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Woodland Exteriors Blog

This is where we will post relevant articles, information, and how-to's related to all things home exteriors, specifically sunrooms, roofing, and siding. Check back often for updates and new information!

When to Replace Skylights?

A common question our customers ask is, when do we need to replace our skylights? Unlike windows, skylights are generally out of sight and not easily accessible to check the condition. It’s reasonable then to ask, when should you replace your old skylights?

LeakingSkylight

Leaking or compromised

If one of skylight’s several seal points is broken water will seep into the skylight, the wall-attic cavity or leak into the room. The latter problem, a physical leak, is usually the easiest to detect, especially if it’s dripping during a rainstorm. If water seeps into the skylight or cavity around the skylight, you’ll see moisture build up. Finally, with very old skylights it’s possible to have a crack in the acrylic or glass causing skylight to fog, become cloudy or retain droplets.

Upgrading – design, efficiency, ease

New skylights look nothing like the old skylights they’re replacing. New Velux skylights offer solar powered skylights, remote control operators, built-in rain sensors, energy efficient glass, sun-shades, security locks and more. There are few better ways to invigorate your home with new life than to improve the infrastructure, meaning those physical elements that are needed for the operation of your home. They can seem to be unimportant, such as when my father used to say of his 1950s style single 1 ½” shower spigot, “the water comes out in the shower, it’s fine”. Until you replace a tired old skylight with one that has modern design and functionality – you have no idea how it changes the way you live.

Replacing your windows or doors

If you’re ready to replace your worn-out windows and doors, then it’s likely time to proactively replace your skylights at the same time. For all the reasons stated above and because it’ll save you money in the long run. Skylights have a finite service life and replacing them at the same time as you replace your windows and doors will improve the overall energy efficiency and comfort in your home. Consider new styles such as an operable venting skylight where you had a fixed one before or a larger skylight to replace a smaller skylight. Without a doubt you’ll save on your overall installation costs when you do the job all at once.

Veluxbathroom skylight white

Replacing your roof

Never throw good money after bad as they say. At Woodland Exteriors, we highly recommend that you do not choose to re-use old skylights when you replace your roof. The roofer will spend extra time removing shingles and debris and still may disturb your skylights during the tear off phase. You will still need to use a new flashing kit to re-install your old skylights as it’s highly unlikely that the flashing won’t be compromised.  Do the math and you’ll find the extra cost to put in a new skylight will more than pay off in longevity, aesthetics and efficiency. It will cost far less for the roofers to replace your old skylight with a new one when the shingles are off the roof. What happens if you choose to re-use the old skylight and a leak develops? You’re responsible for the bill when the roofer needs to return and tear off the new roof shingles to access the skylight.

For more information about skylights check out our previous posts Skylight Installation Lightens Up Winter and Skylights in Sunrooms.

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Versetta Stone and Insulated Vinyl Siding Transforms this Old House

 

Nothing lasts forever and that includes siding. When the day comes that your old siding makes your home look tired and dated, don’t just replace your existing siding, instead, with a little creativity you can transform your old house into a neighborhood gem. How can you transform your home and budget for the cost of the project?

2b After edit1

 

Watch the makeover of this home in Elmhurst.

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Stuck Windows This Winter - What You Need to Know About Hard to Open Windows

The simple anatomy a window
 
Windows operate on simple mechanical principles. Understand these and you can diagnose your window problem.
 
Single and double hung windows simply move up and down in channels in the window frame. Balancing mechanisms, such as rope and pulley, spiral or block and tackle, assist in raising and lowering the window sashes, and prevent them from sliding downward.
 
Andersen Casement Crank
Casement and awning windows operate by a crank handle and a track. The windows are opened and closed by means of a crank mechanism, which resides against the frame on the inside. The crank houses a series of gears inside a metal housing, which moves a control arm, attached to the sash, which slides along a track.
 
Sliding windows rely on rollers and a sliding track, like a sliding door. To open and close simply requires just a push.
 
Eliminate obvious maintenance problems
 
Often, the reason windows are hard to open and shut is because they’ve not been properly maintained. Windows are finely engineered, rely on moving parts, withstand extreme weather, and are built to last a long time. A well-maintained window will operate smoothly, year after year.
Pella Sash Removal
 
Single and double hung windows become difficult to open if there’s a buildup of dirt, dust, and debris. Over the years, friction from the buildup increases making the windows difficult to open and close. Try cleaning the window frames and spray with a non-silicone, solvent-free lubricant, opening and closing the window several times to work the lubricant.
 
If you have old painted windows check the sides of the sash to be sure they have not been painted (never apply primer or paint to the edges of the sash). If excess paint has been applies around the window frame and sill, gently slide a putty knife between the sash and the frame to release the paint. You might try using a hair dryer to blow hot air around the edge of the sash until you can move the window. After successfully releasing the window, lubricate the window frame interiors, channel guides, with pure paraffin candle wax, such as an unscented white votive candle.
 
Casements and awnings that are difficult to open and shut will require removing the sash (consult the instruction manual for your windows) and checking for stripped or loose screws. Lubricate the hinges with a non-silicone, solvent-free lubricant, and then open and shut the windows several times to work in the lubricant. It is helpful to keep the gears lubricated to make turning easy by applying a few drops of oil around the base of the handle if it’s difficult to turn.
 
Easy to clean sliders
Sliders that are difficult to open and close may simply require cleaning the roller system and track with a simple soap and water solution. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try lubricating the rolling system.
 
If the problem persists
 
After eliminating the obvious causes of hard to operate windows if you windows still don’t open with little effort, you’ll need to eliminate the most common repair problems. Failed or worn out pulleys or tension springs are common repairs for single and double hung windows. Chipped, broken or bent gears require you to buy a whole new casement crank unit for your casement window. Broken wheels may need replacing on sliding windows.
Double Hung Balancer: ProSalesMag
 
Windows are basically simple mechanisms requiring only regular maintenance to work well.  Mechanisms can be faulty or wear out, which requires replacing parts, re-installing the frame or other repair.  These repairs may appear easy enough, but they can actually be tedious challenges better left to professionals who have mastered the art and science of window repair.
 
Woodland’s window manufacturer’s websites offer tips on window maintenance; check out Marvin, Andersen, and Pella.
Don’t get stuck inside this winter.
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