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Project of the Month:

"Old Home in Rockville”

Our “Project of the Month” is an old home in Rockville, MD built in or around 1885 when Rockville was in the middle of its building boom.  Originally settled in the 1750’s by European farmers, upon the opening of rail service in 1873, Rockville became a summer resort and commuter town for Washingtonians.  The current homeowners, the Stricklers, gave this description of the house from the time they purchased it:

“The house had been vacant for two years when we bought it in 1983.  It was in really bad shape – termite damage, no insulation, boiler with a tag that showed the gas company phone number as two letters and 4 digits (only six digits total), mostly crumbling knob and tube wiring, galvanized pipe plumbing. Within two tears of our moving in, the City of Rockville condemned our porch and we had to have it torn down.  I designed a wrap-around porch and got a permit to build it.  We manually poured the porch footings with a rented cement mixer the afternoon before our first Peerless Rockville Tour.  We were the first house on the tour and organizers assured us that people would appreciate seeing a house in progress. We did all of the work ourselves (except for natural gas work) with permits and inspections from the City of Rockville over 30 years.”

The home had the original tin roof and the handy homeowners, upon discovering a large leak pouring from the ceiling down the steps, climbed up on the roof and found the valleys, that had  been tarred and asphalt patched, cracked and leaking.

“We taught ourselves to solder tin and replaced the valleys with new tin panels.  We patch-soldered numerous holes while doing the valleys. We gave it a fresh coat of paint every 5 years or so, but there were still some spots with old tar based patches. The newer acrylic based paints helped keep the roof waterproof, but last year some of those asphalt based patches started flaking off exposing rusted tin underneath. We decided that with my 70th birthday not so far off, it was time for me to stay off the roof and have it replaced”, Mr. Strickler said.

This is where Fichtner Services came in. “We got numerous estimates, but the other companies wanted to do membrane only for our built in gutter trough in the front or build up the roof to add conventional gutters – a non-starter for my wife Dianne and me. Fichtner (Estimator Mike Bafford) was the only company that offered a metal replacement built in gutter trough, albeit it in copper.  We thought long and hard given the cost of copper, but really wanted to preserve the facade and structural design and went with the copper gutter trough and contracted with Fichtner.”

So now this historic beauty has a new standing seam steel roof with built-in copper gutter and ½ round aluminum gutters with Leaf Relief gutter guards.  We love the fact that we are able to help preserve these testaments to our country’s history.  This one should be protected for many years to come.

“It was easy to work with the various Fichtners’ staff. Mike Bafford (estimator) was very helpful and patient with all our questions and the pros and cons of various options. He genuinely listened to our aesthetic desires rather than pushing quick fixes and recognized our desire for top quality materials (at a reasonable price).  Scheduling was delayed with supply chain issues, but they kept us informed and worked around our long-planned vacation to make sure we were at home while the work was being done.  Workers arrived early on the designated days and worked late to get things done and clean up the area each day.  Jan (job foreman) kept us informed of necessary additional work and materials to the contract as they encountered unseen and unplanned issues (no surprise on a 136 year old house with its original roof).

We are extremely happy with the conscientiousness of the staff and workers and the quality and appearance of all the work.  They went the extra mile a couple times to make sure things were right, water tight, and replaced and painted siding that was removed (but damaged) for proper flashing installation. They even removed and reinstalled our rain barrel diverter when installing a new downspout. Thank you, Fichtner’s!”

“We are extremely happy with the conscientiousness of the staff and workers and the quality and appearance of all the work.”

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