New Year’s resolutions for your home

winterhouseIn between mailing Christmas cards, and singing Auld Lang Syne – or maybe after all that – it’s a great time to think about ways to improve your home next year and start making concrete plans. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions for your home!

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to invest in improving your home in 2017, whether you’re planning to sell or just want a more efficient home. Regardless of the “why,” the “when” is now. Here are 5 ideas for changes to make in your home in the new year.

  • Get out a notebook. This is the perfect time to make a list of all those little projects and problems that you notice through the year but never have time to plan for. Are you tired of cleaning clogged gutters? Write it down, and then write “Gutter Helmet.” Have you had enough of scraping and painting window frames? Write it down, along with a note to check into new vinyl replacement windows. Is your home’s exterior faded and dull? Write that down too – maybe new siding is in your future. 

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It’s winter: Are your gutters protected from the elements?

Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 1.22.12 PMIt’s getting colder and wetter by the day, so now is a perfect time to talk about how to protect your gutters and roofline from winter weather damage.

Gutter Helmet is, of course, the first step. A roof, of sorts, for your gutter, it blocks anything but water from getting in. Using surface tension – the elasticity of water that makes its molecules stick together – Gutter Helmet encourages rainwater to cling to its textured surface and slide into the gutter.

But even perfectly managed runoff will still freeze, and we have a solution for that problem: Helmet Heat.

Helmet Heat is actually self-regulating cables that keep snow and water from freezing in your gutters or forming ice dams on your roof. In our area, these are both significant problems and keeping the gutter and roofline healthy is key to prolonging the life of both.

Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum has been selling Gutter Helmet for almost 20 years because it’s proved itself a great product. When we introduced it to the Sheboygan County area in the mid-90s, covering the gutter’s opening except for a small slit for the water to enter was a totally new concept. It’s not a revolutionary idea anymore, but Gutter Helmet is still the cream of the crop. Priced for the budget-conscious homeowner and with a lifetime warranty, there is no downside to Gutter Helmet. If your gutters are in good shape, we can install Gutter Helmet over them no matter what kind they are.

And let’s talk about that lifetime warranty, too. That means if anything goes wrong with your Gutter Helmet ever, we come out and fix it, no questions asked.

Helmet Heat is an essential part of the Gutter Helmet system in this climate, because it is a safe and reliable way to keep ice dams from forming, saving you not only the damage they can do but also the hard labor of breaking up the dams yourself. Our experts are well-trained and can get the cables hooked up to your home’s electricity quickly so you can stop thinking about your gutters at all.

Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum is the only dealer of Gutter Helmet in the region. Let us take a look at your gutters and help them live a little longer – and save you a truckload of work at the same time.

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Variety of siding options opens up countless possibilities for home

By some measures, more than a third of all the homes in the United States are clad in vinyl siding. That many homeowners can’t be wrong, but not all siding is created equal.

siding installation

At Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum, siding is one of the things we do best. We have a crew that is dedicated solely to siding and trim, ensuring that our customers are getting high-quality, professional service.

We offer a variety of siding options to suit every home and every homeowner’s taste. Some of those include:

vinyl-siding-styles

VINYL SIDING

Vinyl

  • Norandex Woodsman Select: With a .042 thickness, this line of vinyl siding has a wide color palette and superior definition along shadow lines. With great quality and affordable prices, this is a popular option.
  • ProVia Heartland Heart Tech: Offering unique wood grain that looks almost just like the real thing, this line also boasts a huge color selection and a .044 thickness.
  • Foundry Shake: This line is an accent usually used for gable ends or accent sections. We keep the Perfection shingles in stock, but can also supply the regular shingles, staggered shake and split shake. This is a very affordable shake that looks rich and realistic. Another plus is that the transition from Foundry shake to traditional horizontal siding is an easy one for installers. The most popular colors for this product are Oceanside, Shadow, Cocoa and Putty.
LP Smart side wood

LP SMARTSIDE WOOD

Wood

  • LP Smart Siding, which is actually engineered wood, offers the beauty of wood and better durability, fewer irregularities and resistance to the warping and twisting that bedevils natural wood. It mimics the look of cedar for a much more affordable price. It offers wood grain patterns in authentic natural textures and can be used for trim, panel, soffit and fascia.

Steel

Steel siding

STEEL SIDING

Quality Edge steel siding is more expensive than vinyl, but it lasts virtually forever. Energy efficient and strong, it doesn’t fade and doesn’t bow to hail or other severe weather. Though steel siding hasn’t been enormously popular in our area, if you’re looking for a distinctive look and a lifetime of zero maintenance on the outside of your house, give it a look.

Siding – whether you opt for vinyl, wood or steel – packs the biggest punch for the look and efficiency of your house. If it’s time to upgrade, let us help you choose the best product for your budget and your style.

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Get ready for fall — late summer maintenance tips for indoors and out

10_Fall_Home_Maintenance_MustsThe tomatoes are ripe, the crickets are warming up and the days are getting shorter – the end of summer is upon us. Before we’re busy raking leaves, let’s take a look at some of the late summer maintenance we can do on our houses inside and out to make the next season a little easier.

 OUTSIDE

 Fertilize: Even though the grass growth is slowing down and you’re not mowing as often, there’s plenty going on under the surface. In fact, grass roots will grow until the ground is about 40 degrees, so early fall is a good time to fertilize. Use a spreader to apply fertilizer at the beginning of the season and again just before the first frost.

Gutters: Your gutters are moving thousands of gallons of water away from your home every year, so they deserve a little TLC. Inspect your gutters for clogs, rust and corrosion. If they’re in good shape, you don’t have to do more. If the gutters are filling up with debris all year, consider having Gutter Helmet installed so you never have to clean them again. If they’re rusted or falling off your house, it might be time for new gutters. Either way, give us a call and we can assess how your gutters are doing and whether something else is needed.

Windows: Drafts around doors and windows can add 10 percent to your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If new windows and doors aren’t in the cards, seal up leaks with caulk and weather stripping. How do you know? You can hold a lighted candle next to a door or window frame (be careful not to set it on fire!) and watch for flickers. If you see some, you have a draft. This is another area where our expertise can help.

Roof: Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing or leaky vents. If you’re not comfortable doing this job yourself, a professional can give you the info you need.

SAFETY INSPECTIONS

This is a good time for a once-a-year review of your home’s safety features and fire evacuation plan.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: replace the batteries in each now if you didn’t do it when the clocks changed last spring. (The time change is a good time to do it because it helps you remember to put fresh batteries in every six months.) Dust or vacuum the detectors to keep them clear, and test them by pressing the test button. There should be a smoke detector on every floor of your home, even the basement.

Fire extinguishers: Every home should have at least one extinguisher with an A-B-C rating on the label, which means it’s rated for all types of fire. Every year, check the indicator on the pressure gauge to make sure it’s charged, make sure the lock pin is in place and that the nozzle is clear. If anything seems amiss, or if you’ve had it for more than six year, replace it and mark the new one with the date of purchase.

Escape plans: Every bedroom, including those in the basement, should have two exit paths. Upper-floor bedrooms should ideally have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Regardless, review with your family what to do in case of fire, and have a drill so you can practice what to do.

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Hey Mr. Contractor, I have some questions

As the weather starts to cool off, many homeowners are looking at their houses and thinking about making some changes. If new siding is on your to-do list – now or in the future – there are some things you should know before you commit to an installer.
siding-installation-ny
To help you plan, here are eight questions you should ask your siding contractor.

  1. Does your company have insurance?

You want the company you do business with to carry both comprehensive general liability insurance, which protects you from damage caused to your home or property, and workers’ compensation insurance, which protects you if a worker is injured on your property. Some contractors will say they carry insurance but unless they have these two types specifically, you could be at risk if anything unexpected happens. Ask for proof.

  1. What is the company’s workmanship warranty? 

There are two different types of warranties. The manufacturer’s warranty covers the siding material against defects in manufacturing. In addition, the contractor should guarantee his workmanship for a year or more. Get a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty.

  1. Does the company employ its own installers or rely on subcontractors? 

Using subcontractors isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a company to do, you just want to know how the company handles it and find out how the workers are supervised. If your installer has worked with his subcontractors for years, for example, and trusts them completely, that’s a good thing. As the homeowner, you need to know who will be doing the work on your home and how those people will be managed by the company you’re hiring.

  1. How long as your company been in business?

There can be a big difference between a company that’s been in business just a short time and someone who’s been doing siding installation for many years. New companies can be great, but you want to know what you’re getting before you commit so you can make the best decision for your home.

