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Tag: vinyl


Before we begin on the topic, let’s make it clear that whether a fencing material is actually good or not, largely depends on what purpose it serves. This is why chain-link fences are excellent options when protection or physical security against potential intruders is a primary concern, but they are not going to be the best for obvious reasons, if you have privacy concerns. Keeping that in mind, let’s now discuss vinyl and what purposes it’s good for as a fencing material.

Vinyl is It Really a Good Material for Fences

The Short Answer

Even with the point about specific use purposes in mind, vinyl cannot be considered as anything but one of the most all rounded fencing materials available for most people out there. So, the short answer is yes, vinyl is a great fencing material in general, and especially for private residences.

The Long Answer

The claim for vinyl being one of the best, if not the best fencing material available today is often made by companies that deal in vinyl fencing exclusively. However, that claim isn’t totally unfounded, because it just has too many advantages over almost every other fencing material we generally use. To shed more light on the kind of advantages we are discussing here, let’s get into the details.

Moderate Protection

The physical protection which a vinyl fence can offer is somewhat limited, as compared to its metallic and hardwood counterparts such as steel and cedar. In spite of that, high quality, thick vinyl fencing can also provide significant physical protection against potential break-in attempts. It may not be industrial grade protection, but as far as home invasion is concerned, thick vinyl fences can provide dependable protection.


Make your vinyl fencing high enough and no one will ever be able to peek in while passing by. There are no gaps (unless you want gaps) in vinyl fencing, so privacy is guaranteed.


While it used to be boringly white at one point in time, that is no longer a limitation. Pay a visit to if you want to choose from vinyl fencing options that come in a wide range of colors, designs and patterns. They even offer a non-prorated lifetime warranty on all their vinyl fencing products and installations.

Lifetime Investment?

Unlike any other material used for building fences, vinyl does not or rather cannot rot or rust. This technically makes vinyl fences a lifetime investment. This means that come rain, snow, ice or sunshine, your vinyl fences will remain unaffected by the weather for decades.

Zero Maintenance

Unless there’s intentional, natural or accidental trauma, vinyl also doesn’t get chipped, and it won’t peel away or develop cracks under normal circumstances. The color may or may not fade after a long time though, depending on the quality of the material itself.

It’s not just one aspect of the material that makes vinyl perfect, but it’s the combination of it all. If you take the time to do some of your own research, there is no other fencing material in the market that can cover so many fronts, especially at that price point.



For better or for worse, your fencing will have a huge influence on how your place feels and looks. While for some, utility will be the most important factor, for others, they might prefer something that complements their house first. Factors such as climate and cost also have to be considered as well. This is why the question of which material should be used can be a tricky one. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular options, vinyl and wood, and the pros and cons of each to see which option would be the best for your needs.


Wood: The Pros

One of the best things about wood fences is the way they look. Some people just love the whole white picket fence aesthetic, and stained wood can give a rustic feel to any backyard. So, if your first goal is for it to look good, then wood is a sure bet. Wood is also one of these materials you can work with even if you’re not a professional, so it’s a good pick for those DIYers out there. Wood also gives you a wide array of colors and finishes based on the staining and the wood you pick.

Wood: The Cons

Wood fences demand a lot of maintenance. And they’re not the best suited for every climate. You have to work on them every year so they can keep their appearance, whether its repainting or treating them. They’re also vulnerable to things like insects, especially termites. And they have a tendency to warp as well, especially when they haven’t been properly treated.

Vinyl: The Pros

Vinyl is one of the most low maintenance materials you can use as far as fencing goes. And it comes in a wide variety of styles, textures, and shades as well. While you can install it yourself, it’s always better to work with professional fitters. Teams like Northland Fence will be able to set up your vinyl fence in as little as a day and all their vinyl fences come with a lifetime warranty on the material. Good luck finding that with wood.

Vinyl: The Cons

One of the issues with vinyl fencing is that it’s slightly more expensive upfront than wood. But you end up recuperating these costs with lower maintenance and higher durability. Another issue with vinyl is that repairs are a bit more complicated, but since it’s so durable, it doesn’t require repairs as much as wood.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, it’s all about your priorities and what you need in a fence. If you want something that will last a long time and require little to no maintenance, go for vinyl. If your main priority is the look and you don’t mind having to maintain it every year and replace it at the end of its lifespan, then wood might be the choice for you.


