How to bring more natural light into your home

The indoor environment of a home or business can really be benefited if the building increases its use of natural lighting. Natural lighting is the utilization of the Sun’s light to provide illumination in a building over the use of electrical lights. There are many psychological and physical benefits to natural lighting. One is that using natural light will reduce home and building energy bills thanks to the building using less electrical lighting. Second, natural lighting is physically beneficial to the human body. The human eye reacts negatively to artificial light, while natural lightning relaxes the human eye. The human body also reacts positively to natural lightning by producing Vitamin D from the light’s contact with the skin and improving a person’s brain chemistry. This can help a person feel better physically and help their mind focus better. Finally, natural lightning is more aesthetically pleasing. Psychologically, people are more attracted to natural lightning than an artificial light source. With that mind, here are ways to bring more natural lightning into a home.

Glass On the Door

The doors that are across the home can have everything from small to large glass windows on them. This is especially useful for the front and back door of a home. By having glass placed on the door, some natural lightning can come into the area. Such an aesthetic choice can really help to add extra light to a home or building beyond the windows.

Transoms and Sidelights

Many homeowners may not want to have the main door to have glass on them. To keep that aesthetic and personal choice, many architects helped develop transoms and sidelights. Transoms are horizontal glass frames that are laid across the top of the door. Sidelights are vertical glass frames that are laid on the left and right sides of a door. With this design, the door will not have glass on it, but there will be windows on top or to the sides of the door. This will help bring in light near the door entrances of the home.

Patio Door and Light

If the homeowner has a patio, there are a number of door options that can be put in that will saturate the house with natural lightning. A Sliding door, garden door, and terrace door employ full door-size glass windows that will let it an incredible amount of light into the room connecting to the patio.

Add Style to the Glass

Direct natural lightning is great, but often many homeowners may become bored by just simple sunlight entering the house. That is why they may not invest in many custom windows or glass across the home. If, however, the homeowner purchases and uses decorative glass across parts of the home, then not only will natural lightning come in, it will come in with lively colors and textures reflected across the home.

Picture Windows

Picture windows, also known as fixed windows, are none opening windows that can be installed across a house. They are built to supply a window to look outside and to have well-lit grill or cam option to hold decorations and other items to improve the interior décor. In addition, these picture windows will allow natural light to come into the house.

Homeowners that want to lighten up their property can utilize a number of strategies to take in natural lighting. With different window and glass display options, its important to consult the experts over at TriCounty Exteriors. Our work over the last two decades has given our team the best insights to utilizing natural lighting for any type of home. We can help any homeowner with window replacement, windowm placement, and door options that can enhance a home’s natural lighting. Contact us today at

The Best Time to Renovate the Outside of Your Home

While it may be tempting to prepare for home renovation after the last snow has melted, there really is no “best” time to get started. The truth is, renovation and preventative maintenance begins as easily as a quick walk around the home exterior. You can complete this task at any time during the year, and you should really perform a walk-around examination a few times per year. Remember, problems that you catch early can be far less expensive to fix than a problem that sits and spreads!

To begin the process, you need to identify which areas of the house you want to renovate. You may have an idea already, but take some time to systematically examine the house. Bring a notepad and briefly jot down any issues as you see them. It’s important not to forget any problems you identify!

Start by really taking in the big picture. Stand as far back from your house as you need to easily see the entire structure. Take a look at the general shape of the house and make sure that all of the lines look straight and clean. For example, chimneys should be vertical and not leaning, shingles should be neatly lined with none missing, and windowsills should not be sagging. See if anything stands out. If possible, repeat this step for every side of the house. This is really the best time to check for roof deterioration; it may be difficult to see once you move closer to the home.

After you’ve checked the whole house from afar, it’s time to move in. Check to see if there are any holes or cracks in the siding and that windows and doors are well sealed. Check joints and corners and see if any will require repairs. Dents, scratches, scrapes, and holes should be especially apparent close up. Make note of which areas need serious attention and which just need a coat of touch up paint.

The entire process shouldn’t take much time, but you will probably end up with a list of items that need attention. Be sure not to let problems sit unattended! Remember that preventative maintenance can keep a small problem from becoming a disaster. Be sure to check out as your regional experts on exterior home maintenance. We can work together to make sure that your home is in great conditions long into the future!

Stunning Quebec Contemporary

This stunning home in the Gatineau Hills district of greater Ottawa, Quebec, uses an array of Marvin contemporary products to achieve a beautiful balance between modern and natural. This home embraces its earthy surroundings while opening the door to a contemporary aesthetic. The facade of reclaimed wood on the upper level, white cement board lining the lower, and large expanses of floor to ceiling windows throughout are the perfect package for this chic forest home.

