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Vinyl Siding FAQs

Q: What are the keys to a good vinyl siding installation job?

Allowing for Expansion and Contraction.

Vinyl siding contracts and expands as the outside temperature changes. To avoid structural or aesthetic problems associated with this characteristic, take the following steps:

  • Apply nails or other fasteners in the center of the nailing slot and make sure the fastener penetrates a minimum of 3/4" (19mm) into a framing stud or furring. Make sure installed panels and accessories move freely from side to side.
  • Do not drive the head of the nail tightly against the siding nailing hem. Allow approximately 1/32" (0.8mm) clearance (about the thickness of a dime) between the fastener head and the siding panel. Drive nails straight.
  • Leave a minimum of ¼" (6.4mm) clearance at all openings and stops. When installing in temperatures below 40 degrees F, increase minimum clearance to 3/8" (9.5mm).
  • Do not face nail or staple through siding except for one nail needed to finish at the top of a gable.

For more information, refer to page 15 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: How do I prepare the structure's walls?

Your main goal in preparing the walls of the structure is to ensure a flat, even surface. On any project, remember to install code-compliant flashing before starting to apply siding.

Residing

As stated in the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual, before you begin construction on a residing project:

  • Nail down loose boards on existing siding and replace rotten ones.
  • Scrape off loose caulk and re-caulk around windows, doors, and other areas to prevent moisture penetration.
  • Remove all protrusions such as gutters, downspouts, and light fixtures.
  • Check all walls for evenness and install furring strips where necessary.

New Construction
As stated in the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual, before you begin installing vinyl siding in a new construction project:

  • Apply a water-resistive barrier, such as house wrap or felt paper.
  • Check local building codes for additional requirements.
  • Place drywall inside the house, on the floor of the room where it's going to be applied, to allow for floor-plate compression, which, if not addressed, can result in buckled siding where the floor meets the wall.

For more information, refer to page 17 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: How do I fasten vinyl siding to a wall?

Choose aluminum, galvanized steel, or other corrosion-resistant nails, staples, or screws. Aluminum trim pieces require aluminum or stainless steel fasteners. Remember, as temperatures change, vinyl siding can expand and contract ½" (12.7mm) or more over a 12'6" (3.81m) length. Nails:

Diameter

  • Heads should be 5/16" (7.9mm) minimum in diameter.
  • Shank should be 1/8" (3.2mm) in diameter.

Nails: Length

  • 1 ½" (38.1mm) for general use.
  • 2" (50.8mm) for residing.
  • 2 ½" (63.5mm) minimum for going through siding with backerboard.
  • 1" to 1 ½" (25.4mm to 38.1mm) for trim.

Screw Fasteners

  • Can be used if the screws do not restrict the normal expansion and contraction movement of the panel on the wall.
  • Screws should be size #8, truss head or pan head, corrosion-resistant, self-tapping sheet metal screws.

Staples

  • Not less than 16-guage semi-flattened to an elliptical cross-section.
  • 1" (25.4mm) minimum in length and wide enough to allow free movement of the siding (approximately 1/32" [0.8mm] above and below the nailing hem).

Fastening Procedure

No matter what fastener you choose, follow the basic fastening steps listed below:

  • Make sure the fastener penetrates a minimum of 3/4" (19mm) into a framing stud or furring.
  • Ensure panels are fully locked along the length of the bottom, but don't force them up tight or stretch the panels upward before nailing.
  • Do not drive the head of the fastener tightly against the siding nail hem; instead leave a minimum of approximately 1/32" (0.8mm) clearance (the thickness of a dime) between the fastener head and the vinyl siding to prevent panel buckling as temperatures change.
  • Start fastening in the center of the panel and work toward the ends.
  • Center the fasteners in the slots to allow for expansion and contraction. (Start fastening vertical siding and corner posts in the top of the uppermost slots to hold them in position. Place all other fasteners in the center of the slots.)
  • Drive fasteners straight and level to prevent panel distortion and buckling.
  • Space fasteners a maximum of 16" (406.6mm) apart for the horizontal siding panels, every 12" (305mm) for vertical siding panels, and every 8" to 12" (203mm to 305mm) for accessories unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.
  • If a nail slot does not allow centering/securing into a nailable surface, use a nail hole slot punch to extend the slot and allow centering of the fastener.

For more information, refer to pages 14 and 15 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: How do I cut vinyl siding safely and accurately?

You can use a circular saw, tin snips, utility knife, or a scoring tool to cut vinyl siding. Depending on the tools you use, for a safe, clean, and straight cut:

  • Wear safety goggles for all cutting and nailing operations and follow safe construction practices.
  • With a circular saw, install the fine-toothed (plywood) blade backwards on the saw and cut slowly, especially in cold weather. SAFETY WARNING: DO NOT TRY TO CUT MATERIALS OTHER THAN VINYL SIDING WITH A REVERSED DIRECTION SAW BLADE.
  • When using tin snips to cut siding, avoid closing the blades completely at the end of a stroke.
  • With a utility knife or scoring tool, score the vinyl face up with medium pressure and snap it in half. It's not necessary to cut all the way through the vinyl.

