When spring comes and the weather turns warm, people are itching to spend more time outdoors. Homeowners can finally shed their winter coats and focus on their long-neglected yards and gardens. But they may not like what they see when they turn to look at their house. It may have looked fine in the winter’s gray light, but not when the sun is shining and spring is in the air. That’s the time when homeowners tend to regard the exterior of their own homes with a more critical eye. And their house’s “curb appeal” becomes a major issue. If owners want their houses to look like new, it’s natural that roofing and siding projects take priority. But that doesn’t mean they have to take all season long to complete.
“Probably 95 percent of the roofs that we do are done in one day!” says Chris LoCascio, who handles exterior projects for Alure Home Improvements. He’s “only been there 25 years,” he says, adding with a laugh that “I’m a new guy here!”
New guy or not, this veteran in the home-improvement business knows what it takes to get the job done. He advises homeowners to do their homework before they commit to a new project.
“Don’t hire the cheapest guy on the block,” LoCascio says. “Hire the guy you’re most comfortable with, and who’s going to give you the most value for your money.”
That means choosing a company with experience and know-how that can demonstrate a proven track record of success, from short- to long-term projects encompassing homes of all shapes and sizes.
A skilled crew can do a roof fast—and mild weather can help a job go faster. Siding projects tend to take longer than roofs, LoCascio says. Take a typical cape house in Levittown.
“I can send in a crew—usually about two to four guys—and get the whole job done in five days,” says LoCascio.
Depending on the complexity of the project, some siding jobs take twice or three times that long to complete, he says, but not normally.
These days, people have many siding options, but most homeowners choose vinyl for its durability and its cost. But they should make sure they like the color of the vinyl they pick, because they’re going to be living with it for a long time. LoCascio says that the most popular vinyl color these days—at least for Alure customers—is an earth-tone brownstone color. Also popular for siding is a material called “Cultured Stone,” a durable veneer made out of pre-cast cement that can resemble quarried stone but is much more affordable and lighter to work with than actual rock. Alure has a variety of siding products to choose from, and they also have a special design-imaging program so the homeowner can picture how their house would look with different colors and materials before they finally decide.
As for roofing materials, some new shingles come with an algae-resistant additive but LoCascio says the warranty for that feature lasts only 10 years. On the other hand, he recommends that homeowners be aware that if moss is allowed to go unchecked on a roof, it can grow underneath the shingles and expose the underlayment—the protective felt paper on top of the plywood sheeting—to the elements, hastening the roof’s structural deterioration.
“A little moss is not the end of the world,” says LoCascio. But he’s seen “pods of moss” growing on people’s roofs—and that means trouble because it could lead to leaks.
On the plus side, LoCascio says, is that the shingles manufactured today come with a lifetime warranty.
“You used to be able to get a 30-year shingle, a 40-year shingle and then lifetime,” LoCascio explains, “but manufacturers realized that most shingles today perform at lifetime standards.”
LoCascio is no stranger to working up on the rooftop himself. But the downside when spring comes is that insects also start buzzing around up there.
“Obviously, if you’re up on a roof, and you’re swatting a wasp away from you, it could be a little dangerous!” he says with a chuckle.
But turning serious, LoCascio says that’s why homeowners should make sure that any contractor they hire is insured for the project they’re doing—which Alure is. After all, they’ve been improving people’s homes for years—no matter what the season.