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Winterizing the Exterior of Your Home

winter utah home

It’s that time of year again! The leaves of fall have disappeared, and the neighborhoods are still aglow with holiday lights. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to prepare your home’s exterior for future harsh winter elements. Whether it’s heavy rain or ice and snow, your home’s exterior is going to get the brunt of the highs and lows of winter weather, taking on snow, salt, and of course, melt. However, even the simplest of preparations can go a long way, keeping the exterior of your house in good condition when the hold finally subsides. So, without further ado, here are a few tips and tricks from Burbach to keep your home looking great and working for you.

1. Start at the Front Door

In the dead of winter, a weak door and weatherstrip can be uncomfortable at best for the interior of your home, and at worst, can let in unwanted moisture to your door frames and beyond, running up heating costs and even causing mold. If you feel a draft coming from the sides or from underneath your front or back door, it’s likely time for a draft guard and new weatherstripping. Simply slide the door guard between your front and back door and the floor. This’ll help heat from the interior of your home from escaping. By redoing weather stripping along the sides of your door (and window) frames, you can help keep unwanted debris and moisture from entering your home after heavy rain or snowmelt.

2. Check Your Windows

The front door isn’t the only place the heat could be escaping from your home. If you haven’t checked your windows since last winter, now’s the time to do so. Check for gaps alongside your window frames, just as you had with entry doors. If any gaps create a draft or are noticeable by sight, make sure you fill the area with caulk. 

3. Clean Out the Gutters

Has it been a minute since you’ve thought about your home’s gutters? It’s time to get the ladder out and clean out debris buildup. After fall, a significant amount of leaves and debris have likely found a new home in your gutters. If a snowstorm has hit before you were able to clean out those leaves, there’s a high chance what’s in those gutters has compacted and is probably keeping the gutters from doing their job. To prevent ice buildup, clean the gutters at least once after the fall season.

4. Hire a Professional

There are many tasks you can easily find the time to do on your own, but for larger exterior home repairs, a DIY project isn’t the way to go. While inspecting your home, if you’ve seen any damage to the exterior of your home, whether it’s broken siding or deteriorating stone, it’s time to call in the experts at Burbach. Don’t see any damage currently, but want to make sure your home’s exterior is ready for the winter? Give Burbach a cool for an inspection and small repairs.

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Home Sidings: Trend Meets Function

man repairing sidingHome design trends come and go, but trends with function are a different story altogether. When it comes to getting the most from your home’s exterior and curb appeal, there are certain home trends that make sense in our great state of Utah and others that don’t. Home siding, however, is an invaluable part of many Utah homes while still being a point of visual interest. Whether you’re planning to update your home’s siding before Utah’s harsh winter sets in, or are simply in need of some inspiration for a future makeover, here are some siding options the team at Burbach suggests.

The Ever-Popular Stone Siding

As a homeowner, you’ve likely seen a rise in stone sidings in your neighborhood. Sure, stone facing is a material that has been used for centuries, but as a home design trend, it has found its way back into the homeowner’s hearts. Stone facing, in particular, is a perfect option for siding, entryway accents, half sidings, and more. Looking to spice up your home’s siding? Ask the Burbach team about the options of combining two siding materials, like stone and vinyl or wood.

Utah’s Favorite Vinyl Siding

It’s ever apparent that vinyl siding has been the popular choice for home siding throughout the state of Utah. Unfortunately, it’s also a siding material that is more often than not considered outdated. If you’re only familiar with the old look of vinyl, you’re probably unfamiliar with just how highly customizable vinyl siding can be. As for a material that stands the test of time, vinyl siding is extremely durable and weather resistant.

Fiber Cement

An exterior trend that continues to gain popularity is fiber cement. This siding material is highly durable as well as flexible. Fiber cement can actually resemble almost any type of siding you wish. At Burbach, when clients request fiber cement siding, we recommend the James Hardie brand. With a unique blend of 90% sand and cement, this material holds up without warping, rotting, or cracking. 

Trouble Choosing a Trend

Can’t decide on a home exterior trend? If you’re unsure of what material would be best for your home, let the team at Burbach Exteriors help you decide. With our 3-D modeling software, we can show you what any style of siding might look like in your current home.