For more information, refer to page 16 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: What do I need to know about wall and window flashing?

As stated in the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual, always install flashing that meets the requirements of ICC AC148, such as aluminum coil stock,around windows, doors, other openings, inside and outside corners, and the intersection of walls and roofing. The most important tip to remember when applying window flashing is that flashing should extend past the nail flanges of the window (or any accessory) to prevent water infiltration. The flashing must be long enough to direct water over the nail flange of the last full course of siding.

With this in mind, you should first apply the flashing on the underside of the window, then to the sides of the window (make sure to overlap the bottom flashing), and finally, to the top of the window.

For more information, refer to page 20 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: How do I install vertical siding and how does it differ from horizontal panel installation?

For the most part, follow the same procedures for installing vertical vinyl siding as horizontal siding, with a few noted differences. Below, you'll find a summary of important steps that apply only to vertical panel installation:

Getting Started with Vertical Siding

  • Snap a level chalkline around the base of the sidewalls. Usually, the chalkline is positioned so the bottom of the J-channel that will be installed like a starter strip is ¼" (6.4mm) below the lowest point on the wall that will be sided. Install a J-channel along the chalkline as a receiver for the vertical siding.
  • Find the center of each sidewall and use a level or plumbline to install two back-to-back J-channels. Leave ¼" (6.4mm) gap at the top and bottom. These will serve as starter strips in which to lock the vertical siding.

Installing Vertical Siding Panels:

Working from the starter strip to the corners, lock each panel and fasten every 12" (305mm). Vertical panels are terminated into the J-channel installed at top and the vertical base or J-channel installed at bottom.

Windows and Doors:

  • Cut the panels (if necessary) to fit the openings, allowing ¼" (6.4mm) for expansion.
  • If panel is uncut or cut down in the "V"-shaped groove of a piece of vertical siding, simply insert it into a 3/8" (9.5mm) J-channel, locking the other side on to the previously applied panel. A furring strip should be installed to prevent panel detachment.
  • If the panel is cut on the flat surface, install undersill trim, backed by furring, into the J-channel. The flat surface of the vertical siding should be snaplock-punched and fitted into the undersill trim. The panel is further secured above and below the windows and above the door when the panel is fastened in place.

Corners:

  • Install the undersill trim or 3/8" (9.5mm) J-channel into the receiver of the corner post.
  • If the panel is cut in the bottom of the V-groove, insert it into the J-channel. A furring strip should be provided prior to panel insertion to prevent detachment.
  • If the panel is cut on the flat surface, install undersill trim, backed by furring, into the J-channel. Punch snap locks along the cut edge of the panel at 6" (152.4mm) intervals and snap it into the undersill trim.

Sidewalls:

  • To create a balanced appearance, divide the length of the wall by the exposure of the vertical panel to be used. For example, if the wall requires 20 full panels plus an additional 8" (203mm), then the first and last pieces installed would be cut to a new width of 4" (102mm). Make sure to allow for proper depth in the receiving channels of the accessories at both ends when measuring.
  • To install the siding, if partial panels are required, mark the line to cut by measuring from the edge of the lock of the panel and cut the panel to the proper width. This will leave a panel with an intact nail hem and proper exposure.

For more information, refer to pages 27 - 31 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: What should I know about installing soffit?

Ventilation is an important aspect of soffit installation that should be considered before you begin work. Consult a local building official for the appropriate requirements for your area and use vented soffit or other vented products as necessary.

Preparation

Inspect and plan your job in advance. Surfaces should be uniform and straight from any viewing angle. For residing applications, nail down any loose panels, boards, or shingles and fur when necessary.

Installing Soffit Over Open Eaves

  • Step 1: Install receiving channels (soffit receiver or J-channel). Nailing strips must be installed if the eave span is greater than 16" (406mm), unless otherwise specified in the soffit manufacturer's instructions. In areas with high wind restrictions, nailing should not exceed 12" (305mm) on center, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.
  • Step 2: Measure from the wall to the fascia board and subtract ½" (12.7mm) to allow for expansion; mark and cut the soffit.
  • Step 3: Insert the panel into the channel on the wall, then into the channel at the fascia board. Make certain the panel is perpendicular to the wall, then nail with trim nails. Drive the nail through the nail flange and "V"-shaped groove within the soffit panel, leaving space for the full expansion allowance in the receiving channel.
  • Step 4: To turn a corner, measure from the channel at the wall corner to the channel at the corner of the fascia board and subtract ¼" (6.4mm) for expansion. Cut and install soffit double channel lineal or back-to-back J-channel. If necessary, install nailing strips to provide backing for the lineal. Miter cut the corner soffit panels and install as in Step 3.
  • Step 5: To complete the installation, apply utility trim and fasten the aluminum fascia cap or formed aluminum coil stock with painted trim nails. If necessary to face nail fascia, drill holes for the trim nails to allow for expansion and to reduce denting of the aluminum. Installing Soffit Over Enclosed Eaves
  • Step 1: Determine preferred method of installing soffit at fascia board. When installing J-channel at either wall of fascia board, nail every 8" to 12" (203mm to 305mm).
  • Step 2: If soffit is to turn a corner, cut and install J-channel to allow ¼" (6.4mm) for expansion at each of the adjoining walls and fascia boards. When installing vented soffit panels, if the existing soffit doesn't have openings for ventilation, cut an adequate number of openings before installing soffit panels.
  • To complete the installation, follow steps 3 through 5 from the open eaves installation instructions listed above.

