Clean Siding

How to Clean and Maintain Your Home’s Exterior Siding

Clean SidingKeeping your home’s exterior siding in good shape is not only a great way to improve your home’s appearance, it also helps you avoid repairs and costly services down the road. With a bit of preventative maintenance, you’ll be able to extend the life of your home’s exterior siding for 50+ years!

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to clean and maintain your home’s exterior siding so you won’t have to worry about costs adding up for a few decades.

How Do You Maintain Your Home’s Exterior Siding?

No matter the materials, it’s important to clean your home’s siding every six months or more to keep it in optimal condition for many years to come. You should also inspect your home’s exterior for any damages at least every six months, or after violent storms and high winds. We asked Dominic, Manager of GNH Greenville for tips on how to properly maintain your home’s siding. Here’s his expert advice:

Vinyl Siding Maintenance

Vinyl siding is low maintenance and is designed to be left alone, which is great! However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to be maintained. The good news is that you can easily clean vinyl siding yourself.

Vinyl siding requires a good power washing about twice a year. Dominic suggests checking a few times a year to make sure no boards have come loose or are cracked. If they are, they will need to be fixed as soon as possible. High winds can cause damage and cracks to vinyl easily, so if you had a windy season, be sure to do a walk-around your home after the storm. Remember to give it a good pressure-washing twice a year to reduce damage and renew bright colors.

Tip: Making repairs early will save you money on more costly repairs further on down the road!

Wood Siding Maintenance

Wood siding will need to be treated every 4 to 6 years. In New York, sun and snow are particularly abundant so you may have to treat it more often than that. Because wood is porous and vulnerable to the elements, it also requires paint, stain or sealant to prevent it from moisture, rot and decay.

Like vinyl siding, you need to check the wood siding for cracks and breaks. Most repairs are easy to fix, so do it as soon as you notice the damage. If the color of your wood siding has been lost due to fading and old age, or if it’s spotted with mildew or rest, don’t worry! To recover your wood’s natural beauty, Dominic recommends using a stain remover, wood cleaner or brightener.

Stucco Maintenance

Often times, woodpeckers will attack your stucco siding. They tend to leave holes which will need to be replaced immediately or else they will live in your walls. Since stucco is a very porous material, if a tree leaks its sap on your siding, it can take over and cause huge problems. It can stain rather quickly so go around once or twice a year to check. To remove any stains that are starting to form, Dominic suggests using a degreaser and bleach.

Cedar Shake Maintenance

If you want your cedar shake siding to live for a long time, you want to make sure it’s treated or stained properly and checked often. Left untreated, cedar shakes can discolor and start to soften, causing it to rot. In order to maintain healthy cedar shakes, you want to make sure to paint or stain the cedar every 5 years. Stain is a more effective protectant for cedar than paint so Dominic recommends opting for stain when you can. Hiring a professional to paint or stain your cedar shakes could cost upwards of $2,500 depending on your home’s size.

How Often Should You Clean Your Home’s Siding?

The exterior of your home needs a good cleaning about twice a year. Overtime, cobwebs, dirt and mildew can build up and shorten the life of your siding. A clean house will protect your siding as well as your investment.

How Do You Clean All Types of Siding?

Cleaning the siding of your home can be a bit treacherous, but luckily you only need to do it once or twice a year!

All types of siding benefit from a good cleaning to remove residue. Here’s how Dominic recommends cleaning your siding:

1. Check for Cracks and Damages in the Siding

Do a quick walk around your home and check for cracks, chipped paint, cracked boards, or other damages before you start the process of cleaning your siding. If you have cracks, water from cleaning could seep into the home, causing serious damage and trouble over time.

2. Invest in a Power Washer

A power washer is key to getting up in the peaks of your house by the roof, blasting away grit and grime, and takes far less time that washing the home’s siding by hand. This is especially true for homes with vinyl and wood siding.