Whatever choice you pick, make sure that you consider how much time and money you can afford to spend on your fence. Also, consider if your climate or even the general look in your area would make either option more suitable.


In the 1950s, vinyl siding was first introduced to the market as an alternative to aluminum siding. Siding that is made of vinyl was more lightweight and less prone to dents, and paint lasts much longer on vinyl than on siding that is made of metal or wood.


The Components
Vinyl siding has two layers. The bottom layer contains synthetic resin and polyvinyl chloride, which is one of the most commonly produced types of plastic in the world.

The top layer is made of titanium dioxide, and this substance provides the siding’s color while acting as a physical barrier against UV rays.

To prevent dirt from becoming embedded and very difficult to remove, a homeowner should use a pressure washer to clean the house’s siding at least once per year.

Water won’t harm vinyl siding unless the water has a temperature of more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. When liquid that has such a high temperature hits vinyl, it will trigger a chemical reaction that can cause some of the titanium dioxide to break up and to fall off prematurely. Furthermore, the heat will swiftly fade the color of any paint that has been added to the siding.

Unlike hot water, rainwater will take many years to remove the color of your home’s siding. A homeowner should install an overhang at the edge of the roof to ensure that a large amount of water, which flows on the shingles during storms, isn’t hitting the siding consistently.

When the majority of homes had aluminum siding, the sun’s rays would heat the thin metal to an incredibly high temperature and cause the siding’s paint to swiftly begin to chip and to come off.

Vinyl is not a powerful conductor of heat, but the sun’s UVA rays, which are the longest UV rays that our star produces, can penetrate deep into the titanium dioxide and cause it to fade when the UV index is higher than 10.

Winter Weather
Snow does not damage vinyl siding, but ice can cause the siding to crack prematurely. When water seeps between the siding during a storm or after you wash the exterior of your home, that water can remain within the siding for weeks.

If the water turns into ice, it will expand. Over time, the constant expansion and contraction of the siding will weaken it substantially, and although the ice won’t cause it to break apart, the frozen water will make the vinyl much thinner and allow a light impact from a piece of hail or a poorly thrown baseball to create large holes in the material.

Impacts by pieces of hail that have a diameter of more than one inch will create large dents or holes instead of simple scratches, and as a result, a homeowner’s only choice is to completely replace siding that has been damaged by hail.

Scratches And Scuffs
Roofing materials, tools that are used in a garden and pieces of wood can easily scuff siding. These blemishes can only be removed by lightly scrubbing them for at least 10 minutes with brushes that are made of steel or nylon, and scrubbing the vinyl too roughly will create scratches.

To remove scratches, a contractor can use a sander to make the surface smooth again. Next, the technician will apply a filler that is made of wax or silicon to completely eliminate any trace of the blemish.

The Statistics
According to studies that were conducted by Alcoa and the Vinyl Siding Institute, vinyl siding on homes in the United States remains in good condition for 50 years on average, and the majority of companies that manufacture siding provide a warranty that lasts for 20 years to 55 years.

Windows come in a variety of styles, designs and sizes. Years ago, the material used for window frames was limited to wood, but today, you can choose vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass windows. However, wood frames are still one of the most popular material options. Today’s window manufacturers also produce different types of glass to give you a more energy efficient product.

Vinyl Windows
Vinyl windows offer energy saving benefits. The material choice is also affordable. Window manufacturers make vinyl windows from PVC, and as a result, the product can vary in quality. Today’s vinyl is a durable product. Also, manufacturers have advanced the window style’s structural design and implemented construction changes, so if you select vinyl windows, then you will have a quality product that can last as long as 15 years depending on your climate. Keep in mind that vinyl windows have a tendency to warp and become unworkable if they are not installed properly. In addition, the material may fail more quickly in areas that experience high summer temperatures and low winter temperatures. The reason for the failure is that the substance expands in the heat while the cold weather causes it to contract. In addition, if you live in an area with extreme summer temperatures, then vinyl window frames in dark colors will likely have more problems than light-colored models.