For more information, refer to pages 32 - 35 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: How do I replace a damaged panel?

To remove a panel for any reason, follow the steps below:

  • Slip a zip lock or unlocking tool behind the bottom lock of the panel above the one to be replaced and unzip it from the lock on the damaged panel.
  • Gently bend out upper panel. Take the nails out of the damaged panel and remove it.
  • Lock on the new panel and nail it up.
  • Use the unlocking tool again to zip the upper panel over the lock on the new panel.

For more information, refer to page 37 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: Should I re-side using Hardiplank or vinyl siding?

There are several distinct differences that are worthy of consideration as follows: maintenance, cost, and beauty/color. Hardie siding is a more expensive choice for the initial installation (approx 35%) and maintenance costs over the life of the product. Below are comparisons to help the decision process.

Vinyl Siding Hardiplank (Fiber cement board)

MAINTENANCE

Requires no maintenance except periodic rinsing with a garden hose or pressure washer. Requires the homeowner to maintain (eg: paint) the siding on a periodic basis. FCS will hold paint for a longer period than traditional wood or composite sidings.

COST

Can be applied over the old siding after any areas that are rotted or in poor condition are repaired. Very little waste disposal costs. Old siding must be completely removed and disposed of prior to applying new siding. There is a considerable amount of material to dispose of.

BEAUTY/COLOR

With the introduction of high grade durable vinyl products, it would be a huge mistake to compare the beauty to low grade apartment communities or cheap builders grade siding jobs. A high quality job will be pleasing for many years. However, the color cannot be changed since vinyl siding cannot be painted. Hardie siding will be aesthetically pleasing for many years. It has a nice wood grain texture and the siding color can be changed if so desired.

Q: How does vinyl siding compare with other siding materials?

In a way, it's almost no contest. When compared to wood, brick, stone, stucco, and metal sidings on the basis of initial cost, maintenance costs, appearance, durability and value, vinyl siding is clearly superior.

We offer a broad range of vinyl siding products, so you can choose one that's easily affordable. Whichever you choose, you can expect the highest quality and lasting beauty. And most vinyl siding never needs painting or staining. It doesn't chip, peel, dent or rot, so you can forget costly repairs. Just rinse occasionally with a garden hose.

In addition, vinyl sidings are backed by a strong warranty. And because vinyl is the preferred siding for more and more homeowners, it retains most of its installed cost. Moreover, premium vinyl siding provides all the beauty of expensive wood sidings with your choice of smooth or grained surfaces; rich, low-gloss colors; and a variety of classic siding profiles.

Q: Isn't it less costly to just repaint my home?

If you plan to move within the next three years, the answer is probably "yes." But if you plan to stay in your home longer than that, the calculations begin to heavily favor vinyl siding.

Of course, if your home has special problems - for example, warped clapboards that have to be replaced or lead-based paint that has to be scraped and sanded off-the cost of painting can become truly staggering.

According to Remodeling magazine (October 1996), investing in new siding can prove to be an excellent choice in terms of payback. In the West, a homeowner can recoup 65% of the cost of siding in terms of resale value added to the home. In the East, the payback is 76%. In the South, it's 84%. And in the Midwest, the cost recouped is 69%.

Compare the ongoing costs of painting every three to five years to a one-time investment in new vinyl siding. For most homeowners the conclusion is obvious-vinyl siding is by far the better long-term value.

Q: How does the cost of vinyl siding compare to the added resale value it provides?

In terms of adding resale value to your home, vinyl siding is one of the best investments you can make. In its annual survey of project cost versus added value, Remodeling magazine said that "the highest payback comes from projects that give an older home the same features that have become standard in new homes."

Exterior improvements such as the installation of vinyl siding also make a home more attractive on the market. According to a real estate agent interviewed by Remodeling, "Things like new siding and new windows will not add dollar for dollar value...(but) they will cause the house to sell quicker for more money."

Another point to keep in mind: if, like many homeowners, you add insulation to an older home at the same time you're having vinyl siding installed, you add even greater value and market appeal to your home

Q: Are there any other materials that are better than vinyl?

