Determining the Energy Efficiency of Windows for Houston Texas Climate

Many Houston Texas homeowners would like to know more about the energy efficiency of their windows. Most of the new replacement windows are labeled to indicate their energy properties but this information may not be available on existing or older windows. Below is an energy efficiency checklist to help you with the process of determining the energy efficiency of your home windows.

First try looking for the Energy Star label. The Energy Star label indicates that the window meets energy performance recommendations set by the US Department of Energy. The label includes a map of where the specific window qualifies for the specific climate zone. Windows that are Energy Star qualified should typically meet or exceed energy code requirements for your area. The determining factors for qualification criteria for Energy Star windows is based on your the climate and location of your home.

Check for Energy Efficient Properties on the NFRC Label. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label is needed for verification of energy code compliance. The NFRC label displays whole-window energy properties and appears on all products in the ENERGY STAR program providing a reliable way to determine the window’s energy efficiency properties.

NFRC Energy Star Label Example Houston Texas Home Exteriors

NFRC Energy Star Label Example – The Energy Star label indicates that the window meets energy performance recommendations set by the US Department of Energy. The label includes a map of where the specific window qualifies for the specific climate zone.

Check the windows for any energy performance labels and information on window performance. If there are no labels or you cannot find any information on the window, you can visually inspect the window to determine the assumed window energy performance with the following:

1 – Verify how many panes of glass the windows has, with each pane of glass comes additional energy efficiency

2 – What material is the window frame made from (aluminum, wood, vinyl).  Windows made with wood or vinyl frames insulate better than metal-framed window options so are more energy efficient.

Below are charts to help in assuming the U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient.  The U-factor is a measure of non-solar heat transfer (like heat escaping in the winter). A lower U-factor is better (lower means less heat loss). The SHGC indicates how much heat from the sun enters through a window. A low SHGC is more important in the hotter climates like the Houston Texas are. The U-factor and SHGC of a window are shown on the NFRC label. Energy Star windows meet the recommended values shown here:

Window Energy Star Climate Zone Map Houston Texas Home Exteriors 281-919-6999

Energy Star Window Climate Zone Map

Window U-factor SHGC  Energy Star Recommended Values for Climate Houston Texas Home Exteriors 281-919-6999

The U-factor and SHGC of a window are shown on the NFRC label. The U-factor is a measure of non-solar heat transfer. A lower U-factor is better, lower means less heat loss. The SHGC indicates how much heat from the sun enters through a window. A low SHGC is more important in the hotter climates like the Houston Texas area.

Below is a chart you can reference using the information collected above for the assumed U-factor and SHGC values. This information is based on the International Energy Conservation Code and does not account for features you may not be able to verify such as low-E coatings, gas fills, etc).

U-factor SHGC Aproximate Chart Houston Texas Home Exteriors 281-919-6999 TX

U-factor SHGC Approximation Chart (These values are based on the International Energy Conservation Code and do not take into account features that you may not be able to verify such as low-E coatings, gas fills, etc.)

3 – Does the window glass has low-E coatings? Low-E coatings are invisible heat barriers that improve window energy efficiency. The most reliable way to identify these coatings is to use a low-E detector device (equipment energy auditors may use). Chances are you do not own one of these but you may be able to identify low-E glass by using a lighter flame or white card by holding either up to the glass and looking for the two reflections from each pane of glass. If one of the panes looks bluer than the other, this is an indication of a low-E coating on that surface.

4 – Does the window have an airtight fit and weatherstripping. Check the sashes and weatherstripping as these are important factors. The windows may have air leakage if they are not fitted tightly or air could be leaking from in between the interface of the frame and the wall if they were not properly sealed during installation. This may be difficult to check for on existing windows.

If you are ready to replace your windows, remember the importance of proper installation of your new energy efficient Energy Star rated windows. Proper installation is necessary for optimal performance of energy efficient windows, to ensuring there is an airtight fit and to avoid water leakage. Use experienced professionals for your window selection and installation.

Additionally, check the Department of Energy for Tax Incentives for replacing your windows with energy efficient windows that are Energy Star rated.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and feel free to call me at Texas Home Exteriors, we are here to assist you in your replacement window selection and installation of new energy efficient windows in the Houston, Spring, The Woodlands metro area. We offer a variety of options, call us today at 281.919.6999 and visit our website click her Texas Home Exteriors.  or visit and be sure to check out our Texas Home Exclusive Windows made for the Houston Texas Climate!

