Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Buying Construction Materials? Inspect Before You Buy

It seems obvious that if you buy your construction materials from the same stores that supply professional contractors, you should be able to count on getting high-quality, professional-grade products. Unfortunately, that's not the way it works.

The pros are used to it. When we drive into the lumberyard to pick up a load of two-by-fours, we know that part of the job will be checking them for bad splits, bows, warps, knots and damage. And the same goes for everything else we buy. So if you're buying materials for a project of your own, check everything over before you leave the store.

An example:

A customer recently picked up a screen door from one of the big box stores, but when we went to install it, we realized we were going to have to take it back to the store.

Notice how there's a lot more of the bottom board showing on the right than there is on the left. Something's not right here.

Turn the door around, and we find the problem: a screw missed its target, splintering part of the frame...

...and forcing the main panel out of place.

Most stores will let you return defective products, but of course it's a lot quicker and easier not to buy them in the first place.

New Hampshire Construction

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Renovating New Hampshire Soffits

What do your soffits look like? Are they working properly? What are soffits, anyway? Most New Hampshire houses have soffits, and if they're not working properly, that could lead to problems.

What are soffits?

On most New Hampshire houses, if you stand under the overhang of a pitched roof and look up, you'll be looking at the soffit.

How do they work? What are they supposed to do?

Soffits serve two important roles in a house. First, they block the roof off from mice, squirrels, and other creatures who may want to build their nests in there and ruin your insulation. Second, they work in combination with ridge vents to allow airflow through the roof. Without sufficient airflow, condensation is likely to collect in your roof. That could lead to mildew, mold, dripping, rotting, and possibly even ceiling collapse.

The old way

Older soffits were often made of plywood or even boards, with metal vents installed at regular intervals.

The new way

Today, soffits are usually made of perforated vinyl. They don't need to be painted, and installation is less labor-intensive because they don't need custom holes cut for the vents.

Renovating soffits

In many cases, new soffits can be installed without fully removing the old ones. In this example from a recent job, we're removing the old vents and installing the new perforated vinyl soffits over (literally, under) the old wooden ones.

New Hampshire Construction