Not when it comes to siding. Vinyl siding's outstanding features and benefits have made it the most popular siding material in America today. And because vinyl is the preferred siding for more and more homeowners, it retains most of its installed cost (see previous question for details). It's the material of choice on new luxury homes...and the first choice for remodeling projects large and small.

Leading manufacturers offer a broad range of vinyl siding products, so you can choose one that's easily affordable. Plus, most vinyl siding never needs painting or staining. It doesn't chip, peel, dent or rot, so you can forget costly repairs. To maintain a like-new appearance, just rinse occasionally with a garden hose.

And vinyl siding offers flexible design options that make it ideal for contemporary homes...and for stately century-old Victorians. You can choose from smooth or grained surfaces; rich, low-gloss colors; and a wide variety of classic siding profiles-plus low-maintenance trim products and accessory options that add to both the beauty and value of your home.

What's more, vinyl sidings are backed by a strong warranty, so you can count on getting all the quality you paid for.

Exceptional beauty. Durability. Economical price. Easy maintenance. Long-term value. Outstanding warranty. If these are your criteria, there's no better choice than vinyl siding.

Q: Is vinyl siding really as durable as everyone says?

Absolutely. The correct technical name for the material used in vinyl siding is polyvinyl chloride. It's a strong, durable, proven material that has earned a solid reputation for its beauty and permanence. It's used in automotive applications, medical devices, defense weapons, appliances, floor coverings, and of course, home construction.

It's ideal as an exterior material because vinyl siding doesn't rot, crack, dent or warp. Plus it never peels or blisters. And because the color goes completely through most siding, it never has to be scraped, sanded or painted.

Q: How do I choose a reputable contractor?

First and foremost, make an informed decision. Require references and look at previous work. Word-of-mouth recommendations from neighbors or friends who have recently re-sided their houses are an excellent start. You may also want to ask about liability insurance, customer satisfaction policies and professional credentials.

The relationship you have with your contractor is extremely important. Choose someone whose skills you trust, someone qualified to perform the task required, and someone you can work with comfortably.

Q: If painting isn't required, how do I maintain my vinyl siding?

It's simple. There really is no maintenance, just occasional cleaning.

Ordinarily, the cleaning action of a rainfall will be adequate to wash your vinyl siding. However, vinyl siding and soffit should be washed periodically by hosing with a garden hose and clear water, particularly in those areas not exposed directly to rain. If you desire to do a more thorough cleaning, or where high soil collection conditions occur, use a soft-bristled, long-handled washing brush. It attaches to your garden hose and makes washing your siding easier.

Q: Is one season better than another to have my new siding installed?

Not really. You can have your vinyl siding installed in any season, as your schedule and budget allow. But keep in mind that some contractors are more available during the off-seasons. Regardless of when you have your new siding installed, you'll enjoy the immediate benefits of improved appearance, as well as the long-term benefits of durability and easy maintenance.


Windows FAQs

Q: What is a replacement window?

A true replacement window is a window that's custom built to fit within the opening of an existing window. It's built to fit precisely and can be installed without disturbing the interior and exterior areas around the window.

Q: What are the advantages of custom replacement windows over pre-made, standard-size windows stocked at home centers and lumber yards?

Because custom windows are made to fit perfectly, they provide the best energy efficiency (which saves energy costs) and install much more easily and with very little mess. Also, because of the myriad of options available that affect appearance and efficiency, custom windows allow consumers to designexactly the windows they need or want.

Standard windows typically cost less in the beginning, but other expenses and factors—like additional labor and the disruption to the home—far outweigh the original savings. For example, installing stock windows requires that you add brick or siding to the exterior, and drywall or other materials to the interior. In addition, custom-made windows allow you to choose the best solution to the problems you want to solve by replacing windows.

Q: Do replacement windows really pay for themselves or is that just a sales line?

It's true, if you select high-quality, energy-efficient windows. Savings will vary, but expertly engineered and well-built windows lower home energy consumption. With vinyl-framed windows, maintenance is also virtually eliminated. No need to scrape and paint windows.

These energy and maintenance savings will allow you to recoup your window investment over time.

Q: Aren't beautiful vinyl windows an oxymoron?

Years ago that may have been true. However, today—with the options available and with advances in window design technology—quality vinyl windows are both beautiful and unique. For example, home owners can choose from sculptured or sleek window styles; white, almond or woodgrain vinyl finishes; standard or diamond grids; and beveled, leaded, etched or stained glass. And these are just a few of the options available.

There are still old fashioned, low-end vinyl windows available, but the new designs are beautiful, maintenance-free and energy efficient.

Q: Will new windows eliminate condensation?

Actually, no. Condensation is moisture vapor suspended in the air, and that's something no one can guarantee to eliminate. However, high-quality vinyl windows incorporating warm-edge technology glazing systems will help to reduce condensation because they're much less thermally conductive than other window types. They can help keep the temperature of the window warmer—minimizing the hot and cold differences that turn moisture into condensation.

