The Latest at A & B Exteriors



Can you hear the wind whistling through your windows? Can you feel the cold air coming in around the frame? Or hold a tissue to the window frame and see if it quivers. If your windows are in really rough shape, you’ll be able to see light coming through gaps in the frame. Drafty windows will definitely be more noticeable in the winter months when the cold air can be felt blowing into your home. This will have your furnace working overtime as it kicks in to keep the air inside your home at a comfortable temperature.

Increase in Energy Costs

With your furnace working overtime to compensate for your drafty windows, you’re sure to notice the increase on your energy bill. These high energy costs will also happen in the summer with your air conditioner working to keep your house cool. Think of all that wasted energy and money being thrown down the drain. Put your money towards investing in new windows and you’ll see big savings on your energy bill.

Single Pane Windows

Single pane windows offer no insulation or soundproofing and lack energy efficiency. Whatever the temperature is on the outside, your furnace and air conditioner will be working hard to combat those temperatures. If you still have single pane windows in your home, make the investment to go to double, or even triple-glazed. You’ll notice the difference on your energy bills, increase the value of your home, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Poor Window Operation

Opening and closing your windows shouldn’t be part of your daily workout routine – they should open and close with ease. A proper functioning lock is an added seal against air escaping from your home, as well as providing additional security. Anything less could mean that it’s time for them to be replaced.


Do you need some tissues for your weeping windows? When warm, moist air from inside your home meets with the cold surface of a glass window, we get condensation. Condensation can happen for a few different reasons, but if it’s constant and frost appears, then it’s a case of bad windows.

Moisture Build-Up Between the Panes

Double-glazed windows have argon or krypton gas injected between the panes to provide better insulation. Between the two panes of glass, there should be an airtight seal to reduce heat transfer. If this seal is broken, you’ll get moisture build-up on the inside of the outside pane of glass because that has the coldest surface. A cracked seal is a sure sign that it’s time to replace your windows.

Outside Noise

It’s nice to hear the birds chirping while you’re lying in bed in the morning, but you don’t want to hear every single thing going on in your neighbourhood. Older windows don’t provide much sound insulation, so if you can hear your neighbour’s car from way down the street, you might want to consider new windows to absorb those everyday sounds.

Decaying Frames

Even high-quality window frames can rot and decay over time. Being exposed to moisture and dampness causes rot and, in some cases, mould can develop. Take a close look at your window frames and sills. If there are signs of decay or mould growth, it’s time for new windows.

Curb Appeal

Windows are one of the most prominent features of your home and provide great curb appeal. If they look outdated, then your home will too. Modern and energy efficient windows will add value to your home while making a visual impact. There are so many options to choose from, so make sure to get input from a professional.

Visible Damage

Your windows are constantly exposed to the elements – harsh winds and rain, freezing temperatures and harmful UV rays. Check for things like cracks in the glass, or water damage. Are there signs of warping? Has the glass become so foggy that you can’t even see through your windows anymore? Windows are designed to provide ventilation, airflow and light to our homes. If any of these are compromised, then it’s time for a replacement.

HGTV Blog –


Choosing siding for your home is no easy feat. Fiber cement, wood, brick, the list goes on. But one type of siding that should always be on the top of your list is vinyl. Vinyl siding offers many benefits without the maintenance of other siding materials.

1. Vinyl siding fits every homeowner’s budget.

Vinyl siding is less expensive than other siding materials and can fit a wide range of budgets, from your first home to your dream home. In addition, it’s the best bang for your buck. Few home improvement projects offer a better payoff than vinyl siding replacement. In fact, according to the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, new vinyl siding will maintain more than 80% of its value, which is higher than most home improvement projects.

2. Vinyl siding is the easiest siding material to maintain.

Vinyl is extremely easy to maintain. In fact, it hardly requires any maintenance at all. Once vinyl siding is installed it never needs to be painted or re-sealed, saving you time and money, year after year. All it needs is annual cleaning to keep it looking its best.

We recommend washing your vinyl siding with clear water using a garden hose and soft bristled brush. For more information on how to clean your vinyl siding read our blog post here.

