Cedar Siding Solutions!

Cedar siding is a popular choice, used often in contemporary home design for its rustic, woodsy charm. And while naturally extant compounds work to deter hungry bugs and resist all that fungi eager to let rot get in its mushy foothold, that handsome, bucolic façade still needs a little TLC every few years or so.

This was the case with 2HIRE.US friend and investor Murray Kurtzburg’s home just recently when he and his wife noticed some trouble with a few boards of their western red cedar siding. Having lived in the house for twenty-three years, much as they appreciate the cedar siding benefits and attractive look, the need for a touch-up every five or six years (especially on the back of the house, which receives the most direct sunlight) is a recognized and expected occurrence. This time it wasn’t the sun but the rain spelling bad news. With no roof overhang working to redirect it, rainwater had cascaded down and off each board onto the middle of the next, inevitably damaging the wood and reducing it to a relatively soft, crumbling mess. The weaker knots in the wood decayed more quickly, falling out and leaving a pitted flaw in their place – a not-so-complimentary complement to the additional gouges left by a busy and inconsiderate neighborhood woodpecker.

To see exactly what needed to be done, Brittany Kelchner and Chris Wingard headed out to Mr. Kurtzburg’s home. Following a revealing bout of pressure washing, a service we offer at 2HIRE.US, they were able to discern there was no call for a complete overhaul, which would involve the entire side of the house being redone. This meant their two-man crew was more than perfect for this “patchwork” project. Taking the team an expedient yet painstakingly thorough two and a half days, they searched out and removed all signs of rot, repaired and sealed every bit of damage – making sure to reassess before, during, and after the project was complete.

Albeit pleasantly charming to the eye and naturally embedded with beneficial qualities (like that famished bug dissuasion I mentioned before and superb thermal insulation being another), beveled red western cedar siding comes with some complicating factors, despite being popular and widely appreciated. Not only can resilience be limited in the face of elemental forces, but it is also more difficult in use than hardened plank; whatever the case, cedar was required to maintain the same texture along the home’s exterior.

Well, as they often do, a few more problems came up. Unfortunately, whoever had originally put up the siding made a few missteps, entailing a little extra attention. After meticulously approaching and executing installation Chris noticed something utterly lame: he was able to pull boards he’d just installed straight off! The other guys had messed up and there was literally nothing there for the nails to grip! Not to worry: Diligence, a patient mind, and a few extra nails helped wrap this up expertly.  Completing the new siding was an undertaking, for sure. The cedar board had to be slid up beneath the one above it, thus preventing water seepage and worse, making sure to keep the roughened side facing outward while maintaining the other segment in place, a handsome puzzle. As we do, the crew was able to finish up each task skillfully, ending with a neat and fine paint job.

Now, every project varies from one detail to the next, with differing requirements of labor, time spent, cost and materials necessitated. For Murray Kurtzburg’s home, this entailed the purchasing of red western cedar siding from Home Depot, priced around $100 each for a total of six beveled 11/16” by 8” by 144” (or 12’) boards.  This cost a little more than $600 in all. We also were happy to provide clean-up and garbage removal, a service which includes piling up and hauling off oddments large and small from the worksite, and starts at $200 for most projects.

Part of what I’ve elected to do when I write these posts is ask whether the people we’re working for are happy – not just satisfied – with our work. Mr. Keith Kelchner, Founder and CEO of 2HIRE.US, and Brittany Kelchner, his daughter and second-in-command around here, didn’t ask me to do this, though they obviously hold customer satisfaction in the highest esteem. If they didn’t, we’d hardly be so insistent on guaranteeing our work! That said, I ask the question of the people who’ve hired us and let us into their homes because I care, too. I’ve got to mention, when I asked Murray if he was pleased with the work we did on his home I was just tickled to hear he couldn’t have asked for or found better. I really wanted to mention that to you.

Anyway, thanks again for reading this latest post – we really hope you’ll continue to enjoy our blog and follow along as we talk about who we are and what we’re proud to do here at 2HIRE.US. See you soon!

During and After Photos:

 

Matt Abbott, Quality Assurance Specialist

As the writer for the 2HIRE.US blog, I thought that in between writing about projects we’re working on, it would be a good idea – an interesting idea – to write about some of our own people. You know, as a way of letting everyone get a glance at who we are as well as what we do. That’s why I started interviewing and writing questions for us to answer in a kind of biography blog.

This here is Matt.

