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New windows are not always better tips for the renovation of old buildings

window replacement

For buyers and owners of old buildings, much has changed with the introduction of the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), LEGACY said. If they renew at least one-fifth of a facade front, they have to insulate it at great expense. What is less well known, however, is that the same rule applies to the renovation of windows.

If at least 20 percent of the windows on one side of the house, or even just their glazing, are replaced, then the new elements must insulate as well as a modern double-glazed insulating window.

It is not always sensible to replace windows in old buildings. For several reasons, box double windows, i.e. constructions with inner and outer sashes, should be retained as far as possible. Once refurbished, these have several advantages over simple “insulating glass windows”.

First, there is the appearance of the facade: old windows are often structured by sash bars, profiled frames and a central post so that the facade does not appear as lifeless and interchangeable as in houses with modern windows and large glass surfaces.

Also, there is the higher sound insulation. Even without new insulating glazing, double box windows insulate better against external noise than new one-piece windows. The prerequisite for this is that the joint between the sash and the outer frame is not too wide.

Even thermal insulation is almost competitive with insulating glass windows from the 1980s and early 1990s, thanks to the approximately 10 to 15 centimeter thick standing air layer in the space between the inner and outer sashes. Also – provided that the wood substance is intact – a significant improvement in thermal insulation and sound insulation can be achieved through subsequent measures.

This requires the installation of a modern, approximately ten to 15 millimeter thick insulating glazing and the additional provision of the window frame with a circumferential lip seal.

However, both measures should only be carried out on the inner sash. This is because the cold outside air must continue to flow through the space between the panes of box windows to prevent condensation from forming.

It has also been proven that the sound insulation of windows is optimal when the inner pane is heavier, i.e. thicker, than the outer pane.

For this reason, the reworking of the outer wings should – in addition to a professional new coat of paint – also include the replacement of damaged weather legs. This is the lower, slightly rounded end profile of the sash. The often damaged putty joints should also be renewed. The window often has to be made “lockable and lockable”, e.g. the locks have to be replaced or the rods have to be oiled.

Of course, the replacement of windows can also be unavoidable: If the old substance is too bad or if the single glazed elements have too thin frames for insulating glass panes.

New windows most often consist of plastic and wood. The advantage of plastic windows is that they are largely maintenance-free. Wooden windows, on the other hand, must be repainted at intervals of several years.

But these have usually slimmer frame profiles, and the portion of the glass surface is also higher: The areas are lighter thereby, which can be important with older houses with much smaller window openings.

When installing new windows, the joints between the window frame and the brickwork should be 15 to 25 millimeters wide and the space between them carefully stuffed with mineral wool. If only assembly foam is used instead, then there is the danger that this foam “shrinks” later and still tears gaps.

Heating heat then escapes there and it can become draughty in the room. Before the windows on the inside of the masonry are plastered again, the joint to the masonry should be sealed windproof. Here sealing tapes or plaster end profiles are usual.


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More About The National Roofing & Union Contractors Associations


NRCAOne of the strongest roofers’ association in the roofing industry in the US is the National Roofing Contractors Association. This union, even as a nonprofit body, has grown to a big voice in the roofing industry, offering its members information, education, technology, and advocacy. The association, since its establishment in 1886, has strongly backed all segments of the roofing industry, especially commercial & industrial. The association boasts of a strong membership base of more than 3500 members, all remarkable from 50 states and 53 countries and is affiliated with 97 local, regional, regional, and international roof workers associations.

The NRCA Membership

The membership of the NRCA is open to all bodies that are in the roofing industry, ranging from the most conventional roofers/contractors, manufacturers, distributors, architects, consultants, engineers, building owners, and the regional, state and national government agencies. 

Qualification for Membership

Insurance and License

To become a member of the NCRA, the roofer must be licensed as a professional roofer. Also, to avoid cases arising from liabilities in accidents at work, the roofer must have liability insurance coverage before becoming a member of the NCRA.

Head office

Every roofer ought to have a permanent physical business address, a telephone number, and a tax identification number.