3. Ply Gem vinyl siding has an industry-leading warranty.

We stand behind our products. Ply Gem Siding offers an exclusive Limited Lifetime Warranty. Our products are covered for as long as you live in and own your home, and if you sell your home, the warranty is transferable and the new owners are covered for 50 years from the date of original installation.

4. Vinyl siding is durable.

Vinyl is strong enough to withstand storm damage and harsh winds, meaning your home is protected during inclement weather. It’s also incredibly durable and resists denting and scratching.

5. Vinyl siding adds curb appeal.

There are a variety of vinyl siding styles such as lap siding and vertical siding, to fit any house style. These styles come in a number of colors that will match your home’s décor and add curb appeal.

Ply Gem also recently launched six new on-trend siding colors you can choose from to customize your home.

6. Vinyl is energy efficient.

Thanks to the insulation quality of vinyl, homes tend to stay warm in the winter and cool and comfortable during the summer. This means more money stays in your pockets when you pay your utility bill.

Read more about the benefits of energy efficient vinyl siding from the Vinyl Siding Institute here.

Visualize your home with new siding.

Seeing is believing when you use our visualizer tool to try out different siding styles and siding colors on your home. How does it work? Select a home that best represents your home, or upload a photo of your own home, and start decorating. Choose from a variety of siding styles and colors to play around with until you find a look you love. Simply save and print your project, or send your finished project to a pro, and turn your dream design into a reality.

-Ply Gem Blog:


As the leaves turn to their autumn hues, a homeowner’s mind will often turn to their winter preparation checklist. For maximum peace of mind as winter rolls in, be sure to include a roof inspection on that list.

Many home maintenance projects are so clearly seasonal that they’re hard to forget. All we need is a brief cold snap to remind us to service the furnace and chimney, remove window air conditioners, check our all-weather or snow tires and so on. But in northern climates (or wherever snow or hail is likely to fall) the roof will bear the brunt of winter weather and should be inspected by a roofing professional twice a year — in fall to clear debris and in spring to check for winter damage.

Here are the five areas your contractor should check:

    1. Gutters: Gutters have one job: efficiently moving water off the roof and away from the house. Anything that interferes with that process — leaves, debris, leaks, and so on — can cause water to back up into the roof system where it can cause expensive damage inside and out.
    2. ShinglesFinding and replacing damaged shingles before the snow flies can help avoid costly water issues down the road.
    3. Vents: Vents are often sealed with neoprene or rubber, both of which can dry and crack with age. Both substances are also relatively soft, so they’re vulnerable to critters. Inspecting and repairing vent seals can help protect your home from water and unwanted pests.
    4. Flashings: Flashing adds extra protection to the areas where two opposing roof surfaces meet, which are generally more vulnerable to leaks and water damage. Those areas include, but are not limited to, dormer walls, chimneys, skylights, and roof valleys, which tend to focus rain runoff. Inspecting and maintaining the seal on your flashing can help keep water from penetrating and becoming trapped inside the roof system.
    5. Attic: Sometimes the problem isn’t the roof at all; it’s the attic. A proper inspection will identify issues with ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning, fans, or animal or bug infestation — all of which can contribute to mold, algae, or moisture problems.

Don Kilcoyne, Gaf Blog:


Everyone loves the wow factor that comes with an incredible transformation. That’s why home improvement shows make such a big splash with their reveals.

Renovating your home’s exterior gives you the opportunity for your own splashy makeover. Not only will your home look fantastic when the project is done, but new fiber cement siding also provides a high return on investment.

The projects below are fantastic examples of what is possible with a stunning remodel. They all have different sets of circumstances, but they all look amazing (especially when you see where the project started). Use these five incredible home exterior makeovers to inspire your project.

Removing Vinyl Siding for a Refreshed Exterior

This split-level home in Calgary, Alberta had new owners who were eager to refresh the overall look of the exterior. In addition to looking dated, the cream-colored vinyl siding was worn and damaged, and needed to be replaced.

The homeowners contacted Hubbard Roofing & Exteriors for a full upgrade. Hubbard installed new HardiePlank® lap siding with ColorPlus® Technology in Deep Ocean, and HardieTrim® boards in Arctic White. They also removed the old brickwork, which was replaced with gray stone for a more modern flair.

