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Northern Virginia's Leader in Windows, Siding, Roofing, Gutters & Trim Replacement
Phone: 703 754-7866
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Windows FAQ's

What are various windows made of and what will work best for me?
Basically there are three types of materials used. Aluminum windows, with their easily scratched painted surfaces, conduct both heat and cold, so they're very poor insulators. Wood windows, which require constant painting and caulking, can absorb moisture, making them difficult to open and close. They can even rot. Alside's solid vinyl windows, however, never need painting and won't show scratches, because the color goes throughout the material. This is why vinyl windows are quickly becoming the most popular choice for both new construction and replacement applications.

In addition, you should certainly consider custom-sized windows for the very simple reason that they'll fit better. Stock-sized windows require extensive carpentry work both inside and outside your house. That can be very costly and inconvenient. Alside custom-sized windows, on the other hand, are manufactured to fit your existing window opening. You get the style and options you want while maintaining your glass area.

Is there any difference in how windows are made?
There are two basic types of construction: Mechanically fastened windows are screwed together at the corners. And welded windows, becoming more and more popular, that use a chemical or heat process for joining. Alside produces mechanically fastened and welded windows. Our mechanically fastened windows feature a unique overlap corner design for extra strength, while our welded versions utilize state-of-the-art heat welding equipment. Beware of windows with mitered corners screwed together or chemically welded corners, as they probably won't perform as well for you.

Can I replace my old windows with different styles or types?
Certainly, since all Alside replacement windows are part of Alside's Window System. You may want to consult an independent design specialist to find the type of window that best complements your home's natural design. No matter what style or combination of styles you choose, however, Alside can custom-manufacture it all for you.

Aren't all window manufacturers essentially the same?
Not at all. Many companies buy their parts and glass from various outside sources. At Alside, we extrude most of our own parts from the raw vinyl (PVC) resin ourselves. You should also know that although a lot of manufacturers claim their windows are American-made, many in fact may be imported from Canada and other foreign countries. We're proud to say that every Alside window is manufactured right here in the U.S.A.

What about strength, protection and noise reduction?
You should look for a window that offers both superior strength and energy efficiency. Alside's computer-controlled process ensures a perfectly square window sash and mainframe with superior strength. And for exceptional energy efficiency, a full interlock at the meeting rail helps protect your home against the elements, or unwanted intrusions. In addition, our insulating glass unit traps dry air, creating an exceptional comfort barrier. Moreover, homeowners with Alside Window Systems say there's a noticeable reduction in the amount of noise that enters their homes. A full interlock system at the point where upper and lower sashes meet helps stop air infiltration while providing an additional barrier against unwanted intrusions.

Do Alside windows require a lot of maintenance?
Because our frames and sashes are made of vinyl, you can say goodbye to painting and caulking. Alside windows won't stick, and you don't have to remove storm windows in order to clean them. In fact, you can do it all from inside your home. An occasional wipe with a damp cloth will keep your windows looking like new for years to come.

How should different window test results impact my decisions?
Be careful when looking at extremely specific results since many of them do not really indicate how well the window will work for you. Some apply to just certain parts of the window, like the glass and its R-value, and do not give an overall picture. Tested in nationally-certified labs and our own modern test facility, Alside windows are engineered to provide the optimum in energy savings and are monitored by the National Fenestration Rating Council.

What is more important in saving energy, the frame or the glass?
Since 80% of a window is glass, real heating and cooling savings come from what is known as "improved glass performance," not a high R-value on the frame. Alside uses the latest technology, known as a high performance warm edge spacer system. This spacer system helps to improve the performance and the longevity of the insulated glass unit, and is standard on all Alside windows.

What energy-saving options should I know about?
You should give careful consideration to Alside's ClimaTech® Insulated Glass Package, featuring Low-E glass and argon gas. Low-E glass is an excellent barrier against ultraviolet rays which fade carpet, furniture, draperies, and even woodwork. Argon gas is colorless, odorless, nonflammable, nontoxic, and above all, a safe, inert gas that is heavier than air.

Not only does argon gas help to increase the energy efficiency of a window, but helps to make your home quieter as well. When Alside windows are equipped with the ClimaTech Insulated Glass Package, they automatically meet or exceed the energy-saving requirements for all four climate zones set forth by the ENERGY STAR® Window program. Or you can get the ClimaTech Plus package with a foam spacer that provides even further energy efficiency as an option.