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Star, Home Improvement, Houston Texas, r-Value, Replacement Windows, Texas Home Exclusive Windows, Texas Home Exteriors, Texas Windows, The Woodlands Texas, Window Options, Window Replacement, Window Types, Windows | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Texas Home Exteriors Houston TX receives Best of Houzz 2014 Customer Satisfaction Award

Texas Home Exteriors Houston TX receives Best of Houzz 2014 Customer Satisfaction Award

Feb 4 2014

Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals THE WOODLANDS, HOUSTON, TEXAS, February 4, 2014 – Texas Home Exteriors of The Woodlands, Houston Texas has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

“The Siding Roofing and Window Contractor” was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app.

Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.   Texas Home Exteriors is honored to receive this award and recognition from the Houzz community.About Houzz “Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz.

“We’re delighted to recognize Texas Home Exteriors among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.” With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Texas Home Exteriors, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Learn more about Texas Home Exteriors on there website at http://www.TexasHomeExteriors.Net and be sure to follow them on Houzz Texas Home Exteriors Texas Home Exteriors and our owner Greg Kapitan “Kapitan The Siding Man” comes to you with over 30 years combined experience in the construction trade. Our expertise in the areas of Home Improvement and Energy-Efficiency has been demonstrated on numerous completed jobs and happy customers over the years throughout the greater Houston, Spring, The Woodlands metro areas of Texas.

Texas Home Exteriors Houston Greg Shelly 122313

Greg & Shelly, Owners of Texas Home Exteriors Houston, The Woodlands TX

Texas Home Exteriors specializes in HardiPlank Siding, LP Smartside Siding, Vinyl Replacement Windows, Pergolas, Patio Covers and Roofing Shingle Options. Our products and services are the most Energy Efficient and innovative in the business.  Our crews are experienced professionals who have all been hand-picked by Greg Kapitan himself, to ensure superior workmanship and customer satisfaction.” Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device.

From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit

Posted in Home Improvement, Home Siding, Houston Texas, Houzz, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing contractors, Texas Home Exteriors, The Woodlands Texas, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Beauty of Stone Coated Metal Roofing for the Houston Texas Area

Stone Coated Metal Roofing Shingles Granted The Freedom To Express Themselves
By Greg Kapitan (Kapitan The Siding Man)

Decra Shake XD Pinnacle Gray Texas Home Exteriors

Decra Shake XD Metal Shingles in Pinnacle Gray Houston Texas Home Exteriors The Woodlands

Time to replace your roofing shingles? As a roofing contractor I find many of today’s Houston Texas homeowners considering stone coated metal roofing shingles as a roof replacement option. A good many of Texas homeowners in the southeast Houston Texas metro area realize that replacement of their composition asphalt roofing shingles needs to be done every 10-15 years. If you are a homeowner in Texas, “I need a new roof” is as common as “I need an oil change”, well almost.

Texas Heat and Roofing Shingles
Because of the intensity of our hot South TX UV rays (ultra violet rays), the standard composition petroleum based asphalt (tar) roofing shingles become baked and brittle over time baking in the hot Texas sun. If you look closely at roofing shingles, they will begin looking like a road map of Texas with cracks and lines going in many different directions. What is occurring is the protective granules, common on composition roofing shingles, become loose and often ending up in gutters or on the ground.  As the shingles lose granules, it leaves the petroleum based asphalt (tar) naked and exposed to more UV rays thus accelerating the deterioration of the roofing shingle leading to leaks and phone calls to roofers for roof replacement bids.

Time To Rethink Another Asphalt Composition Roofing Shingle Bid
Instead of getting yet another composition shingle composition roof that will last 10 – 15 years, it may be time to consider a stone coated metal roof option.  Below is a quick bulleted list of facts as to why a southeast Texas homeowner way want to consider Stone Coated Metal Roofing Shingles over traditional roofing shingles.

Decra Shake XD Antique Chestnut Stone Coated Roof Houston Texas Home Exteriors

Stone Coated Decra Shake XD Metal Roof in antique Chestnut for your Houston, Spring, The Woodlands TX Texas Home Exteriors The Woodlands

Benefits of Stone Coated Metal Roofing Shingles
• Last 50 years or more
• Resist hail damage than composition roofing shingles
• Steel based shingle gives unparalleled strength
• Increase Energy Efficiency savings
• Produce air circulation under shingles
• Provide fireproof characteristics
• Aesthetically Unparalleled Beauty

Energy Efficiency Savings with Stone Coated Metal Roofing – Reflectivity/Emissivity Part 1
Stone coated metal roofs reflect much more of the solar radiation that is usually absorbed in your attic and home with standard composition petroleum based asphalt (tar) roofing shingles. Here in Texas, granular coated metal roofing systems not only reflect solar energy but also cool your home by re-emitting most of the solar radiation instead of absorbing it. In southeast Houston Texas annual cooling loads dominate, a highly reflective and highly emissive painted metal standing seam roofing or stone coated coated metal roof is by far the most optimal way to reduce energy consumption from your roof.  These reflective roofing shingles and can re-emit up to 75% of absorbed solar radiation (heat) that otherwise would have been absorbed into your attic and into you homes interior.