Q: How are replacement windows any different from older windows in terms of cleaning?

Many high-quality windows are actually engineered to make cleaning easier. For example, double-hung windows with the latest internal constant force balance system allow a home owner to easily maneuver the sashes up and down. They tilt in—and lock securely in place—for safe, easy cleaning. Quite a difference from old wood windows that stick and are difficult to move up and down.

Q: What is insulating glass?

Insulating glass consists of two pieces of glass sealed to a spacer. This creates an insulated air space between the two pieces of glass, resulting in better thermal performance. Insulated glass also reduces condensation while keeping the heat in during the winter, and heat out during the summer.

Q: What is Low-E Glass?

Low-E (Emissivity) glass is treated with thin, virtually invisible, transparent coatings of various layers including metal oxide and silver. During the winter, Low-E glass allows the sun's natural light and short-wave heat energy to freely pass through while reflecting long-wave heat energy back inside, keeping your home warmer. In the summer, Low-E glass reflects long-wave heat energy to the outside keeping your home cooler and, reduces the penetration of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, minimizing the fading of carpet and draperies.

Q: What is Krypton Gas?

Krypton Gas is an inert, odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-toxic gas that is denser than air. It is used to replace air between the glass panes in an insulating glass unit to reduce temperature transfer and deter convection (heat transfer by currents that flow from a warm surface to a colder surface).

Q: What is an R-Value?

R-value measures the resistance a material has to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the resistance, and the better the insulating quality.

Q: What is a U-Value?

U-value measures the amount of heat transferred through a material. The lower the U-value, the slower the rate of heat flow and the better the insulating value.

Q: What is Conduction?

Conduction refers to the energy transfer from one material to another by direct contact.

Q: How should I evaluate the energy performance of a window or patio door?

Look for the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) label on the window or patio door. This label shows the U-Value, Solar Heat Gain, visible light transmittance and condensation resistance values.


Screen Rooms FAQs

Q: Will the screen room increase the value of my home?

Yes. Though any new addition can increase the value of your home. We set all of our screen rooms up to receive windows if you would like to up grade your screen room in months or years form now.

Q: Can we have a doggie door?

Absolutely. Four-legged family members can have their own private entrance and exit with screen rooms and window-ready rooms.

Q: How do vinyl windows compare with windows made from other materials?

The performance and longevity of vinyl windows compare very favorably to those of other building materials, and vinyl often costs less to produce. Vinyl windows and doors are rapidly capturing a major market share as more builders and homeowners learn about vinyl's outstanding value and economy.

Long-lasting beauty, low maintenance and excellent thermal efficiency ratings give vinyl windows a winning edge over other types of replacement windows. The vinyl compound is produced with extra levels of UV inhibitors to help withstand harsh weather conditions, and it is recyclable and environmentally friendly. Vinyl won't pit or peel over time with only simple care and cleaning, windows can keep their beautiful appearance for years to come.

Q: What makes the Elite system unique?

Elite’s advanced construction is unmatched for durability and technological enhancements, and all connections are smartly concealed from view and protected from the elements to provide years of dependable service. Superior design and heavier gauge materials allow for far greater spacing between columns than other sunrooms, providing options for more open spaces without compromising structural support. The view remains clear through technically advanced, insulated glass with framing systems that provide a thermal barrier to guard against condensation and protect against heat and cold.

Q: My dog keeps tearing the screen on my patio door. Is there anything tougher?

Yes. Several products are available. One is a pet resistant screen. This pet resistant screen is ten times stronger than a regular screen. The animal, whether it is a dog or cat, cannot break the strands; however, if they chew on it, they will be able to shred it. Another product is a super-screen, which is about five times heavier than a regular bug screen. This screen gives you great outward visibility. It's not as strong as a pet screen, as it is designed for insect control, but it can tolerate a considerable amount of pet abuse

Q: I have a covered patio and I would like to be able to use it without getting eaten alive by flies or mosquitoes. Can you enclose my patio?

Yes, we do patio enclosures all over Middle Georgia. Patio enclosures can be custom designed to fit your home, using different types of screen. They are constructed adding double or single doors, with chair rails and kick panels. Frame and fabric choices are available in several colors which enable you to customize it to blend with your home.

Q: Thirty years ago, we used to get aluminum screens. Are aluminum screens still available and is it as strong as it was before?

Yes, aluminum screen is still available and no, it is not as strong as it was years ago. Manufacturers are no longer producing heavy weight aluminum screening material. Currently produced aluminum wire screen is lighter and easier to work with but is less durable. Most screeners are using fiberglass screen fabric as their primary material, although aluminum wire is still available on request and for certain circumstances.


Gutters FAQs

Q: What do I need to know about wall and window flashing?