In addition to beautifully standing out in the neighborhood, the home’s new siding will help it stand up to Calgary’s cold-weather climate and sometimes extreme hailstorms.

Saying Goodbye to Troubled Stucco

In the suburbs around Philadelphia, it’s not uncommon to find homes clad in stucco that are now experiencing problems. This West Chester home was no different. Over the years, moisture had infiltrated its exterior walls, which was causing the original stucco to fail and develop mold.

That’s where Edward Griffin Construction came in. The company removed the disintegrating exterior and replaced it with HardiePlank lap siding in Gray Slate and HardieTrim boards in Arctic White. The contractor also had the opportunity to enhance the look of the home with a few design changes.

“We changed the right elevation to an A-frame from two dormer windows,” the company said. “Paired with a porch being added to the front entry way, we believe the house looks so much more impressive now.”

The look was finished with an inviting red front door, metal roof accent on the porch, and new dark shutters to match the home’s color palette.

No More Engineered Wood Siding

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Carp’s Complete Exteriors was called to the home when the homeowners began noticing trouble with their exterior. The engineered wood siding was rotting and needed to be replaced, which is not an uncommon issue in the area, said company President Chad Carpender.

The homeowners, Carpender said, opted for James Hardie fiber cement siding because they wanted a long-lasting and durable material.

Carpender worked directly with the homeowners and used virtual design software to help them select a color palette. They chose HardiePlank lap siding in Khaki Brown, and HardieShingle® siding accents in Iron Gray. Carpender’s company also installed a handful of other accents, including a cedar garage trellis, cedar porch columns and soffit.

The homeowners now have a stunning new exterior with a rustic flair.

An Old Farmhouse Renovation

Originally built in the 1880s in a northwest Chicago neighborhood, this old farmhouse was covered in vinyl siding during a previous renovation.

With the exterior falling apart, there was an opportunity for the owners to breathe new life into their home. They contacted Erdmann Exterior Designs to help restore some of its historic charm.

“The goal of the project was to make the house into more of a modern version of the original, while not getting caught up in the trendy all-white farmhouse style,” said company owner Kyle Erdmann.

For the new exterior, Erdmann used smooth HardiePlank lap siding, HardiePanel® vertical siding, and HardieTrim batten boards in Countrylane Red, along with HardieTrim boards in Monterey Taupe.

“We’d never done this color combination before and it exceeded all of our expectations,” Erdmann said.

The result was a beautiful, long-lasting new look for the home that paid homage to its roots.

Upgrading a Weather-Worn Wood Façade

Facing south, the front of this home in Vancouver, British Columbia, is subject to intense sun and other damaging weather. Over time those factors took a toll on the cedar shake siding, and it was time for it to be removed.

The homeowners called AZ Siding to help them select and install a new material that would stand up to the sunshine and other elements of the Vancouver climate.

To maintain the authentic look to which they had grown accustomed, the homeowners chose to replace the original shake with staggered-edge HardieShingle siding. They also chose Evening Blue to maintain a similar color palette.

The new fiber cement siding gave the homeowners a low maintenance solution and a beautiful upgrade to the front of their home.

If you need even more inspiration for your home, you can see hundreds of great styles and color palettes that other homeowners have used for their projects on the #myhardiehome page.

-by Michael Buck, James Hardie Blog:


Getting ready to reroof your home? When it’s time to replace your roof, you may also want to consider changing up your roof color.

Are there better color options than what you have on your roof right now that would enhance the overall exterior look of your home and potentially boost curb appeal? It’s easy to just pick the same roof color that you already have or that your roofing contractor suggests. However, a new roof is a big investment, and you might as well pick the roof color you really want so that your home feels like your home.

Get a sense of what your home would look like with different combinations of roof colors, siding and trim colors using our Design EyeQ® Visualization Tool

Already love your roof color? Great! Ask your contractor if the same, or a similar, shingle color is available with enhanced performance features if you’re looking to upgrade your roof’s durability.

Choosing the right color for your home begins with having the confidence to say you want something different.

Here are the top 10 tips from roofing industry experts that can help you get it right – from color to style – with your next roof.