Decra Metal Roof Villa Venetian Gold

Decra Metal Roof Systems Villa Venetian Gold by Texas Home Exteriors for Houston, Spring, The Woodlands TX Home Improvements

Unparalleled Beauty of Stone Coated Metal Roofing Shingles
Composition roofing shingles are aesthetically pleasing however they only go so far from a thickness and depth perspective. That is because standard asphalt roofing shingles can only be so thick due to the fact that they are petroleum based and have almost NO structural value. Stone Coated Metal Roofing Shingles have a Steal Base with PLENTY of structural value.

Decra Metal Roof Style Options

Decra Metal Roof Styles include beautiful options with look of Tile, Villa Tile, Shake, Shake XD, Shingle and Shingle XD

Having said that, the flood gates are wide open for any creative roofing shingle style imaginable because metal roofs have lots of structural value. You can now have a Stone Coated Metal Roof with a variety of looks like Terra-cotta, Spanish Tile, Mediterranean-Italian Tile but without all of the weight and drawbacks of tile roofs and at the same time, all of the benefits of Stone Coated Metal Roofs.  Roofing shingles that were once limited due to thickness now are granted the freedom to express themselves. Now roofing shingles can have all of the dimension homeowners want thanks to the steel base and protection of the steel being covered with mini crushed stone can create any color you can imagine!

Decra Stone Coated Steel Roof Pinnacle Grey in Houston from Texas Home Exteriors The Woodlands

Decra Stone Coated Metal Roof Shingles in Pinnacle Grey for Houston Home Roofing Replacement from Texas Home Exteriors in The Woodlands

Stone Coated Metal Roofing Shingles The Envy Of The Neighborhood
When you drive up to any home in the southeast Houston Texas area you will notice two main things on a home, the roof and the siding on the home. Often the roof has composition roofing shingles. Why not be the envy of your neighborhood and maybe even the first to take advantage of an energy efficient stone coated metal roof?  I cannot tell you how many homeowners have expressed to me how much better their home looks with a metal roof, how often they get complements and improved efficiency. Homeowners realize 15-25% energy saving every year while also enjoying the peace of mind of not having to change their roof for over 50 years!

Energy Efficiency Savings of Stone Coated Metal Roofing – Air Space/Circulation Part 2
Watch for My Next Post – More on Energy Efficiency Savings of Stone Coated Metal Roofing – Air Space/Circulation

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Home Improvement, House Shingles, Houston Texas, Metal Roofing, Re - Roofing, Roof, Roof Shingle, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing contractors, Roofing Shingle, Texas Home Exteriors, The Woodlands Texas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

LP SmartSide Siding vs Fiber Cement/HardiePlank Siding Houston Texas

smartside-5Fiber Cement/HardiePlank or LP SmartSide Siding?

I get asked this question often working Texas Home Exteriors, “Greg, what is better, Fiber Cement/HardiePlank Siding or LP SmartSide Siding for my Houston TX home?” As we move into 2014,  I have already found myself being asked this question more and more. I respond with information based on my research, experience installing the two building products as well as discussion with other professionals.

The information in this article, I am offering based on many years of experience in the Houston Texas southeast Texas metro area and as the owner of Texas Home Exteriors. In this post, I will cite information from some of the most powerful resources I know of on the internet presenting their accumulative input including Google Books (James Hardie), Wikipedia (James Hardie) and Wikipedia LP (Louisiana Pacific SmartSide) These are sites and resources that you can and SHOULD check as well to learn more and research what people just like you and me are saying around the country and world. So having said that, below I present the good, bad and the ugly so you, as a Houston Southeast Texas homeowner, can make an informed and intelligent decision. I encourage you to click on the links as well and doing some of your own research.

So here you go…

Both Fiber Cement (Hardie)  and LP SmartSide Siding are outstanding and quality building products. They both exhibit excellent qualities in their performance and longevity as excellent siding product choices for your home’s exterior. Keep in mind that each has great qualities as well as some not-so-great qualities I will point out based on my many years of experience in home exteriors here in the Houston southeast Texas area in using both products, (fiber cement – LP SmartSide Siding) and research I have done on the products and their overall performance.

Supporting Evidence from GOOGLE: When being asked about one siding product vs another, one might share their opinion from their experience, of course this is OK; however, I will also provide examples of what others are saying from around the country.