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Does Your Stucco Need Repairs?

Stucco on houseWe love the classic look and feel of stucco, but more so than most home exterior materials, stucco can be a tricky keeper. Although stucco as material might not be as prone to major issues in certain states, it can sometimes feel difficult to take care of in Utah. We always recommend contacting the team at Burbach if you notice problems arise in your stucco siding. But to get stucco repaired you first have to know what issues to be looking for. Here are a few helpful tips to inspect your home’s exterior to catch small stucco problems before they become major. 

Visual Inspect the Stucco for Cracks & Mold

Take a quick walk around the outside of your home to look for signs of stucco disrepair. Although cracks in stucco are the easiest thing to visually spot, make sure you pay close attention to any discoloration or signs of mold. Many of these signs come with general weathering and age, but if your stucco exterior is fairly new, this can also be a sign of improper installation. Depending on the climate of your state, cracking and discoloration could be a sign of expansion or shrinkage of the stucco material. 

Be on the lookout for hairline cracks, spider cracks, and cracks on any foam trim. Hairline cracks may be a sign of intense stress on the exterior of your home, whereas a spider crack more often occurs due to a stucco mixture that was improperly mixed or a base coat that wasn’t properly cured. If you see signs of mold, it could be a sure sign that moisture has been trapped behind the surface of your stucco. If cracks, discoloration, or mold is visible, contact an experienced company to come and fix cracks with proper compounding or to help you find ways to irradicate mold. 

Touch and Smell the Stucco Exterior

Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with the stucco around your home. This includes paying close attention to the smell and feel of stucco areas. Walk around your home and make sure that everything smells “normal”. Of course, it may be difficult to discern what you should be smelling, but just as it’s simple to tell the difference between a clean room and a moldy one, it’s easy to smell mold around your home’s exterior. If you catch a scent that seems off make sure to check the area closer and touch the surface. If there’s moisture in the area on a rather dry day, this is likely due to a moisture issue and should be taken care of immediately.

Burbach Stucco Inspection

Of course, every homeowner should learn how to do a general inspection of their home’s exterior, but knowing how seriously to take cracks and stains can be overwhelming. If you’re worried about missing areas that need maintenance or major repairs, don’t hesitate to call your local Burbach team. We can help you perform your stucco inspection, repair trouble spots when needed, and explain to you what to look out for in the future. 

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Tips for Power Washing Your Home's Siding

power washing sidingIn order to keep your home’s exterior looking bright and beautiful, you should pressure wash your siding every two years. In addition to looking nice, this also helps protect your siding from erosion and can help it last longer. You should also power wash your siding if you are getting ready to apply a new coat of paint. 

If you need to power wash your home’s siding anytime soon, here are some tips to follow to do the job right...

Use the Right Equipment

Power washing essentially requires three specialized tools: the power washer, a nozzle, and a detergent. There are both gas-power and electric power washers. While electric washers can often do the job, gas-powered washers are definitely more powerful and reliable. Your washer should be at least 2.3 GPM, which is a measurement of flow rate.

Generally, power washing is done with a 25 or 45-degree nozzle, as these angles are ideal at getting to a good position from ground level and still being able to clean out the textured parts of your siding that tend to build up dirt. Lastly, power washing detergent can usually be bought at any cleaning supplies or home improvement store.

Also, as a last aside on equipment, don’t forget to always wear eye protection when power washing your siding, as the detergent can splashback and get in your eye.

Take Careful Preparation Steps

Before you start power washing, you should cover up or move any belongings that you don’t want to get wet or potentially stained by the detergent. This includes things below on the patio or side of the house, as well as amenities attached to your home. For example, you should throw a tarp over your air conditioner unit or swamp cooler. Likewise, shut off the breaker to any outdoor electrical circuits while you are power washing and tape plastic over any cover vents and openings on your home’s exterior.