As stated in the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual, always install flashing that meets the requirements of ICC AC148, such as aluminum coil stock, around windows, doors, other openings, inside and outside corners, and the intersection of walls and roofing. The most important tip to remember when applying window flashing is that flashing should extend past the nail flanges of the window (or any accessory) to prevent water infiltration. The flashing must be long enough to direct water over the nail flange of the last full course of siding.

With this in mind, you should first apply the flashing on the underside of the window, then to the sides of the window (make sure to overlap the bottom flashing), and finally, to the top of the window. For more information, refer to page 20 of the VSI Vinyl Siding Installation Manual.

Q: Why should I have seamless gutters installed?

Seamless gutters are nationally recognized as the most popular form of guttering. It eliminates unsightly seams and reduces the possibility of leaks. There are many colors to choose from and the baked on enamel finish never needs painting. Seamless gutters protect the beauty of your home and expensive landscaping. Fabricating on the job provides you with a custom fit. Most jobs are completed in one day.

Q: What are the advantages of using gutter guards?

Having dirty, clogged gutters prevents waterflow and in some cases can be worse than having no gutters at all. If you do not have the time or ability to clean your gutters and perform regular maintenance, then you will want the protection of gutter guards. Gutter guards help prevent clogs, birds nests, debris, and plant life from building up in your gutters while still allowing water to pass and drain through your gutter system.

Q: When should I replace my rain gutters?

How you tolerate maintenance on your home will determine when you should replace the gutter. If you're the kind of person who doesn't want to be bothered with the time and money repairs demand, you should replace your gutters at the first sign of rust. Rust will often show up as little orange speckles that show through the paint, rusty colored stains at the end of the downpouts, or at gutter seams that are separated and leaking. Gutters rust from the inside out. When they begin to show rusting on the outside, the inside is rusting through. Often, however, because of standing water, the gutter may need to be repaired in just one or two areas. Keep in mind that just like a worn suit, you can't keep patching it forever. You may want to repair them for the rainy season, and plan on having them professionally replaced during the off season.

Q: What type of hanging system do you use when installing?

How your gutter is fastened, is just as important as the type of gutter you select. We use the hidden hanger system. The hidden hanger is a bracket that clips under the top of the front gutter hem and is secured to the back. The bracket is then screwed into the fascia board with a wood screw. Since it's inside the gutter, it is not visible. This system also allows easy removal of the gutter, should it ever become necessary.

Q: How much is it going to cost me?

It's hard to find a web site to just quote you a price. There are many variables involved in determining a price. From landscaping around the house to the number of levels from the ground the gutters will be installed at. A professional estimate should be done on your house to obtain an accurate price. We will provide you with a free estimate.

Q: Can gutters help my home be more environmentally friendly?

Absolutely! Rain barrels can be used to gather the water that is collected by the gutters. Using gathered rain water in your yard through hoses will reuse valuable water and help save on your utility bill.

Q: Why should I hire somebody to install gutters? Can I do it myself?

As with most home projects, a homeowner can install gutters themselves. The inherent risk with “do-it-yourself” projects is the effect it can have on your home and your wallet. In the case of gutters, if they are not installed properly the home can be damaged by run-off water, which can result in structural damage, mold growth and foundation decay. It is always best to choose a qualified and insured contractor for any home improvement project.

Q: How long will it take for the gutter installation to be completed?

Unless you have a very large or complex house,we will have your work completed in one day.

Q: Aren't all rain gutters the same?

The answer is NO.

All rain gutters do the same job. They catch the rain water that falls from your roof, then contain and control this water to the ground.

However, rain gutters come in all shapes, sizes, materials, colors and quality. Some are pre-formed and joined together with connectors (such as the gutters you buy at your local lumber yard), and some are custom made specifically for your home (seamless).

Because the seamless type of rain gutter is custom made, the material used, the various component parts, the layout plan, the installation, and the quality of workmanship will not be consistent from company to company.

Q: What is the best kind of rain gutter?

There is no "best gutter". There is the best gutter for the job. As with most products, there are strong points and weak points in the various rain gutter systems. For most homeowners, seamless aluminum (continuous aluminum) rain gutter will give you the most bang for the buck. It's available in about 20 colors and Aluminum coil usually comes painted from the factory.

Seamless Copper is considered the top of the line. It can last for hundreds of years. Copper carries a certain "status". It is, of course, more expensive. Although copper doesn't take paint well, few people who buy copper actually want it painted. Copper will oxidize and the oxidation is turquoise.

This is similar to rust on steel, except it is not caused by the metal breaking down (corrosion). The resulting "patina" finish is a very sought after look. This turquoise marbling adds texture, color, and a richness to copper that is unequaled by any other metal. But like rust it can stain. If you live in an area that has a heavy marine layer, be aware that you may experience some staining from the condensation that drips off the copper gutter.

Q: How do I maintain my aluminum gutters?

for appearance purpose. This is usually done when you wash the rest of the home. Aluminum gutters are mostly maintenance free, however you may want to wash them every couple of years.