Problems with Fiber Cement Siding installations ….. read more

Fiber Cement Problems Inspectors Journals Forums….. read more

JLC Online Forums…. read more

LP SmartSide Siding vs Fiber Cement (read more)

Fiber Cement/HardiePlank- 15 Year Trim 30 Year Siding Warranty: As you can see from exploring the links above, there have been some issues reported from around the country. Fiber cement has become more and more popular since the late 1990s in re-siding as well as in new construction throughout North America. The reported issues range from cracking and flaking paint to installation problems as well as other issues with the fiber cement siding product. The siding most often used siding product in America is fiber cement. Many of the problems with this product have stemmed from the improper installation of the fiber cement product however; there are also some issues to be aware of that actually stem from fiber cement product failure itself.


LP SmartSide Siding – 50 Year Trim 50 Year Siding Warranty: LP SmartSide has also been around since 1997, I have done extensive research via the internet and have not found nearly as many, or for that matter, any issues reported with this product at all, no reported problems, even LP SmartSide reports there have been no claims on product failure of the the LP SmartSide Engineered Wood Siding Products in the past 14 years it has been being installed on homes. In all fairness, I will share that there was an issue I came across in regards to Louisiana Pacific (LP) and their OLD Product, called “Inner Seal” which has since been discontinued, this was a pre-1997 SmartSide product that failed, recalled and any claims paid responsively and quickly, very impressive on the part of Louisiana Pacific. In my opinion, this product should not have been used on homes in areas of the country that receive a lot of precipitation, thus the failures. (Note, that the “Inner-Seal” siding did very well in other areas of the country that are more arid and the product continues to stand up well in those climates to this day).

Louisiana Pacific SmartSide Wikipedia information at  LP SmartSide:  (LP) “Two years after the first suit, LP had settled all related disputes. LP re-engineered the product, now marketed as LP®SmartSide® and since 1997 has sold approximately 3 billion square feet of SmartSide siding with no warranty claims for fungal decay.” This was reported on Wikipedia in 2014 of this product that has been around since 1997.

Fiber Cement (Hardie) Wikipedia information at Fiber Cement: per Wikipedia, “Fiber cement siding (or “fibre cement cladding” in the UK and Australasia) is a building material used to cover the exterior of a building in both commercial and domestic applications. Fiber cement is a composite material Fiber cement is a composite made of sandcement and cellulose fibers. Read more about Fiber Cement by clicking on the link at the top of this article which will take you to Wiki and Build Direct FAQs.

Benefits of Fiber Cement/HardiePlank Siding Products:Fiber Cement has the upper hand by far in the category of Fire Resistance so if you are looking for a siding product that specifically is more resistant to fires then Fiber Cement is the better choice. Fiber cement is one of the most resistant materials there is for your exterior.  If installed properly, it is insect-proof, because it offers no food source to insects.  It is fire-resistant, moisture-resistant, and is not prone to warping or cracking, thanks to the cellulose fibers which boost its dimensional stability.  And manufacturers offer a variety of pre-painted colors to choose from.

Disadvantages of Fiber Cement Siding Products: Fiber Cement is much heavier than other siding types and requires two or more workers to install a single plank increasing labor costs. Fiber cement siding can also be difficult to work with, as workers cut the material it creates silica dust plumes that can be harmful if breathed in.

Benefits of LP SmartSide Siding:
With Longer planks” 16’ foot vs 12’ allowing workers to cover more with one plank and less joints to finish. The product is 39% lighter on average, the material does not break when being carried or moved, hammer marks don’t show up easily, no special saw blades or equipment is needed (no need for $100 special blades, regular wood saw blades work just fine), no nail gun pressure issues or need to lower presser. Much less dust than the fiber cement product, silica plume issues gone (link to more info below), installation of this product helps keeps walls strait”, stronger siding provides support keeping walls straighter. Installers like working with the product more due to the reasons above.

Disadvantages of LP SmartSide Siding: SmartSide siding is constructed of a wood base, leaving it vulnerable to fire from combustion or through the melting of the resin add-ons when exposed to high heat.

What you have read above is from an article I wrote you can find more information on our website about home siding options and you can also learn more about silica dust and it’s affects.

I hope that you have found this informative article most helpful.

Greg Kapitan (the siding man)

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Energy Efficiency for Hardie Siding in Houston TX with Tyvek ThermaWrap

Energy Efficiency for Hardie Siding with Tyvek ThermaWrap

Southeast Houston TX homeowners often remove their old siding and install James Hardie Siding. This is a great decision although often overlooked is what can be done before the new HardiePlank Siding is installed to improve the efficiency of the home. Below I explain and provide some suggestions.

