for doing your part to keep our Texas state clean and beautiful and please, “Don’t Mess With Texas!”

We do believe that George Strait simply says it best…

 

Posted in Texas Home Exteriors | 4 Comments
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