3. Scrub the Siding with TSP

30 Second Outdoor CleanerNext time you’re at GNH Lumber, pick up some TSP (trisodium phosphate). The TSP that GNH Lumber carries is phosphate-free. Mix ½ cup with 1 gallon of water and apply to a sponge, washcloth or soft-bristled brush. Start scrubbing those stubborn areas where birds or spiders have left their droppings. These are usually the toughest things to get out of your siding! Dominic recommends working from the bottom to top to avoid streaking and then rinse.

Don’t want to mix your own solution? Dominic recommends 30 Seconds Cleaner for Algae, Mold and Mildew. This powerful formula is safe to use around landscaping, plants and your lawn. Simply attached to a garden hose, spray on and hose off. It is proudly made in America and has been around since 1977 so it is a tried an true product. Stop into our Greenville or Windham locations and ask for it by name.

Keeping your home clean and maintained properly can save you tons of money in the long run!

Have more questions? Stop in and see Dominic at GNH Greenville! 

Bring the Outdoors Inside with Marvin Patio Doors!

Bring the Outdoors Inside with Marvin®

Bring the Outdoors Inside with Marvin

Marvin introduces more light and airflow into your home.

We all know how important sunshine (and good old Vitamin D) are towards maintaining good body and mental health. But did you know that aside from spending time outdoors, you can help bring that lovely sunshine and outdoor feel into your home as well? It’s true, and it can still help improve your overall health!

Humans are hardwired to be exposed to nature. What’s more, studies have shown that there’s a positive biological response that happens when we come into contact with nature, as well. You can bring the outdoors into your own home with Marvin – and this exposure to natural light can improve your health from head to toe!

Natural Light Improves Well-Being

Before we ever had lamps and lightbulbs, the sun was our primary source of light. As such, our biology revolves around the sleep/wake cycles we’ve established due to the natural rotations and guiding flow of the sun. This means that maintaining healthy levels of exposure to natural light is crucial to your overall health. Without proper sleep and access to natural light our immune systems can’t function at their best. Besides that, our energy is reduced, and we can find it harder to concentrate or remember things.  Now, we can try to get outdoors as much as possible, but the average person spends nearly 90% of their time indoors. With so many work-from-home arrangements, we need our lighting to work in our favor to keep ourselves feeling and thinking healthy! Thankfully, thanks to the many advances in window and door design, you can easily amplify your access to natural light in your home.

Enhancing Your Home with Natural Light

Your patio door can work with the rest of your design choices to create a sharp, healthy and workable light-filled home. Especially when you add Marvin to an existing or planned outdoor deck! Nowadays, most modern homes (and many recently remodeled homes as well) have more windows with narrower frames. This increases the capacity for light to pass through and offers better views, so a sliding patio door can add even more lovely, natural light.

Healthy home design revolves around ensuring our doors and windows and our exposure to natural light work hand-in-hand. We recommend choosing a Marvin brand patio door to not only increase your home’s comfort and functionality – but also improve its curb appeal! Marvin provides reduced sightlines, thanks to a large expanse of glass. That means your backyard views are always picturesque and stunning! This also enables you to achieve the optimal amount of sunlight in your home. So you can connect with the outdoors, restore your health, and feel free – even while indoors!

Add Natural Light with Marvin

Blend Looks for Indoor & Outdoor Chic

One of the best things about adding a Marvin to your home is how customizable they are – so they can complement any existing or planned deck/outdoor space!

If you’re looking to create a sleek, modern patio for outdoor entertaining this summer – try the Marvin Signature® Ultimate sliding patio door! Featuring enhanced security features, heights of up to 16 feet, durable and weathertight performance, and personalized aesthetics and framing, it’s a great “plug-and-play” option for your next home remodeling project! We recommend pairing it with TimberTech AZEK Weathered Teak Decking to keep your deck cool while ensuring a sharp, contemporary look.

Don’t forget about the rest of your outdoor space as well! Having the entrance/exit from your backyard match the entire space only adds to its entire flow and feel. Try combining the clean lines and added visibility of a Marvin Essential sliding patio door with a stylish new TimberTech Paver pathway for added aesthetics! These products are not only incredibly customizable and easy to care for, but they can also improve the functionality of your home – inside and out!