Your Texas home exterior walls can account for 40-70% of the heat gain and/or loss of your home. This varies depending on many factors such as the amount of sun exposure to walls, shade and the type of building materials your home was built with. Very often I notice job signs of a contractor doing a siding job and see there is no insulation with any level of R-Value-Home Wrap being installed on the home at this perfect opportunity.

The Perfect Time to Install…

Something to think about, when you have your old siding removed, this is the best time to improve the energy efficiency of your Texas home, don’t you say? I would think that the immediate answer would be yes! When you have your old siding removed, this is absolutely the perfect time to install Tyvek ThermaWrap. What this product will do for your Texas home is to push the unwanted HEAT Back Out of your home in the Texas Summertime and push the HEAT back INTO your home (prevent it from escaping) in the Texas wintertime. This in turn will save you money year round and reduce your Texas utility bills every month by having your Heat/AC unit run less now that your home is more energy efficient because the Tyvek ThermaWrap is stopping much of the heat gain/loss!

Energy Efficiency Performance under Your Hardie Siding 

Tyvek ThermaWrap is a low emissivity (Low-E), metallized weather barrier that will actually increase the effective and total R-value of any wall systems, to help improve energy efficiency in our Texas homes. DuPont™ Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ is made with a metallized, low-emission (low-e) surface that reflects solar radiation away from our Texas homes. Cold weather in Texas, this will help stop radiant heat loss from within the home. In the summer weather, Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ do the opposite by reflecting warm air back out and away from our Texas homes, to help improve air-conditioning (A/C) efficiency. In all of our Texas seasons, that can help make our homes much more comfortable, more energy efficient, and less costly to operate. No more Hot and Cold rooms and the home has more of a even temperature.

R-2 Plus Helping Block Air Infiltration and Exfiltration

ThermaWrap has the ability to help increase the effective R-value of a wall, Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ is also an excellent vapor permeable air and water barrier, like all Tyvek® materials. The low-e surface changes the dynamics of radiant heat flow across the entire wall system.

Nearly two-thirds of the total heat lost or gained is through our Texas homes occurs through radiant heat flow. Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ addresses this by helping to dramatically improve the effective R-value (resistance Value) of the wall system. This is highly effective at reducing heat gain when the weather turns hot here in southeast Texas for over 6 months. Tyvek Therma Wrap is ideal for our southeast Texas weather.

Reduce Texas Energy – Bills How It WorksImage


Radiant heat flow occurs when heat is transferred from a warmer object to a cooler one by electromagnetic waves and natural heat flow. These waves do not need to pass through air and they do not require any contact between the two materials. They simply cross empty space in exactly the same way as the heat of the sun, which
can be felt on cold days. Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ incorporates a low-e, metallic surface that changes the radiant heat flow dynamics of the entire wall system. In winter, it reflects and or pushes radiant heat back into the wall system. Texas summer time,
ThermaWrap reflects the outside solar radiation away from the wall system, to reduce unwanted heat gain into our Texas homes in southeast TX. The total overall effect is an overall total increase in the effective R-value to the entire wall system.

When installed, Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ adds an effective R-value (thermal resistance) equal to R-2 (R- Value). In Texas homes this can help reduce energy usage and costs for heating and cooling systems, year-round. This is a huge plus for southeast Texas Homeowners in the Houston, Spring The Woodlands metro area.

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Star, Home Improvement, Home Siding, Houston, Houston Texas, James Hardie siding, r-Value, Radiant barrier, Siding, Texas Home Exteriors, The Woodlands Texas, Thermal Barrier, TX, Tyvek ThermaWrap, Vinyl Siding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roof Kick-Out Flashing

missing roof kick-out flashing

Missing roof kick-out flashing

I cannot stress enough to homeowners the importance of kick-out flashing and how often it is overlooked.  Kick-out flashing is a small piece of metal flashing that diverts the water away from an intersection where a side wall and roof line meet.

Missing Kick-out Flashing 

The photo to the right showcases missing kick-out flashing on the roof. Note how there is no flashing where the roofing shingles meet the sidewall.  The lack of flashing allows mold to grow and the wood siding to begin rotting. This is a common problem here in Houston and southeast Texas.

Corrected Kick-out Flashing 

Installation of Kick-out flashing

Kick-out flashing installation

After the rotted wood is replaced, the kick-out flashing needs to be installed under the roofing shingles.

Here in Houston Texas we receive nearly 4′ of rain per year. This correctly installed flashing will ensure that no water gets behind the siding and roofing shingles to cause mold and rot issues.

Kick-out Flashing Example  

Kick-out flashinhg

Missing kick-out flashing

This is a Stucco Siding job with correctly installed kick-out flashing.

