Sylvestre Construction, Inc.

In This Issue

•  Small Updates with
   Big "Curb Appeal"

•  Maintenance Tip

•  Pass It On!

•  What’s the Story?

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Construction, Inc.

7708 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55423

Ph: 612-861-0188
Fx:  612-861-0190

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Member, National Association of the Remodeling Industry

GuildQuality Member

Member of Builders Association of the Twin Cities

Member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association


  Members of our staff hold
  the following industry

• NARI Master Certified
• NARI Certified Remodeler
• NARI Certified Lead
• NARI Certified Kitchen and
  Bath Remodeler
• NKBA Certified Kitchen
• NAHB Certified Aging in
  Place Specialist (CAPS)

January 2014

Small Updates with Big “Curb Appeal” Impact

Sooner or later, homes start to show their age. Just as there comes a time when it makes sense to replace the roof, it can also make sense to update other exterior fixtures and finishes that are no longer stylish, lack today's features, or that have simply not held up well over the years.

What Makes Today's Exteriors Look Old?

Right now, many of the homes in our area are in need of a freshening up. Even homes that were showcases a decade ago have started to look a little old-fashioned (and not in a good, charming way). Plus, even many large, more expensive homes, were constructed using builder-grade materials that have worn out over time. Materials that haven't aged well can give even the nicest home a shabby appearance. Examples we frequently see include light fixtures that have begun to rust or pit, doors that have warped or sagged, faded or stained siding, and wood or vinyl windows that no longer keep out the elements.

While all types of exterior remodeling projects can make a difference in how your home looks, some can also make a difference in your home energy costs and how much time, money and effort it takes to maintain your home.

Here are some ideas for giving your home a "Curb Appeal Update".

The Big Picture: Exterior Surfaces. Before you start looking at the details, step back and look at the exterior surfaces of your home overall. Painting your siding and trim freshens the look immediately. If you're looking for a solution that will reduce the time and expense of periodic maintenance, consider replacing the exterior wood with stone veneer, bricks or rot-proof, paint-free man-made materials such as fiber-cement siding. Fiber-cement siding is guaranteed for 50 years, insects can't bore into it, and it actually serves as an extra layer of insulation for your home – which can lower your heating and cooling costs.

Lighting. Exterior illumination is often thought of as a matter of safety and security. Well-placed light fixtures help prevent visitors from tripping on your walkway or front steps, and prevent intruders from approaching unnoticed. Lighting can add drama to your landscaping, a welcoming warmth to your home and the ability to use your patio or deck for evening entertaining. Improved outdoor lighting can also increase the perceived value of your home by as much as 20%, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors. LED lights, which have a long life and are very energy efficient, are becoming more popular than in the past because their decreasing prices have helped them become an even better-than-ever value.

Windows and Doors. Replacing your front door is one of the most popular ways to instantly increase curb appeal. Just step outside and notice what your visitors see as they wait for you to answer the door. Is everything as welcoming as you'd like? Today's exterior doors and frames look better, fit better and are better insulated, compared to older conventional doors. If you're replacing doors and doing other exterior updates, you also have a wonderful opportunity to replace windows and choose the latest energy-saving products for both. High-performance windows provide warmer interior surfaces during the winter and cooler interior surfaces during the summer, so your home always feels just right. Window and door updates are another example of how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home while you make it feel "new" again.

Roofing. Having a new roof certainly improves curb appeal and pays off in less worry during storms. Replacing a roof is also the perfect time for changing the roof line to add dormers, extend the roof over a patio, or create a new covered entryway. Roofing materials can include anything from terra cotta tiles and slate, to cedar shakes and standard asphalt shingles. Today's choices in shingles include all-new colors. That's important for energy costs because a hot dark roof conducts heat into the home's interior, running up your air-conditioning bill. In fact, a cool light roof may be able to save you as much as 15% on energy costs.

The Big Impact of a “Curb Appeal Update”

Many homeowners have the intention of staying in their homes for many more years and just want it to feel fresh and current again. With a Curb Appeal Update, we can update your home so it does indeed look like it's brand new. We can replace elements that are worn with new materials and finishes, add the functionality of new products, and help you decrease your energy bills. If you'd like to explore possibilities for your own exterior update, just give us a call!

Maintenance Tip: Check for Moisture Damage from Ice Dams

Ice dams, built-up ice along the roof overhang, cause millions of dollars of damage to homes each year. Warm air leaking from your home into the attic will melt the snow on your roof, and the run-off drains until it reaches the cold overhang and where it refreezes. Melted water caught by these dams leaks into your home – damaging walls, peeling paint, and soaking insulation. Do a visual inspection of the edges of your roof to see if there is a build-up of ice. To avoid ice dams and the damage they can cause, make sure your attic is adequately insulated and ventilated.

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John and Stacey in new space (on a cold day!) See progress photos below.

What's the Story?

As I sit in my office today I can barely see the cars in the parking lot as the wind whips up the snow. If we were in Fargo, this would be a blizzard. Luckily, we are in Minneapolis.

I got a great piece from my insurance company on "How to protect your home from water damage" and I would like to share this information with you. Here are their tips (and my comments):

  • Annually inspect the hoses leading to dishwashers, refrigerator and washing machines. (Yes, they do blow. Get some stainless steel replacement hoses for your washer.)
  • Inspect the seal and caulking around showers and tubs to make sure they are water tight.
  • Shut off the water supply to the washing machine when you go on vacation (or turn off the water completely - it just takes a second).
  • Know where your home's main water shutoff valve is located in case a hose or pipe starts leaking.

These tips are important all the time but take on added importance when it is really cold! A frozen pipe can cause a lot of damage. I remember a project we did a few years ago. The heat went out in a brand new condo: it was unoccupied, the house got really cold, the water pipes froze (there were no less than 13 leaks) and the neighbor called because water was running out the garage door on a subzero day. We did over $100,000 in repairs. As the ads say, "Don't be that guy!"

We took the roof off a house the first week of December – here are a few photos of the process.

Before Demo Complete Roughed up in 24 days!

Stay warm, enjoy your favorite winter activities and remember, it is January. It has got to get warmer soon.

Until next month,

John Sylvestre