Nothing adds instant curb appeal to a home like the perfect pair of shutters. But those same shutters can detract from the exterior if they’re not maintained properly.
This new video from Vantage sums it up well:
If your drab exterior is fodder for neighborhood gossip, Vantage shutters offer an ideal solution. Along with adding a pop of color and style to the façade, Vantage shutters are engineered for durability. Made from advanced color-through PVC, the shutters eliminate worries about cracking, peeling, or fading; color lasts for decades without painting.
And that means less maintenance, a longer-lasting look—and no pesky neighbors on your back.
Neighbors like these:
The shutters come in four styles: open louver, raised panel, board-and-batten, and louver/panel. In addition, buyers can choose from a range of accessories, including elliptical arch tops, quarter-round arch tops, transom tops, and decorative hinges and S-hooks.
The safety of employees, partners, customers, and visitors has long been a key mission for the residential construction industry. That focus is even more critical now as builders, remodelers, and contractors navigate the COVID-19 crisis while keeping both their businesses and their team members healthy.
Knowledge is power, and one of the best steps to take is to arm yourself with information from the experts. Here are a few resources from around the industry to help you determine the best practices and procedures to implement on your jobsites—and at your office.
National Association of Home Builders NAHB offers a host of extensive resources on jobsite safety during the pandemic, including a response plan template, jobsite checklist, a toolbox talk, jobsite posters, and more, each in English and Spanish.
On April 16, construction sites across the country participated in the NAHB’s COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down, a 10-minute work stoppage devoted to educating employees on staying safe and helping to flatten the curve. If you weren’t able to participate, click here to access the NAHB’s guide to the Stand Down, including a toolbox talk outlining prevention measures, jobsite best practices, and worker responsibilities.
Pro Remodeler Pro Remodeler’s COVID-19 Resources portal has links to tools from the CDC, OSHA, and SBA, as well as a state-by-state tracker. In addition, you’ll find a range of business tools, including Build Aid, a free online joint conference featuring expert speakers presenting on everything from management to material procurement, as well as first-hand accounts and advice from fellow remodelers.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI also has a COVID-19 portal, featuring links to CDC and OSHA guidelines, the Dept. of Commerce’s Essential Workforce Tracker, and the Construction Industry Safety Coalition’s prevention and response plan. The website also offers updates on the association’s efforts to ensure construction is deemed essential, business-themed webinars, and loan guidance.
Builder magazine Builder’s COVID-19 dashboard offers state-by-state tracking of limits to construction and building material supply. The publication is also hosting weekly webinars from Meyers Research. View a recap of the most recent webinar, discussing how builders are adjusting to the new normal, here.
Versetta Stone offers the best of both worlds: The beautiful, timeless look of stone along with panelized installation that’s within reach of nearly any contractor or experienced DIYer.
Much like a traditional siding panel, Versetta Stone siding features an integrated nailing flange so it can simply be nailed or screwed into the wall. And unlike regular stone, there’s no need for mortar, scratch coat, or metal lath.
How easy is it to install Versetta Stone? It breaks down into the basic steps below:
Gather your tools: You’ll need a hammer or screw gun, a circular saw, hand grinder, level, chalk line and tape measure, tin snips, brush, small screwdriver, masonry chisel, and a chop saw with continuous diamond turbo blade. You’ll also want to wear safety glasses or goggles, an N-95 mask, gloves, ear plugs or muffs, steel toe boots, and a hard hat.
Estimate materials: Using provided formulas, calculate the area to be covered and how many panels are needed, along with corners, starter strips, and fasteners.
Inspect and prep the area
Mark your starting point and level lines
Install the starter strip and, where needed, J-channel
Install panels: • Install panels from the bottom to the top, one row at a time, lapping in a shingle fashion so the tongue seats completely in the groove. • Use screws with 3⁄8″ minimum head diameter and ⅛” shank with a length to penetrate the framing at least 1”.
Install universal corners
Install wainscot cap/sill and receptacle/light boxes if needed for the application. Use flashing, metal lath, and adhesive to affix receptable and light boxes.
Clean dust with water and nylon bristle brush
Be sure to follow full manufacturer instructions to install Versetta Stone. For the complete step-by-step guide, download the Versetta Stone Installation Instructions here.
Watch a Versetta Stone wall installation:
Versetta Stone comes in three profiles—Ledgestone, a traditional dry-stack look; Tight-Cut, which features the look of cut-and-fitted stone; and modern Carved Block, offering the look of split-face stone.
Ready to buy Versetta Stone? Find a retailer here. Have installation questions? Contact our customer service department here.
Much like other areas of the home exterior, consumers and contractors are looking for trim products that deliver authentic looks to boost curb appeal while ensuring low maintenance and durability, according to LBM Journal’s recent In Depth trim feature. “Homeowners are craving authenticity, and they also want their homes to be unique,” Boral Building Products’ Brand Manager Ben Drury told the magazine.
Here’s an overview of trends and observations from LBM Journal’s annual report:
Simple styles: Ornamentation is out, clean lines are in, driven in part by the continued love of Craftsman and Modern Farmhouse styles.
Dark colors: Homeowners remain drawn to dark colors, particularly dark blues and grays. Often, these hues are in contrast to white siding or the other way around. TruExterior answers this call, with the ability to be painted any color.
Durability is central: “Poor quality of wood, increasing material costs, lack of skilled labor, extreme weather events, and growth of consumer knowledge … are all having an impact on the direction of product development,” LBM Journal reports. “But perhaps the greatest driving factor is product durability.”
Labor shortages playing a role: Strains on labor are driving contractor demand for cellular PVC products, like Kleer Lumber, because they’re easy to install while still delivering the look homeowners desire.
Education is key: For dealer salespeople, it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of products in order to be a resource to customers and to help them solve exterior challenges. “Know more about your products than your customers do—and even about the products you don’t sell,” Drury advised. Good displays also are important, including vignettes showing how products and materials go together across the façade, particularly as demand for multiple textures remains strong.
To read more trends and insights into today’s trim market, view the LBM Journal article in its entirety here.