It’s easier than you think to add to your home’s entire curb appeal with Marvin! They can improve the looks of your home – and can also protect it against the elements and keep your energy costs down! If you’re looking to improve your home inside and out, be sure to reach out to the talented team at GNH Lumber. We can help you find the best door and decking options for your home and ensure it’s installed successfully!

Contractor Installing Windows

Why Choose Vinyl Windows?

Contractor Installing Windows

The Superior Replacement Option

Fall is here, and winter isn’t too far behind it! If you find yourself dealing with old or drafty windows, replacing them soon is a great idea. Now, new windows shouldn’t just look good and increase your home’s curb value. There are so many energy-efficient models available now, and they can help lower your energy bills. If you’re looking for a window that can do it all and stand up to the toughest weather – you should choose vinyl windows.

What Are Vinyl Windows?

When we talk about vinyl windows, we’re referring to “all-vinyl” windows. These are different than “vinyl-clad” windows, which use wood window frames with a thinner layer of vinyl on the exterior. Vinyl windows have window and sash frames made entirely from PVC, which is a very durable material. PVC can easily withstand even the harshest swings in weather. So, wherever you live, vinyl windows are the clear-cut choice!

Easy to Clean & Care For

Compared to other framing options like wood or aluminum, vinyl is incredibly low maintenance. Unlike wood windows, you never need to sand, scrape, or paint them to keep them looking beautiful. Vinyl also doesn’t rot, is impervious to water damage, and won’t attract wood-tunneling birds or bugs. And while aluminum windows can transfer heat or cold through the frame, that’s not the case with vinyl! All you ever need to do to get vinyl looking brand-new again is a little light scrubbing with warm, soapy water.

Nearly Endless Choices

No matter what style you’re looking to add to your home, you’re likely to find a vinyl window that matches it. Vinyl replacement windows are available in practically every style possible – from casement to awning! You can even find vinyl windows in more unusual shapes and styles, such as octagonal, round top, or transom. If you’re looking for a completely new window style, you can even order vinyl windows in custom sizes to fit your existing opening. Many manufacturers even offer special wood-grain finishes, so your frame resembles real wood.

Additional Benefits of Vinyl Windows

Vinyl replacement windows are a great way to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But did you know that certain Energy Star rated windows are eligible for tax deductions? And aside from saving you money every year, they also make your home that much more appealing to buyers! That’s on top of the fact that replacement windows can add up to 97% of their cost to your home value.

Easy Installation

Vinyl windows can be installed as easily as any other type of window – but it pays to do it right the first time. No matter what your window is made from, if it’s not installed right, it won’t work as well. Thankfully, many window manufacturers offer helpful guides to cut down on the guesswork. If you’re stuck or don’t feel confident doing it yourself, we can help too! GNH Lumber is proud to offer installation advice and planning to help you get your windows in right and on time.

Feeling ready to get those windows replaced? Get in touch with us today – we can help you find the best replacement windows for your home!

Do It Yourself Winter Projects

7 Do It Yourself Projects You’ll Want to Start This Winter

Do It Yourself Winter ProjectsHaving an occasional lazy day indoors is relaxing, but if you’re stuck inside because of the cold, why not be proactive? There are a variety of easy projects you can take on during the winter that you will appreciate thoroughly when springtime rolls around again… So, why not make the most of the next winter storm?

If you’re feeling the winter blues, here are 7 DIY home improvement projects to lift your spirits:

1) Painting

Did you know that cold weather is ideal for drying paint? The dryness of the winter months makes winter the perfect time to paint the interior, so crack a window, and start painting. Select a bold color and paint an accent wall in your living room. Or add dimension to your bedroom by painting the ceiling.

Backsplash project

 

2) Add a Backsplash to Your Kitchen

Backsplashes are important to adding personality to your kitchen. For a kitchen that needs some life, a flashy or textured tile can wake it up. For a kitchen that already has personality, a sleek, neutral tile can add unity to the room’s look.

