Finding Your Entry Door Style

The entrance to your home is essential. Your entry door is one of the first elements people notice when they walk up to your house. It welcomes them into your home and speaks volumes. In addition, this area gives you the chance to add some character and flavor to your home in the door, lighting, hardware, and structural elements such as columns, planters, and shutters. Whether you are launching into a new build or upgrading the look of your home, choosing an attractive, high-performing front door is a critical decision. Learning about various door styles ensures you’ll love what it has to say!

 

Types of front door materials

Wood: When choosing front door material, wood is a popular choice among homeowners. Because they can be custom to your desired style, shape, and size, sidelights, decorative glass, and panels can easily personalize wood front doors. You can also customize the finish of your door with stain or paint. Stains are often a popular choice allowing you to show the wood’s natural grain. Like other entry door materials, wood has its pros and cons. Some of the advantages of wood material are that it offers you ample customization options and durability. Unfortunately, entry doors made from wood are susceptible to moisture, expensive, and not energy efficient.

 

Glass: If you’re a fan of natural light, you should invest in a door with glass. A French door with multiple panes or a single open pane could be a solid door with a window near the top to allow light. Though the main benefit is the light, they are also long-lasting as they will not dent, scratch, or rust. Wooden and fiberglass framework or primed solid core doors with glass add an air of sophistication to any entryway.

 

Fiberglass: Fiberglass for entry doors is another excellent material that combines durability, safety, and functionality. Visually they can be similar to wooden models as the wood grain can be imitated, but they are not subject to rotting or warping. However, fiberglass doors may show their age with dents and dings over time, which cannot be sanded down as with a wood door. Fiberglass is lightweight compared to wood and steel material but features a durable coating that is less prone to warping and moisture.

 

Iron: Iron doors offer an air of uniqueness and elegance to a home. With their luxurious patterns and beautiful finishes, wrought iron doors can provide your home with an avalanche of aesthetics and security. In addition, iron front doors can protect your door from the damage of terrible weather conditions since they are resistant to fire and other elements.

 

Entry Door Styles

Traditional entry door:  If you have a standard-sized entryway, the possibilities are endless! You can choose from wood, wood clad, fiberglass, and steel with the options for glass inserts, sidelights, and transoms. Premier manufacturers offer a range of choices, from natural grain to eclectic color palettes. While “traditional” implies a classic style, you can also choose more modern and contemporary doors to complement your exterior and interior decor. The entry is wide open in terms of finding the right style and fit for your home.

 

Double doors:  If you have a larger opening or grand entryway, you need a door that will make a statement. Better yet, why not have two doors? Double doors feature two vertical panels that meet in the middle when closed. You can opt to have one door fixed or to have both doors fully operational. Double doors can be crafted from the same materials as standard doors, including wood, clad wood, steel, and fiberglass. They can also feature glass inserts and other decorative touches.

Their versatility allows you to customize your entryways: they can open inwards or out and from left or right. As mentioned, one door can be operational while the other is decorative. We typically see these used for patio areas, an excellent way to let nature in a while still enjoying optimal comfort and privacy!

 

Craftsman style:  A craftsman door works best with a craftsman or craftsman-inspired architecture, which allows their simple, natural charm to shine through fully. These doors are crafted from hardwood, typically oak, cherry, and mahogany, stained or painted. Luckily with today’s technology, you have the option of selecting reproductions made from composite wood or steel for greater durability and protection from the elements.

Craftsman doors usually have glass panes in the top third portion of the door: they can be one pane or small ones separated by wood trim. You can also choose models with sidelights and/or a transom. This adds another simple yet elegant touch to these sturdy stalwarts.

 

Farmhouse style: Modern farmhouse exterior doors offer more than a heaping portion of wholesome, hearty style and quality. Options vary from rustic double doors with iron strap hinges, tall escutcheons backing the doorknobs, and a barn-like aesthetic to more simple panels with large panes of glass separated by slim but solid wood mullions. These doors offer an excellent way to bring a breath of fresh air to your home.