This photo showcases how to stop water from entering under roofing shingles and siding long after the crews are gone!

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Posted in Asphalt Shingle, Home Improvement, Home Siding, House Shingles, James Hardie siding, LP SmartSide Siding, Metal Roofing, Re - Roofing, Roof, Roof Shingle, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing contractors, Roofing Shingle, Texas Home Exteriors, The Woodlands Texas | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing Roofing Shingles for your Houston TX home

Choosing Roofing Shingles in Texas

What many Texas homeowners desire is a roof that’s not too expensive, requires no maintenance, and lasts forever. But most roofs are replaced and or at least repaired every ten to twelve years here is southeast Texas due to the intense heat and leaghty sun drenched summers. By carefully choosing re-roofing material, you can reduce the cost and increase the duration of the life of your Houston TX roof. In the long run, you’ll use less building material, fill up less landfill space with discarded materials and have a roof that lasts for years or even a lifetime with some options.

If you select a light-colored surface or a material that doesn’t absorb heat from the sun, you significantly reduce the cool needs of the home or building. When your attic stays cooler, your cooling bills re reduced. I will post more on “Cool Roofing” shingles in a future blog.

Popular Roofing Materials

Below I provide a quick overview of the most popular types of roofing. Remember that cost alone does not determine quality of the roofing shingle and not all of these products will meet the specific needs of your home or building. By carefully selecting the right material, ensuring it is installed properly and by performing occasional modest maintenance, your roof can function properly for 20 to 50 years or even longer!

Composition Shingles, Asphalt Shingle, roof shingles, roofing, roof

Composition/Asphalt Shingle

Composition shingles  (asphalt shingles) are the most common choice for a clean look at an affordable price. Higher quality versions made from asphalt or fiberglass shingles offer a more durable option, we’ll discuss those later.

Composition shingles come in a large selection of types, brands and colors. They are versatile, adapt easily to different applications, are relatively easy to install and in some applications can even be nailed in place over an existing roof. This type of shingle is low maintenance and can be walked across without damaging the material. Most brands also offer Class A fire protection and can be recycled.

The negative side of composition shingles is that they don’t have the lifespan of other roofing materials like tile or metal, they don’t offer the dimensional look of tile or wood shakes, and there is a possibility of them blowing off in high winds. At Texas Home Exteriors, we use GAF Roofing Shingles.

Wood shake Shingles offer a natural look with a lot of character. Because of variations like color, width, thickness or cut of the wood, no two shake roofs will ever be the same. Wood offers some energy benefits, too!   It helps to insulate the attic, and it allows the house to breathe, circulating air through the small openings under the felt rows on which wooden shingles are laid.

Wood Shake Roofing Shingles

A Great Natural look. Requires proper maintenance, more costly to replace a experienced contractor and quality wood.

A wood shake roof, however demands proper maintenance and repair or it will not last as long as other products. Keep in mind that mold, rot, and insects can be a problem with this type of roofing. The life cycle cost of a shake roof may be high, and old shakes cannot be recycled.

Additionally, installing wood shakes is more complicated and costly than roofing with composite shingles and the quality of finished roof depends on the experience of the contractor as well as the caliber of the shakes you use. The best shakes come from the heartwood of large old cedar trees, difficult to find anymore thus adding to the cost. Note that some contractors maintain that shakes made from the outer wood of smaller cedars but the usual source today are less uniform and more subject to twisting and warping causing them not to last as long.

Roofing Tile is a good choice for homes with Southwestern, Italian, Spanish Mission designs or even for homes with a modern, clean look.

Tile lasts a long time with an expected lifespan greater than the material on which the roofing rests. Tile will not rot or burn and it cannot be harmed by insects. It requires little maintenance and comes in a variety of colors, types, styles and brands.

Roofing Tiles

Roofing tiles have along lifespan, but are heavy and may require extra roof support. Additionally they are fragile and can break if walked on

The biggest drawback to tile by far is its weight. Depending on the material used to make it, tile can be very heavy, so heavy that extra roof support may be required. Originally made from clay, new tiles are being made from lighter materials and lightweight metal tiles can be installed over existing roofs. However, keep in mind that with some new materials color is added only on the surface of the tile which can fade over time.

Also be aware that some types of tile are fragile, so walking on them can and will often break them thus making it more difficult to accomplish maintenance like painting or cleaning rain gutters and fireplaces. Initial installation can be complicated and tile can cost more than other roofing materials but it does have a nice look.

Slate is actual shingle-like slivers of rock that commonly shows up on more upscale homes. Although slate is by far a more expensive choice, it offers a very natural look and can be laid out in a variety of patterns.