 

3) Add More Lighting

What better way to brighten and warm your spirits in the winter than with new lights, lamps or ceiling fans. Not to mention it’s an easy and affordable way to update the style of any room.

LED-style lights, which come in contemporary and bold styles, also provide a money-saving option. Installing dimmers in areas like the family room or dining room saves money, while allowing homeowners to customize the ambiance.

 

Organize Closet4) Make Your Closet More Organized

Is organization on your list of resolutions? Kick off the year by tackling your closet.

If you create a place for everything, you’ll be a lot more likely to put things away. There are so many things you can do to customize a closet for your needs. You can install shelving, purchase a shoe rack, create drawers and dividers, and much more. You can even try designing your own Modular Closet.

Remember, you’re only limited by your imagination.

 

5) Remodel Your Bathroom

There’s no better time than the winter to spice up your boring bathroom. While replacing a faucet, tile, or repainting are relatively easy for the DIYer, more ambitious jobs like replacing the tub or adding tile floor might be better left to a professional. Though a complete remodel will be a bigger investment, it’s worth considering.

 

Reburbish Doors

6) Refurbish Your Doors

Interior doors can have a lot of visual impact on your home. The good news is you can virtually “replace” all of your doors without spending excessively.

You can easily refurbish your interior doors by painting them, changing the doorknobs, and even adding moulding.

 

7) Change Your Light Bulbs

You won’t regret replacing your bulbs with energy-efficient ones. It’s a great way to go green and save money. On average, an Energy Star qualified light bulb will save between $30 and $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime, so don’t let the upfront cost of these bulbs scare you away from making the purchase.

 

By focusing on the inside of your home while the weather is cold, you’ll have a lot more time to tackle the warm-weather stuff when spring rolls around. And, as you begin your project, stop by GNH Lumber for all the supplies you’ll need, including tips and guidance!

 

Sources: “5 Easy Home Improvement Projects & Upgrades For the Winter”, moneycrashers.com.

Maximize Kitchen Space

5 Ways to Maximize Kitchen Space During the Holidays

Maximize Kitchen Space

December is a busy month for the kitchen. Many of us spend our time planning and shopping for the holiday season, as well as welcoming family into our homes.

While it’s an enjoyable time, it can get quite chaotic, especially when you’re the one that’s preparing all the food.

Get your kitchen design project started!

To save yourself some stress this holiday season, consider these tips for both reorganizing your home and maximizing kitchen space:Continue reading

Trending Textures for your Home’s Exterior

Gone are the days of boring, cookie-cutter style houses. Today’s homeowners are finding ways to express themselves by designing their homes in a way that reflect their style. One increasingly popular trend is mixing textures on your home’s exterior, which makes your home stand out among the rest.

How to mix textures

You’ll want to pick 2-3 different textures for your home’s exterior, and no more than 2-3 different colors. Too much variation will appear chaotic, so it’s important to be thoughtful about your choices.

You can take a drive around your neighborhood to get a sense of what you like, use online design tools like Cultured Stone’s Visualizer tool, or talk to our GNH design experts to get started.

Think about what focal points you want to stand out on your home— dormers, gables, porches, bump-outs, etc. Use contrasting colors and/or textures to draw attention to these features. You may also want to switch up the siding on different levels of your home.

Not ready for a remodel? You can start small by adding contrast with your front door, shutters or trim.

Using Cultured Stone for texture

One texture you’ll definitely want to consider using is stone. With so many colors and textures to choose from, the possibilities are limitless. You can also choose between using natural stone or a manufactured veneer, such as Cultured Stone veneers. There are a number of benefits of using Cultured Stone veneers. Cultured Stone is about one-quarter the weight of natural stone and is generally easier and less costly to install. Because of its light weight, Cultured Stone can be installed on a variety of substrates, unlike natural stone which needs to be fixed to something structural. Composed of lightweight concrete, Cultured Stone will last as long as other concrete materials, which can be anywhere from 50-100 years. Cultured Stone products are virtually maintenance-free and come with a 50-year limited warranty.