Wood Windows
Wood windows are a popular choice for many homeowners due to the material’s diversity. Furthermore, the option should last for 30 years or more depending on your climate and the type of maintenance that you complete on a regular basis. If you live in an old home with the original wood windows, then you can add weather stripping to increase their efficiency. By repairing your old windows, you are helping the environment since you are decreasing landfill waste and using fewer resources to maintain your home’s interior temperatures. Hardwood windows are expensive, but the material is durable. Also, maintenance is simple as the home feature only requires oil. Hardwood windows give you a diverse style because you can paint them or leave them in their natural state. If you choose to install softwood windows, then the material choice will be more affordable than hardwood. However, expect additional maintenance as you’ll need to paint the style or maintain them regularly.

Aluminum Windows
Aluminum is an appealing material choice because it is affordable and stronger than vinyl. Depending on your area’s climate, aluminum windows should last from 15 to 20 years. The material option is best for homes in mild climates due to the failures that frequently occur with the option in more extreme environments. For instance, aluminum windows may suffer from seal failures, glass condensation between the frames and operation issues as the material begins to corrode and break down. In addition, the energy efficiency ratings for aluminum are poor.

Climate Tips
When you begin shopping for new windows, be sure to assess your climate. For instance, wood typically provides the best insulation, but the material can rot. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for rainy or humid climates. Alternatively, when heat transfer and loss is an area issue, aluminum windows may not be the best material choice. However, aluminum is ideal for rainy and humid climates. The substance is also strong, and manufacturers can build aluminum windows to meet the strict building codes in coastal areas. For many homeowners, vinyl is a practical option. Also, the material choice is available in various colors, which lets you select windows that increase the visual appeal of your home. Once you begin considering new windows, assess each style’s U-value as the measurement estimates a window’s ability to withstand heat loss. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SHGC, is another measurement to consider because it calculates the amount of heat that can enter your home through a window.

Tips for Selecting the Best Windows
If your windows are beginning to age, then it may be time to replace or repair them. Keep in mind that windows are a longtime investment, so be sure to select the right material for your area. Also, evaluate the home feature’s glaze and insulation materials to acquire the best replacement results for your residence. When you upgrade your windows, you’ll decrease your utility bills and help the environment.

Hiring a contractor to install new siding is a large project that can have a bill ranging from $1,500 to $15,000. This huge price range depends largely on the building’s size and your choice of material. Typically, a contractor must come out to your home to give you a customized quote, but you can get an idea of the siding installation cost by looking at an average size home of about 2,200 square feet.

Vinyl Siding
For every square foot of wall surface, vinyl siding costs between $2 and $3. For example, 1,000 square feet would require $2,000 to $3,000 worth of materials. Labor costs are typically based on the region and union laws. In general, you need to add between $50 and $150 per hour for labor. Your contractor usually quotes a flat labor amount, but this can increase if issues arise during installation.


Stronger than vinyl, but prone to dents, aluminum is slightly more expensive. At $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot, a 2,000 square foot area costs between $5,000 and $7,000 to cover.

It is critical to note that labor and material charges grow substantially bigger when the surface area increases. Installing siding on a small guest house, for example, is significantly cheaper compared to an installation on your main home.

Natural or engineered wood gives a traditional feel to the home, but you must choose the wood type carefully. Find engineered or treated wood that has specialized coatings to resist decay and insect damage. For a basic wood installation, each square foot costs $5 to $7.50. Typically in square or rectangular shingle shapes, this siding choice is more labor intensive. Because each shingle must be attached separately, the contractor may charge more per hour or increase the amount of hours for the job. Check all the paperwork before you sign a contract with a company to ensure that labor costs have a reasonable cap.


Fiber Cement
If you want a wood appearance without the maintenance, look for fiber cement siding. Available in a rainbow of colors, this siding has a wood grain and remains resilient against weathering and insect damage. For a 3,000 square foot wall surface, expect to pay between $13,500 and $27,000 for materials alone. Labor may be more negotiable for this siding because of its easier installation pattern.