Benefits for Membership

  • Continuous and up to date education: the NRCA keeps its members abreast by providing steady and up to date information for all its members. By virtue of being a member, you stand to enjoy free access to up to date training programs ranging via monthly webinars to special reports discussing technical, risk management, safety, and legislative developments that affect the roofing industry.
  • Regulation and legislation: The NRCA create a strong voice, by synergizing the opinions of its members, the union creates a strong influence to various regulatory and legislative issues that is related to the roofing industry, such as tax reform, incentives, labor and personnel training, energy efficiency.
  • Improve public relations: being a member of the NRCA is a sure thing to be proud of as a roofer. This no doubt improves the general image and influences on potential client perception of the roofer.

Aside from those mentioned above, there other numerous bodies established solely to fight for and protect the interest of roofers. Some of them are;

The Union Roofing Contractors Association

The URCA prides itself in the continuous upgrade of the working standards and conditions of its members via assiduous workshops organized for its members with the most key target been safety. Also, the union maintains a vigilant stance on California and Federal issues that directly affect the performance of its member as it relates to roofing, waterproofing, and contracting. URCA provides member contractor employees with up to date safety training of all kinds.

Bottom Line

To excel as a roofer, you can’t possibly rule out the impact of roofers’ union/association. The earlier you consider joining one, the better. The amazing part is that irrespective of where you stay, there’s always a roofers association available close by.


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Converting Flat Roofs into Pitched Roofs

Why Use Flat Roof For Your Commercial Building

Interested in converting your existing flat roof into a pitched roof? If so, you probably know the possibilities pitched roofs offer, such as increasing storage space, curb appeal, and in some cases your living space. However, did you know a pitched roof requires less maintenance on average while reducing the risk of structural issues later? Although, there are some downsides to making the leap and converting a flat roof. For instance, pitched roofs can still leak, and pose issues. The largest setback many encounters is the overall cost.

To help you take a closer look into considering if the switch is right for you, we will go over the basics so you can decide what’s best for you.

Flat Roofs, Bad Reputation

Although flat roofs are commonly used on commercial structures, they typically have a poor reputation within the residential building business. A stroll around a flat roof enriched area will reveal this phenomenon clearly. Did you know there are insurance company’s that simply refuse to cover flat roofs? But, why?

They require consistent maintenance, replacing roofing materials, and the cost of installation. Over time, gravity results in a sagging structure because flat roofs have a single (slight) pitch. Meanwhile, repairs or installations are often used low-quality material. Even professionals could lack experience, leading to vulnerabilities, including undersized structural members and sections where the roof planes connection. Furthermore, residential properties do not typically use the higher graded roofing materials used by large commercial structures.

Methods of Roof Conversion

Depending on the situation, the flat roof can be removed or left while a pitched roof is built above it. Leaving the flat room installed lowers costs, but it adds additional weight to the structure that it may not be designed to handle. Removing the old flat roof costs more, but creates options for extra space, higher ceilings, etc. Pitched roofs can be designed and built using traditional rafter framing or engineered wood trusses. Finally, the decision to convert has to gain approval from a certified building professional or engineer.

Reasons to Consider Converting a Roof?

Below are common reasons why property owners decide to convert:

Maintenance: Original construction design was low-quality and/or improper causing constant leaks. While a single leak may not be enough to convert, experiencing multiple leaks in a short period could be.

Expense: Old flat roofs with significant structural problems could result in repetitive repairs and possibly a full renovation. In these situations, the repair expense can be within a range of installing a pitched roof.

Increased Lifespan: Flat roofs should have similar lifespans, but due to improper installation being common, and improved material quality, pitched roofs tend to last longer. Additionally, homeowners should compare overall high-quality durability between shingles and flat roof options, torch down, tar and gravel, and others.

Improved Ventilation and Insulation: Because of the limited space a flat roof offers, using insulation with high R-values are difficult, but not with pitched roofs. Also, a flat roof generally is not ventilated (and should not be in most cases), whereas a pitched roof can benefit from ventilation.

Additional Space: Sometimes that additional storage or living space is important. Many factors determine how much space is added, from slopes, house size, and structure. Others aim for visual appeal with raising the ceiling height.