Some consumers may worry that manufactured stones will be too repetitive in appearance, but Cultured Stone uses thousands of individual molds and no two stones are ever cast with the same exact coloring. In fact, Cultured Stone has the largest variety of colors and textures in any manufactured stone line, with more than 20 textures available in over 100 color combinations. Check out some combinations below!

Echo Ridge Country Ledgestone      Credit: Symphony Homes

Artic Pro-Fit Terrain Ledgestone
Credit: Hearth and Home

Aspen Dressed Fieldstone & Aspen Country Ledgestone

These examples show how you can use different colors of Ledgestone to create vastly different styled homes. One the left you have Echo Ridge Country Ledgestone and an arts and craft style home, followed by a modern looking home in the middle with Artic Pro-Fit Terrain Ledgestone, and lastly the rustic log cabin style home with a combination of Aspen Dressed Fieldstone and Aspen Country Ledgestone.

 

Echo Ridge Dressed Fieldstone
Credit: Barrington Homes

This Echo Ridge Dressed Fieldstone gives the house a rugged and historic look like it has been here through the ages.

Gray Cobblefield

 

The Gray Cobblefield on this home is designed to mimic the architecture of 19th century rural America.

For more inspiration, visit the Cultured Stone Designs Gallery.

Lawn Before Lawn Repair

DIY: Lawn Repair 101 – How to Fix Bare Spots

Lawn Before Lawn RepairAhhh! A lush lawn of perfect green! It’s what we all dream about when it’s summertime. The soft, rolling green backdrop to our cookouts, ballgames, BBQs and entertaining. That said, if you have a lawn with bald or bare spots, it can be frustrating to diagnose and fix.

Do I Need Lawn Repair?

It’s not uncommon to encounter bare spots at some point or another throughout the summer season. Take heart! There are easy ways to diagnose and repair these unsightly patches of yellow, brown and beige, and restore your lawn to its true GREEN GLORY.

A few common causes for those bare spots and patches in your lawn:

  1. Not enough water
  2. Over-fertilizing or spilled chemicals
  3. Lawnmower damage
  4. Grubs or other insects
  5. Pet damage or foot traffic

Depending on the type of damage, there are different solutions to your lawn’s bare spots. However, most involve adding new grass seed, lawn food and water (see steps below). Considering the unusually rainy spring and summer we’ve had so far in upstate New York, it’s doubtful that your lawn has bare spots due to dryness. But if there is a dry spot, it’s an easy fix – just be sure to water frequently, in addition to reseeding to improve thickness.

If the bare spots are due to overfertilizing or lawnmower damage, you will see them appearing uniformly across the lawn. For damage caused by overfertilizing, reseed the bare spots and do not add additional fertilizer until the lawn heals itself. For lawnmower damage, be sure your lawnmower blades are sharpened regularly, and keep the blades raised high enough from the ground when you mow.

Grubs or other insects can wreak havoc on your lawn, as well. Grubs, curling white worms, are a common problem in mid to late summer, and most easily identified when your sod easily pulls back from the ground like a carpet. More than ten grubs per square foot can cause lawn damage. Grub control products are available at your local GNH.

Pet or backyard animal urine can create bare spots of yellowed-grass with a brighter ring of green around them. These can be repaired following the steps below, but to prevent future damage you will want to train your pets to do their business elsewhere. Likewise, foot traffic must be redirected to allow these spots in your lawn to heal.

How to repair bare spots in your lawn the quick and easy way:


Supplies & Tools:

  • Grass Seed (we recommend Scotts® Turf Builder® seed varieties)
  • Topsoil or compost
  • Fertilizer (we recommend Scotts® Step-3 Lawn Fertilizer)
  • Small gardening trowel and rake

1. Break Up the Bare Spot and Reseed.

Use a small gardening shovel or rake to break up the dry spot on your lawn. Remove any rocks, leaves or debris. Choose the appropriate grass seed for the spot’s shade density (such as Scott’s Turf Builder seed varieties, available at GNH) and cast the seeds over the turf. Spread about a half an inch of compost or topsoil on the strewn seeds.

Tip: To get good seed-to-soil contact, gently rake the seeds and soil into the grass.

 

2. Water Generously at First, Less Later

Water the area immediately, and then continue to water lightly three times a day for 7-10 days. When you can see the new grass sprouting, reduce watering to once daily.

Tip: After the new grass emerges, less is more. A good, thorough soaking rather than a quick watering ensures that the water gets down to the root system. This helps roots grow strong and deep for a thick, more drought-resistant lawn.

 

3. Feed Your Entire Lawn to Nourish It

To encourage the new growth, and keep your whole lawn looking its best, add a gentle lawn fertilizer to the spot, like Scotts Step-3 Lawn Fertilizer, available at GNH!  Tender seedlings, as well as existing grass, need nutrients to help grow thick and strong.

 

4. Kick Back & Enjoy the Results!

Repairing bare spots in your lawn is a quick and easy project that reaps many rewards. It’s the perfect weekend task that you can finish in no time, so you can get back out in the hammock and enjoy the results! Don’t forget to improve the lushness and color of your whole lawn (and reduce the chance of future damage) with regular feeding and proper maintenance.

Lawn After Lawn Repair

For more on bare spot lawn repair, check out this helpful video from Scott’s Lawn: https://youtu.be/rI4WhxUq4zM

https://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-identify-the-cause-of-brown-spots-in-your-lawn/, http://www.planitdiy.com/how-to/lawn-garden/lawn-repair-fix-a-bare-spot/, https://www.scotts.com/en-us/library/grass-grass-seed/how-repair-seed-bare-spots-lawn, http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/how-to-repair-bald-spots-in-your-lawn  

Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal with Cultured Stone Veneers

cultured stone

Textured Tradition

It’s no secret that some of the most beautiful and memorable structures in the world are made with stone.

Whether it’s a grand work of art or an average office building, stone is a material that has shaped our lives. Nowadays, stone has its place in redesigning your home’s interior as well. According to a recent Zonda Media report, manufactured stone veneer (MSV) ranks number two nationally for providing high ROI. Only garage door replacement ranked higher on this list! If you’re looking to improve your home’s curb appeal, try Cultured Stone veneers.

 

What Are Cultured Stone Veneers?

Cultured Stone veneers are a type of manufactured stone. They’re made in flexible molds using a concrete mixture. Afterwards, they’re hand-colored with iron oxide pigments to resemble natural stone. The result is a versatile and lightweight material that adheres to most surfaces. It comes bearing the best credentials as well. Every veneer produced meets AC-51 criteria – the strictest requirements in the industry. As long as you see that CSV® stamp, you can rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality material.

 

Less Weight, Less Problems!

CSV® offer both the home DIYer and the expert many advantages over natural stone. Due to its unique composition, it is almost one-quarter the weight of natural stone. A standard box of CSV® weighs about 10 pounds, and comes pre-sorted for variations in size and color. This means that once you’ve got your stone veneers on hand, you can spend less time moving material around!

This makes the entire installation process easier as well. Natural full-bed stone puts a tremendous amount of strain on surfaces. This means that even the most expert stonemason can only make so much progress each day. That’s not the case with CSV®! Its lightweight properties let you work more with less physical strain. Anyone working with this material is sure to be upright at the end of the day and have a spring in their step.

 

A Variety of Choices

Touching up your firepit? Adding some extra beauty to your home exterior? Then there’s a CSV® in whatever color or style you need! You don’t have to feel confined to standard shades of brown or gray either. A wide variety of the options available are modern, trend-setting, and much newer to the market.

Whether you’re going DIY or hiring an expert, the range of customization is almost endless. CSV® is the perfect material for artistic expression and creative layouts. Working with material like this means the only limit on any of your projects is your imagination!

 

Traditional Beauty Meets Modern Style

Looking for some ideas to jump start your project? We recommend smaller, simpler ideas to get your home interior feeling new!

For example, if your home exterior needs a new look, why not give it a CSV® makeover? This Sculpted Ashlar is modern-meets-classic, with just the right amount of warmth. It looks great both inside your house and out!

sculpted ashlar cultured stone

There’s no better time than now to get that firepit or outdoor bar looking its best for the warmer months! Add beauty and value to yours with this Pro-Fit Alpine Ledgestone. Give your backyard get-togethers the feel of a Northern Ski Lodge!

Using CSV® for your next project gives you the timeless look and feel of stone, at a much better value! Get in touch with the team at GNH Lumber today for any advice and guidance you need with your next home project.

 

Sources: https://www.culturedstone.com/blog/stone-savants-the-artistic-evolution-of-the-modern-mason; https://www.culturedstone.com; https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2021/

How to Install Cultured Stone Veneers Inside Your Home

Add Elegance to Your Home Interior

Looking to add the perfect complement to your living room? Or maybe you need the right accent piece to add to your den? If so, Cultured Stone veneers are a great choice! Whether it’s residential or commercial, large-scale, or small, there’s a Cultured Stone veneer that will work for you. Even better – these natural-looking and customized manufactured stone veneers are straightforward to install inside your home.

Materials Needed

Before you begin the interior installation process, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

• Cultured Stone manufactured stone veneers
• Flashing (if finished product will be exposed to water)
• Jointing tool
• Masonry brush
• Water resistant barrier (WRB)
• Grout sealer
• Pointing trowel
• Notched trowel
• Welded wire lath complying with ASTM C933
• Corrosion resistant fasteners (staples, roofing nails, etc.)
• Mortar (scratch coat, setting bed, and pointing)
• Drop cloths and cleanup supplies

Set up your worksite, removing all tripping hazards and setting down your drop cloth to make cleanup easier!

Wall Prep

If your project has metal or wood framing, begin by applying two layers of WRB as independent layers, lapped in “shingle” fashion. Evenly install your flashings across the primary layer. Make sure that your primary WRB meets all building codes and manufacturer requirements, depending on your project.

After installing the primary layer, apply the second “sacrificial” layer of WRB, to allow incidental water to drain down and out. Lap each material 2” horizontally and 6” vertically, fasten with WRB-approved fasteners.

Make sure that any contact with doors or windows are flashed properly. Head flashings and drip screen will help resist water damage.

Lath Application

Depending on whether you use expanded metal, woven wire, welded wire, or alternative lath, it needs to transfer cladding load to your framing. Make sure your fasteners penetrate the framing and are spaced evenly. Typical applications would have fasteners 16” on center, spaced a maximum of 7” vertically.

When placing lath, always end lap joints over framing and fasten them there. Any that does not land on framing will need to be wire laced. For all overlaps, use at least 0.5” horizontally and 1” vertically and at end laps. NEVER end your laps at a corner, as this creates sharp edges and breaks in the barrier.

Once the lath is installed, check for roughness. This will tell you the direction of the cups and determine which direction to apply the mortar. Follow the same path as the cups, using consistent pressure to ensure mortar completely fills the lath. Whether your mortar is pre-blended or created on-site, make sure it meets NCMA standards.

Mortar Application

Aim for at least a 0.5” to 0.75” layer of mortar, as anything less than 0.5” inches is too thin and runs the risk of cracking. Cover all lath at your target thickness, keeping at eye out for thin spots. You may need to apply a second layer to achieve desired thickness and levelness.

After letting the mortar cure for a few hours, it’s time to texture the surface with a scratch coat. Use your notched trowel in even, horizontal strokes across the mortar. This will allow your Cultured Stone to connect easier to the walls or surfaces. Allow at least 24-48 hours for the mortar to cure completely.

Setting the Stones

Before installing the stones, check the back of each and remove any dust or debris. Then, gently dampen the scratch coat and stone units with clean water. Make sure both look saturated, but not shiny with water.

Apply your setting bed mortar onto a few square feet of the prepared surface with your trowel. Then apply a thin “back butter” of mortar to the entire back of the stone unit. Press the stone into the setting bed mortar on the wall. Leave enough space for joint gaps, and then leave the stone be.