Stucco is a plaster mixture that must be applied to the building’s outside surface. This unique siding lasts for many years with barely any maintenance, but it costs between $4 and $10 for each square foot, not including labor. Although a 2,200 square foot surface ranges between $8,800 and $22,000 for stucco materials, it may be the last siding you ever purchase.

Unexpected Expenses
Other expenses surprise you as the contractor begins the job. If you have not removed the old siding, for example, an extra $1,000 to $3,000 is added to the quoted installation amount. Requesting insulated siding costs significantly more, depending on the insulation and siding type.

Once removed, the contractor may find poor structural wood on your home, such as supportive beams damaged from termites. This wood must be replaced. The contractor could be liable for faulty siding installation if the wood fails under the new material. You must calculate new wood supports and the labor involved to fully complete your siding project.

Asking for more men on the job to finish the installation faster only increases your labor amount because the contractor must pay more per hour to his workers. Any increase in labor and materials will be presented to you. No work can be completed without your approval on all changes.

Adding new siding to your home increases the value significantly, but you must pay for the upfront costs to receive the eventual benefits. Talk to several contractors to get separate quotes for comparison. Choose a reliable contractor that will transform your home’s exterior.

The following DIY article on how to install laminate flooring was written by a contractor friend of ours. Follow the directions closely and you should have a beautiful new laminate floor in your home in no time!


Installing laminate flooring begins with having, buying or renting the tools necessary for doing the complete job. Tools that you will need include a hand saw, utility knife, measuring tape, tapping block, miter saw, hammer, spacers, pry bar, and vapor barrier paper. If you have all of these tools / materials, the job will be easy and take no time at all. Laminate flooring is perfect for rooms with high traffic or low traffic. The laminate that is available today is durable and comes in different wood grains and colors. Some people choose to leave the old flooring down and install on top of the old. This is fine if the old flooring is the roll out plastic or vinyl style. Hard wood is often too expensive for some people and maintenance can be extensive. According to many, laminate wood floors look just as good when complete and are less expensive and easier to maintain. Solid wood floors may be difficult to install where laminate is easy for the homeowner to do as a DIY project.

Step One:
Use your measuring tape to measure the square footage of the room you are working. This will tell you how much laminate to purchase as well as vapor barrier paper. When measuring, make sure to remove any baseboards so you can measure edge to edge. Add in for closets and other small areas of the room.

Step Two:
When purchasing your laminate flooring, always add in 20-25% more in case of mistakes and areas you may have measured wrong. Sometimes laminate flooring may have a piece with a chip that you may not want to use. You may also want to purchase this extra in case of damage later that you want to replace or repair. Open the boxes and allow the flooring to sit for a couple of days to avoid buckling of the new laminate.

Step Three:
Remove all furniture, and baseboards from the room. Sweep the area and remove any dirt or trash that is on the floor. The crow bar may come in handy when removing molding from floors or up walls. Before you begin installing the flooring, make sure to go through the flooring to check for any pieces that may have damage.

Step Four:
Roll out vapor barrier on the section that you will be working on. The vapor barrier is plastic and foam. This should go on top of the sub floor. Use your utility knife to cut the paper. Smooth out all wrinkles in the barrier and pull up against the walls. Do not overlap foam because this may make the floor uneven.

Step Five:
Choose the wall that is most prominent. Begin laying the boards leaving 5/16th of an inch at the wall. This will allow for expanding and contracting of the floor during heat and cold. Applying a spacer between wood and floor will keep you consistent throughout the whole room. Begin with a groove side at the wall.

Step Six:
After the first board is set, apply one board after another by snapping the boards in place. Be careful not to press too hard or break the groove. A rubber mallet or you are tapping block and hammer will help push the pieces together tightly. Tap gently so that you do not break the edge of the board. Continue attaching boards together until you complete your first row. If the distance is too short to the wall, you may need to cut a board to fit. Leave the 5/16th for the spacer at the wall.