Q: Will my rain gutters be seamless?

Yes, unless we need to go around inside or outside 90 degree corners.


Deck FAQs

Q: What types of pressure treatments are used?

Waterborne, Creosote, and Oil-borne (penta) are the three broad classes of preservatives typically used when pressure-treating wood.

Wood treated with waterborne preservatives is typically used in residential, commercial and industrial building structures. Creosote is primarily used for treating railroad ties, guardrail posts, and timbers used in marine structures. Oil-borne (penta) is most often used for treating utility poles and cross arms.

Several typical waterborne preservatives used in building applications include: Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA-C), Alkaline Copper Quat (ACQ-C, ACQ-D, ACQ-D Carbonate), Micronized Copper Quat (MCQ), Copper Azole (CA-B & CA-C, μCA-C) and Sodium Borates (SBX/DOT).
These treatments are often referred to by trade names such as: Wolmanized Natural Select™ (Copper Azole), Preserve and NatureWood® (ACQ), MicroPro™, Smart Sense™ (MCQ), and Advance Guard® (Borate). Each preservative usually has a number of variations available so care should be exercised when specifying treated wood.

Some different oil-borne preservatives that are used are Chlorpyrifos/IBPC, Copper Naphthenate and Pentachlorphenol. One advantage of these treatments is that they do not create swelling in the wood, but there is generally an added cost over water-borne treatments as well as availability in some regions.

Q: What is pressure treatment?

Pressure treatment is a process that forces chemical preservatives into the wood. Wood is placed inside a closed cylinder, then vacuum and pressure are applied to force the preservatives into the wood. The preservatives help protect the wood from attack by termites, other insects, and fungal decay.

Q: What does retention level mean and what retention level should I use?

Retention level refers to the amount of preservative that remains in the wood after the treatment process is complete. It is measured on a weight basis and is typically expressed as pounds of preservative per cubic foot (pcf) of wood.

There are a number of typical retention levels available. Generally, the harsher the condition the wood is exposed to, the higher the retention level must be

Higher chemical content refers to wood for ground contact with specified retention levels greater than

0.40 pcf for ACQ
0.34 pcf for MCQ
0.21 pcf for CA-B
0.15 pcf for CA-C and MCA, or
0.14 pcf for μCA-C.

Where fasteners are in contact with preservative-treated lumber, high exposure refers to wood with specified retention levels higher than

0.15 pcf for ACQ,
0.15 pcf for MCQ,
0.10 for CA-B,
0.06 pcf for CA-C and MCA, and
0.05 pcf for µCA-C.

In these cases, stainless-steel connectors and fasteners, or copper or silicone bronze fasteners are recommended.

For retention levels higher than those listed above, consult our Guidelines for Selecting the Proper Materials and Coatings. See treated wood industry web sites for other use/exposure categories and retention levels.

Q: What types of wood can be preservative treated and what are the differences in corrosion rates?

Trees / logs from which commercial wood is cut have a number of different layers. The two primary layers are called heartwood and sapwood. Heartwood provides most of the "structural" strength to the living tree while the sapwood transports the sap from the base of the tree up to the leaves.

Wood preservatives penetrate sapwood easier than heartwood. As a result, wood species such as Southern Pine, which have a high percentage of sapwood, are predominately used in pressure treating.

Wood species such as Douglas Fir have more heartwood so modifications are typically required to the preservative to achieve adequate penetration and retention levels. The modification that is usually made is to change the "carrier" used in the preservatives. Often this carrier uses an ammonia base, which improves the penetration but also tends to increase the corrosivity of the preservative. (The carrier used to treat sapwood species usually has an amine base.) This increase in corrosivity may be short term or long term. Hybrid carriers, a mix of amine and ammonia bases, may also be used to treat heartwood species.

Incising (perforating the wood with small slits) may also be utilized to increase the penetration of preservative in heartwood species

Q: Tell me a little about CCA.

Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) has been used successfully for a number of decades for pressure treating wood. Several types of CCA have been used, however, CCA-C (type C) has been the predominant preservative used for wood likely to come in contact with the products Simpson Strong-Tie manufactures.

Q: Why was the use of CCA discontinued for residential and general consumer use?

In recent years preservative treated wood received negative publicity mainly focused on the use of arsenic in CCA. The increasing pressure to eliminate the use of CCA resulted in the treated wood products industry voluntarily transitioning from CCA to alternative preservative systems.

CCA is no longer being produced for residential or general consumer use.

Q: What products are still manufactured using CCA?

CCA treated wood products are still produced for use in some industrial, highway, and agricultural applications. These uses will include wood used as poles, piles, guardrail posts, and wood used in saltwater marine exposures.

Q: What products took the place of CCA-C?