 

Pivot doors: Want to make a bold statement? Pivot doors offer an unconventional, contemporary – and simply gorgeous – solution. These doors rotate on a pivot box (floor) and jam (top) rather than on side hinges, as is typical. Not only does this introduce a sleek aesthetic, but pivot models are also ideal for large entryways.

They feature high-performance hardware for seamless operation even in broader and taller doorways. You can even opt for double pivots for door panels that seem almost independent of the frame. Pivot doors are certainly one of the highest-end solutions: they may cost up to twice as much as a standard single door. However, the luxury and “wow” factor they add to your modern home is no denying.

 

Oversized entry doors: Standard exterior doors are 30, 32, or 36 inches wide with a height of 80 inches. Depending on the size of your home and entryway, a larger door is necessary to complete the aesthetic. A standard door may feel more like the entry to a hobbit hole! Oversized doors present some challenges: the size has a greater chance of warping and malfunctioning. Fortunately, though, today’s top manufacturers create durable and long-lasting solutions with your choice of fiberglass, steel, aluminum, glass, and even wood.

 

Are you excited to find the right exterior doors to complete your home’s style and add to its functionality? If you are looking for clear education on all of your entry door options and peace of mind that the job will be done right, contact us at HomeWise Roofing and Exteriors.

Winter Disasters and How to Avoid Them

In the Midwest, winter can seem to stretch on and on. Waking up to see snow in March isn’t uncommon in Nebraska. But while you are waiting for warmer days, make sure you protect your home against winter’s ravages. It is best to be proactive against winter weather rather than reactive.

 

Space Heaters

Many people use space heaters to help cut energy costs or accommodate roommates. In addition, space heaters are an excellent way to warm up cold rooms or provide extra heat. Unfortunately, space heaters can also be hazardous if not used properly. Never leave a space heater unattended, especially when children and pets are around, and don’t place it near drapes, shades, or bedding. While space heaters can serve an important function, following safety protocols is critical.

  • Always maintain a clutter-free, three-foot radius around the space heater.
  • Turn off the space heater before going to bed, leaving the house, or leaving the room for any length of time.
  • Never allow pets or children to be alone in the room with a space heater or too close to the unit.
  • Never run a space heater that has a frayed or cracked electrical cord.

 

Fireplaces

Winter is a notorious time for house fires, and it is vital to have working fire alarms around the house to alert everyone, but one of the main culprits is faulty fireplaces. Traditional fireplace and chimney maintenance is essential to keep your family and home safe. Have the fireplace, flue, and chimney inspected annually and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. An inspection lets you know that everything is in good working order. You should also always make sure your fireplace is put out and cooled before going to bed.

 

Frost Heave

Frost heave is an upward swelling of soil during freezing conditions caused by increasing ice as it grows toward the surface. Ice growth requires a water supply that delivers water to the freezing front. The weight of overlying soil restrains the vertical growth of the ice and can promote the formation of lens-shaped areas of ice within the soil. The reason this is so serious is that it can crack your foundation. The most significant factor in causing frost heave are poorly maintained gutters. Clogged gutters or broken gutters will not properly disperse water and that moisture will accumulate near the foundation of your home. This could cause leaks, foundation damage, or other issues.

You can reduce the risk of frost heave by keeping your gutters clean and in proper working condition. Clogged or broken gutters won’t shed water away from the home’s foundation. Instead, the water pools, freezes, and then thaws — the frost heave cycle begins. Having your gutters cleaned and inspected before winter can help reduce the risk for frost heave damage.

 

Frozen Pipes

Few words strike more fear in the heart of a homeowner more than the words “frozen pipes.” A pipe that freezes, cracks, and then bursts can release hundreds of gallons of water per second and create a costly home repair. One of the easiest things to do is insulate the pipes with a protective “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed heat tape or heat cable.

 

Icicles

Giant icicles hanging from your gutters not only look dangerous, but they can indicate a severe problem — ice dams. An ice dam can form when snow on your roof melts and flows to the edge. This water then refreezes and blocks (or dams) the gutters and downspouts. Water that can’t flow through the gutters can seep under the shingles, causing water damage to the roof, attic, walls, and windows. Making sure your gutters are clean before winter can help; minor blockage equals better flow and reduced risk of damage.