Step Seven:
Continue to add row after row by connecting tongue and groove. If you are looking for a scatter in the boards, begin by laying the next row at the wall you finished the first row. Continue this process until all boards are laying tightly and covering the whole floor. If any floor is angle cut, use the miter saw to cut the correct angle in the boards.

Step Eight:
After all of the boards are down, you can begin replacing all molding around the walls. Begin with one edge and work around the room. Make sure to get the correct pieces in the correct places before beginning to apply them. Remove spacers and add molding. Tack into place using tiny nails and hammer.

Step Nine:
Walk around the whole room and make sure all of the boards are together tightly. While inspecting boards for a snug fit, check to see if there are any chips or cracks in the boards. If there are cracks or spaces, you can repair these with colored caulk.

Step Ten:
Replace furniture and enjoy your new laminate flooring. Enjoy the pride that comes with knowing you did the installation yourself. Purchase a good broom to clean the floor.

There are different types of laminate flooring to choose. Some have wood grain like real hard wood floor; some have the stone or granite appearance. The laminate comes in a popular collection of colors and styles. They are very durable and easy to care for and clean. These floors do best in homes because they can take wear and tear more than original hard wood floors. Check out the many types of laminate online before making your final selection on the style you wish to put in your house. Laminate flooring has improved tremendously over the years.

As the old adage goes, good fencing makes good neighbors.Now, there are other ways to deal with problematic neighbors – as this guide will tell you, but for those who are looking for a new fence for more organic, or aesthetic reasons, this post will help you sort out the costs that are associated with that.

Having an excellent fence installed can go a long way towards keeping your property secure and preventing issues with trespassing, misconduct and vandalism. Getting a new fence, however, can be a significant expense, one that includes the cost of the fence itself and the installation. That cost varies widely depending on the length and style of your fence, the materials you intend to use and your choice of installation professional.

One of the most popular materials used to construct fences is wood. Depending on the type and grade of wood used, wood fencing can range from very inexpensive to very expensive. All wood fences share some degree of vulnerability to the elements, certain pests and fire, although pressure treating and certain coatings can mitigate that vulnerability somewhat. Wood also requires some degree of maintenance to stay attractive and functional. Nevertheless, many homeowners opt for wooden fencing because of its classic appearance.


Common grades of wood used in fencing include clear wood, which has almost no flaws or imperfections; premium or #1 grade, which contains only small imperfections such as knots; standard or #2 grade and utility grade. Higher-grade wood is more expensive, of course, but the lack of imperfections can be aesthetically pleasing. It is worth noting, however, that many homeowners actually prefer the rustic appearance of lower-grade wood. Furthermore, if the fence is going to be painted, the presence or absence of surface imperfections is somewhat moot.

Vinyl fencing is growing in popularity because it is durable and requires almost no maintenance. Because it is the same color all the way through, it requires no painting or staining, and it maintains its new appearance for quite some time. Vinyl is available in a wide range of heights and styles and has few finish imperfections. However, it can also be more expensive than wood or metal.


Several metal fencing options are available, ranging from aluminum to wrought iron. Aluminum is a fairly inexpensive, lightweight and versatile material available in many colors, heights and styles. It can be attached to many different types of posts, including rock, and is excellent for decorative or boundary fencing. Perhaps the biggest advantage of aluminum fencing is that it is impervious to rust and tarnishing, which means maintenance is almost completely non-existant.

For those who can afford it, classic wrought iron fencing is an excellent option. Although it is a metal, wrought iron has an almost wood-like grain because of its low carbon content. The most common types of wrought iron fencing are the Essex fence, which has an ornate, noble appearance, and the somewhat simpler Concord fence. Either type of wrought iron fencing is fairly expensive to purchase and install, but fortunately it requires little maintenance once it is in place.

The cost of fencing also depends on the style of fencing to be used. Privacy fences, which are essentially solid barriers, tend to be relatively expensive because they require a great deal of material. Three-rail fencing is often somewhat cheaper, though it does not provide as much privacy. The classic picket fence tends to be even more expensive than privacy fencing.