A number of alternative preservatives are available. These include ACQ-C (Alkaline Copper Quat Type C), ACQ-D Carbonate (Alkaline Copper Quat Type D, Carbonate formulation), CA-B/ CA-C (Copper Azole Types B and C), µCA-C (Azole biocide), as well as SBX/DOT (Sodium Borate) and Zinc Borate preservatives. As mentioned earlier, each preservative usually has a number of variations available so care should be exercised when specifying treated wood.

It is expected that the formulations used in these products will continue to undergo periodic modifications so once again, care should be exercised when specifying any treated wood.

Q: Are these alternative products more corrosive than CCA-C?

Testing has indicated that some of the alternative products are more corrosive to steel and some protective coatings applied over steel than Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA-C). Contact the treated wood chemical supplier for more information.

Q: What metals and protective coatings does the Treated Wood Industry recommend for use with these products?

Hot-dip galvanized or stainless steel fasteners, anchors and hardware are recommended by the Preservative Treated Wood Industry for use with treated wood. This has been the position of this industry for years and their position has not changed with the transition to the alternative copper-based products. In the past this industry did not address the required levels of galvanizing, however most of those in the industry now provide information regarding the minimum level of galvanizing that should be used.

The thicker the galvanized coating the longer the expected service life of the fastener, connector, anchor, or other hardware will be.

Electroplated / electro galvanized and mechanically galvanized coatings should not be considered to be hot-dip galvanized. (Class 55, or higher, mechanical galvanizing provides galvanizing equivalent to the hot-dip galvanizing used on connectors and fasteners. Ref. ASTM B695 for additional information.)

It is also worth noting that the galvanized coating thickness varies depending on the galvanizing process used. Remember, the thicker the galvanized coating, the longer the expected service life of the steel will be.

Refer to the different chemical manufacturers and/or treaters as well for their recommendations. A list of trade names is included at the bottom of this page.

Q: Are all stainless steels acceptable for use with preservative treated wood?

All stainless steels may not be acceptable for use with preservative treated wood. Testing has shown that Types 304, 305 and 316 stainless steels perform very well with woods that hay have excess surface chemicals. Type 316 stainless steel contains slightly more nickel than other grades, plus 2-3% molybdenum, giving it better corrosion resistance in high chloride environments prone to cause pitting such as environments exposed to sea water.

Q: What is hot-dip galvanizing?

Hot-dip galvanizing is a process of providing a protective coating (zinc) over bare steel. The bare steel is cleaned, pickled, fluxed, then dipped in a molten bath of zinc and allowed to cool prior to inspection and shipping. Additional information is available at www.galvinfo.com. Some anchors and fasteners can be hot-dip galvanized. Steel connectors can be hot-dip galvanized (see below: “What is the difference between Simpson Strong-Tie's Hot-Dip Galvanized (HDG) products and products that are hot-dip galvanized after fabrication?” for additional information.)

Terms such as G90 & G185 reflect the galvanized coating thickness that meet the ASTM A653 specification for sheet steel.

Q: What is Mechanical Galvanizing?

Mechanical galvanizing is a process of providing a protective coating (zinc) over bare steel. The bare steel is cleaned and loaded into a tumbler containing non-metallic impact beads and zinc powder. As the tumbler is spun, the zinc powder mechanically adheres to the parts. The zinc coating has “good” durability, but has less abrasion resistance than hot-dip galvanized zinc coatings since it does not metalurgically bond with the steel. Some anchors and fasteners can be mechanically galvanized.

Q: What is ZMAX®?

ZMAX® is a thicker coating (galvanized per ASTM A653 with a G185 coating) than the standard hot-dip galvanized coating (galvanized per ASTM A653 with a G90 coating). This thicker coating is available on select Simpson Strong-Tie connectors. Due to this increased galvanized thickness these connectors would be expected to have a longer service life than standard galvanized connectors. See Simpson Strong-Tie Material and Coatings Available for additional information.

Q: What is the difference between Simpson Strong-Tie's Hot-Dip Galvanized (HDG) products and products that are hot-dip galvanized after fabrication?

There are two processes used to hot-dip galvanize parts: (1) “continuous” hot-dip galvanizing (“Continuous HDG”) and (2) “batch” or “post” hot-dip galvanizing (“Batch/Post HDG”).

Continuous HDG is generally used to galvanize steel coils at various speeds (up to 600 feet per minute) on thinner gauge steels (galvanized per ASTM A653). Simpson Strong-Tie uses this type of steel to fabricate most thinner gauge products.

Batch/Post HDG is generally used to galvanize heavier individual parts not capable of being fabricated from galvanized steel coils (galvanized per ASTM A123 for connectors and ASTM A153 for fasteners). After being fabricated, the parts are dipped into molten zinc for a longer period of time than Continuous HDG, usually resulting in a thicker coating and more protection against corrosion. Batch/Post HDG can be used on Simpson Strong-Tie connectors, such as CC and CB column caps and bases and thicker gauge hangers(14 gauge and thicker).