Clean out mortar droppings as you go along and check stone bonding periodically. If a stone needs to be re-mortared, remove all original mortar first before re-applying and re-setting.

Be aware that if you’re setting stones in corner layouts, that flat stones can be nested and alternated to create a uniform look.

Joint Treatment & Wrap-Up

With your stones placed and spaced appropriately, you’re now ready to fill in your joint gaps. Make sure the mortar you use is smooth enough to flow easily through a grout bag. Carefully remove any excess setting board mortar from the joints before filling.

Fill in each joint gap evenly with mortar, being careful not to disturb the stones as you go along. Once filled in, wait until the mortar is thumbprint hard, then you can tool the joints as needed. Depending on your desired look, use either a tooling joint or a wooden stick to shape them.

After the mortar has had time to set, be sure to go over it with a masonry brush to remove any additional debris.

 

From here, it’s just a matter of cleaning up your worksite and letting your new wall set. For more information on installing Cultured Stone veneers in your home, be sure to contact our talented design team!

Kitchen by Kraftmaid

What’s the Timeframe for a Kitchen Remodel?

Kitchen by Kraftmaid

It’s exciting to plan a new kitchen, especially if you’ve been living with an outdated space. You envision sleek new countertops, cabinets, and appliances. You might even have the hardware and paint colors selected! But a kitchen renovation, like all home improvement projects, involves a very specific process. Knowing what to expect during a kitchen remodel and how long it may take, will help you and your whole family relax and enjoy the transition from an ugly old kitchen to a beautiful new one. Read on to learn what’s the timeframe for a kitchen remodel.
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1) Planning

Planning helps you figure out what your new kitchen will look like and how it will function. We recommend that you expect a 2-3 week timeframe for professional Kitchen Design renderings and consultations.

Look:
Start by setting a budget. This will help you figure out what products and brands you should start with.

Then look at different product galleries and photos, or visit showrooms. to get a feel for what styles appeal to you. There are many types of materials, hardware, colors, and finishes to choose from.

Finally, start a scrapbook or inspiration board. Place examples of tile, cabinets, flooring, sinks, lighting in there. Then as you figure out what you like, you can take it up a notch and create combinations. Just like the designers on the Home Improvement shows.

Function:
To get a clear picture of the space you have to work with sketch out the basic shape of the room, then:

  • Draw in all current counters, appliances, or other built-in fixtures.
  • Take measurements and record them on the sketch, so that you can best fit your new plans into the existing space.

If you plan to rearrange your kitchen layout, create a second sketch with your new plans.

Your goal is to explore your needs and goals for the space and decide how will it function. It’s easier and far less expensive to try out ideas on paper. Once you order materials and begin construction, changes are costly.

It helps to work with an expert GNH Kitchen Designer as you plan. They will make suggestions that can save you time and money, help you choose materials, and even create a 3D rendering of your kitchen design.
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2) Ordering

After your design is finished, approved, and all measurements taken, the product orders are placed. Expect a 4-6 week minimum for your cabinets, tile, flooring and countertops to arrive. Some products may take as long as 18 weeks. This gives you time to purchase fixtures, appliances and anything else you need. Don’t forget to figure out where you will cook and have meals during the construction phase. (You may need to set up a temporary kitchen and dining area elsewhere in the home.)
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3) Construction

Depending on the scope of your kitchen design project, construction can take a few days or weeks. Your contractor will have the best sense of the exact timeframe. During this stage, demolition and reinstallation of plumbing, electric, and HVAC is done if needed. If you encounter surprises and delays—they’re a normal part of every remodel, so just stay in close communication with your kitchen contracting team during the process.
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4) Installation

This is where the magic happens! Your new kitchen starts to come to life as your contractor lays flooring, installs new cabinets and countertops, as well as lighting, faucets, backsplash, and hardware. And before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your new kitchen!

Top image is a featured KraftMaid Kitchen, click for details.