When I met him, he was wearing a tie-dyed shirt in a coffee house in Ellijay, up in the mountains of northern Georgia. Matt came to work here at 2HIRE.US a little while ago, after making friends with Brittany Kelchner at a similar establishment, a tiny local eatery. Brittany had been looking up places to go, things to do around her new homeplace; Matt, overhearing, ventured whether she was a tourist, pleased to offer advice. Considering his avid enthusiasm for the outdoors – swimming, hiking, you-name-it – he was a happy informant for the local spots.

Following an Honorable Discharge from the United States Marine Corps with experience as an avionics technician, he moved to Ellijay to be with family; his mother had moved so in order to take care of her aging parents some years before.

When I asked Matt some simplistic and obvious questions (e.g. “in three words, how would you describe yourself”), his answers were surprising. Though a self-described “hippy,” Matt is looking to graduate from Dalton State College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, later to apply to graduate school. He wants to achieve a Master’s Degree in criminal justice.

His Communications degree serves him well, as he prides himself on his ability to manage conflict. Matt brings an exceptionally well-rounded aspect to our company, in that he, too, has construction experience. Having lived in several states and worked as a finish carpenter for over five years, he’s good at what he knows and what he does.

Upon inquiring about an estimate or hiring us for your construction project, you will be in touch with this amazing young man as he is pleased to work for 2HIRE.US.

Brittany Kelchner, Vice President

Here’s the thing: sometimes when you’re looking for a company to trust and work with, you want to know a little about its people too – and why not? It’s the people who make up a company, do the work and eventually deliver. That being said, let’s take a moment to meet some of our awesome people and you can see for yourself why we, as a whole, totally rock.

This is Brittany Kelchner. Most people know her as Keith’s daughter, and that she is. She’s also second-in-command, and, as she expresses, wears “many hats” when it comes to her work with 2HIRE.US. It’s a good thing she does – any company would be lucky to have an adept problem-solver who looks great in a toolbelt and has an affinity for mathematics…not to mention an adroit hand at out-of-the-box thinking!

As with anyone, there’s a lot more to Brittany than her intellect and her ability to navigate troublesome topics arising on the job – she’s an avid environmentalist and deeply spiritual person. When asked how many pets she has in her family, the usual answer of cats and dogs doesn’t entirely apply: yes, she has cats, Mister and Django, and a dog, Bonnie, but she also has something a bit less conventional to add to her list of non-human companions. Give or take, 1,000 snails: who “happily peruse the selection of leaves in her garden.” Her biggest challenge is how on earth she’s going to name them all. Hopefully, her Associates in Chemistry will come in handy with discovering some new mad scientist ways of telling them all apart!

Everyone has goals, and Brittany is no exception. Like many people, she wants to better herself in less conventional ways than some others. As an aspiring ecologist, naturally, Brittany wants to see our glorious national parks on a road trip – before the glaciers melt and the giant Sequoias are whittled into toothpicks. On a more immediate and personal note, she plans to finish her lovely garden (including erosion control rock walls) and even install a tiled meditation pad so she may continue her yoga exercises peacefully in the woods.

When her dad, Keith, needed help for data entry and a boost in the customer service area 11 years ago, Brittany Kelchner was happy and eager to step up. After writing the customer service policy, she took on other projects within the company, from working on estimates to marketing to simply helping the company show appreciation for our customers.

Angie, The Blog Writer

My name is Angelina Antonelli-Bell. Mostly I go by Angie. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and have always enjoyed literature and writing, as well as outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking. After serving in the United States Army as a Combat Medic and receiving an Honorable Discharge, I moved to Ellijay in the North Georgia mountains where I met Brittany Kelchner.

Brittany and I made fast friends when we met at a field trip our daughters, then five years old, took with their pre-Kindergarten class to a local family farm. Conversation between us immediately turned to books. As we weren’t at University or a hipster coffee house, the more tangible and obvious titles were ones that our children (and we, of course) enjoyed: “Fortunately, The Milk” by Neil Gaiman, “No Carrots for Harry!” by Jean Langerman, and numerous examples of “The Berenstain Bears,” by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Talk of books forged a good rapport between us, quickly founding a great friendship.

When she later asked me if I’d be interested in writing for the company’s blog, Brittany told me some deeply interesting and heartfelt details about her dad. When Brittany was three years old and the family was living in a part of Atlanta only beginning to see gentrification, Keith was hiring people bereft and homeless. He gave them a place to stay and a place to work.  He wanted to give them a chance to turn their life around.

That matters.