The unique and beautiful site, on a hill in the woods, called for a home that brings the natural surroundings indoors. The open ground floor, with its interconnected spaces and floor to ceiling windows, allows sunlight to flow through uninterrupted, showcasing the beauty of the natural light as it varies throughout the day and by season.

Marvin’s floor to ceiling windows invite the ever changing landscape of trees and mountains indoors. And from the exterior, the vertical windows lead the eye upward, loosely echoing the vertical lines of the surrounding trees.

The large windows and minimal frames allowed the architect to effectively frame unique views of the beautiful Gatineau hills without distracting from them. Further, the windows on the second floor, where the bedrooms are located, are tinted for added privacy. Marvin’s wide selection of window frame colours allowed the designer to further define this home’s contrasting exterior palette. White window frames were used for the ground floor and black for the second floor.

Marvin products used in this amazing home include the Bi-Fold Door, Sliding Patio Door, Tilt Turn and Hopper, Ultimate Awning and Ultimate Swinging French Door.

Staff Writer (June 2, 2014) Stunning Quebec Contemporary. Retrieved on June 3, 2014 from



6 Ideas for Lighting Your Deck

If a home is equipped with a deck, it is likely one of the most frequented places of the property. Decks are great for outdoor lunches/dinners, get-togethers, outdoor projects, and more. These are six ideas for lighting a deck so that it is not only useful, but also fun and inviting.

Lighting Ideas

1. Post Accent Lighting

Many homeowners go with post accent lights to keep their decks will-lit and useable at nighttime. This lighting option not only looks great, but the installation process is rather painless. This process only really requires finding post caps that fit the size of the posts on the deck, and lastly screwing them in place for stability.

2. Stair Lighting

Stair riser lights are also a popular choice when homeowners light the decks of their homes. Stair riser lights are inviting, and they also add a degree of safety. These lights specifically come in handy when stairs are located in particularly dark areas and they need to be traversed frequently.

3. Tiki Torches

Tiki torches are fun accents for outdoor barbeques, pool parties, or fun get-togethers. Tiki torches are quite versatile; they can either be planted right into the ground for stability, or they can be placed in planting pots so that they can be arranged around the deck. Additionally, some homeowners go as far as directly attaching them to deck posts using tools.

4. Fire Bowls

Fire bowls are great solutions for outdoor lighting, especially on decks. This type of light source is especially great for nights when you want to gather around an open fire with family/friends and roast marshmallows or hot dogs.

5. Candle Lanterns

Candle lanterns are a classic option for deck lighting, and they are relatively inexpensive to maintain. These types of lanterns can be hung around the deck, as well as placed intermittently on posts and surfaces. What’s even better is that candle lanterns also make great bug repellants!

6. LED Lighting

Lastly, LED lights can make a bold and fun statement about an exterior deck. What’s even better is that they can be customized by color, shape, and other attributes. Consider giving LED lights a look if the deck in question is likely going to be used for outdoor get-togethers and parties.

For help and information on getting started started with planning/installing lighting on a deck, be sure to check out to

Spice Up Your Entrance! Upgrade Your Masonite Entry Door with a Simulated Divided Lite Kit

Adding glass panels or side lites to a new Masonite entry door is a great way to create a unique look that neighbors will notice. The new Simulated Divided Lite (SDL) kit from Masonite makes it easy to “customize” a clear or textured glass Masonite door or sidelites. Compatible with 6.8” and 8’0” doors and sidelites, each kit offers the old world charm of true divided lite without the need for a complete overhaul. The new SDL kit allows builders, remodelers, and homeowners to customize the appearance of Masonite exterior doors or sidelites and choose from a variety of arrangements at a fraction of the cost of true divided lite.

Here are just a few benefits of creating your own glass design with the Masonite Simulated Divided Lite kit:

Ease-of-installation – The SDL kit features 1-1/8” bars that snap into place to form a grid configuration. Each kit aligns perfectly with Masonite lite frames and is designed for easy field installation.

Visuals – The Masonite SDL kits are available in a variety of standard or Prairie style designs for 6’8” and 8’0” doors and sidelites. Buyers can choose from white, almond and mahogany finishes with smooth or textured options. The bars can also be painted or stained for a custom look.

Energy savings – In some cases, having a single panel of glass may be more energy efficient than having multiple panels in a true divided lite. The SDL kits can give homeowners the look they want with benefit of energy savings.