The benefits of slate are identical to those of tile with a very long lifespan, good fire protection, low maintenance and an invulnerability to rot and insects. It comes in a good selection of sizes and colors, although colors are limited to those found in nature.

Like tile, slate can be very heavy and sometimes requiring expensive extra support. It too is breakable enough that walking on it is difficult for a non-professional and complicating tasks such as rooftop maintenance, gutter cleaning and painting but again is a very lovely looking option.

Concrete is now a roofing material. Shingles, simulated wood shakes, lighter-weight tiles and concrete panels are being manufactured from a variety of fiber-reinforced cement products. Some are coated with plastics, enamels, or thin metals with some even containing recycled materials. Although the products themselves are not yet recyclable, they are a good choice for durability and resource efficiency.

Greystone colored concrete roofing tile

Concrete roofing material shows an interlocking greystone colored roofing tile

The advantages of concrete roofing vary from product to product, but generally they all have a long lifespan, require low maintenance, offer good fire protection and are resistant to rot and insects. Concrete mixed with cellulose can mimic the appearance of wood shakes while improving on the durability and fire protection that real wood affords. It can approximate the look of clay tile or slate while mitigating the structural problems caused by the weight of the real material.

Concrete is more expensive than some roofing materials and early types of concrete roofing had problems with the material curling, breaking and changing color. Technology has improved, however; and these problems have mostly been overcome. Style and color choices are expanding and by mixing the cement with additives, manufacturers are producing lighter and lighter products.

Metal Roofs are increasing in popularity and back in style. In the late 1700s, zinc, copper, and lead were the most popular materials used for roofing and used for such famous historic buildings as the Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello both having metal roofs.

Metal Shake Shingles

Metal Shingles with the look of Shake Roofing Shingles

Standing-Seam Steel Roofing is the most popular residential metal roofing on the market today (the term standing-seam describes the upturned edge of one metal panel that connects it to adjacent sections, creating distinctive vertical lines and a trendy historical look).

Stone-Coated Metal Roofing Shingles are pressure formed with an aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel with an acrylic bonded stone chip finish. The stone coating resists fading and UV penetration and is a beautiful roofing choice. We have used both Decra and Metro Stone Coated Metal Roofing.

Metal roofs can also be made to resemble wood shakes, clay tiles, shingles and Victorian metal tiles. Aluminum or coated steel is formed into individual shingles, tiles or into modular panels four feet long that mimic a row of shingles or tiles and look very nice.

Metal roofs are durable, fire-retardant and almost maintenance-free. They are also energy-efficient reflecting heat and blocking its transfer into the attic. Research by the Florida Solar Energy Center in 1985 showed that metal absorbed 34 percent less heat than asphalt shingles (believe it or not) and homeowners switching to metal roofing reported saving up to 20 percent on their energy bills.

Well that was a bit of a lengthy post, I know, but I hope you found it information as it is my intention to provide information homeowners and those interested in roofing and shingle trends and available roofing options across the U.S. Stay tuned for a block on Cool Roofing Shingles and FREE Solar Ventilation!

“For A Home That’s Superior, Call Texas Home Exteriors!”
Call or Text for FREE Estimate with NO Pressure 281.919.6999, we are happy to provide you with estimates and answer your questions.

Posted in Asphalt Shingle, Home Improvement, House Shingles, Houston Texas, Metal Roofing, Re - Roofing, Roof, Roof Shingle, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing contractors, Roofing Shingle, Texas Home Exteriors, The Woodlands Texas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

What About Window Types?

Window Replacement, Replacement Windows, Window Installation, Home Improvement, Exteriors, The Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Texas

The window in the center is a “fixed” non-operable window.  The windows on either side are “quarter arches” and the windows above the doors are transom windows also non-operable.

Homeowners often inquire about the different  window types that are available.   To help clarify these questions, in this post I compiled a short list of the basic types.

Many homes are built with basic types of windows  (standard “builders grade” windows) with very few features and pretty much boring. Updating with new replacement windows can make a nondescript home into one that shines with curb and what I call the “wow appeal!”

It is important to know what your options are, what the features are and what they mean before making your window replacement decision.  I am happy to provide you with some insight as your personal window professional and here is some important information you should be aware of about the various window types.

Window Types:

Fixed – This type of window cannot be opened. It is usually inexpensive and does not allow for ventilation.


One sash is operational

Sing hung – This is one of the most common types of “builder’s grade” windows used.  Single-hung means that only one of the window sashes is able to slide up and down and be opened.


Both sashes operational

Double hung  – This is the second most common type of window. This window consists of two sashes that move up and down and can be opened either one at a time or both partially at the same time allowing for even better air circulation than a single hung window provides.