What is the ENERGY STAR® Program?
The ENERGY STAR® program was created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers in the recognition of energy-efficient products. This program also promotes the environmental and economic benefits of these products through the ENERGY STAR label and other program activities.

Will Alside windows be a good investment?
Yes, for a variety of reasons. First, you may realize savings on your heating and cooling bills. Second, they're virtually maintenance-free, which eliminates painting costs. And finally, the transferability of one of the strongest warranties in the business may easily add to the resale value of your home.

Aren't all window warranties practically the same?
Not really. There are as many warranties as there are window manufacturers. Some brand name factory warranties cover just the sash and frame. The rest is left up to the local fabricator who may or may not cover it. Your warranty is only as good as the company behind it. With Alside, your unit is warranted from the extrusion and parts to the glass and construction by our Lifetime Limited Warranty*, with transferability provisions. It's one of the most comprehensive available, just what you'd expect from an industry leader.

Siding FAQ's

How does vinyl siding compare with other siding materials?
In a way, it's almost no contest. When compared to wood, brick, stone, stucco, and metal sidings on the basis of initial cost, maintenance costs, appearance, durability and value, vinyl siding is clearly superior.

Alside offers a broad range of vinyl siding products, so you can choose one that's easily affordable. Whichever you choose, you can expect the highest quality and lasting beauty. And Alside vinyl siding never needs painting or staining. It doesn't chip, peel, dent or rot, so you can forget costly repairs. Just rinse occasionally with a garden hose.

In addition, Alside vinyl sidings are backed by a strong Lifetime Limited Warranty*. And because vinyl is the preferred siding for more and more homeowners, it retains most of its installed cost. Moreover, Alside premium vinyl siding provides all the beauty of expensive wood sidings with your choice of smooth or grained surfaces; rich, low-gloss colors; and a variety of classic siding profiles.

What can be done to improve the appearance and durability of my home's exterior?
Maybe you're tired of dealing with peeling paint and rotting clapboards. And you wonder, "Will another coat of paint really hide the weather-worn condition of my wood siding? And even if it can, is it worth the cost?" Or maybe you're thinking about replacing warped hardboard siding...or getting rid of dated asphalt or asbestos siding...or eliminating dented metal siding...or giving a fresh, contemporary look to masonry walls.

Then now is the time to switch to the easy-care beauty of Alside premium vinyl siding. A wide choice of styles, colors and trim options makes it simple to create the look you want for your home–whether it's a contemporary colonial or a 120-year old farmhouse.

New siding will rejuvenate an older home, give it a completely new look and significantly reduce costs for home upkeep and maintenance. For 50 years, Alside has been helping millions of Americans create homes that match their dreams and fit their budgets. And with a full range of trim, soffit and accessory options available in a host of different decorator colors, virtually any look can be achieved to improve the appearance and durability of your home's exterior.

Isn't it less costly to just repaint my home?
If you plan to move within the next three years, the answer is probably "yes." But if you plan to stay in your home longer than that, the calculations begin to heavily favor vinyl siding.

Of course, if your home has special problems–for example, warped clapboards that have to be replaced or lead-based paint that has to be scraped and sanded off–the cost of painting can become truly staggering.

According to Remodeling magazine (October 1996), investing in new siding can prove to be an excellent choice in terms of payback. In the West, a homeowner can recoup 65% of the cost of siding in terms of resale value added to the home. In the East, the payback is 76%. In the South, it's 84%. And in the Midwest, the cost recouped is 69%.

Compare the ongoing costs of painting every three to five years to a one-time investment in new vinyl siding. For most homeowners the conclusion is obvious–vinyl siding is by far the better long-term value.

Are there any other materials that are better than vinyl?
Not when it comes to siding. Vinyl siding's outstanding features and benefits have made it the most popular siding material in America today. And because vinyl is the preferred siding for more and more homeowners, it retains most of its installed cost (see previous question for details). It's the material of choice on new luxury homes...and the first choice for remodeling projects large and small.

Leading manufacturers such as Alside offer a broad range of vinyl siding products, so you can choose one that's easily affordable. Plus, Alside vinyl siding never needs painting or staining. It doesn't chip, peel, dent or rot, so you can forget costly repairs. To maintain a like-new appearance, just rinse occasionally with a garden hose.

And Alside vinyl siding offers flexible design options that make it ideal for contemporary homes...and for stately century-old Victorians. You can choose from smooth or grained surfaces; rich, low-gloss colors; and a wide variety of classic siding profiles–plus low-maintenance trim products and accessory options that add to both the beauty and value of your home.