Curb Appeal: The final choice here depends on the taste of homeowners. Modern home designs have utilized flat roofs for many homes for centuries, but most prefer the look, low maintenance and overall space from a pitched roof.

Selling: When selling a property, the roof could become the difference between a fast sale or sit on the market. Pitched roofs have become the favored modern style, while some still prefer the older flat roof look.

Reasons Not to Convert?

Pitched roofs, just like flat roofs will eventually leak from failing flashing, materials or metal pieces that cover joints. In other cases, roofing materials wear out over time or could have poor installation, repairs or low-quality design. Other elements may wear down or cause issues, such as the walls, a chimney, ventilation piping, etc.)

Frequently, property owners learn their issues are caused simply from improperly installed or low-quality materials, while the overall structure and roof design remain solid.

To determine if converting is needed, have your roof diagnosed by a professional. Simply upgrading the roofing to high-quality materials could provide the same lifespan of a pitched roof. Contact a locally licensed roofing pro today to assist in making the correct approach for your flat roof.



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Tips for Property Managers: How to Decorate Your Building for the Holidays

Commercial Building Decoration

There are so many reasons to celebrate in December, as Hanukkah begins the night of December 2nd, followed by Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on the 26th, and of course, the New Year on the 31st. So how to share the holiday spirit with your tenants?

You may not be big on decorations, but if you don’t decorate your building or host a party, you may be viewed as a modern-day Scrooge. On the flip side, if you add too many holiday symbols (Christmas trees, wreaths, lots of tinsel, yards of lights, menorahs, and Kwanzaa’s traditional Kinara candle holders), you might be accused of going overboard.

How can you strike a happy balance? According to Ginny Decker, vice president of property management for Monument Capital Real Estate Services, Miami and Katherine Furniss, marketing manager at CFH Group, another property management group in Miami, founding the middle ground has helped them keep tenants happier and encouraged them to renew.

Question: What is your company’s approach to decorating so building owners or property managers show they care—without making the building look like Santa’s workshop?

Decker: We let the on-site staff at each building decide based on tenant demographics. You want to have some decorations but not so much tinsel—for example—that it makes it hard for prospective tenants to see the building and sign a lease. We encourage an “understated ” look.

Q: How does that translate into decorations?

Decker: Generally, we say you can’t go wrong with simple, classic, white holiday lights that make residents feel good when they return home from work or when prospective tenants drive up to the building. Lights always add cheer.

Furniss: We take the same approach of keeping decorations simple and using maybe one color of lighting so they look generic, and maybe light the entrance and corporate leasing office. We might also put a wreath at the front door. We refer to all the celebrations as “the holidays” rather than to specific events.

Q: Anything else you do beside lights?

Decker: Because we try not to celebrate one denomination, we like other generic symbols such as snowflakes, snowmen, silver colors, as opposed to red and green, a tree, menorah, or Kwanzaa symbols. We want to be inclusive, especially since we often don’t know which holidays our residents celebrate.

Q: Have you had tenants complain about too much or too little?

Decker: Not so far.

Q: Do you also host holiday parties this time of year on- or off-site?

Decker: We do, and they’re on-site. The specifics vary from community to community-based on the resident profile. For buildings with young children, we might bring in a Santa Claus for photographs with the kids. For other sites, we might have gift wrapping parties where we supply the gift paper. We’ve also organize pot-luck suppers where we provide a ham or turkey, and residents bring side dishes and desserts. At some buildings with mostly lower-income residents, we may give away turkeys. We try to find out what residents want most by doing a lot of surveys throughout the year.

Furniss: We’ll host a party in the common area of a clubhouse or maybe on a pool deck of a building. We might have a movie night and ask residents for suggestions, and if their movie is picked they’ll get a prize. We’ll set up “Santa’s workshop” at each building with all the supplies needed to wrap gifts–paper and bows, and make it available the entire month of December. Many of our managers have been with us for years so they tend to know what works and doesn’t.

Q: How about saying thanks with contributions to a favorite charity in your tenants’ honor?

Decker: We try to do something like that during the season, or ask tenants to donate canned foods and toys so we all give back to our community beyond the building. We also let tenants know where their community may be hosting dinners they can attend.

