Local move, local help

When the Leahy family realized it needed a bigger space to accommodate the growing family, the husband and wife didn’t want to look any farther than their existing neighborhood in Alexandria, Va. Although the Colonial-style home they upgraded to met their size, location and budget requirements, it needed some work. Having a previous working relationship with remodeling firm Exterior Medics in Alexandria, the family called the remodeler to improve their new home.

The Leahys planned to have only minor work done to get through the winter months — such as gutter cleaning, power washing and minor roof repairs — but further inspection revealed the roof needed more significant work than the minor repairs they anticipated. “It snowballed from there as far as getting things taken care of, making the house look nice and putting money into it upfront as opposed to waiting and doing the work in stages,” remembers Tom Green, sales consultant with Exterior Medics.

The roof deck had substantial leaking problems from rotting wood, and Exterior Medics had to replace about 200 linear feet of frame, according to Green, which was the majority of the home’s original structure. A newer portion of the house off the back, which had a more steeply pitched roof, had maintained its integrity throughout the years. The shingles used on the original part of the roof were not approved for the newer portion of the roof, which was low-slope, says production manager Boris Cardenas. Instead, the team installed TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) in that area. With a crew of six, roof work took about two days.

A brick chimney suffered from years of neglect and had holes in the mortar so extensive one could see through it. “The crown was completely cracked,” Green says. “It encompassed a full masonry job from the roof deck to the top of the chimney.” The team also built a cricket behind the chimney to divert water. Today, Leahy family members enjoy a fully functional chimney so they can safely use their fireplace. Other home improvements included fascia boards, rewrapping trim in aluminum, gutter replacement and putting vinyl lineals around the windows.

The project encountered an unexpected delay related to the power lines running from the street to the house. Cardenas coordinated a shut-off day with the power company so work on the exterior could safely proceed. On the given day, however, the area experienced rain, which pushed the power disconnection day back two weeks. “That was a little bit difficult for us,” Cardenas remembers. “Two weeks was a long delay, but it depends on the power company’s schedule and what emergencies in the area the power company needs to address first. There was nothing we could control; we had to work to their schedule.”

The homeowners enjoyed creative freedom with their material and color choices; the house is not in a historic area so approval by historic review boards was not required. Green suggested using cedar shake vinyl siding to offset some of the gable areas on the house and to provide visual contrast from the lap siding. Siding work took four days and ran smoothly. The siding manufacturer was helpful with providing samples and design photos to give the homeowners an idea of how their updated home would look. “Before the face-lift, it was a plain, drab-looking house,” Green says. “I think the cedar accents really make it pop.”