Authentic look – Every Masonite SDL kit includes two sets of grids for the inside and outside of the door. A strong, weather-resistant adhesive tape ensures the bars stay in place, offering the look and feel of a true divided lite.

If you’re buying a new Masonite entry door with clear or textured glass or sidelites, be the envy of the neighborhood by adding a personalized touch with a Masonite SDL kit. For more information on the Simulated Divided Lite kits, visit

Staff Writer (2013 August 1) Spice Up Your Entrance! Upgrade Your Masonite Entry Door with a Simulated Divided Lite Kit. Retrieved on June 2, 2014 from

For more information contact TriCounty Exteriors today!

How to Clean and Care for Your Home’s Siding

With a bit of preventative maintenance, your home’s siding could be trouble-free for 50 years or more. And that means you won’t have to replace siding as often.
Cleaning siding removes the dirt and mildew that shortens the life of siding. A clean house protects your investment, too. Some real estate appraisers say good curb appeal can add 5%-10% to the value of your house.

Cleaning All Types of Siding

All types of siding benefit from an annual cleaning to remove grit, grime, and mildew. Cleaning an average-sized house may take you and a friend every bit of a weekend. Here’s how to do it:

1. Start with a bucket of warm, soapy water. Mix 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers) with 1 gallon of water.

2. Divide your siding into 10-foot sections. Scrub each section using a soft-bristled brush attached to a long handle. Work from bottom to top to avoid streaking, and rinse often. (For two-story homes, you’ll be using a ladder, so keep safety foremost.)

What’s a Professional Cleaning Cost?

If you don’t have the time — or the inclination — you can have your house professionally cleaned for $300-$500. A professional team will use a power washer and take less than a day.

You can rent a power washer to do the job yourself for about $75/day, but beware if you don’t have experience with the tool. Power washers can strip paint, gouge softwoods, loosen caulk, and eat through mortar. Also, the tool can force water under horizontal lap joints, resulting in moisture accumulating behind the siding.

A siding professional has the expertise to prevent water penetration at joints, seams around windows and doors, and electrical fixtures.

Inspecting Siding for Damage

All siding: Siding is vulnerable to water infiltration where it butts against windows, doors, and corner moldings. Look for caulk that has cracked due to age or has pulled away from adjacent surfaces, leaving gaps. Reapply a color-matched exterior caulk during dry days with temperatures in excess of 65 degrees for maximum adhesion.

Wood siding: Check for chipped or peeling paint, and cracked boards and trim.

Stucco: Be on the lookout for cracks and chips.

Brick: Look for crumbling mortar joints.

You’ll want to repair any defects before cleaning. The sooner you make repairs, the better you protect your house from moisture infiltration that can lead to dry rot and mold forming inside your walls.

Repairing Wood, Vinyl, and Fiber-Cement Siding

Repairs to wood, vinyl, and fiber-cement siding require the expertise to remove the damaged siding while leaving surrounding siding intact. Unless you have the skills, hire a professional carpenter or siding contractor. Expect to pay $200-$300 to replace one or two damaged siding panels or pieces of wood clapboard.

Repairing Brick and Mortar

Crumbling and loose mortar should be removed with a cold chisel and repaired with fresh mortar — a process called repointing. An experienced do-it-yourselfer can repoint mortar joints between bricks, but the process is time-consuming. Depending on the size of the mortar joints (thinner joints are more difficult), a masonry professional will repoint brick siding for $5-$20/sq. ft.

Efflorescence — the powdery white residue that sometimes appears on brick and stone surfaces — is the result of soluble salts in the masonry or grout being leached out by moisture, probably indicating the masonry and grout was never sealed correctly.

Remove efflorescence by scrubbing it with water and white vinegar mixed in a 50/50 solution and a stiff bristle brush. As soon as the surface is clear and dry, seal it with a quality masonry sealer to prevent further leaching.

Persistent efflorescence may indicate a moisture problem behind the masonry. Consult a professional building or masonry contractor.

Repairing Stucco

Seal cracks and small holes with color-matched exterior acrylic caulk. Try pressing sand into the surface of wet caulk to match the texture of the surrounding stucco. Paint the repair to match.

To repair larger holes and cracks, you may want to call in a pro who’s familiar with stucco work. A professional charges $200-$1,000 for a repair job, depending on the size of the damage. Repainting the patch to match your siding will be up to you.

Removing Mildew

Stubborn, black spotty stains are probably mildew. Dab the area with a little diluted bleach — if the black disappears, it’s mildew. Clean the area with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water. Wear eye protection and protect plants from splashes. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Riha John (2014 January) How to Clean and Care for Your Home’s Siding. Retrieved on June 2, 2014 from