Keep Track of Your Technique

When you start washing, turn on the power washer and spray a few blasts out before you start on your siding, to ensure that the detergent and water are properly mixed. When spraying, keep the nozzle a few feet away from the side of your home as you slowly move off of it. If an area proves more difficult, slowly inch it closer to that spot until the dirt and grime are removed. Be cautious when moving closer, since the pressure of the power washer can potentially damage the siding. 

As you are spraying, start as high on the home as possible, so that the grime washes down the house. If you start at the bottom, then the grime from the top of the siding will fall onto the areas you have already cleaned.

Repair Any Siding Damage Before Washing

As a last note, you should always make sure that your siding material isn’t damaged before you start spraying. A small crack in your vinyl siding may be able to be easily fixed, but power washing that area could result in a larger area of damage that turns a small fix into a full-blown replacement. This goes for any type of siding, whether it’s aluminum, fiber cement, wood, stucco, or brick & stone.

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Types of Vinyl Siding to Beautify Your Home

vinyl siding housesThere are many reasons that vinyl siding has been one of the most common types of sidings for homes over the last 50 years, but one of the big ones has to be due to the fact that it is so flexible in its design. Vinyl comes in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors that can be used for different aesthetics when it comes to the style of your home’s exterior. 

If you want to upgrade the vinyl siding on your home and do something different than the typical stock style, then take a look at these types of vinyl siding that can really add to your curb appeal and beautify your home...

Shake Siding

Cedar shake siding was a popular style for years in traditional homes. However, shake-styled siding doesn’t need to be made of wood. Vinyl works just as well as a material to create shakes, and it can be used to capture the same aesthetic qualities of wood at a much lower cost, while also requiring less maintenance over time. Generally, vinyl shakes utilize natural colors, such as greys, browns, beiges, and greens, but you can customize them to be any color you want.

Vertical Siding

Vertical styles of siding are becoming more popular in modern home design, to the point that traditional horizontal vinyl siding can look a bit dated unless you are trying interesting things with it design-wise. This style of siding plays into a more rustic aesthetic, due to its barn or cottage-like qualities. This style is ideal for single-level homes because the vertical slats help accentuate height. 

Clapboard Siding

If you are still going to go with a horizontal style of vinyl siding, then clapboards are a great way to go. Vinyl clapboard siding simulates the look of traditional painted wood since it is designed to have a grain-like texture that runs along the slats. To really get European-styled flair out of this style, you can use the Dutch Lap method to give the ends of the clapboards notches that make them seem even more like a wooden board. Clapboard vinyl is usually designed to be painted over if you use a vinyl-friendly paint, so the colors are also highly customizable.

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Your Guide to Cleaning Rain Gutters

rain gutters cleaningYour rain gutters need to be cleaned at least once a year (twice in some areas) and fall is the best time to do it. Heading into wintertime with clean gutters is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of your home. Water that backs up in clogged rain gutters and freezes can cause ice dams that can damage your roof. When water spills over the side of clogged gutters and runs down the side of your house, it can damage flower beds, saturate the foundation, and wear on the side of your home. Here are a few tips to make the job of cleaning your rain gutters a little easier.

Be Prepared

Making sure you have everything ready before you begin cleaning the rain gutters will save you the time and hazard of climbing up and down the ladder unnecessarily. 

  • Wear long sleeves and rubber gloves to protect your arms and give you some extra grip. 
  • Use a ladder stabilizer or arrange for someone to be around who can hold the ladder steady for you. 
  • Spread a tarp under your work area to keep the mess off of the lawn.
  • Hook up a garden hose to your outdoor spigot that is long enough to reach the gutters.

Use the Right Tools

The only tool you really need to clean out the rain gutters properly is a small plastic shovel. A metal one could damage the rain gutters, so pick up a plastic scoop at the hardware store, or borrow a sandbox shovel from your kids. Use the shovel to scoop all of the dirt and debris out of your rain gutters, paying close attention to the areas where the gutters meet the downspouts. When everything is cleared, run water through the gutters using a garden hose. You can check for both clogs and leaks as the water runs through.

Hire a Professional

If cleaning the rain gutters is not a chore that you’re particularly comfortable with, hire a professional to do the job for you. There’s no glory in injuries sustained from falling off a ladder, and professional cleaners can do the job relatively inexpensively. They will also have all the tools and supplies on hand so you won't have to spend money acquiring the things you don’t have just for this job.