Casement Window, Window Replacement, Replacement Window, Windows, Window Options

Vertical hinge, cranks

Casement – These windows are common in the northeast USA.  Casement windows are hinged vertically to swing in and out like a door and operate with a crank handle.

Awning window, window replacement, window options, window types

Hinged horizontally, crank

Awning – Awning windows are similar to casement windows but are hinged horizontally.

Jalousie – Jalousie windows are horizontally placed narrow strips of glass, lowered by crank. Although out of favor today, they were very popular in the mid-century.


Sliding Windows

Sliding – Sliding windows move along top and bottom tracks. They are also very common in the mid-west USA and can be inexpensive for the most part.

Palladian – A palladian window consists of group of three windows with an arch over the center. These windows have become very popular in the last decade. They provide visual interest and drama to a home.

Picture DoubleHung

Picture Window
& Double Hungs

Picture – Picture windows are especially popular in ranch-style homes. They are large fixed windows flanked by two casements or double-hung windows on either side of the picture window.

Transom – These windows are especially popular in Craftsman like homes. They consist of a strip of small horizontal panes set high on a wall and often above an entry door, doorway or over existing operational windows.

CircleTop window, window replacement, replacement windows, window options

Circle Top, Elliptical or Arched

Elliptical or Arched (Circle Top)– These windows are often positioned above double hung or fixed windows in many of today’s new homes adding appeal and personality.


Add Appeal with an Eyebrow

Eyebrow – This window is often positioned above double hung or fixed windows in many of today’s new homes to add appeal and personality.


Protrudes outside of the home


Protrudes out from the home

Bay and Bow – This type of window protrudes from the home that often has a small roof built over it as well as a soffit underneath. They are very common when homeowners upgrade from their older windows in the northeast USA.

As you can see, there are many types of windows available.  The region you live in will often determine the type of window common in your area.  Making a smart choice in window selection can lead to greater appeal, light and energy efficiency for your home for many years.

In future blogs, I will discuss how choosing grid patters, interior and colors of the window frames can make wonderful enhancements to your home. Additionally I will be providing information on many other fun options for your windows.

Learn more at this link about Energy Efficient Windows and Low-E Glass.

“For A Home That’s Superior, Call Texas Home Exteriors!”

Call or Text for FREE Estimate with NO Pressure 281.919.6999

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Star, Home Improvement, Houston Texas, Replacement Windows, Texas Home Exclusive Windows, Texas Home Exteriors, Texas Windows, The Woodlands Texas, Window Options, Window Replacement, Window Types, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Correctly Nailing HardiePlank Siding

In all my years in home improvement, I have witnessed what works as well as what does not perform well.  I cannot begin to tell you how many HardiePlank Siding jobs I have come across with face nails and just after a few years are showing cracks in the surface due to the improper nailing procedure that was used.

Siding, nailing siding, proper nailing technique, HardiePlank Siding, The Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Texas

Figure 9 – HardiePlank siding cracked from improper nailing

In our extreme Southeast Texas summer heat and humidity, there will be some expansion and contraction in the James Hardie siding product.

If the HardiePlank Siding is face nailed at the vertical edges (the ends of the plank), this is what could happen (Figure 9, at the right).

When HardiePlank is face nailed, it should always be nailed in the main run areas away from vertical edges so cracking does not occur.  If face nailing should be needed, it should be kept at a minimal use and away from each end of the plank if possible.  If face nailing should ever be required, for instance, let’s say if a plank is not lying flat, it should be nailed at least ¾” away from either edge (see Figure 11 left).

Face Nailing, Roof Nailing, Shingle Nailing, Roofing, Roof, The Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Texas

Figure 11 – Proper Face Nailing Technique

90% of the blind nailing should occur at the top of the lower panel of the siding that is being installed (see Figure 10 below).

By nailing this way, the nails will also be covered and hidden by the next panel that is installed above it which is more visually appealing.


Figure 10 – Blind nailing procedure

This will ensure that there is no chance of breakage due to expansion and contraction after the HardiePlank crews are long gone.

The beauty of properly installing HardiePlank siding will result in no cracking from the installation.  This in turn will provide a HardiePlank exterior siding job that will last for years!

Siding Installation, James Hardie Siding, Siding, The Woodlands, Texas, Spring, Conroe

James Hardie Siding Installation

“For A Home That’s Superior, Call Texas Home Exteriors!”

Call or Text for FREE Estimate with NO Pressure 281.919.6999

Posted in Correctly Nailing, Home Improvement, Home Siding, Houston Texas, James Hardie siding, Texas Home Exteriors, The Woodlands Texas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment