Freedom Home Improvement, Inc.
 

Residential and Commercial Construction Solutions ... Design Consultation to Final Walk Through.

 
 
 
 

 Frequently Asked Questions


We try to anticipate questions you might have about our SERVICES and provide the answers here. If you need additional information send email to info@freedomcontracting.com.

 

1.
What are important factors to consider when having vinyl siding work done on your home?

Methods of Construction - Vinyl Siding

 

When vinyl siding a house it is extremely important to take in several areas of consideration to assure that not only does the final product exceed the expectations of the homeowner, but that it is also esthetically pleasing to the surrounding neighborhood and the environment, and not compromise the structure, insulation and utilities (telephone, gas, cable, electric) which are provided to the homeowner.  To ensure that all areas are considered, we feel it is extremely important to not only have a capable siding technician but also a seasoned carpenter who is well trained in structural issues and esthetic craftsmanship to provide the customer with a finished product which is polished both inside and out.  To ensure a quality finished product, we follow these guidelines:

 

Step 1:  Exterior preparation for tear-off.  Usually beginning on the face of the house, make notes of utilities and conditions therein prior to commencing demolition work.  Check corners, moldings, window seams and soffit seams, scribing where necessary, to ensure no accidental peeling or tear-off off areas not being worked on.  Cover all exterior landscaping to prevent damage during tear-off.

 

Step 2:  Strategically tear-off all existing siding, from top down – left to right, to ensure proper removal of all material because general knowledge is that this is the manner of construction.  Once tear-off is complete, all nails and loose materials shall be removed from the house and cleaned up from property and disposed of properly prior to the commencement of any siding.  This ensures safety for both homeowner and all the persons working on the above project.

 

Step 3:  Insulation and Vapor Barrier.  Insulating and vapor barrier are essential to the homeowner enjoying an increased savings on their utilities and also makes the interior environment much more comfortable.  We install Tyvex© house wrap extending, at the minimum, 3’ around each outside corner and completely around the entire house.  The insulation board should be 3/8 ” -1/2 “ minimum. 

 

Step 4:  Installing the siding material chosen by the customer. It is crucial as a contractor to review the guidelines and specification set forth by the manufacture of all building products. It is very easy to void the warrant y on building products and be left to be responsible for abnormalities of a product the contractor did not manufacture. This is the leading reason contractors can not stand behind their products. Simply “THEY INSTALL IT WRONG”. We follow the guidelines provided by the manufacture and maintain a fluid relationship with them so it is a win/win relationship for both their products are installed correctly and they look great. The starter strip must be level and true and a common level line has to be established throughout the entire perimeter of the house.  Once the level line is established the first line of siding has to continually be checked for level to provide straight and even lines throughout.  This will ensure that all corners match up and there are no uneven spots throughout.  It is also important not to nail the siding all the way home because it creates waves and whips which may not be noticeable at first, but upon expansion and contraction it will become very noticeable over time.  It is also essential to provide J-channel and inside and outside corners which are also level and true so that the siding meets correctly at both ends.

 

Step 5:  Soffits and Facia.  All sheathing material used to close-up the house should be checked for rot or distortion.  Where it is found, it should be REPLACED, not just gone over.  Although a little more costly, at first, it is the only way to ensure the investment the homeowner has made and is continually making in their home and its resale value.  Structural engineers are trained to find the above said problems upon being hired for a routine home inspection prior to selling a home.  Prior to installing soffit and facia, all damaged material should be replaced.  A vented soffit is usually a better way to go because it allows air movement within the attic spaces and its ventilation.  Facia is designed to cover and preserve acceptable facia material (wood, fiberglass).  It is not designed to cover rotted and deteriorated wood, which is a common misconception. 

 
  • When the products are being sold to the customer it is important to keep the homes surrounding environment in mind.

2.

What are the important steps when installing doors & windows?

Methods of Construction - Windows and Doors

 

Installing new windows and doors is an intricate process.  The most important step in the process is obtaining the right measurements.  A general rule of thumb for measuring a window when there is molding in place is to measure from the middle of the molding on one side to the middle of the molding on the other side horizontally and vertically from the middle of the top molding to approximately ½” below the bottom sill.  There are some necessary needed for the proper installation of windows and doors.  The following are guidelines that we follow for window and door installation:

 

Step 1:  When removing existing windows and doors it is important to remove these items without damaging the item and the surrounding area. They Got It in, In One Piece, We Can Get It Out In One Piece!