What's more, Alside vinyl sidings are backed by a strong Lifetime Limited Warranty*, so you can count on getting all the quality you paid for.

Exceptional beauty. Durability. Economical price. Easy maintenance. Long-term value. Outstanding warranty. If these are your criteria, there's no better choice than vinyl siding from Alside.

How does the cost of vinyl siding compare to the added resale value it provides?
In terms of adding resale value to your home, vinyl siding is one of the best investments you can make. In its annual survey of project cost versus added value, Remodeling magazine said that "the highest payback comes from projects that give an older home the same features that have become standard in new homes."

Exterior improvements such as the installation of vinyl siding also make a home more attractive on the market. According to a real estate agent interviewed by Remodeling, "Things like new siding and new windows will not add dollar for dollar value...(but) they will cause the house to sell quicker for more money."

Another point to keep in mind: if, like many homeowners, you add insulation to an older home at the same time you're having vinyl siding installed, you add even greater value and market appeal to your home.

What exterior design options do I have with vinyl siding?
Vinyl siding is one of the most versatile exterior design products you can work with. Alside, for example, offers many different vinyl siding lines. That broad selection lets you choose among a wide variety of design options, including horizontal and vertical siding; traditional clapboard and authentically detailed "shaped" sidings; wide and narrow panel exposures; smooth, subtle and deep wood grain textures; plus a wide assortment of traditional and contemporary colors.

Not sure what "exact look" you want? Just check out the many styles that are available, right here on our Web site. Or for more information on using Alside vinyl siding to create a beautiful, affordable, easy-care home, call a local siding contractor who sells and installs Alside products. Ask for a copy of Alside Trim and Accessories or Alside's Color Guide for Your Home's Exterior. Both are filled with ideas and suggestions that can help you plan your special remodeling project.

What accessories and trim are available?
When you design the exterior of your home, you should think about more than just siding. You'll need trim for windows and doors, and at inside and outside corners. You also may need soffit to finish the underside of eaves, or for a porch ceiling or entry overhang.

With Alside, creating a finishing touch that sets your home apart is easy. Because Alside offers a complete range of easy-care accessory and trim options. Standard trim lets you merge siding and trim pieces to create a balanced, uniform look. Trimworks® decorative accessories provide the premium look of hand-crafted beauty. These trim products give you an exceptional way to add special elegance at windows, doors, corners and other key accent areas.

Alside even offers easy-care replacement windows and shutters. In fact, no other vinyl siding company offers you as many trim and accessory options. That's why Alside is the first choice among homeowners who really want choices.

My home is partially brick and partially wood siding. Can I still use vinyl siding?
Sure. Vinyl siding is extremely versatile and can be used with just about any exterior building material–brick, cinder block, even natural logs and field stones.

If you have special installation concerns–such as running vinyl siding along a natural stone chimney, for example–talk to your contractor. He's probably handled a similar installation in the past. If he hasn't, he always can get detailed installation instructions from an Alside technical specialist.

As a homeowner, that's important. Because it means you're working with a professional team–a qualified contractor with a knowledgeable, experienced technical support group behind him.

Is vinyl siding really as durable as everyone says?
Absolutely. The correct technical name for the material used in vinyl siding is polyvinyl chloride. It's a strong, durable, proven material that has earned a solid reputation for its beauty and permanence. It's used in automotive applications, medical devices, defense weapons, appliances, floor coverings, and of course, home construction.

It's ideal as an exterior material because vinyl siding doesn't rot, crack, dent or warp. Plus it never peels or blisters. And because the color goes completely through Alside siding, it never has to be scraped, sanded or painted.

How do I choose a reputable contractor?
First and foremost, make an informed decision. Require references and look at previous work. Word-of-mouth recommendations from neighbors or friends who have recently re-sided their houses are an excellent start. You may also want to ask about liability insurance, customer satisfaction policies and professional credentials.

The relationship you have with your contractor is extremely important. Choose someone whose skills you trust, someone qualified to perform the task required, and someone you can work with comfortably.

If painting isn't required, how do I maintain my vinyl siding?
It's simple. There really is no maintenance, just occasional cleaning.