  1. Do you have referrals or references?

Ask for a list of several names – five is a good number – and phone numbers of former customers. Don’t feel like you have to do exhaustive interviews with all of them, but a few calls to past customers will give you a good idea of the contractor’s reputation. Don’t be shy about asking for this, and if the contractor balks, that tells you something about them.

  1. Does your estimate cover all costs?

You want to be sure the estimate includes labor, materials, waste removal, permits and any other contractor incidentals. As in any remodeling job, unexpected problems can crop up while the work is being done but you want to try to get as complete an estimate as possible.

  1. Can extra insulation be added when the siding is replaced?

If additional siding is something you’re interested in, having it done while siding is being replaced is a good time to do it. The contractor should be able to take you through the different options for insulation and give you a complete estimate of the cost involved in adding this to your siding project.

  1. How long will the project take?

Like any other construction or remodeling project, weather can be a major factor. What you’re looking for is a commitment to start your project and stay with it until it’s complete – not including weather delays. Avoid anyone who will start your project and leave it partially done while they go do other projects. (This is another reason checking references is important). Make sure your contractor will commit to working on your project continuously until it’s finished.

 

 

 

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Get outside! Inside Out Underdecking makes it easy

If you’re like the majority of homeowners in the United States, you have a deck, balcony or porch. Think about yours for a moment. What are you doing with the space underneath?

Inside Out 7
According to one study, 107 million out of 128 million homes in the U.S. have one of those three features, leaving a lot of square footage down below unused. One way to make that space usable is with Inside Out Underdecking.

A specially designed and pre-engineered ceiling system, InsideOut transforms the  underside of your deck into a desirable outdoor living space by managing rainwater. How does it work? Water-carrying panels hang from specially designed brackets and usher water to gutters either to the front or rear of the space.

Think about how nice it would be to use that space under second-floor balcony or porch without worrying about rainwater collecting and messing up your deck furniture and shooing you back indoors.

InsideOut Underdecking is available for installation on homes by Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum and also by United Building Supply for contractors whose clients are looking for a beautiful addition to their outdoor space.

It’s an idea whose time has come. According to the Back Yard Idea Book, “the most frequently used spaces are those that visually and physically bridge the gap between indoors and out. These spaces are seen through interior windows and doors.”

That means a product like Inside Out can make your home look better both inside and out and also create an environment that draws you out.

The titanium-aluminum alloy under decking from Inside Out is maintenance free and durable in all kinds of weather — and a big step up from the vinyl under deck drain systems also on the market.

 With woodgrain and solid color finishes, you’ll be able to create an outdoor living space that reflects and expresses your personality.

Don’t leave that space under your deck to the mosquitos! Give Nyhof or United Building Supply a call and transform that space into an extension of your home. Inside Out 5Inside Out 1

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Home begins at the door

When it comes to the first impression your home gives, almost nothing is a bigger star than the front door.

Door2The door is the focal point if your home, the entrance through which you greet friends and loved ones, and the first thing people notice when they look at your house. In addition to being beautiful and functional, doors have to be safe and affordable. Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum stocks and installs a wide range of doors that meet all those criteria.

As you might expect, the sky is the limit on door styles. Do you like rustic solid wood-look doors? Decorative glass? Contemporary steel or fiberglass? Something no one else has thought of yet? Whatever your taste or your home’s style, there’s a door that matches.

Most doors now are made of either fiberglass or steel, and can be made to look like wood. Real all-wood doors have become prohibitively expensive for most homeowners, and they don’t offer the same level of efficiency or safety.

One of the fiberglass door brands we carry is Therma-Tru, which offers a panoramic range of styles from contemporary to classic and has a very easy-to-use online ordering system that ensures we are ordering absolutely everything you are looking for down to the smallest trim or hardware parts.

If you’re thinking about a new door, Therma-Tru is the place to start. It’s not, however, the only place to look. True-Tech and Masonite are two more brands popular with both homeowners and contractors because of their selection and quality of fiberglass doors.

Both True-Tech and Masonite also offer steel doors that come pre-finished in white. That is a big advantage for homeowners who want a white door, because other companies ship steel doors in primer, which means either the homeowner or the contractor has to finish it. If you want a white steel door – which is a very popular choice among homeowners – True-Tech and Masonite make it easy.

If you’re looking for something a notch or two up the food chain, take a look at the selection from Waudena. If the door you’re looking for isn’t available anywhere else, you’ll probably find it there.

One of the most popular items in the Waudena catalog is a wood-look steel door, which looks exactly like a stained, woodgrain door. The range of options – steel, stainable steel, wood, smooth or textured fiberglass – ensures you’ll find what you’re looking for.

One of the biggest advantages of both fiberglass and steel doors, no matter what brand or model you choose, is color. Unlike old-fashioned wood doors, steel and fiberglass doors come in a rainbow of colors designed to match or contrast with your home and create the entry you want.

Lately, some of the hottest colors are grays and blues, and that goes for doors as well as shingles and siding on homes with white trim. Darker colors are gaining in popularity, so if a rich, dark color is what you need for your entry way, let us help you pick the color, style and material that is just right for you.

At Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum, we are experts at helping you decide on the right product for your house and installing it promptly. Is it time for a new door? Give us a call. We can help make your home the beautiful, welcoming retreat you want it to be.

 Door1

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Save your gutters, save money: Gutter Helmet to the rescue

Gutter Helmet logo
What are the most important two words in the world of home rainwater management? Are you thinking “gutters and downspouts?” Good try, but no. The answer is “surface tension.”Gutter Helmet 1

When your gutters are open to the sky, rainwater falls right in and if everything is working right, the water travels along the gutters, down the downspouts and away from your home into the storm sewers or wherever you direct your water.

But if rainwater can fall in, so can leaves from the trees around your home, seeds (and other stuff) from birds flying overhead and any other debris light enough to blow around in the wind. And unless you get up on a ladder periodically and pull that gunk out by hand – or pay someone to do it for you – the rainwater that falls into your gutter isn’t going anywhere.

Instead, it will sit there. And that still, murky moisture is a very inviting place for mosquitos to lay their eggs. The seeds that ended up in there can take root in the water and the next thing you know, you’ve got a little weed patch growing in your gutters.

Sound good? No, of course not. That brings us back to our two words: Surface tension. And two bonus words: Gutter Helmet.

Gutter Helmet fits over the top of your gutters to block anything but water from getting in. Using surface tension – the elasticity of water that makes its molecules stick together – Gutter Helmet encourages rainwater to cling to its textured surface and slide into the gutter.

Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum has been selling Gutter Helmet for almost 20 years because it’s proved itself a great product. When we introduced it to the Sheboygan County area in the mid-90s, covering the gutter’s opening except for a small, 3/8th-inch slit for the water to enter was a totally new concept.

It’s not a revolutionary idea anymore, but Gutter Helmet is still the cream of the crop. Priced for the budget-conscious homeowner and with a lifetime warranty, there is no downside to Gutter Helmet. If your gutters are in good shape, we can install Gutter Helmet over them no matter what kind they are.

And let’s talk about that lifetime warranty, too. That means if anything goes wrong with your Gutter Helmet ever, we come out and fix it, no questions asked.

Over the years, Gutter Helmet has been improved in several ways. For instance, it’s stronger and more durable now than the original thanks to a better bracket system that attaches it to the house.

If it sounds like much ado about nothing, think for a moment about what happens when water backs up in your gutters, in addition to the bugs and the weeks.

Gutters are nailed or screwed to fascia boards on your house. When they fill up, the water soaks into the fascia, eventually rotting it out and causing bigger issues for your gutters and even your roof. When gutters clog and overflow, the water falls to the ground right next to your foundation and that can lead to moisture in your basement.

Gutter Helmet can extend the life of your gutters by helping to avoid all those problems.

Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum is the only dealer of Gutter Helmet in the region. Let us take a look at your gutters and help them live a little longer – and save you a truckload of work at the same time.

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How it started: Dan Nyhof’s story

Dan NyhofWhen Dan Nyhof was a very young man, he watched his dad earn a solid living as a salesman selling siding to contractors. When it was time for him to decide what direction to take his own life, his dad gave him a nudge.

“What he saw was there were other contractors getting into seamless gutters,” Dan said. “He said it looked like a good business, so I started saving up my coins.”

With a $6,000 bank loan, 18-year-old Dan opened Nyhof Custom Gutter with just his mom, Irene Nyhof, to help him. That staffing plan didn’t last long, though. One day, the publisher of The Sheboygan Press came home and saw Irene up on a ladder helping to install gutters on his house. He gave young Dan a piece of his mind and it was clear Irene wasn’t going to be able to help out much longer.

So Dan hired his very good friend Dean and for several years, the two of them ran the business with an extruding machine and a secondhand bakery van. Dean died at a young age in a tragic accident, and Dan handled the business alone for some time until he finally decided to add more employees. Then he added even more people, then another machine, then he took on siding and after that windows.

In 1987, Dan says, he had a brainstorm.

By then his father, Fred Nyhof, was working for a business called Modern Materials Corporation in Detroit, which was bought out by Reynolds Aluminum. Through all that turnover, the builders who had been doing business with Fred over the years stayed with him and he spotted a need the business wasn’t filling: Keeping a supply of materials in stock in Gibbsville, where he was based, for fill-in orders. At the time, the Reynolds headquarters was in Ohio.

Fred explained to the Reynolds people that when builders needed a small amount of siding or other material to fill in a job, there wasn’t anywhere for them to go. He convinced Reynolds to supply him with materials on consignment: 20-square of every color, coil stock, trim, etc., which he sold out of a warehouse in Gibbsville.

And that’s when Dan’s brainstorm struck. “Everybody else is selling material out of here, why don’t I?” Dan recalled. “That’s how we started United Building Supply. We were selling his products – we were one of his customers.”

After that, Dan let nature take its course.

“All I did was just go forward and let it grow as it wanted to,” he said. “I didn’t force the issue, I let it just grow. I hit some of the best years, through the ’70s and ’80s.”

Now, Nyhof Custom Gutter has 15 employees and United Building Supply is run by three of them, who concentrate on that end of the business a little more. Over the years, Dan and his company have taken a few risks, and all but one has paid off. The one that didn’t? Pellet stoves.

Though interest in them was high and it might have taken off, installation season for pellet stoves was in the summer – the company’s busiest season. There just wasn’t time to master it, so Dan let it go.

During the Great Recession, Dan closed down the Nyhof Custom Gutter & Aluminum showroom in downtown Oostburg, which employed four people, and rented it out to My Best Friend’s Closet consignment shop.

“We moved everybody over here and rented out the building,” he said. “We trimmed and kept moving forward.”

For the last several years, Dan’s sons Shannon and Joel have been intimately involved in the business, and now Dan is working on a retirement plan for himself. In the meantime, he’s doing what he does best – responding to the ebb and flow of the market and providing homeowners and builders with a contractor and supplier they can trust.

“Almost everything that I wanted to do and went forth and did it, worked,” Dan said.

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Church window project showcases custom abilities

DSCN1782When Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sheboygan needed to get 18 stained glass windows repaired, they turned to Nyhof Custom Gutter and Aluminum for the job.

The project required the Nyhof team to custom-fit clear glass Marvin windows so they could be placed back-to-back with the church’s existing stained glass windows, a unique project that required flexibility and an ability to do custom work.

It wasn’t the first time Our Savior’s has called upon Nyhof. Over the past six years, the chairman of the church’s Board of Trustees has trusted Nyhof with a variety of projects that had been put off for years. Ken Halvorsen, who became the chairman about six years ago, worked with Nyhof a lot in his career as a general contractor and knew he could trust the company with projects at his church.

“Nyhof did all the overhangs, aluminum trim, gutters, replacement windows in classroom areas – they’ve been there quite a bit over the last five or six years,” Halverson said. “Last year they put in 30 windows, now 18.”

This year’s project was tricky because the new Marvin windows had to share space with the stained glass, making specially designed window sashes necessary. It’s been on the church’s to-do list a long time, Halverson said.

“The windows needed to be replaced about 10 years ago,” he said. “We had something similar, except they were about 65 years old and weather beaten.”

After some dedicated fundraising over the past several years, the church is able to start checking projects off its list.

Now, the clear glass windows face outside the church and the colorful stained glass windows are clearly visible from inside.

“We’ve been extremely happy with the work we get from Nyhof,” Halverson said. “They’re very competitive with the prices and if there’s anything that needs to be addressed, they’re usually right there right away. Service has been excellent.”

From custom window projects to gutters, aluminum siding, insulation and a host of other projects, Nyhof Custom Gutter and Aluminum is the place to go for projects, big or small, that need a craftsman’s touch and an affordable price tag.

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