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Using Outdoor Shutters to Improve Your Home's Exterior

Outdoor Shutters pictureIf you’re looking to improve the curb appeal of your home, refinishing your outdoor shutters is a quick way to do it. Repainting or staining your existing shutters is an easy job that can save you a lot of money, and make a big difference in the appearance of your home. 

Prep Work

Before you can begin refinishing your outdoor shutters, you’re going to have to do some work preparing the surface for new paint or staining. The easiest way to work on your shutters is to remove them from the house. This way you can turn and angle them into the most convenient positions. The shutters need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanded before new paint or staining can be applied. 

If the shutters are made from wood and are being left in a natural state, the old staining needs to be sanded away before the wood will accept new staining. If your shutters are painted, the old paint that is flaking needs to be sanded away, and all of the painted surfaces need to be roughened a little with sandpaper so the primer will bind to it. Even if your shutters are vinyl, they can still be painted if you roughen the surface first with a sander.

A Coat of Primer

Before you apply a new coat of paint, it’s always a good idea to apply a coat of primer first. This will give your paint an even surface to adhere to, avoiding any surface flaws that may be present. Some paints are a paint/primer combo, but most of the time this process will need to be done in two separate steps. Place your shutters on a drop-cloth in a workspace where you’ll be comfortable working so you can get full coverage without worrying about overspray or paint splatters. 

Spray Painting Tips

One of the easiest ways to get a nice, even coat of paint into all the nooks and crannies of outdoor shutters is to use spray paint, instead of a brush. You will need to remove the shutters from your home before they can be spray painted. Here are a few tips to help your spray painting go more smoothly:

  • Apply primer before the spray paint, especially on vinyl shutters. 
  • Set your shutters up in a spot where you can have overspray without damaging other items.
  • Use sweeping motions to apply the paint, extending beyond the edge of your shutters. So, if you’re spraying from top to bottom, start spraying arc from slightly above your shutters, and end slightly below them. 
  • Use an aftermarket spray paint handle to hold your can. This provides more stability than holding it by hand does. 
  • Try wet coating for even coverage. This is where you spray one light coat over the entire surface, then immediately follow up with a second coat to fill in space completely.

If you take your time and make sure you have the right tools and your shutters are prepped, repainting your shutters is a simple way to really boost the curb value of your house.

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Upgrading the Exterior of Your Home?

stucco_exterior

Think Stucco

Thinking about upgrading the exterior of your home? The investment you make in an exterior upgrade can boost your home’s curb appeal, property value, and help your home withstand major weathering. It’s not a light decision to make, but if you’re looking for a traditional look, we recommend considering stucco as an option. Stucco can add curb appeal and increase the property value to most homes. 

Though it isn’t the best option for your typical DIY-er, it is a relatively low-cost option to upgrade the exterior of your home. With a competitive housing market, having an updated exterior that offers many benefits such as energy efficiency, will help your home sell quicker than the competition. With multiple options to consider when remodeling your home adding or changing up the look of your stucco is a great alternative to pricier options.

A Unique Mixture

As we prepare to head towards the colder months of the year, stucco is a great temperature neutral exterior and will be a nice addition to your home to ensure a comfortable winter. Stucco is a plaster made of cement, sand, lime. When mixed with water, the mixture hardens. It is generally applied in two to three layers depending on the exterior surface of your home. Offering many benefits as the exterior of your home it is bound to make your list of things to consider while remodeling or even building your new home. 

Energy Efficient 

Stucco creates a solid, durable and timeless look to your house while also having many other benefits. Serving as a great insulator for hot and cold weather, it is also energy efficient by helping maintain a constant temperature in your house. 

Fire Resistant 

One inch of stucco provides a one-hour fire-resistance rating as well; this means that it is a great exterior option for high-density housing and houses that are located close to each other. The fire rating means that it will take one hour to get from one side of the wall to the other side. Offering a fire-resistant option for your home will help resale value and will also provide some peace of mind in an emergency. 

