Autumn Has Arrived!

October 2019

This month, we'll provide you with 8 valuable tips to prepare your home for winter, a showcase of our latest 'Featured Home' in Montgomery County, and insider's look at our metal roofing machine.

Button Up Your House For Winter!

Autumn has arrived – time for raking leaves, carving pumpkins, and the first frost of the year! But it also means the arrival cold, winter temperatures that can be damaging to your home.
Before you are hit by inclement weather, be proactive. Review your Homeowner’s Insurance policy to make sure you are aware of what is covered, and document your home and personal property with photos and video.
  • CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS – Remove debris from gutters so melting ice and snow will drain properly and decrease the risk of ice damming. Direct downspouts away from your home’s foundation to help prevent basement leaks and flooding.
  • TRIM BRANCHES – Trim any dead and low hanging tree limbs so they don’t brush against the roof or fall causing damage to your home’ roof, siding or windows during a winter storm
  • CHECK THE ROOF – Give the roof a good look before winter hits. Are there any loose or missing shingles that may result in leaks from winter snow?  Check for any cracked caulk around vents and the chimney.
  • PREVENT UNWELCOME GUESTS – Check for any voids or holes in the siding or the roof that animals may use to get in to make a cozy winter hibernation spot.
  • SERVICE YOUR CHIMNEY – If you have a wood-burning fireplace have it cleaned by a chimney sweep to prevent creosote buildup. Clear away any debris such as leaves and bird nests that could become a fire hazard. Additionally, you may want to have your brick chimney sealed with silicone water repellant as bricks are porous and water intrusion and the freeze thaw cycle can cause the bricks to crack.
  • CHECK FOR GAPS – Look at the areas where siding meets windows, doors and bricks to make sure that the caulk hasn’t worn away leaving a gap that is susceptible to water intrusion.
  • CHANGE FILTERS AND BATTERIES – Change furnace filters and batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, test the detectors to make sure they work.
  • TURN OFF HOSE BIBS – Be sure to turn off exterior hose bibs and other outside water sources to prevent pipes from freezing.


“Friend in Need”

Boyds, a rural town near the intersection of state routes 117 and 121 in Montgomery County was named for Col. James Alexander Boyd, a Scottish immigrant who worked as a construction engineer for the B & O railroad.  Boyd built temporary housing for the workers as the railroad was building the Metropolitan Branch line after the Civil War.  The railroad began service in 1870 making the area accessible to Washingtonians.   James Boyd established dairy farms in Boyd and lived in the town until his death in 1896.

The town today includes two churches, a general store, an antiques shop, a MARC train station, a smattering of historic houses, schools and other buildings.  The county master plan protects an area with a radius of about two miles extending out from Boyds’s historic district, including 600 homes on a mix of horse farms and pastures.  Commuter Rail service primarily to DC is still provided today by the MARC system.

One of the historic homes in Boyds is called “Friend in Need”.  The owners believe the home to have been a small dairy farm as there is milking station in the barn.  Fichtner Services was called in to replace the roof on the home.  The home still had the original stamped metal roof which was not able to be saved.  The homeowners opted for a 1” historic standing seam panel roof keeping true to the period and character of the house.  We used 24 gauge steel in Colonial Red.  Additionally, the siding on the dormers needed to be replaced.  We installed Western Red Cedar certi-cut diamond shingles to replicate the historic pattern.  Lastly, we were able to save the front and back porch roofs by applying Acrymax liquid applied roofing system.

The owners said that “the workers were very professional and experienced and did an amazing job.  The new roof is beautiful”.

Product Highlight: Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has become popular among homeowners in recent years.  It can be applied as an entire roofing system or as an architectural detail such as a porch or bay window roof.  Metal options are steel, copper or aluminum with numerous colors and styles to choose from.  While the initial price may be more than a standard asphalt shingle roof, the benefits outweigh that cost.  Some of the advantages, when installed by an expert using high quality materials and finishes, include:

  • Longevity- a metal roof can last 75-100 years or more with proper maintenance
  • Durabilty- metal can sustain high wind gusts and hail and are non-combustible
  • Energy efficient- metal roofs reflect solar rays reducing cooling costs
  • Environmentally friendly- in addition to the materials containing recycled materials, they can be recycled upon the end of their life as a roof.  Also, due to the longevity, we are keeping more waste out of landfills.
  • Aesthetically pleasing- create a distinctive look just by adding a ledge or porch roof on the front of your home

Additionally, metal roofing can be refinished with a product called Acrymax, a liquid applied roofing system. Particularly important for historic homes, we can save the existing metal roof by using this system, keeping the history intact.  It comes in a wide variety of colors.  One main issue is that Acrymax can only be applied during the warmer months.




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