A failed window seal – this picture says it all

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment
Window with a broken seal

A peak out a window on a frigid day in Massachusetts

Brrrrr it is cold outside. The thermometer read 4 degrees outside at 7:00am in Ashland, MA. Cold weather like this means we crank the heat and layer on an extra sweater. But what does a peak outside this window show us? Failed seals.  See what looks like condensation on the window?

It is not on the outside, it is not on the inside, it is between the panes and it can only mean one thing – the window seal is compromised and that heat that was just cranked is literally going out the window.

Broken window seal identified!

Condensation from the failed seal is in between the window panes

Am I surprised that these windows have failed? No.  These windows are original to the house that was built in the late 1980’s. Anyone who works with windows will probably concur that windows from the late eighties are notorious for being not well constructed.  And, quite frankly, they are more than 25 years old and simply are at the end of their useful life. As I start to make my home improvement list for the Spring, you can bet that replacing these windows will be on it. What are your windows showing you?


Tudor Goes Current

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

We are winding down on remodeling the building next door so we don’t have anything to show you about the building this post. But as we continue with our work we’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress.  For this post, we want to tell you about one of our recent projects….

New vinyl siding from Mastic and a new Harvey bow window

This Ashland MA home gets an update! New vinyl siding and a new bow window update the home’s appearance.

New siding and a new bow window are needed on this home

This dated home needs a facelift – for an improved appearance and energy efficiency!

A quick Google search on Tudor homes shows us that Tudor-styled homes were popular in the US in the late 1970s and 1980s. This Ashland home was built with a Tudor flare. The homeowners were looking to update the home’s appearance and replace the bow window in the front of the home.

Bruin stripped the Tudor exterior and installed a beautiful vinyl siding from Mastic. The Mastic Carvedwood  vinyl siding not only updates the home, it improves its energy efficiency. The Tuscan Olive color that the homeowner’s chose definitely brightens this home’s exterior. We also replaced the old bow window with an energy efficiency rated vinyl bow window from Harvey which again, updates the home’s exterior and also requires less maintenance on the part of the home owners.

Part 3 – A New Roof for the Building Next Door

October 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Contrary to popular belief – not all roof shingles are the same. Replacing the roof on our building next door gives us the unique opportunity to show you the difference.

An old roof on the building next door needs to be replaced

An old, dated roof in need of replacement

New Tamko shingles installed on this roof

A side by side comparison shows the former roof with metal flashing applied to the top of the shingles. The shingles are worn. What a difference the new roof makes! We’ve installed a Tamko Heritage Laminated Asphalt Shingle color: Thunderstorm Grey on the upper roof. Made with a double-layer fiberglass mat for strength, coated on both sides with weathering-grade asphalt and topped with ceramic mineral granules this shingle features a self-sealing asphalt strip for added wind resistance – a perfect shingle for our sometimes challenging New England weather.

The lower roof is Tamko Woodgate Architectural Shingles color: Cabin Wood Brown. The Woodgate is a unique shingle because it has a wider cut that conveys a rugged yet refined wood-shake look. They’re made with a unique color blend that complements the expansive look and allows for a more dramatic color distribution across the shingle.

With a 30-year limited warranty, these shingles are sure to outlast whatever occupies the building next door next. Whether it be the next generation of Cunningham’s or something different, they will be dry and protected with this new Tamko roof!

Part 2 – The Building Next Door Gets a Facelift

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment
New vinyl siding, roofing, windows and doors are the plan for this building

A building in need of an update

Even this more recent picture of the building next door shows a building that is in need of updating. Old wooden shingles and a deteriorating roof not only date the building, they are obvious signs that the building has not been maintained and is probably not as energy efficient as it could be.

To the untrained eye, the doors and windows of this building may look OK, however, a professional evaluation would reveal that  improvements can be made here too.

Our crew gets started and removes the old, dated shingles from the outside walls of the building. As seen here on side of the building, they

Removing the old outdated protective air barrier

We remove the outdated protective air barrier

pull back old layers of house wrap that were inconsistently installed and most likely inefficient, and maybe even ineffective, at providing the protective air barrier that they were intended for.

On this side of the building you can see that the team has made progress. The top half of this side shows us in the process of taking off the old Tyvek and installing a new Green Guard moisture barrier to protect the walls from water and moisture intrusion.

Replacing the old protective air barrier

Work is progressing

More visible progress has been made on the back side of the building. We’ve installed vinyl siding on the top and applied wood strapping over the concrete walls of the first floor.

New vinly siding on the back side of the building

Mastic’s Carvedwood 44 woodgrain Double 4″ clapboard style vinyl siding in Sandtone

For the vinyl siding on the back side of the building, we’ve chosen  Mastic’s Carvedwood 44 woodgrain Double 4″ clapboard style vinyl siding color in the Sandtone color.  We chose this particular vinyl siding because it delivers strength, durability, the beauty of real wood, and endless design options.

Remodeling the Building Next Door – Part 1

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

You may have noticed some activity lately near our Bruin showroom.  We’re remodeling the building next door, right here on Route 126 in Ashland, MA. When we first started, the building had two commercial (business) spaces on the first floor and two apartments on the second floor. As we work through this remodel, we’ll keep you updated on its progress and let you know what we uncover along the way. We found this picture of the building, circa 1970s, in one of the upstairs rooms.

The Building Next Door Circa 1970s

Come see our progress as we remodel the building next door. Rout 126 in Ashland – right next to the Bruin showroom.

Cunningham’s Beer-Wine-Subs was a popular lunch spot for a time, but not during the last twenty years or so. As we’ve torn down the walls in that part of the building, we see that Cunningham’s kitchen was in the back. It looks like it was rather small. We don’t think that the most recent business to occupy that space sold prepared food of any sort. But given the building’s neighbors (Honey-Do Donuts, McDonald’s) we believe the building may be zoned to allow for the serving of food.

Over the course of the next few weeks we plan to work on the building’s interior and exterior. We’ll insulate the building, replace its windows and doors, re-roof and re-side the building. We will also replace the outside stairs. We will bring in some of our partners to help us and will let you know what products we are using and why we are using them.

Should you paint your home or consider exterior siding?

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Now that the 4th of July holiday is behind us, it is time to get serious about what to do with the exterior of your home. Your first thought is probably to just paint the house – it seems like it will be the easiest and least expensive way to clean up your home’s exterior – but is it really? Between the prep work, labor and cost of materials that could last just four years – is it time to consider the alternatives?

Vinyl siding. Introduced in the 1960s, vinyl siding first became popular for its durability and longevity. Over the years, vinyl siding manufacture continues to improve and expand to more options for home owners and business owners alike. The Vinyl Siding Institute is a great resource chuck full of information, tips and advice for homeowners and business owners considering vinyl siding.

In most recent years, insulated vinyl siding has gained in popularity with the emphasis on energy savings. Insulated vinyl siding combines the insulation properties of a rigid foam board with a vinyl clapboard. With insulated vinyl siding your home gets a face lift and improved insulation – an important benefit for New England homes!

Fiber cement. With more and more homeowners and businesses seeking out green products, fiber cement is gaining in popularity as an alternative to vinyl siding. Fiber cement is a natural looking material that is fire resistant, can look like wood, stucco or masonry when applied, and can be painted.

Aaaahhhh…Enjoying the Backyard in New England

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Are you a big fan of Jamie Durie? It’s amazing how he transforms yard after yard in to enjoyable outside living space….. if you live out West. We New Englanders know that our outdoor living is limited to a few good months. And even during these months, the weather can turn quite quickly. Add to that the amount of bug spray needed to stay outdoors around dusk and you sometimes wonder if New Englanders can ever truly enjoy their outdoor living space. Well we can, even without Jamie Durie.

Typcial back of house in New England

Before: Limited outdoor living space in New England

How does a New Englander transform their outdoor living space? This “before” picture looks like the back of many New England homes. A small deck was situated right off the back door – a deck big enough for a grill and perhaps a small table and chairs. This homeowner could enjoy their outdoor space, on their deck, from mid-May (by putting a sweater on at dusk) until mid-September (sweater, again, needed at dusk).


What a difference! By expanding the deck and adding a sunroom, this metrowest homeowner is enjoying their backyard almost year round!

The enlarged deck is now big enough to handle the grill AND a table and chairs for enjoying the outdoors. The added sunroom provides protection from the rain and mosquitos and allows the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors all day! As the New England days grow shorter and the weather cools, these homeowners can still enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of the sunroom.

Bruin Corp of Ashland adds a sunroom and expands the deck

After: The sunroom addition and deck expansion improve outdoor living in New England

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