Remodeling Options

Stucco is a good, and practical option for remodeling the exterior of your home. Since the cost of materials is cheaper than other options for exterior homes, the majority of the cost goes towards the labor-intensive process. Choosing to use stucco on the exterior of your home is appealing to many due to the fact that homeowners have the option to repaint the color giving them options for future remodels without having to completely redo their work. 

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5 Things You Need to Know When Building Your Utah Home

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The first step to building your utah home, is to purchase an empty lot to build on. The prices in Utah have been climbing, so if building a home here in Utah is something you’re interested in, now is the best time to do it! There are a few things you should consider before getting your down payment together.

A lot

The location of your lot is important! Consider not only how the surrounding area is currently, but what it is projected to be like in the next five to ten years. If you’re buying a lot for the view, but there’s a high chance that view will be obscured by new buildings in a few years, then find a new lot! You’ll need to know the zoning laws for the lot you’ve picked out, as well, to ensure it is zoned for residential. Is it in an existing HOA? Are utilities already installed? These are all important things to take into consideration for the location of the lot you’re looking at.

Understanding the timeline

Building a home takes a lot longer than most people think that it will. It’s not a matter of a few weeks, you should expect around 6 months, depending on your architectural plans. This is something you’ll go over when you select your contractor. Don’t let the length of the timeline discourage you, because there are good reasons for how long it takes for your house to be built! A house that is rushed to be built will not be as structurally sound, and when it comes to your dream house, you don’t want to cut corners.

The right builders

The right builders for your home will make or break your experience! You’ll want to evaluate both the quality of construction of their previous projects, as well as their building process. Find someone who has a good reputation, and has built homes you are familiar with and know were done well.

Money

Obviously, you can’t build an entire house from nothing without money. You probably don’t have cash on hand to build your house, so you’ll have to get your funding elsewhere before moving forward. When building a house, the loan process is a little bit different than when you are buying a house. You’ll get a construction loan, which has a bit of a different process behind it. Your loan officer will be able to walk you through the process!

A house plan

After selecting your lot and builder, it’s time to formulate your dream house. You’ll work with an architect to design the perfect floor plans that include everything you could’ve ever wanted. From there, you’ll work on more specific details of the interior of the home. Once you have the basic house plan decided, you’ll be able to begin construction!

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All You Need to Know About Rain Gutters

rain_gutters

Rain gutters are important to maintain the integrity of your home and will help avoid flooding and damage to the foundation of your house. Though there are many options, it is important to have a professional help install them to ensure the water goes where it needs to be so that you aren’t caught in a bind when the storms come. 

Traditional Rain Gutters

Rain gutters are a u-shaped trough made of metal, vinyl or copper that is designed to collect water from your roof and direct it off, away from the house. More importantly, they keep water away from the foundation of the home. The water travels through the gutter, through the downspout and then typically on the ground surrounding your home. However, there are more decorative options such as splash blocks that will sit at the edge of your downspout and will direct the water coming out in the direction you choose or need for your specific house or situation. 

Modern Changes

Rain gutters are fairly standard, however, if you are looking for a more modern approach to a downspout, a rain chain might be a good alternative for you. Rain chains could be a more attractive option for some homeowners. Rain chains can be drained into a water feature on the outside of your home and make for a great water show to watch the rain drip down your chain during a rainstorm. 

Why Do You Need Them? 

Rain gutters keep the water off of your house and will also help collect leaves, debris, and small animals. Allowing the rainwater and snow to consistently hit your house and run down the exterior of your home could cause long term damage. In addition to not having rain gutters, not having your downspout placed correctly could the water pool next to your foundation. Standing water can cause basement flooding, building damage and landscape erosion.

How Often Should You Maintain Them?

Most experts recommend cleaning rain gutters twice a year. Once at the beginning of the spring season and once at the beginning of fall. This allows you to collect the leaves that may have fallen in there and also gives you an opportunity to notice and assess any damage that has been caused since the last time you were up there. Ensuring that your gutters are working properly, especially during wet seasons of the year, will help you avoid flooding and other damage to your home.

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