 

Step 2:  Once the rough opening is exposed it is important to check the rough opening for water damage and deterioration and replace lumber as needed.  Furthermore, check the exterior of the house to locate source of water damage. 

 

Step 3:  Prep the rough opening with a weather shield across the entire bottom sill and halfway up the sides as to prevent any moisture from penetrating the existing lumber or new lumber.

 

Step 4:  Install new window or door and SHIM as NEEDED.  SHIMS are NOT OPTIONAL, unless rough opening is exact.  NEVER use the molding as the only source of securing windows or doors.  NEVER cut nail flanges off windows, it voids the warranty.  

 

Step 5:  Insulate sides of windows and doors.  Check for plum and be sure all parts are operable and not sticking, this includes tilt sash, casement hardware and hinges.  Many other contractors install broken windows and never check to ensure hardware is operable.

 

Step 6:  Install interior molding as needed using both carpenters adhesive and nails to ensure no separation.

 

Step 7:  Install exterior molding as needed or finish materials and silicone to ensure no moisture penetration

 

* These are general guidelines that are followed.  Every window, door, skylight, roof window or transom are different.  However, they must be installed correctly or the homeowner will suffer numerous problems in the future.


3.

How do you properly finish a basement to make it use-able family space?

Methods of Construction - Basements

 

When finishing a basement, or more particularly, any porous concrete surface, our first concern is protecting the finished product from moisture damage and water related incident.  This stays as our top priority throughout the entire construction process, which is as follows:

 

Step 1:  Approving with the customer that all concrete walls and floor surfaces are applied with DryLock© , to take the first step in preventing moisture from entering the new interior habitable space.   The importance of this step is also to prevent hazardous molds and other bacteria from thriving in below grade moisture conditions.  This step is crucial and should be applied by a painting contractor familiar with this product and its’ applications.

 

Step 2:  The initial layout of this new habitable space, which has been previously approved by the customer, will be outlined by a metal track system designed to protect the base of the lumber from contacting the cement or any small amounts of moisture that my be residual prior to the DryLock© process.  This track also serves as a guideline to provide a straight, level and true wall system which alleviates many problems with the sheetrock process later on.

 

Step 3:  Begin framing throughout the new habitable space with Grade “A” Doug Fir lumber, either 2’x3’ or 2’x4’ and install top plates dead-on even with our corresponding bottom metal tracks, again to ensure for a straight, level and true wall structure.  One of the reason we insist on using lumber, rather than metal studs, is that most basements are used for secondary kitchens, bathrooms or areas where home furnishings are needed to be hung safely and securely.  This also serves as a very versatile method of framing by allowing easier access for future remodeling, if so desired, unlike metal studs.

 

Step 4:  Install desired R-valued insulation and vapor barrier throughout all exterior walls to further reduce moisture penetration to provide an atmosphere that does not feel like a below grade living space.  During this phase, all heating, electric and ventilation work should be performed by the corresponding trades. 

 

Step 5:  Sheetrock installation is crucial to the satisfaction of the customer insofar as the sheetrock and finished wall surface are what the customer will see everyday upon completion of the job.  Seams on the sheetrock should be no greater than 1/8” as to provide for the maximum amount of expansion and contraction once taped and spackled.  We always try and advise the customer of the benefits of sheet rocking the ceiling, in most applications, to limit the amount of air-borne particles which are able to penetrate into the space versus a drop ceiling, which is semi-permeable.  In applications where a drop ceiling is absolutely necessary, we again provide a plastic barrier to reduce the penetration of air-borne particles.  Esthetically the sheetrock ceiling gives the feeling of an above-grade living space.

 

Step 6:  Taping and spackling.  Although this is the least noticed work by the homeowner it is absolutely one of the most important steps.  It is vital to have a seasoned tape and spackler to finish our product because it is the paintable surface and what the homeowner will see everyday.