At HomeWise, we’re here to answer your questions about preventative maintenance like gutter cleaning that can help reduce your risk of certain winter home disasters. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Simple Ways to Prep Your Home for Holiday Guests

Whether you have an old friend stopping by between their holiday festivities or your in-laws are staying all week, hosting during the holidays can be daunting. The key to tackling your holiday to-do list is preparation. Plan ahead with these tips so you can enjoy the best parts of having visitors, (mostly) stress-free!

HeadCount

The first thing you should do when preparing for guests is to get a firm headcount so you are able to prepare a comfortable space and food for your guests. While a headcount is of the utmost importance, it is also good to stay flexible with any last-minute add-on guests or cancellations. Keep in mind that sometimes things come and plans change and the last thing you want to do is hold a grudge for someone absent or leave a person out in the cold this holiday season.

Fix Up the House

Curb appeal doesn’t always have to cost money. When preparing for guests, it is a great idea to rake up leaves in your yard, declutter your porch, and clear pathways/sidewalks. Holiday guests arriving soon also means that you are approaching a deadline for your home improvement projects like that leaky faucet or creaky door.

The Pre-Holiday Clean Up

Nothing is more welcoming than a fresh, clean home. Focus on areas of the home that guests will spend time in: living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and guest bedroom (if overnight). Most of these can be done very fast and last minute as well.
The day before company is due to arrive, give each room a little time to tidy, dust, and polish. Focus on vacuuming any carpets, sweeping any hard-surfaced floors, and giving things a good wipe down. Bathrooms should be cleaned thoroughly as they will be in extra use. The kitchen should be somewhat organized, but keep in mind that it will get messy during your meal preparation. Lastly, wash any sheets and blankets for overnight guests. Be sure to include clean towels and washcloths for their stay, too.

Welcome Your Guests

Welcome your guests into your home with a made bed and leave a little extra closet space for hangers. It might be helpful to add a bench or folding rack for suitcases as well. Double-check that the bathroom is stocked with toilet paper, facial tissues, and a plunger (to avoid awkward situations)! Add a welcoming touch by leaving clean towels and shower essentials on the bathroom counter.
Before you tackle your holiday grocery list, check-in with your guests to ask what their favorite snacks or drinks are. Beyond coffee and tea, make sure to grab a few simple breakfast items like cereal, oatmeal, or breakfast bars, too! When your guests arrive, be sure to show them where they can find everything in the kitchen and pantry.

Other Last-Minute Tips

To top everything off, welcome guests with seasonal decorations. Hang a wreath at your front door along with a seasonal doormat. Add other decorations around the house to get into the holiday cheer.

Put any breakable or sharp items away in a safe space if young children will be attending. Have drinks and snacks easily accessible in the fridge or pantry so that you can focus on your guests. Keep everything casual with self-serve snacks and finger foods. When the actual meal happens, family or buffet styles work best for all party sizes.

The team at HomeWise Roofing and Exteriors hope these tips will take some of the stress out of the holidays for you! Give yourself more time to enjoy being with family and friends!

How to Prepare Your Gutters for Winter

prepare your gutters for winter

As fall comes to an end and we begin the transition into the winter months, it is important to take a look at your home’s gutter system. Although a nuisance, keeping your gutters in check is important to directing water away from your home. It is especially crucial to prep your gutters for winter so that the combination of leaves and snow doesn’t cause damage.

 

Clean your gutters

The first and arguably most important step to gutter maintenance is cleaning them. Leaves and other debris will clog your gutters and disrupt the flow of water, leaving your home susceptible to water damage.

Soggy leaves and the weight of snow and ice will have your gutters bearing a significant load. Your gutters are not designed to hold that much weight, so it is important to keep them free of debris!

To clean your gutters, you will lead a sturdy, reliable ladder. Make sure the ladder is not leaning against your gutter as this could dent or damage it. You can use a plastic shovel, scoop, or spatula to clean out the leaves and debris. Then, use a hose to rinse out the gutters and ensure water is moving to where it’s supposed to be. If you don’t feel comfortable getting on a ladder, hire a professional gutter cleaning company to do the work for you.