So you can see why I was touched to be asked to join such a business as 2HIRE.US, one which upholds morals and values family. I’m really happy to work for, and with, such quality people. I hope you’ll continue to read and enjoy this blog as I talk about who we are and what we’re proud to do.

Pergolas: Add Charm and Elegance to Your Outdoor Space

 

With so many benefits to a pleasant outdoor space of your own, a pergola is a wonderful and economic structure to introduce into and expand your living space. As a lovely centerpiece or an eye-catching addition to your yard, it lends the perfect backdrop while entertaining friends and family: everything from a charming casual backyard barbeque to an elegant summer evening of dinner and drinks al fresco. Not to mention, of course, providing an entrancing refuge for the simple, quiet joy of some well-deserved me-time. Especially now, with spring just a flowery breath away and summer dancing so close behind. Not to forget, there’s autumn’s spectacularly colorful array to enjoy later in the year! A pergola is a cost-effective, time-friendly and fantastic way to supplement the welcoming ambience of a peaceful and beautiful outdoor retreat just beyond your door.

Keith Kelchner, founder and CEO of 2HIRE.US, and his wife, Kat, decided to build a pergola after moving to their new home. Having enjoyed one at their previous residence, it was a simple choice to build another and continue all the outdoor fun! After a little bit of online research, they landed on a design they loved and happily went ahead with the project. Taking only two and a half days, with one crew consisting of two crew-members, it cost a comfortable $3,900 for the actual structure (which included labor and materials). After additional landscaping and décor, they’re positively thrilled with the results. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of building a pergola is influenced by many different variables, all of which can cause the final price to fluctuate. 

So, what were some of the considerations Keith and Kat weighed as they moved forward, and what factors contributed to their decisions? Let’s break down everything from prepping the area to what kind of upkeep you can expect with this beautiful addition to your outdoor space.

Choosing Design and Materials

One of the wonderful aspects of pergolas is the abundant variations in design; a simple online peek at Google or Pinterest offers plenty of options to consider, and, of course, the 2HIRE.US team is here to help narrow it down and find the ideal choice for your home. While Keith and his wife chose to fill the dimensions of their 12’ by 16’ deck (conveniently making their pergola a freestanding structure, requiring nothing more than additional footers under the existing deck and then confirming it was level), 2HIRE.US has had excellent success with pergolas reaching as high as two stories!

 

Not only are there plenty of design options to consider, this project can utilize a wonderfully flexible array of materials, from aluminum or steel to pressure treated lumber and more! The Kelchner family, loving the pleasant sophistication of natural wood and its color, chose to use pressure treated lumber and clear corrugated polycarbonate plastic roofing panels to let in the natural light. In fact, once completed, pergolas require upkeep so simple and easy it hardly qualifies as mentionable. Occasionally blow an errant leaf or two off the roof, apply a coat of stain in the color of your preference (or clear sealant) and think no more of it!

Landscaping and Decor

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

When building a pergola, landscaping is a great option for enhancing charm and lending an elegance to the ambience, just as the décor you choose can tie the entire outdoor space together. Keith and Kat had already planned on redesigning the area prior to construction. Having only to clear small vines and saplings in preparation, they decided to include a walkway across the backyard, adding a beautiful and agreeable aesthetic to the façade. This was also a practical measure, allowing rainwater to drain between the stones without a muddy yard to step in.

 

 

Post-construction, finding the right décor for your space is the finishing touch. There are myriad options for every taste preference, making it fun and easy to create an enchanting, unique space with your pergola as the lovely centerpiece. Keith and his wife chose to hang outdoor string lights in the trees for a delightful nighttime effect. This complements the smaller, clear mini-lights that they wrapped in silk grapevines and easily tacked to wooden boards that attach around the perimeter of the pergola. With roll-down screens as a pleasant way to shade those hot afternoons in the Georgia sun, the finished product was exactly what the doctor prescribed for a relaxing evening of grilling out with friends and loved ones.         

All in all, Keith and Kat Kelchner’s pergola project was both time- and cost-efficient, providing their home additional charm and a space they can enjoy for years to come. It is the perfect backdrop for everything from backyard barbeques to a relaxing early morning cup of coffee. Here at 2HIRE.US, our expert and professional crews use quality materials and bring years of experience to every project! Your satisfaction is extremely important to us and we will strive to honor what you envision for your space. Please continue to follow our blog and explore our website to find additional pictures and videos, testimonials, pricing, discounts, and the many skills we are very pleased to offer; thank you! You can also download our electronic business card to access everything from one convenient place on your smartphone by texting 2HIRE to 36260.