Diane and Chad Hansbury bought a split-level, ranch house in December of 2019 as a sort of new year’s present to themselves and their two young children. The house, which had Tudor details on the front, had been a rental that the previous owner had built. Diane discovered that the house wasn’t built to town building code when it was built.
“The flashing wasn’t done correctly. Twenty-five years went by and that created a lot of damage. We knew the deck as in very bad shape when we bought the house. We didn’t use it because of the (visible) damage,” Diane explained. She said that the owners “hadn’t done any work because they didn’t want to put any money into it. We knew it would take a lot of work.” That’s for sure. As the Hansbury’s settled into their newly purchased house they discovered it needed new windows and siding along with the deck which she described as “barely hanging onto the house and certainly out of code for Northborough, Massachusetts.”
The Hansburys went to a couple of home improvement companies for quotes. One of these was Northeast Home & Energy. Diane said a senior loan officer at Guarantee Rate Affinity referred the North Grafton, Massachusetts home improvement company to them. The Hansbury’s got bids from three home improvement companies and Northeast Home & Energy’s was the one they could afford. A competitor came in high enough that Diane said, “there was a reasonable difference between them even though they were using the same materials. I felt confident with both of them, but at the end of the day Northeast Home & Energy had the bid we could go with.”
Windows and Door
Replacing the original windows and the glass door to the deck was their first job. “Many of the windows were the originals; the same as my parents’ house next door and some neighbors. They were single pane, no insulation wooden windows. It was drafty. The house wasn’t’ keeping in heat and cool air as much as should. And we knew that.”
Northeast’s veteran workman “jack of all trades”, Tom Rahaim, supervised replacing 9 windows. Asked about the condition of the old windows he said, “Everything was falling apart.” In January ,Northeast’s president Richard Prunier visited the Hansbury’s house and the company could replace all windows with new vinyl, double pane Harvey windows. The size was the same as the original, which was a big cost saver. And Diane pointed out that they kept the original trim.
Richard asked them if they wanted to wait until spring to replace the windows and install a sliding door, but Diane said they wanted to do it right away “to get us through the winter. It was January.” Happily, for her and the rest of the family, Northeast workmen were able to do the job when no one was home. Diane said the work was done “relatively quickly.”
“They did a great job. It was exactly what we asked for. We used to stand next to the windows and felt the cold air coming in. We don’t feel that anymore”. Diane said that “without checking our natural gas bill, we can tell the new windows are making a huge difference.”
Diane said that the front of our house was wood and had a European look that she “absolutely hated. It had these zig zag wooden pieces (mock Tudor style).” Chad described the house’s former appearance as “nothing fancy.” The sides and back of the house were covered with vinyl siding that Diane “really hated. There were beehives (settled between siding cracks). It was
damaged enough that the job was worth doing at this point.”
According to Diane, “Richard’s recommendation was to take off the wood in the front and, all of the old siding, then replace everything with new siding. He did tell us that the siding behind the deck was in “really bad shape. He suspected there could be damage in that area.” Northeast workman Kamil Pianka, who supervised construction of a new deck, confirmed that the decrepit deck seriously damaged the siding behind it.
The deck and siding problems didn’t surprise Chad. “We knew when we moved in that the deck had issues. The former owner mounted it himself and put the flashing upside down. That created a pocket for water that damaged the outside with the siding and got into the wood frame under the siding so that needed to be replaced.”
Kamil supervised building the new deck in February, a few weeks after Tom’s crew finished the windows installation. He said the wood behind the deck, from the ground to the surface of the deck, was rotted and the deck was pulling away from the house. The connector to the house was also rotted. If the Hansburys held a party on the deck with 10 people or so, he said the deck could have collapsed.
Diane said she and Chad “only discovered damage on the portion where the deck was attached. But when the crew took down the old deck and removed the siding that part of the wall was damaged almost down to the foundation. There was a lot of wood rot.”
As can be seen in the photos, the Hansburys chose a beautiful gray blue color for the deck. According to Kamil, it took about a week for his crew to pull off the old deck and build the new one. Diane described the original deck as square and “a pretty good size.” The Northeast work crew basically followed the original footprint, Diane said. She said the new deck was built with composite material, which she described as artificial material that is designed to withstand weather. “It won’t rot, but has the look of wood.”
Living with the job
As can be expected, the job was noisy, but there was only one day when Diane at home with her children and had to cope with construction noise. “The drilling and hammering were very loud, but we didn’t want to delay the job, so we decided to live with it. She said the job was completed at the very beginning of March.
“We are thrilled. We love the color. The guys here were very nice. They answered all of our questions and fixed all of the problems they discovered. We had no idea how much damage there would be. We’re grateful they were able to handle all problems that came up,” said Diane. Both Chad and Diane agreed that from their first meeting with Richard that their experience with all Northeast workmen was “very positive.” Diane added that from the first meeting with Richard to the completion of all jobs it’s been great.”