Q: When do you suggest taking down decorations?

Decker: Usually, by the middle of January.

Furniss: We’ll take them down right after Christmas.

Q: Do you decorate for any other holidays to build camaraderie and good building morale?

Decker: We try to do things consistently year-round and in each quarter such as Halloween decorations come fall and a pool/barbecue around July 4th or some time during the summer. Again, we ask for tenant feedback to find what they want.

Furniss: We decorate for Halloween, and sometimes the staff dresses up, often with a theme such as witches

Q: Do you set a budget for these types of expenditures, and if so would you share?

Decker: I can’t give you a dollar amount since it varies so much by community and the number of units and occupants, which influences the amount.’

Furniss: Our buildings tend to spend between $500 and $1,000 for such events.

Q: Any parting advice?

Decker: Yes, keep decorating and hosting these kinds of celebrations and polling residents regarding what they want so they’ll take advantage. If we get 30 to 50 residents at an event, we consider that a good turnout and a success. We find that by taking time to do these things residents tend to renew their leases and remain longer with us

Furniss: We often try to have an event that offers children an activity when we can.

Now we’d love to hear from you! What do you do at your buildings to keep spirits up through the holiday season and even into the long month of January?

5 Tips to clean paintbrush easily (And quickly)

spray paint

A newly painted house gives a fresh breath of air, while gives your mind a relaxing wave. But all of it can vanish when it comes to clean up the mess you leave behind. And the most annoying part of which is, cleaning of your paint brushes. Your brushes are a significant investment. By cleaning them carefully and properly at the end of a painting session, they will work better and last longer. It is well worth spending the little bit of time and energy necessary to take good care of them.

You can learn more here at spraythatpaint paint sprayer reviews to find more.

Here are a few cleaning tips that will help you to keep your brushes painting like new for years.

  • Wipe off any excess paint using an old newspaper. Gently squeezing the bristles from the ferrule edge outwards with your fingers, or with a cloth, it will help remove paint from the brush. Be gentle to avoid pulling on the bristles, though.


  • For water-based paint: Put enough warm water into a container to fully cover the brush bristles. Put in a little liquid dishwashing Don’t use too large a container as you will be refilling it with clean soapy water more than a few times. Rinse and twirl the brush in the water working the soapy water into the bristles. Pour out the dirty water (see below for disposal recommendations) and change with clean soapy water. Go over until the brush is clean. Spin or flick the brush by hand or with a mechanical spinner to get rid of the water. 


  • For oil-based paint: First, decide which solvent is right for the painting product you are using.  (The information can be written on the paint can.)  Rule of thumb: use mineral spirits or paint thinner for oil-based paints, stains and varnishes. Use alcohol for shellacs. Pour sufficient solvent into a container to completely cover the brush bristles. Rinse and twirl the brush in the solvent, working it into the bristles. Do again the process with clean solvent until the bristles are clean. Spin or flick the brush by hand or with a mechanical spinner to get rid of the solvent.


  • After the brush is clean, we recommend combing the bristles to get rid of any dried paint and to prevent the reshaping of the brush. This will help out to keep the heel of the brush from filling with hardened paint. Combing the brush is mainly important if you use a brush spinner as the bristles can become tangled. You can get brush combs at nearly all hardware and paint stores. We recommend the one bought to comb the loose hair out of our cat’s fur. After you are done with it, let it dry by handing on a peg or nail. You can also rest it on a flat surface. As soon as the brush is dry, put the protective jacket back on the brush. This will help to keep hold of the proper shape.


  • Dripping paint solvents and water/latex paint mixtures down the drain could damage your septic system and is prohibited by most municipal sewage authorities. Don’t lose hope there is a simple solution. Pour water-based cleaning solutions in a large container and place it where the water can evaporate. I use a plastic bucket. Just the once the water has evaporated, you can peel off the latex residue and dispose of it. For dirty paint thinner use a large (I use a one-gallon plastic bottle) container and pour and let the paint sediment settle. After it is settled, you can decant the clean solvent and re-use it. Dispose of the solids as soon as the bottle gets full.


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