1. Think of your roof as a canvas to express your personal style.

A roof typically accounts for about 40 percent of your home’s overall exterior. With a wide range of beautiful dimensional colors and styles available in today’s asphalt roofing shingle market, you can bring the same energy to designing your exterior that you do to your interior. Here is the list of the wide range of Owens Corning shingles available in your area.

2. Take the time to put your ideas into a mood board.

Just as any design project, your exterior has several elements — from window shutters and trim to siding or brick — that will get tied together with your roof. For additional inspiration and help narrowing down what colors will work for your home, explore versatile shingle and color pairings with online mood boards, or style boards. From trendy to classic, your mood board or style board combinations can help you discover the architectural aesthetic that makes the statement you want with your next roof.

Exterior Mood Board Tips from Home Renovation and Design Experts, Karen and Mina

3. Avoid feeling limited by what you already have on your roof – unless you love the color, of course!

When the time comes to replace your roof, take a moment to reconsider which color roofing shingles might improve your home’s overall look. While you may be tempted to play it safe and replace your current roof with the same exact shingle color, use this home exterior project as an opportunity to refresh your home’s appearance and boost its curb appeal.

4. Explore bold, high-contrast designer shingle options.

If bold dimensional color plays a big part of your personal style, then consider the same for your new roof. From bold and dynamic to subtle and classic, you can use color to help make a statement with your next roofing shingle color. Look no further than TruDefinition® Duration® Designer Colors Collection and our Shingle Color of the Year. With the right roofing shingle color, you can enhance your home’s exterior and complement its natural surroundings and design elements.

5. Compare the actual impact on cost if you want to upgrade your roofing shingles.

The actual cost difference between roofing shingle product lines may be less than you think, so moving up to an architectural shingle in a designer color could actually be within your budget. Of course, only a roofing contractor can give you an estimate that is based on the specific details for your home and the products you select. But getting the roof shingle you really want may only add a few extra hundred dollars to the total project cost.

Ask your contractor to show you the cost difference between the roofing shingle options you may be trying to decide between so you can make an informed decision about your new roof.

6. Communicate your roof color and style ideas with confidence.

There are many different options for roofing shingle styles and colors available, so don’t limit yourself. It’s completely acceptable to request additional large format shingle samples or to see more variety when working with your roofing contractor to find the right shingles for your home.

The best practice is to do your preliminary color selection using the manufacturer’s website, then ask the contractor to bring those sample colors. This eliminates back-and-forth and multiple appointments.

7. See the shingle color IRL (in real life). 

Experts recommend checking out homes in your neighborhood with the same roofing shingle color installed.  If you can find a home with a similar roofline and pitch, you’ll get an accurate sense of how the shingle color will look in natural lighting.

Ask your roofing contractor for a list of recommended homes so you can drive by and see the shingles in action at different times of the day and in different weather conditions.

8. Think big picture. 

Shingle colors can have a chameleon effect once they are matched up to another color on the exterior. So, don’t focus too much on trying to match up your colors exactly—just know that the color granules will look different once they’re paired with another color. Take the sample board your contractor has brought and lean it against your exterior to view it from a distance to get a sense of how the granule colors will blend together for an overall effect once installed on the roof.

Or better yet, see #7 above.

9. Evaluate the impact of lighting.

The overall appearance of a roof can vary depending on the time of day and corresponding light. Take your samples outside in the morning, afternoon and evening to make sure you consistently like what you see before deciding on a favorite color.

10. Consider working with a home designer.

Unsure what color will match your yellow siding or red brick home?  You can always hire a design professional with a trained eye to provide a second opinion. Often for a day rate, you can work together to find a roofing shingle color that will help you confidently tie together exterior design elements like siding, trim and paint colors.

But our guess is that you can do it successfully and confidently all on your own if you follow the above tips. Online visualization tools, like our DesignEyeQ®, can help you get a sense of what your home would look like with different combinations of roof colors, siding and trim colors.

Choosing your next roofing shingle color can be an enjoyable and satisfying experience. Think of your next roof as an opportunity to reimagine your home exterior design aesthetic.

– Owenscorning:

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