John Ellison

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John Ellison
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Fairbanks
Home Improvement
ABC Inc.
401 Driveway St.
Fairbanks
AK
99701

My house is in need of paint, I did it myself last time and it took forever, should I consider some new maintenance free siding?

New siding can give your home a complete “new” look. There are many choices, synthetic stucco, stone, cement board, steel, vinyl and others. They all have their advantages and the costs can vary considerably. New siding will add a lot of appeal to your home as well as increase its value. It is considered an investment that will typically return 75% of its value at resale. Choose something that you will like for a long time.  Maintenance free siding has a permanent finish - changing the color could affect the warranty. Look closely at warranties, and find out what the failure rate is. Also get references and look at past jobs.

What is the best way to increase the energy efficiency of the walls of my home?

Every house is different, so there is no one size fits all answer. However, the most common method is to add some rigid foam insulation to the exterior. Thickness and types of insulation can vary and typically the house will also need to be resided. Polyisocyanurate offers the highest R-value per thickness. Consider installing energy efficient windows and doors at the same time. Insulation thicker than 1-1/2” will create attachment issues for new siding and at wall openings, often requiring more extensive work. Adding rigid foam can increase moisture levels in the house, which can be detrimental. The house should be looked at as a “system” and an overall plan should be made before starting your project.

I am planning a new deck. Last year my neighbor’s deck fell down. No one was hurt, but how do I know if the deck is built correctly?

Most decks are supported at the house and on a post and beam system. The deck needs to be well attached to the house, typically with lag bolts into something solid. The posts should be supported on concrete columns extending below grade so as not to be affected by seasonal frost. Post, beam and joist loads must be calculated correctly to insure the deck will support its intended load. Additional loads, such as hot tubs, need to be considered in the design. Deck joists need to be spaced properly depending on the type of decking that is selected. The framework for the deck should be of treated material. Handrails need to be the correct height and shape to provide a hand grip at stairs.

John Ellison
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John Ellison
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