Ordinarily, the cleaning action of a rainfall will be adequate to wash your vinyl siding. However, vinyl siding and soffit should be washed periodically by hosing with a garden hose and clear water, particularly in those areas not exposed directly to rain. If you desire to do a more thorough cleaning, or where high soil collection conditions occur, use a soft-bristled, long-handled washing brush. It attaches to your garden hose and makes washing your siding easier.

Do not rub vigorously. This may create glossy areas over the vinyl siding finish. For hard-to-remove dirt, such as soot and grime found in industrial areas, wipe the siding down with a solution that's recommended by the manufacturer. If you wash the entire house, start at the bottom and work up to the top, as less streaking will result. It is important that immediately following all washing operations, the entire surface be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water from a garden hose.

Is one season better than another to have my new siding installed?
Not really. You can have your vinyl siding installed in any season, as your schedule and budget allow. But keep in mind that some contractors are more available during the off-seasons. Regardless of when you have your new siding installed, you'll enjoy the immediate benefits of improved appearance, as well as the long-term benefits of durability and easy maintenance.

Roofing FAQ's

How many homes are topped by asphalt shingles? Why?
Asphalt shingles are the leading choice for residential roofing in the United States because they provide quality, durability, versatility and economy. Four out of five homes are roofed with asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles offer consumers the broadest array of colors, shapes, and textures available. With an enormous range of styles, our asphalt shingles can match almost every type of architectural design and achieve virtually any desired effect – and do it affordably.

What are some of the benefits of asphalt shingles?
  • Product Performance. Asphalt shingles perform well in extreme temperatures and in areas where wind, water, and ice are prevalent.
  • Affordability. The efficient, high-volume production and relatively low application cost of asphalt shingles provide consumers with an overall value that’s tough for other roofing materials to match, especially in terms of comparable life expectancy.
  • Low Maintenance. Asphalt shingles, when properly chosen and applied, require little or no regular upkeep, and are easily repaired if damaged.
  • Ease of Application. Asphalt shingles are considered to be the easiest of all standard roofing materials to apply. In addition, the flexibility and strength of asphalt shingles supports their application on a wide variety of roof designs.
  • Fire and Wind Resistance. Asphalt shingles are manufactured to resist external fire and flammability standards, and carry Class A, B or C fire ratings, with Class A providing the greatest fire resistance. These fire ratings are defined by nationally recognized standards and tested by independent testing agencies. In addition, many asphalt shingles carrying a "wind resistance" label indicate that they have been manufactured and tested to demonstrate acceptable resistance in high-wind locations."
What are the different types of asphalt shingles?
  • Strip Shingles -- these asphalt shingles are approximately three times as long as they are wide. Manufactured in both standard and metric dimensions, strip shingles are distinguished by the number of cutouts or tabs that they have. The most common type of strip shingle is the "three-tab" shingle. Different textural and lighting/shadowing effects can be achieved with strip shingles depending on the number, shape and alignment of the cutouts.
  • Laminated Shingles -- these special shingles contain more than one layer of tabs to create extra thickness. They are also referred to as three-dimensional or architectural shingles because they create visual depth on a roof and impart a custom look. Laminated shingles continue to be a favorite among builders, roofing contractors and homebuyers.
  • Interlocking Shingles -- as the name suggests, interlocking asphalt shingles are individual shingles that mechanically fasten to each other, and are used to provide greater wind resistance. They come in various shapes and sizes providing a wide range of design possibilities.
  • Large Format Shingles -- generally rectangular or hexagonal in shape, these shingles do not utilize cutouts or tabs.
How do I determine if my roof should be replaced?
Sooner or later, every roof needs to be replaced, usually due to the long-term effects of weathering. If your roof is more than 20 years old, it is a prime candidate for re-roofing.

To determine if you need a new roof:
  • On the ground, walk around your home with binoculars and inspect your roof for cracked, curled or missing shingles, as well as any excessive loss of the protective mineral granules. DO NOT CLIMB ON THE ROOF; walking on the roof is dangerous and can damage your roof.
  • In your attic, take a flashlight and look at the underside of the roof deck and rafters for any stains or wet spots indicating water leaks.
Asphalt shingles can often be applied directly over existing roofs without the necessity of tearing off the old roof. However, new shingles can not be properly applied over hard or brittle materials, uneven surfaces for nailing or roof decks with warped, rotted or unsound support that should first be replaced or repaired.

Some local ordinances forbid re-roofing over two or more layers of shingles. If a home already has been shingled several times, it is important to first determine if the roof deck can support another layer of shingles before undertaking any re-roofing project.
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