 

Inspect your gutters

Once your gutters are cleaned, you should thoroughly inspect them for damage. Make sure that all joints are tight and in good condition. If you come across any other damage such as dents, gashes, or rust, it is important to replace or repair them as soon as possible.

As a preventative measure, gutter guards and gutter hangers can be installed. Gutter guards will minimize maintenance and keep leaves and other debris out of your gutters. A gutter hanger will give extra support to sagging metal gutters. These may be difficult to install yourself, so you may want to consider hiring a professional.

 

Trim your trees

The trees surrounding your home are likely the culprit for your clogged gutters. Of course, this is not the only thing that causes issues, but it is a big part of the problem. The best way to prevent leaves from clogging up your gutters in the winter is to trim the branches that hang over your roof.

The best time to trim your trees is at the end of summer, right before the leaves start falling. However, if you didn’t get around to that task this year, you can still benefit from trimming your trees later in the year.

 

Install downspout extensions

Downspout extensions are meant to divert water away from the foundation of your home. This allows water to flow onto the ground without splashing everywhere or pooling near your foundation and causing seepage. Downspout extensions should be installed wherever water cannot properly drain.

These maintenance tasks can be difficult. If you don’t have the right tools or equipment, the team at HomeWise Roofing & Exteriors has the experience and knowledge to help you find options for your gutter needs.

When to Replace Your Door’s Weather Stripping

weather stripping

With cooler weather on the way for Omaha area homeowners, there are a number of items that should be on your maintenance checklist. One of the areas you will want to pay attention to is making sure your door is properly weather stripped so you don’t lose heat. Everyone has become familiar with the importance of maintaining an energy efficient home, both to save money on electric bills and to be environmentally responsible. One thing homeowners tend to overlook is the importance of replacement weather stripping for exterior doors as a means of preventing drafts and the use of excessive heating and cooling to counteract their effects.

 

How to inspect your weather stripping

Inspecting weather stripping is a simple enough task to be conducted several times throughout the year, or at least in the autumn as the weather turns cold and again when it begins to warm up in the spring. The inspection shouldn’t wait until there is a noticeable draft coming in around the door. You can regularly feel around the door to check for any air leaks. Check both sides, if you feel outside temperatures coming inside or if you feel inside temperatures leaking to the outside, it’s time to replace the weather stripping for a front door. An even better way to inspect the weather stripping is to light a candle, or perhaps a piece of incense, and move it around the edges of the door. Even the slightest of drafts you are unable to feel will blow the smoke either into or away from the door.

 

Is it time to replace your weather stripping?

  • You can feel a very noticeable draft under your doors. You can typically tell if there is a draft by placing your foot or your hand near the bottom of the door.
  • Your energy bill is unexpectedly higher than normal.
  • You can feel unwanted moisture on your walls or near the insulation in the house.
  • You don’t feel a difference when you change the temperature on your thermostat.

These four things are very evident signs that it’s time to replace the weather stripping in your home. The stripping under your doors is used to a lot more wear and tear than any other weather stripping in the rest of your house. To keep the air inside your home to stay in your house, it’s best to inspect the stripping once a year.

 

Weather stripping replacement

Choose new weather stripping:

There are different types of weather stripping, so the first step is to cut off a small piece of the old with either a razor knife or scissors so you can take it with you to the store and purchase a compatible replacement. Most styles have a mushroom shaped ridge which wedges itself into a kerf in the door frame, a “kerf” being a small groove.

There are four kinds of weather stripping: foam, tension seal, v-channel and felt. Felt is the cheapest but least effective, and it’s no good if it will be exposed to moisture. Foam tape is cheap and easy to install, and v-channel or v-strip is durable but more expensive. Tension seals are the most effective but can be the most difficult to install. Most homeowners choose foam weather stripping for doors and v-channel weatherstripping for windows, or a combination of the two, because they’re the easiest to install and the most cost effective.

