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Real Homeowner Journeys

From High-Maintenance to High-Style

High energy bills, failing siding and windows, minimal aesthetic appeal—if you can name an issue for a home exterior, chances are, this home had it. And retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Gary Gaal and his wife were overwhelmed with the upkeep. They sought a much needed exterior makeover to revamp their 1970s style, high-maintenance home into a modern interpretation of a historical Shingle design. Now, this Alexandria, VA family spends more time enjoying their home, and less time maintaining it.

Design Process
When a homeowner seeks out an exterior renovation, it’s usually because they have a problem like leaky windows or old siding. They then look for the solutions they know are possible—replace white windows with white windows, lap siding with lap siding in a different color. For retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Gary Gaal and his wife Luise, that was exactly the case.

So Much Maintenance, So Little Time
The Gaal’s Alexandria, VA home was built in the early 1970s and hadn’t been updated in nearly 40 years. While the look of the home was aging, an energy audit also showed that the exterior products were failing to keep the home comfortable and safe from the elements. The old, wood single-pane storm windows were difficult to clean and many were inoperable and taped shut to prevent further damage. The decades-old aluminum siding had faded and provided only minimal protection from the outside environment. Likewise, soffits and vents were outdated, preventing proper air circulation.

In his retirement, Gary Gaal had logged more than 19,000 hours serving his community as an auxiliary police officer, assistant chief of the Franconia Fire Department and a volunteer for the Wintergreen Ski Patrol. This left little time for home repair, making low-maintenance and energy-efficient materials a priority when it came time to remodel.

Discovering Architectural Character
Ply Gem and architects BSB Design worked with Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. to transform this home into a modern Shingle style fitting with the neighborhood and the Metro DC region. The makeover gave the home architectural character, color and energy-efficiency through low-maintenance products including Mastic by Ply Gem shingle-style siding, insulated vinyl lap siding, Ply Gem vinyl windows and Ply Gem stone veneer.

This project shows other homeowners the potential for transforming a home, which you can see in the before-and-after photos. While this may seem like a cosmetic upgrade, this project benefits the homeowners because it adds resale value, energy efficiency and security features. Bruce Case, president, Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

Discovering Architectural Character
Ply Gem and architects BSB Design worked with Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. to transform this home into a modern Shingle style fitting with the neighborhood and the Metro DC region. The makeover gave the home architectural character, color and energy-efficiency through low-maintenance products including Mastic by Ply Gem shingle-style siding, insulated vinyl lap siding, Ply Gem vinyl windows and Ply Gem stone veneer.

At first, the Gaals were concerned about using anything other than the aluminum lap siding they were used to. Like some homeowners, and even professionals, they were not sure if low-maintenance and affordable materials such as vinyl could be used in a more complex design and were unfamiliar with vinyl’s performance characteristics and design capabilities. To help them understand the differences between certain cladding styles, as well as color palettes, Case Design used Ply Gem’s Design Inspiration Guide. This tool gave an accurate visual idea of what the potential was for their new exterior and helped the Gaals change their mind once they saw the possibilities for more color and texture in the exterior materials.

BSB Design then developed the architectural plans, ensuring that every detail—from the window style to the siding, shutters and coloring—stayed true to the architectural styling of traditional Shingle design. The design team also added non-structural changes including a front portico and roof gable. The alterations moved the Gaals completely out of their comfort zone, going from a beige and boring exterior to a dynamic architectural design with texture and deep, dark colors, including red and dark gray.

Beauty and Efficiency Converge
Beyond the aesthetics, the Gaal’s home also became significantly more energy-efficient. New double-pane vinyl windows helped seal the openings, while insulated vinyl siding minimized air leakage. Backed by a polystyrene foam, the Mastic Structure Home Insulation System gives continuous insulation over the outside walls, covering studs where traditional wall insulation will not reach. With a wider, six-inch profile, the insulated vinyl siding also delivered a more contemporary style for the exterior.

The new materials have helped prevent home heat loss in winter and air conditioning loss during summer. In fact, a year after the renovation, a new energy audit showed more than $360 dollars in yearly savings in the Gaal’s energy bills.

In less than a month, this average house was completely transformed in look and performance. Thrilled with the results, Gary and Luise Gaal no longer worry about cleaning, painting or repairing their new exterior, and can spend more time enjoying their retirement.

Materials
The homeowners wanted energy-efficient, low-maintenance siding.

The Mastic by Ply Gem Structure Home Insulation System is backed with polystyrene foam to help prevent home heat loss in winter and air conditioning loss during summer. It also reduces the impact of thermal bridging between wall studs to minimize air leakage.

Cedar Discovery Perfection Shingle

  • Wind Speed—rated up to 210 mph
  • V.I.P. Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Sustainable—crafted of readily available natural materials; recyclable
  • No Paint, No Hassles—no need for paint or stain, meaning less maintenance for the homeowner and no harmful VOCs released into the environment
  • Five-Point Locking System for secure installation and durability

Structure Home Insulation System

  • Wind Speed—rated up to 190 mph
  • V.I.P. Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Sustainable—crafted of readily available natural materials; recyclable
  • No Paint, No Hassles—no need for paint or stain, meaning less maintenance for the homeowner and no harmful VOCs released into the environment
  • Duranyl 5000 ® Protection System—protects the deepest, most vivid colors against harsh elements and maximizes long-term durability
  • Tornado-Tough Double Thick Nail Hem
  • Patented T-3-Lok™ Locking System for secure installation and durability

Results
"This project shows other homeowners the potential for transforming a home, which you can see in the before-and-after photos. While this may seem like a cosmetic upgrade, this project benefits the homeowners because it adds resale value, energy efficiency and security features.” – Bruce Case, President, Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

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