Average Fence Costs and Variables
With all of these options available, the cost of fencing varies widely depending on the material, style and length of the fence. On average, having a fence constructed and installed out of basic materials costs about $13 per linear foot, of which about $8 is for the fencing itself and about $5 is for installation. Mid-range fencing averages around $16 per linear foot, including about $10 for materials and $6 for installation. High-end fencing can be $19 or more per linear foot, with about $12 per foot for materials and another $7 for the installation. The actual cost of fencing varies widely around those numbers, of course: Market forces govern the cost of materials, and installation costs tend to be higher in affluent and heavily populated areas.

Since installation represents a huge portion of the cost of new fencing, up to 50 percent in some areas, it is always good to look for ways to reduce that cost. For wood fencing, consider hiring a carpenter to do the installation instead of paying extra for a specialized fencing contractor. Just make sure that the carpenter has prior experience working with wooding fencing. Consider taking care of some of the extra costs by removing existing fencing yourself. If you have the time and hands-on aptitude to do it well, you can save thousands by installing your own wood fencing.

Even before the economy took a nosedive, homeowners were looking for ways to save money. Home improvements can improve your property’s value while increasing energy efficiency. If you’re looking to replace some or all of your home’s windows, here’s what you can expect to pay. We have laid out the average cost of new home replacement windows.

New Home Windows
Best Case Scenario
You will save a lot of money if your existing window frames are in good condition. If the frames are free of major defects, you can replace just the windows and save up to half of the cost of replacement windows.

Only a certified contractor or other window installer should remove the old window and inspect the frame for any damage. That same contractor will be able to repair a salvageable frame or remove a damaged one, but any additional work will end up costing you money. Most contractors work for about $100 an hour, and frame replacement can easily add another $200 to your total bill.
After you have the measurements, you have enough information to order the replacement windows. The window size is fixed unless you want to enlarge the opening. For load bearing walls, that process is both time consuming and expensive, and you should expect additional labor to cost another $200-$300.

Average Window Materials and Prices
The windows themselves come in a variety of materials. Vinyl is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, but it usually doesn’t come in too many colors. Unfortunately, most paints will quickly fade and crack on vinyl after a few years. However, paint manufacturers like Benjamin Moore have begun selling paint specifically designed for vinyl surfaces.
Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows Being Installed
Other common materials include wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. Wood is an excellent insulator but is expensive compared to vinyl. It also holds up poorly in humid regions and can rot over time especially if rainwater is allowed to accumulate.

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that won’t corrode like iron. Many homeowners go with aluminum clad windows that encase the exterior surface in aluminum but leave the interior window wood for a beautiful appearance. Aluminum clad windows cost more but offer excellent weather resistance and insulation.

Fiberglass is a relatively new window material, and it offers a number of advantages over vinyl, wood, and aluminum. Like aluminum, it won’t corrode, rust, or rot. It can hold paint well, and it will insulate better than the other materials. Fiberglass contracts and expands with the temperature at roughly the same rate as glass, so it won’t leak as much air during the winter and summer months. By filling frame cavities with foam insulation, fiberglass windows offer the best insulation out of any type of window.

An average standard home window can cost as little as $300 for vinyl but 2-3 times as much for fiberglass. Wood and aluminum clad windows typically cost about $500-$700, and they offer a good compromise between cost and energy efficiency.

Triple-pane windows will also drive the cost up over double-pane windows, but they offer superior insulation. Insulating gas between the panes will also increase the overall cost but help save money on heating and cooling bills. Have a damaged frame? A new one will increase the cost by 50-100 percent including the additional labor required to tear out the old frame and install the new one.

Bottom Line
At a minimum, expect to pay on average at least $300 for materials and $100 for labor per window. If your home has 10 windows and you’re replacing all of them, the job will cost at least $4,000.

Once you add in extras like triple-pane windows or fiberglass frames, the material costs can increase up to about $1,000 for a standard window. That same 10 window home will cost about $11,000 instead.

Every frame that needs to be replaced will cost another $200-$700. With all of the bells and whistles for each window, you’re looking at anywhere from $1,000-$1,500 per window. Larger windows and additional work can add several thousand dollars more to the eventual cost.