 

Remove old weather stripping and debris:

Before you can apply new weather stripping, you’ll need to remove the old. If the old weatherstripping was held on with adhesive, you can simply pull it off, but if it was stapled or nailed in, remove the old nails or staples, and if you want, fill in the holes. Clean off any adhesive residue and other dirt or debris on the surface.

 

Measure, cut, and apply:

Measure and cut new strips of weather stripping to apply to your door. Cut your lengths of weatherstripping about an inch longer than necessary; you can trim them to fit the frame when you are done. Cut one piece for each side of the frame.

Foam tape weather stripping for doors is self-adhesive and easy to apply. Start slowly; peel off a little bit of the adhesive and apply the weather stripping a little at a time. If you have problems getting it to stick, apply some superglue to the back of the foam. V-channel weatherstripping has adhesive, but you should also use finishing nails to hold it in place. Once you’ve nailed the weather stripping in place, test the sash to make sure it’s not catching on the seal.

 

Test the new seal:

After you’ve applied new weather stripping around your doors, it’s time to test the seal. You can test it the same way as you did before!

Weather stripping keeps leaks and drafts out of your home, so you can enjoy lower energy costs and a more comfortable house. It’s easy to replace the weather stripping around your doors, and now is the perfect time of year to do it. When the cold winter winds blow, you’ll be nice and cozy in your draft-free home when you call HomeWise Roofing & Exteriors.

Fall Season Safety Tips

Keep yourself and your family safe as the seasons change.

As we leave summer behind and leaves start to fall from the trees, it is important to remember a few fall safety tips. With proper precautions and safety awareness, your family can enjoy the crisp autumn weather while avoiding some of the serious dangers that come with the season.

 

Fire Safety

When the weather gets cooler, most people spend more time indoors using fireplaces, furnaces, and heaters to keep warm. Although nothing is quite as cozy as sitting by the fire, they can present many safety hazards. Keep these tips in mind.

 

Service Your Furnace

Have your furnace inspected by your heating and cooling company before the season starts. They will check for leaks and make sure that your furnace is in good working condition.

 

Be Careful Using Your Fireplace

Keep that fire in its proper place by using a fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace. Never leave a burning fire unattended and make sure a fire in a fireplace is completely out before going to bed.

Use Caution With Space Heaters

Space heaters are an affordable way to take the chill out of the air. Just make sure that you read the heater’s instructions before use. Also, make sure that the space heater is vented properly, if necessary. Last, make sure that you allow at least three feet of empty space around the heater.

 

Reconsider Leaf Burning

Did you know that burning leaves contain dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals? That’s why leaves should never be disposed of in such a manner. If you must burn leaves, make sure to wear a protective mask. Never burn leaves on a windy day, as this can become a fire hazard. Last, make certain you burn them far away from your home or other structures.

Exercise Candle Safety

Candles are a critical part of the fall season, but they can be a fire hazard. According to the National Candle Association, 10,000 home fires begin with improper candle use. Never leave them burning if you leave or go to sleep and keep your candles away from kids and furry friends.

 

Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries

At Daylight Saving Time, change the batteries in your fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Test the detectors with the new batteries to make certain that they’re working correctly. Also, check and replace any expired home fire extinguishers.

 

Home Maintenance Safety Tips

Fall is the time for yard clean-ups and getting your home ready for the cold winter ahead. Keep these safety tips in mind as you work.

 

Look Up Before Pruning Trees

Survey the area before you start trimming your trees. Make certain that you know where power lines are before you set up your ladder.

Use Caution on Ladders

Your ladder should be placed on a flat, level surface before use. Also make sure to wear appropriate footwear, as ladders may be wet and prone to causing slips.

Clean Up Fallen Leaves

Clear all sidewalks and driveways of falling leaves. Wet leaves make for a slippery pedestrian hazard. Once snow starts to fall, the mix of dead leaves and snow makes an even greater risk for falling.

By keeping these important fall safety tips in mind, you can be sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your family from seasonal dangers. This will leave your mind free to enjoy the beauty of this glorious season. Does your home need a little help to prepare it for the cooler months? Give HomeWise Roofing & Exteriors a call for all your exterior needs.